Monday, November 2, 2009

Riding the "Shortboard" SUS

I hope the abreviation changes to SUS, "Stand Up Surf" for us who surf on our stand ups. I will be honest, dropping board size has been a challenge for me. Many good days and bad or should I say good/bad balance days. The over all surfing is always better or more "FUN" for me on a smaller board but the difference is like learning how to SUP or SUS all over again.

The balancing act for me has been tough being 6'2" 215lbs a high center of gravity on a board that if I bounce on in flat water it sinks up to my calves has people in the lineup calling me a ballerina. But the drop jawed looks I get from the shortboarders in the lineup is well worth it when I crank on some decent turns and actually hit the lip with authority. To those thinking about a smaller SUS board, go for it. My advice: go thicker and more foiled from nose to tail and maybe a bit wider than your standard 9'-10' board. The difference for bigger guys is very noticeable but I have found that shorter, smaller guys have no trouble on a smaller SUS.

I am riding a quad fin fish shape 8'6" right now and it rides sick, have had it some decent surf and am pretty used to it but it does not get along well with choppy conditions. There is a bit of a learning curve with the small SUS boards. The biggest thing to learn is you have to surf them. There is no glide to speak of, you've got to drive them down the line like a prone board. Unlike a prone board they are faster and even faster than the larger SUPs I pass my buddies all the time when they take off in front of me. What kills me to no end is the shear amount of good turns that can be done in a very small area of the wave. The quad is so drivey with no drag it projects and cuts back unreal.

One of the coolest things I notice on the small board is I am not afraid to pull a maneuver in a critical section, where on a bigger SUP I would be wary of making it and getting hit by the board. The small one does not feel like it will kill you if it hits you. The deck of the 8'6" has quite a few pressure dents up in the nose where I got crushed pulling into some barrels I knew I wouldn't make, and a few good dents from my head. Luckily that is the most dense part of my body so no worries. I can see one day soon riding a 7'? SUS and surfing it like a prone board. Get out there try a small SUS- it's an absolute blast....

Photo: The Photogs grabbed a shot of me trying a 8'8" Lopez quad... Capt Ron digging a trail.

Oh yeah, broke my PowerEx paddle last week- snapped the blade in half. I got 5 months out of it, took it back and got a new one- no questions asked. Awesome company... Good paddle for strong paddlers.

Peace and good waves to all,
Capt Ron


John Ashley said...

What's up Capt?!! Killer shot of you CRANKING that little board around- REEEPING!

Cool to hear that you're right there on an 8'6". Especially since you're a taller dude- I've always noticed that it's more difficult for lanky tall guys to handle stand up. I'm inspired, though with the length you're on- I'm thinking about something in the 8'8" range for me- maybe 9'0?

And just like you said, a little more foiled and wider, but thinner. I wanna crank some cutties!!!!

Stoked on your article- I'm fired up now to go order up a freshy!!!

Capt Ron said...

Whats going on John? Good here except for the darn chop. Waves been sizable quite a bit lately well for here but choppy alot. Its fall and our Nor easter season is swinging, wind is blowing 25+ onshore as I write this. DOH!!!
John I have not been surfing in the mainpeak much in front of teh photogs but that photo was a month or so ago and that was the first time I rode a small board and Mcnair sent me quite a few pics of that session.
I finished my 8'6" a day after I test rode that lopez took some time to get the right fins in it. It was squirely then I figured the fins out. I am riding 5.75" base twins in the front and 5" base canard twins in the rear. I could drop the rear fins down to 4.25" bases now but I like the feel the way it is. It bites and does not slide and at the same time it does not track. I got the placement right on the first shot.
I rode fish style boards back in the day and the tail of the 8'6" is the tail template off of my favorite shortboard twinzer. It works.
This 8'6" is right at 5" thick but foiled and the rails are pulled way down like a prone board I think the next one I am gong to make the center thickness 5.5" or even 5.75 thick but foil it like a regular surfboard. Hopefully I can come up with a compromise that will make this thing standable in choppy conditions which is the biggest issue I see with the smaller boards. Luckily here we can drive and park on the beach so I have several boards on the car everytime I go with no worries. I love the surfability of the thing its sick. I find it is so fast you realy don't bleed off speed with a hard turn you just link everything together with lots of carves and cutbacks because it flows its speed realy well. Those dreaded closeout type days with a straight swell I hated on the bigger SUP are a ball on the small board. I am stoked and the guys I surf with over here who are diehard shortboard guys are coming up to me and saying they thought stand ups were a joke and me tearing it up on one is changing their mind about them being a serious piece of surf equipement.
Wait till you see what I have in the shaping room. I have a 8' lighting bolt stinger pin standup, a 9' disk shape standup and a few freaks coming out. I blew up a few 1970's lopez shapes I was insoried by a few classic surf movies and those perfect arcing turns those heavy old stingers would do....
Stoked Maybe doing a trip next month to the Domincan Republic for 10 days. Its pretty cheap to get out there from here right now. I am chomping at the bit to see how deep I can get the small standup on some clean 8' barrels.
Capt Ron