Channel Islands Average Joe – Shred Show ep. #34: Al Merrick Average Joe surfboard

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The Average Joe by Channel Islands fills an interesting hole in what most surf shops stock – a surfboard for average surfers in average waves that wasn’t designed by pro surfers, but entirely by Channel Islands employees looking for a board to surf before and after work.

Because of how wide the Average Joe is it can go up and down in volume by big numbers in only a few inches of length, and that makes sizing one tricky.

If you wanted you could get an Average Joe two inches shorter than your height but if you do that your’e probably looking for something that will catch waves really easily and a Water Hog is probably a better option. If you size one 8 inches below your height you’re probably after a performance groveler short board and there are more interesting surfboard options out there.

But size one 4 to 6 inches below your height as an average surfer and you’ve got an excellent short board that will help you make some jumps in your skill level or make up for the hours you spend behind your desk everyday.

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Arnette contest

We love South America and everyone there but since customs and imports are tricky in that part of the world it isn’t eligible for this contest.

Thank you Channel Islands for giving me this board for free and thank you Arnette for sponsoring this episode. All opinions are my own.


Lance Humphrey says:

Awesome review, Im 6 foot and 180 pounds, i surf knee to head high beach breaks and am looking to get the joe, i am a beginner/intermediate surfer. is the joe right for me and what sort of sizes should i look at???

wef 0909 says:

I wish I had watched this episode before purchasing this board. I’m 5’10” 165 lbs and bought a 5’9″ because I was nervous of purchasing too short for my first short board. Because the board is too wide and has a lot of volume for me, I find it difficult to duck dive in strong swells. I highly recommend sticking to 4-5 inches shorter than your height. I will most likely sell it on CL and purchase it as a 5’5”. Send me a message if you live in LA and are interested in purchasing this board.

Gavin St. John says:

Hey dude! I love your videos. You should do one on the Motoboat.

Samantha Kiz says:

Hey Chris, so I’m 5’6, 120 pounds, and I really like the sounds of this board. Seems like a good New England board, something fun for small summer days. Two things, 1.) if I got this as a 5’4 would that be too small? 2.) the weirdo ripper sounds intriguing, which would you suggest? Considering my small height and weight

OuterLimits Aerial says:

I’ve been on a longboard for most of the time i’ve bee surfing(5-6 years) I tried a 6’6′ NSP not knowing exactly what to transition down to and that turned out to be the completely wrong choice looking back on it (I’m 5’9″ 105 lb) So I’m looking to try short boarding again and for what I want the Joe seems to work. My local shop (Hansens) recommended that I don’t go above a 5’10” and not too far below. So I don’t want to start off too small because i’m sure ill still grow, but I’m also not 200lb which is what most guys that size seem to be going for. What would you recommend? Thanks!

fjsamo says:

Would you recommend this board for a begginer?
Been off surfing for 12+ years and wanna go back. Not into longboards really. 29yo // 5’6″ // 150lbs
I’m being offered a 5’9″ x 22 1/8″ x 2 3/4″ 39.8L

Surfing near here is knee to shoulder height, tops.

Appreciate your response!!!


Could you show Vulcan surfboards archetype

srk5073 says:

Love the channel Chris, my knowledge of surfboard design has positively exploded since subscribing. Thank you for making everything so easy to understand! I had a custom Joe made the end of last year for myself, and this board is so much fun. I’m about 6’2″ 220lbs and had the board made in EPS at 6’1″ x 23 1/2″ x 3″ swallow tail for 48.8L. I also had the “6-channel Tri-hull” added, as well as rail channels, and a few extra bells and whistles that probably don’t particularly effect performance too much. I ride it with with Spectrum AM2s from Shapers. I rode it as a quad for a while, and currently as a thruster. In my opinion, changing the fins completely changes the ride style of the board. As a quad, this board absolutely screams! More times than I could count I’d have a slightly late drop and the board would shoot out from under my feet if I even had a slight hesitation in putting my weight forward. The board would also be a bit hesitant to get on rail, just felt it really want to stay on the current heading. Changed to the thruster set-up and the board becomes surprisingly nimble. I was so impressed by how much the fins truly changed the characteristics of the board, yet both set-ups are so great for different situations. As you mentioned in your video, the board is crazy stable and is really difficult to fall off of. Totally on point with your floater comment too, I couldn’t believe how smooth and effortless the landing was! All in all, I’m ridiculously happy with the board and stoked with the accuracy of your breakdown of the shape and effective dynamics of the board on the wave. As always, very insightful review and much appreciate all your past and continued efforts with Shred Show. Keep it up!!

