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Reviews, Surf, Surf Reviews

Fin Review: Christian Wach Canvas Fin

July 26, 2012

It’s a big bastard. Ten and a quarter inches tall and seven inches across. A fin that allows for a lot of upright rotation. Designed by Christian Wach from Canvas Surfboards, this True Ames fin is sorta like a late seventies mullet – all business up front and a party in the back. I put it on my 9’6″ Becker UFO, a board that I really haven’t been riding, but has been the basis for most, if not all, of our Finterviews. So I stuck it on the stern and paddled out to find a few peelers.

It was easy. Up and around. Worked real well. It’s hard to tell you how different it is, how it helps, or whether it would work better than what’s currently at the back of your board. All I can say is that I like it. Better than that big Greenough I’ve gone with for awhile. Which is saying something. So if you’re up for it, for something a bit bigger, something that comes with character, check out Christian Wach’s Canvas Fin.

– Justin Coffey

Justin Coffey is known to enjoy small waves, strong drinks, motorcycles and misbehaving. He’s also the guy that runs Peanut Butter Coast.

Reviews, Surf, Surf Reviews

Fin Review: Rainbow Fin Company MD3

June 13, 2012

The MD3 Longboard Fin, manufactured by the Rainbow Fin Company, was designed by our favorite Long Island logger, Mikey DeTemple, and is supposed to “bring your log to life.” I opted for the full length flavor. Ten inches. Top to bottom. It’s big, I know. But I was having trouble with the Blue Banana and thought that a fin with less area would allow for clean, drawn out turns. And I’ll be damned if it didn’t! On head high waves the MD3 digs deep. Like a big keel on the underside of a sailboat, the fins broad, flat surface creates sideways force by displacing water in the opposite direction that the board is trying to tip. Now that’s some serious surf science. You’ll know when it won’t go, though. Put pressure on it’s pivot point on a knee high peeler and nothing happens. Straight as an arrow. Sometimes there’s just not enough underneath. But on the biguns, when your flying down the face ready to make things right, er, left, the MD3 gets the job done.

Oh, and did I mention it’s fast, with tons of trim speed for controlled noserides, assuming you wander that far forward. So what more do you wanna know? It’s not so spectacular on the small stuff. Probably need a pivot fin for that. But when it gets big, or at least up to your ass, the MD3 is an excellent bit of equipment. Case closed.

– Justin Coffey

You can pick up your own MD3, here.

Justin Coffey is known to enjoy small waves, strong drinks, motorcycles and misbehaving. He’s also the guy that runs Peanut Butter Coast.

Film, Reviews, Surf, Surf Reviews

Film Review: Picaresque

May 30, 2012

I recently received a copy of Mikey DeTemple’s first film, Picaresque. A surf movie sans script, the film is intended to “showcase longboarding in a new light; getting away from the preconceived notions and turning up the tempo.” A collaboration between High Seas Films and Flesh Profits Nothing, the film features “an über-talented group of 25-and-unders,” including Scotty Stopnik, Matty Chojnacki, Chris Christenson and Mikey DeTemple. The project, which took a few years to finish, allowed Mikey and his crew to travel around the world, stopping in Australia, California, Florida, France, Mexico, New England, New York, and Costa Rica.

As a fan of logs and longboarding, Picaresque had me green with envy, wishing I could walk to the nose with such ease, such confidence. Shot in Super 16mm film, there’s a classic meets contemporary feeling throughout. Walking away from that progressive, off the lip, big bottom turn, three fin style of surfing seen so often, Picaresque sheds light on an unseen and almost always unappreciated side of surfing. There’s a few extra fins in there for good measure. A fish. A six-foot single. But the focus remains. Big boards and unbelievable balance. Logging offers few limitations.

So, how does it stack up? Towards the top. I’ve seen my fair share of surf stuff recently. Short videos on Vimeo, feature length DVDs, everything in between. One thing I really appreciate is the lack of commentary. The seamless transitions between scenes. The soundtrack. More surfing, less shit. If I’m going to spend that much scratch, I hope to have a film that fills my living room full of stoke. Feed the fire. So if love logs, longboards and other weird watercraft, watch Picaresque. Worth every penny.

You can pick up your own copy of Picaresque, here.

Justin Coffey is known to enjoy small waves, strong drinks, motorcycles and misbehaving. He’s also the guy that runs Peanut Butter Coast.

