I met up with Joe Blair last week at Lego Land’s parking lot to check out the master shaper’s 9′9″ stand up paddle surf board. It was my last day in San Diego and there was no other way to meet up. I’m glad I did as the custom Blair stand up paddle board was worth checking out and Joe had some great stand up paddle info to share.
The board shown on video is designed for people 170 pounds and below. This custom Blair stand up board was made for a 130 lbs wahine (female).
It’s interesting to note that Joe places his fins five-inches closer towards the middle of the board, giving it more maneuverability. Joe says that it makes the 9′9″ stand up paddle board turn like a 8′6″ stand up paddle board. The double barrel (concave) shape on the bottom also helps the board plane good. There’s a ’speed spot’ on the bottom of the standing area that is supposed to make this stand up board faster.
Check this video out:
Evan Leong: Okay, we’re over here with Joe Blair, Master Shaper. Show us what’s in the Blair mobile. And check this out guys – we’re at Lego land parking lot. I snuck away for a little bit. Okay, that’s sweet. So this is what? 10 feet?
Joe Blair: 9’9”
Evan Leong: 9’9”?
Joe Blair: Yeah.
Evan Leong: So you got to be what? Under 200 pounds or what?
Joe Blair: Well, this is for 170 and below if you’re good… like that.
Evan Leong: 9’9”. So let’s look at this. I notice on this. So you got – your rail is a little bit smoother too, huh?
Joe Blair: Yeah I got a little bit softer of a rail and then I got the fins moved up. But, really important, I got a speed spot right between your feet where you stand so you have some acceleration.
Evan Leong: What do you mean?
Joe Blair: Well, there’s a…right here. Right here you want a straighter spot on the board right where you stand, so the thing is fast – like that. And then with the double barrel, it makes it even faster, and then moving the fins up.
Evan Leong: You’re talking about the concave, right? The double barrel? I don’t know if you can see it with this camera but there is a slight concave coming in, here and here.
Joe Blair: And then there’s the concave and the nose for catching the waves and got pretty soft rails here so it will catch…
Evan Leong: Yeah, it’s nice. With the softer rails, does it make it a little bit hard to stand on or not really?
Joe Blair: Just a little but it’s worth it, you know, if you want to have a board loose right away, or try to make it more for riding the wave then I do something really wide and stable. But one thing interesting about the fins is, the boards are quite a bit bigger than regular boards and most of the guys put the fins on just like they do on a regular long board. Well, these things are five inches further up than that. I found out even moving them up a little further, it’s even way more maneuverable.
Evan Leong: Is that because so you don’t have to move your feet back too far when you want to turn?
Joe Blair: No, it’s just that the board is extremely large. So how are you going to take up such a large board and make it turn really quick? By moving the fins up.
Evan Leong: So you’re doing a thruster kind of style, right?
Joe Blair: Yeah, exactly, see…
Evan Leong: Not two plus one then?
Joe Blair: Yeah, I’m just real down on the two plus one because you have a little fin on this side that doesn’t give you any drive out of your turn and then you got a big fin right here that makes it stiff to turn. So with this fin, you get more punch out of your turn and then you got a smaller fin back here that make it more maneuverable when moved up. and we know that three fins don’t spin out.
Evan Leong: And what about that quad one you got then? The quad, you said this one turns better than the quad.
Joe Blair: Yeah, I’m almost thinking the three-fin turns a little bit better than the quad because you have less fin on the board. Because these boards are so big, you have to re-think a lot of stuff when you build them – because they’re just so much bigger. You got to take that in to consideration. You got to put a lot of different things in it.
Evan Leong: And then this one pretty much specifically designed to surf, right? This is not really a – you don’t do distance, you don’t do any of that. It’s just surfing.
Joe Blair: But one thing interesting though, everybody wants to have a board they go out and they just take a big long paddle. Well this thing is more of a workout because it’s not all flat, so it planes good. It has more surf tendencies. So you actually get a better work out by taking out one that has more surf – meant more for surfing.
Evan Leong: How’s the glide on something like this?
Joe Blair: It’s not as good as some big wide flat thing. But we’re surfers.
Evan Leong: So the thickness on this is what?
Joe Blair: This one is 4 ½
Evan Leong: It’s 4 ½?
