Stab in the Dark: James Cheal of Chilli

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posted by Kate McCart

Welcome back to Stab in the Dark. By now you’ve seen what Julian Wilson did with our collection of cleanskin boards from the world’s best shapers. You also know that Darren Handley (DHD) won. But, now it’s time to meet the gentry behind the other crafts that made for such compelling viewing in our mini-documentary.

Chilli’s Stab in the Dark entry, made by James ‘Chilli’ Cheal, was given the #01 sticker. And it came close to earning it too, falling just short of winner DHD in second place. “It’s one of those designs you’d give a professional surfer who’s trying your boards for the first time,” says Chilli. “Making it as simple as possible is often really hard, so it wasn’t straightforward. Everyone’s boards can be the best for certain people.”

Jules said of the Chilli: “This board digs lefts. I was confident backside. To have any chance of surfing on your backhand you have to be able to come of the bottom without hesitation, otherwise there’s no chance of doing a backside reo. This is one of the only boards that’s given me that confidence coming off my backhand. Going frontside I could shimmy it and make it work; a good all-rounder.”