Nick Carroll Reviews Fat Bat
Nick Carroll is a renowned surf journo and surfboard design guru, and co-ordinator of Australia's most comprehensive surfboard test, the ASL Board Bible ( which the Fat-Bat will be a part of next month ) and brother of former two-time world champion surfer and now big wave maniac, Tom Carroll...
I wanted the best possible feedback to ensure the design is as good as I thought so I made Nick a board because I knew he knows about surfboard design and has his finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest designs and technology. It is great getting design feedback from someone with such a wealth of knowledge and it can only help make my designs even better. Thanks for your help Nick... MP
Sorry not to reply earlier -- just wanted to surf the board a bit more in a range of waves before coming back with feedback etc
Have ridden the fat-bat in surf from 2-4', fairly solid 4' btw, differing wind conditions, and here's what I noticed:
The Bat is a very fun, lively little board with few of the hang-ups often associated with quads. It's quick off the mark and given its overall width, adapts to a surprising range of angles and curves. A slight delayed reaction in turns -- common in quads and wider boards -- is more than compensated for by its ease and willingness once the turn's initiated, and a couple of surfs were all that was needed to incorporate the board's timing needs into the overall wave-riding flow. The pronounced centre ridge in the double concave gives a nice feel for the board's centre line and thus makes turn recoveries a bit more sensitive than many quads. The rail rocker behind the fins does make it snappy and short-arc at times, but I actually think that's a plus -- it allows the Bat to surf vertically and is responsible I think for the generic similarity to an MR super-twin, and I found it easy to engage the rail with and forward of the fins to regain glide in swoopier turns. Like you can choose to use the snappiness but it's not mandatory. I also found it easy to glide through slight turn angles by working off that centre ridge, a bit like a vee bottom feel.
You mentioned to me that you thought it worked best with bigger fins and I can see why, bigger fins would match the tail area especially in larger Bats, but I haven't felt the need to size up off the AB foils that Phil made to fit.
If the board has drawbacks they're just the natural ones you'd expect from wider stumpier equipment -- it's not super sensitive in the tail and it's hard to whip through a round full rail carve, plus its reaction time is a bit slow compared with a hi-per single concave thruster. But it's not made to do that stuff, and it does what it's made to do really beautifully.
I do reckon that for a lot of regular surfers, they might want to have a bit less of that tail rocker thing going and I can imagine why you've tweaked that down. You might help 'em further with a slight repositioning of the back fin set -- a fraction in and a fraction back. Just a small shift would spread the turning reach of the board and make it more accommodating to longer easier turns.
I know you wrote the dimensions on the stringer but it feels shorter and narrower than 5'10" and 20 3/8" -- might be a testament to your shaping powers! But I'm gonna put the rule on her in any case.
For sure TC will be keen to have a go, even if it's just a few waves swap-over during a surf. Will keep riding the Bat on the right days and experimenting with a few fin combos here and there -- and I'll give a few of the boys a go too.,
Nick Carroll testing his Fat-Bat- pics by Andrew Shields
This is a Fat-Bat for a guy who I have made plenty of boards for. It's his third Fat-Bat, he has tried several designs and we have made him some nice custom boards over the last few years but he keeps going back to the Fat-Bat. He says he really enjoys the effortless speed that they give. Combine the speed with the great manouverability , the excellent paddling and stability , you've got a super FUNctional wave catching machine. This one is 6'5" x 21" x 2 3/4"...
Designer, shaper and no.1 test pilot...
This is a 6'2" x 20 3/4" x 2 1/2" Fat-Bat that I did for a guy who wanted a fish style board for stability and floatation but also wanted it to be very manouverable, we discussed his needs and current boards for quite some time, I also was able to see him surf a few times before shaping him this custom Fat-Bat. It got some nice tint work and polished finish, also some custom hand foiled fins by my fin guy, Phil Way, lets just say the customer was very stoked....
5'8" x 19 3/4" x 2 5/16
This one was designed for a guy who lives in Sydney and its going to be his small wave board for typical spring and summer waves. He wanted it to be able handle waves up to a bit overhead which it will do easily, especially with the quad set-up. He has a 6'1" and a 6'4" ( which I shaped for him to take to Samoa ), and they are both standard shorty's. The Fat-Bat will allow him to get out and enjoy those tiny days that just arent any fun at all on performance shortboard. The extra area will make this board get up and go and with the concaves , quad set-up and the Fat-Bat rocker, this board will fly. Not only is it quick but they can really turn as well, unlike your traditional fish these can do just about anything you can do on a performance shorty. I have scooped out any excess foam from the tail to make it even MORE responsive in the tail , I am doing this in almost all of my Fat-Bats now and have only had positive feedback.The concaves on this board are fairly deep to give you lots of drive ,lift and control and the double concave thru the fin area also works like a vee which helps to allow these wider tailed boards up on rail....cheers,
I finally had a decent surf on the new board and it went great. I surfed head high to a little overhead high tide waves, fairly fat but still steep waves and it was so much fun. I could tell the waves were almost too big for the board but it still handled pretty comfortably, it felt a little free and skatey on a few of the bigger ones I got but still also felt really stable. I really liked it on my backhand, I got a few rights but mostly lefts (im natural), every time I got up I felt like my feet hit the right spot and it felt so sweet driving through a bottom turn on my backhand.
a very stoked Jimi
Click here for a testimonial from another happy fat bat customer...
This is a custom Fat-Bat I did for a mate of mine from Argentina, he was riding a twin keel fish but wanted to get something with MORE performance but
still the glide and drive that a fish gives so this was the obvious choice. It's 6'1" x 20 1/2" x 2 1/2" . It's got deep double concaves through the tail
and is super fast. It's quad set-up is very drivey while still loose and lively. A really fun and fast board that is also a great paddler. One of the
benefits of the Fat-Bat is that it has stability and you arent wobbling all over the place. Very user-friendly and anybody can jump on one of these and
have lots of fun....this one looks great with the pale blues and greens with a full polish finish....
Testimonial from Frederico Dell'Avo - the proud owner of this Fat-Bat
Met Mark after surfing Pippie's in Yamba on a small day, and he told me about the fat bat, after a few beers and plenty of talking and discussing the shape and sizes really carefully (something that no other shaper did before), the board was designed and after 2 weeks, in my hands! I absolutely love this board, best of both words, I was surfing a twin keel fish 6'4", too big, and now this board gave much more maneuverability and still heaps of paddle and is super fast. In some ocassions the tail feel pretty loose, but still very drivey and fast, that's the idea of the bat tail, so adapt your surfing and enjoy the ride!
Click here to read a testimonial from another owner...