We’d Take This 3-Board Timmy Patterson Quiver Anywhere In The World (But Especially Indo)
Testing the Synthetic ’84, Stoke-Ed, and Step-Up models in the Ments.
Editor’s note: Stick around until the end to find out how to win your own Timmy Patterson board.
Timmy Patterson has been on my surfboard wish list for a long time. So earlier this year, I went ahead and ordered three of them in the lead-up to a major Indo trip.
“Just give me your ideal three-board quiver,” I told them. “Something that will take care of me in most conditions, anywhere in the world — but especially Indo.”
A few months later, I arrived at Kandui Resort with a TP Stoke-ed, Synthetic ‘84, and Step-Up in tow. For the uninitiated, that’s a high-performance shortboard, small-wave performance board, and, well…a step-up.
Over the next couple weeks, I tested these boards in a range of conditions, most of which could be considered exceptional.
Don’t shoot the board tester.
The Synthetic ‘84 (small wave retro-formance board)
This is not your average groveler. At least not in the year of our Laird 2021.
Based on the flat-decked, beak-nosed templates of the mid-80s, the Synthetic ‘84 looks and feels totally different from most boards on the market today.
I’ll admit — we got off to a shaky start. The conditions for our initial tryst were absolutely flawless, and I just. kept. bogging.
“This thing is a pluuuuug,” I’d say to anyone who would listen. Of course it couldn’t be me that was the issue.
But I kept surfing anyway — mostly because the boat was a little too far to switch boards — toying with different weight distributions and angles of attack to see if I could find some sense of connection.
Eventually, I realized something. The board was mostly bogging when it flattened out. It was like a snowboard on hard-packed ice — the straighter and flatter you try to ride, the more likely you are to catch a rail and fall. Contrary to logic, you’re actually safer being fully on edge. So I tried to think about being on one rail or another at any given time, and instantly the board snapped into gear, going an order of magnitude faster and laying clean tracks start to finish.
It went from feeling like an eraser to a luxury fountain pen, and by the end of the session, I was drawing lines more sporadic than a doctor’s signature — up, down, all the way around, it didn’t matter.
However it must be said, on exceptionally steep sections, the Synthetic ‘84 did struggle to maintain control. Perhaps that’s a given for small-wave boards, but I didn’t want to give off the impression that this one was somehow immune to its core composition.
Synthetic ’84 Takeaway: They say the most rewarding parts of life happen when you overcome adversity. I found that to be true with the Synthetic ‘84. As far as grovelers go, this is not the easiest board to ride — but once you figure it out, the upside is huge.
P.S. Italo rode the Synthetic ‘84 all the way through his Olympic Gold medal run.
The Stoke-ed (high-performance shortboard)
As its name implies, the Stoke-ed is the surfboard that our beloved World Champ rides at most CT events — at least when the waves are good.
And make no mistake, this is a true high-performance shortboard. It’s sleek, refined, and made to change directions at harrowing speeds. Ride it in small, weak waves, and you’ll find yourself feeling impotent and enraged. But once theres’s a bit of juice in the water, you’ll be glad that Timmy made those rails so thin.
My first impression of the Stoke-ed was that it had an almost papery feeling — not dissimilar to a CI — that allowed you to sense every little bump and ripple beneath your feet. Along with this sensitivity came great control, as the board actively wanted to follow your lead rather than needing encouragement to go here or there. Like a good dog.
The Stoke-ed worked fine in the barrel (as most boards do), but it really wanted to perform. Whether it was on the face or in the air, I had faith that this board would stay with me even in the most critical moments. This feeling was validated when, on back-to-back waves, I stuck my first two fully-rotated alleyoops at small Bank Vaults.
I couldn’t tell you the last time I learned a new trick, so landing one twice in a row was almost hard to comprehend. The confidence gained from this incident has led to the alleyoop becoming my new air of choice, and probably the most consistent in my arsenal.
That moment also encouraged me to push myself on the rail. On one wave, I actively dodged a barrel so that I could attempt a turn on its most critical section. When that section arrived, I tried my absolute hardest to redirect the Stoke-ed at full speed.
Everything was going well until two-thirds of the way through, when my frail little legs gave way. While the carve was ultimately a failure, I have full faith that this was not an equipment malfunction. One month on the leg machine with Italo, and that becomes one of the better turns of my life.
Stoke-ed Takeaway: If you have access to quality waves and want to push yourself to become a genuinely better surfer, the Stoke-ed is here for it. But don’t bother if you’re just going out for a good time.
The step-up (ridden 4-10 inches above your height)
I went to Kandui Resort with the reasonable expectation of surfing Kandui Left. As the right swell/wind combo never arrived, this didn’t happen. So, my biggest waves of the trip were ridden at Bank Vaults, which is a surprisingly heavy right-hander on a nearby island.
Frankly, I didn’t need all the lumber that my 6’2 Patterson provided. The waves at Bank Vaults are fairly easy to catch, and once you’re on them, length is not your friend. That said, I did get a few waves on it just for kicks.
My (admittedly incomplete) assessment is that the step-up holds its own. It paddles well, hooks hard off the bottom, and isn’t opposed to the odd direction change.
Known more for his performance shapes, Timmy is actually quite accomplished in the medium-wave-board-design field — just ask Pipe Master Italo Ferreira, or the prince of Pascuales, Al Cleland Jr., who’s threaded his Pattersons through hundreds of school-bus-sized caverns.
Step-up Takeaway: No matter where you’re going in the world, you’re always gonna feel more at peace if you’ve got a bigger-wave board with you. While the right swell never came on this particular trip, I still was happy to have the step-up there…just in case. And I can’t wait to give a proper go in the future — maybe Hawaii, Mexico?
How to win a Timmy Patterson surfboard:
Email us at [email protected] (subject line: Patterson) with the following info for your chance to win:
Where you’re from:
Which TP board do you want, and why (50 words or less)?
Bonus: Include a photo of yourself surfing