Nah Skwell 12’6″ Race – Seriously?


I have no idea what’s going on here sometimes. There’s me, in my comfy little cocoon, mooching about buying the odd one or two surf boards and pretending like I know exactly what I’m doing and that I have a grip on things when


I end up driving up to Watergate bay to collect an ex-demo Nah Skwell 12’6 Race Board – I mean come on – me on a Flouro pink white and grey 6″ thick leviathan of foam filled glass sporting a fin as big as a sail. To be honest it looked to me like something Pocahontas should be paddling down the Pamunkey River.

Actually it looked pretty cute, and after relieving Rich of his board and an amazingly light carbon Xpaddle I trogged back off to the car to load it on the roof. Thought that I was done with that sort of stuff.

John Hibbard busted me just as I got into the car park.

‘It’s not mine honest mister’

I lied – well actually it wasn’t yet.

‘I’m just looking after it for a friend’

‘Why am I explaining myself to this man? He is a mine of information, just shut up and listen.’

We had a quick chat and conscious of the fact that Charmaine wanted to get something from her only day off as well we booted off.

Having done all the stuff that I should do I drove down to Carbis bay to beast the beast. Cos it was going to be easy right? Wrong!!

Something Rich had said that I dismissed out of hand at Watergate came drifting back into my consciousness as I wobbled, corrected, over corrected and teetered my way off the Beach. Something about being wobbly at first. Really!!!

The board tip’s like it’s going to roll totally but then gets to a point and tightens up, by which time I had already corrected my foot weighting, pitching me over to the other side. Ok,ok, relax and paddle and relax and paddle – there we go, phew that was a bit of a shock.

The bottom of the NS126R has a well defined keel that gets very prominent towards it’s well defined prow (do surfboard’s have prows? This one does). In fact everything about this board is well defined, not least the colour scheme, which I have to admit was beginning to grow on me.

Other than a 2 minute paddle on Steve Carter’s Starboard Point a year or so ago I have never been on a race board so I did to it exactly what I thought a race board would need. I gave it beans. Rich had lent me a new carbon XPaddle and we were getting on just fine, I felt that even with the insanely high standing position afforded by the NS126r’s deck the paddle was a tad too long but it was so light and easy to swing even with the bigger blade than my Nitro sports. The shaft was super skinny and round, which I like, and even allowing for the fact that there was no grip on the shaft I really dug the ‘steely stiff’ feel of paddle. Might have to fight me for that one Rich.

Once I got the roll – hold – roll thing under control we made steady progress out into St Ives Bay. I had my iphone running with a gps app but like a total twat with fat fingers I had failed to correctly press the ‘GO’ button at the start so that was a waste of time. I had wrapped the phone in yards of polythene bag and popped it into a water proof bum bag. Have to get that sorted.

Once I decided that I was going to blow my tits off if I kept up the stroke and weight that I started with I settled down and began to enjoy myself. I messed about with my cadence, I counted my strokes per side, I took some pictures and I began to wish that I had brought some fishing gear. This board’s a blast. It’s pretty much flat calm, dead loss for surf and here I was in the middle of St Ives bay feeling pretty much in control of things thinking

‘This has got potential’.

Black Cliffs

Turning at the Channel Markers

Hayle River Mouth

I kept a heading for Godrevy across the bay and when I got level with Black Cliffs I turned for the Channel markers. Heading back the very light breeze was now on my shoulders and the board seemed to sing with the lightest of paddle strokes. I wish the gps had been working as the feeling of speed during this leg was significant.

Skirting the beach back past Hawke’s Point, I started to dig deeper and faster on the home stretch. I was really enjoying this. Beaching the board I thought that I would drop off the phone and then just ass about and test the tilt factor, plus I was so hot I needed to get in the water as up till now my hair was still dry and I was poaching in my summer suit.

The second loop took me off the beach and out of the bay past Sunny Corner towards St Ives. I stepped back on the board as far as I dared and paddled a couple of left and right 360′ turns. Again the board would lean, tighten up and correct. My hair stayed dry.

I have to admit I have no idea what to look for in a board like this. I have no benchmark and no comprehension of what is good bad or indifferent, but I know that I enjoyed it and in the short time, 80 minutes or so that I was on it I knew that I was going to be blanking a lot less this winter, and that has to be a good thing.

Walking back up the beach to the car I thought ‘The handles in the right place’, how good is that? If a company can get it right on a board over 12 long even factoring in a fin and leash . . . .

Ok I have not been over the board with a fine tooth comb but there are some really nice touches dotted about. For instance – the detailing on the deck. There were two pairs of fittings up front for I believe additional handles which I’m already planning to use as hold downs for a fishing box. There is a vent screw and an additional leash plug part way up the deck, one more and I will be able to use straps to carry the board. JP If you read this can I fit an additional leash plug in the deck forward of the handle recess? If so How??

So there we are – From a lame sort of Google Earth reckoning that first trip was a tad under five miles and loads more to come from this baby I think. I’m already loving it and thinking about waterproof iphone packs, tackle box attachments etc etc etc . . just wish I knew what the hell I was talking about.