I saw a demo/promo dvd that SurfTech put out recentlycalled "THE THIRD GENERATION". Came across it kinda by accident. One of the boards in my quiver is a Rusty 8'6 desert island. When the Calrk bomb dropped, I thought, "Man it's gonna be super hard for shapers to source big blanks". Since I rely on this shape to get me into some over-head, heavy surf I was concerned that I may have to switch to an all-out Gun, which I don't want to do since it's not as versatile a ride as my 8'6.
I called Rusty and spoke to him, he told me that it will indeed become tougher for him to get blanks for that particular shape and turn-times would increase naturally. But...for me not to worry...that he colaborated with Randy French @ SurfTech, on an EPS version of that board as well as some smaller shorties. He recommended I goto my local shop where he knew they had just shipped a couple out to. So, I did. Luckily they had the 8'6 in stock and I was able to see/feel it first hand next to my real foam 8'6 from Rusty's hands.
I began to ask the shop about the pros/cons of EPS vs. poly boards. They were pretty helpful, but prefaced all their comments with, "I personally haven't ridden an EPS yet...so I can't say from experience, just what riders have fed back to me who have bought them", speech. They did however hook me up with a demo/promo DVD that SurfTech made about their TUFLITE EPS lineup. Very informative and not all that slanted. I was surprised by what I saw. Randy French of SurfTech colaborated with the top shapers...Al Merrick, Rusty, Jeff Bushman, Larry Gordon, Jeff Clark, Geoff Rashe, Glen Minami, Bill Riedel, Glenn Pang, etc. etc.
They never once tried to grab up the whole show and capitalize on the situation and consistantly stated throughout the vid that EPS is NOT a replacement for the old style foam and that it can break too.
Instead what they did was gave some EPS versions of some riders fav blanks to them for R&D and demo work. The list of these R&D test-riders was impressive to say the least and covered a wide spectrum of styles. Shane Dorian, Matt Archbold, Pancho Sullivan, Ratboy, Peter Mel, Matt Rockhold, Ozzie Wright, Barney, Adam Repogle, Anthony Tashnick, Chris Lynch and Danny Hart.
The video showed all the riders on the boards in various conditions and size surf. Some good music and ALOT of rider feedback/comments on the performance and advantages of the EPS TUFLITE boards compared to their traditional foams.
One of the best aspects of EPS seems to be the ability to replicate the Magic Board exactly, over and over again since they go ff of the original shapers, hand-made blank and check for precise tolerances againnst that blank each time they pull the blank for coying. So, you're able to get the exact same board each time. Thats always a plus and we wish our shapers could do for us each ad every time.
And the boards themself just seem to last longer. Price is relatively similar too.
I repeatedly heard mostly the same from all the guys, "The board is stronger, lighter, faster than poly boards". and
It was definitley informative and I've ordered my EPS and will test it out and see how it stack up against the same board I already own in poly-foam.
None the less, I'm sure it will be a good addition to my quiver.
I'll be sure to let you guys know of my experience in a few weeks.