EVAN VALIERE'S 7'6" PIPE SMOKER
Happiness is a warm Arakawa gun
Photos: Ryan T Foley
This yellow board I am riding is a 7'6'' Eric Arakawa quad, with a baby swallow tail. I ordered 7'6, 8'2, 8'6, 9'4, and 9'8 all uniform yellow with baby swallow tails and quad fin set ups after I saw what happened with that swell in Tavarua last year. I knew I was going to be using the ones on the smaller end of the batch at large second and third reef Pipeline. Some who surf Pipeline like to keep boards small to take the drop late. Others like to be way outside and roll in. The thing about Pipeline is that when its on there is always a big enough barrel to fit any size board in, its just a matter of how you want to put yourself in that position to get tubed.
This 7'6'' is 18 5/8'' wide and 2.5'' thick. Because it is a swallow tail there is a little bit straighter of a rail line out through the tail. With the quad fins I find it works really well mid face and on a rail. If the board goes flat it doesn't coast for very long. It likes to weave on the wall. I have found my sled coming from a little bit deeper on waves and riding over sections in the tube and and riding over more turbulence than a thruster, sometimes I am surprised because I am not used to a board doing that.
This board has a good weight, a good feel to it and a good look when I am holding it. I like to feel confidence in my boards intuitively, that I have a connection to them before I paddle out. This is common, most people will notice that about their favourite boards. A good board will lift your surfing and experience of riding waves. I am always in pursuit of the magic board, and they are hard to come by.
In waves of consequence a good board is life or death crucial, you have to have 100% trust and confidence in what you are riding and in yourself.
For surfing a place with waves that are unique to other parts of the world such as Hawaii, the best thing a surfer can do is get boards from the shapers that live there and have years of experience and knowledge in creating boards for those specific conditions. It is best to have equipment that is tried and true. If you are coming to Hawaii to surf and want to try all waves bring a board from short board to Rhino Chaser because the ocean is going to deliver!
In a board for Pipe the most important thing I look for is a board that can paddle. Then I need to be able to set it on a rail. I want to get straight down the face and then pull up into it. I am really focused on those two things.