If you havent seen this yet, it's really worth watching on itunes. It's a really interesting and fairly comprehensive documentary on the history of the fish design from Lis right through to the present. Some good surfing interspersed between the talking heads too!
It's taken a while but i have finally managed enough sessions on the new mandala to form an opinion! I've never heard a bad review of one of Many's boards and im just going to add to the general hype about his shapes here.
Ive ridden quite a few different mini simmons over the last few years and prior to that i'd put quite a lot of time into various iterations of fish, both the classic twin keel and the double bump quad speedialler style. About a year ago i kind of rediscovered my little 5'6 Gulfstream keel fish. I think if i'm honest that it was maybe just a tiny bit too small for my shortboard abilities when i first had it and i never rode it all that much. Fast forward to last year and my general small board ability had definately ramped up a few notches. Getting back on the fish (which is very much from the performance christenson school rather than a cruisy "retro" place) suddenly opened up much more vertcal surfing and bigger roundhouse cutbacks than the seapea and other mini simmons allowed. However this new found "radicalness" (tongue firmly in cheek) came at the expense of the flat out mush/speed generation of the seapea or the TW bar of soap.
Bottom line was to start looking for something that sat between the two with more of the fish's urning ability but still the speed generation the mini simmons excel at.
Manny would be the first to say that very little is new in board design but he does seem to have a talent for adding his own tweak to things that work very well and his family of ASQ (arc swallowtail quad) boards are no exception. Broadly speaking they are a version of the mini simmons platform with a rolled entry and flat rocker but they are narrower than the classic outline with a little more curve. They are quads and the bottom goes from belly into spiral vee instead of a single concave through the fins. The rails are more foiled than a classic simmons also.
All of this adds up to a really fun board that hits the middle ground i was looking at. It generates tonnes of speed in mush - the simmons style belly and the big concaves guaruntee that but the thinner rails and the quad set up along with a narrower curvier template yield a much more responsive board that will go more vertical and wrap through cutbacks much harder/easier than a traditional simmons shape. I think the vee and the quad fins help here too.
Shannon and Vaughn heading out for some small zippers in early spring.
After the great Saunton car park debacle of the end of last year, the new barriers are in but the jury is still out. As of the time of writing its not running that smoothly with the cams failing to read some number plates, especially when the sun is low and big queues at the machines meaning some people are getting charged for extra hours parking because they are queueing for 10 minutes. To be fair, on quieter days the system is working so far.
I hope they get it sorted and crucially put some more pay machines in because things are going to get ugly as the proper summer crowds arrive later this month!
Introducing the new Gulfstream Surfboards Slim Pig!
This one is 9'4 x 17.75 x 23 x 16.25 x 3 Flat rocker, wide point behind centre, a little tail kick, subtle nose concave and a tiny amount of roll in the bottom but really soft, pinched rails the whole length. Its a refined foil and fairl;y slimmed out, its not a chunky pig shape
Designed for a greenough 4a style fin. (This one is a mikey detemple 10 inch but its practically the same as a 4a).
Gulfstream's finishing just gets better with a part polish, geometric cut tail patches and a gold leaf logo.
The idea behind it is moulded from the shapes that people like Devon Howard, Harrison roach, dane Peterson and alex knost have been riding over the last few years and it borrows heavily from a board that Randall of if6was9 shaped that has been my go to log for the last two years. The idea is to get away from a parallel railed noserider that is hard to turn and bring a bit more performance (involvement!) to your surfing without sacrificing the traditional lines on a wave and a loggy feel. Moving the widepoint back does two things. It gives more surface area for the board to lock into the pocket for nose riding and it helps the board rotate under your feet when turning. this coupled with a slimmer fin than a traditional noseriding template means a more manageable board in steeper waves and harder turns when you are cutting back.
Whilst you might think a narrower nose would compromise nose riding ability, in a steeper wave it actually works in your favour by increasing control and allowing the board to get more parallel to the wave. The narrower front end also reduces swing weight which helps your turns once again
We've been lucky to have had some clean summer waves to test it in and Jools has definitely nailed it with this model, believe me it noserides really well, locking in really solidly and with a good trim speed from the nose. It turns superbly too. If you are after something a little different to a saunton foil or something that will cope with faster beachbreak waves, the this is a great choice!
So i've been working on a new log with Jools at Gulfstream ready for summer. More details to come soon - it's going to sit as a model in their range as a nice counterpoint to the saunton foil.
The place in the picture has had a big hand in it's template and the direction my prefered longboard shapes have taken over the last few years, coupled with the worldwide move by loggings stylemakers away from the paralell templated Nuuhiwa style logs and towards those more informed by Pigs, Nat's magic sam, Greenough's 4a template and the Australian involvement movement.