Surfboard Buyers Guide
From Firewire's Future Shapes Tech to Varial Foam blanks...
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 24 November, 2014 - Each year surfing gets easier. Wetsuits get warmer and more flexible, while boards get simultaneously more specific and consistent. Since the advent of the shaping machine shapers have been able to take what works with one board, and run with it on another thus creating a line of master craft with the best traits from all previous models.
While the average surfer has benefited from this Auto CAD shaping bonanza, the world’s shaping elite tirelessly search out new ways to make those magic boards better. New materials are the current hot-button topic for surfboards with tried-and-true designs taking on building principles beyond the standard PU foam and fiberglass.
What we have for you now is a sampling of the top surfboards on the market, some with neuvo materials and others in traditional materials. The purpose of this guide is to provide the reader with a as much information as they can get to make an inmored purchasing decision. Or, at the very least a grand display for some hardcore virtual window shopping.
The Vader represents the current pinnacle of Daniel ‘Tomo’ Thomson’s Modern Planing Hull (MPH) Vision.
Dan describes the Vader as a Mind Surfing Machine, which reacts instantaneously to desired directional changes with incredible bursts of speed. Controlled, drawn out carves and radical tight angle snaps are achievable with an effortless and intuitive shift in a surfer’s weight. In addition, paddle power and generally usability have been increased with a larger volume distribution throughout comparative to the Vanguard, which encourages surfers to ride the Vader even shorter than previously considered functional.
Versatility …. The Vader ticks all the boxes and is a stand out performer from waist high to double overhead, offering a natural Quad-fin option which creates significantly increased speed in weaker conditions, or switch to a Tri-Fin for a high-speed surgical attack when the waves demand additional control.
The PyzAlien is a great all- around performance board, designed to keep speed and flow in weaker conditions, while feeling lively and loose in all types of waves. The fuller outline, wider tail and slightly wider, flatter nose help to produce speed and drive, and make it a fast, easy paddler.
It has a lot of curve through the tail rocker, and that, combined with the bottoms contours of single/double concave running into a nice bit of VEE off the tail keep snappy yet controlled when you tip it onto the rail. A great board for a wide range of waves and conditions, the PyzAlien feels just as good in waist-high slop as it does in overhead juice and will help you get the most out of your everyday sessions.
For more advanced surfers we recommend you ride this board around your height or 1¹" below.
Baked Potato in TimberTek
Dan Mann has struck gold again, Yukon Gold. The BAKED POTATO offers the same small wave performance as the SWEET POTATO with a few subtle design adjustments. The nose is pulled in slightly and some of the rail volume has been removed to allow for even faster rail to rail transfers. The BAKED POTATO has the same aggressive double concaves and 'V-spline' running down the center of the board which allows the board to get up on the rail much faster than the overall design would indicate. Primarily designed for smaller, weaker conditions, the BAKED POTATO will surprise you by its performance characteristics, and how the quad fins set further back and closer to the rail than usual, allow the board to hold with- out sliding, even in larger surf. Get cooking on a BAKED POTATO
Designed as a shorter and more modern/high performance take on the keel fin fish, it has all the grooviness of the throwbacks with none of the weird oldness. It’s young, rad, and classy all at the same time. Crazy fast down the line, lots of lift, smooth and tight through carves, and progressive in the pocket. Available in SUPERflex technology (pictured).
• Wide, fishy outline
• Low modern rocker
• Single to double concave to V off the tail
• Designed as a quad but available as a 5 fin
• SUPER wide rounded diamond tail
• Ride 6-8 inches shorter and the same volume as your favorite board
Its curvy outline, wide nose, and pulled in tail make it a perfect fit for pulling in under the lip or taking off deep. It’s a sled for laying down carves on big open faces as well as flicking around in small beachbreak. The PigDog works in myriad conditions and sizes of surf, making it the ultimate travel board.
• Wide nose and center with a pulled in tail
• Low to mid rocker
• Single to double concave
• 5 Plug Setup for tri/quad Option
• Pulled in rounded pin
• Ride + or – 2” from your shortboard and at a slightly higher volume
• Also available as step-ups and guns up to 10’ by custom order
Dion Agius’ Siamese Palm Viper
Concerned about having too many shapes to ride—some for airs, some for turns—Dion Agius sought a simple solution. After working closely with Dion on testing and developing, the final SPV is the best of both worlds: while remaining smooth and clean for turns and rail work, it won’t hold you back while blasting airs.
• Curvy outline with wider center and subtly pulled in nose and tail
• Medium rocker with extra flip off the tail
• Single to double concave with slight V off the tail
• Tri fin
• Ride 3-4 inches shorter and at the same volume as usual board
• Squash tail
"Seahawk" from Surf Prescriptions by Jeff "Doc" Lausch
$700 - $900
Maximum high performance short board. It features a deep single concave running nose to tail deepest between the fins and extra tail rocker compliments the deep concave This combination of concave and rocker adds speed and maneuverability resulting in to one of our highest performance models ever. Built for advanced surfers interested in advanced surfing. Comes with a round tail but also available in squash and swallow tail designs.
