I'm looking for a new board to fill a pretty important gap in my quiver. I've got boards for good waves (head to double-over), pushing-my-mediocre-limits waves (double-overhead plus), and gutless slop - but I don't have a board that excels in those good-but-small (waist to head) days. My groveller tends to be a bit slippy, having a very wide tail, and my good-wave board is a bit on the long side. I'm also keen to try a new shaper - I've surfed mostly chillis over the past 10-15 years, also some arakawas, insights, an Annesley and a lost.
Have any of you ridden a Pyzel Phantom? The shape looks like it should go well in what I have in mind, but I'm yet to see one in the flesh.
Simon 5-spark will do the trick.
Plenty of other boards would too though.
Thanks lostdoggy, I'll check that out too. I've borrowed a couple of my old man's Simons in the past (a 6'8 and a 6'10 from memory, both rounded pins), and they went great in solid surf. Never really considered him for small wave boards though!
Have not ridden a Phantom, but plenty of sticks that fit the bill. What is your groveller and step up brand and model surfboard and the dimensions pops? That will narrow it down a bit.
My current groveller is a 5'2 Annesley "Bulldog" - very wide, very little rocker, but a nicely foiled rail. Quad setup. Can't remember the width or thickness off the top of my head. Absolutely flies, and really really fun in mushburgers, but tends to be a bit slippy on anything slightly sucky. Having said that, I rode it a fair bit at shoulder high Lohis a couple of years ago and it went pretty good.
The good wave board is a custom Chilli, 6'4x18 3/4x 2 3/8. Similar to the kinds of boards that were popular in the mid 2000s but with the wide point pretty much bang in the centre. Little longer than most guys my height and weight would go for, but for good quality walled-up waves I really do enjoy the extra rail length. Helps getting in early too for barreling waves. But that length does become a handicap in smaller waves.
For in-between conditions, in the past I've often used a 5'6 insight "evil twin" (traditional twin keel type thing) or a 5'11 lost "mayhem" quad. Both now much the worse for wear. Super fun boards, but I'm after something more high-performance than the glidey vibe they preferred, though it's gotta paddle OK - not keen to go back to the 90s toothpicks!
It'd be surfed in NSW beachies most of the time.
I know there's more boards that fit that bill than you could shake a stick at, but it's always good to do some research!
if you're keen to try a big brand off the rack I reckon a HT2.5 by Sharp-eye fits the bill.
very, very sparky shortboard oriented towards small but good waves.
it's the swallow-tail with the tail channels that Filipe rides.
Thanks FR, I'll look at that too if I can find one. You've ridden one?
Not sure if I'll go purely off the rack - I'll likely custom order something based on a stock model (tweak the thickness and volume a bit, get a stronger glass job etc).
Jye Byrnes Bonzer 5 for something completely different and super fun. So much drive so much fun. Mines 5'10" x 20 x 2 5/8. Diamond tail. Im 178cm 78kg
How's that go in hollower, shorter waves P'tai? Sounds like it'd be a blast in point surf, but that's pretty thin on the ground in my neck of the woods!
It is an absolute blast. Loves the hollow stuff. If you go that way Jye will talk with you re dimensions etc. I grew up on single fins. These have that "hold" of the single with the squirt of a thruster. have a look at his site theres videos of them in action too.
Thanks P'tai. Just checked out his website - some really beautiful looking boards there. Not sure if that's what I'm looking for at the moment but I think I'll be giving one a go in the not too distant future...
That or another fish.
Them wide tail grovellers are hell skatey...the in-between or all rounder Chilli rare birds, perri perri; Lost Rocket v3, puddle jumper HP: JS Blackbox, DHD 3DX; Channel Island has many rocket wide, weirdo ripper, dumpster diver, bunny chow, o5’2 Annesley groveller should have no prob with stock dims. Where are you located? around same price or cheaper go see your local shaper or gumtree it 5’9 phantom in cromer
Yeah skatey's a good description, purplepills. Super fun in the right conditions though.
I grew up and still surf at the northern end of the northern beaches, but live a little way west at the moment (cheaper rent). So I'd consider James Cheal (*edit: autocorrect had changed this to *Cheap* - sorry Jamie!) my local shaper, but I've been riding his boards since I was about 14, so keen to try something else.
Which of those have you ridden yourself?
And thanks for the Gumtree link.
I've got a 6'0" HT2.5 Pops.
it's got some fishy elements to it but an insane amount of high perf.
but easy to ride.
doubt you would need to customise it, it would either work at the stock dims or not be suitable.
I like the sound of that, FR.
You wouldn't consider upgrading the glass job?
And what's the size/power range of waves you find it goes well in?
nah, it's made at glass lab Gold and they do a great job with the lams.
2-4ft. maybe 1-4ft.
put one under the arm.
Good to know.
