Dimensions: 5’6 x 19″ x 2.18″
Dave from Hawaiian South Shore was cool enough to let me borrow the Lost Black Sheep Hydroflex model for a couple days. The Black Sheep is a combination of Lost’s two popular models, the Sub-Scorcher & the Rocket. I had heard so much about the new Hydroflex construction where you actually pump up or deflate the surfboard to alter its flex.
How it Works
To Pump or Deflate
The Hydroflex material feels very similar to the epoxy construction of Lost’s Placebo boards. Compared to a Surftech Tuflite, these boards feel very soft…even a bit more soft than Firewire boards. The difference between the Hydroflex and Placebo boards is the fact that you can pump out most of your pressure dings (Placebo boards are so soft their decks start to cave in on the first session). It’s pretty amazing how your board seems to come back to life almost like new…you won’t get the deck back to perfect but for the most part all the pressures go away. The Hydroflex material also appears to be more ding resistant than your standard PU board.
How Does the Hybrid Shape Go?
Sub Scorcher – The tail of the Sub Scorcher is pulled in which gives you a very good turning radius for great carving in the pocket.
So basically you get the wider front end and lower rocker of the Rocket which helps you catch a shit ton of waves with a more pulled in tail and increase tail rocker for better turning in the pocket (compared to the Rocket). Sounds like a no brainer! This board feels more like a shortboard than a fish when you’re up and riding but catches more waves than a standard Sub Scorcher. Surfers will really like the way this board feels on nice walled up waves and in the pocket…feels very positive.
Go check um out at Hawaiian South Shore on Ward Ave. across from Sports Authority. They have a bunch of them in-stock.
Dimensions: 5’3 x 20 x 2″ 5/8
I’ve recently been riding this Kane Garden 5’3 quad fish courtesy of Peter Johnson. The board features a domed deck with a lot of volume near the stringer which makes paddling this thing so easy yet offers foiled rails (more foiled than normal for retro fish boards) for performance. Most of the twin and quad retro type fishes I’ve seen in the past have flatter decks and chunky rails which help with paddling but make it harder to sink your rail during turns. I was pleasantly surprised to see more foil in the rails for more performance from these type of wave catching hogs.
I took this board out for its first go in less than ideal conditions; waist high and onshore slop. Normally I would’ve passed surfing on this type of day but I had to go out and give this board a test run. I was surprised at how well the board paddled considering it had a domed deck and short length. I zipped out to the lineup with ease and took a late drop on the first onshore mushburger that I caught. The board felt a bit short and loose though my timing was off and these waves were barely surfable…hardly any wall or wave face, choppy, and weak.
I caught several okay waves and noticed the responsiveness of the board…once you start pumping the board it really flies and carves pretty tight…more so than a lot of the other fishes I’ve ridden. I think the short length, rails, and quad fin setup make this board perform well.
The 5’3 Kane Garden fish was surfed a few more times during that same week in small but more favorable wind conditions. I was beginning to realize how fast this board is on the open face and it was weird how it had a good amount of drive off the bottom but was pretty loose in turns and carves. Usually a board is drivey and turns tight or feels loose turning and has absolutely no drive. This board somehow is able to provide you with drive, projection, and speed down the line combined with tight turning ability when you really need it on the open face and the shoulder. Another cool aspect about this board is it has more flip in the nose rocker than any other fish I’ve seen which to me, allows you to throw the board up in the lip and ride high on the face without fearing that you’re going to dig the nose.
My advice for intermediate to advanced surfers looking to get a fish for those small mushy days is to get one at least a couple inches shorter than your height. These board are wide and buoyant so you don’t really have to worry about paddling ability when you cut off several inches in length. I’ve ridden other fishes like this in the 5’6 range and even those boards feel too long. With this width and thickness, I could probably ride this board as low as 5’0 but I will say that having an extra three inches helps with paddle battles with longboarders!
