I was in Costa Rica the first time I spied a Von Sol Shadow. The outline sold me – more volume but not too much melded with performance design characteristics. I had to have one.
+ Cool, different outline for a modern performance fish. Dig the elevated wing
+ Great paddler, accelerates well, turns like a champ despite the wide nose and outline
+ Fast and fun to surf in a variety of small to medium size wave conditions
– I ordered my Shadow with ‘Keahana’ epoxy resin finish and it felt like an old school Surftech board in and out of the water – too rigid & corky! Picking up a normal epoxy Shadow in a store later, however, felt right
– Wide nose and outline, little rocker = challenge in steeper, bigger, more powerful waves…it is still a fish at its core
Von Sol Shadow surfboard at 6’4 x 21 3/8 x 2 3/4 @ ~42L’s of volume. If I ordered another Shadow, I would drop down to 6’2. This is one of very few boards I’ve ridden that I would say was too large for me
Best Wave Type
Waist to head high waves, average to good conditions. Nothing too steep or hollow
I first spotted a Von Sol Shadow surfboard on a trip to Playa Avellana, Costa Rica and, a perennial sucker for round tail quads, I loved the shape immediately. Hopping on the Von Sol website to learn more was interesting – let’s just say the website could use some work – but I found the contact info. I was looking for and started the long, somewhat challenging process of ordering a board. After a bit of back and forth and a few follow up reminders, I had a board ordered and ready to pick up when I returned to San Diego.
My first impression of the board was not the best. On a tip from a fellow frother, I ordered the board with the optional ‘Keahana’ epoxy resin finish…I wished I hadn’t. It felt like the first iterations of the rock solid, inflexible Surftech epoxy boards. Regardless, I high tailed it to Blacks Beach to meet a new swell and give the board a go.
Blacks was solid overhead to double overhead and power packed. My Shadow felt so corky that I felt like I was sitting on a longboard (partially my fault for ordering the Shadow too large and, I think, partially due to the Keahana). When I caught my first wave, a steep, brooding beast, I dug the nose and was beaten mercilessly. To make a long story short, it wasn’t the best first surf on a new board.
Despite my first impression, however, I surfed the Shadow again at head high PB Point and I started to see what the fuss was about. The Shadow paddles well and accelerates easily and, on my back hand, the elevated wing to round tail was a winner for executing big hacks. Plus, it flew across flatter sections with minimal effort.
To vindicate myself of that first experience at Blacks, I returned on a smaller, cleaner, more lined up day and, again, was impressed by the speed of the Shadow. As long as I got into the waves before they became too steep, it was off to the races. Fun, fast and flowy.
Apart from the humble (shocking) beginning, I dig the Shadow. However, if I were to order another Shadow by Von Sol, it would be without the Keahana and smaller at 6’2.
Have you ridden a Shadow? What do you think?
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