What if you could pick the Formula One car of your dreams and take it out for a test drive – no strings attached? That's exactly what went on for surfers yesterday at the Wave House in Mission Beach. As a kick-off to this year's Action {{{Sports}}} Retailer show in San Diego, ASR and SURFING helped rally dozens of surfboard, wetsuit and accessory brands to come down to the Wave House, display a booth of demo product and offer it to anyone with a desire to test it. Boards ranged from Channel Islands to Firewire to Stu Kenson to Rusty to Hobie. Wetsuits on offer included O'Neill, Rip Curl, Matuse, Body Glove and more. And there were plenty of pads and leashes and wax to choose from. All said, you could suit up like one of your heroes, take out one of your heroes' boards and paddle out and be a hero in the head-high Mission Beach closeouts. As ASR's Dan Moylan said, "This is a great way to connect the buyers and everyday surfers with the stuff they're actually purchasing –this is a seed to grow much bigger demo events in the future."

If Mission Beach closeouts didn't spark your interest, you also had the option of tackling Bruticus Maximus, the heaving Flowrider wave that is changing its image. According to Bruticus: it doesn't want to send you to the chiropractor anymore. "We'd like to think of it as a Disneyland ride," said Wave Loch's Marshall Myrman. "We'll do everything we can to ease you into it so it's way more fun than frightening." To tempt us even more, a handful of the area's best were on hand to perform backflips and other circus tricks on the wave.

But I didn't bite. At least not on this day. Instead, I joined a handful of others who paddled out on boards they've always wanted to try but never got around to it. There were SUP rookies, Firewire test pilots and Double Helix guinea pigs. How did they fare? I'm not sure about the rest of them, but I know I'm hooked on 5'4" Pods now. There's nothing like a new sensation.

[Special thanks to WaveHouse and ASR for hosting the event.]