Surfboard FAQ’s with Matt Biolos
What should you look for when shopping for or ordering a groveler?
Look for a board that will motivate you to surf when you otherwise would not. A board that is easy to paddle, catch and plane across small waves. This usually requires a board with: Less rocker and more width. Additional thickness is not necessarily needed, but helps. For most people, it equates to more volume overall, to keep you on top of the water. In general, I prefer a light board, for small waves. EPS/Epoxy shines in soft surf, but there is also the growing contingent who lean towards slightly heavier, classically built board ( like resin tinted fish, etc), and their built in momentum and inertia.
How does a groveler ride differently than your standard shortboard?
A groveler should get into waves easy. The trick to small surf is to be in and up quickly. They should accelerate without effort and plane on top of the water at lower speeds. A grovel board should be easy to turn and make small surf exhilarating.
Should groveler models vary depending on skill level of the surfer?
Absolutely! For a pro level, or even advanced surfer, a groveler can simply be a slightly shorter, wider version of their performance board, usually with a slightly relaxed rocker and a bit more foam in the rails. This makes the transition between the two boards feel seem-less, and allows similar performance levels when down gradin fro small to medium surf.
For lower skill sets, a groveler usually means an entirely different board. One that simply makes bad waves fun. There’s multiple levels of grovelers on the market. Almost always, there’s a balance between ease of catching waves and trimming vs performance. We Shapers are constantly working to bridge that gap.
From Huntington Beach to Pipeline, what type of waves are ideal for grovelers (skill level permitting, of course)?
HB is tricky. It’s got a bit of everything, even when small. Mushy fat faced crumble on the outside, usually followed by a tight radius dumpy shore break. A good grovel board has enough glide across the flats outside, and is able to link long arcing carves, but still has enough curve to fit in the tight, dumpy shore break. Too flat won’t do that.
There’s nothing grovel about Pipeline.
What should you look for when shopping for or ordering a step-up?
I feel a step up should be a transition from your most frequently ridden daily board.
If you ride HP Shortboard, then a step up is HP as well. Essentially 2-6” longer with similar dims, usually a bit thicker, with tapered rails and a thinner, for foiled tail.
What makes a step-up different from your standard shortboard?
A standard shortboard is designed to create speed. A step-up is designed to control speed. We usually do this by using more rocker, less concave ( less lift ) and a narrower tail. They are usually thicker ( for paddling and drive) combined with a tapered, lower apex rail, to permeate the water and hold in on step walls, and high speed turns.
Should step-up models vary depending on skill level of the surfer?
Step Ups are all about confidence. If you ride a fish or wider/hybrid type board on a daily basis, you don’t want to switch to a typical performance step up when the waves get bigger. It does more harm than good. Nowadays there are multiple options of “hybrid step ups” available. It’s one of the more creative and rapidly developing categories in rad design today. Ride a step up that is a essentially stretched version of your daily driver, but with design amendments to transition from speed generation to speed control. The bigger waves have the speed built in.
From Huntington Beach to Pipeline, what type of waves are ideal for step-ups (skill level permitting, of course)?
Any time surfing Pipe, you are on some sort of step up. For HB/Ca etc, most of us wabt some sort of step up when the waves are ceiling high. So well overhead. The thing is, these are still “performance” waves. You don’t want a narrow, knife pin tail, tube rider. You want a board for doing small to medium wave maneuvers, on larger waves.
This is the really exciting part of step up design today.
What should you look for when shopping for or ordering a quad fin setup?
A fifth , rear thruster box, as an insurance policy.
How does a quad fin setup ride differently than your standard thruster?
As a step up, quads act like two claws, holding the inside rail to a steep wall, offer giving a feeling of being able to ride higher up in the wall or in the tube. Because the rear fins are set further forward than s thruster, there is a sensation of less drag, and more freedom, or speed. Many good tube riders love quads, but I feel tat for most people, who don’t ride larger waves often, a thruster is more reliable and has less “surprises”. Quads can also “ free up “ and otherwise stiff, step up in smaller , playful surf. Opening the functional wave size for a step up and allowing the surfer to stand further forward, where the tail is wider, and still have fun as the waves get smaller.
Should quad fin models vary depending on skill level of the surfer?
Yes. I actually believe strongly in quad fins on many wide tail small wave board. Personally I believe quads work best on boards with relaxed tail rockers, and some Vee , rather than high tail rockers where a thruster prevails. Quads loosen up an shorten the turning radius on a flat tail rocker and because they are placed close t the rail, they tend to add grip to wide tails.
From Huntington Beach to Pipeline, what type of waves are ideal for quad fins (skill level permitting, of course)?
The Difference Between Surfboard Tails
What’re the performance benefits of each of the following? Which type of waves do they work best in?
Squash- Predictable, with enough surface area for all types of small to mid waves, and for fins free modern performance surfing.
Pin – Lowest surface area, holds in and trustworthy in powerful surf. Controls speed. Confidence in sticky situations.
Rounded pin- sorta sits between Squash and Pin. Still playful and free feelin, but with a bit more bite and control.
Swallow- Added drive from elongated rail line. More bite and grip from hard angles , yet freed up a bit due to shortened centerline rocker and reduction in surface area.
Diamond- uses loner centerline rocker combined with shorter rail line. Drives well in flat line yet turns a bit shorter and quicker on rail, due t less rail line.
Square- angular Squash. Sits between swallow and squash. Kinda ugly though.
Bat wing – never really made any.
Round -See Round Pin.
Thumb- see Round Pin
Rounded squash- see squash