Surf Bunkers recent travels took me to the land of the long white cloud. A land I’m privileged to know fairly well having lived there on and off for 7 years!! It had been 7 years since my return to said lands.
My time spent in New Zealand had always revolved around the winter seasons during my time as a snowboarder. I’d not had many opportunities to explore the coast, which is peppered with amazing beaches, points and reefs…a surfers dream. Coupled with the fact that even in the offseason, the swell consistency boasts a high 92%!!!
On this trip, I was joined by one of my closest and dearest friends, Julia Ochs, who just so happens to be an incredibly talented photographer. The trip was all rather last minute and when Julia mentioned a possible trip, NZ was top of the list.
Whilst preparing for our trip, the chief dictator at Surf Bunker magazine mentioned that he’d come across a surfboard shaper by the name of Jay Jackman, founder, owner and shaper of Sadhana Surfboards, located in Christchurch. Originally from Australia and after travelling the scattered lands of Europe, Jay made the move to the South Island. This is where he set up shop and followed his passion of surfboard design and custom shaping.
Every board is lovingly hand shaped from start to finish! This is original old school, no fancy computer cutting process, pure custom made, from start to finish. Check out the original interview here.
Since we were passing through, it would’ve been rude not to call in and say hello. Jim introduced us through the power of the world wide web. Once the ball was rolling, I totally hadn’t expected the kind of welcome we were to receive…which was mainly surprise I think, mixed with wonder and happiness that we came through with what we said we would do. I’m not sure Jay was fully convinced of us actually turning up at all!! Even when we did arrive, I think the folks at Sadhana were maybe a little shell-shocked by the randomness of it all.
That said, as the trip came to fruition, Jay had happily communicated with me and to my utter delight and totally unexpected surprise, had offered for me to pick 2 boards of my choosing to take for a spin on the open seas. I thought it would be a couple of old boards he had kicking around in his shop. This was not the case, in fact, after asking me to check out his website and choose my desired favourites, he went ahead and shaped up a couple of stunning sticks. He made a beautiful 5’7 single fin for our arrival! The board, named The Schooner, was literally sanded the morning we arrived!! He also had a fresh 5’6 Superblob off the rack, which I fell in love with instantly. He very kindly let us take both boards for over 2 weeks of road testing!…and trust me, we went ahead and did just that.
I had a couple of my own boards with me, but let’s put it this way, they hardly came out of the bag!!! The boards Jay had lent me were things of absolute beauty, especially The Superblob, I didn’t want to give the board back!!
Without further ado, let me proudly introduce to you……
L: 5’7” W: 21 1/2” T: 2 1/2” Vol: 33.2L Con: Epoxy Matt Finish
Designed for small/tiny mellow surf (and a little bit more I’d say)
So I’m not going to get super tech, because I’m just a mere mortal when it comes to the science of board design and how they actually work. I get the basics, so I’ll keep it basic.
I rode this on varying kinds of waves and breaks, from classic beachies(alongside some local sharks and sea-lions, not even kidding!!), a couple of reef and points and it worked well in all of them. Wave height ranged from shin high to even braving it on a solid 4ft+ day.
This was my go-to board!! I couldn’t get enough of it, so much fun!! It’s apparently based on the South Island Fish they make….but don’t be fooled, there’s not much fishiness feel when you get riding this thing.
I’ve got a couple of boards of this ilk in my quiver and this blew them all out of the water. With it’s wider outline in the nose and the flatter rocker, this thing is quick off the mark! It’s a little flatter than I’ve ridden, which caught me out at the start when some waves bowled up, but once I’d figured that out, no worries.
The width up front also made it super stable and helped me land tricks off the lip to the bottom with ease, once landed, I could power up and fly into the next section effortlessly.
