Board Reviews

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).

Hmmm, no edit functions on first post… I meant to put in the conditions too, Fairly short wave, Rock reef with some sandbars, steep fun wave with an occaisional barrel section - not huge power, just fun

Good idea. Every review should be prefaced with ‘Take this with a pinch of salt’ as its really an opinion based on so many variables which are likely to be taken as Gospel. I expect there will be gushing  of the latest wonder shape,fin or construction method as well as a fair share of disgruntled mud slingers  who waited for ages and then got a board with wonky fins or sand throughs. Still interested to hear.


If you were able to try some other boards in the same sort of category, then compare them then that would add value to your review.


That’s somewhat the idea, I’m paddling a 5’8" “Fish Inspired” thruster this evening, and a 6’1" Industry standard HPSB for comparison. The above was just an example of a board category I’ve never tried.


I know that surfing is HUGELY subjective, but I do think that if we’re (somewhat) honest and “take reviews with a grain of salt”, that a far more comprehensive guide would surface. At least it will be better than, “Dude/Brah/Mate, this 5’0” will make you surf like Curren/Slater/Mick!"

5’8" Bush Pig (not the “Hog Fish” I thought I remembered…"

Me: Primarily surfing Right hand points, though I do hit some reef passes & beach breaks now & then. 39 yrs old 5’10", 185lbs / 84kg and fit. I have 30 years of surfing under my belt, have ridden most everything from 5’10" to 12ft. I can generally adjust my surfing to match the board / break / mood I’m in.


BOARD: 5’8" “Bush Pig” by Barry V. 5’8", Nose appx. 14.5", 20" Wide, Tail appx 15", 2 3/8" Thick, Fairly shallow swallow tail with thruster setup. VERY curvy outline, Appx. 4" Nose rocker, MAYBE 2" in the tail. The thickness is maintained a bit beyond the chest, and back to the front fins, Rails feel NICE! Round & forgiving till just past the wide point, then going to hard through the tail. Single concave throughout. How am I s’posed to paddle this chip?


CONDITIONS: Weak, blown out, chest high right point. Not the best day to try this board, but why not?


PADDLING: I’m surprised how well this board paddles, though I do feel undervolumed. I paddled back from a long wave just to compare to my standard board; and walked back to the lineup after each wave after that. I sit just above my nipples - undervolumed!


TAKEOFFS: No surprise, every drop is late, I feel like I get hung in the lip / whitewater every wave, but the board handles it well. Conditions are definitely a factor though.


TURNING: After each late drop, a big buried rail bottom turn puts this board into high gear - very gratifying feel off the bottom. Off the top is a different story. The combo of conditions and me overpowering the board get it out of control almost every turn. Again, conditions definitely are a factor, as I do find traction on a couple clean ones; those waves were mental! Constant, consistent speed, HUGE acceleration on bottom turns, just enough looseness and traction are intoxicating! As expected from a board this short in these conditions, constant rail transition is necessary to avoid bogging / sinking. The sweet spot is surprisingly large on this board and I find a couple of ways to ride it.


OVERVIEW: I need to ride this board in the conditions it’s made for: Punchy, head high & clean. No secret - paddling is the weak point of this shape. I think that the top turn / cutback slideouts I experienced were a combo of pilot error and sloppy conditions. On the 3 good ones I got, I had great speed and control, making sections that are usually the end of the ride, and throwing bigger turns (and spray) than usual. On the slower waves I found that I had to constantly go rail to rail to keep from bogging / sinking. I did feel undervolumed, but this would be a fun board on the right day!


BTW - sorry 'bout the crappy phone pic!

Was looking at old posts and dredged this up. Thought I’d post a follow up.

After surfing those two boards and another retro fish, I decided to go with a quad / thruster setup. I emailed my weight / experience / wave preferences and general measurements to the shaper and waited. Before getting the board, he says “Just remember that I followed your instructions when you see it” - uh oh…

It does look - different. Thicker, kinda fat in the tail and wide. Not very pretty, but effective!

BOARD: 5’11" by Barry V., Nose
12.75", 20.5" Wide, Tail 15.75", 2.5" Thick, thickness carries through the tail, Fairly shallow swallow
tail with quad / thruster setup. Nice, even rocker, a touch of flip in the nose. Appx. 3/16 single concave throughout the board. S glass 6/4 deck / 6 bottom

CONDITIONS: Mostly right hand SoCal points, and an excursion to El Salvador (Las Flores & Punta Mango). Board works very well from waist high to about DOH

PADDLING: Plenty of foam under the chest area and wide enough to paddle easily.

TAKEOFFS: With the quad setup it leaves the gate with plenty of speed, having nearly 8.5" of fin base on the rail gives tremendous hold for late under the hook drops.

TURNING: Brutal acceleration on big bottom turns. Super drivey, effortlessly fast, very sensitive to fin setups. It took a lot of experimenting to figure out which setups work in which waves. I actually have to tune a bit of speed out of it for a couple spots around here - good problem! The board always wants to be on a rail and driving - otherwise it’s prone to wander a bit in unexpected directions (like me). Favorite fin setups are Mayhem quad set & Mayhem fronts / SW-1 longboard sidebites to de-tune it a bit.

OVERVIEW: I’ve had it for 2 years now, and it’s still my favorite. It did take a few sessions to get the feel of the quad, but I never looked back after I got it. I have tried it as a thruster a couple times, but something just felt “off”. The easy speed of the quad, hard turns and hold in barrels & steep sections is just sexy. It’s a section maker that’s not too tracky & the volume is perfect for my 175 lbs (shaved off 10 after getting this board!).

The only things I would do differently would be to get a bahne style center box (still might) to try a widow maker setup, Proboxes to allow more fin adjustment, and a deck patch on the tail - I’m putting huge dents through the traction pad from hard cutbacks.

Good idea, I like as much info published as possible.  Until manufacturers and friends turns it into the advertising section.  It would need to be monitered.  Especially if the post comes from a new member, and it is their first post.

Keep it twitter lehgth so I can read it while I’m driving