Lastly, you have to hand it to Kane Garden’s craftsmanship. This board has a beautiful acid splash on the deck with complimenting black rails and the glass job is second to none. Overall, KG makes well made high performance fishes that every fish enthusiast should try at least once.
Dimensions: 5’7 x 18″ 7/8 x 2″ 1/4
With every surfer in sight going shorter and wider on their everyday performance shortboards, I decided to get in on the action and get a shorter/wider small wave shortboard. Enter the Proctor Greased Pig II. A normal shortboard for me used to be somewhere be somewhere in the 5’10 – 5’11 range and when I got the Greased Pig I was a bit skeptical that I’d be able to surf this board in small waves.
Much to my surprise, the Greased Pig paddle great and even better surfed awesome in small and weak lined-up waves. The Greased Pig II features a slightly wider outline compared to a normal high performance shortboard along with a more relaxed rocker. The deck is pretty flat allowing fuller more boxy rails which I think allow you to really push the board on its rail in weaker surf. I have a tendency to dig the foiled rails of a performance shortboard when the surfs weak and small but I think the fuller rails allow you to push on the rail and actually compress and push off the wave with ease which in my opinion is critical to generating speed in small waves. Couple that with a single to double concave and this board really flies down the line when the wave walls up.
This particular board has a five fin box setup though I’ve only ridden it as a thruster. Surprisingly, the board generates more than enough speed as a three fin (I usually struggle to generate heaps of speed on a performance shortboard in small waves). I had another surfer ask me if the board was setup as a quad after seeing me catch a nice little lined-up chest high right. He was surprised that the board was able to generate that kind of speed in such small surf. This board surfs well from knee to head high though it prefers the wave to be running along the reef/bank with some wall to it. The wave doesn’t have to be punchy but you do need a small wall to generate some speed.
The Greased Pig turns well thanks to its tail rocker and bump wing squash tail. It allows for easy round house cut backs and is snappy in the pocket. I would say that it draws a slightly longer lines compared to a high performance shortboard but most surfers can’t ride their HP shortboards in rubbish surf. This is the go to board when you still want to shortboard when it’s small and crappy as you can still generate speed and do tighter turns than any fish in your quiver.
Fish riders looking to transition to shortboards will find that this board makes the learning curve much shorter. The template and fuller rails make the board very forgiving which is key to surfers who don’t surf HP shortboards on a daily basis. Advanced surfers will love this board when the surf gets small and they don’t want to ride a fish. Those surfers will get the most performance possible in surf that’s just too small and mushy for their HP sticks.
My last thoughts on this board is that the speed this board generates is pretty amazing. This is by far one of the best small wave shortboards I’ve ridden and I think every surfer looking for a small wave groveler should give it a try.
Don’t forget, mention the code: SHACK when ordering your next Proctor and get your choice of FREE 5 fin install, Dakine tailpad, or resin upgrade! http://www.proctorsurf.com/Surf-Boards/shack-offer I hope to have a few photos and videos of the Greased Pig II in action. Stay tuned. Aloha!
Dimensions: 5’6 x 20″ 1/4 x 2″ 1/4
I had a chance to ride Greg Griffin’s interesting concoction of a board the Modfish. The Modfish is a pointy nose fish with a flat entry rocker, kick in the tail, and five fins. At first glance five fins seems like there’s no way the board will ever work…just looking at the board made me think there’d be too much drag and I imagined the board surfing slow with stiff turning. Greg, being the imaginative mad scientist that he is assured me that contrary to my own common sense, the characteristics of this particular board (rocker, tail kick, five fins) would actually allow the board to surf faster and be more responsive in the pocket than other fishes.
I reluctantly took his word and surfed this board in small town waves during the middle of summer (2010 was pretty lame for the southern shores of Oahu…no decent swells, lots of wind, and lots of crowd). The first few rides on this board felt pretty weird…the board felt a bit wide and a bit stiff. After a couple of waves, I remembered that Greg told me that unlike most fishes, you needed to ride the ModFish more on the tail…the tail rocker would provide all the turning I needed and the dynamics of the board would keep the board on top of the wave and planing with lots of speed…I have a tendency to ride fishes more towards the middle to generate speed.
