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Potatonator for fresh water surfing?

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  • Potatonator for fresh water surfing?

    I've been in the market for a new board for a while now and I'm now seriously considering the potatonator.

    Here's my vitals:

    27 y.o., 155lb, 5'9, intermediate surfer, athletic.

    The volume calculator says I should be looking no more than 30L for volume, which puts me on a 5'4" potatonator. Probably bang on if you're surfing the ocean, but take all the salt and buoyancy that comes with the ocean and throw it out the window. Now add 70 km/h on shore winds and you've got my usual conditions.

    Here's my situation:

    Spent a year living in Australia a few years back. Mostly surfed a 6'6" watercooled flyingfish as my daily driver (guessing it' about 45+L given its dimensions when compared to similarly shaped boards). Moved back to Canada and brought the 6'6" with thinking I wouldn't get to surf much, but lo and behold I found out you could surf wind swell on the lakes and wound up surfing more than expected.

    My local break is a shoulder to head high mush burger (on a good day) on the outside, flattens out through the middle, and turns into a slightly steeper 1'-3' on the inside. The break is dominated by SUP's and long boarders, but the 6'6" worked pretty well for the last few years. It performed well on larger, steeper waves, and I could get a couple turns off. The biggest problem I had was getting into the really mushy waves and staying on them through the fat middle section. I could never connect them to the inside. As soon as you step on the tail pad to do a sharp turn you would sink. Just too narrow back there.

    I got the opportunity to ride a 6'2" sweet potato (56L) a couple times, had some really fun surfs on the small inside section and managed to get some longer rides through the middle from the outside. However, when the odd steep wall would come through the outside I found the SP didn't perform great and struggled to make the drop without nose diving.

    So, here's what I'm thinking:

    Probably go for a 6"2' potatonator. Despite chopping off 4", it's still 44L, has a lower rocker and is slightly wider,thicker, and has a wider tail than my current board. The nator has slightly more rocker than the SP, so could handle a steeper drop and larger waves, and the narrower nose would allow for it to get more radical turns. I think the planing surface will be comparable or even greater than my current board. I considered just getting a SP, but I kinda need a 1 board quiver (financially) that will work well in my local conditions and handle something slightly bigger on surf trips.

    I think the potatonator checks all the boxes for me at the moment, from what I've read: works best in 2'-5' mushier waves, paddles easy and gets in early, but can still perform in slightly steeper conditions, duck dives easily when compared to other boards of similar volume.

    Wondering if anyone has had any experience riding these things in fresh water? Anyone out there similar to my size/ weight riding these things with beefed up volume? How have they handled? Or have any thoughts about riding the potatonator in steeper ocean waves? Anyone been barelled on a potatonator? haha, not the waves it's meant for but I know a few people have mentioned riding them in 6' with mixed results. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

  • #2
    Hi AndyG! There is a guy on here; Iggy, who surfs river waves in Canada so has freshwater experience and can probably comment about whether the buoyancy requirements change or by how much. He's never mentioned it. But wow a Great Lakes surfer you are! You will have to post some pictures of good days...I have seen some clean looking waves in around the 3' mark. I guess that doesn't happen often and the swell probably gets flattened after a few hours of offshore breeze.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hey there Andy, Igor here from Montreal. I'm a bit heavier than you. Surf mostly in Montreal at the St Lawrence river at a place called H67. I'm 180lbs and surf a 5'8" which has a little more volume than I need which comes really handy on smaller East Coast days.
      Where are you gonna be surfing exactely?Lake Ontario?. If so you can get in contact with Mike Sandusky from Surf Ontario, he will be able to hook you up nicely.
      Going back to the question, volume wise you could go as low as a 5'4" and it will float you plenty, but given the small weaker conditions (not all the time, get a movie called UNSALTED, and you'll see what I'm talking about) you wanna go longer to make sure you get your fair share of waves.
      So how did you feel the Potato 6'2" volume wise?? Too buoyant?.
      I think you are on the right track but don't exect to get more waves than longboarders or sweepers, you simply can't compete with those boats!!!;)
      The 6'2" will definitely help you. I would have suggested you the Addvance as an alternative option but your actual board is fairly similar
      811448a09f3796a729bd8434ec249836c9247bfcc0b384821b725a5b5a2539d1.jpg

      FirewireSurfboards_Addvance.jpg

      Hope this helps
      Last edited by iggy; 09-15-2012, 07:19 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the inputs guys.

