Lets Talk Longboards
Let’s talk Longboards models.
We frequently get asked about the differences between our longboard models, I mean they’re all big cruisers yeah?
Well no, not at all actually.
We caught up with our friend Chris Preston to get his insight into what longboards mean to him.
© Chris Preston
C.P & LONGBOARD LIFE
Let’s set some ground rules. Firstly, to borrow the words of Thomas Campbell in his seminal film “The Seedling” (which incidentally is as close as you can get to “cool longboarding 101”) “Logging is an under head-high trip.” If it’s overhead and pumping, we’ll be riding something shorter but nothing beats a longboard for making the most of small waves. We think everyone should have one in their quiver.
Second, “Style is important.” Longer, heavier equipment has a glide of its own and you should use that to work with the wave and not fight against it. You shouldn’t need to pump a longboard and you certainly shouldn’t be trying to make one turn like a shortboard. It should be about being smooth, making the difficult look effortless, enjoying the glide that longer boards give you.
Third, “walking on water feels amazing “. If you’re going to ride a board over nine feet , you’ve got to use the front three of them. Noseriding is difficult to master but the feeling of standing on water with a tapering wave opening out in front of your toes is like nothing else in surfing. We’re not interested in making or surfing longboards that make it more difficult to get this feeling.
All our longboards are shaped with these tenets in mind but all have their own distinct character. Let’s take a look.
© Chris Preston
The Quickstep is the middle ground. It’s a neutral board, not too thick, not too heavy and probably covers the biggest range of wave types and sizes of any of the models. It’s got a nose-rider shaped nose which will let you hang 5 or 10 quite happily but the tail is a bit more pulled in with harder rails. In conjunction with its trademark stepped (thinned out) tail this helps it carve turns easily and stops it being a handful as the waves get bigger or steeper. Ride it as a single fin if it’s small and add side bites to give more control as you need it.
It’s not a progressive longboard for ugly ” wish I could surf a 6’1 thruster ” surfing, it’s still going to draw smooth beautiful lines but it’s not a cruiser either. If you’re a shortboarder looking for something to surf when it’s small or something that’s easier to paddle and catch waves on when life gets in the way of your trips to the beach, it’s a great place to start.
If you only ride longboards it makes the perfect companion to a Saunton Foil to keep all those bases covered.
© Gordon Dryburgh & Jose Walker
On its day Saunton Sands, just around the headland from our factory, is one of the best logging waves in the country. With a summer swell groomed by light offshores, it’s as close as you are going to get to one of the famous Californian pointbreaks……..
Sometimes it’s just as crowded but post up on the rocks and you’ll see the locals strolling up to the front of their logs and dangling their toes over the nose of their boards, one after the other, all day long. You can be sure that a fair few of them are on a Gulfstream.
That’s where the Foil comes from. Its our version of a true traditional single fin noserider with a lineage that goes all the way back to the Californian noseriders of the mid sixties. Just the right weight, a wide nose, parallel template and a wide tail gives plenty of glide in small waves and plenty of stability for learning to cross-step and noseride.
We put a nose concave up front to make it even more stable and eke out a few more seconds hanging ten but the rest of the bottom of the board has a subtle roll which helps you turn and works with the soft 50/50 rails (think half a tennis ball shape!) to pull water over the tail to make the noseride magic happen.
It does turn though, it’s no good having all this stability without being able to navigate your way along the wave and you’d probably be surprised quite how well it does whip around once you get your feet over the fin. Most of our Foils come with a fin box and changing fin size and shape can make a big difference in how they feel.
It’s a board tuned to maximise that “walking on water” feeling. This is the log that every surfer should own.
© Gordon Dryburgh
Back in the late fifties in California, surfing was just about to boom. Boards were only just starting to be made from foam instead of balsa wood and leashes and wetsuits were still decades away. Fins were new. For surfers fresh off going straight to the beach on redwood logs, making turns and riding in the curl of the wave were the cutting edge.
The pig was the high performance board of the day, a longboard with a narrow nose to reduce swing weight, the wide point slightly behind the centre and a big D fin glassed on the tail block.
We’ve learnt a lot about board design in the intervening 50 years but they got a lot right back then too. The Pierre Pig is our post-modern interpretation that updates an old school classic.
We took the basic pig template but substituted a more usable fin and a more modern longboard foil to iron out a lot of the idiosyncrasies of the 50’s boards. It noserides well but the narrower nose prefers a steeper wave to get up there. The rounded pin and wide point back puts the foam under your feet when you cut back and let’s the board rotate and redirect on a dime.
It’s very much a traditional log but it has a focus on pivot turns, stall and trim surfing and classic body English compared with the flat out noseriding obsession that the Saunton Foil embodies. It’s a different twist on small wave surfing, not for everyone but an addictive ride if you “get” it.
Small wave surfing with old school cool.
© Gordon Dryburgh & Russ Pierre
In 1966, Nat Young blew American minds at the world championships in San Diego riding Magic Sam, a longboard with a fin based on a tuna fish and a focus on slashing turns between noserides. For a few months this “involvement” school of surfing redefined what longboarding had become but it was a brief period before boards got radically shorter and hanging five became passé.
In the nineties the world turned again and Joel Tudor led a charge back to the joys of single fin logs and hanging ten in small waves. Today’s surfers, grown up on a “ride everything” approach, know that turns are fun. Why just limit yourself to the front third of the board? They’ve prompted a re-examination of the “involvement” boards and moved modern logging into the rude health it enjoys today.
In many ways the Slim Pig represents the cutting edge of modern log design, taking elements of our other three longboard models and combining them in one perfect little package. The template is loosely based on the Pierre with the wide point a few inches behind centre and a slightly narrower nose -17.75 compared to nearly 19 on a Saunton Foil. It’s flat rockered and has a mellow version of the Foil’s nose concave. A subtly kicked step tail comes from the Quickstep to pull water over the tail for noseriding lift and the overall volume of the board is thinned out more like the Quickstep too. The rails are soft but thinner than the Foil for a traditional feel and the bottom is flatter for more trim speed in zippy waves.
The final piece of the puzzle is a “Greenough” style fin with a wide base for stability on the nose, a narrow tip for loose turns and a little dose of flex to give extra life to the ride.
This ones a hot-rod, not a cruiser, think Alex Knost’s hyperactive logging. It noserides great, arguably better than the Foil in steeper waves where the narrower nose and reduced volume let you stay tighter in the pocket and keep things more manageable. The template and flex fin allow much harder pivot turns than you’d expect from a log.
Like the Quickstep, it covers a wide range of conditions but with a more traditional feel. A proper “log” but more versatile and livelier than the Saunton Foil and the Pierre.
In the Gulfstream longboard family it’s the young punk kid that thinks yesterday is boring.
© Chris Preston