Show Us Your Quiver – Sarah Martins
Sarah Martins spends most of her day surrounded by surfboards. She works alongside her husband, Alex, at their ding-repair shop, on Lawton Street at 43rd Avenue. Alex tackles the major repairs in the back of the shop, and Sarah handles the front of the store, dealing with customers and fixing small repairs.
Or, she used to repair boards — but now that she’s five months pregnant, she tends to stay away from the chemicals that surfboard repairs emit. In fact, Sarah has been landlocked since her pregnancy, and she is one of the rare surfers who can enjoy spending time on the beach watching good waves without going crazy with envy. A native of San Mateo, Sarah learned to surf as a teenager and began surfing Ocean Beach when she moved to the city in 2004. Pre-pregnancy, if Alex was in the water at Ocean Beach, Sarah was usually close by, charging just as hard as any of the guys.
There have always been female surfers, but the sport has been male-dominated through most of its history, which definitely holds true at Ocean Beach. As one of the few regular female surfers at Ocean Beach, and one who is comfortable surfing in waves up to double overhead, Sarah admits that most guys act surprised when they see a woman in the line-up who can handle herself. “And sometimes they get so excited and supportive that they cheer for me to get a wave, but that gets a bit distracting. It’s sort of like, ‘Who are you? And why are you cheering for me?’” But for the most sake, Sarah feels treated no differently in the water than men are.
We met with her at the ding repair shop one afternoon to talk about the favorite boards that she rides. Here’s what she had to say, in her own words:
This is an 8-foot Randy Cone board that he made me. I needed a bigger board because I had a 7’4″, and was starting to go out in bigger days, and that board was too small. I talked to him about making me a bigger one, and this is it, and it is so much fun. I take it out on all the big days, and pretty much any outer-bar day, even if it’s smaller and mushy. I tend to surf Ocean Beach up until Mavericks is breaking, but then Alex goes to Mavericks, and I feel more comfortable in bigger days at the beach when he’s out there, too. The board catches a ton of waves, and is easy to maneuver. It catches waves super easy.
I had the board custom shaped by Randy. I knew I needed the paddle power to really enjoy myself out there. I had a 7’4″ that was shaped for big waves, but I knew I needed a little more foam, and with Randy and Alex knowing how I surf, they helped me get a board that was manageable, and not a full gun, but still could handle bigger days.
I just told Randy, “Do whatever you want with blues and greens,” and this is the aesthetic. I like it. I got it two seasons ago, and rode it all last season. I think it’s one of my favorites. I can paddle really fast, and if there’s a lot of current, I can paddle and stay in place on the beach.
This was my first Randy Cone. I picked him as a shaper through Alex, who used to get a lot of boards through him. Randy shapes out of Pacifica. I wanted something to ride on overhead waves, with a sleek shape that could handle some steeper waves. He shaped me this, and it’s really perfect at the beach. He knows the beach so well, and is really good at understanding how I surf. And purple is my favorite color, so I let him do what he wanted on the bottom.
I got this in 2006 and have surfed it pretty much every season since. It’s in pretty good condition. It’s turning a little yellow, and had one little half-buckle that Alex fixed, with a pressure ding near the tail, but it’s great. I really like to take it out when it’s a little overhead, and it paddles so well. All my boards paddle well, that’s a big criteria for me. This was kind of a step-up board for me for a while. I became a better surfer and worked my way into using this board more.
6’2″ Quintara by Danny Hess
This is my other favorite board. It’s 6’2″, Danny made it for me. It’s got a three-fin or four-fin set-up. It’s more of a shortboard shape than one of his fishes. It’s so much fun. I like it in head-high-and-under waves. For the smaller days, it’s so easy to turn and paddle, and has a little more weight because of the wood, and I can slide into the waves so easily.
I like the three-fin set-up the best, because I can turn more, and do more maneuvers in my own style. I cracked out one finbox on our honeymoon in Fiji. We went to a super-shallow break, more shallow than we knew, and I crashed and hit the reef and it ripped the box right out. We brought it to Danny to check it out, but it turned out that Alex could do the fix. We didn’t know if the wood was cracked, but the rail wasn’t really cracked much.
I actually got to design the aesthetic. Danny got me the board before it was glassed, which was really cool. So I took it home and had done some ideas, and decided on something simple that wouldn’t hide the wood, because I think it’s so pretty. Up towards the nose is the sun, and then through the base the design feels a bit more natural and compliments the wood. It was done with colored pencil, which is cool. I wondered if the color would bleed when we glassed it, but it was fine.
It’s really fun riding shapes by Danny. We see each other a ton because we’re neighbors, in the water and on land. And we’re friends, so it’s nice to have a few of his boards.
We are always on the hunt for interesting people who love interesting boards, so if you know of someone who might be a good fit for the next installment of “Show Us Your Quiver,” let us know by sending an email to email@example.com