Off The Rack: A Board-Agnostic Pro Samples Channel Islands’ Preferred Performance Quiver
Noah Waggy versus the Happy, FishBeard, and Neckbeard 2.
Welcome back to Off The Rack, a new surfboard series where we take pro surfers unfamiliar with a brand’s consumer-grade foam and fiberglass wares, and see if they can handle professional* scrutiny.
Why? Because we know that a world-class shaper can whip together a world-class board for a world-class surfer. But can they build an Everyman performance sled that a Pro would even consider riding in a heat, or filming a session on?
Pro surfers on the general public’s boards. Pretty simple.
To add some real-world context, as well as ammunition for the commentariat’s verbal assaults, one of Stab‘s staffers will be along for each episode’s ride, to see how pedestrian-friendly these stock shortboards really are. This episode features Stab‘s most-likely-to-spend-life-in-prison-based-on-an-inconceivable-number-of-unpaid-parking-tickets, Ashton Goggans. While civil obedience may not be his strong suit, you’ve gotta admit he laid into that Fish Beard.
Of course, you’re probably more interested in who our *mystery* our pro is, right? For this episode, we’ve got the board-brand-agnostic, hair-envy inducing Noah ‘Waggy’ Wegrich testing a hot trio of Channel Islands surfboards.
Earlier this year, Noah swung by the CI factory to grab stock versions of the following models: CI Happy (high-performance shortboard), FishBeard (performance twin), and Neck Beard 2 (the greatest air board of the modern era). Then he put them to the test in standard California surf and dissected each board in excruciating detail.
Watch the clip above, and get an overview of each board below.
The Neck Beard 2 (Noah rode at 5’7 x 19 1/8 x 2 3/8 x 28.1L)
This has been the most popular board at our pool-based Stab High events. We can attribute the NB2’s aerial prowess to two main features: 1. It’s uniquely wide tail block, which offers ample speed, pop, and a stable landing surface, and 2. Channel Islands’ proprietary Spine-Tek epoxy, which is widely regarded as one of the springiest techs on the market.
Noah felt all of this (and more) when he sampled the NB2, declaring it the “skateboard of surfboards”.
(Note: We did our own test of the NB2 when it first came out, here)
The Fish Beard (Noah rode at 5’7 x 19 1/8 x 2 3/8 x 27.7L)
This board is Channel Island’s take on a *spicy* performance board, the hybrid concoction of Parker Coffin’s beautiful mind. With an outline that is half-shortboard, half-fish and just two fin boxes to play with, the Fish Beard was always going to be the wildcard of this three-board quiver.
Noah was straight onto it, leveraging the lack of a center fin to draw uncommon lines and generate speed where there really shouldn’t have been any (the amount of whitewash he cleared on the two foam climbs at 3:49 was beyond admirable). Then Ashton went ahead and put the thing well and truly on rail, showing the board is more than applicable to not-stick-thin surfers. Inclusivity FTW.
The CI Happy (Noah rode at 6’0 x 19 1/8 x 2 7/16 x 29.3L)
What really shattered our prefrontal cortex was Noah’s claim that he rides shortboards anywhere between 27 and 32 liters. Those are catastrophically different volumes, but to Noah’s point, foam is your friend and different style waves require a different type of outline. For example, Noah’s winter board might have more foam and a longer rail line to account for the taller faces and extra paddle power required. A summer board can be shorter and smaller to fit in tight pockets. The board Noah rode here was right in the middle of his range, and it seemed to go great when the waves pushed back.
(Note: we did our own test of the Happy when it first came out, here)
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