it’s very likely that if I still lived in Florida I would mostly only get boards from Tom Neilson.
why? why not! Tom is a master shaper with over 30 years of shaping experience. he surfs way better ‘n me. he can shape anything. and he works with just about every available material and technology out there.
below are photos of a 9’6″ Tommy Evans model that Tom made for me a little while ago.
I’ve ridden the board 3 times now. two different right points and one left point. yesterday provided the best waves with some groundswell from Irene. waves were waist high plus and peeling perfectly, albeit dangerously close to a cobble lined shoreline which would certainly destroy a board.
the verdict? first let me start by saying that I had in mind a flat rockered, thin egg-railed, heavily glassed log. when I spoke with Tom he told me about this model which he’s been working on for some time now with team rider Tommy. it nose rides like a dream he assured, and it also does other things well.
I’ve ordered enough custom boards over the years to learn to trust my shaper and not force my own measurements upon the creation.
the dims are above in the stringer photo but I can also add that is has double 8 oz. Volan cloth on the deck and a single 8 oz. on the bottom. the blank used is a US Blank Yater blank which comes with a really flat rocker.
the bottom is the most intereting part of this board. it has the traditional nose concave for lift while nose riding. it has belly throughout the middle as most boards of this type tend to. then it flattens out and it has a bit of single concave running out the back of the board. the tail is also super foiled and has quite a kick in the rocker. the other strange element for this type of board was the rail profile. the board features full box type rails with a slight edge in the tail.
now I would have thought that the rail and single concave would create lift and release and make the board outrun the wave when nose riding. but I was totally wrong. what those features do do, is to give a heavy and flat log the ability to turn and drive down the line – unlike a knifey log would.
so look I’m no amazing surfer. I can ride this thing without a leash and get the odd toes over the tip, but I’m an average surfer at best. this board does satisfy my interest in having a heavy trim feeling. there is nothing like the glide you get from a super heavy log. on top of that I am abe to turn it from the back and even from the middle like you would a displacement hull. Tom is sending me a 10″ Greenough 4A fin that didn’t make it with the board shipment. I think the fin will allow the board to draw some beautiful turns while still providing enough hold not nose riding.
so yes, the board is SICK.