Right so, before we begin here I suppose I’ve gotta break down the old body dims for reference.
HEIGHT - 5’8”
WEIGHT - 81kg (shut ya mouth)
ABILITY - I probably could have claimed advanced pre kids, but I’ll be time specific, I’m more like Intermediate these days.
ROACH II - "A true grovel masterpiece, makes surfing shit waves really fun. Best surfed as a 2+1 set up for more freedom, release and fun but goes mental as a thruster for more drive."
5’5 x 19 3/4 x 2 3/8 - 29cl || FCS II - Recommended fins = Reactor Template / MR Twin + 1.
MY STAND OUT ELEMENTS :
VOLUME NOTICEABLE - You know when you first hit the waters edge with a new craft under your wing, there’s always the obligatory moment where you throw it into the drink, stick ya mitts into the wax and surf the thing with your hands and arms, wiggling it left and right to feel out the pivot of the tail and try enter some form of zen related “this surf is going to be THE ONE” type of mind set? Well that’s the kind of ridiculous processing that happens in my dome tank anyway.. (Let’s carry on.) I noticed straight away the sheer flotation of this device and quietly thought “fucking oath” because I need that type of volume to support this old chassis encumbered by what one could explain only as a fairly low performance dad physique. I jumped on my guts and began a very casual paddle out, essentially skipping like a smooth stone across the oceans surface, feeling somewhat in sync with my water based brethren, the bottle nose dolphin. (Just kidding) But in all seriousness, paddling is a breeze on this board and it makes getting into fat, junky waves basically effortless thanks to the low entry rocker and volume forward design.
ADAPTABLE PERFORMANCE BY FIN SETUP - My very first session on this board I had it set up as a thruster with the FCS II Performer PC in a size medium. The waves were maxing out at 2 foot, and there was an honest onshore wind blowing with very little push in the swell. I was skimming in to these little waves with ease and noticed the initial squirt of speed the ROACH II gives you as soon as you're up on your feet. The first handful of waves I was getting little up and down pumps happening across the face and was just tapping and floating over little crumbled sections and kicking off the end of the wave with speed to burn. It was super fun, but I decided I wanted to try step it up a bit and actually try to do a turn. Next wave I jumped up and raced, eyed off a little steep bit and tried to blow the fins out on a snap and the thruster set up felt a bit rigid, like it didn’t want to make sharp directional changes and wanted me to just fly down the line in a more fluid fashion. So I raced in and switched the fins out to ride it as a 2+1. I threw the MR twin fins and trailer in and got back out there, knowing that this would loosen the back of the board up quite a bit, and well it did exactly that. The rest of session I was able to pivot off my back foot like it was nothing, which resulted in some little vertical tags and fin drift snaps on the closeout sections. My opinion is this, think thruster for a straighter style of surfing where you want to carve and float and 2+1 set up for getting more creative in turns and surfing more straight up and down.
RATED 1-5 FOR EASE OF SURF - I have to give it a 5/5 for ease of surf, It’s got elements that every type of surfer can gel with. It’s got all the stability a beginner could ever need and it’s packed with electricity so said surfer could improve performance as their skills grew. For the intermediate to advanced surfer I’d recommend straight up throwing the 2+1 set up in and expect top notch performance, speed and maximum fun. Nothing less.
BULLET TWIN - A lightning fast little weapon that can hold a rail with the best of ‘em and doubles as a VERY good board for punts in small waves.
5’5 x 19 3/8 x 2 5/16 - 27.2cl || FUTURES - Recommended fins = EN Twins.
MY STAND OUT ELEMENTS :
ABSOLUTE CONTROL - The first time I surfed a Bullet was when I was on a trip to Simeulue Island, North Sumatra. Right out the front of where I was staying was this bullshit little sand bottommed beach break set up that consistently churned out 2-3ft wedging tipis up and down the beach, it was insane. I paddled the the Bullet out for its maiden session on about the 3rd day and it had all of the characteristics you would expect from looking at its outline, it paddled really easily and got me into waves nice and early. But the biggest mind blower was the feeling I got as soon I was standing up, the only way I can explain it is I felt in total control, as if I could literally just decide to do anything and it would readily be there underneath me. Right away I knew that I was going to ride this board A LOT.
AIRS MADE EASY - I know, that’s a large statement isn’t it. But here’s the reasoning behind my claim.. The board does half the work for you. After getting you in to the wave early, once you’re on your feet, you’re flying. Speed is key when it comes to punts in small waves obviously and its got that sorted for you. The other thing is how easy directional changes are on this board, it pivots on a dime! So add that up, you’ve got your speed, you’ve got easy board manipulation, all you’re missing is the section and with a bit of luck you’ll find that thing and launch for glory and spot a fluffy little landing pad below you to touch down on.
