When Peter Mel makes forays to the North Shore of O’ahu, he comes well equipped. An eleven-board quiver, all hand-shaped by John Carper of JC Surfboards, is what “Condor” uses to tackle the heaviest stretch of surf in the world. And, by virtue of crashing at the beachfront Quiksilver house at Pipe, Peter gets to put his boards through the wringer on a daily basis.
The question is: Why does Mel have boards from JC when he’s a shaper himself?
“I do shape a bit, but I don’t have any of mine here. It’s not easy to shape good boards, and with the consistency I was shaping boards compared to what Carper does, I decided to go with Carper. Every board I get from him works good.”
1) 6′ 3″ tow board, 16 1/2″ wide, 2″ thick”I haven’t had any real experience towing on the North Shore. I’ve towed Phantoms, a little bit at Backyards, but I’ve never got it really big. I sat and watched the biggest day ever ridden out here (outer Log Cabins), and I was jonesing real hard. That’s what sold me on buying a boat (personal watercraft), I had to watch the entire session from the beach-it was incredible.”
2) 7′ 2″ pintail, 19″ wide, 2 3/4″ thick”This board is all about Off The Wall and Backdoor. I’ve got another one just like it but with a wider tail. This one is kind of bladey (pulled in) and holds in good on hollow waves.”
3) 9′ 8″ Waimea gun, 20″ wide, 3″ thick”The only place I really paddle into around here is Waimea. I rode this thing in the Eddie the last time it was held. What was that, like 1993?”
4) 6′ 10″ pintail, 19″ wide, 2 3/4″ thick”This board has a little wider outline through the tail and is good for the softer waves, like mediocre Sunset and Hale’iwa.
5) 6′ 6″ round pin, 19 1/4″ wide, 2 3/4″ thick”This one plays the role of all-around, hot-dog surf. Here (the North Shore) the swells move a little faster, so you can ride more board than at home. I don’t have any grovel boards here because I only want to ride waves that are bigger and better.”
Height: 6′ 2″
Weight: 200 lbs.