        Slowman: yeah, buoyancy needs change a lot once you go to fresh water and change again between surfing standing river waves or crappy lake wind swell. It can get good on the lakes, it's just not frequent. I usually won't go out unless it's about 3' on the outside. Any smaller and there's just not enough power in the lake. There's a couple spots on lake superior that can hold double over head and you can get barelled at stoney point in the right conditions.
        Here's a little vid of jamie sterling surfing lake superior on a really good day. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sMWo...eature=related
        Here's a photo of me from last week on a 6'2" sweet potato (this is what my conditions usually look like. Not pictured: 75 km/h onshore winds, and 4 seconds interval, lol.)
        Snapshot - 164.jpg

        Iggy: River surfing is fun. I'm familiar with habitat, though haven't surfed it. I've surfed sturgeon falls a couple times and it's a cool experience. I'm actually in manitoba, not ontario. We have a solid little crew of surfers out here, though we tend to be off the surf map being in the heart of the prairies.

        Happy to hear you find the extra volume to be helpful for when you're in the ocean, which was what I was expecting and hoping for. Have you found the extra volume in the potatonator to be a hinderance at all when you're out there?
        Yeah, I could get away with a 5'4", but I think it wouldn't have enough volume to keep me surfing as much as I am currently. It would be enough for the best days at my break, but I think I'd be missing out on a lot of smaller days. They really are the most gutless waves ever (see photo above, lol).

        The 6'2" potato was great for getting into that stuff, but I found that with that much volume at my weight it was a struggle to duck dive. Also, with the big round nose I would be worried about it getting caught when trying to get vertical in the ocean. I had a look at the addvance, but it's longer than I want to go and looks very similar to what I am currently riding. The sweet potato just out performed my board so much in the smaller waves that I feel a shorter board with a flatter rocker and a wider tail is really what I should be riding.

        I have no expectations of catching as many waves as the mals and sups. At present, I'm competitive for waves, I just want to get more radical off the top, and I think the potatonator is what will help me achieve that. Quality over quantity! ;)
        Last edited by AndyG; 09-16-2012, 09:00 PM.

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        • #5
          I think double overhead is talking it up a bit by Jamie Sterling, probably to promote the video and Red Bull so the sponsors perceive money's worth, or maybe there were double overhead waves but they didn't make the cut. Still never thought you'd get a couple of feet overhead on the Lakes...that's pretty phenomenal and then there's the ice and snow! Jeez that is what I call keen!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by AndyG View Post
            Thanks for the inputs guys.

            Slowman: yeah, buoyancy needs change a lot once you go to fresh water and change again between surfing standing river waves or crappy lake wind swell. It can get good on the lakes, it's just not frequent. I usually won't go out unless it's about 3' on the outside. Any smaller and there's just not enough power in the lake. There's a couple spots on lake superior that can hold double over head and you can get barelled at stoney point in the right conditions.
            Here's a little vid of jamie sterling surfing lake superior on a really good day. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sMWo...eature=related
            Here's a photo of me from last week on a 6'2" sweet potato (this is what my conditions usually look like. Not pictured: 75 km/h onshore winds, and 4 seconds interval, lol.)
            [ATTACH=CONFIG]1056[/ATTACH]

            Iggy: River surfing is fun. I'm familiar with habitat, though haven't surfed it. I've surfed sturgeon falls a couple times and it's a cool experience. I'm actually in manitoba, not ontario. We have a solid little crew of surfers out here, though we tend to be off the surf map being in the heart of the prairies.

