I’ve lurked on Sway’s for a long time, even posted a few times (60 somethin’ or other). I was struck after reading the my
plea to surfing magazines thread: Has Sway’s ever done a gear guide? I researched this, and the closest thing I found was the Coil Ride reports.
If I may be bold and suggest - why don’t we present “Gear Guides” on the different styles of boards (HPSB, Big Guy Boards, Hulls, Fish etc.)?
If posters preface reviews with their normal conditions (hollow powerful beach break, reef pass waves, etc), Their abilities (Noob - to paid pro), and what they normally ride; we could come up with a comprehensive gear guide guide that (somewhat) objectifies our own subjectivity.
I’m not a shaper (yet), but I like to surf anything I can these days, and like to have SOME idea what to expect!
ME: I recently started surfing with a couple of new friends, and have been exchanging boards with them just to try something new. I have been stepping down from my 9’6" longboard, and 7’2" funboard recently. I’ve been surfing the Ventura / Northern LA area for 30 years, and would consider my self pretty advanced and still fit, as I do have the ability to adjust my surfing to the board or conditions I’m in, though I generally like powerful surfing (big turns, barrels).
That said, my friend has lent me: A 5’11" Rocket Quad that REALLY opened my eyes! I thought I’d hate the little bugger, but paddled out to humor my friend. We hit the “Boneyard” at Leo Carillo on a head to 3ft overhead day.
BOARD: 5’11" “Rocket” quad as rendered by Barry V (sorry no pics yet!) 5’11" x 19.5 x 2.5" - no nose / tail DIMs, sorry! But overall, the nose / tail hold the width and stay pretty curvy, somewhat flatish diamond tail. Quad fins (all pushed to rail)
PADDLING: The spot has a short, easy paddle, but even with that, I was amazed at how well it paddled! Not as well as my 9’6" (C’mon, this is reality, right?), but a lot better than I expected
**TAKEOFFS: **I don’t know if it was the quad set up, or just a really well shaped board, but this thing drops in with extreme confidence! I could get in early, but handled under the hook drops with equal ease. Immediate speed on the drop, no “setup” like my longboards, or twitchiness that I expected from such a short length.
TURNING: Came up on the rail for a big powerful bottom turn and got more speed! Tried to cut back and slid out on the top - kind of a weird, warbly feeling between turns and I couldn’t get the heelside to dig in. Second wave, same uber confident drop, satisfying bottom turn, but this time I waited a tad (instead of getting off the rail) and very quickly switched rails at the top of the wave. I was rewarded with gobs of traction, and a nice big gaff, and acceleration! I began to understand the quad set up - it seems to demand direction from me and doesn’t like “auto pilot” trimming (even for the heartbeat between the bottom & top of a wave). The third wave was better - same with the next few. I finally got a wave that hit the barrel section of this break - the quad set up held in extremely well on a VERY square wave. I knew I wasn’t going to make the barrel, but hung on; I was absolutely shocked when I popped out of the section! This board (type?) hauls balls!! I caught about another dozen waves, and adjusted and appreciated the shape and fin setup more each wave.
OVERVIEW: As stated above: This board FLIES!! I made sections I usually don’t bother trying on. The quad setup has taken some time to figure out, and I still had a few inexplicable spinouts on top turns. Paddling was EXCELLENT considering the volume of this board (I haven’t been on anything this short since I was 12!). Overall impression - If you’re young, you should probably try one of these. If you’re uhhhh, “looking at 40” like me, you should probably try one of these. I’m REALLY considering dropping some coin on one, but I’m going to try / review a few other styles first - same friend took the rocket, but left me with a 5’8" “Hog Fish” (as read on the shaper’s writing).