Stand up Paddle Surfing from a novices viewpoint - My complete journey
Monday, September 7, 2009
Nah Skwel 7'8" - Total Parameter Reset
Sometimes things come at me from left field - totally out of the blue and make me rethink everything that I have taken as granted , things like
'My kid's are so much like me could I have been that wrong at their age?' - 'So we are mortal!' (didn't get that one until I was about 22) and 'I can ride a Stand Up board under 8' long!!'
No Really I can - I did it tonight - it was bonkers, in fact it was so far beyond bonkers I'm still pinching myself.
I had first seen this shape some time ago on the Standupzone in a French video clip and pretty much dismissed it as being sort of quirky and . . . well French really - I mean that in a nice way because they seem to have things sorted, but things that work for the French in France you just can't get away with outside of France like hairy armpits and smoking in Restaurants - errgh big hole getting deeper - I know what I mean and it's why I want to live there (probably won't be allowed now. Anyway back to the Nah Skwell ( if I say it enough times it will start to sound normal) Nah Swel nah skwel nah skwel. Apparently it's Breton for Playground. Nah Skwel . . Nah Skwel . . Nope! That don't work. The NS78 (that's better) shares it's DNA with a board called the AHD Sea Lion. That was a multipurpose do it all. The NS78 (oh yeah that works) is a much more focussed SUP and the shortest of a range of three boards - this is the official blurb on them
The Nah-Skwell 7’8, is a highly competitive stand-up paddling short-board. Already very radical in smallish waves, it will allow the most experienced riders to attack waves up to 2.5m. In less than 1m waves, this is the ultimate weapon which allows to throw curve after curve with a true high speed. With no other comparable board in today’s market, this is a board for fully dedicated SUPers looking for extreme sensations and high performance. Surfer < 90kgs
(I weighed this morning, I'm 91kgs, 200lbs in my birthday suit - not nice).
The Nah Skwell 9’6 is a perfect compromise for those who like SUPing in waves. A very compact and lively board, it will complete short radius and fast turns, while retaining a stability known only on 11’ « old-generation » boards, till now. Surfer < 120kgs
The Nah-Skwell 10’6 is a fast board. With a flattish shape and a pinched tail, it will slide easily whether cruising or playing with small and medium waves, no need to get the trouble of carrying a 12’ weapon anymore. Surfer < 115kgs
Nice descriptions - obviously not direct translations from French.
I also have some official pics on them - but as it's quite possible some of you might be reading this whilst eating I am not going to post them - But here are some of the pics I took on my phone this evening - AFTER RIDING THE 7'8" - proper riding like standing up and everything and it's 7'8" (pinch . . ouch! Charlie)
Now argue if you disagree but I reckon that looks pretty good. In the flesh this board with it's Techno Europe deck grip actually looks quite sexy in a Miss Piggy fetish sort of way - It's blatantly not a full blown - blown up shortboard and it might look like it's got mixed up in a blender with a dozen other boards but in the flesh it looks pretty bloody good. And it's not that much longer than my paddle!!
The officicial pics are taken without any perspective and make it look odd, almost comic book like - it really does look much better in real life.
Have another pic.
It's different. So whats it all about? More of the official stuff -
Length (cm) 238 (7'8") Bloody Short width (cm) 75 (29 1/2") Fat (ish)all the way down Thickness 12 (4 3/4") Thick (ish) Weight 8,5kg (18 3/4lbs) Bloody light Volume 127 ltr Fin concept Twins (bloody huge) Who’s that for? - Advanced surfer - (Nah - I'm not read on) - Small to medium frame - (well that rules me out)
This board is easy to stand on - It's very very stable - ok I have gotten used to my Naish 9'3" but this puppy is just nuts. I ran down the beach with it - conditions were not ideal the tide was pretty much fully high and quite a big one that ate most of the smallish swell that there was. It was dead clean and only the odd set wave made for anything resembling a rideable face but jumping on the board for the first time and - Nothing - no death wobbles - no falling straight off the other side - no rinsing. In fact everything seemed to work in slow motion - this board is super stable - obviously being only 7'8" the standing spot is fairly small BUT I can't say that it was critical. The super splayed tails seem to keep the house in order at the back and the full fat nose did the same at the front - this was a real surprise. Within a few minutes I was looking for a wave to bash.
Paddling - well you dont need me to tell you that G l i d e is not one of this boards strong points - it paddles fine and the yaw is manageable but stop paddling and the brakes come on - The first few excuses for waves that I paddled for passed me by with me flailing wildly with seemingly no effect. Hmmnn - tried for a few more - nope, nothing - so I can stand on it and it turns on a sixpence but I can't catch a wave.
I paddled around a bit more stepping back and forward - parallel and surf stance, which the board seems to prefer, and generally messed about trying to get the feel of it.
I decided to go late into the next wave. Bingo - one paddle start and away, ok the wave was knee high and pretty much breaking on the beach but I had time to catch, turn and trim before stepping off the board onto the sand, not something a longer board would have been able to do.
It sort of reminded me a bit of the Starboard Extremist 9'0 - only less glide and a little more 'skatey'. There were a few occaisions when the nose pearled a bit, but to be honest the waves were too short to draw too many conclusions from that.
Another wave, go late - and after that I did it again and again. The board surfs fine - sure it's not got that, 'I can handle anything you shove down my throat' sort of feel that the Naish has, but it certainly surfs and it makes me want to get it out in bigger faces and more adverse conditions with more swell and chop and wind and cack and see what it can do for me.
I reckon that there is loads of tuning potential with the fins - Two monstrous white outboard finbox 8-9"ers I did not measure them - just felt that they needed to be smaller.
I carried on until it got dark, and you know what? I loved it. I love the speed it turns beneath your feet in front of the wave - I loved the no fail stability (except that I did fail a few times) - I love the confidence the board gave me (enough to make me fail and fall through arsing about) - I love the slo-mo recovery feel that gives me a fighting chance to level the board long after I would be off on my other boards and I Love the stupid fat grin on my face that I had playing about like a total cock in rubbish conditions on a board that looks like it shouldn't work. But most of all I love the fact that it's only 7**$ing 7'8".
In itself being 7'8" is no reason to go out and buy another board - BUT I was looking for a more stable board than the Naish that I could use to get the best out of, in the worst conditions that I'm likely to go out in. I was prepared to go a bit longer than the 9'3" to get the right board - hence the Bonga - But the Bonga although more stable than the Naish is actually fairly close in performance and is just a bit too heavy, It's a top board and a great price at £619 but for me the Naish is the one when conditions are average to epic and that makes the Bonga redundant because it's aimed at the same territory so no real gain for me over the Naish.
But this Nah Skwell - this board is fun - I don't expect it to be the full on wave rocket that the Naish is but it is very managable, and interesting enough to make me want to play more, and it's 1'7" shorter than the Naish - you don't need a van or an estate car - hell you could even strap it to a push bike or a moped, it would almost fit in a bodyboard bag on your back (IMAGINE a two piece version). It's a convienient SUP, shorter than any of my surfboards and with a bit more use I reckon there are more surpises to come.
Bonga 9'6" for sale anyone - shortboard performance as new £475 - NS78 to buy
Nah Skwell . . Nah Skwell . . Nah Skw . .
As far as prices, distribution, availability and a bit better wave report is concerned - watch this space.
Edit - It was fairly late when I posted this last night so forgive the errors and omissions, hopefully most are tidied up now - Steve