Watch: Torren // Three Boards at Rincon
It's a "classic Californian day" day at the Queen of the Coast and Torren has three boards to test ride, a 7'6", 6'9", and 6'6". All shaped by Simon Jones.
As a wise surfer should, he starts with the longest board first and works his way down.
Rather than a typical music soundtrack, turn the volume up to hear Torren and Simon chatting over the phone about the boards. Surfer and shaper on the same page, though separated by 10,000 kms.
See below for more info on the boards, however a quick heads up that everyone who purchases a wetsuit from needessentials this month will go into a draw to win a Simon Jones board.
The boards, as described by Simon Jones:
6’6" x 19" 7/8 x 2" 3/4 OG Fiji
It’s a copy of the very first Fiji I ever did which came about when Torren rang me about two days before he left for a trip to Fiji. We were just chatting away but I could sense there was something coming. Then he goes ‘I just got an updated report - it’s going to be 15 foot at 17 seconds’ or something like that. I happened to have a triple stringer blank up in the roof and I used it to shape him a board which literally had to be ready within 24 hours. I remember I went down to the bay after dinner, shaped it, then texted photos through to Torren and we worked our way through it. He felt really comfortable on it in solid Cloudbreak, and then it kind of became the basis for all the Fijis. The channels feel really secure and comfortable in sizey waves, so they also became a really big part of what we’re doing.
Like all of us, Torren loves certain boards on his backhand and this 6’6” was one of them. Surfing with him at J-Bay, we decided there were things to change so the board would feel more at home on his forehand as well. I didn’t change the rocker too much: essentially all I did was add more curve out on the rail between his feet – that’s the current 6’6”. So the board he’s riding in this clip is really the updated version of that very first one he took to Fiji.
6’9" x 19" 3/4 x 2" 11/16 Fiji
Jumping forward a lot of years, Torren headed off to Tassie during lockdown and started surfing a 6’8”. It was slightly narrower, probably 19 ¾, but still quite thick, like 2¾ and he was riding it in some serious waves. Ishka sent me some footage that I watched over and over, then decided to make a little jump: we’d add an inch and bring the nose in fractionally and take a little bit of volume out from under his chest and head. Not that I ever want to know about paddling into waves like that, but you want the mass just behind the centre so the tail of the board tips up and falls into the wave more.
It’s kind of true that you need foam under your chest for paddling, but you can also make a board a pig to paddle if you’ve got too much of the mass too far forward. When the wave picks you up your legs are actually super heavy and have a lot of drag so you end up with your legs buried in the wave. Your chest and head start to lift up so you have to kind of push a lot of foam to fall into the wave. Whereas if you have the centre of the mass under the legs and hips the board just falls in like a bodysurfer catching a wave.
That was the thought process for pulling the volume out of the front of the 6’9”. That board seemed to feel a lot more comfortable for Torren in big Southern Ocean waves and influenced a lot of the range of subsequent Fijis. Having the centre of the mass back a bit they all fall in nice and easily when you commit to a decent sized wave – especially when it’s strong offshore and you’re being held back by wind and chop. But it’s cool how you can still ride them in chest-high waves – I love this 6’9” on beachies when there’re good shaped waves around.
7’6" x 20” 3/8 x 2” 3/4 Fiji
Before Torren left for California we spoke about Ocean Beach. He'd surfed it and was up there paddling for these big lumps, thinking he had them but that Pacific Ocean swell speed was so quick the waves would just leave him behind. So, in response, I quickly made him that 7’6” out of the longest piece of foam I had at the time and sent it to my mate Kirk over in California so Torren had it to take it back to Ocean Beach next time he surfed it. Essentially, it’s like a board I ride at the point when it’s bigger. Even at 2¾, it’s an incredible paddler – it’s amazing the stuff you can pick up on it. It still has a really relaxed nose entry and again the mass is back of halfway so it falls in really nicely. All these three Fijis had medium upright twins in them and all are triple stringers.
I find triple stringers have a long memory and don’t get soggy and weird later in their life. The triples keep them rigid, and that married with the extra weight and channels is an amazing feel in a board. It’s a really secure, solid feel. These boards can feel heavy under your arm, but it’s an honest weight that gives them their own momentum. For an inanimate object, those boards have an almost animate knowledge of how to find their way out of tubes, and Torren exploits this like no other. It’s like how a baby giraffe is born and straight away it knows it's got to stand up and get on with it. I like to say to people who are new to my boards, just take off and let it run at first, follow its lead and let it set the rhythm. This process takes a little time, but it's worth it, and it's fun.