We promise this won’t (really) hurt.

Wanna win a new surfboard? We have a custom Chilli ‘Black Vulture’ to gift (plus all the trim you’d expect from a premium dealer). To be in the running, just answer a few questions for us. It won’t take long.

Close READER POLL 2017
We promise this won't (really) hurt.

Wanna win a new surfboard? We have a custom Chilli ‘Black Vulture’ to gift (plus all the trim you’d expect from a premium dealer). To be in the running, just answer a few questions for us. It won’t take long.

Dane Reynolds, Rusty Preisendorfer And A Case Of Mistaken Identity

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. 


Cleanskin #46, a Rusty 'Yes Thanks' with a little extra girth.

"I think I might have overthought it," recounts the shaper behind board #46, Rusty Preisendorfer. After receiving our brief, he thought the mystery rider might have been Jordy Smith, the height and location throwing him off. "Though, it does seem a little light for Jordy," he said second guessing his initial thought.

Mr Preisendorfer ended up shaping a "puffed out" version of the shape he has Josh Kerr riding. “Based on the weight of the surfer, I modified a board off the ‘Yes Thanks’ design. I shaped it 6’0” x 19.25” x 2.5”. I moved the thickness flow a little more forward of centre. The bottom has a single concave that zeros out under the rear fin, and there is a slight vee off the tail. The rail line off the back half of the board is a fairly smooth curve and accelerates off the tail.”


He thought the rail savers looked ugly though gave the board 5/5 for speed and drive after its test drive.

“It felt quite a bit different from the other boards I’ve been riding," remarked Dane. "It’s got a low rocker, hard edges and a pinched deck. I wasn’t too excited to try it because of the giant snakeskin band along the rail and this formless tail. It just doesn’t look that cool. But I was surprised. It had a lot of speed and drive. It felt like a good board. I got a couple of barrels on it but I couldn’t really do a turn.”

As it turns out Rusty wasn't the only one experiencing a little identity confusion. Dane actually thought the board was a Creed McTaggart model cut by the hand of Hayden Cox. Suffice to say the board could move through a tunnel – just watch that first ride. 

In case you missed the memo, we're giving away all of the boards submitted for this year's Stab In The Dark. Flick over this way to exercise your SITD knowledge and take a shot at winning a priceless piece of foam.

Though Pyzel won in the end, we've noticed that our audience has expressed an interesting range of opinions on which board looked better under Mr Reynolds' feet. So, we decided to run a poll to compile the thoughts of our readers, go here to share yours.

And, one more thing, you can run your eyes over our SITD shaper logo tees, right here:

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