My philosophy with boards is to have a board in the surf that will perform at its best on the best section of the best wave in the session.I think it feels satisfying leaving the water having ridden your best wave and been able to surf it well, that is to the standard you set for yourself.
Having your board not let you down is a big part.So when you come to that moment it is usually a set wave or a wave hitting the bank or reef just right, you have no one in your way and you are able to set the rail and then smash the lip or cut a deep carving arc high on the wave face.
Job done, feel good.
What I don’t necessarily like is maybe when you have a loose and fast board that is all over the waves like a rash but you come to that good section on the good wave and the board spins out or does something unexpected wigging out at the critical moment.
Anyway that’s just me and it can depend on the surf, in really small weak waves you will need the fastest loosest thing you can find and then you don’t mind so much maybe if you end up on a good wave with speed and you don’t do it justice.
With this in mind my North Coast quiver was definitely designed to surf well when you need it in good waves. I took 6 boards with me including the biggest a 7’6 vee bottom swallow with 80’s style influence rail and thickness distribution but it was not required. This board was insurance in case of cyclonic conditions producing super strong sweep or big waves for my level. It doesn’t matter what your level is everyone surfs big waves for them, in an asthmatics case big waves might 3 feet, in Shane Dorian’s case big waves might be 40 feet.
Of the boards that I did surf I had 3 Face Dancer inspired models all with Round Pins or Round tails, single concave bottoms and vee at the tail. The smallest at 6’5 20½ 2⅝ 36.6 litres to a 6’8 20¼ 2⅝ 37.94 litres and then 7’0 20 2 11/16 at 40.74 litres.
The 6’5 FD has pretty deep concave because this is still a high performance all-rounder. When the waves are getting seriously good in the 3 to 5 feet range you still want to be going fast on this sort of board and have performance right at the edge of too much speed and looseness.
The 6’8 FD has slightly less overall concave than the 6’5 FD for slightly toned down speed, with this style of step-up board you are looking for the balance to be more on hold and control for power carves on the face.
The 7’0 FD has less concave again than the 6’8 and for me is my semi gun style board. I use this for cranking good waves 6 to 8 feet and sometimes will surf it in good 5 foot waves if it’s crowded to give me an edge paddling against the young guys.
Of the bigger boards the 6’8 and 7’0 FD I only surfed them once and didn’t really get to evaluate them properly but they both felt good.
In the 7’0’s case I surfed it at Snapper in 4 to 5 feet peaky strong conditions. It was crowded but mild by Snapper standards and my board felt a little slippery as new boards can when you don’t wax them thoroughly, but I managed to get one with a reasonable face and it felt like the board could be good.
The 6’8 I surfed on the mid north coast NSW on a good point wave. It was the 3rd surf for the day and I surfed it because I was a little tired and the waves were hard to come by. The surf was good in the 4 to 5 feet region and the 6’8 FD felt a little long but again may be a good board.
I will surf these boards at Bells over Easter and hope to get a few nice ones at Lowers Winki to ascertain their worth.
So this leaves me with the 3 remaining boards from the North Coast quiver.
I surfed these boards fairly extensively and found that sometimes I had the round nose small wave board in bigger surf and the 6’5 in smaller than ideal.
But this is par for the course.
For example the first day we arrived at Noosa close to dusk and while rushing out to Nationals to try and get a wave in, I asked a guy just out of the surf how big it was and he said the sets were 4 feet. I took my 6’5 Face Dancer out only to find the waves were 1 foot with occasional 2 foot sets.
At other times I would walk around to Tea Tree with the round nose 5’11 to find the outside take off was peaking at 5 feet.
Don’t know if it’s just me but when you are blessed with an extensive quiver it’s easy to not quite have the right one under your feet, good problem I suppose.
The 5’11 at 21 wide and thin for me at 2 9/16 with a round nose and wide rounded square tail with volume at 36.4 litres. Probably surfed this board the most and found it was a fun board for this trip.The round nose sometimes is problematic and can be hard to push over the edge on a steep take off. But generally fun in the smaller point waves of the north particularly anything a little full. With hollower conditions the wide nose could become stuck in tight positions when on rail but then really you should be on a different board.
The 6’3 20 3/8 2 11/16 RSQ 36.3 litre board was right for this kind of wave, fitting well in smaller hollow point waves and surfing up pretty good to 4 to 5 feet.Although I had one surf through Greenmount where the sweep and waves were powerful running down the bank and the 6’3 on a solid wave totally spun out coming off the top. But I was going pretty quick and the super bank can be very difficult to surf at times. Otherwise the 6’3 performed really well being just the right board for clean and hollow good little waves.
The 6’5 Face Dancer was the back bone of the trip, the go to board when the waves were pumping. It didn’t let me down and if I was in good condition and the waves were on it felt pretty awesome with a good balance of speed and life to hold and control.
I took the 3 Face Dancer boards with me on the basis of Cooper Chapman’s recommendation, he thought his 6’0 FD step up was a good point board, so I was keen to develop this style of board from the current Face Dancer which is a little more geared to a beach break 2 to 4 feet small wave all-rounder style board.
For more info on all the current models we have video’s etc within the website.