Photos and news from team rider Mark 'Splinter' Griffiths, February 2009
(Scroll down for more reports and photos from other Buzzard riders)
First of all that board that you shaped for me is perfect! It goes really well in small and chunky waves and when I rode it at the Nationals there was a lot of interest from the smaller riders like myself. At the British I ended up 5th overall out of an entrance of 34, so not too bad as it was considered the highest level of bodyboarding ever in a British event.
Email from Joachim, January 2008
Just like to
thank you for helping me create a amazing board, you tought me
a lot about bodyboards and obviously helped me out a great deal
with my college product study. Thank you very much and hopefully
be down to Padstow soon seeing they have quite good waves
Thanks a lot .
Email from Olly Agliano, September 2007
Hey Dave, its
Olly a here I'm stuck on an island just off Oz working but I finish
in a few days
then I'm off to Indo for 3 months so hopefully I'll get some shots if I do so I'll send them to ya.
The boards have been amazing out here I'm still on my first.
Email from Chris, April 2006
As I'm not
getting any younger or smaller (I'm 6'1" and built like a
prop forward - and weigh the same as one!!), I was finding it
really hard paddling out on my old 42" biscuits, so I got
the chaps and chapesses at Buzzard to make me a couple of custom
big boards. A fat boy (47") and a big brother (46").
The fat boy is my present baby and is wonderful. Despite its extra
thickness, it has real flex and the control is superb. I opted
for a 60/40 rail and it bites like a rabid dog. As for the speed?
Unbelievable considering the size. Simple crescent tail, no channels
or batwings but man does it shift. It's also got a great indented
grab section at the front which helps for feel and control during
the paddle and set-up before trimming. It really isn't an exaggeration
to say it's changed my whole boarding experience. Thanks a million
to all the good folk in St Merryn.
Photos of Marcus, by Lauren, March 2006
MY BUZZARD ROCKS!! - email from Toby, May 2005
I know its
been a while but i thought id just mail you guys to let you
know that the custom dk board that you made for me is a real corker !! its
fast, light, strong and snappy ! what more could I want?? The wing pin is
In fact Im so damm pleased with it Im keen to get another for prone! Also I
wondered if it would be possible for you to send me any info
on your up and coming course? as i need a holiday and am in need of blue water [east coast rocks but is
also very brown!]
I shall be ordering some T-shirts soon Kind regards Toby :)
My new board - email from Pete, March 2005
Remember me? I'm the 15 year old, 6ft 6'' guy that was previously riding
that 42" manta amp. I tried out my new board this morning at Portreath
that wing-pin tail really does make a difference...it's sooooooooooooo fast
but still holds really well, I love it! the gold and black colours are
awesome too. I`m off to France next Friday, i might do a bit of advertising for
you to the Frenchies in the line-up.
everythig, I'll be in touch or if I get any snaps of me
on some French bombs I'll post them.
Marcus Whitney pics from Lauren Whiting, December 2004
Some great shots of Marcus sent in by Lauren:
New Board - email & pics from Dom, October 2004
Thanks again for a great service and a wicked board, it's the fastest
board I've riden so far (MUCH faster than any of my previous Mantas,
and I've had a few !!)
Also included are a few pics showing what I've been doing my board !
'pics & new board' - email from Graham Wilkes 9 June 2003
Hello its graham
here I said I would mail you some photos etc, so here it
goes...first of all the new board is amazing, its just so fast and
light....ive only surfed on it once but already me and her are best m8s, its
exactly the same dimensions as my last board which is sweet....anyway i will
send u a couple pics....Graham wilkes....x
'New board' - email from Ryan Trudgeon 31 May 2003
New board arrived
and it was great. It picks up so much speed. Its great for 360s,
real good control for such a light board. Good Stuff!!! Speak to you soon.
'Emily's board' - email from Chris Waller 21 November 2002
Just a note to say a big thanks for creating Emily's bodyboard last month. She tried it out at Polzeath and North Fistral and it worked a treat. thanks also for the excellent tour of your assembly line and unit. A most illuminating experience.
'Experimental Fatboy' - email from David Green 4 November 2002
Remember me? I bought an experimental board from you last xmas, a 46" fatboy with fins! I thought I would send you an email to let you know how my first season with it went!! though my lack of experience still kept me over steering! so the board took a real hammering over the falls, so did my nose, but then it wasnt pretty in the first place!
Once again, board handled itself well. Helped me to save a woman who was being drifted out past me some 100 metres offshore. She had battled against the rip and had given up! The two of us rode the board sideways into safer water and I managed to pull her out of the water on it! All of this whilst the lifeguards were saving someone else at the time! I didnt go back in the water that day.
Not quite a barrel roll, more like a sausage roll!
