Friday, 29 March 2013

The Joker

A review by Jon Price of the Joker… which he liked so much he bought off me… no matter how hard i tried to get him to have a custom he wanted what he had ridden and enjoyed, so eventually i succumbed. Here is what he thinks.

“I am without doubt a surfboard monogamist. I truly believe that a surfer’s boards should evolve from one to the next, that the shape of a new ‘stick’ should be based around the characteristics that were liked and disliked on the last one, i.e. “I love the way this board paddles but I want it to turn harder”. Having evolved through a series of boards over a few years, I felt as though I had found exactly what I wanted and I’d stuck with it. However, that was seven years ago. I was married and happily so. Until Tim came along.

The Joker was Tim’s first longboard. With any shaper this would cause me concern. With Tim I needn’t have worried. I’ve only ever met one other shaper with the same obvious understanding of surfboard dynamics and believe me with nearly two decades experience in the surf industry, I’ve talked to a lot of well-known shapers. Unlike many who seem intent on surrounding their art with mysticism, Tim explains things in a way that is logical, straight forward and makes sense; the guy obviously knows his stuff. He is also a friend of mine and that meant I was open to persuasion, a lot of persuasion. Maybe it was time to try something new.

On one of those fun, clean, chest-high beach break days, I finally gave in; I started my affair. At first I didn’t like it. I was so used to my board that I got frustrated rather than patiently adapting my technique to suit a board that paddled differently, was more responsive and was just......... different. I gave up, claiming my old board back after a few waves. Glad to be back on the board I knew and trusted.

A week later, more ear-bending from Tim and I gave The Joker another try. This time something clicked. I dropped, bottom-turned and cross-stepped to the nose. I couldn’t believe how stable this board was for nose riding! Tim will tell you it’s to do with the way the nose flexes as you stand on it. I didn’t care. I just know I liked it, I liked it a lot. A slower section, I walked back to the tail, made a couple of turns to build up speed and ‘wack’, hit the lip on the close-out. Man, where did that come from? Tim didn’t say a word as I paddled back out, my smile was enough. This time it was a little harder for him to get his board back.

I have to say it has taken me a while to get used to The Joker, to feel as though I’m getting to know it in that ‘one’ way I have with my other board. And, unsurprisingly, at times I go back to my ‘wife’ of seven years. On occasion I find The Joker, with its continuous rocker, a little awkward to paddle and that’s something I’ll ask Tim to address on the next evolution; when I start my next affair. The thing about the Joker is, I’ve never spent so much time on the nose. This board nose rides so easily! What really gets me though is that it turns hard as well. I find it hard to comprehend that combination; a longboard that nose rides and turns well. How do you make a board like that? I guess you’d better ask Tim. I’m just glad he isn’t a marriage counsellor.

Jon Price, Big Blue


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