Surf Retro


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Retro board for small conditions

This is a common question when choosing a board for small or soft conditions. Many hesitate between the Matata, the Pie and the Fork, often in addition to a shortboard.

The Matata is a small board that you can use in conditions in which you would be riding a longboard, but the ride is totally different. It’s a board that accelerates quickly from the take off, gives a lot of boost and speed instantly. The back foot will naturally position itself very close to the tail, you can easily wrap your turns with the corner of the tail and the Keel fin. It’s the fastest board of the three. So perfect for surfing small / medium waves, for passing fast / closing sections or those lacking energy. A shape to surf at least once in your surfing life. A real alternative to longboarding, and above all ultra easy in relation to its size, even if you are not used to short boards.

The Imperatrice sits between the Matata and the Pie, a large part of its acceleration capacities and natural speed are inherited from the Matata. While having in its DNA the ability to draw curves and the drive of the Pie.

The Pie is a traditional but modernized fish, it does not accelerate as much as the Matata, but offers a lot of speed. The Keel mount makes it easy to wrap your turns. The placement of its fins is fairly centered, which allows you to switch from one rail to another easily, without forcing.

The Fork is going to behave like the Pie in terms of speed. But its very tightened quad assembly allows for more verticality, very close to a tri-fin set-up.

Either way, there won’t be a bad choice, as these three boards are suited to conditions in which a shortboard doesn’t perform well enough, just a difference in the feel of the ride.

  • The Matata to go fast, pass sections easily, while surfing as short as possible.
  • The Pie to combine speed and maneuverability.
  • The Fork to keep a ride close to a classic shortboard, but with the advantages of a fish.

We recommend taking volume, because in these types of conditions, the volume is rarely disabling.

Which construction?

The historical technology in surfing is PU. But on these sizes of boards, it’s expensive, not very green, and a bit boring. Whereas it’s great on a retro board. We will voluntarily increase its weight with this techno to give consistency to its glide. But for the rest, it’s not the best because you don’t want to sacrifice the responsiveness of these high volume boards.

In summary PU is superb, repairable within 10 minutes, does not fear water, but it is very fragile and often very expensive for the limited durability it offers.

The hot new tech is EPS. Known and exploited for decades in other sports, it is finally making its place in the world of surfing. Overall it’s like PU but lighter and more lively. It can therefore be reinforced more than a PU at equal weight. And that’s a real plus. The board is dynamic because the epoxy resin is more lively than the polyester resin. Lighter and more solid, so a super techno that remains pretty with its material effects and the visible foam blank under the transparent fiber.

The monolithic EPS is light, dynamic with a lot of responsiveness, and strong. On the other hand, the repairs take longer (24 / 48h) and the foam blank soaks water if the stratification is damaged. Its price is accessible.

The techno of the future in surfing is obviously the sandwich. Clearly, it’s like the EPS techno but we add a shell of a super strong material all around the foam blank. The board is nervous, very solid, waterproof to all common dings, but also very expensive and complicated to manufacture.

We have developed a transition technology between EPS and the Airex sandwich called WCKF. This wood sandwich is easier to build, and therefore less expensive than PVC foam sandwiches. It’s also a little less light and a little less reactive than an Airex sandwich. But for this medium board program, our WCKF techno is great because it is super strong, relatively light, and at a very reasonable price.

In short: EPS for a performance board, and WCKF for the less meticulous surfers.

The Origin 2.0 technology combines solidity, performance and a polished glossy finish that will make heads turn on the beach! This modern composite sandwich that combines wood and carbon on an EPS foam blank is just superb. The vacuum glued wood strengthens the board against knocks, dents and breakage. The carbon belt creates an outer double batten that provides incredible responsiveness. This very high-end technology is the perfect combination of durability, dynamism and performance. Only our direct sales model allows us to offer it to you at such a sharp price.

Which leash?

A leash should usually be the size of the board or just below. For example a 7’ leash on a 7’2.

Indeed, the lengths announced are those of the rope, to which must be added the ties. And the leash stretches under tension, so we have some headroom before hitting the board head first.

