This week Instagram shook almost as hard as Peter King’s legs did when he saw the turn at 45 seconds in person, from the beach at Haleiwa, as he filmed the footage above.
It was January when these waves took place, weeks ahead of Kelly’s second foot surgery to remove the supportive bars that were put in place to bring form back to his previously folded foot. And it was two months later on March 19th when Kelly pressed upload at 5:35 PM Hawaii time, from his home on the North Shore of Oahu, sharing this session with all of us.
The video quickly inspired a raucous of comments and a slew of posts, re-posts and shares from the usual suspects – Stab and SURFER Mag, The Inertia and Slater Designs, surf shops and fans around the planet.
Across all places on the internet where people hang out, the comments centered around three questions (aside from the general “Holy F^#$ he’s ripping”).
We’ll give answers to all three below.
Is the Cymatic an Omni with a Sci-Fi tail, or a Sci-Fi with an Omni nose?
Neither. But if you’re desperate to make this easy, you can kind of get away with calling it a Sci-Fi with an Omni Nose. But not really..
The Cymatic is so different from the Sci-Fi that Kelly actually asked Tomo after his first few surfs on the Cymatic to consider making him a Cymatic with a pointy nose that might surf like a Cymatic but look like a Sci-Fi. A cheeky attempt on Kelly’s part to possibly deceive WSL judges who only award high scores for competitors who ride pointy nosed boards.
On close inspection, the Cymatic blends the best elements of both shapes but it also has entirely new twists to it, for example in the rocker where the Cymatic has more curve through the boards center than the other two, creating a more accelerated tail kick.
As in all shapes with increased tail rocker, this makes the Cymatic very agile and responsive in turns, able to drive tight angles more immediately than boards with lower tail rockers. What further increases the sensations of quick ‘whips’ on the Cymatic (like you see Kelly doing when he rebounds in the white water at 38 seconds in) is the lack of area in the Cymatic’s nose, similar to the Omni. This enables the board to come back around more quickly than other shapes that have more area forward in the board.
And speaking of the Omni, its common knowledge among board designers that narrower tails, like the Omni’s, are most commonly better and driving through long and drawn out turns.
This all adds up on the Cymatic: Wider tail + short nose + increased tail rocker = very quick whips and direction changes (like you see at 9 seconds in).
These design elements can also make the board easier to surf for average surfers (for example finishing a wrapping turn on an unexpectedly flat section of the wave like you see at 13 seconds in, where a flatter tail rocker may have felt stuck to the wave face when trying to angle the board back down into the pocket of the wave).
What waves is the Cymatic for?
To go to an extreme, every board on earth works in every wave on earth but only to an extent.
For example, the Omni’s design implies better performance in rounder waves where the more narrow tail can effectively hold in steep faces, but if you take a drive up the California Coast on an average day, you’ll see plenty of Omnis in the water in waist high waves.
Conversely, the wider tail on the Sci-Fi implies better performance in flat faced waves, but walk around the Gold Coast of Australia and you’ll see plenty of surfers pumping through barrels on it.
The certain thing about the Cymatic is that it is not designed primarily as a groveler. the Cymatic’s tail is narrower than the Sci-Fi’s tail and that’s part of the reason Kelly is able to rock so hard in the 10-foot faces above. But around California where many of us are currently riding Cymatics, we’re loving them in four-foot waves. Because that’s all we’ve had this winter (and that’s on the good days… It’s been an odd season).
At the end of the day we’re calling the Cymatic a shortboard. An alternative shortboard, but a shortboard still, and we’re comfortable calling it a go-to board in 3 to 8-foot waves.
How am I going to size a Cymatic?
The same volume and the same length as your Omni. The odd thing some of us here at Firewire have noticed is that even though we love our Omnis, they can sometimes feel barely too long, even when sized perfectly. And at the same length as our Omnis, our Cymatics feel like they were tailored for us.
There may be exceptions to this rule however if you live next to a barreling wave in Hawaii or Mexico or Indo that reliably pitches top to bottom and gives you pits to stand in every Tuesday. Considering the Cymatic’s width of tail (barely narrower than a Sci-Fi), you may find that sizing it down slightly, just an inch below your Omni, may give you the fastest and most controlled barrel exits you’ve ever experienced.
If this is the case, you’re lucky and you should be inviting us to come stay in your guest room. We’ll bring you a Cymatic.
Making sense of all three:
The Sci-Fi is still the everyday shortboard for folks who want to surf on longer rail lines and wrap more traditional turns with un-traditional speed. AND it’s still the most popular shortboard on earth (really).
The Omni continues to be our best travel board for easy hold in barrels, unexpected drive at point breaks, and quick hooks off the bottom from Cloudbreak to Cardiff.
The Cymatic is all speed and quick direction changes. It’s Kelly’s current favorite because it feels electric and somehow blends both the Sci-Fi and Omni into seamless shredding for average to advanced surfers (beginners stay clear) and on that note, Kelly is the only one getting away with surfing a Cymatic six inches shorter than he is tall. Normal surfers can size their Cymatic one to four inches shorter than their height.
You can explore Cymatic dimensions here.