After moving back towards the tail, the board came alive and the turning ability for a fish was pretty incredible. This board had a lot of drive and hold off the bottom…in other words, when you pushed on the rail on your bottom turn, the board pushed back giving you lots of drive and projection. The five fins provided a very stable and controlled ride but in the pocket you could snap the board around similar to a shortboard.
One of the more interesting things about this board is it felt like when you pumped it down the line, the board got up above the water…planing instead of bogging on slower sections all while being pumped from the tail. I’ve noticed that other fishes sometimes have a tendency to bog in slow mushy sections where the ModFish pushed and climbed over the slow stuff.
The only downside to this board it’s slightly larger size than I’m used to…at 20″ 1/4 wide and 2″ 1/4 thick, I would have preferred it about 5’4 and an 1/8″ thinner and possibly a bit more narrow. If you want a board for super small and crappy waves, I’d recommend getting this board a bit longer and thicker. Greg also recommends for maximum performance to use his premium hand shaped fins…they are a bit pricey but they work much better with his ModFish model. However, for those looking to save money, he does offer cheaper FCS fins.
Dimensions: 5’6 x 19″ 1/8 x 2″ 1/4
The Monsta is Todd Proctor’s latest small wave creation. It derives its roots from the Rascal family, incorporating flatter rocker, a bit of kick in the tail, full deck, and plenty of speed. The Monsta was designed to provide the same hair raising speed of the Rascal, but with more vertical surfing ability, and more control in better and more hollow waves.
This particular board came with a five fin option and I tried it both as a quad and three fin. We had pretty small surf (waist high) for the first couple weeks I tried the board out and I was surprised at how well it groveled. It generated similar high end speed in small walls just like the Rascal II but with the tighter turning ability of a more performance oriented board.
Todd originally gave me G-AM thruster fins to try out but those fins felt a bit too stiff for me…probably because of my lack of weight. I decided to try the Kelly Slater K2.1 fins and those ended up working really well for me. They loosened up the board quite a bit (K2.1 fins are more upright with a smaller center fin which makes them very responsive for quick changes and vertical surfing) with maintaining same mind bending speed. The quad setup worked ok (G-AM front, GX double foil rear) but I guess I just prefer riding thrusters nowadays as they’re way more predictable…you also can’t beat the pivot of a thruster.
Overall, the Monsta is a super fast and tight turning board…basically its something you’d want if you’re looking for a performance board in slow & mushy surf…the type of surf where you can’t get your small wave shortboard going in. Best of all, the board works great in larger and more hollow waves as well. It also rides really well backhand…super tight and pivoty but providing Rascal speed so all you need to worry about is getting your turns in.
Dimensions: 5’6 x 19″ 3/4 x 2″ 3/8
Firewire’s Spitfire model is a variation of its popular Dominator model which features fish rocker, a full nose and round outline, a thicker foil, and five fin setup. The difference in the new Spitfire model is its odd step deck tail which according to Firewire, provides more bit in larger/juicier waves. The board also utilizes a subtle diamond tail compared to the round/thumb tail of the Dominator.
I was pretty excited to really try their new Direct Drive suspension system which uses a bamboo deck and carbon rails providing both flex and strength. My first impressions of the board when I first paddled out on the board is oddly enough it felt much wider and longer than its actual dimensions.
Over the next three weeks I rode this board a bunch of times in mostly knee to head high surf and found that it performed somewhere between a hybrid fish (like a Lost RNF type board) and a wider outline small wave shortboard (like a Lost Stealth) but leaned a bit on the fish side because of its flat rocker and wider outline.
I also tried the board as a quad (Stretch SF4) and three fin setup (standard 450 Future thruster fins) and found that on walled up waves, the quad hauled ass and generated tons of speed but turning felt very tight…probably more likely due to the fins than the board as those Stretch fins have a lot of area. The thruster setup rode pretty solid, consistent, and predictable. As a thruster, you could surf this board semi-vertically in the pocket and race down the line with enough speed to wrap around a cutback on the fat section of the wave.
