The K2.1s are a high performance fin for skilled progressive surfers. The K2.1 design is nothing new to the surfing world. F.C.S. has had these fins around for quite some time with minor changes in template and limited options for materials over the years. Slater has renovated his K2.1 and he ended up his ninth world title with them, that’s a successful improvement at its finest. We’ve stocked up South Coast with these things for that very reason.
The new K2.1s are made out of the F.C.S. performance core fiberglass construction. The performance core fins are stiffer than their natural composite brethren, you know, those plastic feeling ones that look like they could glow in the dark. Now they are composed of a foam core, a fiberglass foil and a satin cloth for aesthetic amusement. This translates to a less forgiving fin but one that is more sensitive and able to handle more powerful waves without sliding out or over flexing while racing down the line for a beach break barrel. They are also much lighter due to the foam inside the fiberglass foil as to not weight down the tail of your board when you’re trying your best Slater impression to get above and beyond the lip on your turns.
Almost all high performance fins now are made with some type of foam core but that’s not what makes these blue and white beauties stand out. The real deal behind them is how their templates work with the flex patterns of the P.C. construction. Most thruster sets have the 3 fins shaped all with the same template and length but not this set, hence the name K2.1. The side fins have more surface area compared to a shorter trailer fin, so responds like a small twin fin plus a trailer fin to balance out the pivoting.
The side fins have a wide base to produce forward drive through turns and allow you to slam your rail into a gouging cutback with confidence that the extra surface area will hold your line. They have almost no rake making them stand straight up like the dorsal fin on a shark. The lack of rake lets your board change direction quickly like snapping a more vertical bottom turn up a wave when you need to do work fast or risk being pitched via a heavy lip into a reef head. If you’re thinking right now that’s too risky, these fins aren’t for you. If you‘re drooling on your computer at the thought of such an opportunity, then you‘re on the right track to qualifying for a set.
The trailer fin is about the size and template of an M3 fin; there is a bit more rake, but less area so when you submerge your tail the board will go into a controlled slide or quickly cutback without sacrificing all your speed in the process. The concept behind having a smaller trailer fin is to make it easier to break free from a carve and perform a more radical direction change, welcome to fins free surfing. Combine that with the responsiveness of performance core material and you’ve got a recipe for some heavy hitting Young Guns style wave riding.
These fins are not going to let you make a mistake without paying a price. They’re used by a nine-time world surfing champion, they were meant for those with the skill and the sheer guts to assault the most angry of waves at their most critical points. If you don’t set yourself up for a deep bottom turn you can expect these fins to make your snaps feel terribly forced and lacking of all style. They have a very pivotal turning nature so you must surf them more vertically and use more torque from your legs if you want be able to connect maneuvers.
Surf them in hollow beach breaks or in more heavy reefs in the area to understand how they work. Don’t worry about getting stuck behind a section, the side fins have the ability to drive you right around it with some double pumping or if you‘re daring enough right over it with a floater. Now you’re probably thinking these fins are too technical to be practical but it’s a double edged sword that will sharpen any surfers skills to their own benefit. Yes they’re not forgiving, but after you have them dialed in you’ll learn to execute proper bottom turns that produce incredible drive up the face while that smaller trailer fin lets you crank through a turn with style and enough speed to fire off your next blow tail snap.
A Fly In the Champagne is a sports caster’s tale of the fierce rivalry between Andy Irons and Kelly Slater. This movie begins with how these two Titans built up their professional hype. It shows their junior contests and first bits of 16mm film as groms at their local breaks. Not long after this brief back-story they dive right into magazine covers and video of these two battling on tour from 2001 until now. You’ll see some classic heats like the title deciding heat at Pipe, Slaters perfect heat at Chopes, Andy’s explosive retaliation in Japan and many other gems. During all these flashback videos, Kelly and Andy give play by plays of what was going on in their respective noggins with each turn, barrel, and persona defining heat to give us all more insight on how their rivalry became so infamous.
The footage is good but the commentary is the catalyst of the film. The video switches focus to the modern day situation between the two and how these rivals finally want to get everything out in the open air with one another, (literally, the airs they do are massive). This isn’t a Dr. Phil therapy session. This is Billabong’s rebel leader and Quiksilver’s golden child communicating the best way they know how. What do you do when you’re two of the best wave riding athletes on the planet trying to discuss your feelings? You change the median, drop the words and speak with your rail. You let those deep barrels carry your voice, punctuate with your smoothest tube stance, enunciate with your fins above the lip while the other guy watches the tears mist the horizon from the hole you just ripped in the wave’s face. That’s how surfing’s A.S.P. title holders speak. Their skills caught on video truly emphasizes their superiority among world champions, so its to no surprise they had such an iconic clash.
