THE BOARD

CI said :

“The Channel Islands Mid is a modern classic design resulting from a fun collaboration with Devon Howard, a southern California surfer that has spent the past two decades riding and refining egg-inspired designs that are in a category of boards many refer to as mid-lengths. A reliable all-rounder that flies over the flatter, smaller stuff, the CI Mid really stands apart from other eggs and various mid-length designs out there, especially in shoulder-high to nearly double overhead point surf—where surfers are able to lay down flowy, arcing turns with total confidence, speed, and control.

We said :

The best way to sum this board up is, it’s just easy to ride. It does the work for you, it drives around sections with slight adjustments and goes real fast while standing there. Sure, you can rip on it – I let Bearsy catch a couple and he tore a couple of waves apart on it and came back out a changed man.

The model I rode was 6’6 x 20 1/2 x 2 9/16 (37.8l). I ran a custom 2+1 fin setup with the CI x True Ames fins (an FCS setup would also work). The board also had a marvellous blue resin tint that matched the car I had on loan at the time.

Stats were:
14 sessions
87 waves
Top Speed of 35km/h (Greenmount)
Longest ride was 297m (Kirra)

THE BOARD

CI said :

“The CI Mid is a modern classic design resulting from a fun collaboration with Devon Howard, a southern California surfer that has spent the past two decades riding and refining egg-inspired designs that are in a category of boards many refer to as mid-lengths. A reliable all-rounder that flies over the flatter, smaller stuff, the CI Mid really stands apart from other eggs and various mid-length designs out there, especially in shoulder-high to nearly double overhead point surf—where surfers are able to lay down flowy, arcing turns with total confidence, speed, and control.

We said :

The best way to sum this board up is, it’s just easy to ride. It does the work for you, it drives around sections with slight adjustments and goes real fast while standing there. Sure, you can rip on it – I let Bearsy catch a couple and he tore a couple of waves apart on it and came back out a changed man.

The model I rode was 6’6 x 20 1/2 x 2 9/16 (37.8l) and ran with custom 2+1 setup which you ride with the custom CI x True Ames fins, or an FCS setup that works. The board also had a marvellous blue resin tint that matched the car I had on loan at the time.

Stats were:
14 sessions
87 waves
Top Speed of 35km/h (Greenmount)
Longest ride was 297m (Kirra)

SHAPE

Mid Length – it ain’t a log, and it ain’t a shortboard, it’s right in between. So a mid length for you might be different for me, or for the kid down the street. But ideally a Mid Length would generally run between 6’6 and 8’0 on the long end I believe (Probably could squeeze it to 7’8 actually).

The Channel Islands Mid is a little tweak on the eggs and mid’s out there that you’ve seen – no hull bottom here or 50/50 rails. The overall outline is pretty nice,  nothing drastic, easy to look at and leaves you wanting to surf. There’s a lot of extra foam up front, especially around the chest forward area, which helps with getting into the waves earlier, obviously, but also with generating speed down the line are you run across point break walls. You’ll find a double barrel concave on the bottom (speed, also helps with manoeuvrability), an easy rocker and tucked rails that are touch harder off the tail (allowing you to turn a bit quicker/sharper).

Fin options are pretty limited with there only being a fin box (center) and two FCS plus (side bites), no Futures here. The set up is a 2+1, and to make it easy Channel Islands have partnered with True Ames on a specific set for the board. If you can’t get them, try any FCS Single Fin (like this one) and throw in some side bites (like these). And then you are good to go

WAVE TYPE

The conditions I surfed the Channel Islands Mid in varied from 3ft high tide Dbah off the wall, to 3ft Greenmount and Kirra to 4ft North Wall. So we got a pretty good range of conditions and the waves it really shined were around the 2-3ft mark, playful type waves

This board doesn’t enjoy sucky waves, but can be ridden in surf that has ‘push’. By that I mean you’ll catch your front rail more often than not in sucky waves as you try to angle through tubes or down the face. It’ll catch more than Steve Smith. Pushy waves tho, it loves, the extra speed you get and the extra room on the face to open up carves, etc feels amazing.

