Channel Islands Surfboards is one of the biggest names in the surfing industry. After years of dedication to improving the surfing experience, Channel Islands is now recognized as producing some of the highest performing surfboards on the market. With their innovative construction methods and original designs, it is no wonder that Channel Islands caters to some of the greatest surfers in the world such as Dane Reynolds, Kelly Slater, and Tom Curren. They are a brand that is constantly striving to shape the new millennium of surfing by constantly testing, developing, and building boards. Their range is one of the broadest on the market, with models suited to not only novice riders but surfers with decades of experience behind them.
The Channel Islands Fever Surfboard was born out of the brand’s desire for an -all-round performance board that offers not only drive and flair, but speed and maneuverability. Derived from some of Al Merrick’s most proven and trusted high-performance shortboard designs, this board is one that was built to work in almost any type of conditions. This board was the product of a relationship between Channel Islands and the American/Lithuanian professional surfer, Patrick Gudauskas.
We are here to tell you a little bit about the history of Channel Islands before providing you with our full review of their Fever Surfboard. We are going to go through the board’s specifications, its pros, and cons, and also the kinds of conditions and riders the board is best suited to.
History of Channel Islands
The success of Channel Islands is attributed to a man called Al Merrick, who is now one of the board-making industry’s most dominant figures. Merrick was born in New Jersey back in 1944 and then moved to north San Diego County at 7-year-old. Several years later, Merrick began surfing and eventually relocated to Santa Barbara. Aside from attending university, Merrick spent his spare time assisting the shapers of a factory near the beach. It wasn’t until the emergence of the shortboard that Merrick became inspired to start shaping his own boards under the label, ‘Channel Islands’.
It wasn’t until the late 70s that Merrick started to become recognized within the surfing industry. In 1977, he began making boards for the world champion surfer, Shaun Tomson, and began collaborating with two progressive surfers Tom Curren and Davey Smith of Santa Barbara. As Curren started to gain huge popularity in the world of competitive surfing, Merrick and his Channel Islands brand was also becoming increasingly recognized. After Tom Curren won three world surfing titles with the help of Merrick’s Channel Island boards, more and more surfers became interested. Not long after, Merrick saw the likes of Kelly Slater, Lisa Anderson, Shane Beschen, and Kim Mearig riding his boards. In 1978, he opened up his debut retail shop, and by the mid-2000s, with the help of an impressive group of shapers, Channel Islands was producing and distributing over 10,000 boards a year.
Since Merrick has been voted the amongst the ’10 Best Shapers of All Time’ and one of the ’25 Most Powerful People in Surfing’. He and his brand have truly been one of the most progressive influences on the world of surfing, and through the continuing work of Al and his son Britt, the future of Channel Islands looks bright.
The Fever Specifications
The Fever Surfboard by Channel Islands is an all-round performance shortboard that is available to buy in lengths of 5’9- 6’2. It comes in standard PU construction which means it is extremely flexible and easy to maneuver. The board features a single concave that runs right through the entire length of the board, starting out moderate in the front half and becoming more aggressive as it reaches the fins. This works to give the board that little bit of extra lift in the nose and a really fast lane that will allow water to channel right through.
The board also features a moderate continuous rocker that ensures that the nose won’t get in the way of those high-performance maneuvers. This rocker will also ensure that you can drop into the very steep parts of the waves with ease. After The Fever’s standard pointed nose that is common in performance surfboards, there is a straight outline through the middle third of the board. This straight outline is then followed by a classic Channel Islands wide hip that works into a squash shaped tail. The squash tail will give the board the hold of a round tail with the added ‘snappiness’ of a square tail. This tail will also allow you to get into tidal pockets whilst simultaneously aiding you with your turning abilities.
The Fever comes equipped with a performance thruster fin set up. This set up is brilliant as it allows for unbeatable balance and incredible control whilst pushing you through turns with drive and speed. We would recommend going for a Futures set up, something like the AM2’s- these are an Al Merrick template and are used by various professional surfers across the globe.
When choosing your Fever board, you can customize it to the length you want. You should keep in mind, that generally, the shorter you go, the thicker and wider the board will be. This higher volume will provide you with an easier paddling experience and can be more forgiving when turning. Also, if you’re looking to have a bit more rail in the water, you may want to go for the 6’0 board. This will lengthen out your turns and give you more of a face when it comes to meeting the wave.
The Fever actually originated from Channel Island’s Remix board which was extremely popular with several professional surfers. Despite its popularity, Merrick wanted to create a board that was very much similar but with increased drive and speed. He also sliced rockers off the tail and nose to flatten out the board so that it will fly through the water. The result was The Fever which is now not only incredibly fast but is able to dominate in both hollow bowls and large sections.
What surf conditions are best for The Fever?
The Fever can pretty much be taken out in any kind of condition. It works well in both performance waves and the more ‘grovely’ types, but ideally, the board will be at its best in conditions from waist high to well overhead. It would be the perfect wave to take away with you on your travels when the aquatic and atmospheric conditions aren’t guaranteed. On a spectrum of wave types, The Fever sits across everything nicely. Patrick Gudauskas has said that he prefers to surf his Fever board in anything from a 2-3 soft-footed Californian beach break to 6ft+ high-performance waves.
Who is The Fever board suited to?
Channel Islands recommends that The Fever is ridden by intermediate surfers and above. This is mainly because its high responsivity can make it quite difficult to control at first, and beginners should really start off with something longer. It is the perfect board for anyone with a relatively small quiver that is looking for a versatile, high-performance board that can be used all year round.
Pros of The Fever
- Extremely accessible board that can be ridden in a variety of conditions
- Wide nose and tail which gives the board added drive
- Low rockers for maximum speed capacity
- Generous volume for easy paddling
- In 2019, Mick Fanning chose The Fever as his winning for the ‘Stab In The Dark’ competition
Cons of The Fever
- Some buyers have reported issues with the board’s glassing
- Not recommended for beginner surfers
Who is Patrick Gudauskas?
Patrick Gudauskas is an American/Lithuanian professional surfer who is responsible for the fantastic Fever design. The surfer grew up in an extremely competitive household. One of three surf-enthusiast brothers and son of a longtime surf industry magnate, Gudauskas was immersed in the world of surfing from day 1. Pat has been riding Channel Islands surfboards for 17 years and is now considered one of the core family members of the Channel Island heritage. Whilst gearing up to compete in the World Surf League back in 2017, Gudauskas collaborated with Channel Islands shaper Mike Andrews to create his own signature board. He wanted to create a high-performance board that would be a one-stop-shop- that would enable him to perform extremely well in a huge range of waves. After lots of hard work, that signature model finally came to life, and is now, what is known as ‘The Fever’.
Patrick Gudauskas along with his family members have recently formed an organization called ‘The Positive Vibe Warriors Foundation’ to educate youngsters about water safety and ocean sustainability. He is constantly looking for ways to give back to the community and recently, along with several other surfers, gave 300 boards to underprivileged kids in South Africa.