A good wave weapon, the Channel Islands Surfboards DFR is another bada*s brainchild of the one and only, Dane Reynolds. Dane’s high performance shortboard, the DFR has intermediate to advanced surfers covered in the powerful, steep and hollow – GOOD – waves of the world.
About as ‘high performance shortboard’ as I ride, this sleek, performance tuned DFR is intended to be pushed hard in good to epic waves.
I surfed this Channel Islands Surfboards DFR at chest high and above in Fiji and in good, punchy beach break conditions around Sydney and NSW in Australia
This is a board for good waves and likely better left for intermediate to advanced surfers.
This is the Channel Islands Surfboards DFR review.
+ A modern, true high performance shortboard design
+ Dynamic, fast and overall fantastic in bigger, better waves
+ Aggressive exit / tail rocker allows for the hardest carving turns you can do
+ Gives you confidence that you’re going to make a steep drop…and then tear the wave to pieces after that
– When the waves don’t have a lot of push, I struggle to generate speed on the DFR. This is a high performance design with a fair bit of rocker and needs a wave with push to really shine
The Channel Islands Surfboards DFR model at 6’5 x 19 7/8 x 2 11/16 @ 35.7L’s of volume. I rode my DFR at Cloudbreak with the Futures EA Techflex thruster fins. These are stiffer fins that work well in powerful waves like Cloudbreak! See the full DFR dimensions and volumes at the bottom of the page.
Best Wave Type
The Channel Islands Surfboards DFR works best when the waves – reefs, beach breaks or point breaks – are more powerful, better and bigger. Surf it in powerful shoulder high Central America beach breaks, overhead Indonesian reef breaks or grinding, solid Australian point breaks. It lights up when the waves are solid.
- Outline geared to maintaining drive while shortening the rail line = explosive, dynamic ride
- Single concave
- Continuous rocker with curvy entry and even more aggressive exit / tail rocker
- Tight rounded squash tail for versatile performance
- Haydenshapes Ando Review: a similar explosively fast, dynamic ride from this epic shortboard
- Lost Beach Buggy Review: another curvy little good wave vixen, the Beach Buggy also loves bigger, better waves to shine
- Channel Islands Bunny Chow Review: a versatile, high performance shortboard that will tear through powerful, punchy groundswells as well as poor quality, mushy beach breaks.
Hey, I’m Ben, welcome to Benny’s Boardroom. I am a huge hoarder of surfboards. I love surfboards. Every time I see a surfboard that has a different shape or a different design, I always want to ride it and try it. I know there’s many of you out there that are the same way. I go and find boards that I like for different purposes and talk about them here on the show. Hope you dig it. If you do, please hit “Like” if you really like it. Favorite and share it with your friends and of course hit subscribe so you don’t miss out on anything coming up.
This is the Channel Islands Surfboards DFR model. It’s not the newest Channel Islands Surfboards model but that’s okay. It’s a great model, it is a high performance shortboard. It’s is about as high performance of a shortboard as I generally ride. Most of the boards that I ride, because most of the waves that I get to surf, most often are not as good as we would all hope for.
We all would love to have beautiful barreling reef breaks and point breaks around us all the time, but the fact is, where I live, where I think is a pretty wave blessed place in Sydney, we get decent waves but get some really nice swells every now and then but most of the time we are dealing with waist, stomach, head high type variety and a little bit onshore and not always spectacular. That’s why I like going and seeing places overseas where you get really perfect beautiful barreling waves like Indonesia and Nicaragua and Costa Rica. That’s why it’s such a treat to go to those places.
Anyway, I had a trip to Fiji recently and I look at all the boards in my quiver and I didn’t really have anything that I thought was going to handle those kind of good, fast, powerful, steep, hollow waves that you tend to get in Fiji because you’ve got all of this open ocean swell that travels for a very long distance and hits these really shallow reef passages and you get these beautiful waves like Cloudbreak and [00:01:47] Namotu and waves like that.
I wanted to get a board that I thought would handle those waves well. This board was spectacular for surfing in those waves. This board again, if you look at the outline, this outline or this plan shape is intended to make this board perform in bigger, better, more powerful waves. Now mind you, this board can be surfed down to, I think I surfed it down to about shoulder high, but really to me, the elements that are used in this board are really about surfing better waves, more powerful waves. And this, I think, was a great board to take to Fiji, but then I surfed it around Sydney and I’ve had a few good days on it surfing around here. A few days that were kind of bigger.
I was also just up north surfing one of my favorite peaky beach breaks up the coast that gets kind of powerful, steep, and hollow and this DFR just loved that wave. I was dropping in, taking these kind of steep drops with this board, that nice kind of continuous rocker throughout the board was helping me to get into those steeper faces and then once I was up and I’d get down the line, I could, it has this kind of exaggerated tail flip at the end, a little bit of tail rocker that helped me to do this really kind of sharp bitey turns. On my backhand and my forehand as well, so it’s good board for good waves.
