Would You Test A Freshie At Sunset?
Channel Island’s CT roster dial-in new sleds on the North Shore.
Sunset is not the place to try new boards.
Dropping into an overhead west bowl peak on nothing less than your most trusted step-up is just asking for a bogged rail or botched bottom turn on the famed righthander.
For the everyman, at least.
For the Channel Islands team riders, it’s part of the job description. CI is supplying six CT surfers for the 2024 season: Joao Chianca, Imai deVault, Matthew McGillivray, Alyssa Spencer, Lakey Peterson and Barron Mamiya. During a recent run of swell ahead of the Vans Pipe Masters this month, all of them got together with Britt Merrick to fine-tune their equipment on one of the most demanding waves on the North Shore.
Barron is the most recent edition to rock the triple-hex logo. After riding Sharp Eye boards to solid results over the last several years, including the past two CT seasons, he’s going into 2024 with backing on the Santa Barbara brand.
“I made the change ’cause I just wanted to get different feels under my feet,” Barron told me. “It was definitely hard to leave Sharp Eye but I’m super stoked to be with CI. My boards have been working insane and I’m super excited for next season.”
In addition to honing variations of Jack Robinson’s and Italo Ferreria’s Stab In The Dark-winning models, one of the more intriguing options Barron has been riding is made of CI’s new Eco Carbon Tech. Britt said the flex pattern absorbs the bumps and sits well in Hawaiian power. Bringing carbon construction into heavier waves would be a real zag for high-performance shortboards, where we’ve seen carbonized blades excel in small surf thanks to fin-ditching performances from Filipe Toledo and John Florence.
And, though these R&D sessions can turn into an easy highlight reel for CI’s production team, Britt also has a utilitarian motive for these trips.
“A lot of the stuff we figure out through these experiment sessions trickles down to boards that I’m going to make for the average surfer that I see out at Rincon all the time, or anywhere in California or different places in the world,” Britt said. “All these little tweaks we determine about construction difference materials, about rocker, foils, thickness flow, it really gets hashed out here with the best surfers in the most challenging conditions. Then it just works out for every surfer.”
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