Love this board!

August 24, 2016

Indo Rocket    Length 6'6"     Width 19 1/2"    Thickness 2 5/8"   Volume 34.75 litres

 

It's funny, but this board is full circle for me.  Back in the late 70's at Cronulla, when a quiver consisted of one board, my board was a 6'6" single fin, vee bottom pintail that I surfed in everything.

 

But designs have come a long way since the 70's, and now my 6'6" rounded pintail is a quad finned, single into double concaved rocket that would outperform my trusty old 70's single fin by miles.  The speed and acceleration and ease of turning of this board really is a modern wonder of design.  And I can say this, because I have been there all the way for the last 40 years as this design has evolved.

 

But, you might be thinking, why does it actually go so good?

 

Well, at the end of the day, 90% of what we feel when we ride a board, is the bottom rocker. Over the years this 6'6's rocker has passed through countless variations of more rocker, less rocker, different styles of rocker, to arrive at this current combination of a smooth, fast entry rocker that feeds into a drivey, but loose tail rocker, that feels just right.

 

The most recent adjustment of this rocker was an increase in noselift, added in such a way, so as to hopefully not reduce the planing or paddling speed of the board. I remember when I first tested it on one of my best customers. It looked pretty wild at the time, and I was a bit concerned that I had gone too far.  So I stayed in close contact with Dave, waiting for the possible "mmm, this one seems a bit slower than the last one..."  But when he reported back that the main problem he was having with the board, was slowing it down, I let out a silent whoop!  And a sigh of relief at the same time!  Because, if it's one thing I have learnt as a surfboard designer is that, even though I'm armed with 40 years of knowledge and experience, I never really know until i get the the board on a wave.

 

Another factor that contributes to this board's exceptional performance is the bottom contour.  This board's single into double concave has been evolving over the last 5 or 6 years to it's current set up, and as someone who knows, I'll tell you that you wouldn't believe how much work, and how many countless boards go into getting this just right. Too much concave and the board's going to be cranky, grabbing and bite too hard, not enough and the opposite happens. And every time a slight adjustment to the rocker is made, the concave needs to be adjusted to match the new rocker. So, it's a crazy amount of work to get this just right. 

 

The final touch to the bottom contour was an incrementally small adjustment to the way it flows out behind that back fin.  It's so incrementally subtle, that even I can't see it when I pick up the board, and I'm the one who put it in there!  But it's there and it makes a huge difference to how the board feels and moves through the water.  

 

A more obvious design aspect of this board is the quad fins.  Initially when I started using them in non fish or non gun boards, I was finding that they lacked drive and just weren't working for me personally.  But as the designs have evolved and fin placements evolved, the current quad setups have proven to be extremely versatile, to the point where I have many of my best customers saying that they're not interested in riding thrusters at all anymore.  

 

This past weekend's experience with this board, really hit home the board's versatility for me.  I had headed up the coast with my oldest boy, Matt and surfing/jamming buddy Ash Grunwald to a fun beach break that turned out to be soft, head high peaks with waist to chest high shoulders.  Definitely not the right surf for a 6'6" pintail.  But these days, I often ignore the obvious logical choice and go with my feelings... which was to take out the above 6'6".

 

I wasn't really expecting it to perform and was just thinking that I was going to have a slow, but hopefully graceful, surf.  But right from the very first wave, I couldn't help myself when I felt the boards acceleration, and putting my foot down, I drove hard of the bottom and pointed the board straight back up at the lip.  I was honestly surprised at how fast the board had accelerated and with how much speed I now had under my feet as I approached the lip.  And so what to do... but try a hard hook under the lip as the the wave was about to close out!  Yeah, it was a very short wave, and so much for the graceful surf idea...

 

But not only did the board perform the smoothest, tightest, under the lip hook, but it came around so far that I got in another tight hook as the board had swung past 180 degrees and headed back into the pocket behind me. To be honest, I was  actually feeling pretty impressed with myself as I don't recall surfing like that for a long time, ha! Looks like I wasn't going to be the fat old kook in the lineup today after all. Move over young guns, old guy coming through, haha!

 

But old guy having a good day aside, the overall performance of this board in waves that it was not designed for, really impressed me and really hit home for me just how far we have come with surfboard design over the last 40 years.  

 

Probably the final factor worth mentioning about this board is the planshape. Recently I have been finding that some of my longer boards have actually been going too fast (not such a bad thing at times) and so I have been pulling in the tail widths to slow them down a touch and give more control and braking at higher speeds.  This was the first shorter board that I've tried it on, and to be honest, it doesn't really feel like it's slowed down at all, but i do like the increased sensitivity of the narrower tail and the way it responds to direction changes quicker. To balance out the narrower tail, the centre and nose widths have been increase and so far, it all feels good!

 

Of course there are still numerous factors that are behind this design, such as the balance of the thickness, the contour and foil of the rails etc, but I'm staring to feel like going for a surf could be more fun than punching away at this keyboard. And that's probably enough waffling from me for now, anyway.

 

Just one final point, is that lately I have been thinking, that if someone said there's no more blanks, and that we can't build any more boards, I'd actually have no problems with it. I'm very happy with my current quiver of boards, and I really do believe that the current boards surfboard builders are building these days, really are fantastic.  And my own ones are built to last, so if that's what I'd have to surf for the rest of my life, no problem!

 

Yo!

 

See ya! 

 

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