Summer Shortboards: Which is the best surfboard model for you?

Hey everyone! Hope everyone is having a great summer so far and been getting some good waves in with the fun swells we’ve had.

Rather than an in depth Board Breakdown of one of my models, getting into the details of the rails, bottom contours, rockers, etc – I wanted to break down the entire Summer Shortboards model line to help explain how they compare to each other.

First I’d like to say that the description “Summer Shortboards” is a bit misleading; while they’re designed to handle the typical waves we tend to get during summer, they aren’t by any means only limited to summer waves. In fact, many of my customers have switched to surfing these boards almost entirely and year round. They are quite versatile and tons of fun.

So the 5 current boards in the Summer Shortboard model line are the Reviver, MicroJet, Mango Pit, Coconut and Chia Seed. While there is some overlap between the models, they each have their own personalities and characteristics.

To give a little perspective as quickly as possible: The MicroJet and Coconut have the most rocker, the Reviver and Chia Seed have the most overall width, and the Mango Pit has the most surface area.

The Reviver and MicroJet were both designed with performance surfing and performance shortboard characteristics in mind, where as the Mango Pit, Coconut and Chia Seed were not designed with a performance shortboard heavily in mind – they were designed less around performance surfing and more around fun, versatility and ease of use.

So first to compare the more performance oriented boards of the Summer Shortboards: the Reviver and MicroJet . The MicroJet more closely resembles and feels like a traditional high performance shortboard – you’d typically ride the MicroJet a couple/few inches longer than you would the Reviver. The MicroJet has more rail hold and therefore naturally hold better in bigger conditions. Even though it’s technically above its wave range it was designed for, I’ve had customers that have had the MicroJet out in 1′-2′ overhead waves and it held and surfed brilliantly. The Reviver, while it has less rail hold at high speed (I give it a comfortable max wave height of about shoulder high [this is due to it’s shortness, width and ultra low rocker]), it is more agile than the MicroJet and turns and maneuvers more readily. The Reviver paddles and catches waves a bit easier especially on the lower end of the wave spectrum due to its lower rocker than the MicroJet. So for the closest feel and characteristics to a traditional high performance shortboard, especially in a touch bigger surf, go with the MicroJet. For extreme agility, especially in shoulder high and smaller surf, go with the Reviver.

Now on to the more laid back boards of the Summer Shortboards: the Mango Pit, Coconut and Chia Seed. Even though they’re not designed with high performance surfing or shortboards directly in mind, don’t be confused – these things can still crank out phenomenal turns and surf extremely well. The right surfer can surf these more or less just as critically as the Reviver or MicroJet.

The Mango Pit is fast, fun, a bit loose and energetic. Although you don’t HAVE to surf it this way, it really likes a lot of user input, hence the description of “energetic”. The Mango Pit was designed for the energetic soul surfer. It catches waves incredibly easy – possibly easier than any of the other boards in the Summer Series Shortboards model line due to it’s extremely high surface area and ultra low rocker. The Mango Pit likes bowly, almondly wave faces best – in really pitchy, dredging conditions it can feel a bit squirrelly due to its relatively wide tail – though it’s pulled in behind the fins to help stabilize it out a bit and fit more naturally into the semi-pitchy waves we always seem to get here on the U.S. East Coast. It’s really fast and keeps its speed incredibly well through the flats. It’s an awesome longboard alternative, as well, as long as the waves have a bit of punch to them. The Coconut is designed to feel flowy and consistent underfoot. It’s super curvy and has enough rocker to fit into most any spot on the wave naturally. In some ways a one board quiver, especially if you order it as a Quad+1 or 5 fin convertible. It turns really well and consistently, drawing flowing, connected lines and turns, is quick and – best of all – is designed to give you no surprises. It’s super reliable and handles a very wide variety of wave conditions. It’s an excellent trip board, too. The Chia Seed is the most laid back of them all – with its pulled in but wide pin tail, it’s designed primarily for down the line surfing, flowing from the top to the bottom of the wave making primarily forward motion, and having long, drawn out turns and projection. In some ways, you can think of it as having log/cruiser longboard characteristics as far as the way it was designed to be surfed – and I do have quite a few longboarders order the Chia Seed for that reason – who want a shorter board but maintain the longboard-esque style of surfing.

So there you have it! The Summer Shortboards model line breakdown! While they do have some overlap, the Reviver, MicroJet, Mango Pit, Coconut and Chia Seed certainly all have their own unique personalities and characteristics. Hopefully this helps to categorize that for each model a bit better and lays out where they fall on the design and wave spectrum and will help make the best model(s) for you jump right off the page.

As always, if you’re still not quite sure which model would be best for you and would like some feedback, have any other questions or are ready to place an order for your own custom surfboard, drop me a line at info@daveyskysurfboards.com, call 732-701-7SKY (7759) or swing by any time during normal shop hours (though I highly recommend making an appointment so I can make myself personally available to meet and talk).

Thanks for reading everyone!

Go surf!

-Dave Kaminsky

Founder & Owner

Board Breakdown: Reviver

This Board Breakdown brings the Reviver up to the plate. The Reviver, like the Turbo Ripper, has consistently been a top 3 seller, and the last 2 summers was the stand out #1 seller.

