Just need a ski, a driver and a rope to tow crazy waves don’t ya? Errm, no, you need all this stuff.
Mickey Smith guides us through his crews essential junk.
|Clockwise(ish) left to right.01 Waterproof gear –These things’ll save your life and your plums when your out for hours on end.
02 The sled of dreams –We’ve had a fair few rescue boards over the years and this thing is head’n shoulders above the rest. Usually you end up having a nightmare piling a million boards on the ski and tying them onto the sled with leashes. Trying to pick people up in the soup loaded up like that is hectic, but this sled makes it all doable, of course it does, it’s the sled of dreams.
03 Impact vest – we use these more for warmth than anything, they have a kidney belt inside and somehow it really helps keep you functioning against the wind and cold creeping to your core. If the lumps are massive they’re pretty handy too, and they’re also a good place to have a spare lanyard if you get knocked off the ski.
04 Patagonia 6mm R4 plus R4 5mm gloves and booties – easily the maddest insulation I’ve ever had against the deep freeze.
05 Bag with flask, sun screen, wax and treats – The flask has become our saviour over the last few winters. It’s had all sorts inside, from hot soup to hot whiskys, and they’re all a welcome burst of life when you’re goin’ under on long winter missions. The sun and wind hammers you to that time of year believe it or not, so we keep some screen handy for that. Treats could be anything from choccy to sandwiches depending how sophisticated we’re feeling.
06 Spare petrol and silicone lubricant – We take the petrol with us on long missions, and apparently the lubricant keeps the engine happy when you clean her out each day so we’re happy to go along with that.
|07 Mount Kit (Back of the ski) –This is a bolt on kit that mounts the sled onto the ski. We used to spend literally hours tying sleds on and off, now it’s a simple clip on and off system thats real functional and handy, especially when you are knackered.08 Psychedlic ski grip –This stuff aint for show believe it or not, when there’s three of you clambering all over each other on one ski all the time in icy conditions, the grip helps loads.
09 Spare leashes –Need a fair few of these for anything from tying the anchor to the ski, tying the ski to a buoy, tying extra boards on the sled, and of course, tying your board onto you.
10 The Mambo – This mega ski was kindly loaned to us by Yamaha two seasons ago when our first ski Rambo died on us. It’s been through some hectic shit, is an absolute fierce unit of solid power in the salt, and has really looked after us, as well as made choppy journeys a lot smoother and easier than the smaller skis like our old one used to. Hopefully they won’t ask for it back because he’s one of us!
11 Hatch and seat straps – When shit kicks off amongst the waves and your ski’s upside down getting smashed, these things will keep everything together and get you out of there. We would have sunk a fair few times without these little numbers.
12 A decent trailer – Is not what we have! Ours is on it’s last legs as you can see, and the rollers are a nightmare when your trying to get out of the salt onto land quick between surges on the slipway. We are saving up our bones for a newy ready for next winter, and you should do the same!
13 Bodyboard and fins –Not only is this arguably the ultimate versatile waveriding vehicle to have on board as part of a quiver, but if it all goes wrong and your ski breaks down, the board and fins will power you out of there a lot easier than your arms. The fins are also essential when I get thrown off into the salt as the boyos disappear out the back, they are my engine.
14 Decent spread of boards –The lads usually have a couple of bigger paddle boards, a Tom DH and a JP to swap around and then a couple of slab boards, one weighted for wangs and a couple for paddling, and then a tow board if it’s humungous. It’s a lot to carry and proper ballache, but you need it all because you never know what you’re going to come across.
15 Decent anchor and rope – A lot of the time we will anchor up the ski and get into the salt. We’ve been towing less and less and a good anchor and rope will look after the Mambo while we dive in and get amongst it. The rope also doubles up as a handy tool when the slipways are getting swamped and the vans can’t get the trailer down close enough to get the ski out.
16 Tow Rope – Thick, soft, spongy and a happy bright colour, your friend the tow rope. We’ve had a few of these, and this one has been rad as it’s real comfy to hold, as is the rope if you grab that before the handle gets to you. It’s also chunky so it’s more difficult to get her sucked up into the impeller. There’s a quick release for it on the back of the ski if that does happen too, marvellous!
17 Weight belt and mask – These are handy if your anchor gets stuck and also if I want to shoot underwater photos.