One Of The Stab In The Dark Favourite Four: Haydenshapes Board #18
Hayden Cox’s design fusion excites Dane Reynolds.
If Stab In The Dark is the main event, then please consider the Shaper Series as special features.
Presumably you’ve already watched our 36-minute film, in which Dane Reynolds takes 13 of the world’s best (unbranded) surfboards to South Africa for 10 days of rigorous and unbiased testing and flexing.
In the Shaper Series, a joint with our pals at SWELL, we delve a little deeper on the other side of the coin; we step into the shapers’ bays and syphon their thoughts and reasoning around their art, and the board they shaped for Stab In The Dark 2016.
So, what did we tell our shapers? Boards to be delivered by June 1 in either LA or Sydney. Surfer is 6’0” and 190 lbs (86 kg), but will remain anonymous. Shoot location, South Africa. Surfboard must be 6’0” but width, thickness and volume all open to interpretation. Oh, and blank, blank, blank. Completely void of all branding or recognisable features like unique carbon patches. This is not a paid-for board guide – our readers are too savvy to make informed decisions based off that. Yes, there will be honesty. Every board will have positives and conversely, every board will have negatives. And, there’s a chance the board could break first wave, first turn, first air. If it does, apologies, you’re out.
“I took some curves from some of my high performance boards I shaped in the past like the ‘Black Cat’ and Craig’s ‘Black Noiz’ rounded pintail that he’s been riding for the past year-and-a-half and blended those two designs together.” – Hayden Cox.
“The Stab In The Dark shape I put forward was a design that would give the surfer a lot of sensitivity and ability to carve the board in the pocket,” said the craftsman behind shape #18, Hayden Cox.
“I assumed that the surfer was going to be Dane Reynolds based on the rider specs, and took into account that it would be surfed in Durban, which has some great top-to-bottom beach breaks, allowing for a very responsive, traditional performance design. The difference I went for was to design a rocker that will allow a 6’0” to feel like a 5’10”, but allowing you to use those longer rail lines to keep the carves powerful but tight. Blending the trend of having a smaller (but wider) shortboard and how that feels with the more traditional late 90’s/early 2000’s performance shortboard design.”
“A board with a continuous curve throughout the rocker so it’s really going to fit into the tighter areas of the wave, but also generate enough speed so if they’re approaching a section, hitting a ramp or something like that, it’s going to go pretty fast.”
Testing so many different boards in a short time span must be confusing. But Dane’s lucid understanding of board design made it easy for him to transition from one shape to another. This Haydenshapes 6’0” was one of Dane’s favourite boards, but he still felt it was a little loose off the bottom. Appears to be scooping just fine here…
“It was one of the first boards I rode,” remarked Dane. “I think I originally said it was a JS but now I think it’s a Haydenshapes (bingo). I rode it in pretty bad conditions the first time and wanted to give it another try. Coming off the bottom – instead of engaging and really wanting to go up into the lip – it would do this release thing. It felt like a good board all around, just not super drivey.” Taking a look at the scoresheet and you’ll note the across-the-board 4/5’s, coupling that with the quality of Dane’s surfing in the feature and you can see why Hayden’s board made the prestigious fav four.
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