So you want to transition from longboard to shortboard, but you aren't ready to commit to a performance shortboard just yet. Or are looking for something to help you out of less than ideal conditions? Well check out the Piranha by Rusty. The Piranha is a modern fish that can help you bridge that board gap and get the most out of small to medium size waves.
Dimensions & Material
We tested the 6'4"H x 20.85"W x 2.4"T Tuflite model. Tuflite is lighter and more buoyant than your standard Polyurethane/fiberglass board, giving a boost when paddling.
The bottom is a single concave that fades into a very faint vee at the tail. The single concave design helped build a lot of speed for this board, even in small or mushy conditions.
At first sight, the 3 "wings" on the tail caught our eye. The wings give the board a more aggressive look, but we're not sure if it really provided any performance benefit.
Compared to your standard performance shorty the nose is fuller with a small rocker. Again, the design helped in smaller surf, but unfortunately doesn't make the board ideal for larger or faster conditions.
The Piranha has down turn rails with soft edges, while fading into hard edges on the tail. The softer rails kept the board locked in small, mushy surf, while still giving the board some bite in larger conditions.
We tested the 3, Future System, fin Piranha but you can also get the Piranha in quad.
The extra body of the board coupled with the buoyancy of Tuflite, made for very easy paddling which was great at catching rolling, mushy waves.
Catching small to medium waves was a snap. The board seemed to work best in medium, moderate speed beach breaks. Surprisingly catching knee high mush is completely doable with this board. The board is rock steady on the take-off and can handle moderate drops. However it is not suited for handling faster breaks that require fast take-offs as the board lags a little on the drop into the wave. In overhead+ waves, this becomes nearly impossible to pull off.
The Piranha rides smooth and steady with a little bit of bite. The Piranha is pretty slow building initial speed, but after 2-3 pumps, the speed is easy to build and maintain. The quad model might be able to address the initial speed issue. In small, seemingly uncatchable mush the Piranha will require extra pumping to stay afloat. But then again, we were surprised the board could catch those waves at all. Medium slabs seemed to be the sweet spot for the Piranha as the board easily cruised down the line as fast or as slow as needed.
The Tuflite definitely helped with the bite, as it gave the board a skatey feel. Big snaps and turns are doable, but the Piranha is no performance shortboard. Heavier, more powerful surfers may not really notice it, but lighter surfers will have to put some extra juice into their turns. In head to overhead+ waves, the resistance on turns becomes increasingly noticeable.
The Piranha does a good job of providing the maneuverability comparable to a shortboard in small to medium waves without having to sacrifice all the benefits of a longboard. For surfers who are looking to make that transition, this is a great option. However, the Piranha comes up a little short as an all-around surfboard because of its limited performance in larger waves. Overall the Piranha works wonderfully in less than ideal conditions and is a good step towards eventually riding that performance shortboard.