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G. Niblock on the L41 TipSUP Noserider. Photo: J. Chandler

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Angulo 10-0 Custom Stand Up paddle Surfboard Review

Before I launch into my review of the Angulo 10-0 Custom stand up paddle surfboard (SUpS), a few essential points must be made, firstly about me. I am a 62 year old, life long surfer, having started at age 16 in Southern California. I am in excellent physical condition and work at it. I have owned and surfed all kinds of surfboards, and I have never advanced beyond the skill level of advanced intermediate recreational surfer. I am an amateur student of surfboard design and production and most things related to the sport of surfing.

Second, all surfboard/paddleboard reviews are personal and subjective and should be viewed with a skeptical eye. Not all reviews are without bias or an agenda. (In the interest of full disclosure it must be stated that I produce and maintain the Angulo SUP blog. Other than that, I have no other affiliation with the surfing industry.) No review can ever take the place of your own good judgment and needs. Needs are personal and change with time, therefore what you think of a SUP or SUpS now, may change in six months based upon various conditions and facts (like you are a lot better at stand up paddle surfing after doing it for a while than you were when you started).

Finally, when considering the purchase of a SUpS, Try Before You Buy if you can. Most reputable dealers, and those who are in it for the long run, will have demo days, or boards you can try. Some sellers will even take you out paddling or paddle surfing. Getting your feet on the board, and paddling/surfing it in the water is always the best way to do your research on any individual board you are considering. After all, these things are expensive!

Angulo 10-0 Custom EPS/Epoxy Stand Up paddle Surfboard (SUpS)

Keeping the first three paragraph disclaimer in mind, it isn't going to be easy to write an unbiased review of this stand up paddle surfboard, mainly because I love this board! I've owned three Angulo SUPs. My first was the 10-4 Olohe production board; second the 10-2 Perfect Wave production board; and my current board which was custom built for me by Ed Angulo at his shop on Maui. What I've learned in the almost two years I've been stand up paddle boarding is that I love to surf primarily, and I love to surf on a stand up paddle board. Therein was the "problem."

I had the great good fortune of hanging out and surfing with Ed last October during the Sacred Craft Expo in San Diego. We surfed together at San-O, Cardiff Reefs and some spots outside of Santa Barbara on our way back up north. Little did I know that Ed was noting and logging for future use, my surfing skills, and "likes and dislikes" about this that and the other thing. As a smaller guy, I often grumped about how hard it was for light guys to turn big heavy SUPs, even if they were relatively short in length. I'd go on and on about swing weight, and trying to redirect a board that just wanted to keep going due to it's weight. It was much harder to "hot dog" most SUPs, because after all, that generation of SUPs were paddleboards you could surf. What I wanted was a surfboard I could paddle, without having to expend all my energy just standing and balancing on the board. That, was the holy grail, a stand up paddle board that surfed like a surfboard, and was stable to paddle.

When Ed came to the mainland from Maui for the Expo, he brought one of his custom eps/epoxy prototypes as a demo board. Long story short, after I paddled and surfed it, there was no turning back...I wanted one! (So did two other guys who tried it.) So we ordered three boards which Ed made for us in Hawaii, and then shipped over to our homes on the mainland.

This prototype custom shaped board seemed to solve the problems of heavy production models that were difficult to move around if you didn't weigh in at around 190 plus. They were light, often lighter than a custom polyurethane board of the same length. They surfed like a good all-around long board. They were fast, loose and good noseriders. And the holy grail part? They were stable to paddle. What was there not to like?

We all ordered the same prototype board and design, except that Ed knew more than I (from his observations surfing together) exactly what I wanted and how I surfed. So he tweaked mine just enough to make it a perfect fit for me. At first I wasn't sure if this was going to work, now I'm so thankful that he put his insights and master board builder skills to work, to make me a magic board, that is really more than I expected.

You can get a pretty good idea of the boards plan shape and foil from the pictures. The dims are: 10-0 X 19 X 29 1/4 X 19 X 4 1/4. Rocker is 5 7/8" at the nose, and at the tail, 3 3/8". Those specs give a rough idea of how the board is proportioned, but what you can't tell from them is how well the board is foiled out, including the "surfboard" rocker that Ed shaped into the board, as opposed to the flatter paddleboard rocker.

Another key design feature that works so well for me is the rail and bottom shape. The board has a single concave at the nose that blends into a double concave about a third back and runs out the back of the board with some vee shaped into the tail. The rails hold a very hard to hard edge from the tail up through the boxy midsection for about 70% of the length of the board, before going soft out the nose. The board's wide point is slightly forward of center.

