Ride this board if...
You are an advanced surfer looking for a step down for average to below average conditions, or an average surfer looking for an all-round shortboard.
Under the hood...
Featuring a slightly fuller outline through the nose and a slight hip in the tail, the ‘Air Assault’ is a balanced and really user friendly board. Low rocker makes for plenty of speed, and the hip breaks up the outline to allow the board to be surfed off the tail. The EPS version features a dual density blank which has been tuned to feel springy and light, whilst also keeping the board strong. A souped up version of the PU in effect.
The Sparrow ‘Air Assault’ is said to be a slight step down from a typical shortboard for average waves or, if you’re an average surfer, an all-rounder for average to good waves. Maybe it’s an indictment of my surfing ability but I found myself enjoying this board thoroughly in some pretty good waves. Specifically, I rode the board at off the wall D’bah and had a great time on it. In the two to three-foot side-winding rights, the board drove and held as well as I’d expect any shortboard to. Its flatter rocker and increased nose area made it quick off the mark. However, possibly resulting from the slight hip in the tail, it still surfed really well on rail and in the pocket. I felt unencumbered though all of my manoeuvres and had the liberty to place the board where I wished. It managed speed really well and seemed to have an infinite hold even when pushed hard on rail. This board is the ultimate Gold Coast sled, being ideal for the vast majority of conditions we get. Grab yourself an ‘Air Assault’ if you’re in the market for a high-performance shortboard that can also get down and grovel.
The EPS version of Sparrow’s ‘Air Assault’ fit the bill as the quintessential groveller. It was fast off the mark, light, spry and easy to ride. In crappy conditions it excelled, allowing me to focus on my surfing instead of on generating speed. Even in higher quality waves the board maintained these enchanting attributes. It was fast and responsive, but interestingly enough, also had drive and hold. It’s rare to find boards with such aptitude in both small and quality conditions. The EPS ‘Air Assault’ was a great example though, performing at punchy D’bah, just as it did in some feeble beachies. The board’s rounded performance wasn’t the end of its virtues. It was also of impressive structural integrity with the deck showing minimal signs of foot depressions after multiple surfs. This was even in spite of being ridden rather recklessly in waves expected to be oversized for it. In terms of epoxy equipment, which can often be temperamental, this board was highly reliable. It performed consistently and proved itself over a broad spectrum of conditions. If you’re in the market for an EPS, the Sparrow ‘Air Assault’ is a great option.
PU VS EPS
Overall, the Sparrow ‘Air Assault’ was an adaptable model. Whether in PU or Epoxy the shape handled all types of conditions. However, my construction preference sat with the PU. Whilst the EPS was one of venerable quality, the PU rode too smoothly and confidently to be overlooked. With the board’s added nose area and flattened rocker it was never at a loss for speed and was capable of going anywhere on the wave I wished. When compared with the EPS the PU also felt significantly less zany. This helped me to trust the board beneath my feet and fully commit to manoeuvres that I would be unsure of doing on the epoxy.The board did everything the PU did but with more pace. It responded quicker, rode through transitions quicker, had more off the mark speed and had a general liveliness about it that elevated my surfing. That’s not to say the PU was a bad board because it wasn’t. But for me personally, the epoxy was the pick.