Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gettin' Zapped!

Here's a couple shots from last Saturday's session. Super fun day of surf!

Photo: This board's a fun one. Rumors of some surf this weekend- time to take the 'Zap hunting?

Photo: Clean, cruisin'.


Tony808 said...

Can you compare the Zapper with the Viking in the areas of stability, paddling, and most inpotantly - the ride? Tony

John Ashley said...

Hey Tony-

Two totally different boards- so it's hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison but here's my analysis:

The Zap is a quad- it's got more of a down the line, "skatey" type of feel to it while the Viking's that solid, three fin, carveyness to it. I think the Viking is a faster board down the line but if you check out the video Big Chad posted of me on the Zap, it didn't seem to be slow at all.

I like the way the Viking feels off the bottom- just more a more positive, "game on" type of thing to it. Being a smaller board- it feels a little more lively too- I can flick it around- so it works well in our beachbreak surf.

The Zap surprised me in how easily it wraps around on the shoulder- I did more full cutbacks with rebounds then I normally ever do. The wide tail definitely carries through the turn and there just may be something to these quads after all.

The Zapper is more stable, but it is a bigger board. I think at this size, it's more of a "next" board for someone just stepping down to a smaller board. The Viking is less stable, but the trade off is in rail-to-rail performance- the Viking seems to be a faster pumping board down the line.

The Zapper paddles faster than the Viking. It may be the additional buoyancy but whatever he'd done, Stu's making fast paddling boards.

His upcoming 12'6" race board should be very interesting. The Zap is fast enough to chase down pretty much anything you want to catch.

The Viking however, was never meant to be a speedy paddler- it's forte is in ripping. This is the board I grab when I want to carve. The Stamps seems to come off the bottom harder and allows me to get the last few degrees of turn that I need to hit the lip.

Also- I like the pulled-in, round tail. In fast beach break surf where you're pumping on a steep face as fast as you can go, you can feel the round tail flowing and transferring from rail to rail as you jam down the line. That shape just seems to fit the face really well.

One thing though- I'm still learning how to surf the Zap. It's a whole new ball game- the quads require you to get your foot way back over the fins. If you don't have juicy enough surf to let you get back there, the board doesn't come alive. On a few waves I was able to find the sweet spot and the thing took off; I've definitely got some learning to do on that board.

As far as my "go to" board? It's the Viking- this board seems to be the perfect compromise between stability and performance- this one is a magic board and it just feels "at home" under my feet. I'm thinking now about a smaller Viking- 9'0" x 30" x 4" maybe?

Kiwi's got a smaller Zapper and he rips it pretty good. He's been surfing it pretty exclusively for about six months and he's got the back foot thing wired. For the way he likes to surf he digs his Zap - just different shapes for different approaches I guess.

I'm just stoked to have the opportunity to ride so many nice boards!