Hands On Channel Island Surfboard Review – Compare Each Board

channel island surfboards

Are you looking for some firsthand reviews of Channel Island Surfboards? Well look no further my friend! After reading this article you will be a Channel Islands Surfboard expert. You will know exactly which board is right for you.

As a reader of my blog, you’re likely familiar with the stories of my brother. However, today is different. Today we have real experience with the Channel islands boards that doesn’t 100% rely on my brother.

Unsure of which size surfboard is perfect for you? Check out my Guide to Surfboard Sizing.

Hands on Review of Channel Islands Surfboards

Channel Islands Sampler Board Review

Dimensions: 5’6” x 19 ⅜ x 2 ⅜ with 27.3 liters of volume

QualityQuality
PricePrice
Our RatingOur Rating
PROS
  • Super FAST
  • Great lift
  • Easy to get on rails
  • Tight turns
CONS
  • A little too wide for my liking

The first board we’re going to discuss is the Channel Islands Sampler board. The sampler is a small wave, custom, signature board by Dean Reynolds. It’s 5’6” x 19 ⅜ x 2 ⅜ with 27.3 liters of volume; As a reference, keep in mind, I’m 5’9” and 170 pounds. So let’s dive right into the attributes of this board, starting with the concave. We have a very aggressive single concave moving through the board into a very light double between the fins into a light V out the back. That’s going to give us great lift and drive. This board is super-fast. The light V out the back makes it easy to get on rails or rail transition, especially with it being a little bit on the wider side.

Let’s Get Right into the Rocker of This Board

It has a low entry rocker which is going to maximize paddle power and speed. It also has a stage rocker which will help me get through flat, mushy sections. In addition, the moderate tail rocker is going to help me do tight turns in the pocket and help me do quick Codi’s right in the hook. The rocker on this board, enhanced with the concave, is super quick. Now I want to talk about the outline. When I hold it on my arm it feels really good, but the nose is a standard shortboard nose instead of a big hybrid wide nose. I think that’s key when you’re doing turns in the pocket or Codi’s; it’s not going to grab. They also did a really good job with hiding the volume. It’s not a super flat deck and it’s not a super boxy rail. It feels normal to me, but it’s got tons of flotation in a little 5/6.

The other thing that’s unique about this board is the bump in the tail. It looks a bit like the New Flyer, and at times it feels like it. I feel the bump is not as extreme as the New Flyer, but I love the way that it likes to sit in the pocket. I also love the way it likes to drive through mushy, sloppy waves; it feels really good. The combination of the rocker, the concave, and the bump feels great. I really enjoy the board on all different types of waves, as you can see in the video.

Alright guys, the last thing I want to go over are the fins I chose. I got the AM 2 fins by Channel Islands which is the large fin. With the large fin I’m going to get a wide base for maximum drive. We’re going to get a good amount of rake for more drawn-out terms, and then we have a medium tip for release. The other thing that’s great about these fins is they have a medium flex pattern and they have a foam core, so they’re super light. All in all that’s my review on the sampler guys, I hope you enjoyed it ! We’ll see you in the water!

Channel Islands Biscuit Board Review

Dimensions: 5’6” x 20 x 2 ⅜ with 32.9 liters of volume

channel island biscuit review
QualityQuality
PricePrice
Our RatingOur Rating
channel island biscuit review
PROS
  • Great for carving and linking turns
  • Can surf this board very short
  • Works great in most waves up to 6′
  • Fun to surf and max out
CONS
  • Maxes out around 6′ waves
  • Gets a little squirty on more powerful waves

The Channel Islands Biscuit is a surfboard that I currently do not own, but have used for several summers. My brother actually won a Channel Islands Biscuit in a surfing contest near our neck of the woods. So, I’ve had some experience and feel confident in sharing my review.

Channel Island surfboards really don’t yellow that bad in general, and the Biscuit is still in really good condition. That’s saying a TON as my brother doesn’t typically keep things in the best condition. Normally I talk about surfboards as if I haven’t surfed them and that’s for this one reason; A challenge that all of us surfers face: deciding to buy a board before we’ve ever ridden it.

My Thoughts On The Channel Islands Biscuit Board

I try to discuss surfboards in a way that can help; especially with topics you may not know much about. I describe them and expand on my opinion as if I, too, was just looking at the board in a surf shop and never had the chance to ride it.

I do this so that you can go into surf shops and try to understand how a surfboard will work for you, personally before you buy it. I hope to help you make better buying decisions. I want to talk a little about concave daft boards. Maurice Cole in Australia, is known for making these very concave daft boards. They have such a concave that when you look at it you can see very deep in and very deep up.

The Tail of the Board

(IMAGE HERE)

When looking at the tail rocker of the biscuit, if I set the straight edge down, we can’t rock anything. There is no rocker through the tail of this board.

