Dimensions: 7’4 x 23″ 5/8 x 3″ 4/4
On a recent clean but super small day on the south shore of Oahu, I tried my buddy’s 7’4 Ben Aipa Big Boy Stinger. At first glance the board looked like it would ride similar to a longboard as the board was super wide (23″ 5/8) and very thick (3″ 3/4) and I figured I’d catch a ton of waves and go straight. To my surprise the board did catch every knee high wave I went for but the responsiveness and maneuverability was quite impressive. You can actually pump this board along the wave face and the stinger keeps the tail very loose yet the board is loose enough to carve on the face and pump but still has enough drive off the bottom to get you around sections.
I hear this all the time but this board really has longboard paddling with shortboard-like turning and in my opinion is a true “funboard”. The 3″ 3/4 thickness provides both small and larger surfers more than enough paddling power though the bulk of the thickness is foiled out on the rails creating a domey deck. Somehow all the width in the center of the board provides you with longboard like paddling while the pinched rails give the board all of its turning ability.
Best of all it’s made from Boardworks’ sandwich epoxy which means a very floaty and durable board which is ding resistant compared to PU boards. This is a great board for beginners or advanced surfers looking to ride the boards of yesterday in small surf. I recommend this board for mushy type waves ankle high to neck high.
You should play around with the center fin’s position to get the right amount of looseness/drive for your surfing style. For novices, pushing the fin forward makes the board looser while moving it back creates more drive.
Other Big Boy Stinger Dimensions:
Dimensions: 5’5 x 19″ 1/4 x 2″ 1/4 – Five fin convertible – Quad Setup MR-tx (front) GX (rear)
The first time I saw Todd Proctor’s shapes was in one of his Lil Rascal Youtube videos. Jay Phillips was going so fast on that red Lil Rascal at 1st Point Malibu absolutely killing it. One particular scene in that clip which is the most memorable to me was when he passed (literally went around) several loggers who dropped in. The board looked like it had some serious speed yet Jay was still throwing the board around in the pocket.
According to Todd, the Lil Rascal has all the speed of a retro board with the maneuverability and turning of a modern board. Seems too good to be true, huh? Being that I spend a lot of time surfing on the south shore of Oahu, I’ve been looking for a grovelly type board that has enough speed for flatter waves that turns better than the retro twin fins that generate speed in those waves. I’m always searching for the perfect high performance town board that generates speed in crappy waves.
The Lil Rascal 2 is very similar to the original Rascal but has a bit more flip in the nose (which helps to keep it from digging when you hook it in the pocket), shallow parabolic channels (helps create increased lift and speed), and a moon-tail (which Todd says helps shuttle the water off the channels like an exhaust).
The board has a fuller nose and a pulled in tail…it looks way more performance than those speedy twin fins. The deck is flat which creates full rails so even though my board is only 2″ 1/4 thick, it’s 2″ 1/4 thick all the way to the rail which helps with giving you enough bouyancy to paddle into waves early.
This particular Rascal was glassed with custom Proxy (Todd’s special formula epoxy) which provides a board that feels and flexes like poly but lasts 10x longer. The board came out really light and the lime green paint job was solid.
I surfed the Rascal 2 for the first time during my trip to California at shoulder high 1st Point. The waves that day were pretty small with a nice shoulder and immediately new the board was a keeper on the first wave. The Rascal paddled very well for such a small board and one quick pump on the face instantly generated enough speed to get the board racing down the line.
I got my Rascal with a five fin setup (You can get a free 5 fin upgrade when you use the code SHACK) and tried it out as a quad first with MR-x twin fins in the front and Gx trailer fins in the rear. Quite an unusual combination for such a small board but that’s what Todd recommended. I thought the board would be too stiff with all the fin area but was pleasantly surprised at the responsiveness. The board is solid on turns and in the pocket with plenty of speed to get around sections. Todd mentioned that the single concave under your front foot creates a little engine providing lift to help generate speed. Anytime I had a little wall the board zipped across the face and then I could finish the end of the wave with a roundhouse cuttie. The Rascal passed the first test, surfing small clean waves without much power or push…I could generate all kinds of speed with a few pumps on the face and to me, surfing small weak waves tells you a lot about your board. If you can have fun in the weaker surf, your board will probably work well when its bigger and better.
