There are six shortboards in my Costa Rican collection. They live in a secret bodega, not far from some really fun surf breaks. I was able to get four of them in the water during my most recent trip. Looking back, it's pretty clear which boards I prefer to ride the most. Honestly, I try to live in the moment when I choose a board for a surf session, visualizing which one I'd feel the most stoked to ride, in the conditions I happen to be looking at... and I do like to look at things for a while.
Intermediate CR Quiver Advice
For me, the goal is to have at least three boards in the bodega - until recently, I had one fish and two high performance shortboards. But a couple of them are getting old, so that's why I've introduced some new epoxy shapes into the mix this year. Once I can find some replacements for the older boards, it'll be time to pass them on to the next person. Until then, I'll ride 'em as they yellow. But it took a while to figure out what I like to ride at the places I like to travel. Ideally, you'll want a board that can handle both the smallest and the largest waves you're willing to surf, specific to the location you're headed. I don't need any help catching waves in Costa Rica, the waves are of high quality. So I want boards that are designed to harness and control a lot of energy... which is in opposition to the theories and concepts that go into boards made for the east coast, where the wave energy levels can be extremely low.
Boards I Like to Ride at the Places I Like to Surf
There are a few spots that I surf a lot when I visit Costa Rica. Some of them are well-known with online reports and cameras, others are more off-the-beaten-path. The local breaks where I stay typically have challenging conditions, year-round, while taking direct hits from large swell originating in the southern hemisphere. I will usually drive a little bit north to Playa Avellanas when I need some protection. I ride a specific type of board down there, shorter and leaner than home on the east coast. I'm also surfing in just a pair of trunks, without any winter rubber constriction. So after spending eight weeks surfing in and around the Tamarindo - Avellanas - Nosara areas of Guanacaste the past year, I'm going to attempt to rank my bodega boards by preference below. Maybe looking at what I ride in CR can help you dial in your travel quiver. If you're east coast, try leaving the foam at home. For reference, I'm 49 years old, 6'3, 195 pounds, with advanced experience and intermediate skill. I like shortboards in the 6'2 - 6'4 range, mostly. I don't judge boards by liters, but all of these shortboards range between 37-40L.
#1 Lost V3 Round It 6'1 x 21 x 2.75 Works as a one board quiver in everything from punchy shore pound to soft river mouths and points. Fits into all shapes of waves that I'm willing to surf. Best in waist to head high waves, when there's a lot of closeouts heaving on the beach. The Round It catches waves early, and goes really fast... in a manner most groveler's would envy. This board was originally a custom order for someone else, I'm the second owner. It's on the shorter/wider/thicker side, with a double-wing round tail and a decent amount of kick out the back. I keep bringing brand new boards down here to replace it... but for all the money spent experimenting, the V3 Round It is still my go-to surfboard in Costa Rica. My favorite fin setup by far is the large glass thruster set from Mayhem, or FCS Carver thrusters/quads for more hold.
STATS LAST 12 MONTHS: Total Waves - 141, Total Sessions - 14, Top Session - January 26, 2022
#2 Lost Baby Buggy Round 6'4 x 20.5 x 2.63 Also works as a one board quiver, well-rounded and handles a variety of conditions from crap to good. Fits into all shapes of waves that I'm willing to surf. Best when the waves have more shape to them, in the shoulder to a couple feet overhead range. The Baby Buggy Round is a really fun ride when the waves get good. I like how it catches waves and can set a line on the more vertical take-offs. It's like a missile up front, and a skateboard in the back. It proved to be a great replacement for a 6'3 x 19.75 Lost V2 Shortboard I had outgrown in age and skill. I'm stoked on this Taj Burrow Baby Buggy shape. We've shared some memorable moments in Costa Rica. This board is shaped to be a thruster, my favorite fins are the FCS Performers and FCS Carvers, but your favorite set will work fine. STATS LAST 12 MONTHS: Total Waves - 39, Total Sessions - 5, Top Session - April 25, 2022
#3 VEC Crowd Control 6'2 x 21.5 x 2.63 High performance fish. Works in mild to less critical conditions, but can certainly hold its own in bigger, rounder surf. Fits into slopey, mushy waves and feels nice carving and connecting sections. Best for those roly-poly beach breaks, but also excels in racy surf because it's got a lot of grip to make big turns at high speeds. The Crowd Control is one of my favorite boards to ride in Costa Rica. It's got a lot of foam up front and catches waves really easy. It's also got more of a performance tail and less of a wide fish tail. I love the way it carves. I've had it out in gigantic river mouth surf at Avellanas, and chunky beach break in Playa Guiones. One time I was out in overhead, pounding beach break, at a local spot, during the rainy season... and it helped me survive a few death pits with my life still intact, hahaha. Waist to overhead Guiones? Yes. Heaving overhead Playa Negra? No. This board works great at home in New England as well. The Dawn Patrol App stats don't do this board justice, mainly because I lost the watch in rough surf, and missed out on about a half dozen sessions. My favorite fin setups are the MR Twins+1, the Machado Tri Keels, and the large size FCS FireWire series thruster fins. I never got a chance to try it with the AU Kilo Twins. But maybe next time. STATS LAST 12 MONTHS: Total Waves - 43 , Total Sessions - 7, Top Session - January 24, 2022
