What Does The Everyman Surfer With Options Actually Ride?
Stab staffers reveal the last surfboard they rode.
As our creative director, Shinya Dalby, swooped late and rode high through an almond barrel this morning, it struck me that I had no idea what he was riding.
By the old school definition, Shin’s an influencer, and that has nothing to do with his social following. He’s the first on new music, new brands, and moves quickly from what the rest of us like. By definition, he’s cool.
From a distance, his surfboard looked strong but also lively and it had no discerning branding. When we got to the office later that day, I was surprised to see it was a JS HYFI that had been customised with a white spray can to cover the aesthetics of the carbon strip.
That got me thinking about the importance of surfboards and what we actually ride. Not what we say our favourite board is or project what brand we think is cool, but the surfboard we last actually paddled out on.
Sometimes working really hard, putting things on the internet, and getting absolutely fucken torn to shreds can grind your motivation and flatten your paper-mache-like ego. Conversely, working somewhere like Stab has the odd upside: namely, with a little effort, you can pretty much ride any surfboard in the world.
When I thought about the size and breadth of our team, we cover the full gamut of surf skill, body volumes, and taste. I figured that if you had a choice to ride whatever you wanted, the boards we actually pulled out and selected last would reveal some significant meaning. Like the staff of a golfing magazine selecting their favourite driver or sand wedge or whatever. So, this is a board review for the everyman who has it all. Kinda.
Shinya’s partially-disguised JS Monsta2020.
Shinya Dalby – Creative Director
Height: 5’8″ / 173cm
Weight: 74kg / 163lbs
Board: JS Monsta2020 Squash tail HyFi | 5’10” x 18 5/8″ x 2 5/16″ x 26.5L | newish
Fins: FCS, murdered out Mick fins. Large. Mick like, I like.
Last surf: 4ft Lennox Point. Not classic, in fact a little wild but semi on the cook. Mostly tubes.
Notes: Winding back a bit, my favorite board in recent memory was a second-hand Monsta 8 HyFi by JS, acquired through somewhat of an accident back in April 2019. At that point, I couldn’t remember the last time I owned a board that tuned-up. It looked and felt like a Ferrari, and I’d been used to riding…let’s say, Subaru Foresters—good, reliable allrounders, nothing too showy. We’re talking about a model which Joel Parkinson and Mikey Wright might choose to ride in above-average to perfect condition, and I’m just a Joe Average who might ditch a fin or two, but have never completed a proper round-house cuttie.
Despite my pessimism, the Monsta8 ended up being a suspiciously forgiving board that adapted to most conditions and even groveled really well. The HyFi tech is a no-BS construction too. The spring and whip you get off the bottom is on the money, it rolls rails to rail really softly, and cranks hard when required. I must mention the durability aspect too. Although it’s been creased above the tail pad, it got repaired and I have ridden it until June this year. That’s 14 months.
But my last session was on the Monsta2020 (pictured)—the successor of the Monsta 8. Although it feels slightly less forgiving, it does reflect on everything mentioned above and does not leave the boot of my car. I give it an 8/10 overall (The Monsta 8 was 10/10).
A big boy board for the one and only Tom Bird.
Tom Bird – part-owner of Stab and Australian Sales Exec
Height: 6’3 / 190 cm
Weight: 108 kgs / 238 lbs
Board: Channel Islands OG Flyer in Spinetek | 6’4 x 20 7/8 x 2 3/4 x 38.9 liters | It’s really banged up but still goes pretty well. I keep it at work for the odd lunchtime bash, which is where this surf took place.
Fins: The black Ando ones. Futures
Last surf: Waves were beachbreak, two-foot and super fast on a shallow bank. It was basically a closeout but if you got in early you could get a runner.
Notes: The board’s fast and allows you to bang the odd end section. Most importantly, it lets you in early as there’s plenty of volume up by the nose. I got one decent runner and cracked the end section. As walking in, my mate said, “Nice little floater to finish.” In my head, the turn was Pancho-esque, so that’s where my surfing’s at.
It was a mediocre surf with a sub-par performance, but Spinetek makes boards go quick and gives you enough speed to find an end section, which I’d take for a 40-minute lunchy.