Skip Paul says:

Just bought this as my first shortboard stepping down from an 8ft funshape and I LOVE it.   

jimmy james says:

how would it work if i threw twin fins on this????? i might try it my board is 5’3 20 7/8 2 3/8 29.6 lt…..

Tom M says:

I like your energy

Offthe Lip says:

Sizing this board is tricky. Two choices. You can get it as a longboard alternative when the waves are super small or you can get it for chest-shoulder high surf. So when you buy this board, you really need to make the decision of what type of waves you want to ride it in, and that will effect the sizing you get it in. I’m 6’2 180lb. I got a 5’9. But the 5’9 was a little small for the little mush I wanted to ride it in. And when the waves get into the chest-shoulder-head range, I’m not riding this board. Purchased this board for super small, waist high days. Swapped it out for 5’11, and it’s perfect. The 5’11 is big and super floaty, really overly big. But perfect for little knee high days, and that’s why I got this board. So if you’re getting this board as something to pull when you don’t want to ride a LB, get it a little over sized than you think.

Whitney Taylor says:

Awesome post – thanks for the details.  I’m a 5’8, 140lb female surfer. I’ve been riding a 7’6 funboard for years and was thinking about changing to a 7′ NSP.  I’d prefer to get something with more performance that will still catch a ton of waves and be a good intro to shortboards like the Average Joe.  I have an old fish I’ve tried to use but its too cut and tough for me, making me super nervous to go beneath my height for the Joe but sounds like I must.  Any recommendations on length and measurements for me for this board?  Really appreciate your help!

logan mclaughlin says:

@shredshow i am 220lbs and 6’4 i really want my first short grovler and am talking to a shapper about getting one made but what shape should i copy for florida 2ft to 6ft please help anyone

Paul Dower says:

@shred show I love the Channel Islands joe bought one a few months back for the small surf here in Oside mostly north county but yes with different fin variety the board can become a sluggish disk or can become a rocket for catching air plus the width and the length of the joe is pretty easy to pull 360 turns and mad floaters . The joe is basically an all around fun board for head high to waist high surf especially here in SoCal . I am 5’5” 145lbs I use to have a custom 5′ 10″ linden fish tri fin it was a fun board but to long the joe I have is 5’1″ 20-3/8x 2-1/4 this board has been the funniest and most maneuverability out of any rocket I’ve ridden in my 18 years of surfing I’ve ridden jc’s which are great boards I just found myself dumbfounded by the joe thanks Al merrick for making my day and the joe you all have a great day see you in the aqua

Tobin Lee says:

Hey all [and Chris] – I’m attempting to decide between a 5’7″ and a 5’9″ Joe. Suggestions?

I’m 6’2″ 194 lbs. with the suit, decent shape, intermediate level (and feel there is much to learn). I mainly surf in Pacifica, California – mostly slower to medium speed waist high sandbar breaks. There isn’t much power in the wave here.

Wesley Cheng says:

Hey love your video! I am 5’9 130 pound surfer, beginner/intermediate level but planning on getting a LOT better fast. Would you suggest a 5’5 or 5’7 board. I mainly surf the Santa Barbara area waves that is about 1-5 feet.

Surfdocsteve says:

I have two of these right now. I ride a 5’5″ one and I am 5’4″ tall and 136 lbs. It is one of the best boards I have been on. I have ridden it in South Shore Hawaii and is my regular board here in California. I would recommend not worrying about the length of the board so much as the volume. I looked at my other boards most of which are CIS and found that my volume was around 29-34 liters. The 5’5″ board gave me the top end of my volume and therefore made this board still easy to duck dive but super easy to paddle and a whole lot of fun to ride on the average waves that are here 90% of the year. I got my son a 5’9″ board because he was riding a 7’6″ mini log and he wanted less board in front of him. This turned out to be the best decision that I made. He has a lot more fun surfing and the board is very stable and easy to ride. I would highly recommend this board in a larger size to a beginning surfer. It has the stability of a long board with the advantages of a short board. I ride the 5’9″ when I go to San Onofre and want to shred a bit but still be able to sit on the outside with the Longboarders. It is the best of both worlds. BTW the web site recommends that I ride a 5’1″ board as far as volume. I will get one some day but I think if you really want a board that is easy and fun to ride I would stay a lot higher on the volume range. I have been surfing for over 30 years and everyone seems to think they shred but the reality of it is that most of us are doing some turns but not like the pros. Get real and get on a board that is fun because that is what surfing is really about, not whether  you do the the most radical maneuver. 

