this thing's incredible

This At-Home Surfboard Keeps Me Wave-Ready All Year Round

Photo: Alex Olivo

Early last year, I bought my first surfboard. After the first couple of months in quarantine, I found that I could only drink so much natural wine or do so many online yoga classes before I was ready for a new hobby. So I started going to the beach as often as I could, thankful for a reason to leave my apartment.

When winter rolled around, however, I was definitely not ready to brave the bigger waves (and frigid temps). So in early November, I hung up my wet suit for the season. But I didn’t want to completely lose the progress I’d made, so I began looking for a solution to maintain my skills out of the water.

I had already started to supplement my surf sessions during the warmer months when I couldn’t make it to the beach. I bought a cruiser board to ride in the park. I took Zoom surf-conditioning classes. I watched Blue Crush on repeat and started referring to every at-home workout as “training for pipe” (kooky, I know).

Then, shortly after I put away my surfboard for the season, I started seeing ads on Instagram for the Ebb & Flo Rail-to-Rail Surf Balance Board.

The board was created by surfer Armin Brown as a solution for when he wasn’t able to be in the water as often as he’d like: “a surf trainer for the unwanted dry spells.” The Surf Balance Board promises to strengthen your core muscles and improve balance, which can in turn help you feel more confident on your surfboard.

With the winter months in my apartment looming ahead, the board seemed like a perfect solution to my own unwanted dry spell, so I decided to give it a try.

Unlike most of the more stationary balance boards I’d seen before, which are made for use at a standing desk and feature a disc or a rocker design, the Surf Balance Board uses a rail-to-rail system, meaning its roller runs parallel to the length of the board, “giving it a feeling that simulates trimming and carving down the face of a wave.”

Although the board isn’t meant for use at a standing desk, I was so excited when it first arrived that I tried to use it while working at my kitchen counter. After nearly wiping out a few times, I resigned to only sneaking in sessions during work while on camera-off calls so I could focus on my balance while listening.

After a few months of consistent use (several times a week for about 15 to 30 minutes), I was pretty comfortable on the board. My balance had definitely improved, and I had even started practicing a cross step (though it will be a while before I attempt this in the water).

When I went surfing for the first time this spring, I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t as rusty as I expected to be after months out of the water. Once up and standing on my board, I felt much more comfortable than I had anticipated.

Now that I’m back in the water more often, I don’t use the Surf Balance Board as much, though I try to hop on it whenever I can. And while the board itself is a good size, I don’t feel the need to hide it away when I’m not using it. It’s beautifully designed and looks great leaning against a wall, plus it’s made from bamboo and recycled materials, making it both an aesthetically pleasing and sustainable addition to my apartment.

When you’re learning to surf, nothing can replace time in the water. But if you’re a beginner like me and need all the practice you can get, or if you just want to refine your skills at home, the Surf Balance Board is a great tool for supplementing surf sessions. And it makes conference calls way more fun.

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This At-Home Surfboard Keeps Me Wave-Ready All Year Round