A performance oriented evolution of Panda Surfboards popular ‘Doinker’ model, this is the ‘The Bear Essentials’. Essential Summer time equipment, the Bear Essentials will handle slightly larger, better waves versus a more traditional groveler style surfboard!
+ Versatile, performance-oriented groveler shape that performs in tiny, weak waves but will handle bigger, better stuff
+ The tail shape is awesome. Wide enough to drive through ugly, flat sections but not too bulky. Bites hard when you need it to and won’t blow out in turns like other grovelers – you can turn this board hard
+ Even with a very flat rocker, The Bear Essentials takes a steep drop much better than the outline would suggest and the rail line into the tail makes it feel very lively and responsive on the wave face; much more so than other grovelers I’ve surfed
+ Blake is a talented artist and his unique shapes & artwork are special. Certainly a different breed from the rows and rows of plain white, homogeneous shapes you see so often in board stores
– Blake and I went back and forth about the dims and settled on a 5’11 I have a mental block for riding sub-6’0 boards. He was right about the length – my Bear Essentials is perfect at 5’11 – but I do struggle to get up and get speed at the smallest end of the wave range (sub-waist high)
The Bear Essentials surfboard by Panda Surfboards at 5’11 x 21 3/4 x 2 5/8 at ~40L’s of volume (custom dims). At Blake’s recommendation, I’ve been riding it mostly as a quad with a nubster and that little nub gives it just the right amount of hold. Full standard Panda The Bear Essentials volumes and dimensions at the bottom of this page.
Best Wave Type
Waist to head high, clean, onshore, lined up or not. The Bear Essentials is an essential summer small wave weapon
- Nick Blair (Joistik) Surfboards Cab Sav surfboard review: another excellent, performance oriented groveler shape
- Channel Islands Average Joe surfboard review: fun, cruisy option by Channel Islands that works well in tiny, weak surf
- JS Surfboards Pier Pony surfboard review: JS’s answer to the groveler. It works in a broader wave range but that huge tail is hard to dig in
- …Lost Surfboards Bottom Feeder surfboard review: a fun, lively option for tiny waves from the good people at …Lost Surfboards
Hello and welcome to Benny’s Boardroom! My name is Ben and I buy, ride, and review surfboards. This is the Panda Surfboards Bear Essentials by a talented young Australian shaper named Blake Peters, who’s based in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, which is just up the road from me. I remember seeing my first Panda surfboard. [00:00:30] It was a Doinker, which is a really popular groveler shape that Blake put out and I liked the board instantly. It had this really cool spray on it and I liked the shape. Later, I saw that he put this board up on his blog and I liked the shape of this thing instantly and I wanted to have one right away.
This is, I think, an evolution of the Doinker; a higher performance version of it. You can see a couple of things that Blake has done to tweak the design. So, versus the Doinker and a lot of other grovelers, you can see that the tip [00:01:00] has been pulled in a little bit and actually the nose has this nice little roll through the tip here so that when you’re taking off of a steeper face, this is not going to dig in like a lot of other grovelers might. My very first wave on this board, I took off – it was about head high and a little bit steeper – and I took off and that nose sat in the wave face perfectly and I was able to get down the line and get a great wave as my first wave, which is always a good sign.
Blake has also pulled in the tail and he’s made this really cool shape with the tail. You can see that [00:01:30] this is a relatively narrow tail for a board that is intended for the smallest part of the wave range. But, he’s also done this cool thing to the tail, which is almost like he had an arc tail and then just cut this little bit out. That gives it a lot of bite when you’re trying to turn it. I remember my first back hand turn on this surfboard, whereas with other grovelers I might have just pushed straight out of the water and not have been able to dig it in, this tail really bit hard into the wave face and I did a really great turn on this thing, which, for a board with a big, wide outline [00:02:00] like this, is pretty special.
The Bear Essentials has a single concave running under the bottom contour through the front and that channels out to a pretty straightforward double concave with a vee out the back. So, a pretty efficient channeling mechanism. Nothing too groundbreaking there. Overall, the Panda Bear Essentials is a really fun board for, in my opinion, waist high to just overhead high waves. I did try surfing this in knee high waves as a groveler. It was a bit too small for me. I could get waves but I just couldn’t get as much speed as I liked. [00:02:30] So, that’s the only drawback I see of this design. However, I think the upside, the tradeoff, is that you’re going to be able to surf this board in a broader range of waves.
And it looks cool! Beyond being a talented shaper, Blake Peters is also quite a talented artist. You see, he actually put a white resin tint on the front of the board and let that drip down into this darker blue. Really, really cool looking board and I think if you look at a lot of Panda Surfboards, they all look different and distinct, which is really special in this day and age where a lot of surfboards look the same. [00:03:00]
So, that is my take on Panda Surfboards Bear Essentials model by Blake Peters. If you’ve had a go, please let me know what you think. And thank you very much for watching the show.
Stock Standard Dimensions & Volume
Panda Surfboards The Bear Essentials standard dimensions and volume from Panda Surfboards website:
|5’3||20 1/8||2 3/16||27.91L|
|5’4||20 1/4||2 1/4||29.97L|
|5’5||20 3/8||2 5/16||31.5L|
|5’6||20 1/2||2 3/8||32.19L|
|5’7||20 5/8||20 5/8||34.18L|
|5’8||20 7/8||2 1/2||35.62L|
Latest posts by Benny (see all)
- Christenson Surfboards Fish Surfboard Review - July 30, 2017
- JS Industries Flying Pony Surfboard Review - March 8, 2017
- Neal Purchase Jnr DUO (Dual Single Fin) Surfboard Review - October 19, 2016
Submit your review