Reviews, Surf, Surf Reviews

Fin Review: True Ames 404 O’fish’L SUP Fin

May 22, 2012

The True Ames 404 O’Fish’l fin is a pretty good fin. The first thing I noticed is you get to choose from a wide array of cool colors when ordering this fin. Being able to add a little bit of custom choice is always a good thing. The next thing I noticed was how light it was. It really was one of the lightest fins I have held for SUP. The honeycomb construction really did away with a lot of weight found in other fins that are sold.

The afternoon I got it, I threw it in the bottom of my board and took it for a test drive. The fin performs pretty well, but does have some minor problems. First it tracks great at lower speeds, but if you’re sprinting fast for any kind of landmark in the distance, be ready to course check a lot. It wasn’t too bad, but didn’t allow me to put my head down, focus on stroke, and zone out to rhythm.

The next thing was it tended to snag some seaweed a little easier than other fins. It shed whatever it ran into fairly easily, but only after about 50 yards or so. Again if you’re racing for anything you don’t want that stuff on there at all.

Those where the only things that I found to be downfalls. So if you’re looking to race (fast) I wouldn’t recommend this fin. But if you’re looking for a solid fin that works great for touring and just enjoying nature around you, this is a good buy.

– Renick

Reviews, Surf, Surf Reviews

Fin Review: George Greenough 4-C

May 17, 2012

According to True Ames, George Greenough took cues from the pattern of human evolution when designing the 4C and “found it adaptive to become less wild and more upright.” The 4C, a 9.5″ fiberglass fin, shares Greenough 4A’s flex, but has less rake and a much smaller base. It’s upright posture allows “midlength eggs and logs to make lower-radius, looser turns.” I attached it to 9’6″ Harbour Banana Model, a board that came equipped with an upright-ish, 9.5″ fin made by the Fibre Glas Fin Co. But for some reason, I found the 4C to feel a bit short. On an eight foot egg, or perhaps a board with a bit less tail rocker, the 4C would work well. But the Banana needed something stronger. Whiskey not wine.

Down the face the 4C felt fine, but the bottom turns were sloppy. Loose. Once I pulled into the pocket the 4C required me to stay toward the back of the board, trimming from the tail. It just seemed too short. Take a few steps forward and the Banana lost it’s balance. All over the place up front. I became frustrated. Certain it was the fins fault. But alas, it was just the wrong tool attached to a long stick.

I’d recommend the 4C to someone with a shorter board. Someone looking to make fast, loose turns, but maintain some stability down the line. I would not, however, suggest you affix the 4C to something you’re accustom to making big, slow, calculated bottom turns on. Just wasn’t what I wanted

– Justin Coffey

If you have a shorter stick and would like to test out the 4C yourself, click here

Justin Coffey is known to enjoy small waves, strong drinks, motorcycles and misbehaving. He’s also the guy that runs Peanut Butter Coast.

Reviews, Surf, Surf Reviews

Fin Review: George Greenough Stage 4-A

April 7, 2012

Georgh Greenough's 4a longboard fin by true ames is killerRecently, in part because I have a short attention span, but also because I was asked to, I’ve had the pleasure of testing a few different fins on my 9’6″ Becker UFO – a board with a lot of rocker and “just a tad of nose concave for a smooth rail to rail transition.” It’s my twin stick. A surfboard I don’t care too much about, but seem to surf more often than not. I’ve tried pivot fins, performance fins, a 2+1 setup and even a small seven-inch single. But now, thanks to some extensive research (and a few recommendations), I think I’ve found a fin that’ll do everything I desire.

According to Wikipedia, George Greenough is “an innovative surfer and cinematographer from Santa Barbara, California.” Known by many as the father of the modern surfboard fin, Greenough altered the design from a wide-based keel to a more powerful and efficient dolphin fin design. The 4-A, one of Greenough’s earliest iterations, has a narrow, flexible tip that enhances maneuverability and a flared base for increased stability and drive. The 4-A I interviewed was 9.75″ and worked well on the end of my Becker. It held tight, allowing me to pivot late and pull high into the pocket.

Georgh Greenough's 4a longboard fin by true ames is killer
On a board that I find rather unstable, especially up front, the 4-A is extremely steady, allowing me to take a few quick trips to the nose. Bottoms turns were big. It did not rotate as well as the 9″ Future I recently reviewed, but once you had that big bastard pointed down the line, the 4-A didn’t disappoint. Perfect for point breaks, the 9.75″ 4-A was long enough to generate a tremendous amount of hold on a board with quite a bit of tail rocker. And it’s fast. Fiberglass instead of flimsy plastic, the 4-A worked well on slow rolling swells and ugly overhead waves.

