Dane Reynolds’ latest & greatest signature model, the Channel Islands Sampler surfboard is a blazing fast little pocket rocket that loves a steeper face.
We like Dane Reynolds. His models are always well received. This one is special, the *NEW* Dane Reynolds Channel Islands Sampler Surfboard Review!
At first glance this may look like a stubby little Dumpster Diver small wave board but, as Craig explains, there is much more to the Channel Islands Sampler than meets the eye.
A little more accessible versus Channel Islands Surfboards last Dane Reynolds signature model release, the Channel Islands Peregrine, this Sampler is still best suited for surfers with some experience.
The signature Al Merrick hip squash tail allows you to surf loose and fast and provides break points for deep, carving turns off the top.
Sure to be a hit, this Dane Reynolds *NEW* Channel Islands Sampler Review.
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All the best,
Have a question? Wondering if the Channel Islands Sampler Surfboard is the right board for you? Let’s talk about it in the comments…
+ Super fun, fast board that can be surfed performance but it’s still quite forgiving
+ Characterised by speed, the Sampler is an extremely fast board
+ Perfect for shorter and wider in smaller or weaker surf
– Not the most user friendly board out there but once you adapt to it, it’s going to be a really good board and may challenge and improve your surfing considerably
Craig rides the Channel Islands Sampler in stock 5’8 dimensions, which is 5’8 x 19 1/4 x 2 3/8 at 28L’s. Craig used his ‘go to’ thruster setup, the Futures Fins AM2 Honeycomb LARGE Thruster Fin Set, in the Sampler and this worked the treat!
Standard Channel Islands Sampler Surfboard dimensions and volumes may be found at the bottom of this page.
Best Wave Type
The Channel Islands Sampler Surfboard is intended to help you:
“Take your good wave game to conditions that are not.” – Channel Islands Surfboards
We found the Sampler didn’t mind smaller, weaker, more average surf but it really comes alive in slightly larger, better waves in the stomach to head high range.
- Fairly flat rocker through center with more lift in the tip and tail
- Deep concave through the center of the board, which comes through to the fins, where a slight double within the single occurs between the fins and then a little vee for kick off the tail
- Full, sleek outline in the front half and slightly forward of normal signature Al Merrick hip tail which bites and releases sharply through turns.
- Widened squash tail
- Suitable for all levels of surfers but tends towards novices/intermediates or better
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Hey, I’m Craig and today for CompareSurfboards.com, I’m doing a review of the Sampler by Al Merrick of Channel Islands Surfboards. The Sampler is a pretty exciting new model for Dane Reynolds (that recently has had the Channel Islands Peregrine come out), which has been more of a high performance shortboard model.
The Sampler is a bit more of a shortened version and it’s a different board but it’s another Dane Reynolds signature model and the Dane models always get a little bit of hype. It’s been good to see a few new Dane models coming out lately and I think there might be another one coming on the way. (STAY TUNED…)
I’ve been riding the Sampler in stock 5’8 dimensions, which is 5’8 x 19 1/4 x 2 3/8 at 28 L’s. The Sampler has a pretty interesting outline. It’s comparative probably to other boards by Channel Islands, maybe the Channel Islands New Flyer and it surfs kind of similar to that.
When I first saw that the Sampler coming out, I was getting in my head that it was a new version of the Dumpster Diver. By that, I mean it’s a really fun board that can be surfed a bit performance but it is still quite forgiving.
Upon surfing the Sampler, it isn’t like a Dumpster Diver. It’s probably more like the New Flyer but a little bit more performance.
The Sampler has a fairly flat rocker. The first thing you see when you pick it up is that it is really flat. Lift starts around the fins and probably doesn’t start again really until the very end, like the last foot of the nose. It has also has quite a deep concave, which you can see through the center of the board, which comes the whole way through the fins.
The Sampler is a very fast board. Upon riding it, my first few surfs were quite challenging. We get a lot of, this time of year coming into summer in Australia, we have a lot of wind swells and sometimes you can look and it will be two to three foot and be like a good size but the waves don’t have much push.
Experience in the Surf
Speaking to a few of the boys that had the Channel Islands Samplers, they were all saying what a fast board it was but on my first few surfs I wasn’t quite sure I agree. I think it was down some to surfing some of those low period wind swells that just don’t have enough push.
However, when I actually got some decent waves on it, in that three foot range, maybe a bit of a ground swell that has a bit more push, the Sampler absolutely flies.
Once you get a bit of lift on the wave, a bit of a steeper face, I think water and air goes under the board and the Sampler is an absolute rocket.
The flatness throughout the board felt weird at first. Almost catching through here and it was just something that I had to just get used to. Getting on it from a different board that has a very different outline, the first few turns and waves and that were quite interesting.
Then again, you’ll see through the back end here, it has a sharp hip, which is common in some of the Al Merrick models. The Flyer F, the New Flyer and a few other Merrick models. This allows your outline, which holds an edge through most of a turn, to suddenly break free. You have this sudden transition that you really feel when you come through maybe an arc, or you’re doing a turn on the board. You’ll start a roundhouse turn and, at that end of the turn, you’ll feel this release where the tail snaps around.