7/10 overall. Full disclosure, it’s got a pretty serious ding on the rail, which I haven’t fixed ‘cause I’m lazy, so I just surf it as is. Makes the board a bit heavy obviously. When the board is healthy it’s an 8.5.
Dyl Roberts’ 2-year-old Acsod twin.
Dylan Roberts: Lead filmer/editor
Height: 5’8 / 172 cm
Weight: 75kg / 165 lbs
Board: ACSOD twin fin | 5’4 x 20 x 2 5/16 x 28.5 litres | Have owned it close to 2 years, the deck is super beaten up, have snapped out the toe fin twice.
Fins: This board has glass-ons, they are the Alkali twin template. On ‘performance’ shortboards I use FCS fins for convenience. On ‘alternate’ boards I generally use Futures as they seem to have a bigger variety.
Last surf: Clean 2-foot Noosa points
Notes: The board goes great on point waves up to head high. It paddles well, goes extremely fast and flows nicely. It’s not so great in tight sections as its wide tail and straight outline does not hold in as well as a shortboard would. It goes horizontal fabulously, goes vertical not so well.
For point waves its an 8.5/10
AC likes shiny toys.
Aaron Carrera – American sales exec
Height: 5’10 / 178 cm
Weight: 165 pounds / 75 kg
Board: Monsta Box 2020 swallow-tail in HYFI | 5’8 x 18 3/4 x 2.5 x 26.3 L | New.
Fins: I want instant results for everything in my life…except for my fins. I just can’t get behind FCS II’s. It’s 100% user error, I admit. But I spend more time struggling with this system than I do putting in the 3 screws. And I’ve been using Futures since I started surfing, so I guess I’m a creature of routine. I rode the AMs this day.
Last surf: Small but peaky Oceanside
Notes: The board went great. I prefer the Monsta Box in anything under four-foot. It still works in head-high surf, but not nearly as well as it does waist- to chest-high surf.
If I have to be critical, the navy spray on the bottom of the board with the black rails is not for me. And the break between black and white on the rails. Wish it was just a solid black rail. I’m highlighting the spray b/c I can’t find anything wrong with the board’s performance, so long as I ride it under head-high surf.
In head-high surf it doesn’t have that pop you want in a perfect board. This could be a complete delusion that I’ve instilled in my brain and can’t get out, but it’s there so I swap out for my Holy Grail or Monster Box Squash Tail when there’s a bit of swell.
Brendan Buckley’s Garden State potato.
Brendan Buckley – Senior intern
Height: 5’8 / 173 cm
Weight: 155 lbs / 70 kg
Board: Rozbern custom quad | 5’0 x 19 3/8 x 2 3/8 (liters are for beer) | This is a custom from a friend who shapes under the label Rozbern back home. He’s also been ghosting Trimcraft boards for a few years, which has turned shaping into a full-time job. It’s rare for somebody from NJ to be constantly mowing foam for 40 – 50 hours a week, and he’s gotten very good as a result. I wanted a spacecraft and he made this after 30-odd minutes of me pitching bad ideas to him on a call. He ended up turning it into a model called the Jibber. I’ve had it for three years. It’s EPS and I am shocked by how well it is holding up considering the amount of abuse it endures.
Fins: Futures quad with QD2 3.75 back fins and big dick/big wave fiberglass fins that I stole from Taylor many years ago. Fuck you Taylor. They add drive to a lil 5’0 fella. My leash is orange. I don’t know who I stole it from, but I know I stole it from somebody. I’ve had it for long enough now that I would be angry if somebody stole it from me.
Last surf: Appalling
Notes: It was 40 degrees* yesterday. When I was a kid, I would deem waves to be surfable if they broke with enough vigor to whiten the water upon breaking. Yesterday was 1-foot, more than enough. There were eight people struggling on soft tops and many people swimming. Nobody was naked. One guy had a helmet on. While I surfed, a fire ravaged the nearby forest of Anglet and I feel as though he could be held partially responsible. I went backwards on one (nice). Afterward, I ate broccoli and got drunk off Negronis on my friend’s rooftop terrace. The owner of a local pizza shop was high on cocaine and spoke from her heart about the beauty of authentic Italian food.