Think I might just do that, thanks for the info.
plenty of local shapers could get the job done but you seem in the mood for a major label purchase.
put a phantom and a HT2.5 under the arm and I reckon you'll have a good idea of which way you want to go.
psilakis, warner go down to the factory have a chat, webby and G. McNeil good to deal with from a far.
Totally forgot about psalikis!
FR, I'm not necessarily sold on a big label, just easier to scout them out online. But I probably am leaning towards a more mainstream type shape - haven't done that in ages so bit of an itch I need to scratch. And I don't have the coin for a boutique or true custom type thing at the moment.
If anyone's got recommendations for other local guys/smaller labels I'm all ears!
Where you located Pops?
Northern part of the northern beaches, Stu.
Pops I’ve got a Phantom and love it. It’s my board for 2-5ft surf. Vicco reefs and beachies. Goes well in Indo too. Highly recommended.
How's it go in weaker surf? There's generally a bit more power in vicco and Indo than my normal fare
Channel Islands Rocket Wide in spinetek and AM 2 plus one fins. Speed to burn
Nth part of Northern beaches
your right amongst Big Simon territory..get down the beach feel a few boards up ..maybe a test ride of a Nomad
Went to a couple of shops on the weekend, had a look at a bunch of boards and ended up finding a phantom with round tail rather than a squash/rounded square. Saw a bunch of really nice boards, but that model seemed to be a good fit with what I already have. Plus I found one with a minor scratch and got a little discount. 5 fin FCS2. 5'8, 19 1/3", 2 3/8", 27.5 L, though the way it's been foiled it looks like it will paddle above its volume (if that makes sense). About a litre smaller than my groveller, same thickness as my step-up, so I reckon it'll go alright for me. If it doesn't, well I've just had a good look at a bunch of alternatives...
I'll try to remember to write a little review here after I've tested it in some different conditions & with different fin setups. Might even try some weird asym fin setups and see how that goes (never had a board with 5 fin boxes before, so curious about how weird I can get with that).
Thanks all for your suggestions & advice, much of which I'll keep in mind for future board searches... though seeing some of Stu's recent write ups, I'm thinking of finding someone to make me a basalt asym when the time comes to retire the step up...
GAS - there's no cure.
what fins are you going to try first Pops?
(In response to Pops' earlier question)
Sorry for the delay. Just saw this. Goes well in weaker stuff. Although weaker here is probably different to what you have to contend with. I've found it to be a very good all rounder and I ride it 90% of the time I surf.
Thanks for the info Bnkref. Hopefully it does the trick.
FR, depends on conditions. For a thruster setup I'm thinking of trying MF's first for a faster/hollower wave, maybe DHD PCs for slower waves. Got an old set of fins custom molded out of really stiff fiberglass from a gm3 template (original FCS box type) that I might try too, they go pretty good. Tempted to see what an asymm quad setup is like too (two bigger fins on the inside rail, standard big outer small inner quad setup on the outside rail). Basically - I dunno! Probably just throw in whatever seems like a good idea at the time.
I've now had a handful of sessions on the board in okayish beachies somewhere between port mac and coffs, and another couple back home (northern beaches). Thought I'd write a quick review in case someone thinking of buying a phantom stumbles on this thread.
For reference, I'm around 5'8ish tall, 70kg, in my late 20s and reasonably fit and a bog standard dime-a-dozen surfer (for someone who's surfed regularly in mostly mediocre waves for 20ish years). Italo would probably give a different review of this board, as would Joe Learner.
The board is 5'8, 19 1/3", 2 3/8", 27.3 L (typo on the volume in my post above), with a rounded squash tail. All surfs so far have been with a thruster setup using FCSII MF medium fins - thought it was best to stick with one set of fins while I got used to the board.
- The board paddles surprisingly well. I've surfed boards 5L larger that paddle worse. No problems staying in position and getting into waves even when surfing a rip bowl with a fairly strong sweep.
- Seemed most at home in head high plus waves, but went fine in chest high waves. Didn't go great in gutless waist high waves (not that I expected it to - I didn't buy it for such conditions).
- Super responsive (as you'd expect), to the point of being a little twitchy. Different fins could tame the twitchieness, but I kinda liked it. Also gave a nice bit of drift off the top on the backhand.
- Loves being laid on a rail (even in pretty slopey waves), and gives an interesting little squirt of speed when you transition out of a carve. Took me a few waves to get used to that.
- "Sweet spot" seems to be pretty wide & user friendly.
- Doesn't quite maintain speed in smaller waves as well as I'd like - but no problems with generating speed. A quad setup might mitigate that somewhat.
- Takes an elevator drop as well as any board I've ridden.
- Holds nicely in steeper/suckier waves.
I could give a more in-depth session-by-session review, but doubt anyone would want to read more of my rambling!
sounds like it does the job Pops......you seem a little non-plussed though.
happy with it?
Blame the non-plussedness on poor writing on my part.
