Welcome back to The People’s Board Review, a board test series in which we enlist working-stiff, relatable rippers to give us feedback on the latest surfboard models in dims you can find right there in the rack at your local surf shop. For this review, we put four RS Surf Co. models in the hands of four surfers of varying sizes and board preferences and took them down to fairly average California beach break on a peaky, head-high day. The boards included the “El Bandido”, a performance blade with training wheels; the “Musubi”, a squished-down shortboard with a curvy outline; the “Love Capsule”, a fat and flat small-wave ripper; and the “Low Love”, a high-performance blade meant for juicy surf.

In the end, for average California surf, the “Musubi” shocked the testers with its responsiveness and earned the highest marks of the bunch. Here’s what you need to know about it:

The Gist:
With a fuller outline and plenty of foam, it’s no surprise that this board paddles well and carries speed, but its ability to still perform at or above the lip is as mysterious as it is welcome. The “Musubi” carries a constant curve from nose to tail and can be ridden as either a thruster or quad. At a glance, it’s a design that appears to be more small-wave groveler than high-octane rip stick, which is why it shocked our testers with its performance levels in rippable faces. “I tried two airs—it’s probably been 15 years since I’ve tried an air,” said Tester #2, who is 5’11” and 215lbs, but rode a 6’0 x 19” x 2.25” “Musubi” with a volume of 30.8 L — a full 2.2L less than his normal shortboard. While this particular board was on the small side (for him), Tester #4 was sold (literally) on the “Musubi”. “For the waves around here that are soft with a few punchy sections…this board would work perfect. I’m going to order this board, actually.” All four testers rode this craft with traditional polyurethane foam construction, although RS also offers this board in epoxy.

Speed: 8.2/10
“It had a lot of drive and flow down the line,” said Tester #3 of the 5’10” x 18.75” x 2.44” “Musubi”. Being 175 lbs, Tester #3 was really happy with the way the board generated speed without a ton of operator effort. “It’s just easy to ride, just kind of gets up and goes…no surprises here.” The other three testers all agreed with that sentiment.

“Musubi” by RS Surf Co.
“Musubi” by RS Surf Co.

Frontside Maneuverability: 7.9/10
Tester #4 had some trouble turning the “Musubi” frontside. At just 125 pounds, she probably needed even less foam than the 5’8″ x 18.65” x 2.25” dims she was riding. “I struggled with my turns,” she said, before admitting that she generally didn’t gravitate toward this type of fuller-volume shred stick to being with. “But it would work good as a step up in a bigger point break.” Tester #4, however, was the only outlier in this category, with all the others agreeing that it offered a surprising amount of responsiveness.

Backside Maneuverability: 6.8/10
The rating for backside maneuverability varied heavily among our testers, which makes sense when you consider the curvy outline of the “Musubi” makes it a little tricky to quickly pivot, especially with your back facing the wave. Tester #1 — who 5’9”, 150 lbs. and rode “Musubi” in 5’8 x 18.65” x 2.25” — told us this model has a sweet spot, but it’s a little finicky and isn’t as user friendly on the backhand as the “El Bandido”.

“Musubi” by RS Surf Co.
“Musubi” by RS Surf Co.

Paddling: 8.3/10
“There was a lot of foam under my chest, and a lot of times on boards that paddle that well, they don’t necessarily turn as well—you sacrifice one or the other,” said Tester #1. “But this one paddled really well, and then when I stood up it felt like a normal shortboard.” Who said you can’t have the best of both worlds?

Click the model names below for more reviews of RS Surf Co.’s fleet:
El Bandido” (a performance blade with training wheels)
Love Capsule” (a fat and flat small-wave ripper)
Low Love” (a high-performance blade meant for juicy surf)