Let’s face it, there is nothing quite like the feeling of a high performance shortboard underfoot. The rail to rail speed, the hold, and the ability to execute maneuvers right in the very best part of the wave make every session on one of these craft truly memorable. It was only 4 days ago when the swell turned on in Cape Hatteras and for a few glorious hours my …Lost Beach Buggy just sang. However, one thing we need to face is the relative frequency in which these boards make it out onto the water. As the summer begins it is a great time to look at the low-end/high-performance range to keep up the skills but still make sure every wave counts!
Here are my suggestions for small wave domination this summer (and for the rest of the year for that matter)!
Generally what you are looking for is slightly flatter overall rocker, more volume in the nose (fuller nose) and a little less tail rocker to enjoy planing speeds which require less wave power.
As always it is about design balance to give us performance and speed in one happy bundle.
LOST Weekend Warrior (WW)
A new addition to the Lost line this year, the Weekend Warrior packs a significant punch when it hits the water. Designed by Matt Biolos, this board is for taking high performance surfing into the lower echelons of wave power, but not so far that you are starting to ride round nosed grovelers. It actually does draw some small resemblance to the V2 Shortboard and would make a perfect companion to this board if you wanted a 2 board performance quiver for real world conditions.
Technically the board is tuned for that smaller day in every way. The entry rocker is lower and with the increased concave you will have water firing along the hull and generating a nice amount of speed and lift. The rails are nice and thick too, so you hold onto speed even when you are gouging a good one. The tail is where the board gets its gas and the straight line template from the mid-point down to the tail shows just how much volume you have under your back foot for generation of speed down the line. A direct companion to the deeper concave is also the added tail rocker flip and this counteracts the tail width to still give you great control as the board comes around through a powered turn.
Nate Appel, our champion of photos and media, rides this board almost solely and here’s what he had to say about it.
“No doubt this thing is a high performance grovel hound. It was the perfect addition to my Lost Sub Driver Round Tail. When the waves aren’t thumping I’m on my Warrior. Unlike truly small wave mush boards it does like to be surfed however, so make sure you want that rail to rail feel and have a good background of surfing (unless you size up radically). I actually have found more and more that my WW just keeps working when the waves ramp up so this really would work for the more leisurely gent who wants the advantage of a pointy nose but still some beef under the chest and tail. Ride it thruster and it just goes. Quad has never felt right! “
Roberts White Diamond 2
Robert Weiner of Ventura (CA) is undoubtedly one of the best shapers we have come across in quite some time. His attention to detail and the needs of the surfer are quite clear in his range. The White Diamond 2 is another of his great shapes which hails from the famous White Diamond 1. This design won Roberts critical acclaim as shaper of the year in 2012 and version 2 truly suits the good surfer who still wants to rip in average to poor waves.
“It‘s super skatey rail to rail and allows me to feel like I am surfing my regular board but in far smaller waves than would be good on a true performance design. Every single inch of foam is in the perfect place for speed and performance within the chosen range”. Pete Hardie (Cape Hatteras Ripper)
The changes from the White Diamond 1 are subtle but effective. Starting at the nose you have a hair less volume and a tad more flick to help with an even more vertical attack. The rails stay nice and full through the mid section to aid in drive and speed and Robert added a subtle double concave this year to counteract the reduction in foam per size. This still creates the same lift and down the line speed which WD1 owners will be accustomed to. Lastly the diamond tail edges are slightly more rounded to make a smoother transition between direction changes.
Pro Tips – Size up versus the White Diamond 1 by 1”. Always ride this board as a three fin even if you like the feeling of a quad.
…Lost Sub Scorcher 2
Leaning a little further into the performance bracket but still within the knee to head high range we have the Sub Scorcher 2. Lauded by surfers across the continent this stick has to be one of the most versatile small wave shortboards I have ever owned. I think it has something to do with the combination of a mellow rocker line throughout, subtle single concave and my personal board has the double wing super swallow for the tail shape. All these features make for just a plain and simple, easy to ride shortboard. It excels in anything from mushy crumbly onshore and still has to quality to take on a shallow and punchy beach break if you picked wrong one morning.
I surfed this board through the winter but it really is the summer where it comes to life. For me the best part of this board is the rail arc. Due to the wider template compared to a high performance design you have a really nice amount of radius in the rail. Combine this with the two steps of the double-wing and you have a tail which actually is not much wider. Both these features combine to allow for all surfers to keep this board tight in the pocket and really using the wave’s best power. As you head out onto the shoulder the mellow rocker allows you to quickly re-direct and bash the whitewater whilst not losing any power. This is a huge plus when it comes to honing your skills as the waves lay down during the long hot days of summer!
The Sub-Scorcher 2 is the second iteration of the hugely popular Sub Scorcher and here are some ways to make yours all time: DW-Swallow: The straight lines of the tails add drive and the swallow adds bite in turns. Diamond: Julian’s choice for more precision turning on his 5’7” 19.25” 2.32” and even a “Butt” tail for Kolohe’s 5’6” 19.50 2.32”.
All Things Considered:
My final thoughts are that the world of small wave performance shortboards is awash with designs. It seems everyone has taken their performance template and “stubbed and plumped” it to make sure the less good days are totally covered. Above you have my personal favorites and within this selection you are more than well covered!
As always we will be mainly surfing from 6AM – 9AM but when the store opens we just love talking about boards and finding the best gear for your quiver and conditions. You can talk to the REAL Pros on Live Chat daily from 9AM-8PM EST or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org . Time for some summer shredding!