Channel Islands Fishbeard Review

THE BOARD

Channel Islands said :

“The Channel Islands FishBeard is pure business in the front and all party in the back. Get forward on this user-friendly board and drive from the centre 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. 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.

We said :

The Channel Islands Fishbeard specs I got were 5’9″ x 19 7/8″ x 2 1/2″, which comes in at about 32 litres.  Initial thoughts were, it’s wildly fast and leaves you feeling like Usain Bolt as you take the highline on the Greenmount Express. It’s nice on carves as you can really draw turns out, and for a twin fin it’s pretty nice on the backhand.

Stats were:
11 sessions
57 waves
Top Speed of 35km/h (Greenmount)
Longest ride was 258m (Greenmount)

SHAPE

It’s an interesting shape when you have a close look at it. As you know, Britt and Parker have basically smashed two templates together – the Neck Beard 2 and the CI Fish – to create the Channel Islands Fishbeard.

The Channel Islands Fishbeard, as a fish, has its wider point set a little more forward than you’re probably used to, but not so much that you’re getting a set of ears on it. And it has a very beautifully pulled in tail with a deep (wide) swallow. Aesthetically do you go wax or grip? I tried wax, but the board is so high performance’y I needed a tail pad so I knew what was happening. That said, if you can get away with no pad, please do so – it’ll keep that amazing outline looking tip top.

On the bottom, you’ll be running a single concave that’ll be squirting water out across that deep swallow (part of wants to know what it’d be like with vee of the tail, hmmm). One thing to be aware of when surfing this is the high performance nature of the shape, it wants to GO. But, it’s a Twin Fin, you gotta remember that – meaning don’t try and come square of the bottom expecting to go straight up, you’re going to pop out and get egg on ya face. That means you gotta mix twin fin approach with some more HP vibes, watch Parker surf it a bit and you’ll get the high idea. You can give it hell, but just pick ya moments…

The other, major, thing to note is that the board I rode is of the Spinetek construction – same as the OG Flyer we reviewed a while back – and like all epoxy boards you will notice the extra buoyancy and ‘pop’ you get. The Spinetek just added to the spiciness of it all. Once you get used to the bounce that the spine provides you really feel the extra pop and energy return through turns, seriously, it’s a weird but amazing feeling. Having said that, I think the Fishbeard would be better suited to a PU construction. I feel like you’ll end up with more stability, whereas Spinetek is better suited to HP boards like the OG Flyer, or the Happy, etc.

Channel Islands Fishbeard Review

WAVE TYPE

Think about it, it’s a fish. So that means you’re not reaaaaaaalllly going to be surfing this thing in much more than 4ft. It peaks at 2-3ft. The one thing worth pointing out is that this board ISN’T a grovel board, it’s not the board to take out when it’s tiny. It’s the board you take out when it’s 2-3ft, junky or you’re looking for some more fun. It’s a board that will have drawing different lines, the one that has thinking ‘how fast am I going right now’, it’s the board that will probably stop you doing those damned 6 stage bottom turns you do…

The best surf I had on it was out at Greenmount, and damn did it shine! Conditions were 3ft, maybe 4ft sets, and clean as a whistle. It’s a wildly fast board that has you thinking you’re like Usain Bolt as you take the highline on the Greenmount Express. So it’s far to say best conditions are point break like waves where you can uber fast and drive around sections to perform nice carves and/or get tubed. The most challenging conditions were 3-4ft junky beach breaks where I needed to be way more reactive on my surfing, which lead to lots of pop outs, slide outs,  or face plants.

Three clips below of CI Riders giving the board a run, I embedded them to give you an idea because it’s not like I’m putting up footage of myself anytime soon. Give ’em a watch and it should help understand the dribble I wrote above.

PERFORMANCE

Top speed out at Greenmount was 35 km/h (also the longest wave I got at 258m) but while it’s fast as,  the best thing I found was once you know how to turn the board properly the Fishbeard allows you to draw out some really nice carves and drive around sections in a clean manner. Bonus being that for a twin fin it’s also pretty nice on the backhand.

