Back in November of 2001, I received my new custom Poly Vac from Victoria. It was great, custom artwork, with the Sandskater name and web address placed on the deck of the board, it was my pride and joy.
I had only used it a couple of times at our local beach and down at Bantham, when myself and Ben Richards decided to head down to Tolcarne beach in Newquay to try and attempt to ride the sider (sidewash) at high tide.
Conditions weren't great. The surf was big enough, but the wind wasn't so great and it was raining. We got to the beach at about mid-tide, on the push, and started to skim. This was not one of my best skim sessions, because the wind was making it difficult to run fast down the beach and there was a rock measuring about 3ft long, by 2ft wide and about 2ft tall, right where you wanted to run.
For over 2 hours we tried and failed to make the connection onto the sider from the beach. It was a case of getting the timing exactly right, if you were to make it on the sidewash.
I was starting to think it wasn't possible, when I managed to make the connection to the wash. I slid down the face of the 1 and half foot sider and started to pump my board along the sidewash in an attempt to make the connection with the primary wave. Well, I never made it, I ran out of steam and the board sunk. But I was so stoked that I was actually riding a sider for the first time in my life, I had to try and do it again. I was on such a high!
With my new found enthusiasm I tried again, but with no luck, Again and again I tried, but with no results. All of a sudden, it set up in front of me, I sprinted down the beach, got on the board and skimmed onto the sidewash. I was riding it again!
But my joy turned to despair, when I realised that the rock that had prevented us from connecting to the sidewash earlier on, was now under the water because the tide had come in. I looked down whilst on the sidewash, to see the rock just below the water, and before I could do anything about it, I had slid straight over the top of it, and it had stopped the board dead, and I fell into the water.
This was my worst ding, (if you can call it a ding, its more of a rip) that I had ever had. My despair now turned to anger, how could I have been so stupid, I knew that rock was there, I was stood next to it at mid tide!
But for a split second I forgot all about it. It could have been a lot worse, if I had wiped out, I could have cracked my head on that rock as I fell into the water.
I had now learned a lesson - always check the water for submerged objects before you start skimming and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Skimming can be dangerous, to you and for other people around you!
3 months on, January 2002, I still hadn't repaired the board. I went back to using my Slotstik board instead. I just couldn't find the time to repair it. Last week (beginning of Feb 2002) I finally got round to repairing it. One of our skim buddies, Paul A'hern from Exeter, had given me his board to repair, so I thought I might as well do both of them at the same time.
I sanded the surrounding area, and inside the rip. Mixed up some fibreglass resin and stuffed 6oz fibreglass matting in the rip. I filled up the hole with the resin, making sure the matting was fully saturated, then cut another square piece of matting and placed it over the entire damaged area. I then let it cure for 24 hours and then sanded it back the following day.
The pic on the left is the end result of my hard work: 1 repaired Vic with a nice battle scar!
For further advice on repairing your board check out the skimboard care page.