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For this week’s Feature Friday, we’re unveiling one of two new 2015 models. You may have heard or seen pictures on social media about this one already since we have been talking up testing riding it for so long. Garek and I have been on it for the last 6 months, and we’re ready to share it with all of you officially on the website.
The Karma Chameleon. A board that adapts to its surroundings. Weirdly retro, yet performance oriented when you need it. The ability of going quad or single fin (even 2+1) gives you lots of different options while keeping the same board, and they all provide different experiences.
My dimensions are 5’8” x 20” x 2 1/2”. I like my rails a little more full when I chop down in size, just to keep the board floating a little bit higher. It provides an easy paddle for such a short board. For our stock Karma Chameleon template we kept it with a round tail (similar to Garek’s 5’10” version). My 5’8” is a little more like a rounded pin.
The waves consistently in San Diego so far this year have been on the smaller side, so having that slight extra volume makes sessions that much more valuable, with your wave count that much higher. It also allows me to write this review knowing this board inside and out when it comes to average Southern California surf.
The board needs a wave with a little bit of push to truly maximize its potential, but that doesn't mean you can’t shred it in smaller stuff. I tried it a few times on some of the more gutless days at a few reef breaks. The best waves I had were bigger roll-in sets at reefs and anything 2-3 and up at your dumpier beach breaks, but it can be surfed in almost anything 3 foot and up. It definitely likes an open face a little bit more to get down the line, getting speed is not an issue. With the round tail it grabs quite nicely in the pocket when you want to wrap the board around into an arc or turn.
This board is my in between for those days I want more compact turns and performance than I would get out of the Cloud, and when I dont want a true potato chip shortboard.
*Edit- We had some decent size this morning and I took the Karma out as a quad. Big walled out sets, I found myself wanting to take off deeper to truly test the maximum speed this board can reach. It got down the line on a dime, and lined up turns and wraps exactly where I wanted the board to go. I'm quickly learning that the bigger the waves are, this is my go-to, especially keeping my board well under 6 foot.
I would recommend this board for those days where you just want something different than a high performance shortboard. It floats similiar to a fish. I’m still waiting for that big south swell to come through this summer to truly try it in some steep stuff. I’ll have to report back or just high tail it to Mex. Baja anyone?