Pat Gudang’s Fever Is Hot, Infectious And Will Tear Up Anything In Its Path
He’s tried antibiotics, ice baths, and a cold wet rag on his forehead, but nothing can subdue this internal combustion.
About six months back, it was revealed, in a manner that enraged hungry surf fans around the world, that Mick Fanning had chosen the Channel Islands Fever as his favorite board in Stab in the Dark.
“The main thing,” Mick said, “is that it was just really fast.”
But where did the Fever come from?
Was it an airborne virus that struck the 3x Champ, or some strange sushi-bred bacteria? (We filmed in Japan.)
As it turns out, the Fever was created in a lab by Pat Gudauskas and the Channel Islands Surfboards team, with hopes of turning the congenial Californian into a rabid competitor, foaming at the mouth and ready to decapitate any foe.
It worked, specifically at the 2018 Rip Curl Pro Bells, where Pat went on a CT killing spree with his bright yellow Fever— coincidentally the same color as caution tape.
Pat’s slaughter streak ended, somewhat ironically, against Mick Fanning in the semifinals, allowing Mick to surf his last-ever CT heat at the place where it all began, with a wildcard win at the Bells Bowl. Maybe Mick would have won had he been on the Spine-tek craft.
Despite this let-down, Pat remains attached to his Fever like a wart on a frog, and based on the video above, that’s for good reason. Watch Pat’s 13-minute ode to his favorite-ever surfboard, then read all about it below.
Stab: You helped develop the Fever around three years ago, as a way to make your quiver more streamlined and efficient. Do you think, as far as shortboards through step-ups go, you’ll ever switch off of them? Or have you found your lifelong partner?
Pat Gudauskas: Yes! The goal of the Fever design was to marry my favorite elements from three of my best Al Merrick designs over the years riding for Channel Islands. I wanted the speed of the Flyer, the carve of the Rookie, and the release of the MBM/Fred Rubble. The thing was, I didn’t want to have to bring all these boards to every stop on tour or be left surfing in the water wishing I had a little more hold or a little more release. The Fever was born from this goal of bringing them all under one design. It was a fun challenge, and it took a long time to figure out the correct combination, but in the end, it was hugely worth it. The Fever has changed how I’m approaching my surfing and my enthusiasm to stay in the water in all conditions.
Do you ride the Fever in different constructions or only PU?
Originally I surfed it mostly in PU. This was during the R&D phase, because using one construction was the easiest way to control the variables of the design. Once we dialed in the board, I pushed into standard epoxy, which I loved, and most recently the Spine-tek, which for me has reinvigorated the model because it brings such a fresh spring and pop to the board.
What did it mean to you that Mick Fanning picked the Fever as his favorite board in SITD?
Seeing Mick choose the Fever for SITD was so sick. I was stoked just to hear that the Fever was included in the SITD, and when I saw the film and got to see the process of Mick selecting it, I was frothing. Mick’s one of my all-time favorite surfers and seeing him shred the bag out of all the boards in a huge variety of waves and finally land on the Fever, it just validated all the work we’d done to make the board what it is. It feels like a huge accomplishment to have had a hand in a board that someone at that level would appreciate. Stab in the Dark is such a rad deal for people to see how pro surfers identify boards and what they look for in terms of performance.
What should somebody who’s interested in buying a Fever know about it? Any secret tips?
I love it as a round tail for waves that have big canvas’ on them, like Lowers, Bells, J-Bay etc. I feel like it really smooths out the lines and the design really celebrates the hold that the round tail gives you. I surfed this design at Bells last year for the first time and was tripping on it. Also, I love ordering mine slightly thicker with the same tapered rail so that you have maximum paddle power but with same forgiving rail. And lastly, the epoxy Spine-tek Fever is changing how I’m looking at small waves. I think it’s so fun to surf that if I only surfed around California for the rest of my life, it’s likely I would ride Spine-tek 90 percent of the time. Also, it’s fun to try is the Fever an inch shorter and slightly wider with the same Liters or volume. This works insanely sick in small surf.
What’s your most memorable session on the Fever?
That would have to be my heat with Mick Fanning in the semifinals of Bells last year. It was his last event and I got to surf against him twice in that event. I was on the Fever then, and it was a magic run and a magic board so I was pretty much frothed out to have the battles with Mick.
What fins do you typically run?
I only ride Future fins. I love them, they feel the most like original glass-ons for me and their templates are insane. I typically ride the John John Medium fins, or the Eric Arakawa fins when the waves have more punch and I want a quick grabbing fin. Recently I have been riding on the modified John John fins that are coming to market in the near future, and they feel like the perfect blend of the two.
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