CJ Nelson Outlier reviews?

JaM

Member
Jan 29, 2018
56
43
GC
They’re quite different even allowing for the howard being 6’10 and the outlier 7’6

The Howard is still probably my favourite ever board to surf but it needs at least a shoulder high face and a bit of go in the wave. It’s got roll into quite a lot of panel vee so it’s not great at generating speed in a slack wave but it’s really smooth and drivey carve around on a wave that’s the right size. It’s pretty confidence inspiring and it’s top end is way above my wave comfort zone! I tend to surf mine on the bigger days here and it’s also been amazing at the wave pool - enough glide to go over flat spots but short enough to fit in the wave there. The pics attached are probably it’s smallest size that it works in and the wave is quite punchy there.

View attachment 27911 View attachment 27912

The outlier has a very different feel. The Howard is very much an egg style thing and feels much more “performance” (in a very smooth way) if that makes sense.

The outlier has a lot more of a hull feel than I expected and is much more of a cruisey board. As others have said, you are very aware of the belly up front, it definately has that buttery slippy hull feel as it goes over on a wave ( the howard doesn’t have this) and it definitely rewards a full rail crouched bottom turn like a proper hull. It also definately has a forward trim spot that the board accelerates in a high line of a steep section like a hull does.

What’s great about it is that it turns much more like a single fin egg from the tail without the classic hull weirdness. You can engage the rail and wrap a proper cutback like a normal single fin egg and not the weird half cut back stall back into the pocket a true hull enforces.

Waves wise I’ve used it in smaller surf so far as I can only just duck dive it. Sure it will “go” in head high stuff as well but would need a tiny bit more nursing than the Howard.

So between waist and shoulder high plus so far. It’s not a board you pump for speed but it will cover a lot of ground and beat sections with a climbing and dropping flow - like a hull it will cover a lot of lateral ground on a drawn out bottom turn. It bogs a little in a flat section but generates its own speed as the wave steepens. It works great in lined up waves because of that but it’s good in junky peaky surf too as it will race through steep spots as they form ahead of you in the mush and it’s easy to cut back to the pocket.

Second session on it was super onshore two foot junk and I was linking waves right through well enough that someone asked me if it had a propellor underneath!

I really like the outlier. Reckon it will be fun at the pool when it reopens. it’s definitely a different design ranch to the howard
Epic comparison mate! Thanks for taking the time, I have thought about a Howard mini for a long time and the insta footage of cj at San o demonstrates the contrast between the two boards. Sounds like an awesome combo.

So, maybe you can help me justify adding a Howard mini and outlier to my quiver in addition to my 7"6 liddle! They seem quite refined, I wonder how a longer Howard mini would go for example 7"8-10.

Fortunately north Coast surfboards who make the takayamas here in Australia is not too far from me...... which makes me wonder how a vouch evo compares to an outlier.
 

jory

Well-Known Member
Dec 25, 2005
528
293
United Kingdom
New / more boards are always great!

Don’t know much about the vouch, but would imagine the outlier is a bit more neutral/ versatile feeling than The Liddle but a similar flavour.

Sure a longer Howard would be fun - Devon originally rode a 7’6 one mostly (when they first designed it). A mate has a 7’4 and rates it similar to me!
 
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JaM

Member
Jan 29, 2018
56
43
GC
New / more boards are always great!

Don’t know much about the vouch, but would imagine the outlier is a bit more neutral/ versatile feeling than The Liddle but a similar flavour.

Sure a longer Howard would be fun - Devon originally rode a 7’6 one mostly (when they first designed it). A mate has a 7’4 and rates it similar to me!
Absolutely! I just don't like having too many boards the same length- it's never worked out for me!
 

skurp

New Member
Feb 11, 2021
19
20
San Diego
I’ve been eyeing the outlier. I’ve never bought a board from a larger brand so if there is a better alternative let me know.
Either way, if anyone has this board and has feedback let me know.
Heyo - just posted my take on the outlier in response to someone on here inquiring about a Vaquero - which is a similar board, as I understand - anyway the TLDR is: get one! Really, really fun board. Also - check out that thread, if you haven't already - great discussion about these types of boards - It's titled: , Surf progression and displacement hulls questions

Anyway - here's my post - hope this helps:


I picked up a 7’6” Outlier from CJ Nelson a few months ago. I love it. Vaquero seems to be a similar board. Lots of great stuff on here already, but I’ll add my two cents.

The weight forward / gas pedal thing is real – it’s a fun / lively feedback the board gives you – you really notice it. But is it turning with the front-foot? Nah – like someone wrote on here - more turning with my hips and using the rails. Likes being surfed from the middle of the board.

It feels like it gets more speed (than a conventional board) from trimming, rolling up and down the face, leaning forward – it doesn’t turn on a dime, so – it needs a lot of speed to cutback because cutting isn’t really a thing with the board. More of a cruisy, controlled roll-back to the pocket that I’m still figuring out. I find if I force a turn – it fights me – But that’s kinda this board’s jam – no sudden moves, anything too jerky and it bucks you off.

