OK...finally got this board into some good waves this morning
and now have about 7-8 sessions on it in a pretty good
range of conditions. Figured it's time to post up an actual
official rider review, so here goes... Rider:
6'3", 205ish lbs., 32 years old, and surf anywhere from 2-5
times per week, 90% of the time at local beachbreaks with
the rest of the sessions usually at reef/beachbreaks south
of here. Intermediate ability with plenty of kook moments
mixed in with flashes of competence from time to time.
Have surfed mostly fish and 'alternative' type designs over
the past few years with the odd session on a 'shortboard'
when the waves have some juice. Background:
This is the 6th board I've owned that has been designed by
Sean Mattison, with the last three being customs ordered
directly from him under this Von Sol label ( http://vonsolsurfboards.blogspot.com/
Every one of them has worked better for me than most other boards I've owned. The Board:
The 'Shadow' was designed by Mattison as a board that
hopefully helps answer the question (in his words) of "What's
next after the fish?". Basically you have the front half
of a fish very similar to his other fish designs, with the
rear half consisting of an elevated wing (e-wing) leading
into a foiled-out rounded pin tail. Sean told me the e-wing
was something he used to have on the bonzers he rode a while
back, that he's always dug, providing somewhat of a release
point during turns.
This board is 6'2" x 20 7/8" x 2 5/8", EPS/Epoxy, which
came out incredibly light, even for the amount of foam it
Went with a 5-fin setup and have found so far that I really
dig it as a twin+trailer setup, which I'm sticking with
for now. The Ride:
Simply put, I'm LOVING this board! The best way I can
describe it is this...it has all of the biggest benefits
of a 'fish', these being great paddling and wave-catching,
early and immediate planing, speed right out of the gates,
and ability to beat sections unlike a shortboard (for me),
but the ability to really lay into sections and turns that
is generally only found in a shortboard. In junky surf,
it's fast and playful enough that you can throw it up off
of sections for floaters, get around crumbly sections to
find a face to turn, and generally have more fun than the
surf would normally indicate.
In good waves, which I found out about today, the thing
handles steeper drops very comfortably, is faster than $hit,
and LOVES to be turned HARD in the pocket. The board goes
rail-to-rail really, really smoothly...moreso than any fish-
type design I've ever tried, and wants to do full-rail
wraparounds and S-turns with little to no loss of speed,
in more critical parts of the wave than my past fishies.
In the short time I've had the board, 2 people (one being
the designer of the board, the other someone who has
probably seen me surf more than anyone over the past couple
of years) have told me I did the best turn they've ever
seen me do. Today I had a couple of overhead clean lefts
that I was able to do 3 straight hard and smooth gouges off
of the top in a row, something unheard of for me.
Backside, it goes just as well. Allows you to come off the
bottom as hard as you want into a turn, or take a quick
high-line pump just as well, all with more than enough SPEED.
Quite simply, this board is continually putting a smile on
my face, which is the point, right?
Highly, highly recommend this design as a very versatile
and FUN shape for 90% of the waves you're likely to come
across here in SoCal.