It’s Time for a Reality Check

By Jody Wood

Last month, Robin Prodanovich and I discussed his latest creation, the Prod Quad. This month, we take a look at another orginal Prodanovich design that is a great choice for the upcoming season. The Reality Check serves many purposes. It is a great transitional board for the entry level surfer who wants to step it up a notch, but also a fine choice for salty rippers as an alternative to their high performance shortboard. It is also not a bad idea for the aging surfer who could use a little more foam to keep your wave count high. Here, Robin goes into the details of the design and its functionality.

Reality Check Surfboard shaped by Robin Prodanovich for South Coast Surf Shops

  • How did the Reality Check design come about? The Reality Check design was born back in 2002. Surfers of all ability levels were struggling on their very low volume shortboards when wave conditions were poor and not having much fun. I saw a need for a shortboard with greater versatility.
  • What separates it from a standard short board design? The RC is basically a standard shortboard that has been filled out. It has standard shortboard proportions based on nose, center and tail widths and is similar in thickness. The biggest difference in planlines between the two boards would be the proportionately wider nose on the RC. The RC bottom contour differs by using the tried and true flat-to-V bottom with attention to the overall rocker curve.
  • How does it compare to an egg? The RC rides nothing like an egg. The RC is aimed at the surfer who wants to surf aggressively and really likes the shortboard feel and wants the board to work in a variety of conditions. I view the egg as a good entry level board whereas the RC is a much more high performance design.
  • The Reality Check is available with a squash tail, a double-winged swallow tail, and recently I’ve seen a few diamond tails coming through the warehouse. How does the tail shape change the responsiveness or feeling of the board? The two most popular tail shapes on the RC are the traditional performance squash tail and the double wing swallow. The diamondtail is usually a custom order. The DWSW (double wing swallow tail) board will have a wider tail by about 1/4″ than the squash tail model and the two wings allow me to reduce the aft part of the planline to allow the surfer to maintain good control and still have plenty of forward body width for getting up on plane. The swallowtail shape adds a little extra hold when needed. When looking at the two designs side by side, the DWSW has more fullness and float with the wide point pushed back slightly as compared to the squashtail model.
  • It’s one of South Coast’s best selling designs. Why do you think that is? The RC designs sell very well because they are extremely user friendly. A surfer can jump on an RC design and immediately get that great shortboard feel without having to work so hard, become tired and frustrated. The boards paddle well, catch waves well and have a shortboard performance feeling. They even duck dive well!
  • What sizes is the Reality Check available in? I shape the RCs from about as short as you want to about 7’6″. The designs lend themselves to all different lengths.
  • Talk about fin set-ups for the Reality Check. We’ve seen a ton of tri-fins over the years, but I’ve seen a few quads and five-fin designs come through lately. How do those fin variations affect the boards performance? The RC design originated as a tri-fin but more recently I’ve adapted them to be ridden as a quad fin as well. I personally ride quads exclusively and love the feeling of drive, maneuverability and not dragging a third fin around through every turn and I felt the RC was a good candidate to be a Q-5. A surfer can buy a Q-5 Reality Check as a tri-fin, spend a few more dollars to buy a set of FCS GX fins for the rear and practically have two boards for the price of one. How’s that for a bargain!
  • Tell us about the stand bottom contour for the Reality Check. I keep the bottom contour on the RC design very simple; very flat rail-to-rail through the main body of the board to “V” off the tail to add curve to the rail line.
  • Talk about the rail design and it’s role in the boards all around functionality. Shortboard rails do not vary much from shaper to shaper and from board to board for that matter. The most common configuration is round and neutral starting at the nose, staying fairly round and neutral with decreasing bottom radius through the mid part, to down hard and vertical with no or very little lower radius the last 12″-18″ of the tail. This rail description could apply to about 90% of all surfboards and it’s up to the shaper to know where the water needs to cling to the rails and where it needs to break free. This is my condensed version of rail technology!

Stop by South Coast Surf Shop in Ocean Beach or South Coast Windansea in Pacific Beach to view the full line of Reality Checks before you pick out your next board. Call South Coast Surf Shop at 619-223-4431 for more information on how to order a custom board.

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2 replies
  1. Grant Hughes
    Grant Hughes says:

    A very useful description of this board. Why not include similar discussions for more SC boards on your website on a permanent basis?

  2. Robb
    Robb says:

    Hey Grant! We are working on building a new board catalog that will be available sometime after the new year. Included will be detailed descriptions with the shapers themselves, much like you see here in this post. Thanks for the suggestion, we’re always open to hearing input from our customers. Mahalo!

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