DRIVE & HOLD - This will likely be the biggest wow factor for the majority of punters who ride a Bullet. And so it should be. So in my experience, that first session on the Bullet I found myself flying across faces and out in the open with tonnes of speed to burn and thought “fuck it, im gonna try lay this thing over into a mach-10 cutty” (give or take a few mach-10’s) so I did, and to my surprise it laid right over on rail and seared through a full speed cutback and had me back at that sweet spot of foam (you know that top third bit) for a little backside whip somewhat effortlessly. It was a crazy feeling to push that hard through a carving turn on a twinny, without a single sign of skipping or sliding out. Now this is mostly thanks to two key elements of the board, the first one being the fin positioning and also riding the EN template twin fin from Futures. It’s a mountainous bastard of a fin and it has a super wide base so it helps with stability and you’ll always have a tonne of fin in the water through turns. The other part is the foiled out pin tail the Bullet sports. It kinda acts like a third fin in the way that it almost entirely removes that swirly feeling twinnies can give you when you’re not asking for it, the pin tail settles the board feel under foot and lengthens that rail line so it glides through rail turns like a hot knife through butter.
RATED 1-5 FOR EASE OF SURF - The Bullet Twin gets 4/5 for ease of surf. I’d recommend for beginner - intermediate surfers to ride the bigger sizes for a super fun, fast and steady ride. Heaps of volume to make paddling and absolute breeze also. For advanced surfers looking to get the most performance out of “Performance Twin”, ride 3-4 inches shorter than your short board, a litre or two above your standard and you will have fireworks in your heels every session, guaranteed.
SNAKE EYES || PHANTOM PHLEX - A fun machine that blurs the lines between performance shorty & step down groveller.
5’6 x 18 3/4 x 2 5/16 - 26.6cl || FCS II - Recommended fins = Performer template.
MY STAND OUT ELEMENTS :
SPEED MAINTENANCE & CONTROL - This was a big one for me. I found that when I surfed the Snake Eyes, I was able to stay right in the sweet spot of the wave and get the most out of it. I’ve long been typically known to get way too excited on waves and race past sections that better surfers would have eyed off and belted the life out of, but not so much when I ride the SE. For some reason I seem to feel more comfortable sitting in the pocket of the wave and doing turns in the steeper sections, I believe that's partially due to multiple different elements of the board but the ones I could identify are - The board generates and maintains a really manageable amount of speed, so it gave me the confidence to stay in that part of the wave without feeling like I was going to fall behind, it’s like I could kind of sync up with the waves speed and ride it how it wanted me to and not have to try and “out smart” the wave, which rarely ever happens. The other part is the Snake Eyes’ full performance tail rocker, it definitely allows you to surf more vertically and put a good punch into the turns you do and there's enough entry rocker to do so without feeling like you’ll succumb to the dreaded nose plunge on the way back in.
VERSATILITY IS GOSPEL - I’ve surfed this board in 1ft slop, 4-5ft tubes and just about everything in between. It just seems to do it, all the time. I know that other surfers might opt for different boards when the waves are pumping but I stick to my all-rounder and the Snake Eyes is that for me. My fin set up changes but that’s all i personally need to change. When the waves are 1-3ft I’d ride the performer template in Medium and then when it starts pumping I’d switch up to something stiffer and more raked like the Kolohe fin in Large for a bit more drive and control. The Snake Eyes is designed as a quad, so you’ve always got that option too, but I personally find that if its barrelling, quads seem to push me through the tube too fast so I just end up getting shoulder tubes and blow my chances of any actual pits. It’s ability to grovel shouldn’t be overlooked either, I didn’t really have much faith in this subject in the first few surfs I had on it because the waves were proper and the need to grovel wasn’t there, I was just taken back by it's performance in good waves, allowing me to do proper turns so i just assumed "surfs like a shorty, grovels like a shorty". But once I surfed it in shit waves it became obvious that Lee was really particular with the foam placement. When the wave flattened out I could shift my weight over my front foot and bounce and weave really easily through the flat section and link back up to the actual wave again. That’s where I realised this board is more like two boards in one, it grovels like a fish with your weight forward then when the wave stands up you shift it backward and boom, it’s a performance shorty again. Magic really..
RATED 1-5 FOR EASE OF SURF - I'd give the Snake Eyes a 3.5/5. I do believe its suited more for the intermediate-advanced surfer looking to do some pretty sharp ripping on. But then again, a beginner could just get a bigger size and tell me to shut my lips.
HAPPY SHREDDING! - Nate.