I'm a board geek, so I grope a lot of boards. And I try to ride as many different shapes, from as many different shapers, as I can.
I think CI boards are all well designed, properly shaped, and expertly glassed. There's a reason why he's the most successful and most influential modern day, current shaper. And to say he's not a shaper, is a mistake. He's earned the right to have his designs CNC'd.
But he don't help me surf.
1979-New Image Surf Shop,Bobo, I bought a 6'8" swallowtail Channel Islands Tri-Plane Hull single fin shaped by Al Merrick with polished gloss light blue resin tint by Moonlight Glassing in their first year,followed by a 6'10" double wing pintail with a wavy rainbow stripe from nose to tail,then the best was a 6'2" pro shapes designed by Davey Smith,also incredible glass/color i can't possibly describe.these single fins were the best you could get,and no one knew Al Merrick.fast forward to the Sashimi deep six channel bottom,Flyer,Flyer II and then full circle the one retro board of any quality the Merrick Machado SFG 2, second generation single fin,i must be old,this hot stick takes me back to my childhood.i think i know my CI's,dudes,i was there the whole way,he is the best,but he ain't a fish,mini-mal or longboard shaper.never was.