            Happy to hear you find the extra volume to be helpful for when you're in the ocean, which was what I was expecting and hoping for. Have you found the extra volume in the potatonator to be a hinderance at all when you're out there?
            Yeah, I could get away with a 5'4", but I think it wouldn't have enough volume to keep me surfing as much as I am currently. It would be enough for the best days at my break, but I think I'd be missing out on a lot of smaller days. They really are the most gutless waves ever (see photo above, lol).

            The 6'2" potato was great for getting into that stuff, but I found that with that much volume at my weight it was a struggle to duck dive. Also, with the big round nose I would be worried about it getting caught when trying to get vertical in the ocean. I had a look at the addvance, but it's longer than I want to go and looks very similar to what I am currently riding. The sweet potato just out performed my board so much in the smaller waves that I feel a shorter board with a flatter rocker and a wider tail is really what I should be riding.

            I have no expectations of catching as many waves as the mals and sups. At present, I'm competitive for waves, I just want to get more radical off the top, and I think the potatonator is what will help me achieve that. Quality over quantity! ;)
            Yeah ctually I tend to surf my boards on the 30lts range and Chris talked me into getting this one a bit over volumed and works really nicely, that little extra volume helps heaps specially during winter with all the rubber on!

            Comment


            • #7
              Yeah AndyG, if you are talking the potatonator, I think at 506 or 508 is the call. I would say it comes down to your ability and preference in volume. I recently had a lakes surfer order a board that was definitely too big for him (El Fuego 603 for a guy that is 175). he got out there and loved it.

              So in the end i think it comes down to preference and ability. But I would certainly say that i would make a higher volume suggestion to a surfer on the lakes for sure...

              Cheers!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by iggy View Post
                ...that little extra volume helps heaps specially during winter with all the rubber on!
                Yeah wearing a 6/5/4 with a hood, boots and gloves does add a few pounds and makes it a heck of a lot harder to paddle. At least until it freezes over :s

                Chris: Thanks, that is great info to have. I wrote off the el fuego because of the rocker, it's just too much for my conditions. But knowing that he liked having that extra foam in the board while out on the lakes gives me confidence in the potatonator's ability to perform. Especially when I can cram more volume into a shorter board! I'm hesitant to go any lower than 6'0" though. Based on my current board's estimated volume, the volume of other boards I have tried, and where the volume in the PN is located, but I might ride it for a season and decide it's too big. Regardless, I think I've found the best board for my conditions.

                Thanks every one for chiming in.

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                • #9
                  Ordered the 6'2". Was on the fence between that and a 6'0", but decided I'd rather have the extra foam under me. Got a set of rastas on their way as well. A friend has controllers and simon's, so we can swap back and forth and see how they handle in the fresh water. Thanks again for the info.

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                  • #10
                    good luck andy, hope you enjoy it!

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                    • #11
                      Buddy enjoy it!!! I know you will. You are gonna trip on te rastas but give the controllers a try, fadt down the line ad on such conditions you might need to go through sections swiftly!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just an update on how the board has fared thus far:

                        Had 1 short surf with it on the lake before if froze up. Had it out in gutless 1 ft conditions and it fared okay. I didn't really get a feel for it, but considering the air temp was -12c, the water temp was hovering around the 0c mark, and after 30 minutes I couldn't feel my hands or legs from the knee down i'm not counting that surf against the board.

                        Took the PN to the Caribbean for a 2 week surf trip and rode it exclusively. Had it in everything from 2 ft - 10 ft faces and it went pretty well. Used the rastas in the small stuff and found it super speedy, managed pretty well through the flats and I had tons of fun lining up laybacks on the end sections! Once the waves got a bit over head it struggled (obviously) but was still fun to ride. Having all that extra volume helped me get in stupid early and with the controllers I was able to get decent hold with a high line and score some tube time.

                        Biggest downside: Too much foam for the ocean. The board was a bitch to duck dive, and would bounce hard on choppy waves. I think a 5'6" or 5'8" would be choice for me in the ocean. In the lake a 6'0" would probably be a touch better, but I think this 6'2" will be great! Looking forward to the thaw and getting amongst it next season.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for the update Andy!!!.

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