The vast majority of people in Europe have been relishing this uncharacteristically warm summer we’ve been having over on this side of the pond. Even in the UK, our thermometers have peaked at a mercury-exploding 27°C (mock away, all southern hemisphere readers, but it’s been our best summer since 1976). Some say it’s a result of global warming – most are just happy to be getting a slight tan.
However, if you’re a surfer, it goes down as one of the worst summers in history. Warm weather generally means high pressure, and high pressure generally mean… NO WAVES!
So, as I check the charts for a long-anticipated surf adventure to the north coast of Scotland, I am gutted to say the least. The waves are forecasted to be just big enough to barrel a mouse. There’s no way I’m cancelling this trip though. It’s time for Plan B. I still pack my surfboard, just in case the charts are wrong, but another board is coming with me. One with four wheels. The Arbor Pilsner. The beautiful bamboo version of this travel-sized skateboard, I might add. At 28.75 inches long, this board fits nicely into my backpack. There is the smaller and aptly named Pocket Rocket, but being 6’3 with size 11 feet, the Pilsner is the board for me. As we are about to embark on a plastic-awareness campaign in Scotland, bamboo was the only option for me; it’s one of the toughest, lightest, and most sustainable materials on planet earth.
Arbor have been making stunning skateboards since 1995, and after over two decades in the game, they show no sign of slowing down. This latest edition board is literally a work of art. What I simply adore about Arbor is that they contract insanely talented artists from around the globe to design the artwork on their boards. My Pilsner sports the designs of Cologne-based designer extraordinaire Hannes Hummel. His artwork compliments the mellow concave deck perfectly and the fact that he is German is quite fitting because as we finally arrive at our destination, I am feeling a certain amount of schadenfreude.
There’s an unwritten rule in the fictitious Surfer’s Handbook that you should never name the waves that you visit, in order to avoid attracting crowds to unspoiled breaks. And I’m not going to be the first to do that. So, after a heck of an overnight drive in our motorhome, we eventually reach our secret location, and set up camp. The other guys are devastated to say the least. The sea looks like a lake. A really calm lake. I, however, am trying to hide the smug grin that’s across my face. I quietly unleash my skateboard, push off and fire down an uncharacteristically smooth road for this area. The classic Abec 5 bearings and Arbor’s own Bogart wheels allow me to glide through some of the most picturesque scenery I could ever have imagined. The beauty of this board is that I feel that it bridges the gap between a traditional skateboard and a longboard, allowing you to cruise and carve at your own leisure, but also Ollie and try little tricks. I am more than happy meandering these remote Celtic roads for an afternoon, while the other guys grumble about the lack of waves and get the campfire started. Maybe there’ll be waves tomorrow, maybe not. Either way I’ll be happy.
If you’re travelling to Scotland, or anywhere where there’s a risk of flat waves for that matter, I’d do yourself a favour and take an Arbor.
To find out more about the Arbor Pilsner Skateboard, check out the Arbor website.
Photographs by John Harfield