#4 FireWire Dominator 2.0 6'2 x 20.75 x 2.63 Works in everything from punchy shore pound to soft river mouths and points. Fits into all shapes of waves that I'm willing to surf. Best in waist to head high waves that offer up a lot of performance. My first experiment with an epoxy shortboard. The Dominator 2.0 is made using FireWire's Helium Construction. I've had about a half dozen sessions on this Dan Mann shape and it is, in fact, a solid surf craft (I missed almost all of this board's sessions due to a lost watch in January). It catches waves well, and it turns really nice. What stands out the most is how responsive it feels under foot. I've ridden it as a thruster with FCS Performers, or as a quad with FCS Carvers, but I'm still experimenting. The Dominator ranks lower on my list probably because it's a newer board and I've got less experience on it. Right now I'm feeling like my PU/Poly Baby Buggy Round just works and feels better... and since they're both the type of board that I'd ride in similar wave conditions, I bump the Dominator 2.0 down to second on the depth chart for now. Maybe I just need more time to adjust to the epoxy. Maybe I'll come around. Maybe I'll juts sell it for cash up in Tamarindo.
STATS LAST 12 MONTHS: Total Waves - 10 , Total Sessions - 1, Top Session - January 25, 2022
#5 FireWire Mashup 6'2 x 20.75 x 3 High performance fish. The Mashup is also made using Firewire's epoxy Helium Construction. The shape is a collaboration between Rob Machado and Dan Mann. I've only ridden it twice. So I'm ranking the Mashup low for now. I had two good sessions riding it in overhead surf... once at a punchy beach break, another at Avellanas river mouth. And while I've had fun riding it those two times, neither session was mind blowing or life changing by any measure. The Mashup has some pretty interesting things going on from a shape perspective. I was skeptical about 3 inches of thickness performing at a high level. And the overall "pill" shape of the 6'2 doesn't look too aesthetically pleasing to me. But the bottom contours, rails, and tail shape look like something NASA might do if they designed surfboards. The bottom line, this board really works, turns great, and feels very responsive. I was very surprised how well it performed on late drops and on more vertical take-off sections. But again, I had plenty of sessions to choose this board during my recent trip, yet I was STILL grabbing my PU/Poly boards instead. So it hasn't totally earned my stoke just yet. Maybe I'll come around. Or, maybe I'll juts sell it for cash up in Tamarindo along with the Dominator. I rode it both times with large size FCS FireWire series thruster fins, but it'd probably go good w/ the MR Twins+1. STATS LAST 12 MONTHS: Total Waves - 26 , Total Sessions - 2, Top Session - April 26, 2022
#6 Lost Round Up 6'3 x 20.25 x 2.75 Works when conditions are larger and I want to get in early. Fits into round waves when there's a lot more water moving. Best as a mini step-up from a typical tall-guy shortboard. A couple years back I was using the Round Up on the bigger days at the exposed breaks. It gave me a lot of confidence. It paddles amazing, goes fast, turns tight, and is a reliable shape for surfing more critical waves. I only rank it low because I don't use it as much anymore. I don't surf waves bigger than a few feet overhead, and I usually pass on the throating, pipeline-esque days when conditions are better suited for the local rippers. When the buoys are showing extra large size, and the wave periods are long, I opt to watch from the safety of the beach, haha. My Round Up was a custom shape for someone else. I'd sell it to the right person if I knew it would legitimately get ridden. It's a premium PU/Poly shape made for good waves, it's seen some amazing overhead days in Playa Marbella, and maxed out beach break in Ostional, Guiones, and Junquillal. But when I eventually get down to Pavones on an extra large day, I'll be grabbing the Round Up for sure. I ride it with FCS Performers, or as a quad with FCS Carvers, it's also super fun as a Twin+1 in smaller surf. Here's trip describing his board...
OK, I just got back last night, but I'll be posting a more detailed gallery of my recent trip to Costa Rica, once I get all of the pictures off of my phone... or you can just check out my instagram. Also, I returned to a small east swell at home, so that was a nice gift upon my arrival. And I think we have more on the way next week. I hope you're surfing where you are!
These guys are playing Paradise Rock Club in Boston on May 5th... should be a raucous occasion!