Da Nang surf

Nghề chơi cũng lắm công phu. Every hobby requires work.

The surf season is coming, and I needed to gear up. The first thing to take care of was how to transport my banana board to the beach (I was mostly renting before and would just walk the 4 blocks). The great thing in Vietnam is that if I can’t go to a store and buy a scooter surf rack, I can easily go find a welder, describe to him my needs, and he will deliver. It took slightly longer and slightly more money than I’d expected, mostly because I didn’t want anything welded directly onto my rental bike. 2 days and $25 later, I got a removable rack that can be easily disassembled for storage.

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work in progress

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finished work

Elated at my custom made toy, I took off to the beach, only to realize then that the board sloped downward on the rack. I cursed myself at not having the wit to ask the welder to account for the height difference of the front and back racks, and had to awkwardly ride with only one hand while holding on the board with the other to keep it from slipping. Such is how I joined ranks my countrymen who can carry anything from a fridge to a squad of kids on their motorbikes.

I hadn’t been out for 5 months! And this is why I enjoyed surfing/paddling so much. Even when it was completely flat, like that Friday, it was still so much fun to paddle out and feel like the whole ocean is yours. To be cradled and calmed. After an hour of paddling around in flat water, I was ready to go home when baby waves started to roll in. The sensation of moving using nature’s power instead of your own is refreshing, to put it simply. Baby waves are perfect for a permanent newbie like me. I had time to think, react, enjoy, and reflect.

After those few mini rides, I was a bit too pumped up and rode my bike too fast, turned too sharp and lost control and fell on my right side, crushing down on the rack and the board. I wanted to cry, not from the pain of having to wiggle my foot out from under, but because of the brutal bang that my board suffered. If you have a beloved toy, you understand. This is my very first board, and now my only one. I could see a couple of cracks but was to distressed to further examine it so I just loaded the board up again and went home.

It was an emotional night as I tossed and turned over how silly and careless I’d been. I tend to get very dramatic when it comes to my beloved baby.

Morning came, and I collected myself to go look at the damage. Luckily, being the monster that it is from the 70s, my board only cracked up on 3 spots, one on the bottom and 2 on the top, about 2-4 inches long. Other boards would have been destroyed, broken up in pieces. The challenge now is to go find material for repairing, fiberglass and resin.

board damage

board damage

As I’m never unlucky for long. That afternoon I went to meet with a group of paragliders and found out that some of them were in a helicopter models group before they switched hobbies. I quickly asked about how they repaired their helis and explained what I was looking for. One guy told me about his friend who shaped his own windsurfing board right here in Da Nang! I was impressed, and couldn’t believe my luck running into the right group of people so soon. I got connected with the windsurfing guy and was brought to the only 2 shops in Da Nang that sell what I was looking for. I have to repeat, I couldn’t believe my luck!

All of the logistics got figured out much faster than I’d expected. And I also found out that my welder actually did take into account the height difference of the racks, either they were put on wrong, or I didn’t pay attention. He was kind enough to fix the twisted racks for free. And I took the precaution and pad it up this time just in case something similar might happen.

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padded rack, Vietnamese style with foam and yellow scotch

 

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