Sunday, February 3, 2008

A novices view of a C4 Waterman 10.6 Demo

Filthy day today - 30mph plus Southerly winds with a little bit of West in it - Bang offshore but never going to be an easy session. I had arranged to borrow the C4 10'6 Demo board from Tim at the Longboard house and was therefore pretty committed to giving it a bash over the high tide at Hayle rivermouth.

The wind had dropped considerably by 3 pm and although there were quite a few people sizing it up there were not a lot of takers. The Rivermouth is always confused on the inside but out the back it was looking clean and consistent 3-4' ish on the sets.

I was a little nervous that I might not get to my feet at all let alone get through the inside chop. I knee paddled my way to some more settled water and popped to my feet - it was lively but I was standing - first thing I noticed was that the board needed to be paddled to be stable - stationary I fell off with alarming frequency - 'should have brought my JL' I thought - but I was not going back for it. The board reacted to each paddle stroke with a bigger 'turn effect' that my Jimmy Lewis so I was constantly alternating paddle stroke sides. Taking white water on the nose however was a bit of a blast the board seemed to pop up over the wash and providing I kept some forward motion going and left the paddle trail in the water behind me I made reasonable progress to the line up.

Side on to the swell at rest was hard - The slightly narrower width of the C4 would catch a side chop and bury itself and with the resulting loss of balance I was thrown off frequently. I soon realised that by paddling up and down parallel to the line up I was spending more time on the board rather than under it. Great workout.

My first wave was a bit of a peach - a shoulder high left - the Rivermouth does offer up a few lefts although the break is predominently a right. I paddled in thinking 'this is a bit late' stepped back and the board just took off. The pure surf board feel of the C4 was striking - it was fast and loose I could cutback and catch up with the shoulder with ease and it was not until I got to the reform on the inside that I actually used the paddle to get over the hump and start the wave all over again - magic.

I would love to say that I repeated this at will - but I found it hard to paddle-in generally as I was always just that bit too off balance to be able to give those last few decisive strokes on the face of the wave that make the catch. In fact the waves that I did catch always felt a bit too late for comfort the board however just dealt with the drop like a performance longboard.

I was finding that I had to take the waves as a straight hander and then stick in a big bottom turn - trying to take the wave slightly at an angle always seemed to let the wave pass me by. Odd. The angled take off works with the JL but I am probebly going in a bit earlier with more board speed. Whereas with the C4 and my constant 'zig-zagging' paddle approach I was never really up to speed - hence the late takeoffs.

I am sure that this was just first session blues - the Jimmy Lewis is a fantastically stable board and can be slipped into the wave very early. The C4 is much more of a surfboard and would need some adjustment time. It is obviously a performance board (and there are far more performance focused versions than this) and whilst my head told me 'yeh go on you are ready for a shorter board' my actual skill levels brought me up short and wanting.

The other noticeable thing was that I found myself riding the waves that I caught and hardly using the paddle on the wave. The board just felt that surfy. I like getting weight on the padle and I like the feel of bullying the longer board a bit. The C4 does not need bullying. I had in my head at these moments 'Why not just ride a longboard' Traitorous thoughts ehh? But the paddle just seemed to be extra baggage.

I got more tired on this board - it's harder work which is not a bad thing but in the end I was so knackered I gave it up - a shame as the waves were good but I was looking like a nob from the start and did the cause no favours so I dragged myself out with my tail between my legs.

Chatting with Gavin after the session he noted that at first on his JL he would barely use the paddle when on the wave - not the case now. As Gavin said a few more sessions would probebly see thing come good it's just that at the moment I'm not sure that I want to take the next step just yet. I have hardly had the JL for four months and have barely scratched it's potential so for the time being whilst grateful to Tim for the chance to try the C4 I am going to stay with the JL for a bit longer. Gavin however seems ready to be challenged and is making noises about the C4 10'er. Be interesting how he gets on with the 10'6 this week.

1 comment:

John Hibbard - said...

Hi Steve,

Sounds like you are having a ball. This is just a casual suggestion for you to try out either the 11'2" or 9'8" Starboard SUP boards. That wobbly feeling you describe doesn't exist on these boards due to the width in the paddling area. From what you say about your expereinces, I think you'll really like them. The 11'2" is certainly gaining fans rapidly.

I can point you in the direction of a shop with them on demo and indeed Tim might have some soon as well.