What’s The Difference Between A CT And QS Surfboard?
A lesson in 3-dimensional surfing with Matt “Mayhem” Biolos
This year Matt “Mayhem” Biolos, founder and head-shaper of …Lost Surfboards, has three young studs transitioning from the QS to the CT — Griffin Colapinto, Yago Dora, and Michael Rodrigues. As a surfboard expert, and as someone who will provide hundreds, perhaps thousands, of sleds to the world’s best surfers in 2018, I was interested to hear Matt’s opinion on a couple subjects:
What’s the difference between a CT and QS surfboard, if any?
And how does Mayhem work with guys like Griffin, Yago, and particularly Michael Rodrigues (who rode a ton of epoxy crafts on his road to qualification) to succeed on the elite tour?
(Note: this interview took place before the Quik Pro Snapper)
Stab: It seems like Michael Rodrigues is surfing your Carbon Wraps all the time. Around what percentage of his 2017 QS events would you say he rode epoxies?
Matt Biolos: Probably about 50% of the time would be a safe assumption.
And what is Mike’s quiver looking like for the Aussie CT leg? Still a lot of Carbon Wraps?
I sent M-Rod with 18 boards for the three Australian events. Of those 18 boards only two are Carbon Wraps (5’8 Sub Drivers), and the rest are shortboards (5’9 Drivers and Pocket Rockets) and step-ups (Whiplashes) for Bells and Margaret’s. (Editor’s note: Surprise, Kirra too!)
Is Michael’s rookie year quiver different from what he was riding on the QS?
Yes. Generally speaking, CT boards are more neutral, weighted down a little, and geared toward controlling speed and doing precise maneuvers in powerful waves. QS boards are lighter, more buoyant, more forgiving, and geared toward generating speed. If you put a QS board at Bell’s or Margaret’s or even Hossegor, you’ll be doing check-turns and chop tops instead of rail gaffs. And on the CT, you need to surf 3-dimensionally through the water.
Griffin knows how to bury some foam.
Miller/Red Bull content pool
Oooh I like that term–3-dimensional surfing. Can you explain it a little further?
In order to get scored well on the CT, you need to surf through the water, not on top of it. So if you think of the ocean surface as plane, your rail needs to break through that plane and interact with the other side. The more board you can get underwater, the better. That’s 3-dimensional surfing.
How do you help achieve this 3-dimensional approach through board design?
There are many ways to make a board sink down in the water. You can add weight by increasing foam density or adding extra glass, you can also change the bottom contours, lower the rails, adjust volume, play with the concave, etc.
What about rocker? Are CT boards generally more curved?
Because CT waves are steeper, they do allow for more tail rocker, but I don’t get crazy with it. A rocker-chip is great at Restaurants, or maybe a drainy shorepound at Portugal, but when you need to land airs or connect the dots to get a score, you’re better off with a more neutral surfboard.
M-Rod and the benefits of a flatter, more buoyant surfboard.
And talk to me about volume. Are you making these boards smaller so they can be easily submerged? Or do you make them thicker to compensate for the bigger surf?
This is where it gets interesting. If you’re talking about Bells and Margaret’s -– more open ocean waves –- they end up using a board that’s thicker through the center (AKA having a higher stringer) both for paddling and to help the surfer drive off his front foot, but we keep the rails low to help them permeate the water. Essentially you can make a board with more volume that’s still easily submerged.
Do you have significant input on what your guys are riding in these events, or do they tell you exactly what they want and you just shape it?
Kolohe and Dino have their program really dialed, so I pretty much just make those to order. But for someone like Yago or Michael Rodriguez, who really has no idea what he’s getting himself into, I pretty much have complete creative control with his boards. He’s putting his trust in me.
And do you feel comfortable being put in that position?
Yeah, definitely. I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years. If you’re not good at what you’re doing after that long, you should just quit and start doing real estate like every other schmuck in this town [laughs].
And how do you think that your rookies, Michael, Yago, and Griffin will fare on tour this year?
I think Michael Rodriguez can pull as explosive maneuvers as anyone in the world. Yago has already shown that he can work his way through a CT draw. And Griffin has shown in the last 6 to 8 months that he has as much natural ability as anyone. So they’ll all have highlights, but I think that there will be a big learning curve as well.
And after this week’s showing at Snapper/Kirra, in which M-Rod quartered and Griffin semied (and got the year’s first and only 10), it’s safe to say Mayhem was right about those “highlights”.
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