Volume Forward Performance Boards

Feb 9, 2019
45
22
8
Just found out about this Roberts Black Cobra. Has wide point forward, but also decent amout of rocker. Seems interesting, not sure I've seen a design like this. Also an option for XTR.

Any thoughts on this, or even on Roberts in general? I'm not familiar.

https://www.robertssurf.com/black-cobra.html#/
I dont know anything about the cobra, other than the Jersey guys seem to like it in the hollow stuff.
Ive got 3 Roberts models. Stoked with the starchip model, and Id have a look at the Meat Cleaver.
Im using it an inch shorter than a hpsb, fraction wider. Im not sure if its wide point forward, but volume is good up there, for those chest pressure late takeoffs. Nice kick at the nose and a very effective rail entry. Its been perfect for 3-4' hollow or powerful beachies. Its good on rail too, improves my dodgy work. First batch from Roberts they seem like a good mob, boards feel similar to Simon Anderson.
I would recommend xtr glasswork over the inhouse if you prefer epoxy. I think he shapes well for bigger blokes and i found going 1/8 less in rail thickness than normal worked.His website has good info and the specs were accurate for my end of the spectrum. They communicated well and linked up nicely with xtr. Even with xtr have a real good look around the finboxes etc before you leave the factory.
 
Feb 9, 2019
45
22
8
Robert is a pretty cool dude. His rail work is some of the best, in my opinion anyway. I was looking for a Starchip in my size but couldn't find it, so I met with him when he did his east coast tour, and ordered a 5'7 Epoxy Starchip, with a $100 discount. Took 2 months, I think, to get the custom, but it is a really fun board to ride. I think I would prefer XTR construction over the stringered EPS , for more durability, but i'm still a bit unsure if the XTR blanks make it to the actual shaper to be finished before glassing. Ironically, while talking to him, he pulled a Black Cobra off the rack of the local shop I was in and showed it to me, during our conversation. The dims would have made it a step up for me, and in hind sight, I wish I took it home. It seemed like a pretty well foiled shape, for large surf.

Edit: I am pretty sure one of his shapes was in a Stab in The Dark episode
With Xtr i found that my Tomo and Roberts were signed on the blank by the shaper. Its probably just the shapers ' once over ' post sanding that gets missed in the transaction.
 

tedshred5

Legend (inyourownmind)
Aug 5, 2015
496
417
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To me "volume forward" can be achieved in 2 ways - wide point forward in the outline, or thickness forward in the foil. I have a CI Happy and I've felt the Fever in shops and neither of them feel especially "wide point forward" in their outlines but they definitely have some thickness pushed forward in the foil. The Sharpeye Storms is another example of this - watch Marcio's description in the video from ~1:45-2:00. That outline sure doesn't look "WPF" whereas the Black Cobra or Slayer II do.
 
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paunch23

Gerry Lopez status
i like Pyzels stubby bastard which, i think is a wide point forward. Stretch also does this by chopping 1, 2 inches off the nose. this works for me.

On the other hand, when i was ordering a board I asked for this volume forward design. Shaper asked me "why you want more foam up front?"
"To paddle better", i said.
"you wanna paddle around better, or you wanna catch more waves?" said the shaper.
"catch more waves!" I said.
Shaper said: Well you fall into waves. Drop into waves!
I was like, hey just do your thing! i don't know sheet...;)
 
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Duffy LaCoronilla

Duke status
Apr 27, 2016
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i like Pyzels stubby bastard which, i think is a wide point forward. Stretch also does this by chopping 1, 2 inches off the nose. this works for me.

On the other hand, when i was ordering a board I asked for this volume forward design. Shaper asked me "why you want more foam up front?"
"To paddle better", i said.
"you wanna paddle around better, or you wanna catch more waves?" said the shaper.
"catch more waves!" I said.
Shaper said: Well you fall into waves. Drop into waves!
I was like, hey just do your thing! i don't know sheet...;)
Some poorly designed wide nose boards tend to bulldoze a bit when catching waves.
 
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bluengreen

OTF status
Oct 22, 2018
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SF x Encinitas
I remember reading an interview of Stretch and he said volume forward makes it harder to catch waves. Here it is:

Volume in the back part?
Yeah. All my boards have volume in the back. Volume forward is bad.

What about paddling?
Ask yourself this: Do I want to paddle, or do I want to catch a wave? Which is it?

Well, catch the wave.
Okay. So volume up front kicks the board like this [Stretch gestures with his forearm so his hand is higher than his elbow]. Volume in the back kicks it like this [Reverses forearm] This goes down, this gets pushed up. Period.

And when you stand up, you stand up from where you're paddling. So shifting the weight or the volume back means it's at the balance point of the board, and that's super important with my designs, because of what I'm doing with nose rockers and tail rockers...

