I walk through the board loft of REAL more than most. Whether it’s to measure the nose and tail dimensions of a Lost RV or to just drink in the relentlessly new shapes that we have arriving.
Predominantly I ride shortboards as they offer up all the characteristics I look for when it comes to the surf in Cape Hatteras. Coupled with that I like a fast style of surfing and try as hard as I can to surf to that brief when I’m in the water. As a consequence I have owned everything from Roberts MM16s through Lost Beach Buggies, Roberts Black Punts and Modern 80’s, Lost Sub Scorchers and Sub Drivers, however one board that I have always walked right past is the Mini Driver.
Why was this you ask? Good question, the Mini Driver is one of the best selling boards at REAL in 2013 and continues to be a stable performer for hundreds of surfers across the world. Obviously I was under some form of strange spell that just drew me towards a regular shortboard with a squash tail. Or, was it that this board was categorized as a hybrid by those in the know, therefore putting me off before I was even entertained the thought of one in my quiver.
Well, the inevitable happened this January, and whilst cruising the board loft with Trip and Matt I was cajoled into investing in the Mini Driver. One day later, still armed with reservations, a little known sandbar started to throw really hollow head high plus waves for an afternoon. It was a revelation, I paddled out, caught the first wave of the session and slid into a tunnel that roped into the shallow bank spitting me out as I hit the inside. Evidently completely over-excited I scrambled back to the peak to do the same. This time it was a later drop, way more technical, and demanded a micro pump under the lip to deliver forward speed that was going to get me to the end. It ended up that this wave raced a little too quick and after a wonderful view of the Rodanthe beach front, framed perfectly, I was collecting my board.
I was impressed. In fact, I was over the moon. Here was a board that allowed easy wave catching, great stability on the drops and then stunning forward speed when asked for it. Hesitations as to whether the board would be too foamy in the nose were shattered when the second session encountered steep walls to put in some turns. I think that the continuous rocker outline that keeps going well into the middle of the board allows for this and then the relatively flat tail rocker gives that speed boost when you need it. This board just loves to turn!
I have since surfed this board in conditions ranging from over head high to waist high and have only once felt like it started to become sluggish. It was a high tide session where I could have done with a flatter rocker (like the Sub Scorcher 2). Other than that this board is my new friend. Not quite the one board quiver but very close.
If you are considering a true all rounder this year and want to make as many barrels as you can, paddle for anything and gouge some big turns, think about the Mini Driver. Its anything but a Hybrid, it’s a user friendly performance board that will give Intermediates to advanced surfers real scope to progress and keep surfing the same board despite the conditions. I just re-watched the Red Bull Mentawai edit with Kolohe Andino ripping this board in awesome waves so I dare anyone to find a top end to this proven performer!
If you're interested and looking for sizing info, I'm 6'2" and 185lbs. The dims on my Mini Driver are 5'11 x 19.75 x 2.44. It's a PU/Poly construction with FCS tri/quad boxes (I'm surfing it with the tri set up)!