As I’ve alluded in a few posts here and a few listings in the classifieds section, I’m up-sizing my quiver due to age, injury, and reduced water time. A number of you picked up on that and have sent me PM’s discussing the issue since you are in the same boat, so I’ll lay it out here and add a pic of a board that was the result of the same conversation with MD.
The issue: I aged a few years since I first started riding Coils, gained a few pounds, and developed a tricky hip (labrum tear with some arthritis). While I insisted I would be the first guy to beat the aging process, I’m accepting quiver modification is now justified.
I always rode under-volumed boards (at least 0.1 ft3 under what was recommended), or at least boards with thin rails to engage in the rampy beachbreaks I usually ride, because I could actively generate speed on the thinner, submissive boards to my liking. But now, with reduced water-time and cardio conditioning, I’m welcoming a little assistance and glide-and-trim, particularly when the waves are not at their best, or when I’m not at my best. In fact, a friend of mine shipped his old WiderWiderboard (at 1.0ft3 volume) up from Virgina Beach to me top sell locally for him and I’ve ridden that with great results in more marginal surf and keeping it in my quiver instead, but I definitely wanted something to bridge the gap between OK surf and I’m-riding-my-stepup surf, so I started talking to MD about some modifications to keep me from submarining and fatiguing on my tiny 0.85ft3 boards.
I heard a lot of good things about the Blur, so I contacted Mike with that idea in mind. We honestly discussed my dilemma and I left him with little guidance besides general length (my height or a little longer), a few thoughts on width (suggested mid 19’s), a small swallow tail, and thruster configuration. I’ve learned to not get so hung up on the numbers as much as just talk through my capabilities, what I want out of the board, and suggest he proportionally fit the shape to the design and to not obsess over the volume number.
The board here is the result. 6’1″ x 19 1/2″ x 2 3/8″ x 0.96ft3, which is a bit more than my go-to 5’11” x 19 1/4″ x 2 5/16″ x 0.85 M80slim.
At first I did not quite believe this board had that much more volume because it is aggressively-foiled in the rails and through the tail (the famous “coil foil”), but the foam must be hidden well because it definitely felt much easier to paddle than my lower-volume boards when making my way out and battling the bitch of a current while trying to hold position against the drift in the lineup. My first wave was arguably the set of the day on which I air-dropped late, pulled in, and drove for a looong time before getting compressed and worked over by the rinse cycle (all waves were freight-trains this day and most were over-walled but there were moments of glory to be had among the carnage); not successfully ridden, per se, but on that particular beast I considered making it to the bottom and driving through it for that distance in full control to be a feather in my cap, and the hoots and post-ride comments from the crowd suggest so as well. Found my stride after that one and locked in to a few successful barrels before frozen feet drove me out an hour or so later, but I kicked the tires enough to know I’d be comfortable and confident on it next time around. A very similar swell a week or so later confirmed those suspicions; it was like Groundhog Day paddling into shallow-water heaving walls that either handed your ass to you or gave you a great barrel that you could just escape before the wall detonated on your tail.
I wish I could tell you how it turns but both sessions afforded very little opportunity to do so, but I can tell you this is a super high-performance design on which I feel very confident to reel in late, weightless drops . Of the two opportunities I had to turn it, I can say it sliced through both turns like a hot knife through butter and the rockers felt spot-on, but admittedly it’s a small sample-size with which I’m working.
For some, the Qualifier might be their ultimate high-performance board, but to be honest with you this Blur is probably as high-performance as I’ll ever need locally, at least until we start hitting the +1.5xOH to I-really-need-my-step-up category.
P.S.- yes, that is the Kick build with an orange accent; for those in the know, this may be the first time you are seeing Kick in Color.