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  • ScottyDanger
    started a topic New 5'8 Dominator (sold the Stealth)

    New 5'8 Dominator (sold the Stealth)

    It was hard to part with my Stealth FST since it really is a great board, but I just wasn't using it enough. I wanted to double down on my daily driver and find a super solid option for the waves that I surf 70% of the time in Southern California. Basically, the objective was to make my average waves insanely fun. After three solid sessions in waves ranging from 3-5 feet on my new 5'8 Dominator, I'm one happy camper.

    I'm around 6'3 and 160lbs. Technically a 5'6 could have worked, but the 5'8 seemed like a great starting point, especially for average waves. I was totally torn between the Spitfire and Dominator, and while I originally felt that the Spitfire was the answer since I surf more aggressively (and want to use it in hollower beach breaks), the Dominator just spoke to me lol. Really . . . it's just beautiful. Threw Futures Rusty R1 quads on there with a nubster and hit the water.

    Paddling: So easy; I was just laughing and zipping around the lineup. Great since the peaks were kinda shifty. I could really get used to this . . . really made me excited to just paddle all over the place and try to grab as many waves as possible.

    Catching waves: Didn't have to paddle that hard - walk in the park. Board accelerates really quickly. Seriously, this feels like cheating.

    Dropping in: I was excited since the waves ended being way bigger than I thought. One day had some solid head high sets coming in that were pretty hollow. Dropping in on hollow waves was easier than I thought (but then again, I'm used to a 5'7 stub (square) nose daily driver with barely any rocker). There were only a few sets where the bottom kinda dredged out that I had to really weight my back foot and focus hard. Didn't blow any of the drops, so I'll consider it a success.

    First wave, did such a satisfying cutback. It actually made my week haha. My old daily driver (5'7 stub nose) was just over-foamed and felt like it was sitting on top of the water. I swapped in Controllers with a nubster in this old board, but it still felt more like an old school Twinzer (even though it was a modern / high performance shape job). The Dominator, on the other hand, felt like it was on rails (with the R1 quad / nubster setup).

    I love that the Dominator makes me surf in a more aggressive / modern manner. My old stub nose was insanely fun, but it always made me surf in a more laid back retro / lateral style. I also placed a heavy emphasis on my front foot with this board, but the Dominator is getting me stoked to shift my weight the hell back and really drive off the tail. This is exactly what I need to focus on to get to the next level.

    The Bad: Only complaint that I had was that it wasn't pivoting as quickly as I wanted it to (frontside), but I think that this is a fin issue. I would have preferred the setup to be just a bit looser overall. The R1's look like they have a decent amount of area, especially in the tip.

    Next weekend I'll try to do a fin shootout at my local Futures test drive place. Will try:
    -YU Quad
    -Stretch SF4
    -V2F4

    I need to try it without the nubster as well.

  • ScottyDanger
    replied
    Been running the Dominator as a thruster for the last three weeks! I was surfing some shoulder high hollow/dredgy beach break, and I was actually going too fast - kept outrunning the barrel. The waves were breaking really quickly, and taking off sideways with the quad setup was a bit twitchy and sketchy. Didn't have any spectacular head first over the falls bails, but this was still enough to send me in to switch to a thruster setup.

    I've gotta say, the rock solid pivot and overall anchoring were really confidence inspiring. Although I love the almost telepathic response that a quad gives, the slower response and stable nature of the thruster were very welcome, especially when entering into more critical maneuvers where you really have to load up and explode out.

    The downside of the thruster is that I've been left behind on a few waves that I would have made on a quad. The upside is that my backside surfing feels much more rock solid. For some reason I'm just way better driving off the bottom hard backside with a thruster setup. The Rusty R1 thruster setup is my favorite so far based on the lively flex and great balance of drive with enough looseness.

    I also bought the WCT Tech Flex. Super fun fins - great for jamming in last minute maneuvers. However, in normal socal waves (not insanely thick and hollow), these fins seemed to lack drive for me, especially backside. I felt that I couldn't load up as hard on my back foot when doing snaps, and my cutbacks felt a little weak. This is not to say that the WCT is a bad fin - far from it. I need to do much more testing with the WCT, but initial impressions (for my tastes and style) is that the R1 thruster set is phenomenal. Technically these might be a bit big for me, but I think that they pair well with the hefty Dom tail.

    I'm looking forward to trying the AM1 Blackstix as a thruster too, but I have a feeling that the R1 will win out as the overall workhorse.

    Leave a comment:


  • ScottyDanger
    replied
    No worries - glad to help out! Great point about swapping different nubsters; I hadn't thought of that. Seems like a nice (and cheap) way to really fine tune. In a perfect world, I'd want just a bit more hold from the R1 quad set and a bit less hold from the AM1/R1 set. I might try swapping that pivot nubster in the AM1/R1 set, but first I need to do a lot more surfing this week with the above setups.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris
    replied
    epic thanks Scotty! remember, there are lots of nubsters too, meaning you can achieve more hold with different knub cuts if you really want to refine your ride...

    Cheers

    Leave a comment:


  • Jase
    replied
    Great report there Scotty!
    Given me something to think about on my quad setup for the Dom.

    Leave a comment:


  • ScottyDanger
    replied
    Lots of surfing the last three days - here are some short reviews:

    AM1 Blackstix Thruster: two words come to mind - smooth and controlled. These reminded me of the Rob Machado fin, maybe with a bit more drive. Unfortunately, I still felt like I was dragging and taking way too long to execute various maneuvers. The issue wasn't the fins; it was the thruster setup in general. I also missed a few sections that I know I could have made on a quad, so I gave in and installed the next setup.

