The Eddie Cochran-penned lyric, "There ain't no cure for the summertime blues," has enjoyed decades of relevance for surfers. While artists like The Who, Jimi Hendrix and the Outsiders have covered Cochran's 1958 classic, many a surfer beset by flat spells has found the time-tested adage applicable at some point or another throughout the summer.
While one perennial remedy – the wide soft-rail log – can do much to keep your sorrows at bay, many of us want the kind of versatility and opportunity for wiggle that only a sub-6-foot board can inspire.
Enter Haydenshapes' "Plunder" model.
During the last half-decade, shaper Hayden Cox's wide, voluminous, lightweight designs built with his patented Future Flex construction – like the ever popular "Hypto Krypto" –have done much to broaden the functionality of high performance shortboards in small or mediocre surf.
The Plunder, meanwhile, takes many of the design elements that made the Hypto so adaptable in marginal conditions – flat rocker, wide outline, soft rails – and pushes them to their logical extremes.
As described on the HS website:
"The Plunder is a fuller-plane shape board designed to bring versatility and fun to small waves without forgetting about that superior performance spark, too. The unique surface area in the outline allows the board to trim with surprising speed in the weakest of conditions, while the soft diamond tail paired with the kick in the rail-line rocker toward the back third, gives the Plunder an ability to respond and turn when a good section lines up.
The way the Plunder is so easy to paddle and effortlessly generate speed allows you to ride this board with a relaxed sense of style to find that enigmatic "flow" in all types of small waves. The board has a flat rocker throughout to produce speed in all areas of the wave, but the rolled vee in the entry and double vee throughout the tail allows the board to ride smoothly through the entry, while fast and sensitive on the tail-end."
With its wide point pushed way forward, from its broad nose to its relatively pulled-in tail, the Plunder certainly cuts an interesting figure. But the board offers even more for those intrigued by out-of-the-box, alternative surfboard design, as the fin setup (4+1) presents a range of options – single fin, 2+1, quad, and more.
Lately, Puerto Rico's Dylan Graves has been putting the Plunder through its paces at home and abroad. The ever open-minded HS team rider and namesake/star of the web-series "Weird Waves with Dylan Graves" talked to us about his experience (and experiments) with the resourceful shape.
The Plunder has an interesting outline, to say the least. Talk about your first impressions – seeing it and then riding it.
When I first I saw it, I thought it looked more grovel-y. It looked to me like a fish or little longboard. I was stoked to try and hang-five on it, which you can do [Laughs]. Obviously, it's really fun when it's small and stuff, but when it's bigger, it feels like a snowboard. It gets some crazy lift. Honestly, it's really performance-y in all kinds of conditions.
I rode it during some swells around Christmastime. It was 8-10 foot faces at Middles [in PR], really chunky and windy. The board was so fun. I moved the [middle] fin back to get more drive, which felt really cool.
Have you ridden different sizes? Have you tried different fin setups? What's your preference and why?
Mine is a 5'2. I've ridden different sizes, but the 5'2 seems to work best. The board has so much hidden volume so you can ride it smaller than you think. My favorite setup is riding it as a bonzer, actually. Hayden has a bonzer fin template – two smaller side bites with a middle fin. I've tried it as a single fin and quad, but for my surfing and how I like to draw lines, it feels best as a bonzer.
Many of our readers are likely most familiar with the Hypto. Does it have any similar characteristics – lots of volume, soft rails – that make it ride in a similar way?
It has a different feel. But as far as what it does and what it's capable of, [the Plunder]'s definitely comparable to the Hypto. I think the Hypto is more of the "one board quiver." The Plunder is way more toward the grovel side. If you know you're not going to get crazy barreling waves, then the Plunder is geared more towards more mediocre conditions. But, at the same time, it has the capability of holding in plus-sized waves. It's more versatile than it appears.
How about comparisons to other shapes people are familiar with?
What's really cool about it is that it has elements of maybe your round-nose fish blended with something like a retro-single fin. If you're feeling like you want to cruise, or just draw different lines, it offers that. But if a section presents itself and you want to pop an air, you can still do that. If feels like a different board in different spots, whether you're cruising through flat sections or trying to do something on a critical part of the wave.
What's the most unique or fun element about the Plunder?
It's just so versatile. With the different fin setups and the hidden volume, you have so many options. You could even try it as a twin, if you wanted to. Or, you could go finless and just spin around – it would work. It goes beyond just being like a retro board or fish or something. I always like to compare boards to movie characters. The Plunder is the BB-8 of Star Wars: The Force Awakens [Laughs]. It's just this little, super fun, versatile guy.