The wine glass inspired punt machine and the third board in Hayden Cox’s ‘go to’ quiver, the Haydenshapes Merlot is an explosive, skatey small wave option and a must have utility board for Hayden around Los Angeles and Sydney.
In this third installment of My Quiver, Hayden Cox, founder and owner of Haydenshapes Surfboards, shares the third board he loves to ride, the Haydenshapes Merlot.
Hayden’s utility board for most surfs around Los Angeles and Southern California, the Haydenshapes Merlot’s wider wine glass outline with snowboard inspired side cuts is great for throwing around and boosting airs (if that’s your thing) in small to medium size peaks.
This is Hayden Cox of Haydenshapes Surfboards talking about the third board in his quiver, the Haydenshapes Merlot.
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Benny: Hey, this is Ben, welcome to Benny’s Boardroom. We are already on Part 3 of Hayden Cox talking about his Go To Quiver. In the first instalment, we talked about the Haydenshapes Ando [See the Haydenshapes Ando review…], a great good wave board. Last week we covered the Love Buzz [See the Haydenshapes Love Buzz review…], which is a high-performance hybrid, small to medium size wave board that Hayden developed for Creed McTaggart. Today, we are going to talk about what has become Hayden Cox’s utility board, the board that he surfs most of the time around Los Angeles and Southern California where he is based a lot of the time.
This is the Haydenshapes Merlot, a sexy, wider outline, skatey, fast, fun, small to medium sized wave board with those cool side cuts pulling into that, that very interesting looking tail. It looks a little bit like wine glass, hence the name, the Merlot. This is Hayden Cox My Quiver Part 3. Hope you are doing well. Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss the next installment.
Hayden Cox: All right. The third board that I consistently ride – actually, I ride probably one of the most in the Haydenshapes range [Shop the Full Haydenshapes Range Here…] is the Merlot model. This board I designed with Craig Anderson quite a long time ago, but it’s definitely a very addictive board. I don’t have my personal one here because it’s back in the LA but I generally ride a 5’5 x 19 x 2.25. It has a little bit more volume in this particular design than say the Love Buzz and the Ando but I am looking for that extra little bit of volume because I’m predominantly riding this board in anything up to about six foot faces.
The main thing about the Merlot, this came as a hybrid between the Psychedelic Germ and the Hypto Krypto models. The Psychedelic Germ with the side cuts is a feature that both Craig (Anderson) Warren (Smith) and myself, we all really connected with the site cut in that board and found the benefits of how that was able to really maneuver around the pocket.
In the Merlot, I took the hip [00:02:06] though, and its, you might be able to see it, but through this part of the board here, it’s really got the Hypto Krypto outline, but then it goes into the side cut through this part of the board here. It kicks out of the back a little bit behind the back, the front fin, the back of the front fin.
It has all that super easy paddle up front in the board, which is great when you are riding anything on the six foot faces, like it’s what you need. You need that stability, you need that width up front to make the board surf really nice and fluid off the front foot and easy to paddle. But the beauty of the Merlot and what I really love about this board is that you can approach a really small face wave with a tight curve to it, where you can really think that you are surfing a larger size wave and put the board on rail, but connect that side cut to draw a really tight radius arc.
Whether it be through the cutback or bouncing back off the [00:03:06] lip, you can be riding a fun little [ 00:03:08] rippable beach break or a fun little point break where it’s only like a really tight curve but a beautiful shape wave, and then
“you can just put this board on rail and really carve it around that pocket.”
That’s what the side cut does, it really affects the three-dimensional rail line curve without affecting the rocker. It’s effectively adding a lot more curve into the rail line of the board without adjusting the centerline rocker.
Getting to the rocker of this board that a Merlot has stolen a lot of the rocker from the Hypto, but it has been kicked up in the nose and the tail. What I love about that is that I get that run, you get that skatey vibe and you can shoot across the face of the wave.
The rocker line would run really fast actually in the wave, yet when you get this board up on rail, you really get that vertical turn and a really tight radius turn from the side cut. When I ride this board, it’s definitely something that you can carve on, but it also has that real skatey feel to it. I don’t do airs and I can’t do air reverses, but I popping off the lip and just bounce around on floaters and just overall having a real fun skatey feel to your surfing. It’s something that this board brings in really small waves when it’s really junkie. You have enough surface area, you got enough speed to really wiggle this board and really just get one or two pumps in and just do a bash off the lip [00:04:39] on the shorey or something like that.
I have ridden this board all around the world from Florida to the West Coast to LA to Sydney a lot. I have ridden it in Victoria where it probably shouldn’t have been ridden but I rode Winki at about six to eight foot (double overhead) on it. It was actually really interesting and really intriguing of how these side cuts worked when the waves got a lot bigger and how you could really maneuver the board around the pocket and really draw a radius, a really tight turn when the waves were bigger.
But, generally, I would only really ride this board up to [00:05:20] around six foot faces. Occasionally a little bit bigger if it’s a slabbing shorey down in the South Bay, I’ll ride this all throughout winter and surf like [Hamilands 00:05:29] or something like that on it and just pull into barrels, just because you can ride anything in shorey barrels. But yeah, I just really enjoy that this board has an easy paddle. It’s got a lot of surface area so that
“You can really connect with the side cut of the board and put it through its paces on rail.”
In terms of fin setup, I personally always ride in a thruster [00:05:56] I know a [00:05:55] crew that have ordered it in a quad fin. I prefer to be in the thrust as [competitive 00:06:01] and really put it around the pocket and just get the release from the thrust during it. I generally would ride the Futures Haydenshapes Large Fins [Shop Futures Fins…] in this board. I don’t know it necessarily put like that and a template in there, I always ride that slightly larger surface area fin in his board. I find that it keeps me a little bit more connected with such a wide planning area.
We have a lot of release points as you can see like. The change in direction through this hip really allows you to pivot and release and have a shorter rail line which, that’s how this board surfs. It really surfs short, it surfs in short waves, it surfs. You can ride point breaks on it when it’s small because you get to run down the line but you want to be able to be really connect this board around the pocket and just enjoy the different curves that are coming through the rail line and they outline through the backend of the board.
Yeah, it’s definitely a go-to for me, I’ll probably ride this board 70% of surfs in LA. That’s pretty much exclusively on this board riding anything under six foot over on the West Coast. But it’s and then I’m going to rip bowls back in here in [00:07:11] Mona Vale just running out at the front of the factory, it’s a perfect board to muck around on out there.
This one here, I have ridden in FutureFlex technology [00:07:20] and PE. I don’t know, I think the first one ever shaped was in PE, so I’ve just stuck with it. It works. I just keep getting that same board. But I know guys have ridden it in both technologies and really enjoyed it in FutureFlex. I think it works in both, and it feels just as good in both technologies. That’s the Merlot. [00:07:44] To sum it up, I ride a 5’5 x 19 x 2.25 in the Merlot model.
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