Best Channel Islands Surfboards (2020)

Al Merrick shaping a Channel Islands Surfboard.

Best Channel Islands Surfboards (2020)

The team at Southern Man Surf and Rip Curl Ulladulla are excited to see Channel Islands Surfboards’ new range in store.

With limited space in our store, we spend time chatting with the guys at Channel Islands Australia making sure we get the styles of surfboards right for our customers and local waves. We draw from how previous styles performed; we test the new ones, and we talk to our customers to get their opinions.

It’s clear that the new styles have continued to evolve and change, resulting in better and easier boards to ride. 

Adrian Hellman said: “It’s not as simple as picking out any new surfboard and hoping the customers will flock in. The shapers & their team riders are in water and test the styles, we research endlessly and think of what sort of customer would ride each board. Customers rely on us to pick the right boards for them, and if we get it wrong, they either let us know, or we never see them again.”

Similar to our business, Channel Island is a family business  and the Merrick family have over 50 years of experience, Channel Islands has a great history starting in Santa Barabara. Al, Terry and Brit have put in the hours shaping bays and collaborated with the world’s greatest surfers from Dane Reynolds, Tom Curren and Kelly Slater.  

“The driving force behind Channel Islands Surfboards is the demand on design created by the world’s greatest surfers, allowing for the highest performance surfing possible. To provide the most dedicated surfers with the most advanced, performance designs is my passion” – Al Merrick, Designer / Shaper

Dannielle Saunders said: “Channel Islands has always done well for our stores, they innovate their surf technology, the best surfers in the world ride their boards, and they are the surfboard shaper every other shaper wants to emulate.

Last year we refocused our buying to the premium surf brands like JS Industries. Firewire Surfboards, Channel Islands Surfboard, Vern Jackson, Surf Empire and Town and Country. Doing this means we only have to the best boards.”

Martyn Saunders said: “Weekly we have customers, commenting on how good and up to date our surfboard range is. It shows on a local level also now that we have an online store it shows on a national level. We are shipping surfboards every day to Sydney, Melbourne and as fair a Broome.”

We have decided to select the best and newest models, including the Fish Beard, Happy, Happy Round Tail, OG Flyer and the Rocket Wide.

Channel Islands Surfboards FishBeard

Fish Beard

Parker Coffin said it first: “A Neck Beard 2 would work sick as a keel-fin fish!” So we go to work redesigning the back half of the NB2 template and rocker, paired the board with our CI Keel Fins, and the FishBeard was born.

The FishBeard is pure business in the front and all party in the back. Get forward on this user-friendly board and drive from the center and you’ll have all the speed and flow you always desired. Step back on the tail to engage the fins and rails, which provides you hold, pivot, projection and the freedom to rip as hard as ever. To keep the party going, we dug into the archives and found some vintage mid-80’s, fluorescent logos and recreated CI’s iconic layup from that era.

For maximum performance, we highly recommend pairing the board with Futures AMK Keel Fins. Although inspired by classic keel outlines, the all-new AMK template boasts a modern rake shape, graduated tip flex and flat inside foils finely tuned for fast, high-performance surfing. This keel-fin design is built to rip but also ideal for those that just want to groove.

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Channel Islands Surfboards Happy


The Happy is a new performance shortboard model built to give surfers the freedom to easily go wherever their mind takes them. Low entry rocker and strategically placed forward volume allow the board to paddle well, get up to speed quickly, and perform extremely well in the tube. To harness all that speed, Happy’s refined rails and thinned out tail make for a highly responsive board that is also extremely forgiving through critical maneuvers and it holds like a mutha – no matter how hard you turn. Single concave under the front foot, transitioning into double between the fins, and flat off the tail give the perfect combination of speed and control. Over the past two years Britt refined and tweaked the design thanks to a steady stream of Team feedback by the likes of Zeke Lau, Lakey Peterson, Mikey February and Connor O’Leary—who have all since been riding it on the pro tour.
Surf better. Be happy.

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Channel Islands Surfboards OG Flyer

OG Flyer

Our all-time most popular design is The Flyer. In 1999 Al was searching for a solution to team riders’ dilemma of needing more speed and flow in lesser waves while maintaining high performance, world tour level surfing. The answer was a board that departed from the then overly narrow designs and set the stage for the modern performance shortboard that is now wider and shorter. The Flyer is easily the most ridden and enjoyed all around board in our history.
Best as an everyday board in everyday conditions, the OG Flyer has a single concave entry to double through the middle and a vee exit, Al’s signature bump squash, slight down rail, and a subtle nose beak. To be ridden approximately the same length as you are tall.

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Channel Islands Surfboards Rocket Wide

Rocket Wide

Introducing the Rocket Wide. The incredibly user-friendly cousin of the Rocket 9.
“My brothers and I loved the speed and control we were feeling with the Rocket 9 and we wanted to see how we could apply those same levels of fun and performance to a board for small and gutless waves. The Rocket Wide features a wider tail block to skate across flat sections and a wider nose area to accommodate for better paddle power. It’s a shorter, wider skate machine designed to lift the fun factor when the waves are not a their best. So don’t let those small days get you down cause the Rocket Wide is ready for blast off!!” -Dane
Available stock in 3 or 5 fin configurations.
Advanced surfers will ride this 2″-4″ shorter than their height.

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