So Many Grovelers, So Little Time.
The concept of a groveler surfboard, or a board that is purpose built to get you in the water having fun in tiny, weak surf, has grown considerably in recent times. There are dozens of these fat, oblong shapes floating around now. But which one to buy?
In a world of increasing surfboard choice, here are six popular groveler surfboard models to get you up and going in the weakest of conditions (in no particular order). I can’t pick a favourite – too difficult – but please let me know your pick (even if it’s not on this very short list) in the comments!
1.) Firewire Sweet Potato Surfboard
Say what you will about the Sweet Potato – it has a polarised audience of lovers and haters – but I believe this is the first popular mainstream extreme oblong groveler surfboard models. It certainly started the trend!
I find the Sweet Potato temperamental in nature; moments of greatness punctuated by many moments of defeat and despair…
2.) Nick Blair (Joistik) Cab Sav Surfboard
An excellent, performance-oriented groveler shape. The Cab Sav’s concave deck, narrower nose and thinned out tail makes this a really versatile performer in tiny waves. Every time I see a Cab Sav in the water, there is someone on top of it tearing tiny waves to pieces!
3.) Channel Islands Average Joe Surfboard
A fun, cruisy option by Channel Islands that works well in tiny, weak surf. The signature Al Merrick hip tail allows you to turn this board much harder than the wide outline suggests.
4.) JS Surfboards Pier Pony Surfboard
Jason Stevenson’s answer to the groveler. A great little board, the Pier Pony worked well for me in a broader wave range (even head high to a wee bit overhead) relative to most grovelers but I found that huge tail hard to dig in through turns! [Read the full JS Pier Pony review here.]
5.) …Lost Surfboards Bottom Feeder Surfboard
The Bottom Feeder by Matt Biolos is a fun, lively option for tiny waves from the good people at …Lost. I found the Bottom Feeder had a good balance of extreme wave catching ability but still felt playful and less stiff versus some other grovelers in the surf. [Read the full Lost Bottom Feeder review here.]
6.) Panda The Bear Essentials Surfboards
I said I wouldn’t pick a favourite but if I were to, this tiny wave weapon by Blake Peters of Panda Surfboards would certainly be in the running. An evolved groveler shape with performance characteristics, it handles size, the cool tail shape bites hard into the wave face through turns and the wide outline is surprisingly nimble. The Bear Essentials even takes a steep drop! Ironically, while it catches waves and generates speed easily in small, weak waves, this groveler didn’t grovel for me as well as others. [Read the full Panda Bear Essentials review here.]