Red Bull is my (dirty) shortboard. I called it Red Bull because it’s so fast (and sometimes it sends me flying too). It’s also a reminder of my Austrian heritage because Red Bull is actually Austrian (yes, it’s true – look it up, no one ever believes that anything else than Arnie and Sound of Music came out of this country).
Either way, Red Bull is my favorite short board of all times. It’s a Xanadu, apparently a South American shaper (??), which I’ve never heard of until I’ve walked into the Surf Culture in the search of a new board. I actually wanted to buy a replacement for my Al Merrick Flyer (very sad story – Kevin got stolen in Jervis Bay off the roof of a car). I thought about just getting another Al Merrick Flyer, but Ben (used to work at Surf Culture, he’s got now a really nice surfshop in Manly) convinced me otherwise. He pulled out a board with similar dimensions: A Xanadu Xank 6ft 19 1/2 and 2 3/8, square tail. A bit wider than your standard short board (usually 18 something) and a bit more volume around the nose (a bit more round up the top – not too pointy) and the tail.
It took me a while to decide between the Flyer and the Xanadu. They were really really similar. What won me over in the end was the fact that the Xanadu had an additional layer of glass. All my Al Merricks (all 2 of them) I had before had pressure dents all over after 3 months and got dings by just touching them. Ok, ok , Al Merricks are super light because the glassing is so light but honestly, I’m not a pro and I don’t think it makes a massive difference to my surfing to have an additional layer of glass. So I went for durability considering my home turf is Bondi where run-ins with other surfers are not uncommon. Sounds bad but true. So I went for the Xanadu and, I have not looked back, I’ve been riding Red Bull a lot for over 1 year and he hardly got any pressure dents. Well it might have some hidden under the dirty layer of wax …
Red Bull is a true all-rounder. I ride him in anything from 2 – 6ft. I have to say though if it gets a bit bigger say 5 to 6ft, it gets a bit bumpy with Red Bull. Not that I ride 6ft waves that often… so it does not really matter. I guess the best conditions are 3-4ft. Perfect for Bondi winter surf conditions. Coming into summer Red Bull will get a bit more rest as I prefer to use Kermit or Bruce in weak summer slop.
If you’ve surfed for a bit and you are keen to get a proper shortboard, go for something like Red Bull. Just a tad bit junkier than normal shortboards. Don’t make the same mistake I did and get a high performance board that’s super small and thin just because it looks great. It’s not all about looks. A board too small for you translates into fewer waves because it’s much harder to paddle. And fewer waves kind of defy the purpose of surfing, right?
Also, hot tip: buy your (short) board from your local surf shop, they know the conditions in your area quite well and they can recommend something that works best for where you surf the most.