Sep 24, 2009

4GF Standard + pod Fins

Having lost fifteen pounds since departing NZ, and now wearing boardshorts and flippers in Hawaii, my new 4GF Standard particularly suits my 155 pounds. This template was developed over 30+ years of r&d to be one-size fits-all for 100-to-200 pound riders. There is something magical about these dimensions, especially if one weighs in near the middle of this scale.

I usually ride in trunks and wear a shortsleeve surfshirt when it's super-sunny. I suppose that I've hardened myself to the traction top, so I can bareback without raft rash, which says quite a lot for the comfort factor of the black top. Grip in a rashguard is fine for me. The blue bottom looks good, goes great, and stays cooler in the sun. As for the shape, larger diameter corners improve traction and reduce nose drag. Speed seems about the same as always. Subtle concave and revised rib placement greatly enhance handling and stability of the whole package. After a few go outs, my new mat softened up, and has performed faultlessly ever since. I trade off between Standard for juicy waves, Fatty on smaller days, and a Gen 1 XL for microwaves. If I could have only one mat it would be a Standard. With brilliant hybrid materials, plus evolutionary "Fatty" design, the new Standard is in my humble opinion, well, The New Standard.

Along with this new mat I got pod PF2 flippers in size 9/10 from Ron Dog at He offers prompt friendly service, low prices, and fast inexpensive shipping. I highly recommend e-shopping with Ron Dog. pod swimfins all look like they were styled for a Batman film. And the futuristic design actually serves quite purposefully. pod "splay rails" really grip the water to hold a line on steep faces and in hard turns. Kicking power is decent, but not great, as these are shortish bodyboard fins. They do deliver quick acceleration, but top speed is a bit lackluster for me, partly because because I'm not strong enough to fully utilize their the speed capabilities. And because overall fit is rather loose in the cavernous footbox, however PF2s are very stiff, and function on the merit of their own form sufficiently that wiggling around in there is not too much of a sacrifice of power. These are the first fins I've found that accommodate my super-wide feet in the proper size with room to spare. They don't catch much water through the ankle opening on fast rides. Soft and roomy foot pockets are good to my knobby feet with no pressure points. The drain hole is very large and rapidly clears sand. They do come off in major turbulence when getting ragdolled, and float quite well, however tethers are advised. I bought XM fin leashes and they work fine so far, especially after tying the tethers with a triple loop around the very end of the strap to make the leashes short enough that the ankle strap has insufficient scope to fall off. So far so good.

pod PF2s are not for everyone. They seem to compare somewhat poorly top-speed-wise to UDT/Viper/Duck Feet style fins due to less blade length. For people with really fat feet, they are a godsend. And, most importantly, the performance delivered while riding waves is exceptional, with low drag, and very positive grip on the water. Deep side rails that slot securely into the face increase both stability and holding power. The concave channels on the outer bottom side rails feel like they aid edge holding and make a bit of thrust... Anyway, I like 'em better than any previous flippers I've tried. And now I'm really curious about pod PF3s, which I may soon be ordering from Ron Dog as well.

To summarize, the various sizes of 4GFs definitely have their applications, however a mid-size person might consider a Standard for truly superb all-purpose matting. And if one wants amazing control on the waves, at the cost of somewhat less kicking speed, by all means check out pod PF2s. Using these products in conjunction seems to pay off. Combining the latest Standard 4GF and pod PF2s has definitely elevated my own matting experience to a new level of pure fun!

1 comment:

pranaglider said...

Nice review of the Pods. It was either those or the Techs I ended up with. Loved the fit on my wide feet. The same issues with the top end and the same raves about the edge control. Molokai looks great!