Monday, August 22, 2011

Care and Feeding of the Ding Guy

If you check the cell phone "Favorites" of any serious surfer you'll find the name of a very important person set to speed dial. This is the guy you go to when bad things happen, when tragedy strikes, when your beautiful new baby gets wounded- yep, you guessed it, every surfer's only as good as their ding guy. A good ding guy can erase the pain that comes from seeing your beautiful new board marred by a nasty gash- a good ding guy can put the smile back on your face. Finding these repair geniuses is not easy- so when you get your hands on a good one you take care of them. You want them to smile when they see your number pop up on the phone, when you need a rush job (so you can get back in the water the next day) you want to be sure your board bypasses the chump line. Here's a couple of tips to get you on the ding repair guy's good side:

This is my ding guy... The Ding Devil. Nope, you won't find his number in the phone book- he operates on a need-to-know basis because he gets all the work he can handle without retooling up to a larger shop. This guy is a master ding repairer- his jobs are done right, the boards are fixed quickly and his prices are fair. He won't fix anybody's board- so if you get a chance to use his services, don't blow it!
Rule Number 1: If you get your board in the rack and it's in line to get fixed- don't bug the ding guy with daily phone calls! These guys are dealing with resins and hardeners all going off at different times- they're watching for drips, smoothing out runs and sanding it all to perfection. The last thing they need to do every five minutes is to stop and take a call from you. If you want your job to take the longest to get done, go ahead call the guy a bunch and see what happens. 

Yep- my new racer took a little donkey punch from a rock in the surf zone- bummer! No worries, though- The Ding King hooked me up with same day service and I was back out in the water the next day. Stoked! 

Rule Number 2: Tip early, tip often. If you ever want to be able to ask for a rush order, you better have paid your dues- literally. Be sure to tip the ding guy- drop an extra twenty spot on him when you pay. There's no faster way to a ding guys good graces then through his wallet- so crack that piggy bank and let it flow.

Ding guys don't usually let you hang around and watch them work. This is for a couple of reasons: 1. They don't want somebody poaching their trade secrets and 2. They don't like to be bothered. So if you do get a chance to hang out- be cool and better yet, be quiet.
Rule Number 3: Don't offer unsolicited advice. Now is not the time to offer your opinion of how the job should be done- basically, the ding guy doesn't really care how you think it should be done. He's going to do it his way- and by now you should trust that he knows what he's doing. Remember, you were born with two ears and only one mouth- use them in similar proportions.

Basic advice- but these three tips will go a long way to getting you onto the A-list with your ding repair guy. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

One more. Make sure he gets any wave he wants. He is the best ding guy I have ever met.
spiders brother

Better Yeti said...

This is a fun post. Good ding guys are hard to find. Take your wounded stick to your local Surfboards 'R' Us and wait around for six weeks for them to fix it -- seriously. It's happened to me. So infuriating. So you learn to do the simpler stuff yourself, but still -- rip out your fin box in an ugly way, and it's just not worth it to turn your garage into a glassing bay.

Actually, this guy is living one of my dreams; I aspire to be the ding guy in my dotage -- work minor miracles in polyester and epoxy, while dispensing inscrutable aphorisms to a captive audience. Yeah, you could do way worse as a retirement option...

Chad said...

Brilliantly written, good advice.