Well, the surf was lacking today, so I’m going to do some housekeeping for Paddlewoo. After some thought I’ve decided to allow sponsorship of the site and podcast. I’ve toyed with the idea for a while and decided that the pros outweigh the cons.
The pros are that I’ll be able to focus more on the site, journals and interviews and bringing top-level content in the niche of paddle enhanced surfing. The cons being that once we have sponsors there is a need for content and this project goes from passion/hobby to job. But seeing as I have kids to feed and would like to fund other projects in the sport, it seems the time is right. So, if you’re interested contact me here.
The podcast averages 23,000 downloads/month and the site has over 3,000 active monthly readers. The majority of you spend 3-5 minutes reading each article – gear reviews and tutorials are the most popular subjects.
Alright! On to the 7.5 x 26 F-One.
If you haven’t gotten to hold one yet, the weight will surprise you. She’s light. A good bit less than the Starboard. She’s also strong. I surfed the F-One daily for 7 or 8 months, and I ride boards hard. I only put one ding in the nose – paddle slam while learning backside slingshot snaps. And now I have a touch of delam under the toes where I bottom turn, right over the front fin.
The ride is fast. Faster than the 7.4 and 8.0 JPs and faster than the 7.4 2015 and 2016 Starboards. The bottom has significant concave, with V about 3 inches off of the rail. I believe it gives more bite in rail turns and thins out the rail a good bit. Compared to the JP and Starboard the rails are much thinner, which comes at a price of volume. At 82 liters she is a liter smaller than the 83L Starboard and 8 less than the 90L 7.4 JP. A definite sinker for me at 80kg. The extra length and width over the 7.4 Starboard does aid in stability.
Thoughts on the board –
- The F-One is the closest feel to my custom boards. Both in weight and rail work. She feels more like a surfboard than augmented windsurfer in trimming and down the line carry.
- I don’t like the fin placement. The fin setup feels too far forward to me. But, in writing this, post-Tyler FCS discussion, I am going to revisit the board next week and try large front, small rear and see how she goes.
- The center fin (the board is a 5 fin setup) is in front of the stomp pad, so if you back foot is squarely back on the tail, it’s behind the fin which will create slide.
- The deck pad is terrible. It’s slick and gets heavy in the water. I might rip it off and try something new. I’ve realized that deck grip changes stability. My 7.4 Starboard grew 3 or 4 liters when I put a grip on her.
- Not enough rocker. This might be my biggest issue with the board. If it had just a touch more tail rocker, she would come through turns so much better! I’ve been going back through my quiver of shortboards this past month, and this week spent time riding the Lost Grocket. The Rocket is an all-time favorite of mine, and the Grocket takes it up a notch in performance. On that board, the tail rocker lets you draw tight cutbacks without the need to slide. I’d really like to find a paddle board with that feel. Last year I tried three times to build one, working with a local shaper and using the Rocket as the base shape, we got the tail to feel correct, but never got the rails right. The board would turn great off the tail, but there was a terrible difference between tail and rail work, I think because of thick rails, and she’d bog in drawn out turns. The F-One is so close to an incredible board, but the flat surfing holds her back.
Some notes on surfing boards with little rocker.
Boards with flatter rockers will tend to surf better in steeper conditions, where you can use the contour of the wave to draw the line. The steeper wave allows more of the flatter board to be out of the water, so you can draw your turn on a smaller section of board which makes it tighter. When surfing flatter waves with a flatter board, more of the board is engaged in the turn and the flat rocker draws out the turn. This is when using a slingshot turn can help, as the inside paddle position allows you to weight the tail, with support from the paddle, and use less of the board to draw the turn.
That’s enough for now. I’m going to ride the F-One in the next few days with some different fin configs and report back.