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  • Took a gamble on this board... Love it!

    Hey guys! Recently I left my thoughts on the Activator (Awesome board!), and since I enjoyed that one so much, I decided to get another firewire. The activator, while a great board, didn't feel necessarily safe taking off on waves that start pitching from the takeoff. Anyhow, I decided the Activator would be my board for 3-7 ft faces, but I needed something to fill the gap between 8-12, and that's where I read reviews on this MB model.

    Let's start off by saying I'm not a good surfer, but I'm trying to progress to the int/adv level (currently I'd say I'm intermediate skill / high fitness level). So if I sound like a kook when I'm trying to explain things, you're probably right! :) I'm about 160-165 lbs, and bought the 5'10 thin model. According to the volume calculator, that's the size it said I should be riding (actually a little bigger, since it recommended 25L and the board is 25.8).

    Day 1 - Took it to Waikiki on an overhead day (about 5-7 faces). I figured I would take it to a relatively safer spot, since I knew paddling this board would be a huge adjustment from the activator. I was extremely shocked at how quickly this board turns, turning up and down the face of the wave is effortless, and it seems to do whatever you think. I was nailing cutbacks and tail slides with what seemed to be no effort, and after a quick turn, the board just somehow finds its way under you again, ready to roll. However, this board seems to 'want' to go fast, and doesn't work on some of the smaller shoulder high waves I caught. It won't coast over any flat spots unless you are totally working it (big change from the alternator), but I didn't sweat it. I bought this board for surfing bigger waves / faster breaks.

    Day 2 - Confident that I could paddle this thing without much trouble, I decided to go to one of my 'regular' spots - Big Rights. It was a little bigger this day, reaching 8-10ft faces on set waves. I had WAY more fun, and it really seemed like this is the kind of wave/conditions that this board really needs to "be itself". It sorta came alive in this range, and going up and down the face of the wave, cutting back, off the lip, just felt effortless and natural. Even on some of the smaller, shoulder high waves, the board was still doing well since this wave is a lot more pitchy & faster than waikiki. Takeoffs can be taken late on this one without much of a problem. I did eat it on one takeoff, but that was probably more so to do with my (lack of) skill than the board. In any case, this board can handle some good conditions that I wouldn't feel comfortable taking the activator in. I love it! Can't wait till the next big swell to take it out again.

    From my observation, this is a good board for fast / hollow waves, but bring a different board on a smaller day. It can work on slopier breaks like waiks, but only if there's enough size (overhead+).

    Next purchase will probably be an artillery model when I'm ready for stuff past 12+ ft face range. One step at a time :)

  • #2
    stoked for ya h2o... it can grovel with some fancy footwork.. but it definitely loves a pocket..!!... tried the ea blackstix in it yet?? you wont believe the slingshot effect..!!

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    • #3
      For sure, you just can't be lazy on those smaller waves haha. I haven't tried the blackstix yet, I'll look those up. Been using Clay Marzo's on this board and it's been working great!

      Still can't get over how responsive this board is, I guess this is really the first time I bought a board that wasn't a bit oversized and was made for a more advanced surfer at my weight (hence the gamble, bought this board assuming that I was now at the fitness / skill level i needed to be at). In any case I love how it rides, it almost is like it becomes one with your thoughts and just goes where you want it to :)
      Last edited by _h2o_; 05-25-2013, 01:11 PM.

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      • #4
        yeah, so many surfers would improve vastly if they would drop their foam down .. a little harder to paddle (only on messy days) but a lot easier to surf.. which marzo's?? i'm playing with the new techflex ones in the 6'2 thin mb and they are really twitchy.. great for small junk.. lacking a little down the line at my size... but fun..... try EA bstix.. other bstix not as whippy...
        Last edited by core personal training; 05-25-2013, 06:27 PM. Reason: kant spel goode

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        • #5
          Ya I just realized that maybe I had such a hard time pulling off certain maneuvers because I was riding on too much foam. It just seemed so much easier, wasn't sure if it was this board or the right size, or a combo of both. Paddling definitely took getting used to, as I was used to a board having a little more glide. This one it stops the moment you stop paddling, so I def have to keep myself in shape to ride this one.

