The beloved CI Pod gets a smaller wave revamp with this shorter, fatter, wider evolution of the original. The Channel Islands Pod Mod is intended to access the smaller end of the wave range with greater aptitude vs. the Pod while maintaining that performance feel.
The Pod Mod definitely lights up in smaller, weaker waves whereas I felt the original CI Pod needed conditions with decent push before it came into its own. However, as one might expect while making the outline more oblong, the Pod Mod does have some drawbacks in bigger, more powerful surf.
I hope you enjoy this Channel Islands Pod Mod Surfboard Review + Futures EA Blackstix Fins!
Have a question? Wondering if the Channel Islands Pod Mod is right for you? Let’s talk about it in the comments…
+ Really playful, lively and snappy ride even in waist high, weaker surf
+ Still has a great wave range like the original Pod (albeit a little bit more specialised)
+ Most people at most ability levels could jump on the CI Pod Mod and get something good out of it
+ This is a great board I think for going through summer in California or summer in Australia or anywhere where the waves are smaller and weaker. But it won’t lie dormant through Autumn and Winter, it’s a great utility board to have in your quiver year round!
– The Channel Islands Pod Mod doesn’t have quite the incredible wave range that the original Pod has. It excels in smaller waves in ways the Pod did not but there are better options above a certain size and intensity
– More of an observation: fin setup is really important for the Pod’s – they don’t seem to like too much fin. I’ve been reverting to medium thrusters whereas I would normally gravitate towards a quad setup with slightly larger fins up front for this type of outline
The Channel Islands Pod Mod at 6’2 x 21 3/8 x 2 3/4 at 40.7L’s of volume. Like the original Pod and the Pod Round Tail [See the Channel Islands Pod Review…], you can’t have too much fin in the Pod Mod. I started with a quad setup (standard…) but the fin setup that worked best for me is Futures EA Blackstix 3.0 Medium Thruster fins [Shop the Futures EA Blackstix 3.0 Medium Thruster Fins…]. I LOVE the original EA Blackstix and these are even better – more drivey, more flick off the tip, the same small wave acceleration. Standard CI High 5 dimensions and volumes at the bottom of this page.
Best Wave Type
Waist high to head high. Flatter faced to steeper faces and, if pushed, it can handle a hollow wave but there are better options if it gets too critical.
- A heavily modified, shorter, wider evolution of the original Channel Islands Pod
- More volume forward and a wider tail increases the Pod Mod’s small wave prowess without sacrificing too much performance
- Flat entry bottom contour to concave with vee through the tail
- Moderate, even rocker throughout the board
- Channel Islands Surfboards Pod Surfboard Review: just for reference…
- Lost Surfboards Short Round Surfboard Review: a dynamite small to medium size wave performance hybrid
- Panda Surfboards Fang Banger Surfboard Review: full bodied but agile, super fun small wave board
Hey, this is Ben. Welcome to Benny’s Boardroom. I hope you’re doing well. If you haven’t already, hit that subscribe button. Subscribe Now. I promise you won’t regret it. And, of course, please share this if you dig it. That helps us out a great deal and we appreciate your help. If you have any questions about this review, let’s talk about it in the comments.
This is the Channel Islands Pod Mod. The Channel Islands Pod Mod is a radical change to the original Pod, which was a great all around favorite for so many surfers. This is a again, a departure from the original Pod in that it’s meant for a smaller end of the wave range. You can see that it has a wider outline, a wider nose, and a wider tail in order to help you to plane and get through slower, fatter, smaller sections than you might have been able to do with the Pod.
You can see that it is wider throughout, wider in the tip and tail, has a medium entry rocker, and a continuous rocker throughout to a medium exit rocker in tail. It does have a touch of rocker that will sit into a steeper wave face.
“This is not the sort of thing that you’re only going to be able to surf when the waves are flat faced.”
It has that signature concave upfront that then flows out to a little bit more aggressive double concave and then vee off the tail. You can see the vee if I hold it up to the camera there. Not too aggressive. Again, it’s not intended to be surfed as a groveler per se. That’s more of an all around small wave performance type concave, which works well with this swallow tail that is a little bit wider but still relatively pulled in. You can actually turn the board quite hard.
That is the point of the Pod Mod. It’s basically a modified version of the original Pod that is intended to get you up and get you going when the waves are a little bit smaller.
Experience in the Surf
The first time I surfed the Pod Mod, I didn’t have the best surf on it. I was surfing it in stomach to chest high conditions, nice clean little running walls, kind of steeper faces, beautiful conditions.
I had a different fin setup in it. I had the large Blackstix F8s, the maroon/black ones. I had these little trailers at the back. I was a little bit tired, I was a little bit out of it. I just felt like I was taking off and I just couldn’t get the board to get going, to get around the little sections. I was trying to make these little right hand sections and it was breaking pretty fast. I would’ve thought this thing was going to be like turbocharged and it was going to shoot me around these sections.
I didn’t have a great experience that very first surf. However, I took it out the weekend after that and I was surfing a little wave up the coast a couple hours north of Sydney. I surfed this in not dissimilar conditions, maybe a little bit bigger. Maybe shoulder high, very occasional head high sets, but mostly in that stomach to shoulder high range. Nice walls that were opening up and they were sectioning and folding back and kind of flatter and steeper sections.
This thing just lit up. I had switched the fins out, I put these thrusters in, these EA Blackstix thrusters. I was taking off and getting great, long rides even though the waves didn’t look good at all.
