"I'm convinced anyone of moderate skill level could wax this board up and ride it for the first time in hollow waves with total confidence."
Year ago, almost to the day, I wrote a Mentawai travelogue that was universally recognised for what it was, which was drug-fucked gibberish.
The rare bird that pisses off equally in all directions.
I do blame the xanax, which I’d never had before, and mixes poorly with booze, apparently. It was my mate, one of the world’s best prosthetists and who goes to Nepal on his own time and dime to make new limbs for kiddies who lost theirs in the earthquake etc, who recommended it.
So I did.
No biggie, ‘cept it left me sideways for days. What a (very nice) haze!
A year later, I regret negging out on the Mentawais. Matt Warshaw said after the unveiling of Kelly’s tub in 2015: why travel for surf? Which means, by implication, the Mentawais are called upon to justify themselves.
I wouldn’t swap one wave at Lemoore, not a hundred, a thousand for a sojourn in the Mentawais. Not a drag on a Gudam Gurang, a drunken piss off the back deck to the first call to Prayer, a warm Bintang that tastes like battery acid, a week of the squirts because the street Rendang was overloaded with E. Coli.
Not a damn thing.
Now that is cleared up. I took a Lost Sabotaj to the Ments and have meant to review it. It is marketed as a one-board travel quiver for Indo and it does, largely, fulfil that spec.
It is the first Lost board I’ve ridden, which as we all know is a successful board building empire helmed by it’s founder Matt “Mayhem” Biolos.
Mayhem has very astutely managed an image from garage punk to GQ respectability and shown a genius for slicing and dicing the surfboard marketplace and developing models to suit those various micro-niches.
He uses pro surfers to sell the sizzle but his stock in trade is the domesticated high-performance board. The Sabotaj fits very neatly into this category.
The Sabotaj has a forward-weighted template, generous foil and the, by now ubiquitous, single-to-double-concave bottom contour. Sweet little elliptical round tail.
Inevitably, comparisons will be made with the Pyzel Ghost, justifiably so, and we may as well deal with them now. Head-to-head, the Sabotaj carries more foam for its length and has an easier rocker curve to negotiate.
The Ghost feels shorter than its length, is knifier and is a harder, more tuned ride than the Sabotaj. That’s no disrespect to the Sabotaj; you could ride it shorter in stock dims or whittle down the foam in a custom if you wanted to hot rod it.
One-board quiver for Indo or other tropical tubular destination? Much as I hate to agree with marketing blurbs, the answer is unequivocably yes.
I waxed mine pre-dawn and cracked the champagne on it at head-high Telescopes. It took…half… a wave for the Sabotaj to win my heart.
In ten days cruising the Ments, I did not head-butt the upper range, or get close to it, so the eight-foot call on the website seems fair enough.
It’s at the lower end of the spectrum that it feels slightly dull. It’ll get the job done, but a 5’6” Cymatic felt so much spicier at head-high Macaronis. A Stacey Wave Slave with its wider tail block was a lot more fun in onshore two-to-three-foot Scarecrows.
But if you were, say, an Aussie expat working finance in Singapore, or an editor in London, a contractor in California with a sudden window available for Indo, or Mex and you needed one board to make shit happen, the Sabotaj would see you through, no problemo.
I’m convinced anyone of moderate skill level could wax this board up and ride it for the first time in hollow waves with total confidence.
The clue is in the name but obvs, the board was developed in conjunction with retired CT’er Taj Burrow. Taj was/is a wizard who very often looked unbeatable in head-high, righthand Point or beachbreak surf, very much like Filipe Toledo.
Unlike Toledo, Burrow largely escaped the kind of withering character assassination due to his inability to perform in heavy reef lefts.
In 2011 and 2014, years when Teahupoo was big and heavy, Taj got knocked in rounds two and three respectively, yet history has a generous assessment of his career. A strange anomaly.
I’m not a one-board quiver guy, never have been, never will be. I took a three board quiver to the UK, including an eight-foot gun, just in case and cursed it wildly every time I humped it from pillar to post. Derek Rielly is right though, when he states that unless you be a CT pro one board is fine for 99% of the time.
A note on the build quality. This board was made by the Australian licencee at Ourimbah drive Tweed Heads, TC Glasshouse. Same cats who build the Pyzels. Like the Ghost I got off ’em, this thing is indestructible. Blank density, lamination schedule, it’s top notch. The Ghost, two years on, has still barely got a deck dent.
The Sabotaj is on a similar trajectory.
I wanted to give the last word to my Bribie pal, who has known me since we were kids, and is quite capable of ruthless objectivity. But he is working FIFO, I think a few hundred miles out in the bush from Kalgoorlie, dragging cables around prospecting for heavy metals.
All I could get out of him was a text, “ya fucking fell off too much”, which illustrates another truth for the non CT surfer.
No matter the arrow, the archer is 99% of the performance.