Condition: Like new.
We had just finished the “Great Hall of the Longboats” and a picture of South Carolina custom shaper Ian Balding holding out the first one of these boards popped up in my facebook feed (posted by the Distressed Mullet). Like some art freak that sees the perfect Jackson Pollock for their study I HAD TO HAVE ONE!!
Allot of people Identified this stand up paddle board as a downwind board...but I instantly saw it as something else: A long range SUP surfboard. Here on the east coast when the big storm swells come in and our beaches are closed out by distant tropical storms or the aftermath of Nor'Easters we often look out into our inlets, or down from long bridge crossings and longingly gaze into the mauls of mysto breaks that are way out of range of standard surf craft including the wafer like SUP surf boards that have come to pervade the beach breaks. The Albatross is made for these dreams. Every part of this hand shaped board, from its beautifully extreme rocker profile to its side biter fins, to its double leash plug exudes traversing large expanses of big water in order to slip into off shore breaks. I think this was the second or third Albatross shaped and signed by Ian. It comes in a custom Vitamin Sea bag with an Hawaii downwind fin, a Jerry Lopez large surf center fin and two side biters.
The fact is, that while I am an avid surfer, I am not a particularly accomplished (or brave) surfer. When I bought the Albatross I labored under the opinion that big offshore waves could not be truly “surfed” in a ski, that, without rail and fin no real inspired line could be drawn in this realm. Inspired by the likes of the South African Mocke brothers I started to look for the right waves in a ski. After about or 3rd solid groundswell of this year I realized that whenever it got really big, To big to surf my 9' 6”, I was going to always be in a surf ski. As much as this board makes a classy table for a fine selection of wines out in the boathouse it deserves to be cut loose to ride the monsters out on the outer shoals and spread its wings like the great seabird bird whose name it carries.