The thing I really like about Firewire boards is that their boards feel really alive and responsive under your feet. I couldn’t tell if I generated more speed out of turns because of the Direct Drive suspension system, but the Firewire boards I’ve tried all seem to go pretty fast. In my opinion, I think you can really feel the flex of the board when you lay a hard turn on rail.
I think Firewire’s suspension technology is pretty awesome, though their own shapes are lacking. The Spitfire board rode ok but it wasn’t anywhere close to some of the other boards I ride on a daily basis. I think if you’re considering buying a Firewire, you should buy a Lost model as Matt Biolos shapes are way better than what Firewire produces in house.
Dimensions: 5′6 x 19″ 3/4 x 2 3/8″
The Back 2 the Future Mod is one of Kent’s latest design tweaks. Basically he widened the outline of his trusty Back 2 the Future model, increased nose area, used a Rocket fish tail width, and added a fang tail. This board featured thruster/quad FCS fin setup and EPS foam.
I rode this board in mush burgery town waves to get a feel at how well it groveled and tried in in both a three and four fin configuration. I found that the quad setup worked best which gave the board plenty of speed and a looser tail for those gutless waves. Front fins consisted of M5’s and rear fins GX’s. At first I tried single foiled GX rear fins which gave the board a stiffer feel with more hold and then on a whim I swapped them out for GX double foiled fins. On my first wave the board instantly was much looser and quicker in transitions on smaller/weaker waves. I guess the wider tail requires looser feeling fins because of all the area back there.
This board was ridden in knee high to head high town waves. The EPS worked best on lined-up waves with clean conditions. I noticed I could feel all the bumps in the wave during a session with slightly onshore conditions. The extreme lightness of the EPS foam made windy conditions a bit more challenging as it seems like the board didn’t want to get down the face. I think a slightly heavier EPS board with heavier cloth would help with this or possibly use traditional PU foam. The EPS foam does float better than a normal poly board and I’d prefer a slightly heavier EPS board than going back to PU.
Give Kent a call or email him to talk about your next custom shaped surfboard. For contact information visit www.toresurfboards.com
Dimensions: 5’6 x 19.5″ x 2.25″
The T&C Glenn Pang G1 Gobbler is a small wave fish type board made from small gutless waves. It features a deep double barrel concave running the length of the board with a domed deck. It has a very sharp beak nose and a super wide squash tail. Even though there’s a double barrel concave on the bottom, the board’s bottom feels very flat while the deck feels round…the sensation feels like riding on a pyramid and it took me a while to get used to that. The G1 also utilizes a thruster setup with a slightly smaller center fin similar to K2.1’s or YU fins which reduce drag and increase speed.
I actually got a chance to ride two different G1’s with relatively similar dimensions and rode it in waist to head high waves on a number of occasions. The first board had stock Future thruster fins on the sides and a Future V hatchet center fin like below:
The center hatchet fin made the board way to grippy and sticky on the wave…in small waves that fin setup just doesn’t have any get-go. I’ve heard that hatchet fin works really well in larger, powerful, more bowly type surf but in the small stuff it has way too much drag and decreases responsiveness.
I did try the G1 a few other times with it’s stock fins…not exactly sure what type they are but I do know those fins come with the board and the center fin is a bit smaller than the sides. I surfed this particular G1 in a variety of wave heights from knee high to head high and this time the board worked better with its stock fins. The G1 rides similar to a retro fish like the Xanadu Wave Rocket — when you pump up and down the face it has a similar rhythm like a longboard…slow and smooth. The turning was ok but for whatever reason the board felt slow…I honestly think the Xanadu Wave Rocket is more performance that the G1…they both ride similar but the Xanadu is quicker, faster, and more responsive.