I did find that when I was trying to turn quickly/sharply off the bottom or doing proper chrisbrown whips it’d pop out and either leave me on my face or doing a variation of carve/slide (if you can handle it)⁠. Point being, think about your turn, take a second and roll over into it – avoid anything snappy/sharp on it and you’ll be loving the flow it provides.

Fins though! Fins make a world of difference on this board, wooooweeeee. So I started with the K2 Alpha Futures, which aren’t the biggest keel getting around but a couple mates use them in their Fishbeards and raved about them. I surfed with the K2’s for about 5 or 6 surfs and it just felt a little too skatey/squirrely, and I kept popping out on it.

For a board this wide and boaty, I’d normally expect a small stabiliser would help loads but it’s a twin fin so that idea went out with the tide. But a heads up, the flatter you need to surf a board, the more the back fin comes into play meaning trailers/hitchhikers can be a god send on some skatey boards.

Side ramble done, once I changed over to the Al Merrick Keels everything changed. It wasn’t as fast off the mark like the K2’s but there was an increased amount of stability and control while surfing. Which was something that pushed this board into the ‘i love’ realm for me. You can see in the images how much bigger the Al Merrick Keel is compared to the K2 Alpha’s and the material difference is there too – carbon vs fibreglass.

VERDICT

Most of us have more than one board, we’re all gluttons like that, so instead of getting yourself another high-performance shortboard that you’re not going to shred one I suggest you place that cash on a Channel Islands Fishbeard.

Quiver wise, the Fishbeard is a solid addition to your quiver. It’d be your number 3 board – number 1 is your shorty, number 2 is a step up (rad!) or a grovel board (no judgement here), then add in the Fishbeard after that and you’ve got yourself a real nice 3 board quiver.

If you want this as your only board, you’ll have trouble. It’s not the one board for all surfboard, but it is a shit ton of fun as an alternative to your everyday quiver. And it’s a board you can ride every day in sub-par conditions, then slide back on your shorty when it’s good, etc.

I’ve been riding it everyday for over two weeks and am still amped when I’m paddling out on it. It provides an easy ride if you want that, but it also provides a nice challenge if you really want to get into the details of it’s performance. Spinetek or PU? To be completely honest I’d say get a PU, and get it the same length as your general shortboard. I went an inch shorter and felt like I needed an extra inch on my rails to really lay it over with confidence. PU because it’ll provide more stabilty, you’re already riding something a little poppy/skatey, so you probably don’t want the extra poppiness that the Spinetek will bring.

Submit your review
1
2
3
4
5
Submit
     
Cancel
Create your own review
Empire Ave
Average rating:  
 0 reviews

The Channel Islands Fishbeard is widely available globally, anywhere that stocks CI boards are going to have one of these to run your hands over. Need to know the closest? Hit up their retailer page for more info.

Alternatively, you can get all Web 2.0 and buy one online direct from CI himself (or at least the CI website). Do that, and chase down a pair of the Al Merrick Keel Fins too (Futures) or the Rob Machado Keels (FCS) sets as well.

Price wise you’re looking at around $850 AUD for PU and $1100 for Spinetek (via Onboard Australia), I’d suggest getting the PU model unless you’re a wildly devout Spintek Surfer as a PU will give you more stability. Riding a Twin that in epoxy just felt a little too ‘poppy’ for me..

LengthWidthThicknessVolume
5’418 5/82 3/1623.7L
5’518 7/82 1/425.1L
5’6192 5/1626.4L
5’719 1/82 3/827.7L
5’819 3/82 7/1629.2L
5’919 5/82 1/230.7L
5’1019 7/82 9/1632.4L
5’11202 5/833.8L
6’020 1/82 11/1635.2L
6’220 3/82 3/437.5L
6’420 3/42 7/841.0L

Channel Islands Fishbeard Review

If you enjoyed this review you can visit our Product Reviews page for more, including a recent run of Springsuits and Boardcovers. We’ll have more Surfboard reviews coming soon.

Again, if you’re interested in buying the Channel Islands Fishbeard hit the links below ::

Buy from Channel Islands direct > Online Store
Buy from Onboard Industries direct > Online Store
Check Channel Islands’s Stockist list