[Stretch pauses for a while]

Ah, I'll say certain things here, but there's stuff I'm not going to say.
 

daave

Gerry Lopez status
Dec 28, 2002
978
195
43
Conceptually I understand it. But I think rockers can be adjusted to make It work. Myself and nearly everyone I know who has one (and nearly every post online), say that the ghost paddles AND catches waves really really well.

Not to criticize or put down stretch, but his shortboard entry rockers always looked pretty funky to me. He seems pretty consistent with the rockers he uses - so maybe his volume/paddling/wave catching theory works best with them?
 
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rts265

Phil Edwards status
Oct 19, 2007
5,847
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Alpha omega has a ton of volume under chest and it catches waves like no other board I’ve had and it doesn’t get in the way once up. Beak nose done right no can defend
 
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rowjimmytour

Phil Edwards status
Feb 7, 2009
6,087
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Alpha omega has a ton of volume under chest and it catches waves like no other board I’ve had and it doesn’t get in the way once up. Beak nose done right no can defend
Agree 100% when I ordered my AO I wanted more foiled rails compared to other bonzers I had rode and seen. I went with 2.375" and when I picked up my AO I thought I might have gone a little to thin and even MC ask if I was sure this is alright. For the love of bonzers turns out paddles and catches waves easily:)
 
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jkb

Phil Edwards status
Feb 22, 2005
7,430
1,751
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Central California
I never understood the concept of volume forward boards being better paddlers. I agree with what Stretch is saying.

That's not to say a volume forward board can't be good paddlers. I tend to think the ones that are have more to do with entry rocker than their widepoint or foil distribution being more forward.
 

paunch23

Gerry Lopez status
I remember reading an interview of Stretch and he said volume forward makes it harder to catch waves. Here it is:

Volume in the back part?
Yeah. All my boards have volume in the back. Volume forward is bad.

What about paddling?
Ask yourself this: Do I want to paddle, or do I want to catch a wave? Which is it?

Well, catch the wave.
Okay. So volume up front kicks the board like this [Stretch gestures with his forearm so his hand is higher than his elbow]. Volume in the back kicks it like this [Reverses forearm] This goes down, this gets pushed up. Period.

And when you stand up, you stand up from where you're paddling. So shifting the weight or the volume back means it's at the balance point of the board, and that's super important with my designs, because of what I'm doing with nose rockers and tail rockers...

[Stretch pauses for a while]

Ah, I'll say certain things here, but there's stuff I'm not going to say.
hahaha yeah it was him. didn't wanna mention him to start some debate. i heard a podcast with they guy from vulcan saying the same thing.
And yeah i don't totally understand/agree with. yeah i wanna catch the wave. and how do you catch it? paddling!!

i like some volume up front... maybe it gets in the way if you are a pro. what about the lost rnf?

i mean i surf crappy breaks. i like to paddle my way around the lineup.
 
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Lohena

OTF status
Oct 30, 2019
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So I’ve recently listened to some podcasts that make me question whether volume forward boards are really helping.

First there was a discussion about grovelers (and a thread about that podcast on this forum) where the shaper from Volcan discussed how having volume forward boards make catching waves harder. Rather they lift you up the face vs dropping you down the wave. He recommends more volume in the tail to provide lift in the tail to get to planing speed quicker. Seems to make a lot of sense.


Another podcast from a paddling coach discuss the physics of wave catching. Basically it is futile to try to think you can paddle fast enough to catch a wave, so we need to think of using the force of gravity and reduce drag to catch a wave by taking off on steeper parts. This also seems to support the idea that having more volume up front would make catching waves harder.

It seems totally logical that having a board that dropped down the wave faster and lifted its tail to get to planing speed quicker would make it easier to catch waves and generate speed out of the gate. It also seems like a volume forward board would inhibit this by pushing you up the wave and reduc acceleration from gravity, as well as keeping your board from planing quicker and increasing drag.


Any thoughts on this?
 

Aruka

Phil Edwards status
Feb 23, 2010
6,828
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So I’ve recently listened to some podcasts that make me question whether volume forward boards are really helping.

First there was a discussion about grovelers (and a thread about that podcast on this forum) where the shaper from Volcan discussed how having volume forward boards make catching waves harder. Rather they lift you up the face vs dropping you down the wave. He recommends more volume in the tail to provide lift in the tail to get to planing speed quicker. Seems to make a lot of sense.


Another podcast from a paddling coach discuss the physics of wave catching. Basically it is futile to try to think you can paddle fast enough to catch a wave, so we need to think of using the force of gravity and reduce drag to catch a wave by taking off on steeper parts. This also seems to support the idea that having more volume up front would make catching waves harder.

