The aspiring shredder blog
It's an inevitable part of most sports and hobbies at some point you will without doubt blame your tools. Of course, the old saying is true a bad workman blames his tools but if he bought them from Screwfix he is probably right.
The same goes for surfboards, after a while of surfing the same boards over and over again you begin to believe that "Yes, of course, the reason I am not landing everything I try is that 1/8 of an inch in the middle of my two year old surfboard" Well you might just be right.
Ability changes, weight changes, boards lose their recoil characteristics (more so PU than Epoxy) but a new surfboard is like a fresh hair cut. You walk out of that barbers and feel like you could chat up an Insta model with 3m followers, be whisked around the world as a boyfriend or girlfriend of Instagram, champagne would fall from the sky, money will grow on tree's it will always be six foot and pumping and you will surf like JJF pre knee injury number one.
While a fresh buzz cut may have the same feeling the reality of surfboards and hair cuts are similar. It will grow back and look like your aunty jane from the '80s and you will in time blame your new surfboards for your lack of ability.
But let's pretend for now that a new surfboard will solve all problems. That's what I was thinking when I ordered my new Shank and Rockstar.
Having previously had a 6'0 Fivenine and a 5'10 Rockstar max (before it was called that) I fancied a change, needed a bit of buzz back in my surfing, and wanted a fresh paint job so all the photogs stop saying "sorry man, I never saw you" the polite way of saying "your turns look terrible"
Having gone through with Luke about what I wanted, what I wanted to change, what I felt like I needed. We came up with a 5'11 Shank with a squash tail, for those better UK days, travel board, and all-round shred sled. The 5'10 Rockstar is for everyday waves and the smaller slop.
Let's start with the Shank. I jumped on this board on a 3-4ft day on the N coast of Cornwall on a seemingly good bank and first off felt I had gone a bit small with this one. I caught my first wave on it and it all felt a bit unstable. However, at this point, it's worth saying. Most surfers need a few surf let alone one wave to get used to a board. So I didn't stress too much and run back to the factory, card in hand ready for a refund. These things take time. Then I had a few more waves in the same session and this board clicked. I felt solid through a turn, great off the bottom, held well when I tried to push harder through cutbacks, and more vertical (for me) turns. It just worked I was stoked. One tick in the box. I have a shortboard that works in good waves.
From the fivenine to the shank. I felt I could get away with more mistakes and heavy-footed surfing. It's a board that makes you feel better than you are and I love that beacuse who wants a board that's hard to surf.
The Rockstar was up next. I surfed this first off at a quite hollow beach break that was particularly good on that day. Again first few waves were a bit weird and like riding a new bike. This board took a touch longer to work out. I initially felt it was quite stiff compared to the rockstar max. It had more drive but a bit less release. I surfed in a range of conditions and have found its sweet spot between, waist and head high. Even a bit more if the waves are a bit fat. It has tons of speed and feels really responsive. Its not a small wave board for me. In small 2ft waves, I find it hard to get going. I would say this is where a Rockstar max would come into play. The Rockstar is great for that average UK day where its 2-3ft a bit fat and slow but you have the odd good wave and steep section. Its a board I could surf in a lot of conditions and if you are after one board to do as much as possible this won't be far off. Avoid really small and really pumping and you won't be far wrong.
My sum up of the new quiver is this
Shank - Makes you feel like you can go out and shred when it's pumping. Amazing at compensating for mistakes in your surfing and technique. Really good in hollow waves and just a great board
Rockstar - A UK everyday board that will give you speed and maneuverability in bucket loads. Avoid super small conditions but try it in bigger waves its surprising how much it can handle.