09 September 2011

Bob the Bobsled's Performance

The Mex recently received a request from Giles in England for a bit more information on the performance of Bob the 7' McTavish Bobsled.  Giles wrote:

Hello Mex – just read your blog and especially the bit about “Bob” the sled…………….I am 50 next year and keen though average surfer………..still do the odd trip, however I feel the need to get myself a new board and have been considering a sled for some time – I have in mind a 6’8” – I am a 75kg runt.

Just wondered if you had anymore comments about the boards than are on the blog – be glad to have your views.
Pip, pip from an autumnal England

The Mex has asked that we share his response for the benefit of mankind and all the Oldfartsurfers who have been itching to know the answer to the ultimate question:

Hey Giles,
Nice to hear from sunny England.
I got the inspiration to check out McTavish boards after reading his book. I figured he’d been around for a couple more years than me and would know what an oldfart would like to ride. I was originally thinking of getting the Carver but sent them an email for advice. I was 53 and 83kg and was finding my 6’6” Webber Afterburner a bit difficult to catch waves on but it really went if I could only get to my feet. Basically I wanted the difficult combination of catchability and manoeuvrability. The McTavish guys suggested the 7’ or 7’1” Bobsled.
(The inspiration for Bob was the 6'6" twin fin Mex had made in 1978)
I’m pretty pleased with Bob’s performance. He catches waves like a board a foot longer. I think this is a combination of the volume for floatation and the concave under the nose. The manoeuvrability seems to come from the double flyers and swallow tail combined with a nice kick in the tail. I’d never surfed a quad before I think the quad fin set up also gives it a nice loose feel.
I find Bob has heaps of speed which seems to come from the concaves and width and ability to stay high in the wave. There is about a 3” wide bevel under the rail, which, when combined with the quad fins allows me to hang really high in the wave and tap into the potential energy in the steep part of the wave. The fins hold the tail high and the bevel allows the rest of the board to slide down a little so that it doesn’t catch a rail and flip up over the top.
(Bob's nose channel and bevels)
Bob is very forgiving when I don’t place my feet perfectly in the right spot on takeoff and the size and volume allow me an extra second to do a quick shuffle to get them into position.
The obvious downside compared to a smaller board is the ability to duck dive, however, it can be done – just make sure you put your hands a bit further forward to get the nose down and put your toes on the tail and drive it under. I spent a week in Margaret River on a hired 6’10” very thin gun in June and really noticed how much easier it was to duck dive.
A work colleague has just bought an 8’ Bobsled, it arrived during the week, and he can’t wait to get it in the water. He’s kicked the missus out of bed and is sleeping with it until it is christened. It will be interesting to see how manoeuvrable the longer board is.
The Dude has a 6’6” Firewire Dominator which he loves. He reckons it also has catchability and manoeuvrability.   Unfortunately the glass delaminated recently so The Dude now calls it the Delaminator.

I reckon 6’ 8” Bobsled would probably be ideal for you if you weigh 75Kg. 
Hope this helps, I might put these words on the blog for others to read.
PS: Bob’s all ready with his fins removed and packed in bubble wrap to fly to Port Macquarie in the morning for a week’s R and R.

Click here to tell the Oldfartsurfer what you really think.


Selggad said...

I have just purchase a 7' bobsled and love it. I am 177 cm and 87 kg and it suits me really well. Paddling into waves and the take off are great, in fact a real surprise at how easy it is, maneuverability and speed are right there, loose in the tail, it seems a very complete board. So far I have surfed it twice, once on a smallish beach break and once on a fattish reef break and it has handled both condition really well. Keeps high in the wave, capable of tight turns or nice carves. Looking forward to getting it into some more serious stuff to see how it goes but I think it will be fine.

I'm a convert!!


Anonymous said...

I have a 7' Bobsled.. was after a easy paddle easy wave catcher as i seemed to be getting latter and latter on the take off with my high performance thrusters... thought i'd take an intrim step while i got a bit off paddle fitness back .. I'm 50. Was a little concerned with the size as it is a good few inches longer and a lot more volume than i normally ride.. have surfed it in small beach... not so great.. and solid 4/5 sand bar with 100+ mtr rides.. It went exceptionally well.. easy take off, heaps of speed, square bottom turns and loads of stick at the stop.. lots of spray. Had plenty fun and so many waves i couldnt count. I,m 6'2" and about 90kg... would love to try a 6.10 or 6.8