The first wetsuits in surfing
The only westsuits were for skin diving, and usually were very uncomfortable and gave you a nasty deep rash in the sides of the neck and the armpits, so that you could barely move. It was a toss up between being freezing cold in 57-58 degree waters, or pain in the sides of the neck and the armpits.
Here I am surfing first with a vest, which were the first wetsuits made specifically for surrfing. They had no arms, and a low neck, but you couldn’t get a rash. It was thought that the arms and neck were restrictive of movement needed for surfing. At first I have this vest on, then on the last waves, I am without a wetsuit, having given it to my younger brother, who had paddled out. I believe we were sharing that vest in those days. My dad is filming in 8mm, from the jetties, which are just out of frame to the left.
BUYING YOUR FIRST SURFBOARD
When you’re buying your first surfboard, it’s best not to spend any money, or as little as possible. All you’re going to be doing when with your first board is riding white water, getting your balance, and learning to move your board out through the waves with a minimum resistance.
That’s why it’s good to spend as little as possible. A board full of dings is okay. You’re going to be getting more dings, believe me. WHAT’S IMPORTANT IS THE SHAPE of your first board. A longer board is easier to balance on, but harder to get out through the waves. But since you’re not going to be riding anything big or anything with power for a while, a longboard is the best way to go for a beginner.
For just about all beginners, I’d suggest an 9 or 9’6″ longboard with a wide tail (for stability). Go to the local surf shops in you area, find the used board rack, and tell the sales person that you want 9 foot or 9-6 longboard for a beginner, and you can’t go wrong. What you want is a board that is easy to catch waves, easy to paddle, and easy to ride.
If you don’t like the color, or the board has a number of dings, don’t worry about it. What’s important about is that they’re sealed, so that water doesn’t get in. This isn’t extremely critical, but water does seep in through the dings and make your board heavier over time, in addition to discoloring the foam which is the core of the board. After much time spent in the water and at the beach, you will have a better idea of what kind of board you want to get, so when you do spend the money on a board, you’ll be getting a board that’s right for you.
You may also want to consider getting a “softboard” for your first board. That way, if you get hit by your own board, it’ll only be a bummer instead of a trip to the hospital for stitches (which will cost more than your board). Softboards also get waves easily, and are easier to balance on.