Over the last few weeks i've been trying out a 9'6 james parry model by Slide 65 out of gwithian, shaped by Rob Wright. I really wanted to like it, it looks great, the black stealth finish is cool and i like the way Rob has consolidated the younger sennen crew over the last year, providing a rallying point for the talent they have and starting to give their little scene a collective identity. Unfortunately so far i've found it's not quite my cup of tea..............................
Admittedly the one i have is a protoype, they have pulled the nose in a little on the newer ones. This one is medium weight, a relaxed log style rocker, 9'6 x 18 x 22.75 x 14.75 x 2.7/8. Where it differs from a classic log (and where i think my own feelings stem from) is in the rails and the base. The rails are 60/40 rather than 50/50. In another departure, there is a fairly deep concave in the nose but this mellows and extends back to 3/4's of the length of the board. The idea is to create a really fast trimming board that noserides well but cuts back with more performance than a standard heavy log. It uses a greenough 4a fin to aid in this respect.
So to the review........... Paddles great, people often make noises about concave boards paddling badly but i honestly don't think it makes that much difference, rocker does though and the rocker here is nicely judged, flat enough to feel stable while trimming and walking, just enough lift to make steep takeoffs a possibility. It does trim fast, in a peaky wave it outruns the pocket quickly and it is good on the nose, stable and responsive. It's off the tail that my problems manifest, and i should be clear i think this is more to do with a mismatch between my surfing and the shape rather than the board iself. While the concave helps as you move forward, from the back, to me the board feels a little awkward, sometimes whipping round, other times feeling sticky and catchy without the smoothness i'm used to. The slightly harder rails add to this feel. As a result my surfs have been peppered with moments of brilliance and frustration in equal measure and i've struggled to feel like i'm in sync with the board.
I think it likes / needs a little steepness to the wave for starters (which almost everywhere but saunton has!) I also feel that i've ridden so many logs with varying degrees of belly over the years that my style has evolved into a particular groove that doesn't fit here. Mine is a (hopefully) smooth style guiding the board through turns with gentle weighting of the rail with footwork , a real stall and trim style. I haven't ridden a progressive flat bottomed longboard consistently ever and not at all for over 5 years. James, on the other hand, as well as being a great surfer, spent a lot of the last few years riding competition boards where turns are more about planting your weight and driving the board around and i think this board fits far better with that style. It's probably a good log for someone who rides a "modern" longboard as well which ultimately isn't me!
I feel a little bad about posting anything negative on here because i like what Rob and friends are doing. Hopefully this comes across as fair and balanced and that it's not the boards failings that are the issue. This is just one model out of several that Rob makes and i'm sure there are others that would suit just fine, hopefully i'll get to try something else in the future!