When I saw the model coming out and saw a few clips of it, I was thinking it was like Dumpster Diver, Neck Beard, or another of the fun, flat Dane Reynolds models. However, if you’ve been following Channel Islands Surfboards and Dane Reynolds on some of the social media sites, you would have seen over the North Shore winter, that Dane Reynolds has been riding his CI Sampler in solid conditions at Rocky Point in that three to five foot range (shoulder to overhead) when some people would be looking at riding a slightly larger board, he’s been riding his Sampler in 5’9.
I’m going to say, when I’ve had some surfs where it’s been head high or overhead, this Channel Islands Sampler has really held it’s own.
I think, looking at the board, if you are approaching the Channel Islands Sampler like it’s a stumpy, fun board, you may be disappointed. It’s actually more of a shortened shortboard for the better conditions.
The conditions don’t have to be big or have too much push but it’s not that stumpy little fun board that you probably think it is.
I’ve surfed it in a variety of conditions and it’s held it’s own in everything. It’s a really fast board and when you get used to this different quite wide and tucked in outline and this very flat rocker, it’s a really fun board to ride.
It actually shoots down the line with a lot of speed and it’s fun to ride in and out of turns, especially coming off of that signature Al Merrick hip tail where you have that transition point through your turns.
With the Sampler, I’ve been riding the Futures Fins AM2 Honeycomb LARGE Thruster Fin Set, which is the Al Merrick large template and it’s been a great fin. In most of the CI models that’s my go to fin. I really enjoy it. It has a nice flex to it and I haven’t tried anything else. It’s worked really well with this board and I haven’t found the need to try anything else.
Overall, the Channel Islands Sampler has been a really good board to ride. I’ve had a lot fun on it through a lot of fun surfs.
When I first got it, from picking it up, I didn’t feel like it had the literage in it that I thought it would or that I needed and I was really unsure. These days with everyone using literage to help size their boards, we often go off that exclusively when ordering a board. Most of the time, it works out fine but I think it’s a good idea to go check a Channel Islands Sampler out – hold it under your arm – and see what works for you.
Regarding pros and cons for the board, I’d say the pros are, it’s a really fun board for someone who’s probably more of an intermediate to advanced surfer. It has quite a deep concave, it is quite flat and it has real transition points with that signature Al Merrick hip here. Also, with the rocker at the front end of the board to the concave and I think it’s aimed at someone who is quite a good surfer.
I think someone who can surf quite well will enjoy the board. It’s got a lot of speed, a lot of release. I’d say the cons are, someone who maybe wants more of the Dumpster Diver type of boards and they get onto a Sampler, I think they might find that transition to this board a little bit challenging.
It isn’t the most user friendly board but I think once you adapt to it and get used to it, it’s going to be a really good board that may challenge and improve your surfing considerably.
That’s my surfboard review of Dane Reynolds’ new signature model, the Channel Islands Sampler. I hope you enjoyed the review and hopefully you can check one out. It’s a really fun board. Thanks.
Stock Standard Dimensions & Volume
Standard Channel Islands Sampler Surfboard Dimensions & Volumes available at the Channel Island Surfboards website:
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I think Craig's description is spot on, except saying that it's like the New Flyer. Have both boards, the Sampler's flat tail rocker make if more "pivoty" or "skatey" on turns than the NF. The NF will turn more like a HPSB. The Sampler will get into waves a little easier and is more at home in steeper surf than the NF. For me the NF performs more like a traditional HPSB than the Sampler. The Sampler has a different feel and takes some getting used to. I initially used it with futures AM2's, my go to fins, but found the board was too stiff. Went with Future Roberts Gen fins, made the board more lively and even faster, but it can slide out in steep overhead surf or hard cut backs. Overall, it's a fast board that catches waves pretty easy. When trying to go vertical, it seems to struggle, more of a pivot turn vs a re directional turn. Have only surfed it in waist very fast hollow surf, and chest to 1' overhead hollow/punchy surf.
Sick board took a couple surfs to get use to, its fast and loose id recommend riding it at your standard short board volume my fcs mf2 fins are perfect in it!
I have owned two samplers. Both 5'5". One I traded in for another as I wanted one with less volume. I agree with some comments in the review. It has a flatter rocker and the deep concave near the fins makes it go fast when you are in the pocket. The pulled in shape after the hip allows you to turn sharply but at the same time it is not as smooth as a board without that hip. Yes in a way it is similar to the New Flyer but I like it better because it seems to excel in mush and poorer conditions. Due to the extra foam just forward of centre it is a great paddler but at the same time this extra foam will make the board feel a bit heavier in turns. It is good for making sections though. Also due to the flatness when you take off on a steeper wave it sometimes has a flat spot if you don't time the take off properly but you will overcome this when you get used to the board, which takes a few surfs. Overall i like the Sampler's I have had and would recommend it for that 2-4 feet range or a board you will use 60 - 70% of the time. Since you ride it a few inches shorter keep the same volume as your shortboard (don't go up or down) because it hides foam well and will float you just the same. I give it maybe 3.7/5, but this may increase as I ride in my 2nd sampler.