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Stayin' Classy in San Diego
Sorry to post about surfing and surfboards, my bad, but I figured I’d write up a real ride report on the MegaMind. Something a little more detailed than “Fast FAST FFFFFFAAAAAASSSSTTT”. It’s been pretty much all I’ve been riding the last couple of weeks. We’ve had a pretty good “flat” spell out here, so I guess I picked it up at just the right time. I’ve tried it on a reef, a point and couple of different beach breaks with a couple of different fin sets and had it out 5, maybe 6 days a week for the last 30+ odd days. It went from a pristine looking, 3rd hand board without a single heely, to having some fairly noticeable deck pounds with a spider web on the rail from a knee. Need to sand that out and put a thin gloss layer on it. Still water tight though where any other board would have been out of commission with a shattered rail. Coil: takes a kickin, keeps on tickin.
First off, it’s not a longboard replacement. A longboard can catch some really mushy waves, the Megamind seems to work best in beach-break, shore-pound with a little punch. One of the biggest reasons I wanted one was because I went from living a mile away from a reef break to living 2 miles away from a beach break. It can get the mushburgers, but it’s not great on them. It seems to excel on small, steep, open faced waves with a little room to run. The few chest high/HH + (yeah, like I said “flat” spell, just gotta know where to go ; ) waves I’ve had it on, I thought it had a tendency to slip down the face. I was running some pretty small fins in it though. You can fit a lot of fun into a little wave on this thing, more cutbacks and turns than I ever thought possible on a 2 footer. It’s also very weird on take offs, it definitely favors a no-paddle approach. If I have to chase after a wave, I have to really crank it and get going. It’s not that it’s a slow paddler, it’s actually quite fast. But, much like a longoboard you have to have some time to overcome the inertia, I think it’s because it’s so wide; but a stroke or two, then pop into some shore pound slop is magic. You also really have to be in just the right spot on the wave to get into ‘em on this thing. It definitely favors the late drop. Pop up too early and it seems like there’s not enough tail to push you along and help get you going. A later, steeper drop lets you cheat and let gravity help get you up to speed. Once you get it dialed in though you can catch a lot of waves on this board.
It’s also one of the most unforgiving boards I’ve ever ridden. The guy I bought it off likes the Vons Sol Flying Mantis better. The guy he bought it off of, a good surfer up in Washington State said, “I really struggled with it to be honest. Gave it about a dozen long sessions but it wasn’t magic for me.” He found it too corky and difficult to turn. Dude’s about 6’3, 175# and I have a stone and a half on him, so that was probably a big part of it. This bowl of porridge is just right for ol Goldilocks. It absolutely requires speed, but it gives you no real help in generating it. It is 100% dependent on rider input like no other board I’ve ever ridden. Foot placement slightly off on take-off, you’re going to know, it’s pretty squirrely. Not carving as soon as you drop in or keeping it on the rail on every turn, stall. Don’t carry through a turn or cutback and into the next one and hit a soft section, BAM, speed gone. By the end of a session, when I’m starting to get tired, the MegaMind becomes a struggle to surf gracefully. But man, when you’re fresh in the water, are on point with your surfing and you’ve got it dialed in, it’s great and it is “Fast FAST FFFFFFAAAAAASSSSTTT.” If you have enough speed, it turns on a dime. I’m looking forward to trying it on some decent waves with a set of med/large template fins that have a lot of drive.
The best thing about owning it in my opinion is that it’s kept my short-boarding maneuvers and muscle memory fresh. Typically we have a couple of days, maybe a week of longboard waves until we get a break and get a decent swell and I pull out a shortboard again. Because this is such a common, every week or so thing out here, I usually don’t have a problem going from one style of surfing to the other. This flat spell was a little longer than normal, something like 4-6 weeks; but this time was different, I hadn’t ridden a longboard the whole time. I took my 9’2” out for the first time yesterday since I bought the MM, just for a change of pace (and also cause I’d finally gotten around to fixing a bunch of dings the day before). I was really shocked. It took me a couple of waves to switch over into, cross-stepping, turning off the tail and not dropping into the flats mode. The whole, "I'm scared I might forget how to noseride” crack hit a little close to home.
Anyway, if you’re a beginner looking for an uber-groveler to help you get better on a HPSB, I don’t think that this is the golden ticket. In fact, I’m seeing more Megaminds being sold used as the hype wears off and people find out that they’re not an easy board to ride, “it just didn’t click.” However, if you’re a decent surfer looking for a board that will challenge you in less than challenging surf, I’d say it’s a blast.