With a five fin convertible option, you can ride the Rascal in a variety of conditions…I’ve ridden it with the MR fins and trailer which gives the board more of a twin feeling where the board feels quite skatey. I like this option in sectiony and softer waves though just like any twin, you can’t push too hard on the rail and have to ride the board somewhat flat. Those that like the way tri fins pivot on turns can ride the Rascal as a three fin…I generally ride this board in small surf and find that the twin or quad setup generates more speed for me. Overall I prefer the MR quad setup the best.
I managed to bring the Rascal home to Hawaii in one piece thanks to the packing supplies Todd’s wife Charissa provided me. I took the board out for its first run at Diamond Head on a shoulder to head high day with very clean conditions. This would be a good test to see how the board worked in slightly larger surf. The wave at Diamond Head isn’t very top to bottom but because its more of an open ocean swell, there’s more water behind the wave and it provides you with open faces and long hittable walls.
The board was absolutely on fire going right. A couple quick pumps and the board was screaming across the face. I ended up pumping too much and going past the whole section having to roundhouse to slow down and get back to the pocket. That seemed to be my problem that day, having too much speed and going too far onto the shoulder (not a bad problem to have). The small stubby shape fit the curve of the wave well and turns were crisp…it felt like you could put the board on rail really well and blast your turns.
I also took a few decent waves on my backhand and similar to my forehand, the speed was unbelievable. What really surprised me was how quick it turned off the bottom…I was able to turn hard off the bottom and hook it off the top throwing decent spray
The Rascal absolutely kills it in peeling waves. It doesn’t matter if it’s waist high, soft, or slow, this board will work if you have any kind of wall. You can take this board out on days when your shortboard isn’t generating enough speed for you to have fun. Some of the town surfers need to try this board and find out how perfect the Lil Rascal is for town.
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I recently had a chance to try Aviso’s Lost Round Nose Fish. This was truly one of the most interesting boards I’ve laid my eyes on. For those who don’t know, Aviso boards are hollow and comprised of carbon fiber and epoxy. According to Aviso, because the deck is not connected to the bottom, the deck absorbs and stores potential energy thus kinetically propelling the surfer in and out of turns. The hollow construction works as a sort of suspension system for surfers launching the surfer into turns and creating constant acceleration while still maintaining fluid control. The board offers an ideal coefficient of restitution (COR) which interestingly enough is used a lot in the golf world. COR is a property inherent to a rigid structure which allows it to return to its normal state after a force has been applied to it (flexing and un-flexing). Most people would read this stuff and immediately write it off…I admit that I thought most of this was marketing fluff, especially since the board retails for over $1200!
However, a friend of mine got a great deal on a used Aviso RNF and we traded boards during a surf session that featured small but nicely lined up waves. Upon first paddling this board, I noticed that it made quite a bit of noise when paddling…similar to that of an epoxy longboard (when water splashes beneath the nose while paddling) but other than that minor annoyance, the board paddle very well with a similar buoyancy to epoxy. This particular RNF featured dimensions of 5’7 x 19″ 3/4 x 2″ 1/4 with a quad fin setup. During this particular session, I rode the board as a twin with two MR tx twin fins.
I immediately caught a few decent waist high waves and was very surprised by the flex and speed of the Aviso. I had assumed the board would feel really stiff due to the hollow boat-like construction and foreign materials but that was far from reality. The board had a really nice flex…perhaps more than a Firewire board and speed generation was instant. This particular Aviso absolutely flew in the small knee to waist high surf and turns/cutbacks were so smooth. I’m totally turned onto these boards and I’m going to try and test drive a few more.
I’m not sure if I can recommend paying $1200+ for a brand new Aviso (I’ll need to try these boards a bit more), but I sure like what I see so far. If you find a good deal on a used Aviso, you should really consider taking that person up on the offer. These boards are also 3-4x stronger than polyester boards which means they’ll last a lot longer and you can use epoxy resin to patch them.
TORE Wide Nose Rocket Fish: 5’5 x 19″ 1/2 x 2″ 3/8
It’s funny how influential pro surfers can be, especially the greatest surfer of all time. The recent surfboard trend has been towards shorter, wider, thicker, flatter boards with quad fins thanks in large part to the funky/stubby boards Kelly Slater rode at the beginning of the year in Australia. While fishes and alternative designs have become increasing popular over the past few years, Kelly’s extreme change in equipment from flip tail potato chip to stubby quad has influenced stubborn elite level surfers open their minds and their equipment and thus has helped all the rest of us.
