The Rusty Surfboards Panda model is a purpose built high performance shortboard for bigger guys like Brazilian powerhouse Willian Cardoso.
There ain’t many high performance shortboards purpose built for the bigger lad. In Willian Cardoso’s Signature Rusty Surfboards Panda Surfboard Review, let’s see how Rusty Surfboards built a board from the ground up for the big, power surfer.
While the outline is slightly wider, the rails are lower, the tighter tip and tail compliment the curvier rocker and a deep single concave holds a steeper line and allows the bigger and / or more powerful surfer (ala Willian Cardoso aka Panda) to lay waste to the coming section.
This is no groveler but a good option for bigger, better waves and suited for the big, power surfer.
Hope you enjoy Willian Cardoso’s Rusty Surfboards Panda Surfboard Review.
All the best,
Have a question? Wondering if the Rusty Surfboards Panda Surfboard is the right board for you? Let’s talk about it in the comments…
+ A rare high performance shortboard design specifically designed for bigger / more powerful surfers
+ Tighter tip and tail compliment the curvier rocker and a deep single concave holds a steeper line and allows the bigger and / or more powerful surfer to lay waste to the coming section
+ Very capable in good, powerful waves
– This is not a groveler, and it’s not meant to be surfed really when the waves are flat and weak.
– This is meant to be surfed when it’s good. It can be surfed down in slightly smaller waves but I think there are better options
Benny rides the Rusty Surfboards Panda at 6’4″ x 20.88 x 2.85 at 39.8 L’s, which are the stock standard dimensions. I rode the large Gorilla Fins template, which is very similar to the FCS2 Accelerators. It’s their high performance template. It’s meant to be surfed in boards just like this high performance shortboard by Rusty, the Panda.
Standard Rusty Surfboards Panda Surfboard dimensions and volumes may be found at the bottom of this page.
Best Wave Type
The best wave type for this board is, I would say, chest high up to well over head, possibly up to double overhead. It likes good, hollow waves with a bit of push. Again, this is a board with a lot of rocker. It’s got a deep concave. It’s intended for good, not just average everyday weaker conditions, but really good pumping, solid conditions.
- High performance shortboard model for big / powerful surfers
- Ample rocker running throughout
- Wider and thicker outline but performance tuned tip and tail
- Single concave that runs throughout the entire board
- The rails are lower and a little bit more sensitive.
- Domed deck holds a lot of foam through the middle section of the board and allows it to keep a lot of volume without feeling bulky
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Hey I’m Ben, this is Benny’s Boardroom, today we are going to talk about the Rusty Surfboards Panda model. The Panda is Willian Cardoso’s signature model. If you don’t know Willian Cardoso, he is a big guy at 200 pounds, a Brazilian powerhouse surfer. He surfs with an enormous amount of power. Almost like Poncho Sullivan-esque where every turn he makes he displaces huge amounts of water.
I’m quite excited to look at Willian Cardoso’s signature model because there aren’t that many boards that are actually designed from the ground up for bigger surfers. Often times I either find myself even have to order like a custom, beefed up version of a shorter board in somebody else’s range or I have to go with sometimes a longer board than I want to in order to get the volume that I’m usually looking for.
I was quite excited to ride this board by Willian Cardoso. This is a high performance model for big boys so it has ample rocker running throughout it. I don’t ride a lot of boards with a huge amount of rocker because we don’t get enough power and steepness in the waves often times where I surf most often. There is quite a lot of rocker running throughout the board. You can see that at the back here there’s a little bit of an accelerated kick (in tail rocker) out through the back fins here.
The foam or the foil and distribution of foam in this board is well thought out. Something that a lot of shapers have to contend with when they’re talking about how to fit a high performance shape into a board that’s intended for a bigger guy rather than just extending it out and making something really, really long and wide. Often times they will dome the foam as in you can see that the foam is domed through the center of the board. The rails are lower and a little bit more sensitive, you can see that the foam comes up here and it domes through the center here. They’ve held a lot of foam through the middle section of the board and that allows the board to keep a lot of volume in a tighter package.
I am riding the stock standard, 6’4 x 20.88 x 2.85 Rusty Surfboards Panda model, that’s 39.8 L’s. Yeah, it’s a little bit wider and thicker but it definitely has the attributes of a high performance shortboard, it has the pulled in nose, it has the tighter squash tail, again the curvier rocker and the lower rails, all of the things that you want to make the board really lively and sensitive.
The key, I think, is how Rusty have distributed the foam throughout the center of the board here to keep the outline tight while maintaining ample volume.
I remember picking it up for the first time and I was like dang! It actually felt quite big. I bumped into a lovely guy named Pito at Aloha Surf Shop in Manly, and we were looking at it and looking at all the bulk through the tail here. It seemed too big.