The tail of the board is straight on the bottom; it comes out like there are nose rockers. The nose rocker is mellow like all the other boards in similar product lines: boards like the blunt by Lost and the dork by Rusty. The blunt has more tail rocker than the biscuit. The biscuit doesn’t have any tail rocker. That tells us that this is going to be very good for carving and linking our turns.

Matt Boyd Olives talks about when he was making surfboards for Chloe and Dino. He would make boards that don’t have much tail rocker because it would force them to learn how to do turns and connect them. When you have a lot of tail rocker on the board, it’s good for flicking off the top, and good for turning in the pocket. Surfing a board like this really will help you connect your turns, focus on linking turns and carving it.

The tail of the surfboard rounded thumb elliptical tail means that when we’re doing turns we’re not really going to feel the end of our rail. It’s just going to flow for us. You can see that this is an elliptical outline, there’s not really any sort of a bump here. There’s just smooth curvature from the nose out through the tail of the board. A single concave slowly starts turning into a double concave.

There’s not a really aggressive double concave, nor a really aggressive single concave up here. I think that’s because of the volume. This much thickness gives you a lot of float and if you put too much of a concave under the board it becomes hard to control; also referred to as corgi.

If you catch the right angle, you can probably see the space in the double concave of this board. The double concave continues to work through the fins, coming into a V. The V in the tail helps to skip rail-to-rail and helps the board be a bit more drivy.

Look at the foil of the biscuit. We notice that there’s not a lot of thinning out happening towards the nose and the tail. This holds a really good amount of volume foam from center of the board blading out to the nose and out to the tail. This tells us that we can surf this board much shorter than we could on a normal or a standard short board.

The biscuit, obviously, will work in most any waves that you put it in under six or seven feet. I think that this board really shines as an option for when you max it out just slightly. This is because this board has such a deep, double concave in the back. You will feel it get squirty when you surf it on a powerful wave.

Rob Machado has surfed this board a lot in Indonesia. If you’ve ever seen the drifter, it has a very distinct feel under your back foot because of the bottom concaves of this board.

When you’re surfing this board, you feel the water kind of shooting through it; it’s a little out of control. The tail is kind of bouncing a little bit. It can be an incredibly fun board to surf, if you wanted an everyday surfboard from one foot to six feet, and if you want to experience that little bit of maxed out feeling. This happens when you surf a wave in strong conditions.

If you’ve ever surfed the biscuit, please give us a review of your experience in the comments below. If you’ve ever surfed a similar board, like the rusted warp, the lost blunt, or any other kind of a disc shape, please tell us about that board in the comments as well.

Channel Islands Peregrine Board Review

Dimensions: 5’9” x 18 ⅞ x 2 ¼, with 26.6 liters of volume

channel island peregrine review 0
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Our RatingOur Rating
channel island peregrine review 0
PROS
  • Very FAST built for SPEED
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Very Responsive
CONS
  • The channels in the bottom can pull

The Channel Islands Peregrine is a signature model, custom surfboard by Dane Reynolds. This board is 5’9” x 18 ⅞ x 2 ¼, liters of volume 26.6. Remember, I’m 5’9” and 170 lbs. I’m excited to talk about this board, the Peregrine. It’s the world’s fastest Falcon and this board was built for speed. Let’s talk about what makes this board so fast. If we look at the concave, there’s a single concave running throughout the entire bottom. This is also one of the few boards with channels. Not just channels, but four channels. What’s cool about these channels is they’re not carried all the way through the tail. They are only about an inch to an inch and a half short of the tail and then it gets flat.

I really felt like it was easy to slide. I wondered if any channels were going to make it hard for the board to slide, but the board was actually pretty easy to maneuver. So what do we get when we put the channels in the bottom of a board? We get a board with single concave that’s going to create lift and give me drive. The channels go deeper into the foam which creates more air and more drive; this board is really fast. With some waves, just making it through sections, I could really feel the speed of the board; it was very responsive.

There are other things that make a board fast. Let’s look at the rocker for a minute. The board we have has a moderate nose rocker and that comes into a staged rocker. Remember this is not continuous, so there’s a bit of a flat area. Then there’s a good amount of tail rocker. The tail rocker is the key on the standard short board. When you’re surfing a wave with some push or power and you want to come off the bottom and stay in the hook, you’ve got to have a good amount of tail rocker. This board felt great in all those areas.

The next thing that makes this board cool and unique is that Dane likes to use a flat deck, and the flat deck is going to be very sensitive to flexibility under your feet.

Additionally, when you have a flat deck, it’s going to carry the volume out to the rail. When you have that much volume on the rail you can go at least ⅛ inch thinner than your normal board. If your standard board is 2 ⅜, like mine, you can try 2 ¼.

Another great point is that it’s not a boxy rail, it’s a round rail. With the rail being round, I believe it’s going to be more forgiving and you’re going to be able to drive through your turns and transition quickly. It won’t be sticky on the face.

