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Friday, August 5, 2022

Board Review: Channel Islands Happy Everyday

Photography by Jeremiah Klein

Targeted as a go-to surfboard that works well across a variety of conditions, the Happy Everyday is the latest addition to Channel Islands’ Happy shortboard series (joining the Two Happy and Happy Traveler models). If you even have a quiver, then you probably already have a board for everything – you have your slab board and your point board, your groveler and your step-up; but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have one board for everything. I test-drove the Happy Everyday, well, every day for several weeks, in a bunch of different waves — Currumbin Alley, Snapper Rocks, Duranbah, T-Street, Upper Trestles, HB Southside, HB Northside — to see if it would make me happy, too.

The dimensions on the Happy Everyday that I tested were:
5’10” x 19.75” x 2.5”, 30.9L, built with Spinetek
FCS fins: Mick Fannings, Mayhems, Channel Island Uprights

The Pitch

Says Channel Islands about the Happy Everyday:

“Created by Britt Merrick from what was initially the Two Happy performance shortboard model, our new Happy Everyday fills a need in every surfer’s quiver: the everyday shortboard. Britt wanted to draft off the performance attributes of the Two Happy but modify it to address the everyday conditions most of us come up against. To achieve this goal, Britt shortened the rail to create a curvier outline, especially through the tail area. For both the entry and exit rockers he lowered them to increase paddle and planing speeds to cover a broader range of conditions. The single concave under the front foot acts as a gas pedal and generous double concave through the fins provides rail-to-rail ease and plenty of lift in the small stuff.”

The Design

Originally, CI’s main goal was to deliver a cohesive family of boards that all feel familiar, so a surfer can jump from model to model without any issues. So, initially, the Happy Everyday was built around complementing the other two Happy models (Two Happy and Happy Traveler) to simplify the decision-making process when buying a new board.

First and foremost, this is a small-wave performance board. Outline-wise, the plane shape is more generous than other Happy models. There’s also more area in the nose, a wider tail block and the Merrick Hip (slight bump in the outline, just above the fins). A keen eye will also notice similarities to the Curren Red Beauty, where the hip is used as a breaking point in the outline. There’s a straight section through the middle, too. All of this helps with planing speed.

The foil is full, meaning it feels a little higher in your hand, so it’s easy to paddle and it gets into waves easier. Once you’re up, it just goes, thanks to the increased planing area and the moderate single concave under your front foot, which runs into a double concave between the fins. The speed is plentiful.

There’s a staged rocker — vs. the continuous rocker curve found in most Channel Islands boards — which is a low-entry rocker straight in front of the fins, which kicks back to where the outline breaks, or that very subtle hip in front of the fins. The flat area of the rocker — the space between where your feet go — is where you’ll feel the most drive. When you lay over it on a bottom turn, you’ll feel it pushing you forward. Put your back foot into it, though, and you’ll notice a looseness, due to the amount of curve back there. It makes for a nice balance of driving and pivoting.

The Performance

The author, testing.

Stats: 12 sessions; 90 waves; Top Speed: 36.5km/h (Currumbin Alley); Longest Ride: 299m (Snapper Rocks)

The Happy Everyday likes a more vertical, straight-up approach, and I’m generally more horizontal and carve-focused. The bounce of the Spinetek had me excited to try some nooners, though. I was impressed by how quick I could whip a turn off with the concave. The extra lift I got while powering through it was addictive. And with that Spinetek, I could really feel the flex through cutbacks and bottom turns. It’s got that springy feeling, almost like the board stops for a millisecond before springing you into the next part of the turn.

You could apply your normal shortboard length but might find it too voluminous. I suggest riding it two inches shorter, where you’ll enjoy that drive more. You’ll probably go faster and rip through turns easier, too. Shaving off two inches from your go-to shorty would make a huge difference, even if it means having to wait a couple extra weeks for a custom; otherwise you’ll probably end up with too much foam under you and it’ll feel really boaty. I grabbed the 5’10”, which is the same length as my normal shortboard, and after speaking to Devon Howard from Channel Islands about some issues I was having, it became apparent that I should’ve grabbed a 5’8” instead. Shrinking the rail line by two inches has a major impact on how you can surf a board. My weight distribution, my stance, how I turned, and my ability to find the sweet spot… That all got thrown out of whack on the 5’10”. In some of my small-wave surfs, I felt like I was pushing water, and in some of my bigger-wave surfs, I felt like I couldn’t get the rail over on a turn.

It’s fair to say that this was a challenging board to ride, at first. But once I got the Channel Islands Upright FCS fins into it, and stayed in 1-3-foot surf, I found some bright sparks, and it became easier to enjoy the board. The Happy Everyday might work in anything you throw at it, but it went best for me in small beachbreaks.

The Fins

Go with the template you’re most used to, and then branch out from there as you become more comfortable with the board. My go-to FCS template is the Mayhem Large. I enjoy the flat foil, because it’s uncomplicated. Plus, I’m a big fan of tri-fins being all the same size, and the Upright, MF and Mayhem fins were all the same size across the entire set. Initially I started with Mayhems, then tried the Mick Fannings, then ended up on the Channel Islands Uprights. And for someone who lives and dies by the Mayhem template, I can honestly say that the Happy Everyday goes better with the Channel Islands Uprights. I got a more skatey feeling and I noticeably moved faster and quicker once I was up and riding. But the bigger the surf got, the more I wanted a sturdier fin. So, once the surf got over three-foot, I swapped the Uprights out for the Mayhems and instantly got more drive and control.

The Verdict

I wasn’t “Happy Everyday” riding this board. It posed a few challenges and took quite a while before I found some enjoyment riding it, but I do love a challenging board and eventually found some endearing qualities. The model is full of energy, and gets up and goes. Add it to a Two Happy and Happy Traveler and you’ve got a solid triple-board quiver.

So, would I buy this board? Definitely, but I’d probably get a custom 5’8” in PU. That way I could play with the width and thickness, as their stock 5’8” dims don’t work for me. And that’s something to be aware of when shopping — the stock dims aren’t always for everyone, which makes grabbing one off the rack a gamble. But if you’re struggling to fill that hole in your quiver — one surfboard to rule everyday surf — and your current options aren’t bringing you any excitement, the Happy Everyday is worth a throw.

Buy

Buy directly from Channel Islands Surfboards in Australia or the U.S.

Pricing varies, but expect to pay around $1,225 in Australia and $955 in the U.S. for the Spinetek option; $950 in Australia and $775 in the U.S. for the PU option.

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Other Board Reviews: Campbell Brothers Alpha Omega | Rusty Keg | Christensen Lane Splitter

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ABOUT SURFLINE’S GEAR REVIEWS

We all get psyched to find the perfect board, suit, leash or whatever that helps us do what we love best — surf. And before you shell out your hard-earned cash, Surfline’s here to help in your decision making process by creating features that share honest, thoughtful feedback on the products we test, to give you a more informed choice before spending.

I personally fell into writing reviews through exploring my own curiosity around surf products. It was never meant to be a ‘career’. I wanted to know more about surfboards, wetsuits and boardshorts. What made them amazing, why they sucked and who was providing great value. From there it evolved into a site called Empire Ave and a ten-year run evaluating products that enhance our surfing experience. Now I’m here, on Surfline to share those insights, thoughts and feedback earned through a decade of testing.

We don’t (and won’t) take any money for articles in our Surf Gear content series. There’s no pay to play effort or shoddy handshakes under the table happening. If it does, I will literally lose my job. 

–Lincoln Eather

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