Been working on variations in 4 channel bottom boards for 6 months.
The results are inconclusive.
Are 4 channel boards the answer?
But then nothing is really the answer to everything.
Modern surfboards are sensitive.
It’s what makes the elite tour surfers go beyond what is possible.
So by the nature of this fact sensitive boards will not be the answer in all conditions.
In the past we all had 1 twin fin, or 1 single fin to cover all conditions.
Today we need a quiver.
Nice if you have the resources to afford this.
If not it’s back to the 1 board.
So what should you get?
You will need to target the board to the majority of conditions you will encounter.
Or target the board for the wave conditions you most want to surf and be content with the board when it’s not like that.
For the most part we surfers from most regions will encounter 1 to 3 foot surf the most, then occasionally get waves from 4 to 6 feet, and even more seldom encounter 8 feet plus.
A 3 board quiver is what I would consider a minimum requirement to surf 1 to 8 feet surf.
So that’s knee high to double overhead.
So what do you do if you only have a 1 board quiver.
I would target my board for 2 to 4 feet surf and surf the thing in all waves from 1 to 6 feet.
That way you’re ripping in 2 to 5 feet, and struggling a little when its small 1 foot, and also when its bigger 6 feet, but still going OK.
So that type of board is a regular high performance shortboard allrounder, or a performance fish.
Back to channels.
I like the addition of 4 channels in this style of board, (small wave allrounder/performance fish), because it gives the board a different feel and character.
The channels can add distance and hold in carve turns on the face.
Giving the sensitive board more direction and therefore less sensitive without losing manoeuvrability.
Sounds a bit far fetched, but I think that is the benefit of 4 channels.
Is 4 better than 6?
No probably inferior but with only 4 there is less work in the manufacturing process. Making it easier to handle in the production line and therefore maintain durability.
Who should consider a 4 channel?
Anyone who has a limited quiver, or anyone who would like a slightly different feel, or like a board less sensitive.
I have made numerous 4 channel boards for myself including 5’11 fish style with wider rounded square tail, 6’0 1/2 Double Ender round nose round tail, 6’5 Face Dancer and 7’0 step up good wave board.
I have tested 4 channel boards through Cooper Chapman and Adam Robertson.
Most of the design shape work is in building a formula that can apply to length, width, depth and position of channel.
And then subtly varying this depending on the model type or style of board.
For instance the 7’0 step-up has shallower channels and the inside channel does not go through the rail at the tail.
Whereas the double-ender has deeper channels and the inside channel extends through the roundtail.
These 2 boards are my favourites to this point the 7’0 20 1/4 2 11/16 RT 41.1 litres, and 6’0 1/2 20 1/2 2 11/16 double-ender RN RT 37.6 litres.
These boards are not an official model, but if you like the look of them you can order a custom.