Robert August Surfboards: Big Wave Gun
I’ve never been into big wave surfing, but I have always had this slight desire to do it just to say I did it. I got talked into surfing Waimea Bay/Pinballs with a friend of mine recently, which was a life-changing experience and a whole other story in itself, but before he could convince me he had to find me a board to use. He had an old Robert August big wave gun for me, so he won, and I went. This board wasn’t a full-sized big wave gun, more of a semi-gun, but it worked for me since I’m pretty lightweight. Waimea also wasn’t breaking at full-size either, so you could get away with a smaller board. This board is 7’7”, a perfect size for most people at Pipe when it gets huge. It did a perfect job of getting me into the biggest waves of my life so far. I could easily paddle into 15 to 20 foot plus waves on this board. Other guys in the line-up were riding similar boards, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to own both a gun this size and a bigger one if you wanted to surf a spot like Waimea Bay often.
This Robert August big wave gun is shaped just like most traditional guns. It’s a 3-fin pintail, very narrow throughout the middle of the board, but thick enough to float you really well. It had very little rocker throughout most of the board but the nose kicks up a ton. This is because you need a flat bottom with little rocker to be able to get into really big waves, but once you are up, you need a ton of rocker in the nose so you can keep from digging it in on the drop. The coolest thing about this board was that it whistled at me while flying down the face of these monstrous waves. As I increased in speed it would get loud, then as I did a turn it would quiet down and come up again as I dropped back in. I’m pretty sure that is not from the design, but from a bad repair on the nose, but it was pretty cool to hear it out there.
The board performed really well on the wave. The first wave I caught I was unsure of how the board would react while riding since it was brand new to me. I leaned in too hard on the bottom turn and fell over taking the lip on the head. After that first trial run, I new how to handle it, and by distributing my weight right on turns the board was pretty maneuverable in the massive surf. Riding the big waves of Waimea for the first time was a memorable experience for me, and I can’t wait to get out there and get some more. Thanks to this board, I caught 5 or 6 of the biggest waves of my life, and actually lived to talk about it. Now I just need a bigger one for the next swell! And as a side note, if you have ever had even a little bit of a desire to ride a big wave gun in huge waves…do it. It is amazing.
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