When I actually rode the board for the first time, however, I started to appreciate the design and again it was really nice to get on a board that is intended to be a high performance shortboard but has specifically been designed from the ground up for a bigger / more powerful guy.
The concave through the board is a deep single concave that runs the length of the board. It’s quite subtle in the beginning part of the nose, and then it deepens through the belly of the board. It actually is quite a deep single concave that flows all the way through and out the tail. Again geared for a bigger, more powerful surfer like Willian Cardoso. It’s quite an accessible board, I wouldn’t recommend it to a beginner but I wouldn’t recommend a high performance shortboard to a beginner ever.
For a lot of novice to intermediate surfers, however, I think getting on a board like this that is a little bit more voluminous so it’s going to help you get onto waves and get speed more easily, might be useful.
In general, this is really geared for a bigger, better surfer. Somebody who really wants to do some tight hard turns in the pocket, get in the tube, ride in the hollower more critical surf and surf a high performance shortboard again one that has enough volume to float the bigger guy.
Experience in the Surf
I surfed this board right through a couple of nice swells. I remember back in December (2015) I was saying how the guys in California should grind some salt in the wound for everybody in the Southern Hemisphere because it seemed like they were getting such good waves and we were getting nothing. Then literally, as if he was listening, Huey decided to flip the switch on and from the beginning of the year in Australia the waves have been pumping.
There have only been a couple of flat spells and we’ve had a couple of really nice, strong groundswells from tropical cyclones, which are my favorite swells because they generate a lot of lefts, which is pretty atypical for Sydney.
I’ve been able to surf this Rusty Surfboards Panda right through a couple of those groundswells and really get it into some bigger waves and some better waves and some steeper, trickier, more hollow waves. It’s been really capable in pretty much everything I’ve thrown it. I surfed it up to not quite double overhead but definitely a few feet overhead.
I surfed it in some really fast point like lefts and I’ve also surfed it in some hollower, chunkier, a-framing beach brakes. It excels in a lot of those conditions.
I did surf it down a little bit, I probably surfed it down in the stomach high range one day and it’s just a little bit curvy for that. It has enough volume that I was able to get up and get going and get up to speed but it’s not really for those conditions.
Again, this is a high performance shortboard. It is meant to make really tight arcs, do really steep, pronounced bottom turns, to carve up the pocket and, again, it’s great for tubes as well. I think the outline/rocker loves a steeper face even though it has a bit of width through the center, it is again pulled in and sensitive in the nose and tail.
It has been a great board for good waves but it’s definitely not a groveler.
It’s not that type of board, it does handle a bit of mush, it has slightly lower rails but they’re not really hard rails so they don’t feel too catchy. I would think of this as the board you take out when it’s pumping. When it’s good and your mate’s are calling you to tell you it’s on. This is the kind of board you want to grab for those days.
For fin setups, this is an FCS2 thruster fin setup and I chose to put these large Gorilla Fins in, they’re kind of cool looking. These are very similar to the FCS2 Accelerators; they are almost exactly the same template. The FCS2 accelerators are the orange and black FCS2 fins. The Accelerators and these Gorillas are made to be surfed with boards like this Rusty Surfboards Panda. Boards that are intended to be pushed a little bit harder, that are intended for more high performance surfing.
Even though I’m not a high performance surfer I can still feel when a couple of times I was coming up to do a top turn I could really feel how they would bite and then release right as they get to the top. Same thing on my backhand; they felt really natural with the board, not necessarily for doing big, open, arching turns, these are really for all around performance surfing and they felt great in the Rusty Surfboards Panda.
The pro’s and the con’s of the Rusty Surfboards Panda. The biggest pro to me is that it is specifically designed for bigger, better surfers. It’s designed for Willian Cardoso and his power breed of surfing. If you’re a bigger guy and you want a board that is intended to be surfed as a high performance board in high performance waves and you actually want to get a board that’s designed specifically for that. that is the great thing about this board, there are not that many like it on the market. This board will definitely handle bigger, better days, that’s what it’s built for.
The foam is fairly generous throughout but, again for a bigger guy, I’m 105 kilos the board didn’t feel boaty ever, it never felt bulky ever.
The downside would be that because it’s quite a curvy board because it’s geared for bigger, better waves and to be surfed really aggressively, it’s not a groveler. It’s not the board you want when it’s stomach high, or even chest high really and flat or weak.
You want to take this board out when it’s steeper, when there’s a bit of a groundswell or something that has a little bit of push behind it. This would be an excellent board to take to Indonesia, or Europe in the good wave season or Central America. Any place that you’re going to get solid long period groundswells.
That is the Rusty Surfboards Panda, the Willian Cardoso signature model by Rusty Surfboards. Hope you enjoyed this, please let me know what you think and I will speak to you again soon.
Stock Standard Dimensions & Volume
Standard Rusty Surfboards Panda Dimensions & Volumes available at the Rusty Surfboards website:
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