The Reviver in one word? Agile. Agility is essentially the whole purpose of the Reviver. A generalization for surfboards is the longer the board the easier it is to catch waves (especially smaller, weaker waves) and the shorter the board the easier it is to maneuver. The Reviver is designed to combine the best of both worlds: incredible ease of paddling and wave catching in small, weak and/or slopey waves with extremely agility.

daveysky_reviver_5'0_deck

The Reviver was designed to be surfed pretty much as short as possible for a surfboard without sacrificing performance surfing maneuverability. And that’s an important point – the Reviver is designed around performance surfing!…in less than stellar waves, of course. It’s a tricky feat to accomplish, but after a number of variations and evolution, the Reviver nails it.

The basics are apparent: it’s short (super maneuverable), ultra low rockered and a wide outline (incredible paddle power and wave catching ability). So what’s so special? Well, when you start to go super short and wide (specifically shortening the rail line so much), the boards tend to get squirrelly and a bit out of control. Combine that with the ultra low rocker, and the effect tends to get even worse. And surfing a squirrelly, out of control surfboard is usually only fun for a few minutes. So it took some carefully calculated manipulation to exploit the pro list of the aforementioned characteristics while minimizing and/or eliminating the con list.

The first reason the Reviver taps into the pro list are the outline curves. Appears to be simple, but it’s more complex than it seems. Many of my board models, and probably most surfboards around the world, have fairly or very continuous curvatures to their outlines (excluding wings, bumps, etc, which is kind of a different category). The Reviver has what I call a staged outline curve. You may have heard rockers referred to as either continuous or staged; while not referred to commonly, I consider those characteristics to apply to outline curves, as well. So the Reviver has what I consider a double recurved staged outline. Sounds more interesting than it actually probably is, haha. From about a foot up from the tail up to about a foot back from the nose, the rail line is has a continuous large radius curve, maintaining a slight continuous curve. This allows for great speed production and rail hold when driving down the line. The outline curve then recurves in at a tighter radius to “recurve” into the nose and tail rapidly. At the nose, it pulls in the nose a bit. Why do that rather than just keep a round nose? Well, even in the summer when it’s tiny, somehow here in New Jersey and on the east coast the waves are STILL pitchy, so it helps keep the nose a bit more catch free – but the critical nose width is still there to make paddling just as easy as if it had a round nose. At the tail, it carries the straight rail line back a bit farther than if it were a continuous outline curve, creating more drive and rail hold that way. It’s also strategically places to create a subtle extra pivot point for the front fins to work with to keep the turns nice and quick. The outline really is key for the Reviver.

daveysky_reviver_5'0_bottomSecond, the concaves/bottom contours. On almost any surfboard you’d find in a major surf shop in the Reviver category, you’ll find vee in the bottom contours somewhere – either in the tail or even through the whole board. While vee naturally puts the board off balance along the center and creates easier rail to rail flow and transitions, vee also detracts from speed, liveliness, drive and power. For those reasons, I left vee out of the bottom contours on the Reviver. Instead, a deep double barrel concave runs through nearly the entire board, deepening through the center and out the tail. The rail rocker and center/stringer rocker are almost exactly the same throughout the board, which – in combination with the wide round tail – enables the Reviver to feel both energetic and predictable from rail to rail. This helps channel the water more effectively to the fins on the rail since it’s such a wide shortboard, allowing you to have more control especially during your turns. In the smallest sizes (4’8 – 5’0 or so), I will sometimes include a touch of spiral vee either in the tail or vee through the whole board depending on the surfer’s weight and ability. For the groms or very lightweight surfers that don’t quite have the weight to muscle the wide board around, the vee enables the lighter surfers to get the board from rail to rail the same way a heavier surfer is able to.

DaveySKY Surfboards Reviver

Lastly, the hidden bevelled rails! The Reviver has a flat/semi flat deck with a hidden (soft transition) bevelled rail. This accomplishes two things: (1) reduction of rail volume to make sinking your rail easier (which is important because of the wide outline), and (2) lower center of gravity and quicker reaction time of the board compared to a standard domed deck (due to essentially preloading the deck into the balls and heels of your feet for a faster reaction to your movements), keeping agility of the Reviver of the forefront of its design.

daveysky_reviver_5'0_bottom_2

So for the shortboarder that always wants to be on a performance shortboard, no matter how tiny the waves are, the Reviver is a critical board to have in the quiver. The Reviver is a constant passenger in my car during the summer whenever I’m headed to the beach. If the Reviver can’t paddle into the waves, then the ocean is flat.

Check out more at the DaveySKY Surfboards Reviver webpage.

Go surf!

-Dave

P.S. The Reviver is also an awesome high tide board! When the performance/performance hybrid/hybrid shortboard stops working easily because the tide got on it – it’s too deep and the waves are much softer and slopey even if there’s still decent size, the Reviver can probably paddle into those easily, allowing you to get into the waves early and set up for it to wall up and form on the inside during high tides. Another reason it’s a critical quiver board for the avid shortboarder.

