Made famous by internet surf sensation, Jamie O’Brien, the Catch Surf Beater is the ultimate utility surfboard. There was a lot of hype around this board in 2018, and the hype continues unabated in 2019 and beyond. Catch Surf describe the Beater as the “all purpose customizable shred stick”. We found it to be quite a difficult board to surf, and definitely not as easy as the pro’s in the YouTube videos make it look to surf. But first, let’s go back to the beginning.
Unboxing the Catch Surf Beater
The beauty of ordering a board like the Beater online is that you don’t have to stress about it getting damaged in transit. Like all foam surfboards its going to take some serious force to ding it, and even then the board won’t run the risk of getting waterlogged as it’s entirely made of foam.
When it arrived, the Catch Surf Beater came nicely packaged in a plastic sleeve with the usual cool graphics and marketing copy we expect from Catch Surf. They threw in a Catch Surf sticker as well.
Once it was out of the packaging the Catch Surf Beater felt very much like an elongated bodyboard, particularly because it didn’t have the fins in yet. The board comes with two standard black Catch Surf fins. The Beater is a dual fin setup, but equally can be ridden without fins. More on that later.
It does not come with a leash. Although a lot of the pro’s tend to ride these soft top surfboards without a leash, we advise using a leash, unless you’re exclusively going to be using the board for skimming.
We chose a fairly standard colorway, but the boards comes in wide array of different designs and colorways. In some cases Catch Surf have collaborated with Lost or pro’s like Jamie O’Brien or Kalani Robb to create some pretty sick looking boards. These cool looking designs are a refreshing injection of color into the surf industry which up to now has been rather blandly focussed producing mainly white boards. This is largely because the standard color of a surfboard blank is white and the resin is translucent.
Riding the Catch Surf Beater
Catch Surf suggest that this board can be ridden in whole host of different conditions. We found the board difficult to ride in groveller type waves. It felt like it lacked the volume to get into smaller waves. Granted our level of surfing is a lower intermediate level.
When we took the board into larger (3ft plus), punchier surf, then it became easier to catch waves on. However we found the board difficult to balance on. We found ourselves staying hunched on the board during the takeoff, otherwise if we stood straight we ended up falling off the board. This was riding it with fins!
Turning the board was a little easier as it’s light and snappy. On steeper wave faces it’s trickier, we often ended up digging the nose into the face of the wave. That’s because there is almost no rocker on the Catch Surf Beater. The base is actually convex a bit like a log.
The board turned nicely larger, flatter waves. We also noticed it struggled to cut through chop on the wave face and therefore lent itself better to glassier, calmer surf conditions.
Riding it without fins was a whole other challenge. We tried two spins on the board and stacked it both times. All we can say is that the pro’s make it look too easy! One has to be an incredibly well balanced surfer to be able to pull off a 360.
When we tried skimming the board it was a whole lot of fun, and we were actually able to get some decent length rides from skimming it. Be sure to remove the both the fins and leash before skimming the board.
The Verdict on the Beater
Although we had fun riding this board in certain instances, on the whole as lower intermediate surfers we struggled to get the most out of this board. If you’re an advanced surfer then we’re confident you’ll enjoy riding this board and will certainly get more out of it than we did.
We would not recommend the Catch Surf Beater as a starter board for a beginner surfer. It’s simply too unstable and lacks enough volume to be able to catch smaller waves. If you are just looking for a fun board, that you can throw in your car, and head down to the beach whenever to bum around on, the Beater is good choice. It’s compact and easy to cart around. No need to buy a bag for this utility board.
If you are however looking for a soft top surfboard to progress your surfing as someone who surfs at a modest level, the Catch Surf Beater is probably not the board for you.
As an alternative, we would recommend looking at the Wave Bandit Performer 5’6″ which is part of the Catch Surf family. This board has a good 10 liters of extra volume which is going to make catching waves much easier. At under 6 foot, it’s still going to offer easy turning and manoeuvrability.
If you think you need something with even more volume to ensure wave catch-ability, then we recommend stepping another foot and going for the Odysea Skipper Quad which comes in a 5’6″, 6’0″ and a 6’6″. Odysea is also part of the Catch Surf family. I know, it gets quite confusing.