Words/Interview by Beau Flemister.
It can be hard to articulate how and why a certain board works for you. Describing the concept of “feel” is tough…but some do have the tongue for it. Like HS team rider and Puerto Rican Dylan Graves. Artistic, musical and positively one-of-a-kind, Dylan tells us about three of his favorite board models he’s been on lately. We can also safely say he’s the only surfer we’ve ever met to give you a qualified and relevant “Lord of the Rings” metaphor for each one. And for that, we thank him. Dylan takes it from here…
Tell us about your 3 most memorable sessions, broken up by 3 board models.
Dylan: I’d say my very first sesh on the White Noiz was out of hand. I was surfing my favourite little wedge in the Caribbean and the thing felt like it was ready to go anywhere. It turns on a dime and has the perfect rocker and edge combo to make you feel like you are in complete control in a variety of situations. Definitely my go-to model for most conditions in Puerto Rico, or anywhere, really. Then, just recently, I got a 5’7” Untitled that is freaking me out. Kind of a high performance fish, and the thing was generating an insane amount of speed but could still handle turns and bottom turns really well. Your ideal everyday-board. Lastly, I have a magic 5’9” Black Noiz that comes with me on every trip. It acts as a shortboard/step-up and is more than ready to perform as either. If you’re looking for a board that helps you feel comfortable when the waves have juice Black Noiz is your answer.
Dylan on Black Noiz in Dane Reynolds 2016 film 'Chapter 11'.
And what else, specifically, would you break down about about those three?
OK, so with the White Noiz, you know that feeling you get when you bite into a piece of bacon? It’s that exact same feeling when you drop in on your first wave on the White Noiz. Then, Untitled, that board makes you feel like you are a pelican. And the Black Noiz makes me feel like I am Pancho Sullivan.
What waves do you find each of them goes best in and why?
White Noiz: All conditions. The White Noiz is my sting (Frodo’s sword in “Lord of the Rings”).
Untitled: 1-6ft. Untitled is my “Light of Earendil,” when I’m looking for an extra spark when conditions are sub-par. (Another LOTR ref).
Black Noiz: Head-high-plus. Black Noiz is your Samwise Gamgee, the got-your-back no matter what. It’s gonna be there for you no matter what section you face.
As far as volume, rocker or any other specific dimension, what’s the first thing you notice about a board and why?
I’d say after that initial “under the arm” test where you take in the essence of a board. I like to stand it in front of me to get a good look at the outline and where the wide point is on the board. Even though you already have a good idea of what model you ordered and what conditions that model is made for, I feel like this is the final piece to the whole “new board experience.”
If you could describe each in one word or phrase each, what would it/they be?
How about I assign each model a song:
White Noiz: “Groovin’” by Willie Mitchell
Untitled: “Escape (Piña Colada song)” by Rupert Holmes
Black Noiz: “Apostrophe” by Frank Zappa
Well put. Let's talk about tech... What type of surf/waves suit your preference for FutureFlex and which suit PE?
I especially enjoy the FutureFlex in smaller stuff; it feels really lively and has way more pop than PE. PE has that all-around feel for me. I grew up using Poly boards my whole life so to have that similar flex with extra strength is the best combo ever in my opinion. So for me, in all-around waves, it’s PE.
What is a technical shaper term you find yourself fixating on and why…or what is a term that you really just think is kind of bullshit?
Well…I think the entire surfing community, myself included, is fixated on Cubic Litres (CL), it is the Hansel of the surfing world at the moment! [laughs]. People have got their numbers dialed in which is cool, but you never know which board is gonna be magic and I enjoy being surprised by boards and feeling new things. I think that is what surfing is all about. Not that I think CL’s are bullshit, I just don’t let .1, .2 or even an entire litre deter me from the kind of surfing I envision on a certain board. Every surfer in the world has been wrong about how a board feels as opposed to how it rides. Just get out there and go! :)
Follow Dylan on Instagram here @dylangraves and casualslice.com