 

Board Breakdown: Turbo Ripper

Hey again everyone! This is the first Board Breakdown, where I’ll be going into detail about a different board model each time. This time: the Turbo Ripper.

Why the Turbo Ripper first? Simple: it’s consistently been one of my top 3 selling board models, and – if you follow my Instagram (@daveyskysurfboards), you may have noticed an overwhelming number of Turbo Rippers lately, as it’s become our #1 seller over the last few months. So I figured it would be a great board for the first Board Breakdown.

DaveySKY Surfboards Turbo Ripper outline
DaveySKY Surfboards Turbo Ripper outline

If I had to describe the Turbo Ripper in one word: FAST. This board, probably more than any other board in the model line, is designed most heavily specifically for classic New Jersey conditions – heavy, fast, drainy, dredgy. I wanted to design a modern performance based shortboard that could consistently make and beat out sections while still maintaining the affinity for performance maneuvers.

The Turbo Ripper is insanely easy to paddle and catch waves, and on the wave face many of my customers have described the Turbo Ripper as having “an extra gear”. In fact, a lot of my customers who have Turbo Rippers have told me they had to recondition their brains to go from thinking “Okay make the drop and high line it and pump pump pump pump” to “Alright I can make a bottom turn and make a top turn!”, and I’m SO stoked to get feedback like that, because that was the whole point and concept behind the Turbo Ripper’s design.

So what makes the Turbo Ripper so fast? A combination of it’s rocker, concaves, rails and tail. So, yeah, pretty much everything, hahah. But it all comes together really beautifully.

The rocker is actually opposite of the general trend in hybrid and performance hybrid shortboards, which is lower nose/entry rocker and exaggerated tail/exit rocker and flip. That generally makes for a somewhat easy paddling/wave catching board, but once up and on the wave, the ability to drive and create speed is limited due to the heavy tail rocker – which does generally allow for good in-the-pocket surfing – but tends to require a slightly slower breaking and more predictable, consistent wave. And boards with that type of rocker certainly have their place are are great for that style of wave. However, my goal was to tackle a faster, rainier, dredgier less predictable wave. Therefore, the Turbo Ripper has a slightly relaxed nose and entry rocker and a relatively low exit and tail rocker. That allows for the board to handle the steepest drops New Jersey offers without the nose catching, and once on the wave face, screaming fast drive, acceleration and top speed.

The concaves also play a serious role in the “driveyness” of the Turbo Ripper. The deep double-within-single concaves almost the entire length of the board essentially preloads your rail(s) to pump and drive, as well as channeling water specifically to your engaged rail fin(s). I always refer to the concaves of the Turbo Ripper as its engine.

DaveySKY Surfboards Turbo Ripper concaves / bottom contours
DaveySKY Surfboards Turbo Ripper concaves / bottom contours
DaveySKY Surfboards Turbo Ripper diamond tail
DaveySKY Surfboards Turbo Ripper diamond tail

Normally, a lower tail rocker means less forgiveness/”control” in the pocket. And, while a board model like The Dream that has a more standard high performance tail rocker will indeed more naturally fit better in the pocket, the Turbo Ripper can still handle it extremely well. This is due to the rail rocker, outline curves, and diamond tail all working together. The very curvy outline and curvy rail rocker in combination with the diamond tail (read: slightly shortened rail line) and concave water control allow for excellent, fast in-the-pocket control, especially considering the reduced tail rocker.

The final part – the rails. The rails are definitely a bit unique compared to the usual performance “c” rail found across a majority of shortboards in any given surf shop. They almost feel like a down rail in your hand, but they’re not. They feel that way due to the deep concaves, as well as the volume distribution throughout the rail. The rails have a bit of a tighter radius in the bottom half of the rail (leaving a touch more foam there), creating more volume in the bottom half of the rail. This creates a more stable ride, a fast reacting board (especially while driving). It should be noted that it’s not the world’s most forgiving rail – it probably takes a comfortable intermediate surfer and up to really appreciate the rails, but they do really dial in your form and surfing pretty quickly. I could have made the rails a touch more forgiving like a normal performance “c” rail, but it would have detracted from the intended result of the board design. Don’t be afraid of the rails! They don’t take much getting used to – if any. They are designed to improve your surfing.

DaveySKY Surfboards Turbo Ripper bottom
DaveySKY Surfboards Turbo Ripper bottom

Whenever the waves are shortboard-able, I ALWAYS have the Turbo Ripper in the car when I go for a surf check. And, when on a performance based shortboard, I’m surfing the Turbo Ripper probably about 75% of the time. When we get fresh, heaving storm swell (about 2′ overhead and up), I’m on either The Dream or the Pipe Dream…but when it starts to mellow out a bit and becomes a bit more “manageable” (4′-6′ is it’s money zone; aka spring and fall), I never hesitate to switch to the Turbo Ripper.

Check out more at: DaveySKY Surfboards Turbo Ripper webpage

Go Surf!

-Dave

P.S. The Turbo Ripper isn’t JUST for New Jersey -it also works wonders at breaks around the world. It’s saved the day on some mushy groundswell days in places like Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Hawai’i and some smaller, disorganized windswell in Outer Banks, Florida, California, etc.