Another feature that I've liked in all the boards I've owned for the last 10 years or so is the tail, a rounded pin with wings. For me this tail surfs fast while allowing for maneuverability. I favor surfing off my back foot, with pivot turns off a thruster, or 2+1 fin set-up. I also like to pump the board and carve the wave face, climbing and dropping, turning off the bottom and then back off the top. I love the motion and feel of that kind of surfing.

I've surfed this board for about 25 hours in small to head high waves, in reef breaks, point breaks and beach breaks. It is a performance board and works extremely well in all conditions surfed so far. I haven't taken it out in bigger waves (double overhead is about my personal max) because we haven't had any big waves since last November. But I fully expect the board to be stable and fast in bigger surf. One of the reasons I think this, is the fin set-up.

The prototype board we all rode was set-up as a single fin. But being the fin freak that I am, I ordered my 10-0 with Future sides and a 10" center box. Riding the prototype as a single fin was impressive because of how easily the board would turn, hold and noseride. But since I like having the option of surfing at least three configurations, I asked Ed to install the side fin boxes. Having the option to install larger or smaller fins, in single or multiple fin configurations, will either stiffen and stabilize a board, or make it looser. I've had a lot of fun over the years playing and experimenting with fins. Just changing fin configurations is like having two or three boards in one.

I bought a RFC Pivot Fin (same as in the prototype) because it worked so well. And it works just as well in the 10-0. Amazingly well, I've had it in fast beach break and made some very steep and late drops with the single fin, drops I never thought I could have made with a longboard. And they call it the Pivot fin for a good reason. It pivot turns on a dime and redirects on a dime too. This is possible due to the design of the fin, and the board, and above all, due to the light weight build of the custom sandwich construction. And this is the heart of the review.

Ed is a master craftsman who has been building boards for many years. He began working with expanded polystyrene in the 80's. He has used it to build a variety of types of boards including wind surfing, surfing and stand up paddle surfing. He has the same experience with epoxy resins. But above all, he has developed a proprietary vacuum bagging process that he just calls, "custom sandwich construction." This is what makes the board light and extremely strong, which is important for anyone flailing around with a paddle near their board. The weight savings to be gained by a custom over a production board is at least four to six pounds. My board weighs in at an amazingly light, 19 pounds. If you are currently surfing a 10' longboard, weigh it and see how it compares. You might be "way" surprised.

My Angulo 10-0 has simply solved the problem of how to blend stand up paddling with lay down surfing. My stand up paddle surfboard surfs as well or better than any lay down longboard I've ever owned. Therefore, no need to have a regular longboard in my quiver. Since I still like to lay down paddle every now and again, I'm going to get a 6-10 "short"board. I've got longboard surfing covered, now I'll be able to cover shortboarding, which is a different "genre" of stand up surfing.

All this isn't to dis production stand up paddleboards. I'm keeping my Angulo 10-2 Perfect Wave as a back up, and because I like to paddle surf it too. It worked so well in the double overhead waves of last November's one and only big Winter swell, that I wouldn't hesitate to use it again. There is something to be said for a heavier, flatter board with enough rocker to surf big waves. The Perfect Wave is insanely fast, and catches anything in it's path. For big waves where paddle power, stability, speed and a little extra weight are desirable, the 10-2 is "Perfect."

For anyone who wants to surf their stand up paddleboard like a surfboard, a surfboard you can paddle; the custom, hand built epoxy construction (SUpS), especially as built by Angulo, is a guaranteed winner. One of Ed's boards will keep the discriminating surfer satisfied wave after wave after wave. You will get MORE than your money's worth. And that's saying a lot given the state of today's economy and the overall prices of stand up paddle surfboards....that really work!




2 comments:

  1. WOW! You are too GU'd to me! I will say that your satisfaction as well as that of anyone I have ever shaped for is the main motivation and drive that keeps me in the shaping bay. When I ride a board, I'm out to have the most fun possible and I don't want to "have" to make the board work. So our goal is to make designs that are easy and friendly to ride. Now that my sons Mark and Josh, are fully involved I can guarantee that we will continue to build GU'd products to keep us all happy.
    Aloha Ke Akua - Ed

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  2. Mahalo Ed, and you are definitely keeping me happy! As far as me being GU'd to you, well the corollary is that you have been plenty good to me in providing literally hundreds of hours of pure, unrefined stoke.

    As a consumer I tend to "commodify" surfboards as a material "good," which they are. But in reality they are really like the name of Expo we attended, Sacred Craft. There is no better and healthy way to be happy and stay happy than riding waves on a great board. And you and the Gu Crew have provided loads of GU'd-ness. Malama pono and Blessings Always!

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