What would you do with an old thruster that has tail cancer? I’m not sure about you, but Paolo Schulte bought one for 100 pesos, scooped out the damaged tail and center skeg, sealed it and surfed it!
I first met Schulte sometime in December, somewhere in Mexico. He basically ripped and knew the spot very well. Anytime the point got too crowded or fat with tide movement, I often found him gambling with barrels on the beach break. We were both at the same spot for quite awhile and eventually became friends. I watched him surf a few different boards and he ripped on all of them. He’s on those boards in a few other photo galleries in this site, but this story is all about his open-minded approach to staying in the curl…even if it’s odd looking. And also, the guy has a hell of a sense of humor. I could never tell if he was going to bust an air with intense focus or just try to make me laugh while screaming out of a tube ride.
When you’re a long-timer, and surfing nearly daily sessions, a small quiver really starts to get beat to shit. So in order to save the good boards for the good swells, but to keep up the water time, some people start surfing on older, uglier, and stranger boards than normal. Especially those that aren’t rich or have ten perfect boards that look like they’ve never been used. The unsponsored, but core guys, will surf anthing that floats.
I first noticed Schulte was surfing a different board when I saw it flipping over and getting tossed in front of the foam as he was swimming in after it. Someone grabbed it for him before it hit the rocks and he paddled back out. A few days later, it happened to be me that grabbed it for him. It was then that I noticed why he wasn’t using a leash. There was no place for one! I was looking at a strange twin fin with a C-shaped tail. It was yellowed with age and taking on water from recent times when no one was there to keep it from hitting the rocks. I put it on the sand and continued to head out. We waved at each other and I made a mental note to ask him about the board later on.
When I got the scoop about the amputed fin and gutted tail cancer, I was still left a little confused. But when he told me how much he paid for it, I understood. The question wasn’t, why? It was more like, why not? It floats and it turns…what more do you need? For the price of two meals, anyone can score a board. Whether it’s rideable or not is totally up to you.