It's taken a while but I've put enough time in on this Gulfstream Speed egg to write a few thoughts.
I really don't like riding modern 3 fin longboards but once the waves get head high, a single fin log gets to be a handful. Obviously ive got plenty of short funky sleds to ride in these conditions but when the saunton line up is clogged with performance longboards, it's hard to get a wave on a shortboard, even if the wave is hella fun once you get one! The idea was to create something with enough length and glide to get in early and compete with the crowd but still be able to surf it like a shorter board without the redundant extra length a prog log gives you. People often confuse eggs with beginners mini-mals or magic carpet style "short longboards" but a true egg draws it's lineage from Skip Frye and his San diego crew through to Donald Takayamaand and Bob Mitsven and is a refined performance shape that will cope with a big range of wave types and sizes
This one's 7'10 x 21 something by 2.6 ish. Untypically vague I know, sorry! Although you'll see this on the GS website listed as one of their eggplant models, in reality its a full custom shape Jools came up with after a long chat on a rainy Friday. Based on the Wild West Shooters Jools made Russ Pierre mixed with the Takayama Howard egg that I own and a healthy dose of shortboard performance design. It's a rounded pin widepoint forward egg with 2+1 fin set up. I'm currently running a 7"greenough 4a with futures sidebites in there which feels about right so far.
It's flat rockered with just a little nose kick and pretty thinned out since I'm only lightweight ( Jools has since made a couple of others for bigger chaps with more foam hidden inside) The rails are a tucked under down rail for most of its length becoming hard around the fins and underneath it's almost a conventional shortboard concave bottom contour. Final noteworthy point is a tail narrower than most off the rack eggs. The takayama howard model is almost an inch and a half wider for example! It's glassed fairly light too.
As usual Jools has totally nailed it with this one. It has good paddle speed and gets in early. Once you're on your feet, it begs a low bodied, fully rail engaged bottom turn rewarding with good projection and then you're off to the races. That flat rocker, concave bottom and down rail yields rapid trim speed in the high line. It's particularly fun to take a narrow stance in the middle and pretend you're Derek Hynd at J bay! Its a board that just feels fast and smooth.
Its length means that you cant just chuck it around like a shorter egg and it definitely likes a small amount of footwork or stance shifting to engage or break the rail line for trim and turns. That said, on a larger wave you can just plant your feet over the fins and go. Once you're outrunning the section and aiming to redirect, with back foot over the fin cluster, its really loose off the tail and wraps nicely back into the whitewater so you can set up again.
Compared with the "classic" Californian eggs like the Takayama Howard, it pumps for speed more easily. Those Ca eggs tend to have a roll entry into panel vee on the bottom which keeps them smooth but tends to feel like their pushing water in slack waves and does nothing to help you race a beachbreak section like we have to do frequently.
Devon Howard has been consistently preaching that a 2 +1 egg is the perfect one board quiver and I'm increasingly inclined to agree. You can catch and trim small waves and even cheater 5 but still have the ability to duckdive out back on a bigger day. On those bigger sets it will get you in early, cope with your speed through the bottom turn and hold a good line through a section or let you draw big arcs on a softer face. The natural length and glide takes you through flat spots and its short enough to redirect then pump to make the most of onshore conditions. Finally, going with a multi fin set up compliments that natural speed on sub par waves and gives hold in steeper conditions. Single fin eggs work too but single fins generally expect more speed from the wave itself and can lose speed through a turn ( flex in the fin combats this but still...)
The WSL judge contests looking for Speed, Power, Flow. A good egg is the very definition!
I had a couple of evenings home alone the other week so i indulged myself with a couple of glasses of a nice red and rewatching some old surf dvds. Notably two of my perennial faves, Thomas Campbells "Seedling" and Michael Halsbands "Surf Movie Reels 1-14". Both feature pretty heavy doses of Joel Tudor in the peak of his "ride everything" influence.
I came to a few conclusions as the bottle slowly drained. One, Tudor is a ridiculously talented surfer on pretty much anything you put under his feet. He is the master of making the difficult look easy and he is SO smooth. He's a pretty impressive skater too!
