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

Monday, August 13, 2012

Field Testing the Angulo All-Carbon Double Shaka 14 Prototype

Tuesday July 31, 2012 - The Angulo Shaka has yielded rave reviews and a lot of positive feedback from satisfied owners (me being one). So one might think that the first thing master shaper Ed Angulo would do is take a little time off. Not exactly. The first thing Ed did was get back into the shaping room and start tinkering on what is already a proven and successful design. Not one to rest on his laurels, Ed is constantly stoking his creative fires, finding ways to make his boards better in all genres whether they be surfing, racing, going downwind or just plain old paddling. The results of his efforts this time around is the exciting and innovative prototype Double Shaka. A bit of a wag, Ed says with a perfectly straight delivery, "what's better than a Shaka? A Double Shaka!"

The primary intent of this new prototype is to enhance the board's flat water racing capabilities while maintaining or improving the excellent rough water paddling and downwind characteristics the Shaka design already possesses. The Double Shaka 14 was sent up to Kyle's house in NorCal for testing by the Angulo boyz and Jens was the first to get his hands on it. I had heard rumors about the board but didn't think I'd get to see it until after the boyz had vetted it on a couple downwinders. I was stoked to get the call from Jens inviting me to join him on his first paddle and downwind run. Of course it didn't hurt that I've been paddling with these guys and making videos for the last couple months but we were really excited to try it out. Anticipation ran high.

The Double Shaka is the same basic plan shape, or outline as the Shaka. But while the differences between the two can appear to be stark and radical, the Double Shaka amazingly maintains the Shakas rock steady stability. About the shape Ed says, "First the outline is a compromised ‘Teardrop’. The entry is a modified bow/displacement that helps keep the nose from getting sucked down into the water while still maintaining directional stability with very minimal ‘broach’. A hallmark in all of Ed's boards. While some critics pan wider boards as being too slow, Ed responds, "So here is a fact that I guarantee is absolutely true, falling off your board is NOT fast." How true. Ask anyone who has paddled a tippy, narrow board in rolling seas with wind chop.

Ed goes on to complete his thoughts on width and stability as follows. "In the beginning it was ‘wide boards can’t surf as well as narrower ones’. So the layman’s main concern was “how wide is this board?...while not much thought was given to the many other variables and their relationship to the shape and function. I believe riders are now recognizing the value of stability and are finding there are no ill effects. However, now the same antiquated thought is still being communicated, that ‘narrow race boards are faster, and width equals loss of speed’. But the driver/paddler must have the ability to maintain a stable efficient stroke without any struggle to maintain balance. Each time you falter or work to keep your balance you lose speed/momentum, and exert energy that is better suited for paddling." Somebody say Amen!

Anyone who concludes that Ed's design thoughts and/or shapes are "old fashioned" is brought up short by an examination of the futuristic and progressive bottom foils and contours of the Double Shakas hull. There isn't a flat, "conventional" spot on it. From the deep vee and flipped up nose that resemble a hawks beak (or surf ski), through the double concave vee panel just aft of the midpoint, to the re-instituted deep vee that flows off the tail, a visible vee is maintained throughout. This combined with the 30" wide point makes the board stable, fast and a genuine performance oriented competitor.

The Double Shaka nose rocker has been increased as compared to the Shaka and the nose has been narrowed quite a bit. This adds to the boards ability to ride up and over the wave in front of the one the rider is on. Pearling or submarining did not seem to be an issue when I rode the board. As a matter of fact the longer I was on it the more comfortable and confident I got that I could really push this board in the bumps with great results.
Another significant difference between the two boards is the rails. The Shaka is noteworthy for it's lack of hard edges, I mean total lack. The rails top and bottom are round and smooth. But a change was made to the Double Shakas rails in that the edge from about the midpoint flowing into the tail are much harder. This also adds to the straight up and down profile of the rails about which I was originally skeptical. High rails catch wind and chop and allow the board to be "pushed" around. This can cause unnecessary yawing or end-arounds leading to broaches, as well as making the board difficult to paddle a straight course in heavy side wind. But the Double Shaka did not respond in this way during our test run. Granted it wasn't real windy and the swell was small but there was no hint of these negative characteristics. Our thoughts are that the harder edges will allow the board to be more easily surfed or controlled when surfing the bumps.

Board weight was a major consideration in the Double Shaka prototype. I found that the lighter weight prototype was much easier to pull or paddle into bumps, especially on a multiple bump glide. When I found myself riding up the back of the wave in front of me and slowing down, a few quick power strokes were usually all it took to pull in and I was gliding again. There was some speculation between Jens and I that weight would provide more inertia and therefore prolong the glide. While this might be true, it is also true that the lighter weight allows for catching the waves more easily and therefore getting more rides which in turn makes you go farther faster. Light weight is also essential for speed and performance during flat water races and paddles.

The two videos give a good look at the Double Shaka on the water and during a critique that Jens and I did for Ed right after our five and a half mile run from 4-Mile to Mitchells. This article, along with the videos should give the reader/viewer an in-depth and candid look at this new prototype from Angulo Designs. I should stress that the Double Shaka is in fact a prototype and is not yet available on the market. But it gives an honest and open look into the mind and creative process of Ed Angulo and his company Angulo Designs.

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