Wider, slightly thicker, and flatter rocker boards help all surfers who aren’t on surfing elite CT tour surf better day in and day out. As Rusty put it in his recent design article, most surfers ride potato chip boards which only work in 10% of the time. Why not ride a board made for the average surfer’s home break which probably isn’t a roping overhead machine like right/left in the Mentawais or Indo. The majority of us surf garbage waves more often than not, side/on-shore, knee to waist high, less than perfect shape, and not much power. Why do we still surf a stock 6’0 x 18″ 1/4 x 2″ 1/4 shortboard when only pros can actually ride these boards in these conditions? Probably because we always see our favorite surfers riding these types of boards which is why it’s great that Kelly broke the thruster trend and helped a bunch of us out by showing us that even the best surfer in the world can have a crap load of fun and draw new lines on something other than thruster.
As I always complain, the waves I surf everyday on the south shore of Oahu typically consist of strong side shore winds, weak waist high waves, below average shape (semi mush), and very short wall. I’ve only seen a few surfers ride stock shortboards really well there and most everyone rides some type of fish. I’ve been experimenting a lot with equipment this year and being that I really liked my TORE Rocket Fish, I decided to tweak it by widening the nose and overall width to help this board work better in mush burger surf. The original Rocket Fish worked great in good waist to overhead surf, but it didn’t have quite enough volume to power through the flat spots in the weak stuff.
We shortened the Rocket Fish from 5’9 to 5’5, widened it from 19″ 3/8 to 19″ 1/2, increased the tail rocker slightly, added a pair of wings to narrow the tail, and widened the nose area. I could instantly tell the difference in the changes we made on the first session out with the board as it planed and carried better speed in mushy surf and the board maintained enough speed for the slow sections and when it found a little wall it accelerated with one quick pump. I would bet that a lot of it had to do with the increased nose area. The minimal length also helped the board fit in the pocket better which is ideal for short waves where quick maneuvering is critical. All these changes combined with quad fins made this a super fun small wave destroyer.
This board is perfect for the surfer looking for a high performance fish for less than ideal surf…especially those who don’t like riding retro fishes when the surf gets better. It handles well in waist to head high and works way better backside than even your best retro board. We’re currently tweaking this design with thoughts on increasing the nose area a tad more and adding a bit more volume for those really crappy days. I’ll update this post when I get my new board.
9’0 TORE Baby D Dimensions: 9’0 x 22″ x 2″ 7/8
This board is by far the best longboard I’ve ever ridden. I’ve tried boards from Takayama, Aipa, Pearson, Griffin, Infinity, Tanaka, Schaper, and countless others and can honestly say nothing is faster, more maneuverable, and noserides better than the Baby D. Believe me, I’m not writing this to hype the board but you really need to give it a try. If you’re looking for a cruiser/log type board, you’re probably better off getting a Takayama. However, if you’re looking for a high performance longboard that still allows for insane noserides, this is the only board you’ll ever want.
TORE Surfboards Baby D Longboard
I originally rode this board in a 2+1 setup and it rode great but for some strange reason, I put in an FCS thruster converter in the center box and turned it into a tri fin. I was skeptical as to whether the board would hold in larger surf and have enough drive off the bottom but after a few rides, the board’s performance answered my doubts. I was able to get a number of solid hang five noserides without the tail slipping.
The TORE Baby D is a very unique shape and at first glance it might not look like your conventional longboard. It has moderate nose and high tail rocker with vee off the tail. The fins are positioned way forward compared to your stock longboard and although this may look a bit odd, its performance will definitely make up for it. The nose features a very deep concave going way back through the first quarter of the board allowing for insane noseriding. It noserides just as good as a traditional noserider…you can set a high line and lock the board in for a hang 5…10 if you really try for it. It’s just unbelievable that a board can turn and race down the line yet still noseride like a plank.
The outline of the Baby D is pulled in dramatically ending in a baby diamond tail, hence its name. The pulled in outline combined with flipped tail allows for incredible turning ability where you can pump it from the tail, just like a shortboard. Round house cut backs, foam bounces, off the lips, and re-entries are all within easy reach. While the board works great in small piddly surf, the board excels in long overhead walls. It grips the open face with tons of traction allowing you to take a very high line and pump down the transition of the wave allowing for insane down the line speed.
The noseriding capability of this board is unmatched. You can easily stall in the pocket, set your high line, and hang five with ease…10 isn’t out of the question either. I know ‘best board’ is way overused, but this board is just that. It has incredible turning ability, tons of speed to burn, easy paddling, and insane noseriding. You seriously need to try this board out for yourself…you will be amazed.