Two, lots of Tudor's single fin eggs actually have the wide point slightly back of centre instead of forward which is the more widely seen case with eggs. Tudor is quoted as saying he prefers the widepoint back for turning and doesn't like it forward unless he's getting barrelled!
Three, I haven't owned or ridden a single fin egg for ages!
Luckily, a couple of friends do have Tudor eggs and Thos very sportingly agreed to lend me his 6'6 Kookbox Archie's left (in the pics) in exchange for a few days on my Mandala.
Ideally i'd have had Saunton at head high doing its best pointbreak impression as a test track since I suspect that the board would truly light up under those conditions. That's what Thos says anyway. As it was I had to make do with a pretty mushy, onshore, chest high P-land and a clean but a bit too small dawn patrol at saunton.
I did get a good feel for how fun a board it is though! There's lots of foam in there at 21.65 wide and 2.75 thick, a little bit of nose rocker but otherwise flat as. Widepoint I think just back of centre, flexy kookbox 8 inch fin. Small roll in the nose but quickly into a single concave that moves to a fairly deep double in the back third. Rails are soft for the first foot but then tucked under becoming a hard edge just in front of the fin. In short, it's definitely designed to turn and feel lively rather than cruisy.
It's got far less Hull influence than I expected from what I thought I knew of this model. As a result it's way less quirky to ride than a v bowls, which is ostensibly a wide point back egg too. It went backside well and in both directions had that snappy, pivoty turn that you would expect from a single fin.
I really like a flex fin in a single and you could definitely feel a nice spring from the fin as you exited a deep railed bottom turn.
What really impressed was its glide over the flat spots despite its shortish length. I think the lack of rocker and the plentiful concave in the bottom keeps it high and planing where others bog. In short its a cool little board, really easy to surf like eggs generally are, with a wide range of suitability for waves and the ability to be pushed if you want to.
Thos calls it his "guilty pleasure" and I can see why.
Hopefully I'll manage to wangle BGA's Tudor Karma off him soon to compare.
It's starting to feel like we are on the cusp of seasons. There's definitely a hint of autumn creeping slowly in. Lets hope she brings some well groomed swell and ushers in a cold winter off offshores and deep powder to play in.
Vespa scooters in Italy may be Cliché, but its cliché for a reason. There are genuinely loads of them weaving around with questionable traffic awareness.
They are also a design classic. I don't understand why you would buy anything else if you were shopping for a moped since no other company seems to have nailed it with the simple elegant lines and certain "je ne sais quoi" style that makes the vespa stand out.
Funny how some things just seem "right". The original mini is an other example or the foil on a good displacement hull surfboard........
I'm just back from a couple of weeks in Italy at Lake Garda. Its a lovely place despite the lack of waves! Awesome mountain biking though.
It was the first trip away with my new Millican backpack and I thought i'd post a few thoughts. If you haven't come across them before, Millican are a little company based in the Lake District. They make a selection of day bags and travel stuff using sustainable, low waste methods and with a focus on tough practical design for global travelling, on or off the beaten path.
My pack is their "Smith the rollpack 25l" and like most of their products is well thought out and fantastic in use. Its made from a kind of waxed canvas, like a super heavy duty barbour wax jacket material. Its a good size with two bottle holders and a front pocket, a main compartment and a hidden small laptop/ tablet sleeve in the backpiece. Both main and interior pockets have various small organiser pockets for phones, note pads, pens etc. The main straps are really comfortable and it has easily removed, low profile sternum and waist straps. There are lots of neat little touches like the fold out reflector panel and bike light clip and hidden straps for carrying walking poles or a camera tripod.
In short it's just everything you want in a day bag and nothing you don't. Plus it looks pretty styley too in my opinion!
VW and V Bowls in spring sunshine. There's a lot of internet hype around the V bowls shape and from my limited experience, its well justified. It's an idiosyncratic ride and certainly not an everyday board. It's quite sensitive to foot position and it needs some kind of lined up face to work but it has a really fun trim and fade swoop thing going on. I'd definitely be tempted!