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Top 5 Summer Surfboards (2022)

The Best Boards Heading Into the Warmer Months

Most people are generally pretty happy to see the end of winter, particularly down in the southern states. But while the departure of the cold weather is welcome, it is unfortunately usually accompanied by an end to the seemingly endless swells and light offshores which many parts of Australia enjoy throughout the middle of the year. Of course, we’re only just heading into spring and there will still no doubt be plenty of high-quality sessions to enjoy in the remaining months of the year, but as the weather warms up it’s a good idea to make some changes to your quiver that will allow you to enjoy the waves as often as possible, despite their drop in consistency. Below, we’ve taken a look at some of our favourite boards heading into the warmer months.   

Channel Islands Rocket Wide (Again)

The Rocket Wide was developed based on Channel Island’s Rocket 9, boasting the same qualities of both speed and control while being more suitable for waves that lack that little bit of oomph. A fairly wide nose gives you plenty of paddling power while a wider tail lets you punch through flatter sections, making this board suitable in anything from knee-high slop through to slightly overhead conditions. 

The Rocket Wide makes it easy to surf smaller waves to a high level, while remaining fun when conditions pick up a bit. It’s also a great board for a wide range of surfers – it’s not exactly a beginner board, but if you’re in the early stages of developing your skills it will still be very surfable. At the same time, if you’re a bonafide weapon in the water you’ll get plenty of enjoyment on this board, and so will everyone anywhere in between. Without a whole lot of rocker it’s not the ideal board in powerful waves of consequence, but heading into the part of the year in which conditions can vary and the swell machine isn’t switched on every day, the Channel Islands Rocket Wide is a great board to add to your quiver.

Chili Black Vulture 2

Like the Rocket Wide, Chili’s Black Vulture 2 is a more summer-friendly version of a pre-existing design from the New South Wales-based board maker. It’s based on the original Black Vulture, and makes it easy to generate speed even on waves without a whole lot of punch. A full nose gives you plenty of paddle power, too, while at the other end of the board there’s less rocker than there was on the original for even more speed. Speed aside, the tail’s design is centred around giving you hold and control when turning. Chili does this by removing the semi flyer which was a feature of the original Black Vulture, and adding a straighter rail line in the tail.

This is a board which offers both speed and control in droves, two features which don’t always go hand in hand. It’s suitable for surfers of virtually all abilities, and can be surfed in anything from complete mush through to 4-5 foot. If you’re looking for a board that will work for you most days throughout the spring and summer months, the Black Vulture 2 should be near the top of your list.

Firewire’s Slater Designs Flat Earth

Flat earth conspiracy theories might not be for everyone, but Firewire’s latest board of the same name is designed to cater to a much broader segment of the population. A graphic that the company uses to suggest what skill level a board is appropriate for has 13 different levels of ability ranging from beginner through to pro, and the Flat Earth is listed as being suitable for no less than 13 of those levels. This is a board for anyone and everyone, and can be surfed in conditions barely above your ankles through to 5 or 6 foot. 

An almost egg-shaped design gives you plenty of width throughout the entirety of the board, ensuring you get plenty of speed both when paddling and once you’re up and surfing. The Flat Earth is most commonly surfed as a twin fin with the option to add a trailer, making it more suitable for swooping, drawn out carves than the high-performance hacks you’re more likely to pull off with something like the Rocket Wide. Hawaii’s Akila Aipa, son of legendary shaper Ben Aipa, designed this one with a little help from Kelly Slater, and with their proverbial fingerprints on the board it’s no surprise that this is a popular board for the warmer months.

Sharpeye Inferno 72

Sharp Eye surfboards began with the career of head shaper Marcio Zouvi, who started shaping in the late ‘80s, but though they’ve been around for a while they haven’t typically enjoyed the same popularity as the bigger brands like Channel Islands and JS. But with a team of athletes which includes Kanoa Igarashi, Filipe Toledo, Morgan Cibilic, Tatiana Weston-Webb and Sally Fitzgibbons – the latter four of whom make up nearly half of those heading to Trestles for the WSL Finals in September – that appears to be starting to change. The aforementioned names aren’t typically surfing the Inferno 72 when the world-class waves they surf are at their best – though Toledo did at ‘The Rumble in the Ranch’ last year – but if you’re after a quality board for medium-sized conditions, this could be the answer you’re looking for.

It’s a little narrower than most of the other boards on this list and with a reasonable amount of rocker too, meaning its optimal conditions are slightly bigger than something like the Flat Earth. It’s fast and it’s manoeuvrable, making it suitable for high performance surfing in a range of conditions. You might struggle a little more in genuine slop on the Inferno 72 than you would some of the above boards, but in anything from 2-6 foot you’ll be laughing.

JS Xero 

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The Xero made its way into the quivers of JS Surfboard’s Tokyo 2020 team, which included Julian Wilson, Jeremy Flores, Frederico Morais, Ramzi Boukhiam and Hiroto Ohhara. Those who watched that will know the range of conditions which those surfers faced at Tsurigasaki – from dribble that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a windy lake through to head-high typhoon swell – and this mix does a good job of explaining the versatility of the Xero. 

The board itself is basically shaped like a performance board, but a flatter rocker helps it to zoom along in smaller conditions while maintaining that element of power and performance in manouevres. It’s fresh on the market, and for the upcoming spring and summer will be one of the best boards going around.

With spring just around the corner, it’s time to take a look at that quiver of yours and ask yourself, “Does it need another addition?” Without having seen your quiver, the answer is almost certainly yes. There are plenty of quality options going around for the warmer months – we haven’t even mentioned the Chilli Epoxy Rarest Birds or the JS Sub Xero – but the above five should be right up the top of your list. 

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