The Cab Sav by Joistik Surfboards

Stu Nettle
The Depth Test

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.

The Cab Sav is shaped by Nick Blair at Joistik Surfboards. Check his website and blog.

Comments

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 2:46pm

cab sav, on bennys boardroom u tube.

inoshishi sex

james10's picture
james10's picture
james10 commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 3:16pm

just watched it, sick board, love the tint

Hiro's picture
Hiro's picture
Hiro commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 3:33pm

EPIC Small wave weapon! This model insanely fast and good turns. Cab sav much better than other grovellers I've ridden

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 2:58pm

Yeah I saw that review, but it didn't really tell me anything. He really just described the board's shape and then asked people to submit their own reviews! Very strange.

bennysboardroom's picture
bennysboardroom's picture
bennysboardroom commented Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 at 12:25am

Hi ThermalBen,

This is Benny and I am sorry you didn't find my review of the Cab Sav useful.

One of my goals is to keep the YouTube reviews concise & simple - there is a link to the full review for those interested in reading further. And, given YouTube is a social platform, I always like to hear what other surfers are getting from the boards. All opinions are welcome.

Regardless, I appreciate your feedback and I enjoyed reading Stu's review. The new Swellnet site looks great!

Best regards,
Benny

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 at 5:54am

Thanks Benny, I didn't see the link to the full review, I'll check it out. Glad you like the new site too, thanks for the nice words.

manly Tom's picture
manly Tom's picture
manly Tom commented Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 at 1:48pm

I like the look of this board a lot. i research a bit more info from Bens boardroom site below

Welcome to Benny’s Boardroom: real surfboard reviews by a wave obsessed surfboard addict. Today, we review the Cab Sav surfboard by Nick Blair of Joistik Surfboards.
Pluses
+ Wide, thick groveler outline has all of the foam you need to catch waves and generate speed in tiny surf
+ Concave deck = more connected feeling
+ Thinner, more pulled in nose and thinner tail makes the design more versatile relative to other grovelers on the market

Minuses
- Grovelers are, by nature, difficult to duck dive repeatedly
Benny Rides
His wife’s board…when she lets him…at 5’2 x 20 1/2 x 2 5/16 @ 29.99 CL’s but 5’8 x 22 x 2 11/16 @ 40.89CL’s would be in Benny’s volume sweet spot. See all Nick Blair Cab Sav model standard dimensions with volume at the bottom of this page
Video Transcript

This is Ben. Yay! We’re gonna talk about surfboards! Welcome to Benny’s Boardroom. This little popsicle, biscuit, fat little thing is the Cab Sav surfboard by Nick Blair of Joistick Surfboards.

Nick Blair is a shaper in the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia and this is his take on the modern groveler surfboard. Grovelers have become quite popular for anybody who wants to be able to surf tiny waves but doesn’t want to pull out a longboard.

The Cab Sav is a really cool groveler in a lot of senses. It has bulk, as you can see; the outline is huge. It has an enormously wide tail and lots of foam throughout the outline and carried through to the rail. But a cool design feature is the little concave through the deck that gets you a little bit closer to the water and makes you feel a little more connected to the wave. The nose is more pulled in and thinned out and that gives it a little bit more versatility. You can take off on something a little bit steeper than you normally would be able to with a really big, wide, bulky groveler like, for example, the Firewire Sweet Potato. And then, if you look at the tail, you can see it’s got a concave coming through here and then a big double concave out the back. But then, the tail is nice and thin so the Cab Sav is a little bit easier to dig it in to waves and turn it. So, probably a more versatile groveler surfboard design than some others that are on the market.
This Cab Sav by Nick Blair is awesome. Super fast and fun in tiny, tiny surf.

Stock Standard Dimensions & Volume

From Nick of Nick Blair (JOISTIK) surfboards:
“Here are some basic stock dimensions for the Cab Sav, scaling upwards. Custom wise there is quite a bit of room for play though.”

Length
Width
Thickness
Volume

5’0″
20″
2 3/16″
26.72 L

5’2″
20 1/2″
2 5/16″
29.99 L

5’4″
21″
2 7/16″
33.44 L

5’6″
21 1/2″
2 9/16″
37.07 L

also i found more on the cab sav from Blairs blog, maybe explains features a bit better-
The Cab Sav is an extremely popular model running at the moment which leans towards the fun side of small wave surfing but still maintains it's small wave grovel aspects of speed and carry. The shallow concave deck packs in the volume but still allows for a responsive rail with a lower apex. Mild concave blends to deep double barrel forward of, and through the fins, with vee blending off a thin and sensitive tail. Add to that a higher nose entry and rocker with the apex pushed back towards the tail, this board maximises it's grovel potential, but still remains more versatile in it's performance to similar designs on the market. Comes standard as a 5-fin configuration. Sizes range from 4'10" to 5'10", with the most popular between 5'0 and 5'5. I ride mine at 5'4 x 21 x 2 7/16.

maximus's picture
maximus's picture
maximus commented Friday, 3 Jan 2014 at 2:03pm

what about an epoxy Cab Sav? can you let me know about the Karboload technology how do they go?

