It was hard to part with my Stealth FST since it really is a great board, but I just wasn't using it enough. I wanted to double down on my daily driver and find a super solid option for the waves that I surf 70% of the time in Southern California. Basically, the objective was to make my average waves insanely fun. After three solid sessions in waves ranging from 3-5 feet on my new 5'8 Dominator, I'm one happy camper.
I'm around 6'3 and 160lbs. Technically a 5'6 could have worked, but the 5'8 seemed like a great starting point, especially for average waves. I was totally torn between the Spitfire and Dominator, and while I originally felt that the Spitfire was the answer since I surf more aggressively (and want to use it in hollower beach breaks), the Dominator just spoke to me lol. Really . . . it's just beautiful. Threw Futures Rusty R1 quads on there with a nubster and hit the water.
Paddling: So easy; I was just laughing and zipping around the lineup. Great since the peaks were kinda shifty. I could really get used to this . . . really made me excited to just paddle all over the place and try to grab as many waves as possible.
Catching waves: Didn't have to paddle that hard - walk in the park. Board accelerates really quickly. Seriously, this feels like cheating.
Dropping in: I was excited since the waves ended being way bigger than I thought. One day had some solid head high sets coming in that were pretty hollow. Dropping in on hollow waves was easier than I thought (but then again, I'm used to a 5'7 stub (square) nose daily driver with barely any rocker). There were only a few sets where the bottom kinda dredged out that I had to really weight my back foot and focus hard. Didn't blow any of the drops, so I'll consider it a success.
First wave, did such a satisfying cutback. It actually made my week haha. My old daily driver (5'7 stub nose) was just over-foamed and felt like it was sitting on top of the water. I swapped in Controllers with a nubster in this old board, but it still felt more like an old school Twinzer (even though it was a modern / high performance shape job). The Dominator, on the other hand, felt like it was on rails (with the R1 quad / nubster setup).
I love that the Dominator makes me surf in a more aggressive / modern manner. My old stub nose was insanely fun, but it always made me surf in a more laid back retro / lateral style. I also placed a heavy emphasis on my front foot with this board, but the Dominator is getting me stoked to shift my weight the hell back and really drive off the tail. This is exactly what I need to focus on to get to the next level.
The Bad: Only complaint that I had was that it wasn't pivoting as quickly as I wanted it to (frontside), but I think that this is a fin issue. I would have preferred the setup to be just a bit looser overall. The R1's look like they have a decent amount of area, especially in the tip.
Next weekend I'll try to do a fin shootout at my local Futures test drive place. Will try:
I need to try it without the nubster as well.