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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

First Surfboards for Beginners | the Wavestorm Foam Surfboard

By Rick Bickerstaff
I bought one of these surfboards for my wife a few years back and, on a smallish day, I took it out instead of my short boards. I have to say I was blown away by how good this 8-foot piece of Taiwanese foam actually rides...

It's the $100 Wavestorm from Costco, and though it takes a certain lack of self-consciousness to ride one, I can't deny its prowess, though I'm pretty sure that was an accident on the manufacturer's part.

I promise I'm not paid by Wavestorm or Costco or some Soft-Top-Board-Riders Association, but I recommend this board so often that I thought I'd write a blog about it, and the reasons why I ride this ridiculous thing...

I Catch More Waves
It's big and light, so once you've figured out your weight distribution (some tips for that here), you'll be able to catch almost anything, and I mean anything. If you look behind me in that picture above you'll notice that the water is literally flat. I actually caught waves that day with this board -- they were tiny, but I rode them with a smile on my face and foam under my feet.

It's Surprisingly Maneuverable
I took this to a point break one day and the waves were beautiful long right-handers that rode like a skate ramp. It's got three fins, so it rides like any thruster, and ends up being a surprisingly responsive board. I was able to work the face like a short board, marking this as the day I fell in love with the Wavestorm.

Bottom turn on this big blue beast.
My Leash Never Breaks
The board is thick, and sometimes feels like you're riding some kind of kayak-shovel hybrid. As a result, it's pretty difficult to get a good duck-dive. So when the surf report was inaccurate one day, and 4-foot waves were actually 10-foot waves, I showed up with the Wavestorm and found myself in some tricky situations.

I had to ditch the board a few times when some particularly massive closeouts came crashing on me; and though the force of those waves felt like an aquatic herd of horses, my leash never broke. I'm honestly dumbfounded by this one, as the leash is little more than rubber, rope and some Velcro at the end, but I've had several name-brand leashes break under less pressure.

You Can Return Anything to Costco
You'll see the kayak-shovel effect illustrated below, which is one of the few downfalls to the Wavestorm. I noticed that, over time, these nose-dives were causing the board to bend (particularly when I would lend the board to inexperienced riders). Well, one day it broke in half, even though it has three stringers running through it.

Got my nose...
My wife had had the board for about two years at that point, so I thought I'd cut my losses and trash it, keeping the leash, stomp pad and a couple fins for future use. A friend then suggested that I try and return it to Costco, given their extremely loose return policy, so with nothing to lose I gave it a shot.

I literally showed up with a two-year-old broken board that looked like I just pulled it out of a trash can, no receipt and minus the Costco card I purchased it with...and walked out with $100. I mean, how are they still in business?!

So that's why I love the Wavestorm, and why I'm recommending it to you; particularly if you're a beginner, or someone who frequents a weak break and is looking to have some fun.

Do you agree? Is the Wavestorm the best bang for your buck for anything under chest high? Or is this just another piece of mass-produced junk that has no place on any decent break? Let me know below!