Thursday, November 02, 2023
While filming the Electric Acid Surfboard Test in Mexico last year, I asked Coco Ho if I could borrow her Shrizz model from PANDA surfboards. She was fairly indifferent about the round-nosed, swallow-tailed quad, so she let me have a go. I immediately fell in love with it. That day, I happened to be testing Volcom trunks for our 2021 Best Boardshorts feature. By way of her sponsorship, Coco had the matching hat in her Mexican travel kit. With Ryan Miller militantly snapping photos from the water — roughly 376 frames per wave — I figured this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to nail a cool photo in a matching kit. So, I begged Coco to lend me the hat. Again, she conceded.
Incredible synchrony transpired — man, board, and outfit all aligned. Ryan nailed a shot that ended up being the cover image of Best Boardshorts. A great success. Riding this high, I went for an air on a dumpy end section. Landed on the nose, as one does, and put a sizable heel dent on the deck. Coco not pleased.
Later, I attempted a floater on that same dumpy end section. Went down hard, hat never resurfaced. I searched for fives, maybe even tens of minutes. No luck. It’s probably suffocating some 180-year-old sea turtle as we speak. Coco, again, not pleased. Upon returning home after the trip, I did two things: 1) Tried to get Coco a new hat and 2) Begged Blake Peters of PANDA surfboards to make me a Shrizz. Coco denied. Blake obliged. More great fortune! I told Blake I wanted the same dims as Coco’s. Naturally, he made mine a liter and a half bigger. Nobody listens to Turtle, as they say (perhaps because he’s been murdered by a wayward Volcom hat). Anyways, let’s talk about this Shrizz.
I struggled hard in my first session on the new Shrizz. Wrong conditions, wrong fins, wrong cultivation of body mass in my 29 years on this planet. Things could only go up from there, but they took their time in doing so. I struggled during the second section as well, blowing the best wave I’ve ever seen at a particular reef in NorCal. That wasn’t the board’s fault, though. User error: 150%. Third session, sparks flew and we finally clicked. I surfed a long right with open faces, which seems to be the Shrizz’s happy place. Whether it’s Mexico, Santa Cruz, or the little wave by your house that occasionally breaks in a singular direction, leading locals to lovingly proclaim it as a ‘point break’, this board loves drawing cursive lines on a long wall. The main benefit of the Shrizz is how much speed you get when transitioning from rail to rail. When the quad fins engage, they provide this incredible burst of energy through direction changes. It feels like you have a turbo jet in the tail. On the flip side, the lack of a center fin means that you can’t get quite as technical in the pocket, and long, drawn-out carves generally end with a bit of release. But in the end, this board is meant to be a bridge between your hi-fi shorty and favorite twinny. And it fills that niche beautifully. I still think this particular Shirzz is a little big for me — Coco’s felt like the perfect size. On the bright side, I’ll inevitably gain 10-15 pounds (it’s called winter), so I’ll keep the board on ice til then.
I started with Stretch fins, which are pretty vertical and didn’t have enough hold for me in the lumpy conditions of session one. So, I switched to a mixed set of fins with more rake — AM1 honeycombs on the side, and Futures’ Quad Rear 3.75s in the back. Due to the extended outline of these fins, the board felt way more under control. My theory is that surfers who are more front-footed (such as myself) benefit from riding fins with more rake, because they maintain more fin surface area in the water when the tail lifts.