So You Wanna Buy A Slater Designs Surfboard?

Photo: Sherman Photo: Sherman

Rumors spread quick in this bulbous little industry. But you know what spreads even quicker? Any shard of intel that has the initials K.S. tied to it. As of late the talk of Slater Designs, Kelly Slater’s new surfboard company, has been a hot topic in conversations of loyal Kelly-ists all over the world. We saw a bit of a preview into what these crafts can do under the feet of the King toward the back half of the 2015 season, but there’s still a bit of mystery surrounding the subject. What exactly is he riding? What’s it made of? Who shaped it? How much will it cost?* When can I get my hands on one? Well, we can’t answer everything, but here’s what we do know:

You’re going to have to wait. Just a little bit longer. Kelly’s right-hand man Travis Lee (formerly of Channel Islands, but now with SD) was recently quoted saying that the boards won’t be hitting sales floors until Spring. Can we expect herds of people forming iPhone 6 sized lines around the corner of your local surf shop to get their hands on the first batch? If there was ever a debut of foam that could warrant a middle-aged man sleeping on a sidewalk, it would be this one.

And more importantly, the boards themselves. Yesterday, we published a piece from our latest magazine featuring Kelly Slater meticulously breaking down a trio of some of his favorite new sleds. Turns out, these are the exact three models that will be available for you and all your bros come retail time. The three models consist of two boards by Daniel “Tomo” Thomson, The Sci-Phi and The Omni, and one by Greg Webber called the Banana.

Photo: Sherman Photo: Sherman

So let’s dive into these three boards and each one of their intended functions as explained by Kelly himself. Soak in the knowledge – you’ll have a much more solid excuse for why you “really need this board” come time to the flex the credit card. “But honey, the double-concave out the back will really loosen things up when I’m cutting back!!”

BOARD 1
USE: WHEN IT’S TINY
SHAPER/MODEL: DANIEL “TOMO” THOMSON/SCI-PHI
DIMENSIONS: 5’6” X 18 3/4” X 2 1/4”
VOLUME: 24.8 L
BOARD MATERIAL: FW LFT PROTOTYPE, EPS/ENTROPY BIO-EPOXY
FIN SETUP/MODEL: QUAD (FIVE-FIN OPTION)/ FCS2
WHERE DO YOU SURF THIS BOARD? ANYWHERE WITH SMALL WAVES

What makes this board work well?
The Sci-Phi is a board that has an inverted round tail curve. If you take those lines, cut and invert them, they form this bat tail of sorts. It’s a throwback to a board I had as a kid in that way. This tail has tons of area and a relatively flat rocker that helps with lift and planing. The tail and bottom curves give a nice lift and bite but also allow a very maneuverable board with good control. I like the quad version for such a large area but the thruster has a great feel here also. Maybe I’ll try it as a twin fin…
Any other reasons you picked this board? When Tomo and I started surfing his boards together, this one really stuck out to me and so we tuned it in for what seemed unique and performed well. It looks like a novelty idea but once you ride a wave it’s clear it’s anything but that.

BOARD 2
USE: DAY-TO-DAY
SHAPER/MODEL: DANIEL “TOMO” THOMSON/OMNI
DIMENSIONS: 5’3” X 18 3/4” X 2 5/16”
VOLUME: 24.8 L
BOARD MATERIAL: FW LFT PROTOTYPE, EPS/ENTROPY BIO-EPOXY
FIN SETUP/MODEL: TRI AND QUAD/FCS2

Where do you surf this board? Omni…as the name implies, it’s an all-arounder for every kind of wave. I’ll ride this in basically any surf that’s not too big, but even then, I’ll try it if I can catch the wave. My personal favorite wave for this is a punchy, head-high (or slightly bigger) wave with a face to carve.
What makes this board work well? This board is a collaboration of ideas with Tomo. It’s his basic dimensions with my more drawn-in tail and scaled more for my eye. This board looks like it would like a small wave but it’s surprisingly good in overhead waves, also. The drawn-in tail can handle a bit more speed and allows you to push the turns on the face. I’m a junkie for all fin setups, but for typical surfing on the face I go tri fin and for barrels I like the quads.
Any other reasons you picked this board? This board plays into the less-is-moreconcept and allows you enough planing surface to do what you want without anything getting in the way.

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BOARD 3
USE: WHEN IT’S FIRING
SHAPER/MODEL: GREG WEBBER/THE BANANA
KELLY’S DIMENSIONS: 5’10” X 18 3/8” X 2 1/4”
VOLUME: 25.8 L
BOARD MATERIAL: FW LFT PROTOTYPE, EPS/ENTROPY BIO-EPOXY
FIN SETUP/MODEL: TRI AND QUAD/FCS2

Where do you surf this board?
I’ve ridden these boards in Fiji and Tahiti and hollow beachbreaks, but I’ve even been surprised by its feel in small and mushy beachbreaks, as well.
What makes this board work well? This board is inspired by Shane Herring’s surfing, and the designs he and Greg Webber were doing in the early ‘90s. Those guys were doing some of the best carving and pocket turns ever done and it never really saw its potential. This is a modern version of a 25-year-old design that somehow got lost in time. I feel like I did some of my best surfing ever on a version of it that had more foam than I thought I could handle. Its constant curve rocker is super smooth and effortless in transitions and can handle more critical places on the wave.
Any other reasons you picked this board? Overall, this board needs a nice pocket to maximize its design benefits.

*Though price is still speculative, it would come as no surprise if the stickers on these weapons ventured well into the eight-hundred club – especially based off of how much KS thinks he can get for this Baby alpaca knit folded beanie**.

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**Can baby Alpacas even knit? This guys looks like he can barely walk.
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There’s no way he has the skill, or the steady hands to thread needle and yarn. -Dayton Silva