Carbon fiber aviso surfboards? HELL YEA! But...
Posted June 6th, 2009 by peter
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OK i gotta get this out of my head before i have an aneurysm... or i forget anything, anyway here are some first impressions:

I got an Aviso 5'5" "fish" as a demo board, thankfully i love weird boards so rather than complain I snatched it from the shop owners hands and ran out the door before they could catch me (really felt like i was getting away something... secret carbon fibre missile secrets?)

Anyway, the thing straight up changes the whole game. Really. Its like the difference between a sports car and a race car. I think for most it will respond TOO quickly, will feel "nervous" and in general will make people uncomfortable. However that's simply because its too good at what it does, there is little resistance, everything is effortless and the lower mass of the board makes it feel telepathic- and amplified.

Theres a strange but wonderful sensation of the board being the only constant. Let me try and explain... a traditional board feels like an organic, flexing, variable thing. A lot of how we surf is due to the limitations of the boards, they force us to be fluid and lengthen our turns, its these limitations that many times make us appear more graceful, our turns rounder and transitions smoother.

The Carbon fiber board feels like an otherworldly physics defying things that does not change, does not vary, and is so predictable that creates the perfect platform for us to do amazing things. This may seem like a contradiction but it provides tons of feedback, and has flex but the flex is very directional and predictable. It also laughs at gravity, mass, and all those silly things that smooth out our surfing... and limit us.

Let me put it this way, its like the difference between moving from a longboard to a shortboard multiplied by two. Then remove "normal" physics and there ya go, you're experiencing what its like.

Personally i was fearing the worst of modern board technology... that annoying buoyancy of epoxy that wont let the board "lock in" mixed with the slappy chatter of a kayak thanks to the hollow hull, and the lower melting point that carbon fiber surfboards have that was going to result in a $1200 ruptured black puddle if i left it in the car... Fortunately it was none of those things and gives me new hope for a whole new era of surfboard design that allows us to get even crazier with a lot less effort.

The boards do have more buoyancy than a traditional surfboard but its not that weird "on-the-surface-not-in-the-water" that I hate about epoxy boards. It bites the water but feels a little like the water's been lubricated so you get these bursts of speed BUT in between turns it feels like it loses momentum if your not driving it to the next steep pocket of the wave. You do however have to watch your big turns and sweeping carves because the board will want to turn a lot tighter than you are used to and big smooth graceful turns require a conscious effort.

My demo board looked like it had been through a few wars, thrown down the stars at the Empire State, and chewed on by bears... there was a paint job on the deck, very chipped around the edges, with scratches here and there but amazingly the board itself felt solid as a rock and light as a feather. In short it looked like ass but felt new and I think it will for many years to come. The scratches looked like they would buff out but were so shallow I cant imagine you'd ever need to.

Personally I love custom boards and I see an ideal future where you work with your shaper and get fiberglass board after fiberglass & foam board until that magic board surfaces then BAM send it off to be made in carbon fiber and if anything happens to it (not likely since its so damn durable) you can just order another one exactly like it.

A few other surprises:
Normally when you paddle it goes like this "stroke - glide - stroke - glide" on a carbon fibre board its more like "strokestop - strokestop". Its more like climbing a damn rope than paddling... your arms are going to get huge if you heart doesn't explode first.

It gets hot fast, probably due to the dark color, even just walking down to the beach in the afternoon it got noticeably warmer than usually - but the surprise was it also cooled off much faster than a normal board,; turn away from the sun and the board gets cold in a minute flat. No problems with the wax melting or anything like that.

Another strange experience was that when we put normal C5s stock fins in the board it felt like we doubled its weight! Dont forget to get some nice super light fins to go with these beauties!

One other thing... I think that its a mistake to make an EXACT duplicate of a traditional board in carbon fiber because the two boards wont sit in the water the same way, they have different buoyancy, different flex, and they drive in different places and gain and lose momentum differently. While these things don't ruin any of the boards currently available I get the feeling a lot of them are duplicates of existing boards. I'd like to see a new range of boards designed from the GROUND UP to be carbon fiber and carbon fiber only. Perhaps some of the shapers have done this but none have stated it explicitly, so guys if you read this let us know! I think it would help a lot of people make buying decisions.

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Let me preach a little here...

Let me preach a little here that will further demonstration the difference between a normal board and a CF surfboard.

People who dont learn to surf on longboards have annoying, jerky styles that lack fluidity and grace. Naturally there are exceptions to this but they few and far between. Learn on a longboard THEN go pop 360 airs on a shortboard, you will have it all, power, grace, and explosive style cuz all those longboard powerturns will make you a damn superhero on a shortboard!

That said, learning on a carbonfiber surfboard (not that normal humans can afford to) would be the worst possible scenario.

... I did just realize that a carbon fiber surf board might be the only type of board to survive being learned on hah!

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When your board dives into the water nose first from either charging too hard on a steep drop or when your learning and your weight is too far forward.

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