A Long Island board for a Long Island Girl

My first session with my new 8’4 Faktion Shaped By Hawk, at Beach 90th copy
My first session with my new 8’4 Faktion shaped by Hawk, at Beach 90th (Rockaway Beach)

I’ve been long-term borrowing an 8’0 Torq. I’ve learned so much on it this past year. I really like how it rides. I have a sentimental connection with it, but I’ve been drifting towards a change…

I put the word out and my friend saw a board for sale on Instagram that looked like a fit for me. Strictly Surf (@strickly_surf) is three hours out in Amagansett, Long Island. We contacted the shop and a dude started texting us video and pictures. It’s 8’0, almost 22” wide. The volume wasn’t listed but my diligent friend and newly appointed board agent Kaori said it’s not full but enough volume. It has a square tail and adequate rocker. And it’s a Faktion, shaped by Hawk, so that’s rad.

Bob ‘Hawk’ Hawkins was a pioneer East Coast shaper making his first board in 1957 out of styrofoam, which he embedded a stringer into, then coated with epoxy resin. He was a Long Island native…just like me! He shaped out of his shop in Massapequa and Halesite, his hometown near Huntington. Sporadically throughout his career he shaped for other outlets, like Faktion. The surfing legend passed away only last year on December 5th, 2022 and since, his beautiful boards have become even more revered.

The question for Kaori and I at this point was, do we drive three hours to see the Faktion in person… It’s the only way to really know, aside from getting it in the water. I’m told if you find a board you feel will work, act fast. I gave myself a day to think about it.

In the meantime, I popped into Station (91-08 B Rockaway Beach Blvd.) to grab wax and you’re not going to believe this…  there was an 8’4 Faktion… shaped by Hawk. Besides the color, length and some variation in volume, the major difference was the tail shape. The board at Station was a pin tail (better for barrels bruh). The board out east was a square tail – stability, better for beginners? There are endless variables when it comes to board shapes and performance. Then there’s your skill level and conditions to take into account. I was completely overwhelmed and had no idea what to do. My brain was barreled.

That day ended up going from good to terrible. I was in the worst mood for various reasons – I’ll spare you. I’m lying in bed at 5pm lamenting on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Then I was like,  F**K IT. I went to Station, didn’t ask any more questions, bought the Faktion and walked out the door.

Both handcrafted on Long Island
Both handcrafted on Long Island.

The next morning it was small – knee to waist high. I took out my new board and caught the most rides I ever have in one session. I was in the water for three hours. My board agent paddled out at some point and we were all smiles. She gave me helpful guidance. I told her the board felt really, really good. The only problem was a strange sensation of movement after I popped up. I felt like I was twirling around on the wave. Kaori said, “Paula, that’s what turning feels like!”

Follow my surfing journey on IG @theglorifiedtomato and visit theglorifiedtomato.com for all things Rockaway, on land and in the sea.

I learned how to properly wax a board, finally
I learned how to properly wax a board.
tagged in surf