A leash that is the right size, therefore fairly short, protects you less from a  board kickback, but it allows you to:

  • paddle and surf faster. The difference is crazy.
  • recover your board faster. So to get past the waves faster.
  • to annoy fewer people because your “harm” radius is reduced.

You only have to put a 10′ leash on a 5’6 board to understand how harmful it can be ;-))))

It is only in very big waves that the leash size is increased. Off topic here…

The diameter is also an important point: fine we go faster but there is a risk of breaking it when waves get into the head high range.

Finally, we change it every year. It’s annoying, but it’s your life jacket. There’s no way around it unless you prefer to surf with a certified sailor’s life jacket ;-).

Pad or no pad?

The question of the pad often comes down to an aesthetic choice for the look of your board. But what seems like luxury to non-pros is actually a huge help.

If surfing is “the art of placement” then you need to put your feet properly on the board. And what better than a touch marker to know, “ok, I’m at the sweet spot for this turn.”?

40 years ago, we had this mark with the indentations that come under the foot on PU boards. But that’s a bit outdated as a trick, isn’t it? Like it or not, everyone has their own say.

If the indentations seem to you to be a slightly medieval solution, you can also wax only the sweet spots: hummm … guaranteed split… It may look stylish or professional, but it’s really playing with your offspring… 😉

Sticking good pads is therefore essential. They will signal to your feet whether they are in the perfect position or not.

You still have to stick them properly, and some get very creative…

So the rule is simple for the tail pad: glued just in front of the leash plug! To say it simply, it must be placed completely at the back. This is where you will have the magical feeling:

  • foot on the flat of the pad for gentle turns.
  • foot on the kicker to tear everything apart or pop for reverses.
  • foot in front of the pad for tubing.

It’s super simple.

What about the front pad?

Still marginal 5 years ago, it is fast becoming essential with the fashion of airs.

Where to place it? It’s pretty simple because it’s long, so we have some headroom.

In general, the sweet spot of the front foot for turns is considered to be between the back third and the center of the front pad. Because in the moves you will tend to move forward, either in reception or to get barreled. On the other hand, your foot will never step back behind this sweet spot. It would be unsurfable.

You’ve glued the tail pad, so put your foot in the center of it and step the front foot forward to your natural stance. Usually this point is the back third of the front pad.

In fact, on a shortboard it’s easy to put it on, so on a mid-length it’s in the same place. It will look a bit back, but that’s how it should look. And you can stick a second one in front of the first one if needed.

Note that the pads do not exempt you from waxing. In front or behind, wax, wax and wax your board.

So which pads to choose?

1 / The one that matches the shape of your board. You can cut it with a new cutter blade, but it is better to avoid the carnage.

2 / The one you like, because it’s important to love your board.

How to glue it?

  • We stick it on a new board because on an already waxed board it is hell: it will always remain greasy. In this case, wax and then clean with gasoline F to remove the grease, and wait 24 hours to rub with a clean microfiber before sticking the pad.
  • A pad should be glued straight, it’s prettier 😉 And we glue the tail pad to the leash plug !!! A maximum of 2cm in front.
  • It is positioned on the board without removing the double-sided protective films. We adjust it just right. Then if you want to make sure it remains well positioned, draw a few points with a pencil on the board.
  • We always start with the central part of the pad.
  • We peel off the front of the film 5cm and fold it back.
  • We place it again. When it’s good, we press the front to fix the position with the glue on the board.
  • Lift the back of the pad to remove the rest of the protective film.
  • And we stick the rest to the back without stretching or twisting it too much.
  • We press on it very hard because the glues react to pressure above all.
  • We fix the kicker of the tail pad firmly with paper tape and leave it under pressure for 24 hours.
  • We unpack 24 hours later and go !!!

And if a point of the pad ever comes off, we re-glue it with quick gel glue on a perfectly dry pad. We don’t wait 15 days to do it, otherwise the whole pad will peel off. It’s a little maintenance to do sometimes, when you have the wetsuit that got stuck to the pad a little hard for example.

I was about to forget :

  • a pad is also a super anti-slip which remains soft on the wetsuit.
  • it protects the board from shocks.
  • it burns the skin.
  • it saves you from waxing every 20 minutes …
  • it adds value to your board for resale.
  • and makes for a great looking board.