Rode the longest wave of my life at Saunton, picked it up, turned along it and rode the break for 20 seconds or so with the wave folding over my legs. I didnt have the heart to pull any tricks or do anything other than lie back and enjoy it! The board just kept going with minimal intervention from me, I didnt know you fitted auto pilots to them!
Thanks for a great board Dave, I wish you all the best for the future!
'Spain is raining' - email from Marcus 12 May 2002
It´s marcus here i´ve been away in france for 5 weeks. The surfing has been good. And here in north spain the waves are emtpy and deserted.
We are now camping in a deserted building becuase of the gales and the rain. It´s pretty hardcore but the wine is good and when the weather is fine, camping in the bays is awesome.
Have fun, and have a good summer.
P.S. plugs rip, haven´t destroyed them yet, but i´ve
snapped all my leashes , are you doing leashes yet? oh and your
last board just keeps on going.
All the best Marcus and boys in wet spain.
Email from a satisfied customer
Just a note to say thank you for the great new board - just what the doctor ordered! Thank you for your help - yours from a very happy man in Hull with a custom board .
Before starting this board review, I thought I'd go back into time to see how bodyboard shapes have changed since I started bodyboarding. So looked under the bed and pulled out a 1989 edition of 'Bodyboarding Magazine' which just happened to be a design issue. After reading all the reviews, I came to the conclusion that boards haven't really changed that much at all. The same old problem still exists, Dow core that'll last for a week and be amazing or a brick that'll be about flexy as a door.
So in this review I thought I'd draw on my past board experiences, and explain why the shape I'm riding at the moment is better than most.
Shape is everything so I took the traditional 7-X shape that was being rated as the best board ever even in 1991,and extended it by 1" in length to compensate for my height. I narrowed the nose from 11.5" to 10" giving it more rounded shape to suit my D.K riding. I also took the widepoint back by 1" to bring it in line with my knee which is vital when bottom turning in sucky waves. With these modifications and with standard 7-X tail (18.5" clipped crescent) the board rocked in D.K. The curvy shape near the nose made the board go smooth from rail to rail and is one of the best D.K boards I've ridden. What I have learnt from this shape is go long, decide on a length and then add an extra inch. Next time I reckon on going around 44" - this may seem extreme but if your gonna wanna being pulling all these new moves you're gonna need heaps of speed. And look at Hubb he's tiny but he's riding a 42.5" and he flies. And Kainoa McGee's custom boards are coming out at 46" long!
Construction wise you can't fault the board, it looks slick and feels solid when riding. The 400 core was responsive both prone and D.K. In fact it's the most responsive core I've ridden D.K. in the U.K. In Indo the heat gave my 400 board the projection of a lilo but in cold water the board works brilliantly D.K., some would say too stiff prone, depending on what you like. But D.K. the 400 core was stiff enough to handle heavy landings without creases, whilst still having the flex to power through tricky bottom turns. The extra weight of the core was hardly noticeable when in the water and made up for it's weight by the added buoyancy. This makes it even more suitable for U.K. conditions because it cruised through flat sections.
Improvements in the future? Not a lot really, if I was to design another board now I would keep all the materials the same, lengthen it by an inch and slightly lessen the curve at the nose to increase speed for U.K. conditions.
The future? Custom shapes that meet your needs, instead of the other way round, because everyone wants to be doing different stuff in the water. Custom shaping is where it's at, and my shape's going sick!
I came to England in autumn this year to start my MSc in Evolutionary and Adaptive systems at the University of Sussex, thinking that my surfing days were over for a while. After a trip to Newquay in October, I was quite surprised to find that Cornwall actually has waves comparable to the waves back home in San Diego (although its much much much colder!!!). This discovery inspired me to bring my gear back out with me after a Christmas trip home, but unfortunately I wasn't able to bring my board. I saw the advert for the South West English University championships on the web, and after some manoeuvring (since Sussex isn't really part of the Southwest) managed to get myself entered in the contest. I figured I would either borrow a board from a friend or buy one here (not realising how much more they cost here), but I saw the link to Buzzard bodyboards on the same website as the contest www.britsurf.org and thought I would have a look. After further investigation on the Internet, I discovered that Buzzard is the only custom bodyboard maker in the whole UK. I figured it was worth a shot, so I sent them an email about myself and the contest, and I got a call from Dave the next day. He asked me about the specifications for the board I wanted, clearly displaying his knowledge of the sport, I was soo stoked! Four days later I was in his shop looking at my brand new board. He showed me all round, explaining the different materials he uses and how the boards are all hand made. He also told me about his recent (research) trip around the world. Along with the bodyboard, Dave also gave me a BodyGun. This innovative device is strapped onto your chest, and is basically a bodysurfing aid. I think it will be ideal for surf photography and can't wait until I get a chance to try it out.