          I'll check out those fins. I have the CM Techflex, it's better for small surf? Sorry if that's a stupid question, but I don't know my fins really well. Although I've been surfing for 10+ years, I don't know jack when it comes to fins haha. Most of my life I've been riding glassed-on fins

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          • #6
            the cm's for your weight should be giving you drive off the bottom and reasonable release off the top (large base/smallish tip), and have a bit of resistance rail to rail from the stiffness..good in most stuff for you... for me they are quite nimble but lack a little substance when juiced up.. small clean sucky day they felt great...yesterday on local reef (only idiot out in sweeping windy lumpy rougues), they needed more hold/tip.. (or maybe i'm just getting too old and kooky to drop into that stuff..??).. i find the ea and am2 TECHFLEX too stiff and binding.. loving the ea blackstix in most stuff in the mb and vanguard.. larger fast bumpy stuff i find them too flexy to push hard so go to jc honeycomb.. if it gets that i need i bigger fin, then i'd be better stepping up the board instead..

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            • _h2o_
              _h2o_ commented
              Editing a comment
              Yeah these fins definitely can turn on a dime, awesome for maneuvers. what fins would you recommend for days for just bottom turn + get barreled? anything good for that without having to buy a totally diff board? Cause I like this one haha. I do know past the 2x overhead range though something like the artillery would be preferred though.

          • #7
            just back from another solo session at same reef again with MB and cm2's...down to head high.. double ups on face for entire rides, so both sucky and fat in every turn.. impossible.., no water drawing up face to get speed... still dodgy semi-air drops on ledge...in this board and waves the fins did not have enough hold.. big base but quickly thins out so surfed quite small.. couldn't throw big enough arc's around double-ups.. couldn't wrap larger cuttys... full rail bottom turns in broken water resulted in fins breaking free (in front of dry suck) leaving me bottom turning with my forward rail...massive failures... shocker session... ea blackstix would of been nimble enough to duck and weave the warbles, built speed on dead water and still held speed through bigger arcs.. all while being a forgiving whippy fin... for your point and shoot barrel days they would be fine unless freight trains, then maybe am2's... but i find you cant tweak your turns with them in this board..(unless you have biiiiig calves..its stable already) so i find the jc honeycomb works well in most boards (this included).. a little bigger tip than ea so endless rail drive (barrels) but slightly smaller base and not too raked so still quick to react (in barrel forward stance tweaks)... vanguard would of shredded today as long as i could've nailed the take offs...

            as an aside, sitting at 84 kg today and jumping back on the MB from 506 VG, it was way too buoyant.. at this volume i need knifey rails and pulled in nose and tail.. will try the 6'2 profilev1 next...failing that i will replace my 6'2 x 18 3/4 flexfire.. that was insane even over 90kg... nev loved it at 70kg so i'm hanging to try it while lighter and see how hard i can drive it...

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            • #8
              ok i'll check those fins out. the CM2's are super responsive but also I can see how they can be really unforgiving on faster waves. There's some days where stability would help more (those point and shoot days), so I'll look into them. Probably time i start experimenting with fins :)
              Last edited by _h2o_; 05-29-2013, 11:58 AM.

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              • #9
                Have to agree with core on those EA Blackstix... they are wicked fins. Have them in my HZ and have never looked back!

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                • #10
                  ill try out the blackstix soon, tendonitis in my elbow flared up a couple weeks ago so i've been out of the water since. but will be back in about 5-7 days :)

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                  • #11
                    more love for the EA from me...

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                    • #12
                      Yes, EA!

                      ALOHA!!

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                      • #13
                        Took your guys advice and bought a set of blackstix (rob machado ones), and wow what a difference in stability! I could still nail cutbacks with ease on it, but it just feels like a smoother and more stable ride for those gnarly days. The clay marzo techflex fins are much more responsive but feel 'shaky' if that makes sense? those fins allowed the MB to pull off turns with no effort at all, just barely thinking and it goes, but I could see how they weren't stable in bigger surf. I totally see what core was talking about now.

                        Anyway that was my first lesson in how fins could make a huge difference, i'm one step closer to graduating from kook status haha.

                        now i want to try a bunch of different fins. fin sets to me are gonna be like women and shoes pretty soon, lol.
                        Last edited by _h2o_; 07-15-2013, 11:05 AM.

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                        • #14
                          I ride the Machados as well and love them.

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