Make the Most of Your Summer with Our Favorite Small Wave Surfboards
With summer just about here, it’s time to dust off the grovelers, mid-lengths, and fishes to make the most of your next summer session. Whether you’re spending the summer at home or surf tripping abroad, it always pays off to have a small wave surfboard tucked away in the board bag. Nothing is worse than being stuck on the beach during a surf trip because you only packed step-ups and high-performance shortboards when it’s chest high and rippable. If you want to spend more days surfing and fewer days on land waiting for a significant swell, invest in a small wave surfboard like a fish or groveler. We’ve put together a list of 2022’s most sought-after small wave performance boards to help you spice up your quiver just in time for summer.
The Firewire Mashup
Image Credit: Skipper Surf Review
The Firewire Mashup combines three of the label’s best-selling boards, Rob Machado’s Seaside and Dan Mann’s Dominator II and Spitfire. The Mashup features a slight performance outline in the nose with a medium entry rocker, much like the Spitfire. The tail is reminiscent of the Seaside with a finely foiled swallow that gives the board plenty of hold. The wide point of the board falls in the center, and the overall outline is similar to the Dominator II. On the underside of the board, a double concave starts about midway leading through to the fins. The board’s wide outline and extra volume under the chest give it the paddle power and planning speed surfers want in small waves, while the medium entry rocker and pulled-in swallow give the board an added performance feel with plenty of release out of turns.
The Hayden Shapes Cohort II
Image Credit: Hayden Shapes
The Hayden Shapes Cohort II is the small wave version of their newest high-performance model, the Cohort I. The concept behind the Cohort is a reference to the word’s ancient Roman origins. A Cohort was a versatile, Ancient Roman military unit. The Cohort concept by Hayden Shapes aims to cover every type of surfable wave with one series of boards that all share similar design features. The Cohort II is the series’ designated small wave surfboard. The Cohort II is ridden about an inch shorter than your standard shortboard and is significantly wider than the Cohort I. The tail features a hip at the front fin line for extra release and a blocked off/ square tail shape.
Channel Islands Happy Everyday
Image Credit: Cleanline Surf
Like the Cohort II, the Channel Islands Happy Everyday is a small wave iteration of one of the brand’s high-performance models. In the Channel Island’s Happy line, surfers can choose the Happy II for their go-to high-performance shortboard, the Happy Traveler as a trust surf trip step-up, and now, the Happy Everyday as the small wave surfboard/ every day driver. The Happy Everyday isn’t exactly a groveler. It’s more of a daily driver for everyday conditions, not knee-high, choppy surf. The Happy Everyday has a slightly curvier outline and a flatter rocker through the noise and tale than its predecessor. The rounder outline and flatter rocker give you the speed you need to get through slow sections of the wave. On the underside, this small wave surfboard boasts a single concave through the middle of the board and a double concave through the fins.
FireWire Sweet Potato
The Firewire Sweet Potato by Dan Mann is the ultimate small wave surfboard. The Sweet Potato is a groveler by every definition. This small wave surfboard was designed to get you out in the water on days when only longboarders are out. Just like on a log, you’ll be able to glide into waves early, take off with no paddle entries, and cruise through slower sections of the wave. The Sweet Potato is as wide of a surfboard as you will find. The updated version of the Sweet Potato features a pulled-in swallowtail that is thinned out to add a bit of hold and release. The board has a mostly flight rocker line, with just enough lift in the nose to allow you to turn without burying the nose. Surf it several inches below your standard shortboard to match your desired volume. The 5’4” Sweet Potato packs in 34.9 liters of foam, so size accordingly.
Lost RNF 96
The Lost Round Nose Fish is the original high-performance groveler. The RNF exploded onto the surf scene in the 90s when Andy Irons, Chris Ward, Cory Lopez, and many others who first hoped on these wide outlines in the 90s, giving fish shapes a resurgence in popularity. The RNF 96 is the latest refinement of the RNF. The RNF 96 boasts a single concave that gives way to a V-concave under the back foot to give the board extra rail to rail performance. Unlike most fish models, the RNF has a fair amount of nose rocker which allows it to take steep drops and perform in larger surf. Still, the RNF 96 has loads of drive and speed and performs well in all conditions.
Whatever board you decide to ride on your next surf trip, make sure it gets to your destination ding free with the DirtBag, the most padded surfboard travel bag on the market. Stay tuned to the DirtBag blog for more surf and travel news.