I’ll try to get some video of this board in action. Stay tuned for updates.
Tore Surfboards Hawaii: www.toresurfboards.com
While visiting in Southern California, I had a chance to test drive a stock 5’2 Channel Island’s Biscuit at Leo Carillo and 1st Point Malibu. The stock 5’2 Biscuit features light glassing with dimensions of 5’2 x 19.75″ x 2.75″ and a three fin configuration. Upon first look, the amount of volume for such a short length is quite staggering but for those unsure of whether they’d be able to surf a board considerably shorter than normal is reassuring. Overall, the Biscuit looks like a thick and stubby disk with the wide point forward of center and the thickest part of the board being forward as well. The rocker is very flat…probably one of the flattest rockers I’ve seen even compared to all the retro fishes out there.
The paddling on this board was pretty easy…similar to a retro fish a few inches bigger though all this considering the 3/2 wetsuit I was in was quite restricting and affecting my paddling due to the fact that we never wear wetsuits in Hawaii. I battled a number of longboarders at 1st Point Malibu and still managed to catch a few.
It seemed that the board took a bit more energy to get it started. The 5’6 Xanadu Wave Rocket seems to generate a burst of speed right off the bat…the Biscuit took a little longer but once you got going she had more than enough. The lack of initial speed could be due to a few reasons:
The maneuverability of the Biscuit was average…it felt as though you really needed a decent wave for this board to turn on a dime. Overall, the Biscuit didn’t turn as well as the Xanadu Wave Rocket turns in small mushy surf.
Channel Islands promotes this board as their small wave groveler so I was expecting it to absolutely fly at 1st Point. However, I think the Xanadu Wave Rocket goes faster off the bat and has more overall speed with more maneuverability. I plan to ride the Biscuit in Hawaii and try it backside which is an area where the Wave Rocket lacks tremendously.
Again, the surf in California is quite different than Hawaii…we don’t wear wetsuits and don’t surf point breaks and these observations are just based on two surf sessions in waist to shoulder high surf. I’ll have better insight into the performance of this board when I surf it in waves that I’m more familiar and accustomed to. Stay tuned.
Ewa Beach shaper Mitch of Sasquatch Surfboards was cool enough to make me an awesome 5’7 retro quad fin fish (5’7 x 20.5″ x 2.5″). I wanted a board for the crowded waves in town and Mitch delivered the perfect board. I tested the board out on a smaller day at Kewalos a couple months ago (sorry for the late post!). The board looked pretty short but paddling out was a breeze and I had a feeling it would perform well in the small surf.
It’s always interesting when you ride these retro shapes. They always look like they may be hard to turn but when you actually get on the wave, these boards absolutely fly and can turn on a dime. There is quite a bit of thickness just forward of center on this board which makes it easy to get into waves early. This board had a slightly different feel from some of the other retro fishes I’ve tried…I would say it feels pretty skatey…almost like surfing on a man hole cover. It’s like you’re on a flying disk and the short length of the board takes you where you want to go. I think you should ride these types of boards as short as possible so you get the maneuverability and the fullness of the rails and wide tail will make up for the decrease in length.
As far as fins go, the quad fins definitely hold better than twin fins yet still provide similar top end speed. I think in small waves both quad and twin fins work just as well but you don’t really get the benefits of the quad’s ability to hold better. If you like to surf your fishes in bigger waves (head high +) you may want to try the quad fins out.
You get a cool Sasquatch board bag when you order your board(s) too!
Surfboards by Sasquatch swag:
Surfboards by Sasquatch surf tees:
After writing a post on Firewire Surfboards back in March of 2007, I finally got a chance to try one of these hyped up boards. Luckily for me, Kumau at Tropical Blends was cool enough to let me his personal board. For some reason, the Firewire people have been uninterested in letting me demo a board…who knows, perhaps they’re not into free publicity? Anyway, I recently got a chance to try a 5’10 Futura on a dying south swell which would be a good test to see how this board worked in less than perfect surf. The Futura is available in 3 models:
5’10 x 19 1/2″ 2 1/4″
All come with swallow tails and a thruster FCS setup. An interesting note on Kumau’s board…he set it up with FCS MR twin fins (glass) and added the smaller trailer to it. I had never heard of anyone riding this other than as a thruster but he said it worked well for him so I figured it would be very interesting.