Georgh Greenough's 4a longboard fin by true ames is killer
If you’re looking for a fin that does everything alright, I’d recommend the Greenough 4-A. It’s not great at any one thing; noseriding, fast on the face, snappy bottom turns, cutbacks, whatever, but it’s good at almost everything. And good is, well, good. So if you have a stick that’s in need of something new, something that will enhance the overall appeal of an otherwise outdated design, like a late 90’s longboard, I’d recommend a 4-A.

– Justin Coffey

You can pick up your own Greenough 4-A here.

Justin Coffey is known to enjoy small waves, strong drinks, motorcycles and misbehaving. He’s also the guy that runs Peanut Butter Coast.

Reviews, Surf, Surf Reviews

Fin Review: CWP Great White SUP Fin

March 19, 2012

The Chuck Patterson Great White fin does exactly as it claims. A great fin design that allows it to stay stable, yet can easily be maneuvered when needed.

I took the fin out for two separate tests. One on a downwind run, and one in flat water.

The first thing I noticed in the downwind run was that the fin kept the board loose while dropping in on bumps. Once in the trough between bumps I found the fin easily let me change direction if I needed to follow, or catch another upcoming bump on the left or right. The fin also kept a very straight track. Some fins are great for down-winding because they don’t veer off course, but sacrifice maneuverability when needed in tight spots. This fin has both. You can concentrate on catching and gliding, knowing that the point you’re aiming for is still on track. The fin also had speed and didn’t seem to have any drag what so ever. Easily gliding from one bump and into the next.

The next run was over flat water. Some fins seem to work great in one set of certain conditions, while they lack in others. But not this fin. It held speed in flats just fine. Tracked a straight course just as it had in the downwind run. Even into a slight headwind (5 to 8 knts) it held course, and made it easy to concentrate on paddling by not having to switch sides every 3 strokes.

All in all this is a very impressive fin. At first I liked the aggressive design, hoping that the fin would live up to the name. I had some doubts as some fins work great in some areas and not in other areas. But this handled everything I put it through. It was much better than I expected it to be and a nice surprise. It does exactly what it says it will. If you’re looking for a fin that can go from one set of conditions to another, or just want an all around good fin, this is it. Great fin worth the money.

-Renick Woods

You can pick up the CWP Great White here.

Film, Reviews, Surf, Surf Reviews

Film Review: Come Hell or High Water

March 14, 2012

Both Renick and I have been waiting a few months for Come Hell or High Water to get back in stock. We burnt through our initial inventory faster than expected, and when I went to order more copies I was told they would need to “make more,” to meet the current demand. Nonetheless, I’ve watched the film a few times now, and as soon as this review goes online I’ll think about sending Renick his copy. ;)

Keith Malloy and Woodshed Films wrapped up 2011 in good fashion. Come Hell or High Water brought home a total of four awards from the NYC & London Surf Festivals…rounding out both the “Best Feature,” and “Best Cinematography” categories. A combination of vibrant 16mm film and some new camera angles really makes you wish you were there… steamrolling down the face of wave.

Being body surf film, you of course get a healthy dose of Mark Cunningham. Following a brief narration by him on the south shore, you get a good feel for what CHOHW is all about. At Point Panic, the locals aren’t competing… they’re simply having fun… which is the mantra throughout the film. The movie overall, comes across as lighthearted with jokes about Speedos and comments like “It’s never gonna be cool. I never got any chicks bodysurfing, that’s for sure!

Fear not though… there’s a healthy Wedge section smack-dab in the middle of the film, with plenty of steep drops and lines gone wrong. Fred Simpson says it best; “The hardest part is making up my mind to take off… actually putting myself in the path of the bull, and pass it so it rips my clothes but doesn’t kill me.”

Locations include California, Hawaii, Tahiti, a brief stop in MONTANA, and a pinnacle with Cunningham at Teahupoo. The best rides in my opinion are Mike Stewart at Point Panic… which includes some nice barrels and off the lip spins.
Come Hell or High Water has an overall mellow soundtrack. Some of the film’s musicians include: The Cave Singers, Eddie Vedder, Mike Kaawa, Todd Hannigan, and a Dan Malloy/Jon Swift collaboration.

I dig the film. The combination of Woodshed production and Malloy’s awesome beard really shines some light on an often times overlooked sport. The playfulness of the film was nice change of pace from all the recent overly aggressive short board flicks to come out. It’s a great addition to the Woodshed catalog, and well worth the price of admission (DVD + 6 Pack.)

That’s it for the plight of the torpedo people… guess I can mail Renick his copy now.

You can pick up a copy of the film here.