Slab stix

Why Justin ‘Jug­head’ All­port rode a smaller board in the re­cent Nias swell.

Tracks - - Arrows - By Luke Kennedy

What were the di­men­sions of the board you rode in the Nias swell?

On the two big­gest days I was rid­ing a 5’9 x 19 x 2 1/2 and a 5’8 x 18 1/2 x 2 3/8.

Was any­one else on a board that small?

Yeah, Lee Wil­son was on a 5’8 or 5’9 Chilli shapes. He said he was in­spired by what I was do­ing on such a short board, but to tell you the truth, I thought he was a stand­out so he gave me con­fi­dence by telling me that. I was doubt­ing my­self, but what I didn’t take into con­sid­er­a­tion was other guys on big boards weren’t do­ing so well. I got back to Aus­tralia and drove straight into Wizstix (be­fore go­ing home) and started try­ing to re­fine my slab boards for even big­ger slabs over 8ft.

What did you de­cide to tweak in your boards after Nias?

Those boards were made for 4-8ft slabs at home and Cape Solan­der. They were a bit wide in the tail for such a swell. So I de­cided to pull the tail in, and also thicken up the cen­tre of the board whilst mak­ing sure the tail is re­ally re­fined. I de­cided to get an­other 5’8 and also a 6’0.

What are the most crit­i­cal per­for­mance at­tributes of a board in heavy, hol­low waves?

A board I feel con­fi­dent in knif­ing a late drop on and to hold off the bot­tom whilst keep­ing speed.

How did you end up go­ing shorter in big­ger, slab­bier waves?

Back in ‘95 Wiz (Gary Loveridge from Wizstix) made me a 5’6 Fish I took to Su­ma­tra and I ended up rid­ing it in 8ft waves and then 10ft Nusa Dua the fol­low­ing year. So the last seven or eight years I’ve gone shorter for waves like the In­di­ca­tor or Solan­der. Fast for­ward to 2017 and after land­ing in Syd­ney, straight off the plane from Bali with the fam­ily, we drove straight to Solan­der to see 8-10ft pump­ing waves. I had a more modern 5’4 fish in the board­bag so I grabbed that and jumped straight off the rocks. The thing went amaz­ing out there – 5’4 with low rails but as much vol­ume in the guts as my short­board, maybe a litre or two more.

What is the logic be­hind go­ing shorter and thicker in slabs?

Shorter in slabs fits a lot bet­ter. I feel way more con­trol over a shorter board with less rail to catch and less nose to pearl. These waves break so quick, you don’t have time to read­just if you catch a rail or bury the nose ... the only rea­son you need vol­ume in a board for slab surf­ing is pad­dle speed. Once you’ve pad­dled into the wave low vol­ume is key.

What can you do to en­sure a smaller board won’t spin out in heavy con­di­tions?

Lower rails, re­fined tail. Keep thick­ness in the mid­dle to get in early and re­duce like­li­hood of a later drop. Fins : Low vol­ume, stiff quad Fins.

How about rocker?

I pre­fer flat­ter en­try rocker and with the shorter boards this works fine. More tail lift fits into the slabs bet­ter.

You have been work­ing with Gary Loveridge from Wizstix for the past twenty years.

Wiz (Gary) has been like a God­fa­ther to me. To be able to go di­rect to Gary and talk about my boards in per­son and work on these over the years has def­i­nitely been a huge ad­van­tage for me. He’s got some amaz­ing ideas and loves to ex­per­i­ment.

Any other defin­ing fea­tures of your boards?

Yeah, the low rail, re­fined tail I’ve been run­ning since that first fish in ‘95 and since my lat­est tow board in 2005 has been a defin­ing fea­ture in my slab boards. The step deck from the orig­i­nal 1995 Fish has been in­cor­po­rated into most of my slab / big­ger wave boards in some way or an­other and gives me more con­trol and hold for sure.

Photo: Gram­beau

Jug­head re­ly­ing on a 5’8 to get down the ramp at Nias.

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