My favorite midlength surfboard - the JS Big Baron

Summer is finally nearing its end and fall is right around the corner which means tropical hurricanes could finally start delivering proper swells to the east coast of the US. Usually, this means pumping tubes for Labor Day weekend (fingers crossed!). On that note, I’m getting my quiver ready for those kinds of waves and unless you are a fairly advanced surfer, riding a standard shortboard in heavy tubing beach break waves can be fairly challenging. Even my friends that grew up surfing in Hawaii will often step up to ride larger craft. I’ll ride my shortboard when the waves are rippable (my normal shortboard is a 5.7 Sharpeye Inferno 72 with 26 liters), but when there are tons of current, steep drops, and cold water, I like to ride more volume and get in early. Enter the best combination of paddle power and maneuverability I’ve found to date: the JS Big Baron:

The version I’m holding there is the 6’8” version and I’ve ridden it in everything from 1 ft waves to much much larger. That photo is actually from two years ago when I spent a few months on the Northshore of Oahu and on that day, almost every spot was maxed out except just a few. I’m on the 6’8” Big Baron meanwhile my buddy Aaron is on a proper 9’6” big wave gun. Surprisingly, the Baron held it’s own in those kinds of waves. 

The thing that surprised me the most about the board however is how it performs and turns even in smaller waves. The first time I took it out was maybe a shoulder high day, kind of fat, and I remember how weird it felt to sit on the board. It’s so wide with such a fat nose that you think it’s going to sit in the water like a boat, but it’s so thin and the rails are so low it’s actually not very stable at all to sit on. The width combined with the low rocker gives it incredible paddle power but because the rails and the board in general is so thin it’s very easy to tip it on rail so I had so much speed and maneuverability going into my turn that I was totally taken off guard by how much speed I had through my turns.

Watch Harrison Roach riding it and Wooly TV’s review of it and you’ll see just how maneuverable and fast this board is. Compare how they surf on this board vs other boards and you’ll see the difference. I’ve tried many other mid lengths like the Christenson Nautilus even a stretched out Album Twinsman, and they don’t come close from my experience.

Unfortunately, I snapped my 6’8” tucking into a barrel at low tide, but I just ordered a new one! Going to try it in the 6’4” size for some additional maneuverability. 

What’s your favorite surfboard? Would love to hear from you!

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