Test Driving The “Psychedelic Germ” From Hayden Shapes

Hayden Shapes
Psychedelic Germ (Warren Smith model)
5'6″ x 18 ¾” x 2 1/8″

Tested in 3-4′ foot wedgy beachbreak conditions over a three-day period.

When I first saw this board, I thought, "What the f—k is this thing all about?" It looked like squid's head sans tentacles. I put it tailunder my arm and it felt odd. First off it's a quad, and I don't like quads. The rails felt too pinchy and the displacement hull tripped me out—a displacement hull on a quad shortboard? The "wing" and the rails leading up to the wing seemed like they were made more for artistic purposes rather than shredding. My initial thought was that this board would be nice to try out for a few minutes just to say I did, then immediately grab my normal board and put this weird thing back on the rack. Then I rode it, and holy shit—it went insane!

I can't explain why all the oddities attached this board work together, but somehow they do. On the first wave I caught, the board shot out off the take off and contrary to what I thought it would ride like, it was an effortless transition from my standard shortboard to the Psychedelic Germ. Long bottom turns bypassing crumbly sections were made simple and tight arcs in the pocket felt pretty easy. As hard as I pushed on turns, the rails and fins held and I never slipped out (although I'm nowhere near a power surfer). I did have a few issue coming straight off the top trying to kick the tail out on the open face, but the downsides of the board are few and far between.

Warren Smith is an odd but wonderful human; his board is both odd and wonderful as well. Most of the time when a board is sent to be tested we ship it back when requested, but a quick memo to the guys at Hayden Shapes: don't even try to ask for this board back—you'll have to pry it from my cold dead fingers! In short, I love this board, and I'm a picky sonofabitch.—Chris Cote

Above: Warren Smith breaks down the finer points of the Psychedelic Germ from his hillbilly hideout.

Here's what the HS website says about the Psychedelic germ:

"The Psychedelic Germ was designed when Warren Smith said to me he wanted a signature board model that was different and unique. So I took the Shred Sled model and added a displacement hull concept that I had been working with Tom Carroll and Andy Dovell on in a tow board project. I also put in some side cuts (concave outlines) inspired by the 'Winterstick Swallowtail' created by Mick Mackie and Matt Biolos, which are situated from the wide point of the board down to the flyer.”

“The displacement hull softens the water flow through the entry of the board when planing through choppy water, or through the lip of a wave. The side cuts shorten the radius of your turn, meaning the board will draw a tighter arc for how wide the board actually is – resulting in the board feeling more responsive when on rail."