2016 BADFISH RIVER SURFER 6'11" REVIEW
THE 2016 BADFISH RIVER SURFER - UPGRADED FOR 2016 The 2016 Badfish River Surfer 6'11" is new and improved for 16'. With the addition of a lighter and higher performance blank (foam core), and a carbon fiber + Innegra layup, the 2016 River Surfer 6'11" weighs in at just under 20 lbs. What does this mean for all of you land lock surf junkies out there? It means that the new version carves quicker and better, ollies easier, and will out perform older model River Surfers in every way. It also has a double layup of carbon and Innegra on the bottom of the tail, which will increase durability primarily in the fin box zone. This is without a doubt the best Badfish River Surfer yet. HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO OLDER MODEL BOARDS The first thing that you will notice when you pick up a new River Surfer, is the weight reduction. The 16' model board is at least 7-8 lbs less than boards of previous years. It compares in weight and performance to the custom boards that Badfish has been making for their team riders and lucky customers who were in the know. It carves harder and quicker, transitions into spins and grinds with less effort, ollies easier, and is better in every way. I own a 15 lb custom Badfish RS 6'11", and like the slight weight increase of the new 2016 production board. There was more mass when crossing over funky eddies and cross currents. It was also nice to have the extra weight when surfing waves that are not totally perfect and manicured. Our home wave here on the Arkansas can get a little chunky and medium and higher flows, and having a solid board under your feet is a good way to be able to stay on the wave for longer.
The 2016 Badfish River Surfer is by far the best version yet. With a lighter blank, and a carbon fiber Innegra layup, this board is light, quick edge to edge and stable.WHAT NEW FEATURES DOES THE 2016 RIVER SURFER HAVE? The main difference with this years river surfer is the lighter weight of the blank (the foam core) and the higher quality of the carbon Innegra. It feels more durable to the touch, and also does a good job of deflecting light rock abrasions...this is a surf board after all, and not a roto-mold play boat - if you hit a rock hard enough it will ding, just as any other composite surf board would. One great feature is the double layup on the tail. This increases stiffness in the finbox area. If you do hit a rock with glass fins in the board, your chances of breaking a fin box are not as great as in years past. The deck pad has new graphics, and is very comfortable. I like the stomp pad a lot as well - great traction. Last, the Lift SUP handle makes carrying the board a breeze, and makes it feel even lighter than it really is. Besides that, the shape is the same.
The 2016 Badfish River surfer is basically a lighter, stronger and better version of every other Badfish River Surfer ever made. It's every bit as good as the custom ones that Badfish makes in Salida USA.
The Carbon Innegra layup is durable, light and stiff. This is a perfect mix for a river oriented stand up paddle surfer. The double layup in the tail is pretty awesome - extra strong fin boxes!
This is a close up of the double layup. The majority of abuse takes place in the tail of the board - hitting rocks on the way out to the wave etc. Why not have a little more strength back there?
The deck / stomp pad on the River Surfer is great. It's got plenty of traction when surfing barefoot, and will last for years.
The Badfish River Surfer 6'11' has a FCS thruster fin setup. The double layup of carbon Innegra helps with fin box damage prevention...this is not a guarantee that you'll never blow out a fin box, but is some good insurance that it'll happen a lot less.
The overall shape of the River Surfer 6'11" has not changed, and that is a very good thing. The nose rocker is still there, loads of volume in the midsection and fat tail. It's hands down the best commercially built, river specific surf SUP every built.
Close up of the carbon Innegra, and FAT sidewall. It's nice to have confidence when paddling out onto a wave. The volume in the mid section allows the board to hover over funky eddies, and also plane out on slower river waves.
The blunt nose did not change for 16- the short rockered nose makes it easy to surf small and mid sized river waves with a steeper face...SHOULD I GET THE RIVER SURFER OR THE COBRA? WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE? The Badfish River Surfer and Cobra 6'6" look somewhat similar side by side. The Cobra is shorter, wider, and lacks the crisp and edgy feel of the 6'11". What it lacks in edge, it gains in loose and slarvy spin-ability. It is also a lot easier to paddle over boily eddies and strange river currents because of the increased width / primary stability, and dulled down rail. Overall, if you like to carve on green wave faces, and are looking for maximum board speed, the River Surfer is your board. If you are just getting into the world of non inflatable river surfing, and want an amazing intro board to carry you all the way to clean 360's, you may want to take a serious look at the Cobra. They are different boards and both belong in your garage if you surf a lot... HOW DOES THE 2016 BADFISH RIVER SURFER DO AT SURFING SMALL, MEDIUM AND BIG WAVES? The 2016 Badfish River Surfer is in it's wheel house on medium sized features (Scout Wave in Salida, Staircase Wave in Buena Vista, etc). This is good news because it is the size wave that most people actually surf. Yes, there are the lucky few (Claire Chappel, Matt Ross and Brittany Parker) who live in Glenwood Springs and can surf a 22,000 cfs monster for a few weeks a year, but the rest of us will have to settle for our mid sized waves and wave holes. Smaller waves are still fun on a river surfer, but that is really what the Cobra was built for. The River Surfer 6'11" is the most at home on mid sized waves that have a green face, and some pile carve against. Larger features can be tons of fun on a River Surfer, but sometimes the board can feel a little bit small when paddling onto the wave. If you've got the skills, you can shred on huge features like Glenwood and Big Sur - it's just more work getting out to the sweet spot...check out this video of Zack Hughes (Badfish Co-owner) obliterating G-Wave at high water. Zack's got skills to pay the bills, and then some... New River Surfing Trick-Zack Frontside 360 from Badfish SUP on Vimeo.
Having fun on mid sized river features like the Staircase Wave are where it's at for the River Surfer. It'll carve back and forth all day long...HOW DOES THE BADFISH RIVER SURFER 6'11" DO PADDLING DOWNRIVER The Badfish River Surfer 6'11" does as well downriver as a pair of Super-G race ski's would do on a pow day up on Teton Pass....it'll get the job done, but certainly is not the right tool for the job. The river surfer will do an OK job at paddling over tough cross currents, but really is not designed for downriver paddling...no shocker there.
The additional thickness of a river specific surf shape like the Badfish River Surfer will help you get over tougher eddy lines...CONCLUSION - WHO IS THE 2016 BADFISH RIVER SURFER DESIGNED FOR? The 2016 Badfish River Surfer 6'11" is the best river surfing board that Badfish has ever designed. If you have an older model Badfish, and love the shape, yet would like a little more performance, you need this years board. The lighter weight makes a huge difference in the surf - this board is quicker and more fun, yet still easy to surf. If you have ever dreamed about ordering a custom hand shaped river surfer from Badfish, look no further - this board is on that performance level. If your new to river surfing, this board will still be a lot of fun - it just takes a little while to get the edges figured out. This is the reason that Badfish designed the Cobra. It's a more stable, less edgy version of the River Surfer 6'11". Ovearll, if you are a person who likes to stand on river waves - you 100% have to try this years River Surfer, I was blown away in terms of how fun a stock Badfish could be.