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Channel Islands Average Joe Review



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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.


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+ 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  

Benny Rides
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 also think the Futures Stretch Quads 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.

Compare To



Channel Islands Average Joe surfboard review image | CompareSurfboards.com

Channel Islands Average Joe Surfboard – Bottom



Video Transcript

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.”

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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.


Firewire Sweet Potato vs JS Pier Pony vs Channel Islands Average Joe Surfboard Review Image | Benny's Boardroom - CompareSurfboards.com

Firewire Sweet Potato vs JS Pier Pony vs Channel Islands Average Joe



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.

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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.


Channel Islands Average Joe by Al Merrick Surfboard Review Image | CompareSurfboards.com

Average Joe Signature Al Merrick Hip Tail (click to enlarge)


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:






20 3/8

2 1/4



20 7/8

2 3/8



21 3/8

2 1/2



21 7/8

2 5/8



22 1/8

2 3/4



22 3/8

2 7/8



22 7/8





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Channel Islands Surfboards by Al Merrick Channel Islands Average Joe Surfboard Review 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. SKU UPC Model Average Joe

It\'s Fun!

May 20, 2014 by Ben
Location: Australia 

I like the Average Joe for small, fun, cruisy sessions

Response: COOL!

4.0 4.0 1 1 I like the Average Joe for small, fun, cruisy sessions Channel Islands Average Joe Surfboard Review
  • http://www.comparesurfboards.com/ thebenny

    Hi Al, I think the Average Joe is a great call for having fun on the tiniest, weakest of days. I think it’s sensible to go for more volume vs. not enough in those conditions.

    For more on grovelers, check out this article:


  • http://www.comparesurfboards.com/ thebenny

    Hi Clint, have you seen this post?


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  • http://www.comparesurfboards.com/ thebenny

    Hi Ed,

    To me, these groveler style boards are intended to be surfed in the tiniest, weakest of conditions so I prefer to have a little more volume versus not enough. I vote for the 5’3 Average Joe.


  • http://www.comparesurfboards.com/ thebenny

    Hi Andyd, I’ve had both boards and liked each for different reasons. I think the Average Joe is easier to surf – more user friendly

  • http://www.comparesurfboards.com/ thebenny

    I think the 5’1 is the only choice at your size Luke! Grovelers are always difficult to duck dive – that’s the tradeoff for getting out on a shorter board in tiny, weak waves

  • anton martin

    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.

    • http://www.comparesurfboards.com/ thebenny

      Legend, thanks for writing Anton. Really glad to hear you’re digging the Average Joe!

  • http://www.comparesurfboards.com/ thebenny

    Hi Luke, I personally wouldn’t surf the Average Joe much over chest/shoulder high.

    Check this post to help you with sizing! http://bit.ly/knowyourvolume

  • http://www.comparesurfboards.com/ thebenny

    Hi Carl, I like the #4 for a variety of conditions – it is truly an all rounder – whereas I love the Weirdo Ripper but found it worked best in lined up surf…not mush!

  • http://www.comparesurfboards.com/ thebenny

    Hi Karl, I haven’t ridden a Firewire Baked Potato…it looks cool but I had a love/hate relationship with the Sweet Potato so I haven’t tried the Baked Potato.


  • http://www.comparesurfboards.com/ thebenny

    Hi Karl,

    Given the description of your beach break, go the R.V. I think it feels more at home on a steeper face versus the Channel Islands Average Joe!


  • http://www.comparesurfboards.com/ thebenny

    Hi James,

    Thank you for your question and kind feedback! I think the Channel Islands Average Joe is an excellent choice for your situation. It is easy and fun to ride.

    For grovelers, I always prefer to have a little bit too much versus not enough volume given these boards are intended for the smallest end of the wave range. Therefore, I would go for the 5’11!

    All the best,

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  • http://www.comparesurfboards.com/ thebenny

    Hi Al, thanks for writing!

    I had a 5’11 Average Joe first and changed up to the 6’1. For me, the extra volume doesn’t hurt in the tiny, weak waves for which this board is intended and I didn’t notice any difference in performance. Regardless, I think you will be fine on the 5’11.

    However, if you’re looking for a ‘skatey’ groveller, there are other options worth considering as I would characterise the Joe and fun and cruisy. Check out the article

    “Six Popular Groveler Surfboards Compared. I Like Them All, Especially #6″
    (click here: http://bit.ly/1j0SBbR)

    I hope this helps you!

    All the best,

  • Allan

    Heya Benny,
    Im 110kg and 6’6, im considering the 5’11 at 43L+. You’re a few KG’s lighter and having ridden a longer version, what’ya think? Im looking for skatey groveller for tiny days up to about 3-4 foot and mushy. Basically NSW northern beaches (Manly) type waves.
    Love ya work. yeeeew

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  • Sean

    Hi Benny,

    I am seriously considering buying the avg joe vs the lost rv. I had a 5-4 pier pony and did not like it bc I could not turn it well. Plus I really like thruster set ups. Need ur advice. I am 39 yrs old , 5’7 145lbs, intermediate surfer and recovering after a serious lumbar disc injury ( not from surfing but 9mo ago). My perfect board has been the new flyer 5-9 plus dims w vol of 29L but I am not in shape for this yet. Do I go for the avg joe given my pier pony experience and if so will the 5-5 at 33L be too much? I worry that it won’t turn and be stressful on my body to duck dive. I am worried that the 5-3 is too small but would be ideal when i am fit. Sorry but $700 is a lot to experiment w and ur website has been very informative!

    • thebenny

      Hi Sean, thanks for your question.

      I haven’t tried the Lost RV (would like to!) but I feel the Average Joe turns better vs. the Pier Pony with the pulled in hip tail. That said, the Joe is a groveler and there will always be performance tradeoffs when packing so much foam into a small package.

      Regarding the size, did your 5’4 Pier Pony have the right amount of float for you? If yes, the 5’5 Joe is a similar size (32.7 vs. 33).

      I hope this helps you.


  • scdrew

    Hi Benny … Thanks for doing these awesome reviews. Question I had was Average Joe versus Weirdo Ripper. Both Models appear to be for “novice” to better surfers but after riding both boards which board do you think would be a better choice for an older surfer 40+ to get into waves and have a fun time. I surf southern california from point breaks to beach breaks (3-4ft) and want a board that would be good for both types of breaks. Worried the average joe might be for just mushy waves and wont hold up on steeper walled waves. thanks for your advice

    • thebenny

      Hi scdrew, thanks for your question and for the good feedback!

      Both are great models but other than having lots of volume in small packages, these boards don’t have much in common.

      The Joe is a groveler for tiny, weak waves; almost a longboard proxy. It will do mushy and clean conditions and is great fun when the waves are smaller, weaker and flatter faced. That said, Joe is manoeuvrable for a groveler.

      The Weirdo Ripper, in my opinion, excels is cleaner, more lined up conditions from waist high to a few feet overhead. Despite the wide outline, it will take a steep drop and is very lively. However, while it likes better quality waves, I struggled with it in mushier, more average waves.

      Given your description and know SoCal gets a good amount of clean, small surf, I would go with the Weirdo Ripper.

      Also, check out the Von Sol Shadow, which is really popular for the waves in SoCal:


    • thebenny

      Hi scdrew, I realise I hadn’t posted the Weirdo Ripper review – oops! Here you go: http://bit.ly/IPrHb0


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  • chezpoof

    I like that!

    • thebenny

      I like it, too, Chezpoof!


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