Sunday, April 25, 2004

Session 4068: Stoke 8 with Takayama DT4 (Road Test) at 38th.

I just got back from a great session at the 38th with my new DT4! So like anything in my life, I need to document this while the charges are still holing in my dendrites.
Road Test: Donald Takayama DT4 by SurfTech, not a Magic Board (well... yet).
I was itching to get onto my new DT4 and finally I got on the board today.
  • Paddling out: Paddling out was not as easy as Velzy 9'0 Pin Tail (another epoxy board I have road tested). The board is quite a bit narrower and also a bit thinner compared to the Velzy. The notable smooth glide of the Velzy was not present on the board. It felt more like the Arrow 7'6 hybrid. As it turns out that this board has much more flotation towards more in the front of the board. After adjusting the paddling position, paddling became considerably easier, however, compared to the Velzy it was much more paddling.
  • Taking Off: Taking off also resembled much more like a hybrid board than a long board. It required a considerably more paddling to get into the initial wave even when other long boarders did not have problems getting into the waves. With a bit of adjustment in take off positioning (later and more towards the hook of the wave), this problem has been solved. This board seems to prefer much faster and steeper take off style than the Velzy 9'0 (even though the Velzy is also a pin tail). Once I have learned the characteristics of this board, I was able to select waves and take off very consistently.
  • On the Face: This is where this board really shines and where the fun begins. Due to the less floatation in the back (the board tapers narrowly more quickly), the board is not afraid of taking off on the steeper waves and even on white waters. Where I would have normally pearled, this board just picks you right up and take you safely to the bottom of the wave. This distribution also allowed me to lean on the front more. In many times, the front will start sinking but on this board, it just slides down the slope as if it wants to go and the speed picks up. The board is more sensitive to turns so once the board is on some speed, the board responds more sharply to the lateral weight shifts. Cranking (thanks to Wardo for giving me this term) the turns both at the top (immediately standing) and  bottom worked like a charm. I could feel the deeper digging of the rail and push the knees through the turns.
  • Santa Cruz 5 Knots Collision Test: The test team was able to fit in a small collision test. The test surfers managed to get a fin caught from another surfer at 5 knots per hour to see how well the bumper survives. Thanks to the TufLite epoxy construction The board has only suffered a very minor paint chip to the front bumper. Back in our  test lab shop, it was already fixed with an epoxy putty. The epoxy does not emit any harmful fumes so the repair was safe and quick.
  • Recommendation: The DT4 9'0 is a bit more sensitive board and less floaty than many entry level long boards therefore this board cannot be recommended as an entry long board. However, this added sensitivity allows more advanced long boarder to take advantage of more "looseness" and perform more aggressive riding. The board does seem to choose the rider instead of being other ways around. For an experienced longboarder, it might be a perfect addition to your quivers to aggressively ride steeper faster wave situations.
Today's Session Story:
The new board was a bit temperamental at the start. When the first time I rode the Velzy, it magically allowed me to paddle faster, catch lots of waves, and make initial turns very quickly. This one was not as easy. But once I found out a bit more about how the board behaved, I started to understand it a bit better to take advantage of the characteristics.
I caught so many waves today with it. Today was especially kind of the day where I felt I was really consciously getting successfully getting ahead of the waves. This means that my up and down turns are continuing to get better, and there is a bit more power and speed to surfing.
It will be some time before I can extract a lot out of my new board, but it will be fun!
The sky was sunny and hot today. Shouldn't have worn gloves! Stoke 8!

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