The tail end is all business with a touch of skatey fun. The rails and tail are way more performance orientated than so-called modern fish type boards I’ve ridden. I have the 5’4” Fling, made by Super and compared to that, the Superblob has more refined rails with way more hold than the fuller rails you get in this type of board. The first turn and run I got fully took me by surprise!! With wider tails, sometimes it’s hard to get the tail dug in and holding, which give’s it that above the water skatey feel. With this design though, you get the release, but also the trust that it’ll hold when you want to draw out a line. The added volume displacement also meant it didn’t slow up in the mushy sections.
I’ve not ridden many epoxy boards, but boy do they fly and glide! Perfect for this kind of small wave board and no way near as slappy as I thought it would be. Next time I buy a small wave board, I’ll strongly consider this construction.
I was stoked it had the 5 fin boxes, I love a quad for speed and drive. Then I had a really flat wave face day and couldn’t trust it so much to pivot or hold when I needed to get rail to rail, so I ran in and changed up to a thruster and I was set.
The graphics are wicked awesome too, right up my street and I love a matte finish. I often got stopped by fellow surfers to admire the shape and look of this board. I really didn’t want to give it back.
L: 5’8” W:19 3’4” T: 2 1/2
Fast, agile slashing weapon…if you know how!
Up till this trips, I’d had nearly zero experience with a single fin and this thing changed my life!! Since then I’ve been on a few different single fins and on the hunt to make one myself.
I’ll be honest, it took some getting used to and I didn’t give it the time it deserved. Partly because of the waves on offer and the board is a more performance style single fin, which for my first go was maybe a little tricky…add to that it was a tad on the small size, especially for my second outing at Murderous Bay, which is a long right-handed point break and on that particular day it was firing big overhead sets.
The board is quick, like really quick! It felt super lively underfoot and I was happy it had the channels in the bottom contours for that extra hold. I’m used to that extra pumping ability you have from a quad or thruster set up.
On my first ride, I dropped into my bottom turn, placed my back foot over the fin and that thing just carved me vertically back up the face and shot me right out the top!! I was not expecting that at all and found myself screaming with delight!
Given time, I know this board would be ace on an open face where you can set a line and plan 2 moves ahead. It had serious turning capabilities and some serious hold, even for its size. Since I felt a little out of control on the bigger days to lay down carves and turns(no fault of the board mind, totally my lack of single fin skills), I’d set the line in the pocket and that thing held a treat and fired on down the line.
For the fin, Jay hand shapes them himself and they are a thing of beauty in themselves. I put in the slightly bigger fin for extra hold and wasn’t disappointed, my lack of expertise needed all the help I could get.
It’s a unique board for sure and I think if you have room for a bonus board in your quiver, go get one.
I can’t thank the folks at Sadhana enough for entrusting us with two of their finest water sleds. Especially as we were traveling in a tiny campervan stuffed to the roof with gear where the boards were going to take some beatings. If you’ve lived in a small van, you’ll know what I mean. After a while living in such a tight place with boards, their bound to get dinged up. That said, these boards are solid as!!! I was proper surprised how well they held up and I think they only suffered one slight ding (sorry Jay) on the two and a bit weeks they were in our possession! It just goes to show how well crafted they are to handle that kind of living situation. I know for a fact, and this is from experience, that a lot of factory made boards have taken less beatings and come out looking a ton load worse than these beautifully made boards. I strongly believe these boards are top quality that will stand the test of time.
Also, what I find really cool is that they have a wicked range of test boards you can take out for a trial. Starting from as little as 45 kiwi dollars a day. These are the real deal, boards hand shaped by the guys at the shop, so you can know before you buy.
If ever you find your self on the South Island of New Zealand, you’ll find the Sadhana shop in a very unexpected area in Christchurch. It’s not on the beach and you really have to search them out to check out what they have on offer….believe me, make the trip, you won’t be disappointed.
Cheers again to everyone at Sadhana and till next time.
Editors Note: All Pics are by the great Julia Ochs. To find out more about her check out a chat we had with her here.