Ever wondered what the pros pack for the North Shore?
Hawaii is unlike anywhere else on the planet. You only have to look at the events of last week to see that the ocean behaves differently over there. Waves come marching in with a danger and muscularity to them that requires not only serious levels of skill and experience, but serious trust in your equipment. One slip-up and the consequences can be messy. So shapers don’t muck around when it comes to putting together a quiver for the North Shore. They try to get their boards as dialled as possible so that when their prized team riders test themselves against some of the toughest waves in the world, the equipment under their feet is up to the task.
But what specifics go into a Hawaiian quiver?
We caught up with Dave Seymour from JR Surfboards to find out what they’ve stuffed into current Rookie of the Year leader Wade Carmichael’s board bag.
Can you give us a rundown on the quiver you sent Wade to Hawaii with?
We did two 7’0s, two 6’10s, two 6’8s and two 6’6s. He also has his favourites from last year that he’s happy with but we did some refinements to the rail on the new ones.
Are those eight boards designed with waves like Pipe, Sunset and Haleiwa in mind?
Definitely. The whole quiver has been designed with Pipe in mind, which is obviously a much different wave to Haleiwa and Sunset. But he does have a few bigger boards that we shaped for Teahupoo that he’s taken over to use at Pipe as well.
I imagine the boards are glassed a bit stronger to deal with the power of the waves. Are there any other design factors you have to incorporate into boards made for Hawaii?
Over there, those sort of waves can just buckle boards so quickly. The heaviest Roddy glasses them is 6/4/4. We’ve differed the stringers in each board as well, or in a few of them anyway. We go up to 9mm in some and Wade really loves a 9mm stringer when it gets big and lumpy, because they just plough through that chop you cop over there. The bigger stringers tend to really stiffen the blanks up as well.
Is there anything Wade does differently with his Hawaiian boards compared to other pros?
Wade uses deeper single concaves. Over in Hawaii, a lot of lighter guys ride single-to-double concaves with vees off the tail because they don’t have the weight behind their turns that Wade does, but he can manage to ride those singles because he gets so much extra drive through his turns because of the weight of him. He’s one of a few guys who can still bury their rail in a Sunset or Haleiwa lip. It gives him this real signature technique over there, which is what a lot of guys love about his style when he comes to Hawaii. Also, the biggest we do for him is 7’2. We used to go up to 7’6 but Wade doesn’t really go that long.
Has Wade’s Hawaiian quiver been a work in progress like the rest of his boards, where you’re relying on his feedback at the end of each season to know what works and what doesn’t?
Definitely. He’s gained a pretty solid reputation over there. I know this year they’ve worked on rails and last year they tried a few vee bottoms and they didn’t really work for him. You’re always chopping and changing little things, but he’s been doing Hawaii for so long that there’s definitely some familiarity that he loves with that equipment. But they’ll make little refinements as they go.
For Hawaii are you mainly relying on feedback from your team riders?
For sure. I know one of the first boards Roddy shaped for Hawaii was for Austin Langridge and he had a couple of really good seasons back in the day. There was one step-up model Roddy began with and that thing has been taken from there and modified and tweaked. Then Cansdell was doing Hawaii and I know Kieran Perrow was riding some of Roddy’s boards back in the day and obviously he was a guru in Hawaii. There’s just so many bits of feedback that Roddy would get along the way with those guys which helped him make adjustments in the models. Then of course there’s Wade and Donny (Dion Atkinson), who are a lot heavier set guys.
Wade has had some solid results in Hawaii before. That must give you guys confidence to know that your boards can compete with Hawaiian-based shapers and the like?
I handle a lot of the social media here, and after Wade’s win at Haleiwa, a massive majority of Hawaiian shapers started to follow the account to see what we were doing because of Wade’s consistency. It’s a really solid pat on the back to Roddy and the amount of years he’s been slogging away at it. I believe his boards are up there with some of the better guys shaping boards for Hawaii.