CJ Nelson Designs Surfboards



Fin Setup



CJ Nelson Designs Neo Classic Surfboard

CJ Nelson Designs Neo Classic

A new (Neo) “Classic” California inspired template, designed by CJ and Ryan Engle, to be extremely neutral in its intention. Very fast and loose off the tail and stable on the nose.


9’5” x 23.5” x 3.12” | 76.10
10’0” x 24” x 3.25” | 84.40

The REAL Deal

CJ Nelson Designs Neo Classic

A new (Neo) “Classic” California inspired template, designed by CJ and Ryan Engle, to be extremely neutral in its intention. Very fast and loose off the tail and stable on the nose.

CJ Nelson Designs Neo Classic Surfboard


9’5” x 23.5” x 3.12” | 76.10
10’0” x 24” x 3.25” | 84.40

The REAL Deal

We were able to get our hands on a 9’5 Neo Classic and surf it in a variety of conditions in Cape Hatteras. Wave heights ranged from ankle/shin up to close to head high. We surfed everything for zippering sand points, to breaking out to sea mush, to second bar reelers. The footage in the review is only from one of these days, so doesn’t show all the variety and range this board has.

Trip hack Surfer: Trip Forman / 📷: Jeffrey O'Neil

The Neo Classic is offered exclusively in Thunderbolt Silver construction to produce a board with the proper weight and flex that you would expect in this Ryan Engle shape. The Silver construction features a full fiberglass layup (no full carbon sheets), with a heavier cloth schedule to hit these design targets.

Trip Whip Sequence Surfer: Trip Forman / 📷: Dianna Sherman

The Neo Classic has a nouveau look to it. It’s a “classic”, but definitely a modern take on it. From the nose back, this board is noticeably thinned out up front with its slight step deck foam flow. The rails are noticeably foiled throughout, the full figured pintail has quite a bit of width, so it’s not a better wave only board by any means. Out the back the rails are crisp with a defined release.

Tech Specs

•Long, lean foam flow
•Slight Step Deck foam flow
•Tapered rails throughout
•Flat rocker
•Full figured pintail
•Defined release off the tail

What We Like

We were able to surf this board in a variety of conditions and it shined in all of them. On the smallest day, this board had surprising glide and speed in waves only knee high at best. It was also receptive to tip time with heavier surfers in these small conditions.

Neo Classic Glide Surfer: Trip Forman / 📷: Cody Hammer

Our second session was in thigh to chest high, sectioning, soft, point break surf, where this board was a standout and really made the session fun. The Neo Classic’s thinner rail engaged quickly and immediately flew down the line when extra speed was needed. This portion of the design, and the crisp release out the back, doubled or more the length of each ride compared to other boards in the lineup. What started out as a quick 45minute session, turned into 3 hours plus because we literally couldn’t leave we were having so much fun.

The third session was a second bar, peeling beach break that was predominantly lefts. This is the video footage in the review. Some of the waves were bumpier than it looked from the beach. A few of these bumps, combined with closeout sections, made the flat rocker a bit of a handful to keep going. But the board still had good confidence and momentum to run through the chop, and created additional speed to make sections.

A few sessions after that, we scored some buttercream split peaks, knee to waist high. The kind of conditions boards like this just revel in. This was another 40 minute surf turned into surfing til pitch black. The Neo Classic was really fun to get in early, fade and then whip around in the other direction. You could feel the smooth lines the wide pin liked to draw and hook. Whether the wave was slow or fast, the Neo Classic could be trimmed to keep pace.

Neo Classic Style Surfer: Jake Sacks / 📷: Jeffrey O'Neil

From a performance standpoint, the Neo Classic is on point for hitting it’s accessible design target. Accessible normally means dumbed down, but in this case it’s actually souped you. Easier to surf, more fun to surf, more confident to push yourself, and more range to make more sessions fun.

Neo Classic Highline Cutback Surfer: Trip Forman / 📷: Cody Hammer

The Thunderbolt Silver construction pairs well with this design. The added weight gives this board noticeable momentum and glide, with just the right flex. After countless rides, the deck is still nearly perfect.

Insider Info

We used a Futures Fins Classic 10” fin throughout all these sessions. The wide tail will carry a larger fin without feeling unbalanced. Since this board can go fast, if you’re looking to use just one fin, choose something that has a touch more top end speed like the True Ames Greenough 4-A. Nothing rad on either end, just something up the middle similar to Classic. You can also dial the board’s performance by having different fins for different conditions to slow or speed it up. For noseriding we recomend the True Ames Apocalypse for it's classic template and straight-forward functionality.

Neo Backside Surfer: James Jenkins / 📷: Cody Hammer

The Neo Classic is an approachable modern noserider with flat rocker. While it’s good for a wide range of surfers and conditions, novices will be better off with a touch more rocker and turning ability. Anyone intermediate and up will really like this board.

 Neo Classic Speed Surfer: Trip Forman / 📷: Jeffrey O'Neil

Why you want a CJ Nelson Neo Classic:

You’re looking for a well rounded, modern noserider with classic vibes. The Neo Classic adds fun to any longboard session.

 Neo Classic Coffin Ride Surfer: Trip Forman / 📷: Jeffrey O'Neil

CJ Nelson’s Description

The Neo Classic is an accessible, modern noserider with thin rails, a slight step deck forward and a full figured, crisp edged pintail out the back. This board engages in the wave early, draws smooth lines and can be ridden at a high level by most surfers rather than just the elite pros. The addictive feel of the Neo Classic are making it a instant favorite quiver add.

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