The latest and greatest groveler from Channel Islands, this is the Average Joe review. Joe is a winner for pumping fun back into your small wave surfing.
+ Tuned nose & tail (for a groveler) plus a touch of nose rocker makes Joe feel more lively compared to other groveler surfboards
+ Very user friendly, versatile shape; great for lots of different small wave situations and surfing ability levels
+ Joe is a winner for pumping fun, fun and more fun back into your small wave surfing!
– Joe is still a groveler; transitioning back to your normal shortboard after a small wave spell will be a challenge
– Less volume per a given length relative to other grovelers
The Channel Islands Average Joe by Al Merrick at 6’1 x 22 7/8 x 3 @ 47.5CL’s. For drive and acceleration in smaller, mushier surf, I’ve been surfing my Joe with the DANE REYNOLDS SUMMER TEETH AM2 fins by Captain Fin Co. but I think the Futures Seaworthy Quads [Buy Now...] would work really well with this board. Curious to learn more about what surfboard fins? Check out ‘Surfboard Fins Explained‘. Full standard dimensions with volume at the end of this post.
Best Wave Type
Tiny, weak waves up to chest high.
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- JS Industries Pier Pony surfboard review: versatile groveler shape that can be surfed in larger waves
- Firewire Sweet Potato surfboard review: the board that started the movement towards outrageously oblong tiny wave boards
- …Lost Bottom Feeder surfboard review: …Lost’s latest and greatest answer to tiny, weak surf
Hello and welcome to Benny’s Boardroom! My name is Ben and this is The Joe, or Average Joe by Al Merrick of Channel Islands. When I saw this board for the first time I thought to myself: “Average Joe: I am an average joe surfer and I surf average waves a lot, especially during the summer where I live, so I thought the ‘Average Joe’ was a clever name for what looks like a really fun, groveler surfboard outline.”
I’ve had a lot of groveler surfboards and grovelers are something that I think a lot of surfers have mixed feelings about. When you pull out the grovelers, you’re pulling it out because there’s really no other option. You either have a longboard, because the waves are that small and weak or you have to ride something that’s really short, really thick and really wide and often times I find myself restricted by surfing these boards. And, although the groveler will get you through the summer small wave doldrums, transitioning back to a shortboard is always a challenge.
I had a Firewire Sweet Potato first, which I enjoyed but, again, I felt restricted by the enormous square outline. Then I had a JS Pier Pony, which I also enjoy. The Pier Pony is a really fun board that I was able to ride that in slightly larger, albeit flatter, waves but I always had trouble turning the thing, especially on my back hand. So, when I saw the Joe by Channel Islands I was excited about it.
The Average Joe has a slightly more tuned nose and tail than you see on some of the other groveler surfboard models. The nose is slightly pulled in and thinned out and then the tail is the signature Al Merrick hip tail, which pulls into a really nice rounded square. The Joe has plenty of foam throughout so you do get all of the paddle power that you need in smaller, weaker surf but that tuned nose and tuned tail combined and with just a touch of rocker in the nose on an otherwise very flat board helps to make the board feel more lively versus other grovelers. I think this gives this Average Joe more versatility that you might find in other grovelers and I find that it’s a really fun and fast board to ride. I did try surfing the Average Joe when I should have had a mal in ankle high mush and I couldn’t get going on it. So it does have its limits but I also surfed in knee high waves that were weak and crumbly and it was really, really fun and fast and maneuverable; a lot more lively than some of those other grovelers that we spoke about. I also surfed Joe up to about shoulder high another day when it was a little bit more lined up with lots of of clean, fun, fast peelers. This board, again, does really, really, well.
So that tuned nose, tuned tail, a little bit of a kick in rocker and then it’s got a big ‘V’ concave running out the back. Those elements combine to make this a really fun, fast groveler surfboard and I think this is going to be a great seller and a great option this summer.
I hope you have enjoyed the Channel Islands Average Joe review. If you have had a go on the Joe, please let us know what you think about it in the comments and thank you so much for watching the show.
Stock Standard Dimensions & Volume
From Channel Islands Average Joe dimensions and volume the Channel Islands website:
Average Joe groveler
Just bought this board. Rode the Joe and it got my obsession going for the CI boards and the Joe helped me transition smaller. I bought the groveler model in 5'11" and I weigh 190. I went for it for the foam, vs. the utility and super performance. I ride it in mushy head to shoulder to pitchy beach break - hollower waves.
Fell in love with it!
Loved the review! I rode this board at a Channel Islands demo and really small waves.. It was so fun! I fell in love with it! Thank you for doing this review, I've been waiting for one!
Stoked! Very responsive..
Benny, just wanted to thank you for this review, it convinced me to swap my 5'8 sweet potato for a 5'7 joe. Just had my first surf on it this morning and I'm stoked, it's such a great board and is so much more responsive than the potato! Keep up the reviews mate they're awesome.
Channel Islands Fishcuit
The Channel Islands Fishcuit works really well in small but nicely formed waves. I would not regard it as a total groveller like a Sweet Potato or Pier Pony. Unlike some fish shapes its quite possible to get a top to bottom thing going and it does not feel corky. You just have to keep it on a rail. I would not recommend to a beginning surfer because you need to work a little bit for your speed. It works really well with Futures Controllers. Watch the video of Machado.
Response: Well, this is not about the Channel Islands Average Joe but still a great take on the Channel Islands Fishcuit if you\'re considering one, thanks!
I'm a fairly new surfer, 49 yrs old, 5'8", 148 lbs, low intermediate. Here at south padre, the waves are 99% mushy and small with occasional head high + rollers, no power. I had a 7'6" walden mini mega, and then the same in a 6'7". As you can imagine these both are boats, super thick, hard to carry, but paddle like a canoe. Soon, I did not care for the thickness and wanted something more maneuverable. Hence, the average joe 5'9". Was worried about paddling power, but was immediately put at ease. No problem paddling out which sometimes can be 1/4 mile. Catches waves extremely easy and allows me to do maneuvers as well. My only wish is that I would have taken recommended advice and purchased a 5'5" or so. I can surf this on anything Padre has submitted so far, though we haven't had hurricane swell since my purchase. If you have weak, mushy, roller type waves, this is a great board!