We hunted down Ralph Tieleman at his shop and asked him "What's your favorite board?" Ralph is a consummate and enthusiastic storyteller, the kind of guy that greets and talks to everyone that comes near him. As he hunted through piles of longboards, too many of which belong in a museum, he began to tell the story about finding a "Skil 100 planer" for Jeff Clark. Next time Ralph came through Half Moon Bay, Jeff ushered Ralph into the back room and presented him with this 10'6".
Ralph: This board was a gift from Jeff Clark a few years ago. It was designed to be able to handle larger waves and yet still be able to be paddled from a kneeling position. It's not as fast as a gun but it's a more utilitarian board. Works great in small mush as well. I'm very happy with it. My back is pretty bad so on longer paddles such as the reef at wreck I like to alternate between prone and knee paddling.
CoastalBC: The first thing I notice is the kneepad.
Ralph: The padding is for my knees. I also added an extra fiberglass patch to keep the board from caving in where there's pressure from kneeling.
CoastalBC: That's not your everyday fin setup.
Ralph: The fin system is quite versatile. You can run one, three or four fins if you like. I only run four fins on bigger waves. I find on steeper waves the 4 fin system works better than the 3 fin set-up. Less slip when trying to climb back up on a steeper section. The board has seen quite a bit of use but the three stringers have kept it in one piece.
CoastalBC: Ralph, there's a bunch of pressure dings way back on left-hand side. Did loan this board out to Tom Connors?
Ralph: The dents in the deck are from kicking the tail with my right foot to break the board loose on late take offs. It's a bad habit but it allows for a bit of free fall.
CoastalBC: When you use 3 fins, do you always use the forward side fins or do you play with both configurations. Would it turn faster using the rear side fins?
Ralph: I've never tried using the rear boxes with the center fin but I'll try it soon!
||Ralph Tieleman is co-owner of Longbeach Surf Shop on Campbell St in Tofino BC.
250-725-3800 / 3922