Channel Islands Water Hog

    Photo: Mark Wiens

On this wave glutton, I had to stop myself from gobbling up more than my fair share of rides. Designed by legendary shaper Al Merrick, this seven-foot-six-incher is basically a scaled-down longboard. The payoff: It's versatile enough to handle ankle biters as well as pitching six-foot faces. The 21-inch width makes the board comfortably stable and floaty for beginners, while its responsiveness will keep experienced surfers stoked.

Bonus: With a longboard's float in an easier-to-handle package, it's great for women and smaller-framed men.

Bummer: You'll get punched in the nose if you grab every wave the Water Hog allows. 7'–9'; www.cisurfboards.com

Brand: Channel Islands $695

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