Like a cult movie, Dane Reynolds & Al Merrick’s strange creation has grown a loyal – even fanatical – following of surfers who love the way the Channel Islands Sperm Whale flows through the water.
+ Flat, wide but thin – an interesting combo that allows for a very different feeling in the water
+ The wide outline careens across flat sections but the narrower, thinner tail allows you to turn on a dime
+ A soul surfing experience blended with the precision of a high performance shortboard
– It looks like a groveler but lacks the volume to catch waves and generate speed when it’s tiny
The Channel Islands Sperm Whale surfboard at 5’11 x 21 5/8 x 2 1/2 @ 36.9L’s of volume. I have been surfing the Futures Seaworthy Quads a lot lately in boards with wider, fatter tails and they are working really well for me. Standard Channel Islands Sperm Whale dimensions and volume at the bottom of this page.
Best Wave Type
Waist high to overhead. The Sperm Whale loves a big, fast wall to carve up but also flies across flatter, weaker sections
- Flat, wide outline but thin and responsive
- Little rocker in the tip and tail, flat through center
- Geared for intermediate to advanced surfers
- Quad fin setup
- JR Sardine Surfboard Review: a similar concept, the Sardine is wide and flat but also thin and flows beautifully on the wave face
- Bing Dharma Surfboard Review: a different ride to the Sperm Whale but equally fulfilling
- Chilli Cherry Peppa Surfboard Review: a skatey little number with a wide outline and thinner foil
Hello! Welcome to Benny’s Boardroom! My name is Ben and I buy, ride and review surfboards for me but also for you.
This is the Sperm Whale by Channel Islands. When this board came out, I was really intrigued by it. It’s got a really cool, different outline but for whatever reason I didn’t pull the trigger and buy one. Then time and time again I would hear from friends of mine that surf the board and absolutely love it. I even have a few friends who surf this almost exclusively as their small to medium sized wave board. It does just have this really cool kind of unique feel to it.
I finally bought a Sperm Whale and I really enjoy surfing it. It really just flows beautifully down the line but as soon as you want to turn it, it’s really lively and precise. It’s hard to explain the feel that you get from this board. It’s not like anything else I’ve ridden.
I also want to dispel some myths about it, because I get asked the question quite often:
“How would you compare the Sperm Whale versus, for example, the Average Joe by Channel Islands [See the full review…]?” which has come out since.
Other than this very wide outline, this very wide nose and very wide center going to a relatively wide tail – you can see this has been pulled back into that nice little Al Merrick hip tail – there really isn’t a lot of similarity between these boards. This does a very flat rocker as well, which is also a similarity, but the Average Joe, to me, is a groveler. It’s something that you surf when it’s tiny. It’s also a really fun easy board to ride. It’s something that I would recommend, for example, to a very early stage surfer that wants to something that’s still going to give them the paddle power but that is quite easy to ride.
This Sperm Whale, while it’s very flat, it is also quite thin. As a point of reference, at 5’11”, this Sperm Whale surfboard has just under 37 liters of volume. The 5’11” Average Joe, in contrast, has over 43 liters of volume, so there’s more than a 20% difference between the two, which is significant.
The common myth that I want to dispel because I get asked that question quite a lot is “How does the Sperm Whale [00:02:00] compare to the Pier Pony by JS or the CI Average Joe.” They’re very, different boards. I actually wouldn’t surf the Channel Islands Sperm Whale in probably anything below waist high, maybe even chest high. Whereas the Average Joe and the Pier Pony and the Nick Blair Cab Sav, I would surf those boards when it’s literally tiny, like knee high, and the weakest and tiniest conditions. That’s the myth I’d like to dispel. While, at first glance, it looks like a groveler, the Sperm Whale is not really intended for those tiny, weak days.
That aside, if we just talk through the board, again, you see it has the very big outline but it’s also very, very thin. It’s very thin up in the nose and relatively thin through the center and then it trails off quite nicely in the back here. So again, while that flatness and that foil, or distribution of foam throughout the front of the board and the center of the board, does help you to generate a bit of speed, that tail still allows you to turn the board hard.
The Channel Islands Sperm Whale is also, I would say, more conducive to surfers who are better at generating their own speed and that’s why I think it’s probably better suited to intermediate, possibly a novice surfer or better.
Really fun, beautiful board to ride. It’s definitely a different feeling. I wouldn’t recommend this board to everyone but if you’re a bit of a board connoisseur and you just want to try every different type of shape you see, then you should definitely not look past the Sperm Whale. It definitely is worth giving a go.
That is my take on the Sperm Whale by Channel Islands. If you’ve had a go, please let me know what you think, and thank you as always for your support and for watching the show. Have a great day.
The Sperm Whale is weird, but cool. I think you should get one.
Stock Standard Dimensions & Volume
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If ride lots of alternative craft on the small waves of Santa Barbara. One my favorite boards to ride are single fins, especially mini spoons and 70's pin tails. However when the waves get a little more high performance, it is time for a quad or thruster. The Sperm Whale bridges the gap of both flavors or my quiver. Not a real groveller so you need some tension on the wave to keep the Sperm Whale going. However if you have a fun waist to head high day on your hands, the Sperm Whale can show you a good time.
I have lots of fun on this board. Super fast, smooth, but really easy to control.
I also have an Average Joe but it does not get much water time compared to the Sperm Whale.
I use FCS compressor quad fins for bigger waves and FCS Nexus Large quads on this board.
Like Benny says "It's weird but cool."