By Corky Carroll
A lot of times people ask what were my favorite boards over the years. Most of the time I will talk about boards that just flat out rode better than the rest, I mean those would obviously be the favs I guess. But I was thinking about this last night when somebody brought up this subject and I sort of realized that some of the boards that I really had an attachment to had more to offer, personally speaking, than just that they surfed really good. I thought I would talk a little bit about those today.
Off the top, I have had really a lot of surfboards over the past 60 something years. There are little things that can make a board attractive to you. Boards are like chicks, they can be the hottest looking you ever saw but you like the one with the really sweet smile the best. Yeah, it’s cool to be seen with the mega babe but it’s the one that makes you feel good that you want to spend your time with. Boards are like that. Here is a perfect example. I had a board made that I went way overboard on with “extras.” It had five stringers and a ton of colors. This was in the early 1960’s when I was first getting “deals” on boards and was offered “anything I want” for 80 bucks. That thing looked amazing, but was so heavy that it rode like an old Buick. When I first got sponsored by Ole Surfboards, which was owned by HOBIE at the time, my pal Scott Hoxeng, who also got signed on at the same time, and I had identical boards made. They looked and rode alike. But Scott put a little stripe around his to make it look different, so we would know which was which. For some reason, in my mind, it made his board ride just a little better than mine. I was always borrowing his. I won the 1963 U.S. Championship in the Jr. Men’s on that board. That was definitely one of my favorite boards.
Before I was surfing for Hobie I rode for HARBOUR Surfboards in Seal Beach. Richard Harbour made me a beautiful board that I won my first contest ever on, the San Clemente Surf Capades in 1962. While he was building that board he loaned me a used board out of the rack, it was a solid kinda mustard colored thing. That board rode so well I was just gonna tell Rich that I wanted to keep instead of the new one he was building me. It was not very pretty really, looked like a Yam or something. But I loved that board. Bummer was I broke it in half on one of the houses on pilings where I lived in Surfside.
Then there was a board that I did the colors in the gloss coat myself sometime in the late 60’s. Raymond Patterson was our gloss and color guy and one day when I was telling him what I wanted on my new board he just handed me the bucket and said “go for it.” I did a kinda purple splash thing that in itself was not unusual in any way, other than I had done it myself. In other words, HIGH ART. Loved that board, as I remember it rode very well but it was probably the fact that I did the artwork myself that made it special to me.
Then there was my beloved first “Cow” twin-fin. To make a long story short, I started riding boards with cow-print airbrush designs in the mid 1990’s when I did a “Country-Surf” album for a record company in Germany. We did a cow colored board for the cover photo. I rode that board at the pier in Huntington Beach and people laughed at me, just enough to get an extra wave or two. From then on I have ridden cowboards. When I went back to riding the “twin fin” designs towards the end of the 90’s, early 2000’s I had one done with the cow colors. Dam, that board became my one and only for years. A couple others came and went, but THAT one was just IT. I still have it but haven’t ridden it for a long time. First I switched to “quads,” and then to Stand Up Paddleboards. My wife put it and one other like it on stands by our front door where you walk into our house, it’s kinda like “welcome to the Cow Palace.”
Naturally there have been others, but those come to mind off the top of my head at the moment. Boards that not only rode good but also had a sweet smile and made me happy.