When the A Fly in the Champagne wraps up you’ll be fired up to harass one of your buddies to go surf. It worked for Irons and Slater, no reason it can’t work for the rest of us. This film leaves you with a rush, an itching desire to achieve greatness. A greatness as simple as getting barreled in front of a friend or knocking out your older brother in round one of a contest. The soundtrack is composed very well to keep the tempo of the story. You’ve got a mix of rock, alternative, and gladiator battle music to get you stoked as well as some more mellow tunes to let you reflect on your own moments of battle in the water. It’s not all Andy and Kelly, you’ll see some familiar faces such as Shane Dorian, Ross Williams, Borg, Potter and a few others adding their own perspectives. This video is rightfully depicted as an epic war that has progressed to a peaceful end. It’s an hour long documentary every surfer should own, a classic representation of what it means to be an athlete. Yes, we surfers have earned our passage as athletes. Any who care to debate that I’ll refer to the video for my answer.
The Chub is a performance short board built to tackle small and weak waves. The fish was thought to be the ultimate combination of paddle power and turning ability but now modern surfing has a new board type that has been refined to claim the title of grovler board. The Chub is our version of that board. Much like a fish the Chub has a foil(placement of volume) that holds its thickness through the majority of the outline. Thanks to our lack of Northwest power this year all California shapers have begun to tinker with volume placement in hopes of maintaining a snappy board without sacrificing glide for mushy sections. Slater decided to take it a step farther by braving a 5’3 in overhead Indo but he’s Slater so that’s another story all together. The point is the new mode is to take your board, scrunch it down and fatten it up. The Chub is the final product of our own desires to still be able to do snaps and throw some buckets on gutless waves.
The Chub’s oval outline gives the board a lot of curvature in the rails. The curve allows the board to scoop from a bottom turn more easily than a parallel railed board (most high-performance short boards) . Think of a bottom turn like scooping out ice cream. If you use a knife(straight with little curvature), the scoop is more drawn out and ends up looking more like a long shaving. Now do the same with a spoon (lots of curve) and you’ll notice the distance it took to displace the same amount of ice cream is much shorter. Now before you stop reading and ditch this article for a pint at Bud’s Ice Cream the important thing to remember is how this affects the boards surf-ability. In small waves we need to be able to perform turns within a shorter distance because the lack of wave face (the height) keeps us from generating the power we normally produce from our turns. The curve helps the board come off the bottom sooner so you end up hitting the lip more vertically. This allows you to get more aggressive and perform the same big wave hits on smaller wave faces.
The Chub has low rocker and lots of thickness to get you in and flying through mush sections as fast as you can bottom turn. In a small wave board the last thing you want is to lose your speed between your turns. The extra float will help you maintain that speed while you draw your lines so you can really make the most out of the crumby days summer sticks us with. Where a normal short board fails to perform a vertical snap, the Chub can outrun the section, cutback, and finish with a stylish roundhouse. Rob Machado introduced the biscuit with the tagline “foam is your friend…” and if there’s anyone to take small wave style tips from its Mr. Smoothy himself, no afro required.
The Chub comes standard as a 5-fin option surfboard so you can adjust the turning as you feel required for the waves of the day. You can play with the fins however you like, be it thruster, quad, twin or our personal favorite at the shop the MR-TX. The MR-TX setup is a twin fin setup with a tiny trailer fin to help reduce slide on turns. This setup allows the board to skate up and down the wave smoothly while still maintaining all the traction on the bottom turns. The result is a very snappy board with tons of drive to plow through the most racy of avalanching sections which is why the Chub comes standard with this set up, but don’t let that stop you from getting creative with your own fins.
Sizing of this board is crucial because of all the volume. You’ll know you’re riding it too large when it takes you more than 5 seconds to be able to change direction or that its too short if one foot is on the nose while the other is on the tail. Treat the order like a fish, you don’t want to go too big or you’ll lose the turning abilities, don’t go too short either or you’ll lose out on the glide in weak surf. Try 4-6 inches shorter than your typical board, we have many demos available at our shops ranging from 5’2, 5’7. 5’10, 6’1 and possibly more to come. We encourage you to try them to better suit your surfing needs.
Spring has arrived and “what kind of board should I get for the summer?” begins to echo in surf shops around the county. Many have the archetypal debate of jumping on a fish or try to flatten out their current board’s rockers and add more hip area as compensation for the lack of size and swell power.
At South Coast, we’ve got Def Cons as the performance fish nosed short boards, old school keels, as well as modern Wing Quad Fish for those long slopped reef walls, Prod Quads, for fun looking beach breaks, and we’ve got a new addition to the small wave arsenal.
Enter the South Coast Arrowhead Quad. It’s not quite a fish and it’s definitely not your typical short board. Visually, it appears to be something one of our managers may have caught of the pier or an arrowhead you dig up out in the desert, yet despite these strange characteristics, the board performs exceptionally well in less than satisfactory surf.
This board features a rather narrow nose outline compared to most fish, similar to that of our Prod Quad or Launcher. This sharpened nose had that snappy light weight short board feel compared to traditional fish but still maintained surface area for small wave speed. “The low rocker and high volume rails let the board float higher above the water” said our shaper Larry Ricci. I felt this first hand as the take offs slide right down the face and grant you this vital burst of speed right from the get go. This, coupled with extra maneuverability from having less drag, allowed for smoother mushy wave foam climbs and close out floaters than any quad fish or hybrid fish I’ve ridden in awhile. [click to continue…]