AndyCarroll's picture
AndyCarroll's picture
AndyCarroll commented Tuesday, 8 Sep 2015 at 11:27am

I am 6'2" and 93kgs and I ride a 5'9” cabsav with Karboload Technology in quad configuration and its freakin awesome in small/medium surf. It is one with blue rails, the performance model. As I understand how it works the positioning of the bottom carbon allows the central flex characteristics of a normal stringer board to balance the “split” carbon flex of the deck. The parting in the carbon towards the tail/rail area allows back foot torsional twist during turns, allowing spring and acceleration out of the turn. as a result the board feels very alive and explosive. I actually liked it best when it was waist to head high, it is very high performance it is for such a wide board, paddles great.

james10's picture
james10's picture
james10 commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 3:14pm

i've a 5'4 cab sav, it is so fast down the line, i love it, my go to board for summer in Sydney. Also love my Renegade by Nick, good all rounder

z-man's picture
z-man's picture
z-man commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 4:56pm

I like the tail - as soon as you add drag and drop feature I'll show you my go to board - an 8' Becker with Squash/Diamond tail.

This thing is too small to float my hulk but it looks fun!

my signature

peterb's picture
peterb's picture
peterb commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 5:25pm

I got that Stu, you just want to go slower

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 7:08pm

Getting one fitted with a D fin as we speak, Pete.

See you out The Kick tomorrow.

peterb's picture
peterb's picture
peterb commented Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 at 10:14pm

Kick schmick, I'm hunting Richmond lizards and growing tomatoes. This here is some nice work Stu, happy for you.

sandspit's picture
sandspit's picture
sandspit commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 7:35am

i'm a little concerned about getting addicted to one of these boards during a flat spell and it affecting my surfing when i need to jump back on the regular board when the surf starts to pump again. anyone know what it's like to swap between boards that are so different?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 7:57am

sandspit wrote: anyone know what it's like to swap between boards that are so different?

The results ain't pretty Mr Spit. Truth be told, the Cab Sav wreaked havoc on my surfing when I went back to my standard shorty . Much the same as when I've spent time on other grovellers then switched back to conventional volume and planshape.

It's easy to get used to the feel of grovellers: simple planing, 'slidey' feel, and slow rail to rail transitions, yet they make other boards feel thin, twitchy and hard to generate speed. In short, it makes them feel hard to surf, and subsequently surfing isn't as enoyable the first couple of sessions back. 

It's the same sensations I feel after a stint on a fish though more exaggerated.

BennyT's picture
BennyT's picture
BennyT commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 11:22am

not a prob mate it just takes a few sessions to switch. got a Taco by Nick Blair which is a similar model bought in Japan and it takes me a while to go back to my shorty Renegade because of the ease of which you can generate speed on the groveller. so much fun worth it for sure mate

BennyT's picture
BennyT's picture
BennyT commented Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 at 11:18am

saw the Cab Sav model in the Manly Aloha store and wanted to buy one so bad. I cant wait to get one for christmas. they look so sick

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 25 Oct 2013 at 10:49am

I've been giving the Slipper by Nick Blair a test the last week and a half and it goes great!

I've got the 5'10" 20' 2' 7/16" with the quad set up and as expected it's super fast down the line but also real easy to turn and get vertical.

It sounds like a lot of volume but it's not even noticeable and with the drawn in pin tail it holds it's line perfectly through hollower sections and in the barrel (only had 2 with it but I'm confident with it already).

I took it into some bigger stuff today up to 4ft and it still went great, be interesting how it will go in 5-6ft surf.

Here's a link with some pics.
http://nickblairshapes.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/the-slipper-now-in-stock....

TomSurfer's picture
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TomSurfer commented Monday, 11 Nov 2013 at 1:08pm

Both boards sound epic, where can i get one? i am on the Northern beaches

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 11 Nov 2013 at 1:12pm

Check the link at the base of the article or you can see Tim at Aloha Manly.

 

IndoBobby's picture
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IndoBobby commented Saturday, 23 Nov 2013 at 4:00pm

I want a Slipper next. I like my 5'8Protag by Nick best so far out of all my boards. Saving $

pale-rider's picture
pale-rider's picture
pale-rider commented Friday, 25 Oct 2013 at 2:39pm

Good review, recently brought a 5'8 quad different brand found the same issue with the tail not holding in so well and with the additional volume I agree speed no so much an issue my issue is there is no center FCS box.

