How To Avoid Picking Up A Longboard This Southern California Summer-Into-Fall
This Three Board Quiver by Panda Surfboards will keep you surfing through flat-spells without feeling the need to cross-step.
The idea, in theory, is simple: a three board quiver.
No talk of the one board pocket knife – the board that aren’t only acceptable but ideal in surf ranging from nil to double overhead. And, we certainly aren’t asking you to step foot on an 11ft glider or a mid-length. This is a quiver for those who want to “rip” (or at least feel like they are).
For most locations, three boards are all you need. So, for the first of our to-be-ongoing whenever-we-feel-like-it series, we tapped Blake Peters of Panda Surfboards. Blake is a 33-year-old shaper from Sydney peddling boards out of Costa Mesa, California.
Panda’s boards are sleek. Brendon Gibbons, Colin Moran, Ford Archbold, Shane Borland, Simon Hetrick and Andrew Doheny are mainstays on his shapes. When we did our first Stab in the Dark, we asked Blake to submit a board. Julian Wilson, the inaugural mystery surfer, ranked it 5 out of the 12 in 2015 – that was the last year we ranked the boards as a few shapers who got picked last were audibly upset.
I gave Blake my height and weight: 6’2 x 190 pounds – as in the past year I’ve managed to eat more beer, drink more food, exercise less and add an extra ten-or-so el-bees to my figure. The old 28L days of pre-2018 are behind. Other than asking for a bit more foam, the instructions were loose, “We are looking for a solid three board quiver for the end of the Southern California summer heading into fall – something to glide on in head-high point breaks; something to grovel on; and something to ride when the waves go a few feet overhead-plus.”
Blake inquired on the typical board I ride and a bit about what I was looking for. He asked questions your shaper would if they cared about what they were making you, “What do you want? And what in the boards you have do you feel you’re missing?”
Younger shapers are easier to work with when ordering a custom. They aren’t as salty; the fumes haven’t gotten to them, and most aren’t mass producing in Asia. They will, and genuinely want to, make you a board that you’ll really enjoy – unless you annoyingly insist on riding a potato chip elf slipper and sticking the company you push excel sheets for’s sticker on the nose.
Board number one:
5’8 1/2 x 20 1/16 x 2 1/2 = 32.27L
The Rocket Fish is a twinnie. The tail is slightly pulled and the nose is knifier than the average fish. The board is designed to go down the line at high speeds. When it’s head-high at Malibu it does just that. It has more rocker than your average fish and works just fine in punchy beach breaks. It’s responsive for a 32L chub. While not “perfect” for attempting that 12 o’clock top turn, they can be done, but if you’re like me, it’ll more likely result in digging the fuck out of your rail due to user error. The Rocket is on the performance side of the fish family, but is still a fish and prefers to be ridden as such – highlines, floaters and elongated carves.
“The Rocket Fish has the flow and down the line speed of a classic fish with a lot more performance built in,” Mr. Peters tells Stab. “With the little extra nose rocker, single concave entry to vee out the tail combined with the pulled in outline, this board will get up to high speeds and turn harder than your average fish. Perfect for points and beach breaks from waist to overhead. It loves a long wall!“
Board number two:
5’10 x 19 3/4 x 2 7/16 = 30.5L
This board is cheating, in all the best ways. The Sally holds a lot of volume from where your knees sit up through the nose. Ride this board if you want to paddle into fat near-nothingness, stand up and somehow generate speed. For California beach breaks 9/10 days a week, this has become my new go-to. It’s one of those boards that makes you feel like a better surfer. And when you live on the plain of mediocrity, the Sally gives you that extra boost of confidence – easy entry and the winged swallow tail is pulled in enough to whip around. A few waves on her might just have you shamefully tapping through the Surfline rewind to see the turn that felt good in Venice slop. From waist to head-high, this board deserves to be in the Southern California staple diet.
“The Synthetic Sally 2.0 is Ford Archbold’s model. It is an alternative small wave board with plenty of performance built in,” Blake says. “It features a flat deck (extra foam) single concave (instant speed) and flyer swallow (pivot and release). Surfs everything from knee high to just overhead. Very versatile for California.”
Board number three:
6’2 x 19 1/4 x 2 1/2 = 30.8L
The Pandamonium works well in waist to chest-high surf. But, if you’re like me, when riding a traditional squash tailed high-performance thruster, you’re only bringing it out when it’s should-high and above. The Pandamonium holds. It responds with the pressure of the toes and heels and approaches sections with drive. This is the board for when the waves are of quality and I feel like putting together a ride that’ll maybe score six-points in round one of a Women’s QS.
“This is our full performance shortboard and a team favorite for taking anywhere,” continues Blake. “It features a full rocker allowing it to get vertical with ease and fit in critical parts of the wave, a single to double concave for speed and control. Suited to beach breaks, points and reefs from head-high to double-overhead.”
You can shop all of Panda’s shapes here.
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