    Rusty R1 Quad: My surfing totally lit up after I put these in. I had more immediate speed upon takeoff, and I just felt insanely in tune with the board. It was only waist to chest high and fairly crumbly on the outside, but it was reforming into some racy hollow sections on the inside. By the time I entered the hollow inside section, I just had absurd amounts of speed. Banged out some really fun gouges and floaters that went on forever. Had a longboarder paddle up and ask what in the hell I was riding. Only negatives were backside for me - felt a bit vague and indecisive bottom turning. Also, to be fair, the setup felt a bit too loose (but this is being veryyy nit picky).

    Rusty R1 Quad with Nubster: Same session - bam. I still generated some crazy speed runs and made every section I attempted. Maybe it was a tiny bit slower than without the nubster, but it was too close to call. The nubster made me feel more confident on cutbacks and smoothened out backside bottom turns - more predictable . . . felt like I had more of a pivot point going on. The only negative was that the whole setup still felt a bit overly sensitive. On the one hand, I love the immediate response and the ability to really throw in last minute, dramatic maneuvers. Keeps me on my toes and really gets me excited. Even though I was surfing well on this setup, I still wished that I had a bit more anchoring on the wave.

    AM1 Blackstix Fronts with Rusty R1 Rears and nubster: Now we're talking. This setup was just a bit slower than the full R1 quad setup, but the added control that I gained was awesome. This set really smoothened out my surfing and made me feel extremely confident. Without a doubt, this setup improved my surfing to the greatest extent. It was still so much more responsive and loose than the full Am1 Blackstix thruster setup, but the added control let me really dig in and throw some solid carves. This setup felt better backside to me than the full R1 w/nubster; I was able to drive harder off the bottom and really get locked in. Only negatives are that I'm not sure if it would be better with the plain jane RTM Am1 set. At times I did feel some lift that was a bit odd - wish I had a better descriptive for it, and I wonder if the V2 foils are helping or hurting. Still, overall this was an insanely solid setup that made me feel like a champ. I stopped worrying about fin combos and just started putting everything into my turns, which is what it's all about haha.

    Solus fronts with R1 rears and nubster: Ok, originally I thought that this combo would be beyond life-changing. I think that I was expecting the universe itself to rip apart on the first cutback because the sheer awesomeness of the fins had violated certain laws of physics. Well . . . that didn't happen. It actually felt like I had reverse thrusters going on as I tried to drop in. Picture trying to drop into a wave in hawaii with 50 knott offshore winds. The setup was loose, unpredictable, and just not that fast. I really can't say anything remotely positive about the experience.

    So, in summation:

    Rusty R1 quads: lights out quick and insanely responsive - almost too responsive though. . . . not forgiving.

    Am1 Blackstix fronts with R1 rears: still more speed than you probably need with more predictable turns and more control. If you are a bit jittery these will smooth out your style and help you drap nice lines.

    Gonna surf the AM1 / Rusty setup tomorrow morning and not worry about fins anymore. Well, until I purchase a Potatonator

    Leave a comment:


  • ScottyDanger
    replied
    Ok, bought the Solus, AM1 Black Stix 2.0, and Rusty 5 fin. Socal has been painfully flat the last 5 days, but I'm hoping to get some nice testing in on Sat, Sun, and Mon.

    I almost got some tech flex, but man those things are like razor blades - insanely sharp. I'm trying to get more consistent on my air reverses, and the thought of the board getting loose and nailing me turned me off haha.

    Leave a comment:


  • ScottyDanger
    replied
    Good to know that he EA's are pivoty too - thanks!

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris
    replied
    the EAs are not very big. yeah give the ams a go too. They have a lot of cant so they do respond and are super pivoty.

    Leave a comment:


  • ScottyDanger
    replied
    Ok nice I was eyeing the WCT's as well. EA Black Stix seem a bit big for me, and the AM1 Black Stix look really fun, but I think I'd really like a fin that pivots more like the WCT (2-5 foot range)

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris
    replied
    yeah those sound pretty good. let use know how they go. The Dom I love my WCTs for sure...

    Leave a comment:


  • ScottyDanger
    replied
    Good info Chris, thanks. What are your favorite tri setups on the Dominator? I think that I've seen you post about the EA Black Stix before. I found an awesome fin hookup, so I'm gonna grab the Solus, Rusty 5 fin, and either the EA Tech Flex or CM2.

    Thinking Solus or Rusty quad for small stuff, some black stix tri for middle ground, and then maybe a RTM or tech flex for the juicy 5-8ft stuff

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris
    replied
    the V2 foil, in my experience, is best used in surf that isn't suuuper fast. The foil increases the speed of the water over the fin, thus increasing response. For me, flat foils when its cooking, V2s when it gets a little slower. Not a black and white rule though.

    Cheers

    Leave a comment:


  • ScottyDanger
    replied
    Good info csarqui - hmmm can you comment on how the Rusty 5 fin setup goes as a thruster? I'm still eyeing the black stix V2F4 setup as well. I thought that the V2 foil might help a bit on the waves that I'll be using the Dom on (waist to head high), but I'm really not sure.

    Leave a comment:


  • csarqui
    replied
    I shelved my Dominator for a while after I purchased a Sweet Potato. It was a good fresh challenge and I think I wrapped my head around it. After 2 months I took the Dominator out again in 2ft surf. It caught waves easier, generated enough speed, and I was able to go straight up into the lip with just a thought. Sold the Sweet Potato.

    I love my Rusty 5 fin set. It's still my favorite.

    Let me know how that Potatonator goes if you get one.

    Leave a comment:

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