The first day of the contest was held in less than ideal conditions, windy 1-2 foot surf at Towan beach in Newquay. As if the surf wasn't already bad enough, the competitors also had to deal with crowds of people, mostly vacationing beginners, concentrated in the water right where the contest was being held. I spent most of my heat dodging flying blue foam surfboards and paddling furiously for the few waves that actually came through. Unfortunately I didn't make it to the next day of the competition which was held in sunny, windless, beautiful, north Fistral beach surf. I did go out that day though and finally got a chance to really try out the board in the kind of waves it was designed for. It was great, the faster the waves, the better the board handled. I look forward to many more days surfing Cornwall on the only bodyboard in the world actually made right here by a real Cornish surfer.
[Note from Dave: Marcus took two Buzzard Bodyboards on a trip to Scotland for evaluation one was a very thin (one and three-eighths inch) 220 Dow core with two stringers and a DK profile, the other a full thickness 400 HD Dow core with a versatile profile and very hard 70/30 rails. The second board is incredibly stiff and I find it almost impossible to turn but Marcus really likes it!]
15 July 1999
Hi, it's Marcus here, just back from Scotland. The waves were pretty good although there were a few flat spells which drove us all insane, but it was well worth it when the swell did arrive. The best was in the last weekend of the trip when we scored Brims Ness bowl 3-4 ft clean to ourselves for two days with straight five hour sessions leading to multiple sunburn and the complete trashing of my new wetsuit and skin on the shallow reef. But it was all worth it when you got the right one that would line up for a good five second barrel ride with a huge ramp at the end.
As regards to the boards, I straight away noticed the difference between the Dow and the HD core, finding the Dow even with stringers much too flexy (this is probably due to how thin the board was), and the HD core very buoyant and a great advantage when surfing slack smaller waves and still able to plane.
The HD core overall I found the better core, even though for prone surfing it became hard to manoeuvre due to the stiffness making it harder to turn into spins and carves. With a thinner HD core it could become an amazing board. I really like the feel of this core and the fact that it is stronger and more crease-proof than ordinary Dow. The extra weight of the core didn't prove a problem. The top skin made the board feel strong and even though hard at first soon loosened up giving good projection. The Surlyn was as expected just like a 7X, fast and projective.
The rails were different to anything I had used before and in small waves I probably couldn't tell the difference, but when the waves got bigger the rails had a sliding effect and didn't want to hold when barrel riding. For prone I couldn't get fully used to the rails, I am still more comfortable with 60/40. For drop knee the rails surprised me, even though they were still slippy (you could compensate by placing your foot further back) they were actually very loose, meaning snaps, especially on the backhand, were easier and sharper. These rails and the HD core gave the board in the drop knee stance turning characteristics more like a surfboard than a bodyboard. It was hard to get used to at first but after two hours at Porthtowan before I left I was popping DK airs where I'm sure they would normally be floaters and making cutties and coming out with speed. I also tried a bit of stand-up on the HD core, although my stand-up bodyboarding skills are poor the board still managed to plane.
The construction was good, the boards felt really strong, but like you said the pale blue rails on the Dow core board unfortunately did start to come off when surfing. [*see note below], but the red rails on the HD core are still perfect. Even though I nailed the HD core through some heavy DK the boards till looks new and uncreased, whereas the Dow core which took less punishment is creased on the elbows. I think this is because the stringer placement needs to be a bit higher. The template was really good, the extra inch made loads of difference and an extra half inch could still be added. The crested tail was excellent and felt just like my old 7X, really comfortable and was good DK due to the depth of the curve.
Overall I really like the materials and construction, and with a few minor changes to the template and the rails and the use of HD, I feel I could have come close to my perfect board.
[*Note: we had a problem with the pale blue HDPE on this batch of boards - possibly due to an oil release in to the factory (beyond our control) contaminating the pale blue skins which were on the top of the pile. These boards have been reworked with no further problems.]
Marcus has just
left for Indo - we look forward to his report from there (see
at Dreamlands (Photo: Nick Radford)
(Photo: Richard Eaton)
(Photo: Richard Eaton)
While visiting the UK I had a chance
to try bodyboarding for the first time using a brand new Buzzard
Bodyboard. I was lucky and was at Harlyn on a day with 2-3 foot
waves, I caught quite a few waves and had a great time.
Just a quick message to say thanks for the board. For the last 2 weeks I have been surfing 2-4' waves mostly messy but we have had some clean stuff.
Most of the surfing was done at White Sands (St.Davids) and Broad Haven wedge and the board has not failed to charge in these waves including getting me nicely pitted at Broad Haven.
The board is far different to my eppo which in small surf did not catch the waves easily. anyway ta ta toodle pip and farewell.
Yours well and