Why Justin ‘Jughead’ Allport rode a smaller board in the recent Nias swell.
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.
Jughead relying on a 5’8 to get down the ramp at Nias.