AUTUMN/ WINTER MODEL PROFILES #4
A LOOK AT LENGTH
The next and final installment of our Autumn/ Winter model profiles.
To date, we have explored the modern or "conventional" shortboard, through to the crossover, the alternate approach to surfing Winter waves. Today, we will continue that "conventional vs. alternative" theme with a look at "LENGTH"; our step ups & guns vs. mid-lengths...
OK to start this week's 'cont. vs. alt.' discussion is a look at the origin of length (from us). It seemed like length in general almost died out in the mid 20 teens. We went from taking guns in the 6'10' - 7'6 range to Indo, to opting for another 6'2, or even shorter. But in the midst of that, a group of official mad dogs, led by hellman Lachie Rombouts went full tilt the other way. Lachie was pivotal in the emergence of not just length, but also volume, hence where the term "Volume Guns" came from. Lach has had it all since then; 3 1/2" thick 7'6's right through to 5" thick 100L 12'6 monsters. This obsession has influenced others, and although we only make circa 20 of these big boards per year, each one of them takes hours of design, let alone shaping and glassing time.
The entry point on this category is really 7'6 and up. For your average guy looking for a "step up", we do plenty of extended lengths in the BULL DOVE & FUNGZETTI, and in purpose built step-up shapes like the BEACH METALL RND and FANG. For most, it's 2-4 inches increase in length and the addition of a round or round pin. If you're maxing out at say 6-8ft and it's just to surf at your local on bigger days, then these will definitely suffice.
But if you're wanting to tackle the reefs down south, big Indo, and other destinations like Mex. Hawaii, Chile, then you are going to want to consider length + volume. Each one of these boards is made specifically for where you want to surf and how big you want to surf it. The board above was 8'1 at nearly 3 1/4" thick and was built for Ulu's outside corner at 10-15 ft. Want something for 15-20 ft or bigger, then let's freaking talk, we love this stuff!
The principle is all about length and volume; a combination of the two means paddle power, stability, but also hold and even maneuverability once in the wave. If you've ever seen Lachie surf in real life then it will blow you away how manoeuvrable his boards appear, even his boards well above 10'.
Now, on the other end of the spectrum, but again the same principle, is the emergence of mid lengths. Well mid lengths have been here since the late 60's where Aussies like Nat and Bob along with the Hawaiians wanted similar paddle power to their longboards but in shorter lengths, so they could get into the tub. Nowadays mid lengths are more ridden in replacement of minimals, and that's fine.. we make a lot of these for transitioning surfers, but we also make a lot for crew that surf well. Whether you ride logs and want a cut-down board, or you ride twinnys/ fishes, or even more conventional boards, mid lengths like the SPEED EGG (pictured above), SPEED EGG DT (pictured 2 below) or our latest addition, LONGUS will be a working, longer length board for anyone who wants fun and ride-ability in juicier conditions. AND as with all our "retrospective" models, they are inspired by yesteryear, but designed and shaped by a modern shortboard shaper, so they is gonna go!
I recently rode a 6'8 LONGUS in larger conditions up at Crescent and it howled! The overall fuller outline meant paddle ins were effortless, and somehow made me feel safer. I guess that's what stability brings. The the longer rail line then had so much hold and drive, I can't recall a board that I could push so hard on rail ever. It was like a hot knife through butter.
Yes, this approach is vastly different from traditional guns, but the aging, slightly more responsible surfer in all of us is opting for bigger walled up days rather than critical heaving pits. Let's face it, charging those waves is a young man's game. I keep telling myself I'm heading back to G-land each year, but the last time I went was nearly 10 years ago... ha, maybe I'm just playing too much golf, but the itch to surf slabs is fading I must sadly admit...
There is also the conversation around construction. Typically epoxy is more suited to smaller, summer'y waves, but again, some bigger surfs have been had on our SPEED EGG DT in our new PRIMITEK Construction. A mid-length in this build is a wild ride. Not only is it highly maneuverable, but there is flex you only feel with some decent water moving under you. There is also a strength benefit to epoxy, but there is with a 6oz PU glass job. Whether to look at this construction is more a personal preference thing. Different strokes for different folks as they say...
Our boy Banjo was on this recent Crescent trip I referred to, and you can watch some of that surfing in the below edit.
So, whatever your approach to surfing looks like, there are options for tackling the big stuff. Maybe like me you're leaning toward mid-lengths to surf the points, less critical days, OR your like Lachie "big balls" Rombouts and you want giant freaking tubes, there is a range of ways we can get you equipped. All we would suggest is that you book a time to talk to our experienced team. We dont apply a "one size fits all" approach to any boards we make, especially not in this lengthier board category.
Happy charging (or golfing).