I really liked this Devon Howard video, but not for the usual reasons. I love watching Howard surf. His edits from the release of the new Channel Islands CI Mid model are some of my favorites of the year. This clip, the latest entry in Surfer’s excellent Shed Session series, sees Howard taking out a Transition Era G&S Skip Frye V Bottom at some of California’s standout breaks.
The clip, which was filmed and directed by Alex Kilauano, was an entertaining watch and is definitely worth your time. But don’t go expecting the relaxed ripping that has been the hallmark of Howard’s recent edits.
It’s odd to see Howard, whose style always looks so effortless, struggle to get acquainted with the Skip V Bottom. I’m no expert when it comes to the actual performance of surfboards. But one gets the sense that the V bottom design is a somewhat limited shape.
Skip, for his part, is hilariously unimpressed with the board. I love his unpretentious attitude. When presented with the board, Skip makes it clear that he’s not particularly excited by it from a performance standpoint in a way that is both plainspoken and friendly.
It’s also fascinating to see Howard shift his surfing and his choice of waves — moving the locale from Trestles to Malibu — to better suit the board. At Trestles, Howard can’t ever seem to make the board does what he wants. At Malibu, Howard surfs the v bottom like a displacement hull, eschewing turns for trim. The contrasting styles give a great sense of the board’s capabilities, as well as its limitations.
This edit didn’t have the searing turns and smooth flow I’ve come to expect from Howard releases, but I didn’t mind in the slightest. I really enjoyed seeing Howard explore the various performance aspects of a notable board. For all the history behind these shapes, they’re ultimately tools that enable wave riding, and seeing a collectible board getting put to the test will always be a worthwhile exercise.