I have to say, I did struggle with it a little bit a couple of times actually even on a smaller day in Fiji when the waves were smaller. I’m talking like kind of shoulder high but without a lot of power and because this has such quite a lot of curve going through the rocker and it’s also kind of a narrower design so there’s less surface area throughout this board. I found that this board definitely liked to have a little bit more push in the wave to get it up and get it going, but I think that’s what you’re going to find very often when you surf, kind of a high performance board. To me this is a board for slightly bigger, slightly better waves. Something that’s going to give you a bit of push and get you going.
Now, when I say a bit of push, something that’s shoulder high in Indonesia – a long period groundswell – is going to have more than enough push whereas that translating into a shoulder high kind of beach break around the east coast of Australia where the waves aren’t as powerful is probably for me not going to be quite enough. There are other boards that I would reach for in the quiver in those conditions.
Why is it special? It’s a nice kind of simple high performance design again with a little bit more volume. I don’t surf very, very thin, potato chip, pointy nose boards. There are frankly not that many of them out there anymore because not that many people can surf them. You have to be really, really good surfer to be able to get up and generate speed, I think, on those really thin, kind of narrow or very high performance designs. So, this is a good board for the 60% to 80% of us that just want to go out when the surf is at the better and take some steep drops and do some big turns.
So, if I look at the fins that I rode in this board, I tried a few different sets of fins. I ended up gravitating towards these AM2’s. I surfed some fins that I actually can’t remember exactly what they were when I was in Fiji for controlling speed in bigger and better waves. But, I ended up coming back to these AM2’s which are very popular. I think the most popular fin by Futures. These are the ones that I’ve been surfing around Australia and they’re just a fantastic all-around fin. They’re good at controlling speed, they’re not the best. They’re decent at generating speed but they’re not the best. They are a good all around fin for a lot of different conditions that you can get and they just feel really good. The AM2’s, what ever set, I’ve had multiple sets of time, what ever set I grabbed and what ever board I put them in, I always seem to have a pretty good surf on them. They are pretty versatile fins, which for someone who believes adamantly that fins can make or break a board, it is really important to have the right fins in there.
Again, like a high performance shape, this has a nice kind of pulled in squashed tail, very versatile design and again you can see that it has quite a lot of exaggerated bit of a tail rocker and that means you kind of take off with this thing, you can really grind it around and do big, steep, pronounced bottom turns. It feels really lively when you’re pushing it around.
The good, the bad, and the ugly about the Channel Islands Surfboards DFR model. The good, this thing is fantastic, dynamic, fast, really fantastic in bigger, better surf. It holds, it gives you confidence that you’re going to make a steep drop, it feels really good in the barrel, it just feels really nice when the waves are a bit more powerful and a bit better. The bad, again, I think when the waves don’t have a lot of push, I certainly struggled getting speed, getting down the line in it, because again this is quite a high performance design with a bit of rocker. The ugly, there’s not really too much ugly about this other than I would say, this is not really a board I would recommend to a beginner or even a novice and potentially even intermediate. It’s not intended to be extra user friendly. It doesn’t have a great deal of width in the nose that gives you stability nor in the tail and throughout the board. It’s not really intended for a less experienced surfers, it’s more for intermediates and more advanced surfers.
That is the Channel Islands Surfboards DFR, great little board by Channel Islands Surfboards for good waves. So here in Australia, here in Sydney, right now, is the time when you’d want to get one of these because we’re getting some of those good swells. We actually have a nice big solid swell coming on Sunday, so I’m really excited about that. Anyway, that is the Channel Islands Surfboards DFR, hope you dig the review. If you did, please like, subscribe. This is really what helps us and keeps us going is your support. Thank you so much for watching, and I hope you have a great day.
Stock Standard Dimensions & Volume
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I'm 6'4"x185-190pounds, the 6'1" stock DFR, 29.6L is my go-to board for San Diego. I only surf when there's surf and I have the time, so I may go months without surfing sometimes,.. and then I hop right back on. As long as the waves have some push weather from size or hollowness this board goes great for me from waist high to however much size I can paddle into, because the board can hold fine. The 6'2" was too big for me, though I could ride it of course, but the 6'1" for my lean 6'4" body allows me to have more positive control over handling and maneuvering the board. And also, as though I can play more effectively with the 'fulcrum' curve of the rocker, one foot forward of the rocker 'apex', one at the tail,… and then zing!… like on the principles MP applied with his rocker back in the 1970's. I find I like Futures scimitar fins on the sides and futures F8 thermotech for the back fin. Whenever I've tried the futures AM2 honeycomb fins on a few different boards over the past 9months, including other Ci hpsb boards, it felt like not enough fin was there, not enough umphh. Haven't tried those AM2 fins on my DFR yet though, because the scimitars with F8 work so great. Bigger back fin, smaller side fines,… more projection on a smaller board, given I'm 6'4" and the board's 6'1" stock.