This board has a somewhat fuller shortboard outline, lower rocker, yet overall the board is pretty thin…especially in the nose area. Paddling was very easy and it definitely floated a lot better than it would have if it were traditional polyurethane.
I ate sh!t on the first wave…guess I wasn’t prepared for the slippiness of the twin fin setup but after a few more waves I figured out where my weight needed to be and voila…I was very impressed at how responsive the board felt. The biggest thing I’ve heard about Firewire boards is how they flex out of turns. Well I didn’t really feel the board pushing out of turns and giving me a boost of speed (probably because the surf was only waist/chest high at best) but the board did feel a bit more springy and lively than even a fresh fiberglass board. The Futura demonstrated exactly what the Firewire website claimed: “The Future Series merges the innate performance of new school fish design with the acceleration of Future Shapes Technology, creating a surfboard with pedal to the metal top end speed and remarkably tight turning radius. Buckle your seatbelt.’ This board could definitely fly and I was blazing on the small little walls. It’s hard to say if it’s because of the flex in the board or more because of the twin fin setups which usually go faster than tri-fins. Either way, this particular setup is killer for smaller days head high and under with twin fin speed and thruster performance. The Future basically rides like a traditional shortboard yet it’s so much more forgiving in less than ideal surf.
I have another day to try this board out in a tri-fin setup so I’ll report back on my findings. So far, the hype is true and these boards are quite remarkable. Best thing about them, they’re pretty resilient to dings and damage so if you’re the type of surfer that always wrecks your boards, you may want to try a Firewire.
Dimensions: 5’4 x 20.5″ x 2.5″
Well I’m totally stoked to have gotten my hands on Tore Surfboard’s newest design, the Mr. Eggo. This particular design is inspired by retro boards from the late 70′s and early 80′s and features boxy rails and lots of foam! This particular board measures 5’4 x 20.5″ x 2.5″ and utilizes 5 future fin boxes which allow you to ride it as a thruster or quad (not really designed to be ridden as a 5 fin but with the right fin setup you may be able to get it to work). This board also features more of a rounded pintail…the standard Mr. Eggo model features a rounded squash tail. I’ve been getting tired of riding my longboard on those small gutless days because a) they’re heavy and a pain to carry around and b) they just don’t respond and turn as well as a shortboard. The problem is that when the surf is on the smaller side, normal shortboards don’t work as well which creates that trade off. It looks as though Mr Eggo has come to save the day. You basically get a board that paddles insane due in large part to the amount of foam and flat rocker of the board. However, the extremely short length allows you to take this board wherever you want to go and the short length also fits well in the pocket.
I was able to ride this board for the first time in knee high onshore slop and surprisingly the board paddled extremely well for something only 5’4 in length and I actually got a couple decent rides when everyone else was struggling just to catch a wave. I’d have to say that the conditions today were so poor that I wouldn’t really judge a board in those waves but this board seemed to work as good as a longboard. I rode Mr. Eggo with a thruster fin setup and after I get a few sessions in decent waves with the 3 fin setup I’ll give the quad fins a go…stay tuned.
I recently tested Kent Senatore’s personal Rocket Fish quad as we had very clean conditions and a fun swell last week. While I have my own Rocket Fish with a thruster set-up, I was eager to try Kent’s board which he claimed was much faster than a traditional 3 fin setup. This particular board also featured slightly wider and thicker dimensions than my own board: 5?9? x 2? 3/8 x 19? 1/2
I’m quite accustomed to riding loose boards as I normally ride twin fish fishes and I was expecting the board to be relatively easy to get used to. Boy was I wrong. Off the bat this board felt ultra loose and slippy but with a surprising amount of drive and speed. It took a few waves to get the hang of riding the board as pushing too hard on the rail lead to near spin-outs. I was amazed at how fast this board worked in relatively slower waves and hard cutbacks and snaps felt a bit easier…without center fin drag, I really felt like I could whip this board around and turn quicker in the smaller surf.
As a faithful twin fin rider, I was very much surprised that it took me a few sessions to get used to the looseness of the quad. Perhaps it’s attributed to the fact that the Rocket Fish quad features a much slimmer outline (more ‘short-boardy’) than the wide body retro fishes of the past which I predominantly favor. In my opinion, quads work really well in smaller/slower surf because the generate much more speed than your traditional thruster. As the wave size increases as does its power, both quads and thrusters begin to work equally well although some of Northern Cal’s top big wave surfers on Stretch boards will argue that quads work better in 2ft to 40 ft surf.