If you’re into Glenn Pang shapes and looking for a small wave fish hybrid, you’ll like this board. For all others there are better shapes out there in this category that outperform the G1.
Dimensions: 5’6 x 19.25″ x 2.25″
The other week I tried a 5’6 T&C T1 shortboard shaped by Glenn Pang. The T1 also known as the “Travler” is a copy of Dane Reynold’s Channel Islands Dumpster Diver…basically a wide and short shortboard with flatter rocker and single concave. I’ve seen a bunch of guys riding these boards out in the lineups and the board looked like it worked pretty well.
Unfortunately the one I tried didn’t have the same responsiveness…the board felt dead and slow. I couldn’t figure out if the problem was caused by the fins or the board itself. The waves were decent the day I tried the board…around chest-head high that particular day which leads me to believe it wasn’t the waves. The board is a pretty high performance looking shape and I wanted to pump it aggressively up and down the face but the board lagged and felt like it was suctioning on the wave face. I tried hard to get it to respond but it was nearly impossible to get the board to do anything…what a bummer.
I had written this board off as a dud but tried another T1, this one slightly narrower around 18.75″ wide. It would be a true test as the waves this particular day were pretty soft and small…around waist high with marginal shape. Surprisingly this board felt alive and rode like a performance small wave shortboard. The flat entry rocker and extra width help the board paddle into waves early and get around flat sections…the board won’t get around flat spots like a true wide nosed fish but will make it much easier than your typical performance shortboard in small/weak waves.
This board excels in knee to head high surf and sloppier wave faces but you can push it in overhead waves. I think the board I first tried was a dud and everyone else I’ve talked to really likes their T1.
Dimensions: 5’0 x 20.125″ x 2.5″
I also got a chance to try the Cole Trunk Board recently…again in small knee to waist high waves. Conditions this day were very very clean, small but lining up very nicely. The board I tried was a very short and stubby 5’0 model with thruster setup running M5 FCS side fins and an M3 center fin. The overall thickness and width make up for lack of length and paddling was pretty good for such a small board.
The bottom features a deep bonzer like concave running from front to back which looks like some type of jet intake and low nose and high tail rocker. The full rails have those Stretch channels for improved durability (I think) but nonetheless provide extra grip when duck diving. This particular board was a custom ordered PU board though they also offer several Aviso carbon fiber models.
Paddling into waves was super easy…probably because of the extra low nose rocker and once up and riding the lack of length made this board feel very skatey. The board was very responsive and I could pump it on the face of the wave just like those Carver skateboards. I really like the way the board turned tight in the pocket…you feel like you can make the board go anywhere you want it to. The Xanadu Wave Rocket is my favorite mushburger board but it’s length is a bit much for someone of my size (5’5 140lbs) and it’s turns are much more drawn out than the Trunk board (b/c of board length and twin fin setup).
According to Cole, the full length deep concave drastically reduces drag which is probably the reason the board was pretty fast running a truster setup. Normally you only get that type of speed with a twin fin but I’d say this board with three fins generates similar speeds as a twin/quad board would in small surf.
I’ve tried a few short stubby boards under 5’5 but in the past those shorter boards have been squirrely without much drive which is why I’ve stayed away from them. The Trunk board on the other hand had plenty of drive for such a small board yet it feels much more snappier than a retro fish.
I didn’t get a chance to ride it backhand but I hear it works great both ways…this is definitely a great board which lives up to the hype and they make them in a wide range of sizes. I’m 5’5 140 lbs and the 5’0 was more than enough board to surf a very small day so adjust accordingly and talk to Cole himself. I’ll have to consider getting one of my own!
The concept of how the board was created is pretty interesting. The surfers in Japan wanted a board small enough to fit in their tiny trunks or small enough to bring along on train rides so Cole designed a board with shortboard volume compressed into a short stubby board, hence the Trunk board was born.
This board was also featured in the Lost video 5’5 x 19″1/4 REDUX with Kelly Slater giving it a test ride somewhere in California. Pretty cool stuff.