My Takeaway from the Peregrine Board

So those are the things that I feel like made this board very unique. It’s very fast, the channels are great, and the rails felt good. The last thing I want to cover is the fins. I chose the AM2; I’m surfing a lot of high tide surf and the AM2 has a great wide base. It has a good amount of rake with a narrow tip.

I’m going to get my speed from the circumference of the large fin, with a base and the rake. Then I’m going to get the release with the narrow tips. All in all, the Peregrine felt great, I absolutely love it. I have another review coming on the Peregrine that will be on a high performance small wave board. We’re going to do it shorter, wider and thicker.

Channel Islands Pod Mod Review

Dimensions: 5’4” x 20 x 2 3/8, with 28.5 liters of volume

channel island pod mod review
QualityQuality
PricePrice
Our RatingOur Rating
channel island pod mod review
PROS
  • Fast
  • Quick short turns
  • Works good in choppy surf
CONS
  • 5’4″ A little too buoyant for me

So the Channel Islands Pod Mod we used was a 5’2”, it’s 19 and 78 x 2 and 5/16 (26.5 liters of volume). I’ve also got the 5’4” and the 5’4” is 20 and 8, by two and 3/8, liters of volume 28.5, two liters difference between the two, two inches in length different.

I would think that I would originally choose the 5’ 4” and stay with it, it did feel good I rode it in all types of different sizes of surf. I rode it in choppy surf and it felt fine, but it was a little buoyant for me so I thought you know what maybe I should try the 5’ 2” and boy am I glad I did.

I want to talk about that for a minute. On the 5’ 2”, it’s 7 inches shorter than I am which is the shortest board I’ve ever ridden, but because of the wide nose, the hybrid nose and the wide point front from center, it had tons of paddle power for me.

Just in the outline itself and the way they put the foam in, it felt great, and I’m also serving lower trestles so it gets really crowded there and I have no problem catching waves.

And that’s the most important thing when you ride a small wave, board or a gobbler, is that you can catch waves and generate your own speed. Let’s get into the contours and what makes this board so fast, okay so we’ve got a single concave to a double concave to a V out the tail, and it’s very similar to the contours of the mini, I think the mini had a more aggressive concave, but this board went rail-to-rail just fine.

I mean it was really fast, you guys can tell from the video I felt like I could surf this board and can make any section I wanted to, because of the rocker and the concave. Now it’s got a very mild rocker in the front, but it’s got a good amount of tail rocker. When you put a tail rocker on and you pull in the tail like the pod mod has, you’re going to get the ability to do quick short turns, and because of the rocker you’re going to be able to sit in the pocket and do turns.

At times it felt like a high performance, small wave board for me, and that’s an important thing because I’m a pocket surfer. I’m not the kind of guy that flies down the line and does a lot of airs, although I’d like to do more airs, that’s not how I surf on a regular basis.

So between the 5’2” and the 5’4” Surfboard, I chose the five two because it became my favorite board of all time so far in small waves. I also rode the 5”2’ in choppy surf, I wanted to see what the board would feel like if I surf lowers on the south wind. Now, what happens is when you’re surfing choppy surf and there’s a bump in the waves, if you put the board on its rail on the bottom turn that chop will try and disengage the rail and make you slide out.

When we last tested the Pod I noticed that I drove through turns, the board was sticking and it felt really good through every turn. I was also generating speed the entire time, so it worked good in choppy surf. I rode it in small glassy surf, it was like shoulder high and down, and I also rode it in like a foot overhead and I got some barrels on believe it or not.

Because it’s so short on, when I came out the bottom, I could come up to the top and do a little quick turn and grab my rail and pull in. That’s what you get when you ride something that’s short and super maneuverable. If I was riding a longer board that probably would not have happened as good as it did, and the board was so fast that it drove through the barrel fine. I came out and I was able to finish it. So there are so many benefits to being on a shorter board with more volume. I highly recommend that you consider riding the pod mod to your surfing ability and your weight, but don’t be afraid to go a little bit smaller like I did.

Let’s talk about one more thing real quick. The Channel Islands website recommends this board as a thruster, I rode both boards as thrusters. I also use the same fins, I use the FRP by Channel Islands, I use the size large.

Related: Quad Fins vs Thrusters

FRP: Fiberglass Reinforced Polymers

Now what they’ve done is taken a plastic fin that had lots of flex and put fiberglass inside the fibers so it would stiffen up the flex pattern and keep the fin affordable.

So I think Channel Island did a great job with that. Throughout the whole time I was surfing, I was riding the large FRP fins in both boards. The five-two will stay in the quiver and it goes down in my book as a board that’s legit for pocket surfing. It flies down the line so you can use it for airs. I highly recommend getting one. I hope you guys enjoyed it, thanks take care!

About the Author Chet Thornberry

My name is Chet and I'm a surfer living in Cocoa Beach. I created this blog to put my experience with surfing, skimboarding, bodyboarding, and paddleboarding to good use (pretty much all things water sports).

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