It was one of those things where you looked at it from shore and you’re like, “Oh, it’s not really that good.” It’s setting expectations in your own mind that you’re not going to have a great surf. I actually had a fantastic surf on this board. I caught a couple of waves that literally, I rode all the way to shore when it didn’t look like there was very much to ride at all. That concept of being able to plane across these flatter sections but also then hit these steeper inside sections as well, the board just felt really nice, and fast, and manoeuvrable. I was taking mostly rights and it just felt really smooth coming down the face and through the bottom turns. I was doing these little hits off the lip. Every time I would come in, I would hit the top, it would just project me back down the line. It felt really good in those conditions, in those smaller waves. Again, with a bit of variation in the wave. Not perfectly even running walls but waves that were kind of getting flatter and then sectioning a little bit and getting a little bit steeper.
It was everything thrown at you in one wave. The Pod Mod loved those conditions. The other time that I surfed this, I had heard that this board can actually be surfed in bigger, better waves even though it is again, a wider outline and it is a bit thicker. You can see the rail volume is a little bit more full. I had heard that people were surfing this in bigger, better waves as well.
Just last weekend I was surfing again up the coast and I was surfing this beach break that gets these horrendous hacksaw shore breaks, especially at mid- to low-tide. We got up there at high tide and there were some waves that were coming through that were head high to a few feet overhead, nice clean big peaks. Again, with a little bit of a water on, they weren’t throwing that much but they were these big steep walls.
“This board and I had a fantastic time together.”
The one thing I’d say about it, there were a couple of times I did a bottom turn and I was going down the line. You’re racing these sections and these walls and a couple of times it did feel like I did want something that was a little bit more tuned, something that had a little bit narrower tail that wasn’t quite as wide through the outline to be able to handle those performance waves.
At the end of the day, this board isn’t really intended, I think, for those types of waves but it handled it. That was a really interesting experience for me to see how this board worked in a couple of different conditions. That is the Channel Islands Pod Mod, my experience with it in the water.
For fin setups, I find, in general, with the Pod and I’m talking about the original Pod, and the Pod round tail that I just reviewed recently and this Pod Mod,
“Getting your fin setup dialled in is really important with these Channel Islands Pods.”
I’m not sure exactly why that is but every time I ride one of these boards, I know when I get the right fin setup in there because everything just clicks and the board feels incredible!
Like I said the first time I surfed this, I had a different fin setup, I’m not sure if the fin setup was what caused me to not have that great surf in that first session. It has happened to me in the past with the Pod that I just reviewed with the round tail. I also had to take the fins that I was riding that I thought would’ve been perfect for it and switch them out for something that was smaller. There was just too much fin in it.
I tried this as a quad; I normally like quads. Quads and I get along quite well. In this board, I started with a quad but I actually came back to the thruster and I was very happy with the thruster. I was surfing these EA Blackstix by Futures.
These are probably my favorite fins for those small to medium size average, everyday waves that a lot of us get. They’ve got a big foil through here so they help generate a lot of speed. They’ve got a nice solid base and a little bit of flex in the tips. It just really feel drivey when you’re pushing through turns but then they’ll release when you get to the top. To me, they’re a great type of fin for this type of board.
That was my fin setup of choice, is the thruster setup vs the quad and these Futures EA Blackstix.
This is a great board I think for going through summer in California or summer in Australia or anywhere where the waves are smaller and weaker. But it won’t lie dormant through Autumn and Winter, it will have utility year round.
This Channel Islands Pod Mod I’m surfing is the standard 6’2, which is 6’2 by 21 3/8 by 2 3/4. It’s 40.7 liters, which is a touch bigger than I normally ride for an average everyday all rounder but not much bigger. It’s pretty spot on.
The thing I really liked about this board is it just feels really lively and snappy when I was surfing it in smaller conditions. Gets a lot of speed very quickly but it still feels quite stable. I think this board, most people can jump on at most ability levels and get something good out of it.
I think this board would work well for your novice surfers, perhaps even beginner surfers. Definitely intermediates and I think advanced surfers as well would find a lot of enjoyment riding this Channel Islands Pod Mod because again, it can be surfed more aggressively. Yet, it does feel quite stable and easy to ride.
Maybe not so good, again I think when I surfed it up in the bigger, more powerful wave range, it’s just a big wide outline. I would’ve preferred to have something that was a little more performance tuned. The original Pod had a range of surf you could surf it in bigger, better, more powerful waves but you couldn’t surf it down as small as I think you can with this board.
That is the trade off you make by going for something that’s a little more voluminous and has this wider outline. That is the Pod Mod by Channel Islands.
I’m sure this is going to be a very good seller for Channel Islands Surfboards. The Pod was an amazing little board and I think this just extends the wave range that you can surf your Pod with the Pod Mod. That is my review of the Pod Mod. I hope you’re doing well. I hope you’re out there getting some waves and I will speak with you again soon.
Stock Standard Dimensions & Volume
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Recently got a 5'2" (minus dims) pod mod in flexbar tech, I'm 5'6" 140 lbs. What can I say, it's the best board for knee-head high waves. Easy paddling, handles late drops, stable take off, great drive and release off the top. I don't do airs but this board is so quick and responsive, it feels like I can. The flexbar tech allows you to get that added pop and spring out of turns. Been riding it at reef and break breaks in north county San Diego. Using m5 fcs fins which work great but might try it with Julian Wilson's. It makes mediocre days so fun. If you have too much boards, this board will help you with that problem, I just use this one and my CI black and white when the waves get head high plus.Aloha!
Hi BennyJust wondering whether you have had a chance to look at the JS Psycho Nitro and how it compares to the Pod Mod? ThanksRicky