The May South Swell Board Test
COASTALWATCH | BOARD TEST
Autumn groundswells provide the perfect conditions for surfers on the east coast, and what better conditions to test out new boards. We teamed up with Onboard Store in Sydney to bring you three of their best models at the moment and see what the crew of very unique surfers in the office had to say about them. Check out their reviews and the gallery below.
BOARD #1: CHANNEL ISLANDS TWIN
DIMENSIONS OF THIS BOARD 5'9 / 30.7L
It felt short, fast, fun. I liked the how easy it was to generate speed. Held rail quite well and responsive for a retro tin design. The board I tested was a bit too much foam for me and the waves I tested the board in weren’t ideal for a board of this nature.
A surprising amount of hold off the bottom with the usual release off the top. Perfect for highlining a nice long pointbreak and some cheeky wraps on the open face.
There was plenty of volume under the chest for easy paddling and sliding in early. Great down the line speed, especially on the high line.
There was a bit too much squirt to go completely top to bottom. This board surf’s a little flatter than your standard shorty but that’s to be expected.
When I first got on the Twinny I was having a lot of fun as it’s something totally different to my usual board. It was quick and was holding the rail, but after a while it was sliding out from under me, especially when stalling.
BOARD #2: CHANNEL ISLANDS FEVER
DIMENSIONS OF THIS BOARD:
Board 1 was 5'11 / 27.9L
Board 2 was 6'1 / 31.5L
DOUG LEES (board 2)
The volume of the board felt too thick and the tail had too much area for me in these conditions. It wasn't really as responsive as I would have liked. I think it was 32L where I would be 30 or 31L.
BEN MACARTNEY (board 1)
It felt like a good all round short board; very fast, easy to turn. It felt like it had higher than usual volume meant it was easy to catch waves.
VAUGHAN BLAKEY (board 2)
The board I rode felt like it had far too much volume for me. It surfed like a big board which is weird because my first custom when I was 14 was actually bigger.I haven’t ridden a standard thruster for a long time and I’d like to try a version of this design with less foam in it. It actually felt like it had potential but I struggled on this particular version of it.
CORBIN NASH (board 1)
I found it really easy to generate speed from the Fever, but it was a bit resistant on top turns for me. This particular board was a bit larger than I’d usually ride and too pinny. If I were riding correct dimensions, it board would be fire.
BOARD #3: CAMPBELL BROS. X CHANNEL ISLANDS BONZER SHELTER
DIMENSIONS OF THIS BOARD: 6'0 / 29.9
This was a board that I really enjoyed riding. It had great speed down the line, and more responsive than I had imagined. The board held and actually increased speed through runs and especially cutbacks, but this speed also made me struggle to break the turn. The one thing I found that I'd have to accommodate more for was that in the cutback the board kept speed in the turn and I had could not bring the board around. (probably more a reflection of my skill than the board.)
Given that we were surfing hollow closeouts and the board felt really great either high lining off a takeoff, coming off the bottom or holding line in the barrel.
Because I mostly ride such short (between 5’3 and 5’8), thick, flat boards, often twins, the knifeyness of less volume and a more narrow outline was a fresh feeling I enjoyed. The Bonzer didn’t feel anywhere near as flowy through turns but that was to be expected. Seems to me like down the line, clean faced, steep surf would be ideal for this board.
Once you set rail and begin to turn, considering how you’re gonna ride out of that turn becomes pretty important because it would grab through the back half of a turn if you pushed too hard and you’d lose speed. But that’s based on the only two waves I managed to turn on.
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