Joe Blair: Yeah, this one is a little bit of a smaller board. It’s 9’9”, 28-inches wide.
Evan Leong: So all of these are full custom that you make. It’s not a production board?
Joe Blair: I do have a production board out right now but it’s a big one.
Evan Leong: The 9’11”?
Joe Blair: Yeah, I’m just getting ready to send one over to have it produced.
Evan Leong: So what is the difference between your custom boards and your production boards?
Joe Blair: The production boards are vacuum bags so they have a tougher skin on them but one thing about these is we can change the shape the next day or I can make one fit somebody perfect rather than just give them whatever.
Evan Leong: What’s the difference in cost? I mean the price for someone to buy it?
Joe Blair: The cost is about a hundred bucks more.
Evan Leong: It’s not that much then. You just got to wait a long time, is that the deal?
Joe Blair: Not too long. About a month and a half, which isn’t bad for custom boards.
Evan Leong: That’s pretty good. Are you pumping them out quite a bit a day or what?
Joe Blair: I probably do about six or seven a week.
Evan Leong: Seems like a good pace.
Joe Blair: Yeah.
Evan Leong: Blair mobile, it’s a sweet mobile. Check out the mobile.
Joe Blair: One turtle top.
Evan Leong: You can sleep in here and then go and get ready when the waves come in, huh? Check it out.
Joe Blair. Look inside. There’s TV.
Evan Leong: He’s even got TV. Look at this thing.
Joe Blair: These are really nice man, I really like these things.
Evan Leong: You got a lot of space in there, huh? Wet suit, get rid of that in Hawaii.
Joe Blair: I go down to San Carlos, which is a really good wind surf spot. But nobody surfs…
Evan Leong: Do you go down wind or what, when you go down there?
Joe Blair: No, it’s a strictly wave ride place but it’s really good. It has three different points. It’s a lot of fun.
Evan Leong: So what size waves are these made for – are they made for big waves, small waves, whatever?
Joe Blair: Actually I make these things for a little bit smaller surf and medium because that’s what most people ride.
Evan Leong: It’s like 90 percent of the time, right?
Joe Blair: Exactly. So there’s no reason to put the fins way back for a big day or put huge fins to make it stiff for a big day.
Evan Leong: So you give a little bit more meat on the nose, is that what’s happening? So you can nose ride it too. Give a little bit more meat and then concave it underneath or no?
Joe Blair: well, these things are so large that these things can way out-nose ride any long board. Plus, I got a grip right in here – that I put right in here too.
Evan Leong: I notice that. Is that that extreme grip stuff or that sticker thing?
Joe Blair: No, this one in particular is called – I can’t remember. This is called the hula deck.
Evan Leong: Huh. I didn’t even notice that. It’s kind of sweet because it actually has a real gunny shape this thing.
Joe Blair: Yeah, kind of. It’s meant for a 170-pound guy that is good. This one in particular I made for a 130-pound girl.
Evan Leong: So what would you make for bigger guys? 200 pounds, 220?
Joe Blair: Wardog and I, we’re both 200 pounds, we’re riding 9’11”’s, 29 ½ wide and 4 ¾ thick. But I make the rail smaller so they’re more like surf rails. I don’t want them big and boxy.
Evan Leong: So that is your board of choice?
Joe Blair: Yeah. I have a new one right now. I wish I could show it to you right now. But it’s an 8’8”, 31-inches wide and 5 ¾ thick. It’s really full. Looks like a fat little egg. That I’m going to turn in to a quad. And what I want is a board for smaller days because the longer the board the harder you turn them no matter what you do.
Evan Leong: You mean you’d ride that 8’8”?
Joe Blair: Uh huh. That 8’8” will out paddle this thing, for sure.
Evan Leong: Oh yeah?
Joe Blair: Yeah, because it’s wider and thicker. It has a pretty wide tail on, almost looks like one of the old wind surfers, well one of the new wind surfers that is out right now. They’ve got wind surfers now that are 8’2”, that are 33 ½ inches wide and 5 ½ inches thick.
Evan Leong: Pretty sweet. Pretty sweet.
Joe Blair, master shaper, on stand up paddle surf boards for big boys [8:18m]: Download