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How many surfboards are too many?

December 22 2007 | Jim's Blog,
by Jim

People who know me know that I try hard to make a personal difference. I’ve vowed to never, ever buy/use another plastic water bottle, drive a high MPG car, blah blah blah. And yet I’m still a glaring target for massive over consumption. I even outed myself on Grist about one area of overconsumption.

I have about a dozen surfboards.

I say about because I'm not actually not sure... I lend stuff out and tend to forget... let's call it a dozen.

The more I think about this the more I think I need to scale back. It's going to be hard.

A dozen boards! In some ways that’s simply grotesque. Of course we all know people with a lot more than that and we all know of people who have one or maybe two boards. And the whole idea of a quiver is an accepted characteristic of the sport. Truth is, I’m a surfboard junkie. In fact most of my friends are also surfboard junkies. As I think about it I'm not sure I can name a friend with only one board.

The golf club analogy works for me... different waves call for different boards.

I love my little fishies; my keel-fin Christensen and my four fin twinz. Anyone who lives in San Diego knows that Joel is onto something; short singlefins are pretty fun. A couple of traditional thrusters are the call when traveling to destinations with waves that throw (if you surf thrusters you might as well throw a quad in). And, I’ll admit it… I absolutely love small waves on a heavy singlefin log. So a couple longboards round out the quiver. Oh yea… and since I, like pretty much everyone else who surfs, am posing as a waterman… I need my Joe Bark 12’ racing paddleboard.

The odd part of this post is that I'm guessing most people will think "nice quiver, he should have a ______ and a ______ and then he'd have a decent quiver". That is, having too many boards is actually seen as a good thing by many people who surf. I have good friends whose garages are packed to the gills with boards. I have a buddy who refuses to ever sell a board again; he only adds to his collection.

It's rare that someone will actually give a friend a hard time about having too many boards Although I have to share, I was out in a lineup recently... chatting with a guy because I recognized the board he was riding as the board of another friend of mine and he said "dude, that guy has a sickness. He has more than 15 stand-up paddle boards in his garage! So I told him I'd take a few boards off his hands..." 15 Stand-ups?! Insanity.

So, I have a dozen boards...

I must not be worthy of wearing that Patagonia T that eloquently states “the more you know the less you need”… (of course if you really think that why would you need a T shirt to say it?)… but back to my self-flogging...

I have a bunch of boards. Am I sick?

Am I… wrong?

Or am I just another example of American-flavored over consumption?

I’m probably all of the above.

This is my personal illustration of the challenge ahead of us. As Friedman says, we’ve been 5% of the world’s population using a third of it’s natural resources and that can’t continue as China and India are coming online with the same “American dream”. The Friedman video summarizes the challenge. We’re consumer junkies.

We need to consuming. We need to learn to live with less.

The first step toward change is understanding a situation. Once we see it for what it is, are we willing to change?

What’s your equivalent to my quiver?

If I sell half my quiver, which six boards should I keep?
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