Show Us Your Quiver – Aleks Petrovitch
Aleks Petrovich is such a creative, outside-the-box thinker that it’s almost like the box doesn’t even exist for him. He’s a man of many talents — co-owner of Aqua Surf Shop, filmmaker of hilarious surf horror movies, award-winning illustrator and poised surfer in the water. He split his childhood between Hawaii and California, and has spent most of his life pursuing his passions of riding waves and drawing. He made his first illustrated children’s book for his friends when he was only 7 years old, and has since illustrated for the National Park Service and alongside environmentalist David Brower.
His most recent drawing project is also his most ambitious: Aleks launched a digital publishing company called Gnomie to release interactive children’s books for devices such as the iPad and Android phones. His first digital book, Gnomie’s Farmland Adventure, was entirely illustrated by Aleks. It features original songs, and the capability of recording parents’ voices while they read the story, for playback later.
When he’s not busy illustrating, or running Aqua Surf Shop, Aleks is a memorable surfer in the line-up, even though he keeps a pretty mellow and noncompetitive attitude. He does things that few others would do, such as tackling double-overhead bombs on a 6’2″ without batting an eye, and surfing in a sleeveless wetsuit when everyone else is shivering in the wind.
We got the chance to talk to Aleks about his surfboards, and he picked out a few of his favorites to share with us. Here’s what he had to say, in his words:
Dave Vernor made me my go-to short board that works amazing in small-to-overhead surf. The Rocco is Dave’s appropriation of a Lost “Rocket,” which is shaped by Noah Budroe.
This board has continuous rocker down the rail, yet a huge single concave runs through the entire bottom of the board, which allows the board to paddle like a fat, rockerless ’80s thruster. So the Rocco is a wave-catching machine that planes over the flat sections of a wave easily, yet is very snappy in the pocket. I love it because it is a very capable short board, which is perfect for the beach.
7’6″ Epoxy Stretch Bat Tail quad gun
Epoxy with a poly blank — I wanted this board to be strong, but not too light or overly buoyant. If a board is too floaty in bigger waves I feel like I’m just skipping down the face. I’ve had this board for six seasons, which is the longest I’ve had a gun survive. When the beach is really solid I know I can trust this board to work well, and it gives me the confidence to go on borderline scary days.
On the long journey out, this board paddles and duck-dives well. Outside, it chases down and gets into waves easily. The quad setup holds great and can make mid-face adjustments on the drop. So for a bigger board it still feels like it is right under my feet and easy to control. I’m really happy that it has lasted this long.
5’7″ Hobie Twin Fin shaped by Terry Martin
Terry Martin is one of my personal heroes — his surfboards are functional art. If you don’t know about him, look him up and read. That’s your homework for tonight! Everyone who surf needs to know about Terry Martin and his contribution to shaping.
I take this out when I need a fresh approach, when my surfing is feeling stale. This board creates a really fun line down a wave’s face and is amazingly versatile. I’ve taken it out on some double [overhead] days just for the heck of it, and this twin fin has really surprised me with how well it handles.
A 5.10 quad that is really flat and wide under the chest. The width, volume, and flatter rocker allow this board to paddle like a much bigger board, yet the quad fins allow it to hold and handle large steep surf. We were lucky to have a bunch of larger, hollow days this year, and this board could get in them and was way more fun to try and ride the barrel than a longer, stiffer gun. I had a great time this year on this board and the early arrival of spring brings only sadness. Luckily it goes great in mushy, wind-capped crap, too.
6’4″ Bill Hickey 2 + 1
Bill Hickey is a local shaping pioneer and legend. Another guy like Terry Martin, where you need to know about him. [Editor's Note: Read an appreciation of Bill Hickey that Aleks wrote for the Aqua blog here.]
Bill is a master craftsman that, like Hobie’s Terry Martin, makes boards that represent the pinnacle of craftsmanship in form and function. This is the only board that lives with me in my bedroom. I originally asked Bill to make this board for me when I was out with a injury. Early one season I landed an air drop too flatly and I snapped most of the ligaments at the top of my right ankle, putting me out of the water for a year. During that downtime I had Bill make me this board to keep me inspired to heal and surf. Exactly 11 and a half months after the injury I took this board for my first surf on a trip to mainland Mexico. The board is classic and and surfs so smoothly, the stabilizer fins gave it a little more pivot power in the pocket.