It’s not really for short and done waves either, but excels when it’s running on a bank (think point break or similar) and has areas of downtime on the wave. Which is easy to say because pretty much every board should go on a point break right? True, but with the Channel Islands Mid there’s a certain magic you get when riding it on a point or long stretched out bank – the speed, flow, even the ability to trim and just enjoy the scene of it all. I even caught myself trimming one wave trying to put my hands in the lip like some weirdo…

Overall Best Conditions:
2-3ft chubby waves that have a couple of fast and slow sections. Preferably on your forehand with a slight offshore or onshore. Bonus points if the sun is out and it’s warm. (what Devon is riding in the below clip is a good example of the type of wave you’d want)

PERFORMANCE

Stats were:
14 sessions
87 waves
Top Speed of 35km/h (Greenmount)
Longest ride was 297m (Kirra)

This isn’t the board for the surfer who just wants to get out there and rip, shred, tear, the Channel Islands Mid is more for the surfer who enjoys the challenge of different boards, the glide of something bigger or is looking for a board that’ll help smooth their surfing out a bit.

The beauty of the board is how much work it does for you, if you let it. It’ll run around a section with a slight push off the bottom, go the highline and you’ll get an immense amount of speed. Having said that, if you try to over-power or ‘force’ it through turns, you’ll come unstuck or heavily catch/bog more often than not.

You can go straight up, do snaps, round houses, probably even airs, but when you’re trying to surf it like that (like a proper HP shortboard) you tend to catch, lose your arms and generally flail a lot. It’s brilliant at cut down’s, highline speed runs, sectional floaters (long as it’s not dumping) and even pretty good for some larry action.

The fins I used in the beginning were different to what I ended up on, and the second set – the True Ames Merrick set – left the first set dead in the water. You can see in the images below the difference in size, rake, depth, etc and the biggest win I felt with the Al Merrick fins were more stability, control and speed. Basically all things I want more of in a board.

Overall, the biggest thing I learn with this board was to give yourself more time when surfing, more time off the bottom, off the top or doing cutbacks – stretch it out and take your time, the board will do a lot of the work for you if you let it.

VERDICT

Regardless of the early comments I got around this being a modern day Mini Mal, the Chas Smith special, yada yada, I kept riding it and I can’t express how much fun I had riding this board, to the point I’d keep this over the Channel Islands Fishbeard (review here) at the moment (granted, I’m 42, fat and can’t string three turns together but still)…

The Channel Islands Mid flows easily, it does most of the work and will help clean up your surfing if you let it. It’s not for the person who wants to get out there and ‘Hulk Smash’ every wave, it’s for the person who enjoys the glide, the challenge of something different (that can be hard or easy to ride) or maybe is just getting a touch older, coming back from injury etc. You’ll get into waves earlier, enjoy the high-lines and even get a renewed energy for smaller waves.

The Wins:
*Glides effortlessly on a wave and allows to enjoy surfing from a new angle.
*Built like a brick shit house, this board will hold up for a while
*The specifically made 2+1 fins from True Ames.

The Challenges:
*You might feel like a soccer dad or Byron import with a floppy felt hat carrying it
*It can be a challenge to ride if you’re not open to new lines.
*Sucky waves are not your friend on this board.

If you’re not quite sold on the Channel Islands Mid but are interested in getting a mid-length some alternatives include the One Bad Egg from Mark Phipps, the Almond from DMS, the Mid-Strength from Chill or spice it up with the Step-Up Twin from Morning of the Earth.

Channel Islands Mid Length Review

The Channel Islands Mid is widely available globally, anywhere that stocks Channel Islands surfboards 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 order direct from a few spots, including direct from Channel Islands. Stores, in Australia, to check include:
Onboard
Sanbah
Aloha Manly
Surf Culture

Price wise you’re looking at around $1300 AUD, which ain’t too bad considering this is a board that’s got a wildly strong glass job (mine has been ridden non-stop for two weeks and it’s held up really well) and will no doubt last you a long time. If you are getting one, make sure you spare enough cash to grab a set of the CI Mid 2+1 Fin set as well – they make a big difference to the performance of the board, and they look amazing.

LengthWidthThicknessVolume
6’620 1/22 9/1637.8L
6’820 3/42 5/840.2L
6’1020 7/82 11/1642.3L
7’021 1/82 3/444.9L
7’221 1/42 13/1647.3L
7’621 3/42 7/851.8L
7’1022357.1L

If you enjoyed this review you can visit our Product Reviews page for more, including the most recent review of the Channel Islands Fishbeard (in Spinetek) along with buyers guides of Springsuits and Boardcovers. We’ll have more Surfboard reviews (Next up is a NPJ Duo and Chilli Sugar) coming soon.

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

Buy from Channel Islands’s Online Store
Check Channel Island’s Stockist list