"SPDR" from Spyder by Dennis Jarvis
The SPDR was based off of hours of watching local South Bay surfers on performance boards; and the plight they had in trying to get speed out of their boards while pushing their board rail to rail. Derived from the 2012 "Utility" model. The SPDR is more of an “every-mans” high performance short-board. The outline has a slight "bump" or break in the rail right next to the front fins where all the drive comes from. The break in the rail adds more curve to the outline, my basic board design theory on ALL surfboard designs is "the more curve you have in the rail, the less rail you have in the water, the less rail you have in the water, the tighter of an arch you can make."
With a deep single to double concave, a little extra lift in the tail, a little wider hip with softer rails in the front 2/3 of the design helps make digging a rail a thing of the past (well almost) The SPDR is designed to ride about 1" shorter than your normal short-board. This board is a good all around board for surfers whose ability is average or above.
V2 Shortboard from ...Lost by Matt Biolos
$700 - $900
In Matt's words, "Starting with what I considered to be our best hybrid, the V2-Rocket, I stretched the outline into a pointy, yet conservative, nose and blended the “Rocket” tail into a wide-ish, smooth squash. The exceedingly low entry rocker, coupled with continuous and generous tail lift, made for a board that both paddled and caught waves well, but turned tight and precise in the pocket. It features a similar foil and rails as its predecessor and continues to have slight double concave deck under the rear foot (which really “locks” the surfer into place)."
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Watercraft Testing Federation? Winged Tail Fish? What The F*#%? Who Thinksofthis Freakinstuff? Who knows, but this board is designed from a little bit of everything over the years. We mixed a late 70’s twin fin outline with a hull from the late 80’s (light concave in the midsection going into a light vee through the fins and off the corners). Thinning out the nose gave it a 90’s foil with a relaxed rocker on both ends. Also put a touch of today’s modern rail on there, which is moderately full with a firm tucked edge in the last third of the board. The winged swallow out the back provides good drive off the bottom with a quick release off the top. Built with a 5 fin option for maximum versatility, the WTF excels in knee high average surf, up to quality overhead.
The Rooster came about because of a “what if “conversation with some of the team. It was loosely based on the Hustler. We changed the outline, rocker and venturi configuration, so that the board would fit better in rounder waves but still retain its performance in everyday surf. P.S. it was named after an enormous Jersey Giant Rooster who claims every morning…. loudly!!!!
The SR-71 is the fastest combat jet ever built. Blackbird is its nickname. Based on that concept we designed this board to cover ground quickly! Developed for the bigger days chasing down peaks in open waters and battling currents, it is the perfect wave-hawking weapon. It features added volume, an area-forward outline, lower entry rocker and a light vee in the nose, allowing it to paddle into anything, even in the toughest of surf conditions. With a slight single to double concave bottom running through the fins and rounded pintail, the Blackbird delivers smooth transitions and fast, clean lines. A heavy hitter for any arsenal!
Hydroflex Roberts Dreamcatcher
The Dreamcatcher by Robert Weiner is a very versatile surfboard with a very moderate rocker. It carries foam throughout the whole board allowing the surfer to catch plenty of waves. Single to a double concave with a pulled in thumb tail which helps the board hold in bigger surf. The pulled in tail also helps control high-speed turns. The Dreamcatcher is a very fun board to ride. It can be approached from surfers of all different abilities due to it's shape. Will function well in everyday surf due to the moderate rocker, fuller rails and nose outline. Also works great in very hollow fast waves due to the pulled tail and double concave. The Dreamcatcher is a barrel machine and will fly through sections. The board has a moderate rocker with a small amount of flip in the nose allowing it to go really fast and avoid pearling on the drops. Allows you to cruise and have tons of speed without working too hard for it. The rails are medium to full for stability and float, with tucked hard edges for speed and holding power. It's made for waves between knee high to two feet over head. Five fin is standard, can also be ordered as thruster or with a single fin box and side bites.
Hydroflext Maurice Cole Metro
The Metro by Maurice Cole combines width and thickness from the old retro fish, but introduces a tow inspired bottom rocker and a very deep concave. More width in the tail creates a larger sweet spot and an accentuated change in curve at the 1 mark loosens the board up. This surfboard replaces all Fish type boards.
This design has a foot in both camps. Stability and float while still maintaining the edgy characteristics of speed and rippability. Evidence that you can occasionally teach an old dog new tricks. The Metro is easy to turn and will suit surfers that like a retro feel, but want performance from a board. Unlike an old school fish the Metro 3 will sit high on steep fast sections and won’t morph into a shopping trolley style slide when you want to lay a full tilt cutback or carve deep lines into the wave face. Ask and you shall receive.