I'm over the moon with it so far - I'd say it'd be pretty close to being the best high perf. board I've ridden. Need to get some properly good surf to confirm that though (can't wait)!
Finally got some really good surf to test the board in yesterday - missed most of the good run we've had lately, but managed to get amongst it yesterday. The local was 4-5ft on the sets, compressing really nicely on the bank, and hollow. About as good as it ever gets. Surfed for 3 hours, got a couple of dozen good waves. It was a bit bigger than what I had in mind for the board - my 6'4 tends to do the job pretty well in that type of surf - but I thought it'd be a great chance to see what it can do in really good waves.
- There's some kind of black magic in that forward-weighting and flatish entry rocker. The accelaration you can get with your weight forward on the drop is outrageous.
- Very sticky on steep/hollow sections
- Great fine control over speed by adjusting weight/foot position over the rocker. Instant accelaration when needed, but also easy enough to slow down to match the wave's pace.
- Maneouvreability not overly sensitive to foot position (there's a definite sweet spot, but you can still surf it OK if you're not quite there).
Subjective, but interesting:
- Has a fairly non-uniform response through the arc of a carve. I.e. its a bit stiff for the first little bit, then absolutely rips round and accelarates through the last quarter of the arc - can catch you by surprise, especially given the early stiffness can make you over-juice the turn. Really fun sensation - and led me to drawing different lines which is always nice.
- Needed to adjust positioning & line off the bottom a bit to compensate for the additional accelaration on the drop.
-Twitchiness I'd noticed in smaller surf vanished - seems the faster it goes the better it grips/holds. Kinda like those cars with the power steering that gets really light at low speed then much heavier at high speed.
I'd probably still reach for the 6'4 in similar conditions if it was really crowded (just for the extra paddling power), but I reckon this is the best board I've ever ridden in good surf.
sounds good Pops, how does it go in the intended conditions?
Good. Loose and fast, whips nicely, gets a little twitchy at lower speeds, grippy when you need it to be. Prefers a snappier/tighter approach the smaller the wave is. And still has the same interesting non-uniform response through a carve or cuttie.
Yet to give it a proper run in a quad config, but I've got a hunch that it'll go better like that when its gutless - it doesn't hold speed as well as it might in those conditions in a thruster setup (though still not bad at all for such a small board) - but that's not what I bought it for anyway.
is it the same "family" as the Ghost?
got back on my Ghost in the run-up and post mortem of the Uesi swell and totally fell in love with it.
but it's definitely not a groveller.
Yep, basically its a ghost that's been a little bit "squashed" nose-to-tail, if that makes sense. A step-down ghost as it were. Given the ghost seems to be designed with Hawaiian conditions in mind, seems to make sense the "step-down" version would function well in good Sydney conditions.
I'd imagine the OG ghost would have been right in its element in a good swell in your little slice of paradise?
it really was, and to m,y delight I found it pairs perfectly with a Webster Desert Storm.
dream team step up combo.
Good reports Pops, nice and thorough. Ta
Sounds like you're well prepared for a good autumn & winter (FR).
Thanks Linez. There's so many options these days it can be really hard to narrow them down and find good info (outside of marketing mumbo-jumbo), so I thought it'd be good to post a review of sorts from the average-joe perspective to help others looking for something similar.
Cheers for the review Pops.
Thanks, Pops. Good review.
FR, giving that you have a shorter DS, how do you find the transition between your Ghost and DS? Mine are 6'3 and 6'10, and while night and day both are excellent.
Curious to hear what your experience is.
(Btw, had a marathon session on my deep six Byrning Spears today. Whoa, never let than one go!)
the transition was seamless, both ways, which I was surprised about.
not in any small measure because I've got the Ghost set up as a thruster and the DS as a quad.
interesting that Pops notes a "non-uniform response through the arc of the carve" which I also experienced with the Ghost and attributed to the particularities of the rocker curve.
this time around I got really nice banked turn snowboard feels, and felt that easing through first half of the turn and then really leaning on it was giving me a lot of really good turns.
for some reason it came natural to me straight away this time. last time I struggled with that a bit and had a few flubbed turns.
I find the same with the ghost . Drawn out through the first half of a carve and then a rapidly acute arc on finish . I’m not a real fan of having the progression of a turn partially dictated to me by a board.
I realise that all boards must do this to a degree but the ghost is just a bit too dominant in our relationship !
Blowin the humble supplicant?
Yep, the Ghost does that: draaawn out carve, then snappy finish when the back foot is weighted.
I’m very relaxed going between the DS and Ghost, even though they’re so different. The DS just feels so powered up, like a weirdly subtle monster truck.
Ordering a 6’4 DS, and it’ll be very interesting comparing that to my 6’3 Ghost.
"The DS just feels so powered up, like a weirdly subtle monster truck."
Yep, with an incredibly cushioned suspension.