15 October, 2013 15 October, 2013

The Havoc – by Spider Murphy


SHAPER: Spider Murphy
DIMENSIONS: 6’0” x 18 ¾” x 2 ½”
Safari Surf
6 Milne Street
Durban, South Africa, 4001
Tel: (+27) 31 337 4230
Fax: (+27) 31 337 4231
E-Mail: boards@safarisurf.com
WEBSITE: www.safarisurf.com

havoc |ˈhavək|
widespread destruction: causing havoc.
verb ( havocked, havocking) [ trans. ] archaic
lay waste to; devastate.

This is not exactly the kind of description you would normally associate with a surfboard, but according to shaper Spider Murphy, this is a board that “likes to be surfed explosively”. We often hear terms like that thrown around, but what does this mean exactly? Zag takes a closer look.

Let’s just be clear about something from the start: the Havoc is not your typical all-rounder suited to all levels. True, the outline has got a bit more flesh up towards the nose which is all the rage amongst easy-to-ride shortboards today, but it’s not a fatty either.

The extreme rocker helps put you in places many other boards don’t like to venture easily.

Spider likes to hide the volume in his boards, which allows you to surf them smaller while still retaining that fine balance between paddle power and manoeuvrability, and the Havoc is no different in this regard. All the extra foam is rolled up and balanced throughout the centre of the board with a pulled in nose that gives you an easy ‘in’ when paddling for waves. The result: the Havoc catches waves easily and doesn’t feel clunky through the turns, which can sometimes be the problem with more volume. We know what you’re thinking: this all sounds much like your average all-rounder, but that’s about where the similarities end.

When you check out the profile of the Havoc, you immediately notice the extra kick in the small squash tail and the souped-up rocker, as well as the deep concave running through the bottom half of the board. As Spider says, “We’ve taken all the little departments like the concaves, the rocker, and we’ve just extremed it.”

Even the fin placement is set right to the back of the board and on the rail. The combined result of all these souped-up specs is a board that is extremely responsive and accommodating – when you surf it rail to rail. But let’s be honest, not all of us do surf rail to rail, and this is the essential difference between a board that you work and a board that does most of the work for you.


How it works is like this: The extra rocker allows you to put the board tighter and harder in the pocket, which makes for more explosive turning. When you do this, the Havoc comes into its own and noticeably projects you out of the turn and into the next section with speed to burn. One reviewer described it as having “amazing ping through the turns”, which is exactly how it feels – like when you keep smashing the jackpot on a pinball machine. Similarly, when you put the Havoc on a rail it just drives back at you. Apparently this has something to do with increased flex thanks to the rocker / concave combo, as the board fits into the pocket and pushes back. All we know is it felt exceptionally good.

The flipside of this extreme rocker is that it’s harder to generate easy planing speed. The reason all those hybrids and short-shortboards nowadays have much flatter rockers and a wider surface area is to easily gather planing speed. If you’re not a relatively advanced surfer who builds speed by moving your board rail to rail, you’re going to find it tougher to get going on the Havoc. Obviously this is less noticeable when the waves are clean and firing, but for your average day-to-day surf, you’re going to feel it when the waves are average.

Davey van Zyl causing havoc on his Havoc in Sri Lanka.

The most interesting thing about the Havoc was how the intermediate surfers who test rode this model responded to it. One of them was over it. He found it too much hard work when he could be riding his all-rounder hybrid and “getting more out of my waves with less mission”.

Another reviewer liked the board more and more each time he surfed it. His take on it was the Havoc encouraged you to surf harder and push your surfing more. The reward is that when you do commit and go bigger on your moves or put it on the rail, the Havoc gives back in equal measures. As he summed it up, “When you surf it right, it all comes together beautifully. This is the board that will help your surfing get better.”

The advanced surfer who rode this board absolutely ripped on it and rated it highly, but pointed out that he would probably ride something different in gutless conditions.

THE VERDICT: If you’re a beginner to intermediate surfer, this board is not for you. Not yet, anyways. For the intermediate to advanced surfer, the Havoc is an excellent board that is going to help take your surfing to the next level, especially when the waves are good with a bit of juice behind them. You can make do with this as your all-round board, but we’d recommend another shape for when the waves are really pap.

See what Spider has to say about the Havoc:



The Zag Review is an independent editorial feature on surfing hard goods, ranging the full spectrum from boards and wetsuits to tide watches and travel bags. None of the reviews are paid for by advertisers or part of an advertising deal, and we retain the right to give honest, critical feedback that is in the interest of our readers. The product is reviewed by Zag staff and everyday surfers who rip, not pros who are paid to endorse the goods. We test the gear for a minimum period of two weeks (and a month for boards) to give you comprehensive feedback for the surfing layman. We know that surfboards are not a “one size fits all solution” and different surfers prefer different aspects on a board according to how they surf, even if they are the same weight and height. In the case of surfboard reviews, we’ve made sure to seek feedback from at least three different surfers to get well-rounded input.

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