Summer Selection: The right boards for warm, relaxed surf.
I hope you all got what you were hoping for this winter. SoCal got lit up pretty nicely with solid swell around every corner. As SSW swell angles start showing up on our radar, it's time to put the potato chips away and pull out the trusty slump busters for that consistent 2-3ft all day, everyday wave. I've had the opportunity to ride just about every board in our lineup. There are a handful that I kept going back to when I knew the shortboard was gonna be a dog down the line. These are our favorite choices for sprucing up your summer session.
The Ladle came in as the update to the old noserider. What came out of the bay was an entirely new board. Bill and Brian Palacios chose simplicity and necessity, giving the Ladle the clean beautiful curves it has. The first thing I noticed while paddling... it's a much more tapered board than the Ultimate. If you ride a 9ft Ult, try the 9'7 Ladle. That'll give you the incredible planing you want from a noserider. The concave in the nose really does hold nicely, especially in waves waist high or above; there's no slipping when you've got 5 or 10 on the nose. If you're looking for a longboard that lays down figure-eights, go Ultimate. If you want a board for relaxed summer waves, the Ladle will give you plenty to work on. It's built around footwork and finesse.
The T9 came on board as an update to the daily driver concept. While the Whip It worked well in decent surf, we wanted a daily driver that worked in everything from mediocre to epic conditions. High performance boards in the 90s and early 2000s had too much rocker for how narrow the plane shape was. If you had anything less than an exciting wave, you'd lose all your speed in your first turn. Our modern daily driver adds a touch of width and pushes the rocker forward a touch to give the board ample planing power while still being able to take a steep drop. The double bump gives you width under your back foot and reduced area behind it for control through speedy turns. Ride this guy 2-4 inches shorter than your high performance shorty. A great compact choice for the "shortboard only" guy.
The Bean was built to bring the speed of a fish into the quick pace of our local beach breaks. It's a definite slump buster and summer standout. The low, wide nose makes paddling a breeze while the double bump in the tail allows you to get vertical through racy sections. Where the fish fails and loses hold with full rail gouges, the reduced tail width maintains hold and never slides out. Full wrapping cutbacks are easy to keep high and tight in the pocket. The extra volume all the way around allows you to ride this guy as short as possible so that your turns fit into the face of small waves. No more chop hopping with the Bean. Ride 6-8 inches shorter than your high performance board.
The Codfather is in my top 3 favorite boards, in fact, the prototype finally reappeared in the warehouse rack and quickly ended up in mine at home haha. This speed demon is the update to the popular pivot fish. We didn't change much other than adjusting the flow of volume out to the rail and the curve of rocker which breaks closer to the nose to create a longer planing surface under the chest. The concave was changed to focus only on speed as the slightly narrower tail holds plenty well in open-faced waves. I've ridden the Codfather in every kind of condition and found that clean reef/point breaks are a dream on this board. If you keep your bottom turn more shallow and give it 2 pumps, you'll make any section. If you have enough face, give it a full rail cutty and you'll almost slingshot off the shoulder it holds speed so well. If your wave dwindles to bumpy beachbreak, stick with the Bean... but... if you need to compete with longboarders at your local reef or point, this guy will SHRED anything knee high to head high. Ride 4-8 inches smaller than your standard shorty, I go 6.
Rob dreamed up this crazy looking thing in hopes of riding it in every condition imaginable.. and he did just that. The Cloud gives him a chance to paddle into anything shin to 2ft overhead, I know, I've seen it. The goal here is wave catchability and speed. The nose is actually taken from from the Ultimate. That's what gets you into eeeeeverything. You don't need a ton of rocker if you're paddling in 5 seconds earlier than you would on a shortboard. Once you're up, the wide chop tail sends buckets of water out the back every time you pump the gas pedal. The late hip maintains drivey width under your foot, but reduces the width behind your foot so you don't slide out on turns. It's essentially a modern performance Simmons without all the extra foam. Order this board 6-10 inches smaller than a standard shorty and keep it 1/8 in thinner so you can still sink the rail through turns.
The Poacher actually replaced a couple of boards. We wanted an egg shape that had more width up front than traditional eggs but still had that higher performance tail that comes almost to a rounded pin. Continuous low rocker throughout the board actually gives it an incredible feel the harder you hit your turns. The ample surface area up front gives you the paddle power of a mini longboard, that means you're getting in just as easy as the salty locals, if not earlier. Once you're up, don't be afraid to grip and rip if the waves are holding up; the rounded pin let me sink a turn on the 6'6 that I would have bogged a rail on with a shortboard. Whether you're coming down from the longboard realm, or up-sizing for wave count so your shorty gets some rest, the Poacher is here for easy entertainment. Ride 6-12 inches longer than you are tall.
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