It seems totally logical that having a board that dropped down the wave faster and lifted its tail to get to planing speed quicker would make it easier to catch waves and generate speed out of the gate. It also seems like a volume forward board would inhibit this by pushing you up the wave and reduc acceleration from gravity, as well as keeping your board from planing quicker and increasing drag.


Any thoughts on this?
I was thinking about all the best wave catching boards I own. They all have foam carried forward. Pyzel Ghost isn't extremely full up front but it's definitely fuller than your average HPSB. It also has a narrow and thin tail and yet it catches waves really well. Album Insanity has an even fuller nose with a little beak. Also a narrow tail. Again, it glides into waves even better than the Ghost. Taken to the extreme, my Pyzel Padillac has a super thick beak nose up front.

Here's how I've been thinking about it. Take a thruster from the 90's or 2000's. Thin nose, lots of rocker. Paddles and catches waves pretty poorly. You could lower the entry rocker but now the nose sinks and catches when you put weight on it because it's thin. If you add foam up front then you can actually weight that lower, faster rocker. It's when you have both the lower entry and the added foam up front that you really have a board that can be weighted forward and that makes a big difference in how well it will paddle and how easily it will glide into waves. Basically more foam forward allows for a lower, more effective entry rocker. At least that's been my experience.

As far as having more volume in the tail helping with wave catching. I dunno. I haven't noticed a huge difference between thicker tailed boards vs. thinner tailed boards. I have noticed a big decrease in performance when there's too much volume in the rear. For grovelling it makes sense to have a wider/thicker tail for extra lift in weaker waves but for me the difference is most noticeable only once up and riding and pushing against the tail.
 

kool-aid

Michael Peterson status
Aug 28, 2003
2,183
416
83
San Francisco
So I’ve recently listened to some podcasts that make me question whether volume forward boards are really helping.

First there was a discussion about grovelers (and a thread about that podcast on this forum) where the shaper from Volcan discussed how having volume forward boards make catching waves harder. Rather they lift you up the face vs dropping you down the wave. He recommends more volume in the tail to provide lift in the tail to get to planing speed quicker. Seems to make a lot of sense.


Another podcast from a paddling coach discuss the physics of wave catching. Basically it is futile to try to think you can paddle fast enough to catch a wave, so we need to think of using the force of gravity and reduce drag to catch a wave by taking off on steeper parts. This also seems to support the idea that having more volume up front would make catching waves harder.

It seems totally logical that having a board that dropped down the wave faster and lifted its tail to get to planing speed quicker would make it easier to catch waves and generate speed out of the gate. It also seems like a volume forward board would inhibit this by pushing you up the wave and reduc acceleration from gravity, as well as keeping your board from planing quicker and increasing drag.


Any thoughts on this?
Foam upfront / lower entry rocker will definitely reduce drag as it will be faster to get up onto the planing surface and accelerate to catch a wave. You can widen a tail also but if the surface area in the front half of the board isn't sufficient you'll end up underwater.
 
May 10, 2018
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I was thinking about all the best wave catching boards I own. They all have foam carried forward. Pyzel Ghost isn't extremely full up front but it's definitely fuller than your average HPSB. It also has a narrow and thin tail and yet it catches waves really well. Album Insanity has an even fuller nose with a little beak. Also a narrow tail. Again, it glides into waves even better than the Ghost. Taken to the extreme, my Pyzel Padillac has a super thick beak nose up front.

Here's how I've been thinking about it. Take a thruster from the 90's or 2000's. Thin nose, lots of rocker. Paddles and catches waves pretty poorly. You could lower the entry rocker but now the nose sinks and catches when you put weight on it because it's thin. If you add foam up front then you can actually weight that lower, faster rocker. It's when you have both the lower entry and the added foam up front that you really have a board that can be weighted forward and that makes a big difference in how well it will paddle and how easily it will glide into waves. Basically more foam forward allows for a lower, more effective entry rocker. At least that's been my experience.

As far as having more volume in the tail helping with wave catching. I dunno. I haven't noticed a huge difference between thicker tailed boards vs. thinner tailed boards. I have noticed a big decrease in performance when there's too much volume in the rear. For grovelling it makes sense to have a wider/thicker tail for extra lift in weaker waves but for me the difference is most noticeable only once up and riding and pushing against the tail.
This!!
 

SharkBoy

Miki Dora status
Oct 22, 2004
3,849
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63
Great point! I think this is spot on, there is definitely a trade off. For me I would say the volume forward boards I have do all the "basics" better like generate speed, flow between turns, and drive around sections, but cannot lay down turns as sharp or precise as standard hpsbs.

In contrast by far the best turns I've done this season have still been on my wide point back standard hpsb, but all the other "basics" are harder in less than perfect waves.

Looking for that right balance and I'm now intrigued by these types of designs.
true but they do bigger carves turns like a longer board