Read up on it before buying it and, in theory, it’s supposed to make me a better surfer – understanding the power zones of a wave more – dunno if that’s true – but I will say I’m becoming more aware of where I’m doing a bottom turn on this board more than how I’m doing a bottom turn, if that makes sense

Here’s a vid of the shaper talking about how he designed it – nice footage of him shredding it toward the end

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CI9h0ivj6C ... r7uf85lul7

I will say it was a very challenging first few sessions on it – felt very slippery and unstable. Could barely pop up on it - kept squirting out from underneath me. I asked around and concluded I had under-finned the board – running an 8in fin in the middle of the box. Replaced it with a stiff 10 in fin all the up and it was night and day – super stable. Why that works? I have no idea – maybe something with the forward vee/ hull situation going on up front.

Anyway – hope that helps. Get it in 3-4ft on the higher-tide side of things and you’ll be smilin’.
 

skurp

New Member
Feb 11, 2021
19
20
San Diego
8’ outlier could be fun in especially as an alternative in small waves
Hey man - really smart takes of yours on the outlier. I have a 7'6"myself and love it. After a few months - I'm kinda wishing I'd picked up the 8ft instead... just to open up the lower end of it's range a bit more. There's been plenty of days where it's 1-2ft and I'm really wanting the outlier to work as a small wave board - and it just doesn't work that great in smaller stuff. Also, don't think the extra 6 inches would have much of an effect on surfing bigger stuff, either - the way the board surfs - as cruisey as it is. If anything - it might help - get in a hair earlier. Anyway - you really seem to know this board - waddya think? Thanks!
 

jory

Well-Known Member
Dec 25, 2005
528
293
United Kingdom
Hey man - really smart takes of yours on the outlier. I have a 7'6"myself and love it. After a few months - I'm kinda wishing I'd picked up the 8ft instead... just to open up the lower end of it's range a bit more. There's been plenty of days where it's 1-2ft and I'm really wanting the outlier to work as a small wave board - and it just doesn't work that great in smaller stuff. Also, don't think the extra 6 inches would have much of an effect on surfing bigger stuff, either - the way the board surfs - as cruisey as it is. If anything - it might help - get in a hair earlier. Anyway - you really seem to know this board - waddya think? Thanks!
I reckon the 8’ could be the go!

I can surf my 7’6 in waist high runners but I’m only 5’6 and 150 so mine is probably sized more like an 8’ for the average guy!

Without wanting to drink the kook aid too much, the thunderbolt stuff makes the board feel lively and I think the 7’6 surfs shorter than it is so I’m sure the 8 footer wouldn’t feel like too much board to turn but would have that extra length for glide. The only adjustment might be needing to move your feet around a bit more between turning and trim sweet spots.

I have a friend who’s more average size than me and he has an 8’ one that he is really enjoying. He’s @northamrich on Instagram - sure he’d give you a hot take of you do him!
 

Artz

Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2018
939
762
Florida
Have not heard much about the Harley Ingalby Moe, another thunderbolt red mid size board. The Vidio clips make that board look really sweet. Nice long carving cutback. Bouncing off the Top turns and nice refined rail turns. Looks like a very playful board.
It would be nice to have comparisons with the Outlier and the DT Howard.
 

jory

Well-Known Member
Dec 25, 2005
528
293
United Kingdom
I haven’t surfed a moe but the guy that owns the shop I got the outlier from has one and really rates it. He’s an aging shortboarder rather than a logger though and I think that probably tells you a little about it.

From what I know / have seen, the moe is more of a performance design and owes more lineage to the performance longboard & shortboard side of things. The howard special and the outlier especially are very definately coming from a less “high pro” place.

Worth considering that the moe is Harley inglebys mid length and he is very much on the progressive side of longboarding historically whereas Devon and cj are mostly from the traditional side.

Also worth mentioning the CI mid. It’s quite different to the howard special and has a lot more performance built in and less cruise. It has a spiral vee concave underneath instead of roll and panel vee and the rails are a bit more thinned out.

It depends what you want.

I’d say if you had a scale that went from “retro” cruisey trim based surfing at one end and smoother less radical performance surfing at the other end you could rate the boards like this....

Outlier - howard special - CI mid - moe

Does that make sense ?
 

skurp

New Member
Feb 11, 2021
19
20
San Diego
I reckon the 8’ could be the go!

I can surf my 7’6 in waist high runners but I’m only 5’6 and 150 so mine is probably sized more like an 8’ for the average guy!

Without wanting to drink the kook aid too much, the thunderbolt stuff makes the board feel lively and I think the 7’6 surfs shorter than it is so I’m sure the 8 footer wouldn’t feel like too much board to turn but would have that extra length for glide. The only adjustment might be needing to move your feet around a bit more between turning and trim sweet spots.

I have a friend who’s more average size than me and he has an 8’ one that he is really enjoying. He’s @northamrich on Instagram - sure he’d give you a hot take of you do him!
Heyo - true re: the feet moving. That is my favorite thing about the 7'6" - it likes being surfed from the middle of the board and I find on most waves I don't really need to move my feet at all. Although, as I've gotten more comfortable on it - I've been throwing more weight on the back foot to do sharper turns... with mixed success. Granted, this might be more of a single-fin problem than an Outlier problem. The Outlier is my first single fin board that wasn't a 10 foot log - so I'm still on the learning curve for cutting back somewhat.. Curious - have you experimented with moving the fin around at all / different types of fins for different types of waves? I had an 8in fin in the middle of the box when I first had the board and it didn't work at all. Got a 10 in all the way up and it was night and day.
 




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