Stab In The Dark: Shapers Series - Channel Islands

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posted by James Willmott


Welcome to Episode 4 of the Stab In The Dark Shapers Series.

If Stab In The Dark is the main event, then please consider the Shaper Series as special features.

Presumably you’ve already watched our 36-minute film, in which Dane Reynolds takes 13 of the world’s best (unbranded) surfboards to South Africa for 10 days of rigorous and unbiased testing and flexing.

In the Shaper Series, a joint with our pals at Swell, we delve a little deeper on the other side of the coin; we step into the shapers’ bays and syphon their thoughts and reasoning around their art, and the board they shaped for Stab In The Dark 2016.

So, what did we tell our shapers? Boards to be delivered by June 1 in either LA or Sydney. Surfer is 6’0” and 190 lbs (86 kg), but will remain anonymous. Shoot location, South Africa. Surfboard must be 6’0” but width, thickness and volume all open to interpretation. Oh, and blank, blank, blank. Completely void of all branding or recognisable features like unique carbon patches. This is not a paid-for board guide – our readers are too savvy to make informed decisions based off that. Yes, there will be honesty. Every board will have positives and conversely, every board will have negatives. And, there’s a chance the board could break first wave, first turn, first air. If it does, apologies, you’re out.

“Well, I knew the surfer was Dane and I am Dane’s shaper, so I felt a little funny about doing it and actually offered to remove myself, but was asked to stay in,” admitted this episode’s shaper, Britt Merrick of Channel Islands. “I didn’t want to do for Stab In The Dark what I make for Dane everyday, so I took an alternative approach. I’ve been working with Malcolm Campbell who, along with his brother Duncan, are the inventors of the bonzer. We thought it would be a cool idea to throw a five-fin bonzer into the SITD mix. The board is pretty much what I make for Dane generally as far as the outline, deck and rails, but has a rocker with more entry curve and falls differently out the back with a vee in the last 1/3 suitable for a bonzer.”

“The Channel Islands bonzer felt pretty weird,” said Mr Reynolds of his shaper’s alternative craft. “It felt like throwing a single fin on a normal shortboard. I think maybe I had the fin too far back. It would be fun for certain waves, like clean, three foot and punchy waves. When Britt saw that the ‘mystery surfer’ was six foot, 190 pounds he knew it was me, so he decided to make a funkier shape. Because if I said the board was shit, that wouldn’t be good for business and if his board won people would think it was rigged.”