BoardRidersReview says:

Hansens let me take out the 5’4 and I was reminded why Al Merrick is one of the best shapers on the planet. Surfed it in crap 1-2′ conditions and had a blast ! Laughing all the way to shore.

Lou Morda says:

I’m 6’2″, 230 pounds, and like this brainiac said Im over compensating for spending too much time with my kids and work with this board. But I love it and wouldnt trade it for any other board. Buyer beware, it’s going to be tougher to nose dive and I don’t ever go out in big surf with this thing.

Pierce Dwyer says:

you should do the JS flying pony review

Matthew Swanborough says:

have a 5’4 sweet potato works well in crapy small waves on the gold coast but any steep drops and tend to fall the looks like a good shape for higher quality waves and still heaps of wave catching ability i want one haha

Louie McLeod says:

Im 5’11 just brought a 5’9 not really worrying on size as the reviews on this board sound outstanding only 14 and have many years to go hoping that this board gives me that extra bit of fun and skills to surfing

pierrewoodmanizer says:

Just a shout out to tell you how great is your youtube channel,
Here in France (south west coast, close to Hossegor) we get consistent waves most of the time but also some small mushy waves sometime during summer.
As i noticed I don’t go surfing when waves are too powerful and barreling, I would like to know what could be a good all around board for small-medium waves ?
I’m hesitating between the average joe, the Lost puddle Jumper and the Biscuit.
I’m 5’11/180lbs and planning on getting a 5’8 board or something as I’m lacking of paddling strenght.
The average Joe look fun, but I’m affraid it might not be enough fitted for the medium powerful waves we get a lot around here. The puddle Jumper and the Biscuit sounds more versatile but again, the average Joe looks more easy to paddle and catch waves.

Jason Janks says:

Awesome video. I have a very similar board made in Cape Town by Negative. It’s called the bumper car. It’s basically that board with a diamond tail. I have a set of thrusters and quads and today managed to get myself a set of twin keel fins.
What would you suggest is the best combination? Would you try it as a twin or keels with quads?

Kyle says:

+Shred Show Can you recommend a board bag for this? Preferably Dakine…

Peekukthefrog says:

Hey Shed Show, would you recommend the Average Joe or the Happy Shovel for beginner looking to use a shortboard?

wef 0909 says:


Yes it is. Haven’t used it since last November

Mike Dolce says:

Exactly what I’m looking for! Dropping down from my 7.4

I weigh 170 and I’m 5.10 not athletic and only surfing a year. What size would you recommend? 6.2 maybe? Keep the really high volume but not to crazy long?

drift bunny says:

i like ur vids keep em going!

Augustus Cesar says:

Hey just picked this board up and finally got out on it; been surfing for 35 years, mostly thrusters, small affair with a quad, back in the 80’s.  Can’t say my initial impression was good, but waves we relatively lame, so likely the issue, but just had to get it in the water..  Super loose to the point of all speed lost after dropping in,…want to love this board, as I need some kind of groveler board, and willing to allow the board to change my style; I  bounce between a Channel Island Whip and a long board, the latter of course increases wave count on days like today.  Will it feel more responsive/friendly on slightly bigger, 2′-3′ days, when I may normally choose longboard?  Based on my metrics: 5’7″ 150lbs, the 33L 5’5″ is supposed to be spot on.  Or do I take it back to the shop….any board psychotherapy always helpful.  Cheers

OuterLimits Aerial says:

One more question haha. What size surf do you think the joe starts becoming a little iffy? Thanks!

plashb199x says:

@shredshow I’m stuck between buying the sweet potato, baked potato, and the joe. I’m 5’10” 155lbs and medicocre at best. I wanted a board for ease of use which drew me to these fatter boards. What I’m wondering is which of these boards holds up best? like out of the 3 which is the best? Also, which board is strongest? No dings! Thanks man great videos

Excel and Access, LLC says:

My new board!  Still in design, I can’t wait to paddle out on that boy.

Augie Scott says:

what size fins would u recommend for this board? thanks and love the show by the way!

Eddie M says:

cant decide between the average joe, the pier pony and a sweet potato/potatonator. What do you guys think?

Snowy says:

i just bought this board, I’m 5’9 150 pounda and i bought this board in the 5’3 size should i be ok?

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