I'm not sure to put these reviews in custom of factory but whatever its going here. This board came into my local shop and was an off the rack board. I'd been check in out every board that had been coming in in my size for months. When I saw this one, it took a couple days but I snagged it pretty quick. 9'7'' x about 23 1/2 x 3 something.
My dims 5'10'' 200lbs. Dadbod. Ability = average surfer that experiences moments of glory. I've had this board for a month and a half probably close to 30 sessions on it. Mostly in lined up beach break but also had a number of sessions in some slop. Just enough to get a nice feel for it in lot of different conditions.
The outline is very full, big wide tail. Hips a little back of center I think. Has some nose concave that blends into some belly about halfway down a little tail kick but not much. Full but nicely shaped 50/50 rails. Nose and tail both have some cool stuff going on. The nose is turned up in the last inch or so and the tail has some really nice foiling going on. Its hard to describe and even harder to take a picture of but if you ever get to see one of his boards in person, check out the nose and tail. I've noticed there's just a lot of stuff going on with this board. Like there's a lot of little details like the nose, tail, concaves to belly, outline and rocker that when you put them all together it gets really complicated. You can tell all of these details have been refined over years and executed with purpose and perfection. Has a nice weight to it but not too heavy. The design and look of it says its a longboard propose built for smaller waves. I've surfed it up to head high and its done fine but its not an all arounder 1 board quiver type that you'd want to surf in overhead plus or powerful surf.
I've surfed 3 fins in it. A 10'' 4a, 10.5 Harmonic, and my 9.5 Fibreglass Hawaii fin from my JP SWT. Of all the fins the 9.5 Fibreglass Hawaii feels the best. There is a nice mix of speed and stability. 4a felt really good was faster, and similar to the 9.5. Harmonic fin was the fastest but it didn't retail the stability so I swapped it out. All fins pushed as far back as they can go.
Ride report: Going from my SWT. The first thing I noticed is the board is slower and not in a bad way. As soon as I started walking on it I could feel how much more stable it was. I had some great first few sessions on it and I found myself much more relaxed and easily walking around on it. It felt like walking around and noseriding instantly became 15% easier. My feet naturally found the nose when I was walking up instead of landing a few inches from it which would often happen on other boards. So over all a huge and almost instant improvement in my surfing and nose riding. It catches and glides into waves easily. Turns and carves well, and can direct from the middle of the board and nose very well. Lots of control. But it does come with out a couple draw backs....
I can't think of better way to say it but it is more difficult to surf compared to other longboards I've rode. I'm not a bad surfer, and I've found myself pearling on at least 10 or more take offs on this board. The sweet spot to paddle seems pretty small. The nose rocker is low but it doesn't feel like its not there and that I should be pearling this much. After the first couple times I would take steps to correct it but I'd often find myself swinging around late and ending up too far forward and pearling again. I really enjoy paddling in on a wave left towards the peak, then dropping in and swinging around and going right. Its a really fun bottom turn and can set you up better for the wave. Most of my other boards when I do this I can do like a carving kind of bottom turn. If I try to carve off the bottom for this kind of turn on the Wildcard I will dig rail and fall. Instead I have to do more of a pivot bottom turn. This isn't really anything wrong with the board, but its something that I tried to make happen a bunch and kept falling until I figured out how to do this take off how the board wanted.
Now even though this board can be difficult at times and I've had to change some things about how I surf it, this board has blown the doors wide open on what is possible for my surfing. With my SWT, and other boards I've surfed, I knew my limitations and my surfing wasn't really progressing too much past that. I could surf how I wanted when everything came together. Most of the time I'd feel rushed, a bit unstable, and I couldn't get the nose rides I knew the waves could provide. I think a lot of this could be that I ummmm out grew the 9'4'' SWT and at my current 200 lb stature should have been on a bigger board. With the Wildcard 1 it just make everything easier. It has a different feel and stability. It matches the speed of the wave better, it goes fast when it need to slow when you want it to. As you walk around on it your movements back and forth have more effect on your trim speed and that gives you more control of whats going on. The SWT felt like it wanted to go fast all the time and it would be skimming across the top of the water always searching out that speed and you'd have to rain it in. I can't fault the SWT for that, that is what it is meant to do and it excels in even the smallest surf. The Wilcard feels like it sits in the water more and it is much more stable and predictable. The Wildcard has made my surfing smoother, easier, and I can nose ride those sections that I was only dreaming about before and I stay in them longer. To get this much improvement in my surfing with a board change is everything I could have hoped for and I was worried I was going to buy this board and there would be no difference.
I have had the opportunity to A/B this in the water with a 9'6'' Harmonic 67 and the results were very interesting which I can go into later. Then a couple days ago a 10' Harmonic 67 came up for sale used and I was able to snag it for a good deal. I missed the custom order which is why a bought this off the rack. But if I was going to order a custom before surfing these it would have been a 9'10'' or 10' Harmonic so I was super excited to get it. I've only had one real session on it but all signs point to it being a great board. I'll do a Harmonic 67 review at some point when i surf it more.