Review: The Science / Le Boogie Board Collaboration.
By Dan Dobbin.
I’m lucky enough to get custom boards for mates rates from Adam McHugh of Solution bodyboards.
The mad scientist from Port Stephens, who built his own laminator from abandoned street signs, trail and error and good old Aussie ingenuity.
Shapes quality boards under his house when not busting his arse at his real job.
I hadn’t bought a stock board for at least a decade plus.
However the altruistic benefit of having $100 from my purchase going to a nominated local bodyboard club swayed my hand on the Science Le Boogie.
Cash down, board delivered, with a nice little bonus “Le Boogie” T-shirt buried in the bottom of the box too.
Offered in 42.5″ and 43.5″ inch, with similar dimensions to the Science Style Loaded, Le Boogie maestro Josh Kirkman added some tweaks to create a board designed to make smaller waves a more interesting experience.
I opted for the 42.5″ model, although in hindsight perhaps the larger model would have been a more interesting choice.
First paddle out came after the deluges in early February.
The downpour had blown open a local coastal lagoon, creating a nice little high tide sand plug bank out in front of where the two bodies of water were meeting.
A morning of reprieve from the insistent northerly winds that just wouldn’t let up over the Christmas break.
Offshore 2-3 easterly groundswell producing longer barreling lefts that stretched out along the bank, and punchy air opportunities on the rights.
A benefit of having a close relationship with an open-minded board builder is that any design kink that takes your fancy can be pursued down the rabbit hole.
For me, this had meant the custom boards I’d been ordering had got progressively longer but also thinner.
43 inch boards skinnied down to around 54mm thickness has become my standard.
Longer planning area for speed, while more responsiveness and just the right amount of flex coming from the thinness is the ideology.
So the relative thickness of the Le Boogie Boogie was the first thing I notice.
Thickness, I’ve since revised, is not a bad thing.
The extra volume makes spinners and transitioning across the wave face between moves more seamless.
The flow and grace between moves that denotes style made easier with extra volume.
The Le Boogie lacks anything fancy under the bottom, no channels, no concave, just a good ol’ fashion flat bottomed slick.
This creates a notable to the sensation of speed and glide, with nothing diverting or interupting the movement of water across the slick.
The last time I rode a board with a virgin slick I was 14, a Stewart 7-7, the one with the white slick, not your classic orange.
This was the board I remember beginning to hit my grommet straps on, with progression being made in leaps each surf, rather than the slower, incremental increase of later life.
To wit, the Le Boogie feels very much like a modern update on the mid 90s Moreys.
Nothing flash, just a nice, solid, dependable board, that once worn in with a bit of flex will give a nostalgic, comfortable ride.
I found myself throwing the Le Boogie into the car when I’m heading out to the softer beachies close to my door that I’d normally ride a surfboard on, which seems to match the original brief of making average conditions fun.
As alluded to earlier, the 43.5″ would probably go even better with its extra length and volume.
So if you’re looking for a modern board with some old school feels, to get the juices flowing in workaday beachies, the Science / Le Boogie collaboration might just fit the bill.
* Le Boogie headman Josh Kirkman informs me that he has two 43.5″‘s and six 42.5″ left. If you’re interested he can be contacted through @leboogiepodcast on Instagram.
**I may have another potential rabbit to chase now, with musings of a thick custom 43.5″ or even possibly a 44″ just to really push the issue. Maybe a even a square tail for extra surface area. Make beachies even funnerer again!