The one thing you didn't mention here is what it takes off like?

I have always found fish and grovelers pigs when you get anything sucky.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 25 Oct 2013 at 2:52pm

pale-rider wrote: The one thing you didn't mention here is what it takes off like? I have always found fish and grovelers pigs when you get anything sucky.

It's a fair point; I assumed most people would know what kind of waves grovellers were made for, but I guess it's not always the case.

Grovellers are made for small, weak, flat-faced waves - 1'-2' foot tops. Common traits are full nose, thick rails and tail, and straight rocker, none of which are conducive to riding sucky, fast breaking waves. Paddle one in those waves and you'll get bucked and go sideways.

To be fair, the Cab Sav does have slightly more rocker than other boards of its ilk so it can ride waves with a bit of curve, but its raison d'etre is lateral, down-the-line speed on tiny waves.

paintz's picture
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paintz commented Friday, 25 Oct 2013 at 3:51pm

Havent had a go on this model yet but my last 4 boards have all been shaped by Nick. If you havent ridden one of his sticks yet then seriously check him out. Protag/Mindjar/Renegade all great boards.

TomSurfer's picture
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TomSurfer commented Monday, 11 Nov 2013 at 1:09pm

What is the Renegade model like?

Surfing's picture
Surfing's picture
Surfing commented Friday, 7 Mar 2014 at 12:35pm

I really like the renegade it is supa fast an drivey

james10's picture
james10's picture
james10 commented Friday, 21 Nov 2014 at 8:04am

I like the responsive, quick feeling I get out of the renegade, its really good in punchy waist high to well overhead surf. great for hard snaps, and big carves. good all rounder i ride 6’0″ x 19″ x 2 3/8″. also enjoy the Cab Sav as my groveller at 5'4" x 21 x 2 7/16 when its 1-2ft

paintz's picture
paintz's picture
paintz commented Monday, 11 Nov 2013 at 1:14pm

Tom hi mate,

Protag is good in powerful waves its got a lot of drive. The mindjar is nice which im riding now but the Renegade is similar but a good board for the beaches. Have a talk with Nick

BenHarrison's picture
BenHarrison's picture
BenHarrison commented Friday, 15 Nov 2013 at 5:31pm

The Renegade goes amazing between 3ft and 6ft, it is so fast and drivey and turns on a dime. i have taken it on a ments boat trip and went sick in everything. i am thing of a Cab Sav for mushy crappy days or something similar

brenno's picture
brenno's picture
brenno commented Thursday, 27 Feb 2014 at 12:42pm

Ive seen Mick Fanning riding Nicks boards out at Snapper over the past few years, seems to like them for free surfing, or maybe just to mix things up a bit. they look nice and fast under his feet

Surfing's picture
Surfing's picture
Surfing commented Friday, 7 Mar 2014 at 12:34pm

Love this shaper. Picked up a secondhand in Manly, now I need a newy

james10's picture
james10's picture
james10 commented Friday, 21 Nov 2014 at 11:40am

i think there are new ones in Aloha Manly but i went direct to the shaper and got a Cab Sav for $825 with tint but no fins, there is a good deal on with extras if u need grip, leash etc. would be pretty sic to have a video of board being shaped
http://nickblairshapes.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/cab-sav-campaign-orders.html

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 7 Mar 2014 at 12:38pm

Reckon the Cab Sav would be getting a fair work out if I still had it. Been a while since we've seen waves that warranted anything better than a groveller.

Rizal's picture
Rizal's picture
Rizal commented Thursday, 10 Jul 2014 at 1:34pm

I want a cab sav Joistik ,, not sure if you can get in Indo?? Oney Anwar best Indo surfer. he scored Surfing Life magazine cover... Indo represent. I want the same Lakey Peak spray Sick board

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 7 Mar 2014 at 12:55pm

Slipper is still going strong for me, one of my Fav boards and haven't stopped surfing it since I've had it. Great glass job as well with minimal dings or impressions.

lakeyboysrule's picture
lakeyboysrule's picture
lakeyboysrule commented Monday, 2 Jun 2014 at 12:44pm

i ride Nick Blair Cab saV all the time in Indo. it goes sick anywhere 1 to 4 foot mainly around lakeys and on boat trip green bush i took a protag along too for big days. mine are 2 years old and glass holding up so well. I've haven't stopped surfing them since i got them

lakeyboysrule's picture
lakeyboysrule's picture
lakeyboysrule commented Friday, 8 Aug 2014 at 11:00am

try put shot up ,can't load it, to show my board its same as orange colour plus i have yellow stripe 5'2 :) pumpin at periscopes
http://nickblairshapes.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/model-update-cab-sav-by-n...

morris's picture
morris's picture
morris commented Friday, 8 Aug 2014 at 12:42pm

ladyboysrule, that's funny