So it's been finished for a month now and I have ridden it in everything from shin high slop to overhead barrels. here's a bit of a run down of how it's going for me:
Board: 5'2 x 19 x 2 5/16
Me: 5'9 1/2, 90 kgs (200 lbs)
I made this board for a bit of fun after watching curren rip on his and I had a spare second blank floating around. I wasn't exactly sure where in the quiver this board would fit.
First couple of surfs were pretty small waves with shapers KS 5s (KS2.1). first impression was that the board was going to be too small for me, when I sit on the board the water is up to my arm pits. However, although the board doesn't float me very well, it catches waves surprisingly easy. It took a few waves and bogged turns to get my feet in the right position. Once I had that sorted the board felt skatey, but never like it was going to slide out. It takes a bit of work to get it going in tiny waves, like a HPSB, but once the waves are waist high or have a bit of push it lights up and planes really well.
My third surf was in about head high sucky waves. the board felt way too loose and uncontrollable and I slide out on a few frontside bottom turns. so I took the board back into the bay, and took a little bit of the hard edge off the rail from about 1/3 forward. At this time I also swapped the fins to shapers Mojo, which is a larger, more raked and drivey setup than the KS 2.1s.
Since this tweak I have been loving the board. The slipperiness in bottom turns is now gone, and the board feels like it has quite a bit of drive for a tiny board. When doing cutbacks, it draws a very smooth line, and will release the tail if you want it to, otherwise it holds in very well and really drives through the turn. The best part about the board is the projection you get off bottom turns when going to hit the lip, it has a definate squirt off the bottom, and every time I hit the lip it feels like it wants to release the fins. Because of the shortness of the board, once the fins are free it feels much easier to control than a short board. I am finding myself whipping much tighter turns in the pocket than I normally would, but the board feels equally at home drawings a long line out on the shoulder.
On the backhand it really whips around when you turn off the top, and releases nicely before dropping back in and engaging the fins.
Have surfed it out at a reef/sucky point break at a bit overhead and it felt nice once on the wave, but on sucky take offs sometimes feel like a bit more board would be nice to help you into the wave a little earlier. That said the board handles late drops pretty well, and you just need to paddle a bit harder to get into some waves. In the barrel it just feels like it isn't there, like there is no board to get hit by the shockwave. I came out of one shoulder high one today that I thought I was way too deep, but the board just found another gear and got through the section
I am having a very fun time surfing this thing, and it feels like I am surfing better on it. Since having it, I have only surfed my 5'3 x 21 x 2 3/4 groveller once in knee high waves, and haven't touched my HPSB equivalent. I'm thinking that next time I travel, I'll just take this and my 6'2 step up. There is the tiniest of gaps between the high end of this board and the low end of my stepup, but I haven't needed to fill it in the past month.