Friday, April 30, 2010

Big Al's 9'8" Dave Craig Custom Made Stand Up Paddle board.

I always love looking into my email and finding reader submissions... especially if the mail I'm picking up has photos of new custom boards in it. Big Al sent me these shots of his new Dave Craig stand up board. I asked him about the channel that Dave's got running through the bottom and this is what I got:

"This is a new thing he and Mitch have been working on...The channel gives it more lift for initial acceleration. It also makes it more stable in choppy conditions. I'm not sure of the board's weight but we used the lightest blank and it makes a huge difference. I surf lots of different waves on my boards: Cliffs, P.B., the Shores, Torrey Pines, Cardiff. I like to move around with the different conditions."

"It's fast and likes the pocket... the board is 9'8" x 29 1/2 x 4 3/8. I've been riding Dave's boards for the last two years. The quad set up works good for my style. This new one has a lot of drive. We went with the lighter blank. I'm trying out the Lopez quad fins but I'm also trying out some different Futures rear fins as well."

Of course, I'm a little hung up on stand up paddle fins, so I asked Big Al for a little more information about what his other set ups were for his rear fins. Here's what he had to say:

"More info. I like the rear 375s(top right) the best- especially on hollower waves. Gonna try the 413s(bottom right) and see how they work on this board. The black 426s are a nice all around fin. I usually run the big twins in the front because of my size 6'3" 235lbs. But I decided to give the Lopez fins a try."

Super cool hearing Al's thoughts about the board. I'm constantly learning and I can say that a few of the things that Al likes about his board are similar to what I'm finding that I am liking. A list of my observations: 

1. I also like my "everyday" board (used mostly here in snappy beach breaks) to be light. I find that lighter boards are easier to whip around and transition from rail to rail. Al said that they used the lightest possible blank... I wonder if he's on a 1lb blank? All of my boards are made with 1.5 lb blanks. I know that Stamps is making his own board with 1lb foam. We'll have to get a report on how it holds up. But, yeah, for me- light is definitely right.

2. Both Al and I are the same weight, 235lbs and it seems like we're both on boards about the same width. My newest one is 30" wide but the version before it was 29.5". I have paddled boards as narrow as 28" and can honestly say that they are do-able but if I want to keep my length around 9'0 and the thickness to a very minimum, that 29 - 30" range is about right. 

3. I'm a big fan of the Futures Gerry Lopez SUP fins... My opinion?  Those fins do it all (you're going to hear this again and again from me... I like them that much). But- the four fin thing hasn't clicked for me- I do have a nice set of the GL quads and I will give them another shot but Big Al and I differ on the quad thing. I do think Al will like those quads. For me, it's the nice flex that those fins have in 'em... I get a bit of snap off the bottom but it's not a "big 'ol waggin' fin" hangin' down there. Al's going to have to give us his impressions once he's had them out for a ride.

4. And finally, I see you're going with a single bump over a round tail. I am hooked on that single bump... talk about release off the top! I've had nice chats with Dave Craig about the benefit and theory of the breaking the outline with a bump like that and I think that for the surf we're riding here in SD, that little pivot point is super helpful. 

Congratulations on your new board, Al. Definitely fill us in on its performance- it looks great!


Jim said...

Thats a great looking board, a rough idea on the volume in liters?

John Ashley said...

I agree- that thing looks super fun. Big Al? Any volume ideas? Where does the water come up to when you're standing on it?


big al said...

I like my boards to sit low in the water for stability. They feel better lower especially when it choppy. I have some more feedback about the board this week. The scary thing is i'm already thinking about a shorter one,but they aren't cheap.


John Ashley said...

Yes! I agree- the volume has got to be spot on... I like low volume boards. I'm willing to sacrifice paddle speed for surf-ability.

You know, Al- I'm at the bottom end for length for what I want to do... what length are you considering?

What do you think about the outline breaks (bumps) in your board- are you riding it more like a longboard or are you coming off the top with it?

Let me know when you've got some feedback on those Future GL Quads.

Kiku said...

Wow...congrats Al! Love the channel bottom; I did try out Mitch's personal 8'6" with the channel bottom and love the way it "rights" itself. I am thinking about another one, but last year I kind of went "manic". LOL

Look forward to seeing you at The Shores and BTW Gil is getting your old board wired!

See ya! Gail

sdfdgil said...

Big AL give me a call. I want to talk to you about the 9'6 quad. 619 857 2611. Thanks Gil

Unknown said...

I like the quad design, give me a call I would like to discuss retailing this for you at my locations in Orlando, Daytona, New Smyrna and Cocoa beach. Scotty B with 1-800-671-9905