Hydroflex Lost Sub Buggy
Lost latest work with Kolohe is a smash-up hybrid of the Sub Driver and Beach Buggy. Designed for surfing small waves with a “good wave” approach. Fast and foiled for on rail surfing, but full and forgiving for sub-par and sloppy surf. It’s the Sub Driver outline combines with the Beach Buggy rocker, blended with a new foil. Refinements during the PRIME and WT comps have led us to this board that grovels but is still a true high-performance board. It is fast becoming a go to fave for team riders looking for an edge in small wave contests, as well as the local crew around So Cal who are always ready for a something new.
Jetson's engineers have worked on different prototypes for years and have now finalized the latest generation of self-propelled surfboards. The HADDOCK is a gateway into improving your surfing much faster.
6’8” x 21” x 2 ¾”
aluminium alloy propeller
1h20´ autonomy in eco mode
Love Buzz is a performance shortboard, described as the ‘Love Child’ of the Hypto Krypto and The Ando model. Hayden’s latest model addition to the range, this model is a favourite of team rider Creed McTaggart and spent more than two years in development. The design blends surface area, rocker and performance curves to create a very all-round, fast and flowing short board. It will always carry speed yet give you that sensitivity to surf in all areas of the wave.
It has a medium / flat entry rocker for easy paddling and plenty of speed down the line or through flatter sections. It has the signature HS flatter rocker through the center of the board for flow and speed, similar to the Hypto Krypto. Out the back end it has a medium lift to allow the board to fit into critical turns.
It starts with a slight single concave in the entry through to medium single in the center of the board. This blends into a deep double within the single, with a medium vee double out the last 3.5” of the tail.
RIDERS: Craig Anderson, Creed McTaggart, Marti Paradisis, Warren Smith
The Shred Sled is a fish design tweaked to be an all-round surfing board. It has a smooth connected feeling that is fast and flowing. Although it may appear to look like a small wave board, The Shred Sled will surf waves up to 6ft in all conditions.
The unique outline allows a full plan shape, yet a wide round tail is positioned behind the wing to give plenty of performance and curve to fit into all types of waves. The wing allows a straighter outline in the center of the board, which provides plenty of speed down the line. The foil has plenty of volume, yet it is shaped to allow the board to sit in the wave face creating a very smooth connected feel. The wing breaks this connection and water flow to give response and release when you want it.
The Shred Sled is Designed to be ridden 4-5 inches shorter and ¾ to 1 inch wider than your average performance shortboard.
RIDERS: Creed McTaggart, Marti Paradisis
Currently one of the most in demand and best selling surfboards globally, The Hypto Krypto is a balance of tradition and modern performance. Suited to the elite level surfer to the everyday surfer, it is often referred to as the ‘one board quiver’ for its versatility across all types of surf conditions – from small 1-3 ft beach breaks, to barrels of up to 8ft.
It has a high amount of volume under the chest, which enables it to paddle like a dream. It’s designed for surfing on the open face, to draw fast flowing lines.
The outline resembles an old school twin fin in the nose, yet it draws back to a tight rounded pintail. The wider straighter outline up front creates plenty of speed, yet the round pintail allows tight turns in the pocket.
The foil has plenty of volume around the chest and center area of the board, yet it refines out to a thinner, pinched rail to keep the board connected to the wave.
The rocker is flat throughout, although holds a little extra lift in the entry, which helps when taking off late or turning in the steeper sections of the wave. The design of the rocker is focused around speed, to enable surfers to make sections that they don’t normally expect to make.
The concave runs from a rolled vee in the entry to a slight single, blending into a vee double out the tail which gives the board great speed and control from rail to rail.
RIDERS: Craig Anderson
LSD - Luke Short Designs
“Designed by Luke Short, the Chubby Chedda is a refined version of the original Chubby Checker, a favorite of many including Julian Wilson when he’s free surfing or pushing it in expression sessions.
Luke widened the outline slightly while adding a subtle hip behind the front fins, adding more whip through turns. The concaves are also deeper, creating more ‘get up and go’, and the tail rocker has been accentuated for the perfect blend of speed and responsiveness.
The Chubby Chedda is best described as a ‘performance-hybrid’, and should be ridden at least two inches shorter than your standard high performance short board. And if push comes to shove, the design will hold its own in overhead surf as well.”
“The Tex is a super stubby little thing for when the waves are super small or you’re just feeling lazy. The bloated girth and thickness of Tex will get you trimming and turning on any wave that breaks. The contemporary single into double concave gives this craft plenty of spark. A balanced outline combined with a large round squash tail helps with the control of this little animal.
The Tex should be ordered approximately 6 inches shorter than or three four liters more than your conventional short board.”
“This Twinny model was inspired by an original Ben Aipa Twin fin. Amazingly fun board for all conditions (just about). To be ordered 4 inches shorter/1 or 2 liters more than your standard shorty. Comes with a third stabilizer fin for the not so daring.”