My name is Lewis Day and I am a bodysurfer from Highcliffe in Dorset. I started bodyboarding 12 years ago, and about 8 years ago I decided to leave the board at home and chose bodysurfing as my tool for future wave riding. It was something different at the time and it just felt very real and raw, especially in big surf where you are relying more on fitness over some form of buoyancy to feel safe. I love the fact that you are having to constantly keep moving and that you ride in the waves energy instead of on it. I am a complete kook and barrel addict, so even if its 1ft and hollow I’m stoked.
I have been lucky enough to bodysurf in Mozambique, The Canaries, South Africa, Australia, California, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. During that time, I have always been in two minds when its come to using handplanes for bodysurfing. That was up until recently, when I came across Otter Surfboards. As soon as I saw an image of one of James’ handplanes, I instantly wanted to order one. They look like works of art.
Being a lover of shorebreaks I was after a handplane that could handle hollow waves as well as small mushy ones too. So, with that in mind, I contacted James. After exchanging pleasantries and having a friendly chat about what shape would work best for me, I took James’ advise and decided to go for the crescent tail. As a bigger rider, the crescent tail was a perfect choice due to its wider planing surface and a cut away tail to lock into those steep drops. I also opted for the hole grip to keep with a more traditional look. When it came to choosing the wood type, I went with the single pale stringer, sandwiched by dark stringers. That wood type just stood out for me. I also wanted to make it a bit more special so I asked James if he could engrave a favourite poem of mine on the face of my handplane, which James happily obliged. The next day I sent James a copy of the poem Close Out Comrades. The poem itself is very personal as it sums up everything that I love about bodysurfing the whomp. The poem is written by a Californian bodysurfer Eric Joyce who is also the guy behind Swellines magazine, along with Kyle Stock.
Three weeks later I received my new wave craft. I knew that James would shape and create something special, but I couldn’t believe how beautifully this thing turned out. I was so stoked. But what made it even better was that it rides just as good as it looks. It generates a huge amount of lift and speed through the water, making those in and out barrels more possible. It holds well in the steep wave face and is fun to carve with too. In my opinion, they are the best looking handplanes on the market, be it wood or fiberglass. If you’re a keen bodysurfer or you bodysurf alongside your stand up, then get one: you won’t be disappointed.