The board’s a 10/10. Never had anything like it. You can get so much speed in small, gutless waves. I am better at skateboarding on it than I am on an actual skateboard. I don’t skate. Many people have asked me about it in the water which quickly exposes the atrocities of my French. The thing I like the least about it is that I like it so much as to often ride it in conditions that call for a much pointier board. It does not like approaching the pocket in steep waves.
*I would like to come out on the record in support of the metric system. However, anybody who describes waves in meters can fuck off.
We’re really sorry about this.
Taylor Paul – Stab Travel Head
Height: 5’10 / 178
Weight: 175 / 79 kg
Board(s): Log (Travis Reynolds 9’8 x 23″ x 3 3/16″). Foil: (Coleman Goon Bunny 4’8″ x 21″ x 2.9″ x 39L)
Fin/foil: Generic single fin / Ride Engine Futura Manta Ray foil (76″)
Last surf: The waves were tiny and terrible but unless the waves are big or barreling elsewhere, I don’t change where I surf, I change what I ride. So this morning I walked my log down the street (Ocean Beach, SF) and paddled out with my friend, who is borrowing my foil. We traded off.
Notes: The log is a log. I got it while I was dating a longboard girl and ride it about 10 times a year during flat spells. I haven’t ridden them to know what’s what, but this thing is pretty and feels like a proper longboard and I think that’s really important? I hung 5 and felt awkward. Doesn’t really go in choppy beachbreak though (this morning’s conditions). I think it likes smoother, longer walls. Normal score: 8/10. Score for today: 5/10
The foil was really fun. My friend Coleman made the board and foil and it’s the only one I’ve ever ridden. Today I had one really good ride where I linked three different waves. No complaints. Maybe I wish the wax was cleaner or the logo looked cooler. Score: 9/10
An all-arounder for the broadly adept Will Stiles.
Will Stiles – filmer/editor
Height: 6’1 / 185 cm
Weight: 160 / 72.5 kg
Board: Pyzel “PyzAlien 2” | 5’11” X 19.25″ X 2.44″ 30.4L | Ridden here and there since Winter
Fins: Futures’ MB3 Large
Last surf: 1-foot onshore beach break
Notes: So, the last surf I had was yesterday during lunch. I just walked down in front of my place in Manhattan and the waves were both small and unbecoming. Since it was one-foot and onshore, I took my Pyzel “PyzAlien 2”.
This is the most voluminous board I’ve ever had. I picked it out in Hawaii last winter (thank you Sam) for semi-decent waves where I’m feeling lazy and need the foam to paddle. But recently, I’ve been riding it in small shitty waves and I really dig the speed you get from it. I’ve really come to like the swallow tail for some reason as well.
Dislikes: I probably could’ve gone a smidge smaller and my wax job is the same as when I got it. Maybe I’ll re-wax it this weekend…maybe I won’t.
I’m going to give this board a score of 7.9/10.
Finally, a good fucking surfboard.
Sam Moody – filmer/editor
Height: 5’6 / 167 cm
Weight: 147lbs / 67 kg
Board: Bing Speedsquare | 3’10 x 21.75 x 2.87 | 2 years old
Fins: It has glass on twin fins. It most likely would suck with anything else.
Last surf: Chest high peaks, light wind.
Notes: When you surf this board, it’s somehow stiff and loose at the same time. You can free up the fins if you want, but you have to try really hard to do a proper turn, let alone a bottom turn (360’s are easy but it’s extremely difficult to do a wrap). You can actually get barreled on this board, and it holds which is lovely. Another big problem is that when you get on this board after surfing a conventional board, your back foot tends to slide off and you do the splits…
For me, it’s a great board for any wave that’s not pitching or too crazy. It’s such a different feeling to any other board I’ve ridden. You can have a session where you only go straight but it’s still the most fun I’ve had on a board in years. What I don’t like about it is the fact that I can’t even fit it under my arm. I have to carry it with 2 hands, it’s kind of demeaning.
I’d give it an 8/10, but then again I’m probably the worst to rate boards since I kind of suck
Since buckled. Shame!
Michael Ciaramella – Online editor
Height: 5’5 / 165 cm
Weight: 135 / 60 kg
Board: CI New Flyer in Spine-Tek (small size spine) | 5’5 x 18 3/8 x 2 3/16 x 22.7 L | Ridden roughly 15 times.
