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Starting today, we will be running "Feature Friday" every week, where either a board, wetsuit, or accessory that we offer will be the center of attention. This week to kick things off we have selected one of our two new shortboard models for 2015, dubbed the "T9".
More often than not, California produces consistent thigh to chest high waves. The T9 is designed to give you the upper hand on high performance surfing in these inconsistent conditions. Most shortboards lose their drive when swell drops below chest high, this makes performance surfing nearly impossible. The T9 squeezes a high performance shortboard into a more compact package. The slightly wider template combined with added volume provide unequaled speed through the flats and around sections so you’re never caught in a pinch. Medium nose rocker and aggressive tail rocker get this board vertical when similar boards catch rail in the lip.
Seeing that the T9 is the unanimous specialist in everyday, playful conditions, we went ahead with our own Garek Hurt, the T9 Pioneer, to get his opinion on some of the best characteristics the T9 has to offer.
RG: What was the motivation behind the T9? What were you looking to get out of the board when you first designed it?
GH: I kind of had a recent resurgence towards shortboards after yeeeeears of playing around with fishy shapes. I picked apart what made those flatter, wider, shorter boards work and what caused them to lose their upper hand. I already knew why I moved away from shortboards, I couldn't surf for beans on anything under waist high. My goal was to take the best of both outlines and build it into an all around daily driver that had tons of planing speed yet precision control in all varieties of waves.
RG: What's your favorite wave type with the T9? Certain size and conditions?
GH: I built my T9 once I started surfing Pipes (Cardiff) more often, while still surfing my local point breaks. The flat/fishy outlines start to get a little finicky once the swell really picks up, so this board is specifically designed for clean open-faced waves with a little room to wrap some turns. I love 4-6ft clean point breaks and 3-5ft punchy beach break, The T9 is meant to cover that span no problem.
RG: Do you remember your best wave with the board?
GH: A secret wave in Baja a month ago, I was on a bachelor party trip with some awesome dudes. 4 of us surfed, the other 6 would grab whatever leftover boards we had and sit in the channel watching. We'd watched the wave pass these rocks a few times, about 4-5ft light offshore... perfect. As the tide dropped and swell grew, a window started to open where the rocks didn't seem so sketchy any more. I literally flew down the cliff and dove in for a go at it. Finally a 5-6ft set came, I put about 30ft between the rock and I, turned, got to my feet quickly enough to get a good drive down the line, speed check... hand drag... boom, the roof came over me, I got 3 good pumps in the barrel and got a clean exit. I hadn't ever taken on a wave like that with no local knowledge and some abrasive obstacles. That session I must have scored a good 25-30 waves at this spot, trading off with buddies. After I made that first barrel I screamed at the guys to get their asses out here.
RG: Tri or Quad? What works best in what conditions?
GH: I truly believe in preference here. No two surfers are going to say the exact same thing about tri vs quad. Tri fins keep your pivot point further back, you can feel your turns center off your back fin and it's a much more predictable pivot with reassuring grip on the face of the wave. I recommend tri fins when you don't need to generate extra speed but do need predictable turning and hold, so roughly waist to head high. That said, quad fins are designed for speed. When it's kind of gutless, you need to really work the board rail to rail to generate speed. Quads give you more surface area to push against, sending more water out your tail, creating more thrust. The unobstructed area of the board where a center fin should be, ends up allowing smooth flow of water, they're more hydrodynamic. On the other side, sometimes 3 fins just aren't enough when it's really going off. Quad fins give you speed and hold when you need to make the barrel or it's barnacles for breakfast.
RG: Why pick this board over other shortboard models?
GH: It's an all-in-one kind of shortboard. I've made drops I had already given up on, only to go, wtf, I made it! At the same time, I've been able to turn playful 3-4ft point breaks into a rail game extravaganza. It's a touch wider and thicker throughout, so you can really size down to a board that fits into the pocket better than longer boards. You can link more turns together when your board is shorter. At the same time, the added volume gets you in early if you need to make a steep drop.
RG: Is there a certain performance fin you would recommend upgrading to?
GH: More than anything, make sure you are on the right sized fins with a flex that matches your weight. If you're shorter and lighter, ride a medium fin with medium flex like the FCS pc-5 or V2 set. We just got started with Captain Fin and half of the guys in here are riding the Andy Davis Pineapples. For us bigger guys 175lbs and up, go with a large fin. I swear by the PC7/QPC7. It's light, stiff, and you can score a 5-fin set to switch back and forth between quad and tri depending on conditions. If you're 190 and up, I'm riding the Captain Fin Mccullum quads (L-XL) when it's steep for extra hold.
To order yourself a T9, check out the shortboards section on the website. We have stock sizes available, or call us at the shop 858-693-3692 to get a custom dialed in.