The Cab Sav by Joistik Surfboards
Summer's coming and mushburgers are on the menu. The waves, however, aren't the only thing taking a culinary bent. At this time of year do the short and squat grovellers with gourmet names hit the market: The Taco, the Dumpling, the Chop Suey etc.
Yeah, this is a theme I ran with last year when I reviewed the Sweet Potato by Firewire but it seems naught has changed in the namestakes. Food is still king, beaten only by wine, which puts the Cab Sav by Joistik Surfboards in royal company.
The temptation is to describe the Cab Sav in wine quaffer vocab - bold and fruity, blended for the finer surfer etc. - but I'll pass on the semantics and get down to pedantics.
Like all good grovellers subtlety takes a back seat with the Cab Sav: every design feature is exaggerated. Still, the differences are there and need to be commented on. The first thing you notice is the volume, especially under the chest, making the Cab Sav a good paddler. The thickness, however, tapers through the tail with a (relatively) thinner tail justly compensated by its width, but we'll come to that later.
To take the extreme fullness out of the rails shaper Nick Blair has created rails with a low curve and a long, almost straight, extension from the top of the rail to the deck. From there the deck is flat across the bonnet, an unusual feature in any board these days. Interestingly, in his notes Blair says the deck has a slight concave but after a healthy coat of wax it becomes a moot feature - looks and feels flat to me.
When up and riding the feeling is of distance between feet and water (which is deceiving as at 2 3/8 the thicknessof the Cab Sav is similar to a standard shorty). I put the feeling down to the effect of a flat deck and accumulated volume around the midpoint of the board. The benefits are near-instantaneous planing ability - two quick pumps and its on its haunches skipping and bouncing above the water. The drawback is compromised rail turns - there's simply too much foam for easy penetration and flow.
Which isn't such a problem when you consider the waves it's designed for. Also, when asked, Blair said the Cab Sav was designed to be surfed wholly off the tail. That explains the wide tail mentioned earlier and there's a bit of Geoff McCoy Lazor Zap theory at play: let the board plane, jam hard off the back foot. When surfed as such it's a dynamic little beast. Definitely not the only board you'd stash in the chariot but deserving of a place in the quiver nonetheless.
When I recieved the Cab Sav it had a set of Stretch SF4 Quad fins. Quads seem to be the accepted configuration for these boards but I don't buy the theory. With hyper planing ability, grovellers have no problem generating speed - an attribute the Cab Sav certainly shares - so the speed of a quad set up is unnecessary. In fact, the Cab Sav could go too fast at times and had a tendency to lose control. By reverting to three fins and introducing rear fin drag the Cab Sav felt just right.
The other disadvantage of quads is the expansive fin cluster on wide tailed boards. With little rail and not much fin resistance it can be hard to reign in slides when throwing the tail, and it's also hard to 'find centre' again to continue down the line. A thruster config solves both those problems bringing the board back to centre. Suffice to say I enjoyed the Cab Sav much more with three fins.