Which fins?

The fins delivered with our boards are sufficient to operate them correctly.

But if we know that 50% of the performance of a board comes from the fins, a pro will necessarily want to adjust the set of fins to his size, his style, his tastes …

Some fins promote speed, others turns, others acceleration etc … They are fully described on their own product sheets. A good read by the campfire 😉

If we summarize:

  • Boards that aim for acceleration: typically fish, big swallows, and Simmons in large sizes, are often ridden with a twin fin set-up with nice keels, or in quad for modern versions. These fins promote speed by strongly orienting the rail on its trajectory.
  • Manoeuvrable boards with a round tail are often tri-fin, 2 + 1 (two lateral and an adjustable US central), or twin if the hull is designed with channels to guide the flow.
  • The gunny boards derived from boards with pinched tails are in single for the purity of the lines, or in tri-fin for maneuverability. The 2 + 1 (two lateral and an adjustable US central) remains the best fin set-up because it allows everything you want.
  • The mini longboards are in single for the purity of the lines (but with limited performances), or in tri-fin for the handling (but we leave the program a little). The 2 + 1 (two lateral and an adjustable US central fin) remains the ideal set-up because it gives the most performance to these small longboards.

A 2+1 fin set-up means your board is set with two small side fins and a large central fin. It is very common on mid-lengths or longboards because it offers an excellent compromise between the maneuverability of a thruster and the stability of a single fin (to say it simply). You can fine-tune this balance by adjusting the position of the center fin as explained below.

Fine tune your 2+1 set-up

While the small side fins are fixed in their boxes, the central fin can be adjusted along its US box. Although the rail of this standard box offers a rather wide range of possible adjustments, 2 cm is all you need to perfectly set your central fin.

Indeed, the base of the leading edge of a central fin on a 2+1 fin set-up must be between 0 and 2 cm away from the tips of the side fins. So you need to check the position of the central fin in relation to these tips, with a slat or a stretched line.

By setting a 0 cm spacing, you favor handling. At 2 cm, as illustrated above, you favor stability for a smoother style of ride. To fully understand this setting, imagine that it is the wheelbase of a skateboard. By reducing the gap between the front and rear wheels we obtain a very lively skateboard that can turn on the spot. To cruise on a downhill skateboard, you use a significantly larger wheelbase to gain stability.

If you mount larger side fins with more setback tips, you will also need to move your central fin back. The rule always applies.

For 2 + 1 set-ups, a larger central fin stabilizes the board and lengthens the curves. Larger lateral fins boost speed in curves. We lengthen the ones and not the others, they are communicating vessels: a large central with large lateral ones is too much, your board will be unmanageable.

The size of the central US fin: 6″ to 9” in 2 + 1 and 8″ to 11″ in single (7″ and 10 “being the references of each set-up).

The material of the fins is after the shape the most important point: you need fibers. Rigidity is the key to having good fins. If you go up in quality, you go up in rigidity. And note that fiber fins are easily repairable in the event of impact with a rock for example.

Which board bag?

For the board bag, choose it a bit bigger than the board. First to fit the board, then to leave room to add the fins, protections, etc … Be careful, a bag that’s too big will make a terrible sound on the roof rack. The kind that will make you want to hang yourself after 100km 😉

Day bag or Luxe bag? The name is an answer. The Luxe bag is ideal when traveling but takes up a lot of space on a daily basis. The Day bag is great for everyday sessions.

At GONG both types are very strong. It’s up to you to decide.

Which quiver?

When we are interested in a mid length surfboard, we are either at the beginning or our surf experience or close to have seen it all. Either way, now is a great time to take an interest in other things so that you can spend more time on the water, at least all the time available in good conditions.

Transitioning to surf foil to finally ride that solitary 30 cm wave, the one nobody cares about, but which will grant you the longest rides of your life

A wing quiver to make the most of windy days?

A SUP to go for a cool stroll or cruising with your family?

The time you spend on the water on one type of board will enrich your practice of the other. Nothing replaces experience, the time spent at sea, the variety of conditions, sharing with the elements and friends.