I'm an alaia rider/builder and just haven't seen many others. I ride mine every session no matter what and prefer it over everything else. Even after 15 years of surfing "modern" boards, I'm totally hooked on the alaia. It's really a ton of fun, I don't get why hardly anyone rides one. It's not really harder, it's just different so it just takes some time to figure it out.
Is it just too kooky or something? Too hard? Too expensive? Too much investment of time? I don't know... I can't figure it out. Maybe beauty is in the eye of the beholder?
Thanks for your honest input,
I'd like to try one out at some point but I have so much fun on my shortboards that I never want to "waste" a session trying one out, I'd rather just go out and have fun with what I already know and continue to progress on it.
I think alaias are more popular with surfers who are content with their surfing and want to take a step back and try something different rather than go out and do the same tricks and turns they have been doing for years. For those of us that are trying to learn something new every session, we tend to just stick to what were used to/already know we enjoy.
Around here, the average ride is about 5-10 seconds long. Most guys try to do either as many turns as possible in that short period of time, or stick it out on the nose for as long as possible. I think to get the most out of an alaia you need a longer wave. IMO, our peaky beachbreaks just don't lend themselves to that particular craft.
Kooky? Hell no. Real watermen groove on whatever's fun. I'll ride longboards, shortboards, fish, surf mats, hand planes, bodyboards, kneeboards, paipos or a piece of plywood in junky surf. But...
Mastering a finned stand-up board is difficult; going finless is a huge leap, a radically different, slippery experience that requires the rider to relinquish a lot of control to the wave. Personally, I found it really hard, and my water time is limited, so I tend to go with the simple stoke. But I know people who have tried it and loved it. If I lived in Nicaragua, I'd be out on one of your planks every day until I got it dialed.
One of the best aspects of wave riding is trying new things. It bums me out when surfers hate on people who aren't riding the 'correct' craft. Imgaine how much crap visionaries like Bob Simmons or George Greenough would catch today for paddling out on their freak machines. The more committed oddballs in the water, the better.
As much as everyone *****es about crowds, kooks and crappy east coast surf, it's an exciting time for the open-minded surfer, with all the different wave riding options, and I'm stoked that people like you are pushing the envelope. I've seen your boards. They're beautiful, and obviously made with care, and everyone should try one. I wish you luck, Josh.
There is something sick about watching someone ride a plank. I'd love to try, but like the others have said it may be tough with our quick rides. Obviously you're doing it though, so props! Best of luck with the business, I may be in contact to give this a whirl.
EDIT: Also, I wanted to say that your website is really well done. The "Day One" reading in Alaia Life section is awesome, completely sucks you to the moment.
Last edited by offshore; Jun 17, 2011 at 02:19 PM.