Fins: Futures’ AM1 Honeycombs (cuz Italo rides em, and they’re the ideal blend of performance and hold)
Last surf: 1-2-foot wedgy beachbreak
Notes: The waves were meant to be horrible this day, but I had to drive by the beach to find a new house to rent, so I threw my New Flyer in the car just in case.
These low expectations led to a psychotically fun 1.5-hour surf, wherein I caught everything that moved and bashed lips till my fins hit the sand like Adriano fucking De Souza. Forty waves minimum, just non-fucking stop.
The board was fast, responsive, and went just about anywhere I asked it to. At one point I landed four mini air revs in a row—a personal best. But the highlight of the session was a three-turn left. No pumping, just bang, bang, bang, with an assertive kickout for punctuation.
This board does tend to get skittish when the waves push overhead, but in smaller surf the New Flyer is a 9/10.
Danny occasionally rides this board upside down.
Danny Johnson – Senior Editor
Height: 6’2 /
Weight: 85 kg /
Board: MR Reto twin | dims unknown | ~10 years old.
Fins: glass-on twin fins
Last surf: Average 3-footers.
Notes: The board is one of those remakes of Mark Richards’ V-bottom things from the 1980s. I’ve been on and off for it for 10 years when the waves are small, and it’s so thrashed it doesn’t look like a remake anymore—it actually looks like it’s 40 years old.
I have no idea what’s written on the bottom but I’d guess the length is around 5’10 and has big glassed in fins. I’m 6’2 and 85kgs at the moment but my dims are irrelevant cause this model is thick enough for Shaq to learn to surf on.
The rails are almost too big to get your hand around so they don’t like getting wet, but like most thick twines you feel like you’re ripping cause it goes fast. Speed for free but nowhere to go.
This might look familiar.
Sam McIntosh – Stab founder, co-owner, and publisher
Height: 6’0″ / 182cms
Weight: 77kg / 163lb
Board: Channel Islands Neck Beard 2 | 5’8 x 19 1/8 x 2 3/8 x 28.6L | Moderately used.
Last surf: 3-foot beach break, lefts and rights, little barrels, some four-turn waves.
Notes: Forgive the name-dropping story you’re about to read. I often gripe to shapers that successful board models need a gentle evolution like car models rather than hanging around for a season or two and being left in the dustbin of history. According to most of these shapers, it’s to satisfy the retailers’ desire for new, new, new. Fair enough.
Anyways, I always loved the Dumpster Diver, so I texted Dane Reynolds (see, I warned you) about my frustration and asked whether he could re-release the Dumpster Diver as a model 10 years on. He texted back:
really i thought u were like 6’0 performance thruster guy
shit i havent gotten one in so long i’d be curious to get one
they’ll still make em. I’ll get ya one. i might order one aha. no dumpster diver
So, Dane orders the boards. Turns out he ordered Neck Beards, which is now the re-appropriated Neck Beard 2.
The boards were produced but the messaging got confused along the way and the two identical surfboards were included in the Electric Acid Surfboard Test (each shaper crafts two identical surfboards). The Electric Acid test took place in Mex, and I’m sure you saw how well the board performed. As planned, the surfboard went back into production as the NB2 and performed well under the feet of Eithan Osborne in Stab High, winning the Monster Air and $20k.
Anyways, Dane later asked if I ever got the board he had ordered. I hadn’t and a few months later a remake of the board arrived, again with glass-on fins. The board worked, but I’m super sloppy with looking after boards and this thing almost always has a cracked fin. I lack the domain expertise to say how it works as a fixed versus a removable fin.
Since my board was getting fixed, I stole this one from Electric Acid from the Stab office. How does the board feel? I also feel uneasy reviewing a surfboard because my surfing ability is in such a structural decline but here goes: the board is fast and light and is drivey for something so short. The aggressive rocker makes it unforgiving yet gives it an ability to work in the pocket like a tuned-up shortboard. It’s like a great small wave board for a really good surfer. When I go back to a four-fin, Wide Nose Fish from Mayhem, it takes the pressure off and I can relax. The NB2 is a board for when the mind and body are in robust shape. Which isn’t often.
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