Last week I was stoked to ride one of Dave Craig's new channel bottom stand up boards- and this one was even in my dimensions: 9'6" x 29 x 4 1/8. Check it out:
Straight up, the thing kind of blew my mind. It's always the first couple turns that tell you if a board works or not. For me, if the thing zings off the bottom without a warble or sketch- if it comes alive through the curve of that turn, I start to feel pretty good about it. The channel bottom definitely passed that litmus test. On my first wave I zipped off the bottom and went straight into the lip, popped off that top turn and drove it right back down the line... this thing felt GOOD!
The board was stable, fast and has a really flicky, light feeling to it. The guys (Hawaiian Chris was riding this one) were running pretty small fins in the side boxes and had the center fin farther up then I'm used to- which definitely helps loosen things up but I have to say there's more going on here than just fin choice. Check out the channel in this thing:
Dave says the channel helps with initial acceleration and provides lift in the tail. I like the little bumps the channel provides to the outline. I'm a big fan of breaking up as stand up board's outline, it really helps loosen things up. I'd love to get this board onto a big, open faced wave and really get a feeling for how she runs through bigger more powerful arcs. I have a hunch it'd go well- it certainly did the day I surfed it. Thanks Dave!