YOU DON’T SEE TOO MANY SIX-CHANNEL BOARDS IN PEOPLE’S QUIVERS THESE DAYS. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?
That’s true. Because nobody knows how to make them, still. Shapers are scared off of them because they are very labor intensive. I was with Bob Hurley not long ago and I walked into a glass shop and I was told to get out of the shop with those boards. That’s how it is these days. I couldn’t believe it and he was like ‘Get the f–k out of my shop! I don’t want you and I don’t want your boards. Don’t you dare try to get us to do that much work.’ I just shook my head. I’m a purist and I will do anything to get the board to perform better.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE PERFORMANCE BENEFITS OF A SIX CHANNEL VERSUS WHAT IS TYPICALLY OUT THERE IN THE MAJORITY?
The greatest thing about the six channels is that there is no top end speed. There’s no limit to the top end speed. They just continually build speed. You’re taking the water that would normally run across the board and down the rail and catching it and storing the energy, releasing it at planned locations along the deck, more so the tail though, as opposed to the rail. The only negatives that I have heard from six channels is that they’re too fast, I can’t get in the barrel. I just tell surfers to deal with the speed and surf accordingly. They also hold on the face better because they’ve got like fingers on the wall. They sit and hold better. Run higher and hold longer in the barrel once the speed is controlled and understood. If you don’t outrun it you can stay in it longer. On the flat face of the shoulder on a normal board you might have to do a three-stage cutback where as on the six channel board it drives itself through really big arcs like it’s in another gear.Darrick (Doerner) says they feel friction free, like a watermelon seed. I guarantee that once you get on one and learn it you will always have one in your quiver for the rest of your life.
DARRICK DOERNER: Have you ever gotten on a surfboard and you just had a never before felt moment of magic? That happens all the time on these boards.
ALLAN: I have seen it happen, where you just take off and all of sudden your just going WOW…I have seen it happen where surfers just look down and ask themselves what’s going on down there. If you were to ask me how well do they go in California, I would tell you it’s a false assumption that they only go good in sick waves. They really go in anything even though they are designed for sick waves. As a design concept you might be able to build the same speed on a basic concave board but you won’t be able to do the same turns once you’ve gotten the speed. I love going fast through all my turns.
WHY AREN’T THEY MORE WIDESPREAD?
Well, they’re a difficult board to get right. A lot of guys have attempted but failed and been scared off. It’s simple. If you put in the time you will get it. There are a few who have it. It’s a learned formula just like everything else. It’s not like it’s only my thing, it’s just that I have perfected it.
DARRICK: The first one he gave me I instantly saw the potential. Not to mention I got a cover shot with it. There were a few cavitation problems with the first few and all of a sudden they were gone. We’d break five boards in one day, I’m dead serious. It was a tedious process at first. I believe that equipment is everything and that you are only as good as your equipment. Bottom line. You are only as good as what you get and these boards make you a better surfer on the whole.
Allan: When someone’s riding one you don’t necessarily notice it, but to the person on the board it is entirely different. You don’t know what you surf like, but you do know what your surfing feels like. They make you look down at your feet. They change their nature depending on what you do on them and what the conditions are doing. You get one of these boards and you instantly start analyzing what is going on below your feet. For the most part with surfing we believe it to be an unthinking sport. Not on these, though. You are constantly thinking about the feel and how to ride them better.
Extract from a Conversation with Alan Byrne about Channel Pioneer Jim Pollard
07 ~ November 2011