If you're a shaper, you may not like reading this. I'm going to make generalizations about what shaping features I like and don't like. I'll accept what shapers like to say, it's the whole package and how it comes together that tells the story. But since I can't afford to buy a bunch of customs trying to get one right, I'm taking charge and will go into my first custom purchase with knowledge and experience. I will work with my shaper to get it right the first time, or at least very close. OK off the soap box now.
The SUPs I've tested that created my knowledge base.
Laird Surftech 12'2
Kyle Bernhardt 10'6
Features I don't like in a SUP are vee under the paddle stance location. It creates instability that forces you to use a bigger SUP to overcome this problem. The JL 10 is the worst culprit. JL 10' is the fastest SUP on this list, but I'm betting the vee is not the magic bullet that gives it the speed. Maybe the vee allowed some compromise toward a speedier rocker, while the vee kept it loose. Anyway, my first custom will pass on this approach.
Chines, I'll pass in these too. The Naish has a chine that reminds me very much of what I saw on the 10'6 C4. Never tested the C4, only touched it. The Naish has a constant state of side to side wobble that the body must adjust too. It is the most unusual feeling board of everything I've tried in this regard.
Full noses combined with a low entry rocker. What a pain in the butt this shape is for paddling out. The JL 11 is the worst for this. Sometimes it throws you in reverse faster than you were going forward when the wave hits, regardless of how well you punched the wave.
I don't like big volume and thick rails. The chunkier the rail, the more it slams on the brakes when you wobble side to side. The board will wobble side to side a few degrees, but won't go any farther. Slamming on the brakes might be good for newbies not trying to fall, but imagine slamming on the brakes when you try to sink the rail and actually surf! Lean, stumble, fart, and fall. Not my idea of surfing.
Glide, who cares. I'm surfing, not kayaking. I think this feature in a SUP has no place here.
What I think I want in a custom board is the following:
The JL 10 nose. It is slightly pulled, yet still wide and semi full with the right amount of scoop. It punches through waves better than any board I've tried. It's more resistant to pearling too. You can nose ride it.
A flat or single concave flat bottom at the paddle stance location.
The slightest amount of vee at the tail required to loosen it up in combination with the rocker chosen. More vee in the tail makes it harder to wheelie and spin turn.
I want a 5 fin setup. My shortboard is a quad fin. I love it. I'd love to have the option to do quad or 2+1 on my next SUP.
I want it to be 4 1/4 thick, with deck domed just enough to take away the chunky rails.
Well that's the extent of my wish list for my first custom SUP. I'd guess this magic board will be ordered sometime this Spring. I'm going to Surf Expo, so stay tuned. The local SUP shop invited me to go. www.gopaddlesurf.com A great place to shop.
My reservations about not doing a custom board earlier come from my past experience trying to sell customs. They don't sell. Pop outs have good resale value and you can unload them on EBay.
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