Whilst this is a matter of opinion, a lot of people will agree that Channel Islands Surfboards really have a lot of appeal to the average surfer. Al Merrick has come up with some awesome stuff. Short boards like the Fred Rubble and The Proton are fine examples of his work.
The Biscuit was voted the best board in 2008 and the company has just kept on growing from there. They have designed boards for pro surfers as well as for the average Sunday surfer, so you could say that there is something for everyone.
I caught an update a while back on ESPN  of a lawsuit being filed again CI surfboards, which was a massive surprise. Tom Gregg claims that he lost all his nerve movement when one of their boards did him some damage. Apparently the fin came crashing into his leg. It sounds kind of fishy to me – an ugly way of cashing in. Don’t you think this can happen with any board?
So, what makes a surfboard company stand out? Is it the shaper? Is it the marketing of the company? There are a lot of surfboard shapers starting out, hoping to make it big, but this doesn’t happen most of the time. Al Merrick is one of those guys who hit the big time and surfers like Kelly Slater and Dane Reynolds will tell you that it’s not just marketing. Anyone can do that.
Channel Islands boards and Al Merrick
It all began in Santa Barbara in 1969 when Al Merrick decided that he was going to do what he loved most. This is one of the oldest companies that exists and the genius behind it is known throughout surfing circles.
Kelly Slater is on the team of designers, helping the company to go further all the time. With pro riders giving their input like this, the company is able to fulfil the requirements of the average surfer. At the end of the day, everyone is happy.
Once you have been surfing for a while, you may want to think of upgrading your boards. Channel Islands surfboards have boards designed by a lot of guys, taking them to the next level. You will start to see the difference once you take the next step. However, it is important only to think about this once you have some experience, otherwise you are going to get frustrated. Some of these boards are super fast.
Another example is that of the the Dumpster Diver, which was designed with the help of Dane Reynolds . Well, Dane gave a lot of input into this one as well. If you look at and CI review, you will usually find that it has been voted as the best board at some point.
The Proton was voted tops in 2009, and although that was a while back, this is still very popular. If you are advanced and looking for something to take you up a notch, then this may be something to get you there.
It’s basically a deep single concave with a continuous rocker. The rails are full. You will get a good session with waves that are waist high as well as those that are head high. With Channel Islands, you can order your boards to your liking and depending on the wave you are most likely to be surfing in, so anything bigger and you would need it to be adapted slightly. Another option is the Proton Step because that is going to handle the bigger stuff.
Channel Islands – Fred Rubble Model
I'm going to focus on the Rubble an another sweet example, which may just get your wheels turning.
Merrick has said that the main ambition behind Channel Islands Surfboards is to find a design which the world's elite surfers are after. This means that attention must be paid to performance in the most advanced way. This is the absolute passion of Al Merrick and the team behind Channel Islands.
While Kelly Slater is the name that is synonymous with Channel Islands Surfboards, it is the name of one Connor Coffin who is connected with the Channel Islands surfboard model known as the Fred Rubble. A homeboy of Santa Barbara like Merrick, at the tender age of 19, Coffin is a rising star in pro surfing, having worked his way up through the ranks of the ASP Junior Pro contests with significant wins. Embarking on his shaping career, he works for CI and the Fred Rubble is his baby.
It’s hard to say where the name “Fred Rubble” came from, but you have to admit, it’s catchy and fun (it’s a play on the Flintstones cartoon, blending the names of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble). As a marketing device it’s creative and whimsical, perhaps designed to appeal to the kid in anyone. An entertaining video promo for the board features a cartoon take of Barney Rubble playing drums in a Beatnik motif with clips of Coffin shredding on his Fred Rubble. But that’s beside the point.
Conor Coffin describes the board as something different from his previous boards. He describes how it has a wider outline and compared to various models in the Channel Islands line, such as the Proton, it is a lot shorter. People will find that this board is perfect for waves waist high to those just over the head. If you think about it, there is quite a difference in that sort of wave height which means there is quite a lot of variation.
The squash tail and the single to double concave bottom features are aspects that many people love about this board. It is designed with width to enable you to glide over flat parts, but it will still give you a kick when turning in the pocket. Usually you would choose a Rubble that is shorter than the board you normally ride.
How Kelly Slater describes the Fred Rubble
In an interview Kelly Slater was on a high speaking about his Rubble. He digs the way it is easy manoeuvre over small waves as well as those that have a little size to them. Slater has his tail pulled in to help him an extra notch with his turn. He also says that he feels there is more of a spring to the board than he gets from any other of his boards.