Mikey February Riding a CI Mid
Mikey February is known for his clean surfing style and his seamless ability to adapt to just about any kind of surf design. Cutting his teeth on the QS, then getting on the CT, he was highly focused on performance shortboard surfing and dedicated to ripping at a high level. Since hanging up the jersey and exploring life as a free surfer he’s been quite open-minded to trying a lot of different surf craft. The result of that journey over the past few years was the Twin Pin model he made with Britt. But he’s not limited to jus short rail equipment, he’s very open to other designs ranging from longboards to Midlengths, as seen in this beautiful clip of him on a 6’10 CI MID. We caught up with Mikey to get his take on how midlengths fit into his approach, and asked advice on how he adjusts his surfing to ride them.
CI: In the past year or two we’ve seen some clips here and there where you throw a midlength into the mix. When and where do you usually jump on one?
Mikey: For me, I’m usually at a point break when riding a midlength, and typically when it’s a little bit on the bigger side but not that hollow. Although, I have to say they can tube ride quite well. Softer, mellow type point waves almost always have lots of open face and plenty of room to move around, which is perfect for tapping into the extra rail length. I’ll also ride my CI Mid at beach breaks, but mostly on the days there are some running walls versus super short, closed out stuff. And while I’m generally looking for a tad bigger surf when I ride one, like head high to a bit over, they’re also nice for when it’s a little bit smaller. You just have to keep in mind it’s a lot of rail to fit into a small pocket, so you have to set reasonable expectations of what you can do with a longer rail in that much space. Regardless of the kind of wave, choosing when or where to ride a midlength just boils down to those moments when I’m feeling like experiencing something different.
You appear to transition easily between performance shortboards and a midlength. What helps you to adjust to that additional length in board so seamlessly?
Your frame of mind is a big part of it. When I am feeling like cruising, and taking it easy, I just hit a mental reset when I get on one because I’m not trying to ride it as though I was on my shortboard. When I’m on shortboards like a Two Happy or a Twin Pin or something, I’m thinking about tighter arcs, super high performance, quick direction change stuff. With a midlength, you've got so much more rail and volume under your feet that you need to be more patient and allow for a very different type of timing. It’s not about crushing things or smashing it. You must resist the temptation of over surf the board. I think if you don’t keep that crusier approach in mind you may end up just fighting with the board and probably be disappointed with it.
What has been the most surprising aspect of getting to know this genre of board design?
I think some people, maybe me included, have thought of riding midlengths as kind of taking a big step backward in their surfing—like, they are only for going straight and super slow. Maybe it depends on the shaper, or the kind of midlength design you get, but I found that when I first got mine that I didn’t expect it to be as fast and responsive as it was. My 6’10” 2+1 gave me a lot of drive and squirt off whatever part of the wave I was pushing into. You aren’t cracking the lip or throwing fins like a shortboard but there are certain moments that translated a flowy shortboard approach really well. Has lots of drive and hold, and quite maneuverable when considering how it has nearly another foot of rail than what I’d normally be riding. I now try to take a Mid with me whenever I go on surf trips because it seems there is always a time and place to ride one.
What have you learned from riding a midlength?
There are zones of the wave these boards can explore out on the face and high up under the lip that you just normally wouldn’t experience on a shortboard. And that's kind of interesting to me, connecting the dots on a wave in a totally different way. Ever since I started riding the midlength more consistently a year or two ago, it’s also just added another level of fun to my life, really. Aside from feeling out the longer lines, and learning how to approach the timing of that, I’ve also enjoyed figuring out the whole aspect of shifting my foot placement up to several times during the ride. Because there is a much wider sweet spot than what you’d get on a shortboard, you can move your feet forward and back on the deck, which I learned helps you accelerate when needed, as well as allow you to turn from different places on the board. That foot movement helps provide variations in your turns and helps position you in places of the wave you may not typically access on a shortboard. Discovering those little nuances in the ride has been pretty rad. As someone that has spent their life raised on shortboards and really focused on that for a long time to get on Tour, it's kind of exciting to get to know this other side of things and being able to adjust to it.
Learn more about the CI Mid here