Over time, while we all have access to the quiver of demo boards here at Grain, each one of our crew tends towards one shape or another, at least for those everyday type of waves. We’ve asked each one here to tell us which is their favorite board and why. So as part of a series we like to call “Our Favorite Boards”, here’s a little insight into Nolan’s favorite shape.
“Often, the question is asked, “So, what’s your favorite board?” For a few years now I’ve been able to respond without pause or doubt, “the Waka.”
Everyone I’ve surfed with knows my affinity for short, wide twin-fins. Perhaps it started back in high school with the first new board I ever bought, a blue 6’0 fish made by then local shaper Shane Smith. I still have that board, with all its repairs and memories, but another fish has stolen my heart—she’s only 5’4”.
As much as I want to expand my riding experiences by trying lots of shapes and sizes, most sessions I really just want to be on the Waka. In waist high to overhead, the surprising paddle-ability, the insane speed, and skate-y feel make her my “go-to”. There are two kinds of rides, though, that really confirm my love of the Waka. They’re not on the dreamy set-ups of magazine spreads, but waves I’ve ridden before, after, and between work at local breaks. I don’t mean to downplay how fortunate I am to surf on workdays, only to highlight the normality of these waves and how perfectly suited the Waka is to them.
No. 1: Taking off deep on the wave that looks like it’s going to close-out, but instead reels down the line. On most boards I wouldn’t make it far, but if I get right to my feet on the Waka I can make sections that I never thought possible—it’s SO FAST! Pumping down the line, the board springs up under my feet as soon as I lift my weight off, generating speed everytime.
No.2: A nice peaky wave with a tapering shoulder. This wave doesn’t break too fast so there’s time for some big turns—spanning the entire height of the wave—using the energy from each drop to propel all the way to the crest of the wave. As the wave opens up, I gain a bit more speed down the line and lay into a big roundhouse, pushing hard into my back foot. I love the sound and spray as the swallow tail tears through the water.”
You can catch Nolan and the 5’4″ Waka together somewhere between New Hampshire and Downeast Maine just about anytime there are waves. The good news is Nolan will be happy to trade boards for a couple of waves so you can see for yourself. Plus, we can arrange demos here and in the LA area of the Waka or other Favorite Boards.
The Waka was one of our earliest shapes and has continued to be one of the most popular models we have. It comes in two sizes.
5’4″ x 20.5″ x 2.5″
5’10″ x 21.5″ x 2.75″