Tuesday, March 2, 2010

9'1 Vike Bump: First Impressions

A new board deserves a fair shot and sometimes that means that you've got to be patient and wait for a day that will let it shine. Unfortunately, what we've had for the last couple of days has been big, gnarly and blown out, definitely not the type of conditions that you want to paddle a new board into.

Above: Check out this little video clip shot from the driver's seat of my truck the day after I picked up my new board. That's what we've been dealing with down here- nasty stuff.

Photo: Such a sweet figure... Bumps to break up the outline, pivot points... good stuff. Don't know if I'm so stoked about handles though- I'm used to throwing that thing up on my shoulder old school style... jury is still out on handles in surfboards... I'll keep you posted.

I had to wait a few days but I finally got my chance to surf it today. In all, I rode five waves- not enough to completely figure out the board but enough to make an impression on me. The surf was four to six foot with a healthy amount of cross chop on the face. These weren't clean glassy conditions but it was the best I'd seen it in three days and I was dying to get her out and let it rip.

In a word, this one is a flyer. The board's outline produces a very loose, pivoty feel. If you've surfed conventional (prone) short boards you'll feel right at home on the Vike Bump. The board is foiled to produce an insanely light feeling in the nose and tail; just a hint of front foot pressure brings you screaming down into the pit, power off your back foot and you're flying up the face. This is what we were going after with this shape- we wanted a fast, twitchy, beach break machine... my initial feeling is that this one is going to work out really well for that purpose.

I've already spoken about volume- check out how that volume is distributed through the nose- that's why this thing has such a light feel off the nose... and hopefully why I'll be swinging that thing around much more quickly than before....SNAP.

One last observation, the board produces tremendous drive. There's definitely a bit of squirt off the bottom. On one particular wedging left, I dropped in too late, coming way down onto the flats deep behind an already broken section racing off in front of me. Normally, this would've been a write-off wave. Having nothing to loose, and wanting to see what this thing could do, I decided to lay it over and see how far a couple of pumps off the bottom would get me. Wham! Talk about POWER ON- I didn't even need the second cycle of compression and release. The inside fin instantly powered up and I could feel myself skating across the flats riding the foil and flex of that inner fin- and beating the section to continue on down the line. Insanely cool.

Super interested in running this one as a quad- with the way the fins are set up and the little wing off the tail- I think this thing my just come to LIFE with a set of four back there.

As always, I'd rather have the board and it's performance speak for itself- hopefully I'll be surfing fast, beating sections and crushing the lip- in that case, only time (and a bunch more sessions) will tell. My initial gut feeling, however, is that this is going to be a good one. Thanks Stamps!


Da Token Hawaiian said...

Great first review John! We've been getting junky weather and surf up here in San Francisco and Sana Cruz. Can't wait to hear what that baby does in some nice juicy one's!


John Ashley said...

Thanks Sam-

Trying to find a window of opportunity to really give this thing a fair shot.

From what I've been on so far, it's going to be super loose and ready to go STRAIGHT UP! Very foiled in the hindquarters so plenty of bite with lower overall volume so it's not "tanky".

Time will tell... maybe a chance to surf it Sat. morning before it starts DUMPING down here...we'll see.

Stay warm bra.