Before I begin this review, let me give a quick background which will put this review in context. I've been surfing for just over a year, and I recently transitioned from an 8 ft Wavestorm SoftTop. With that said, I have very little experience with other boards to compare this with, so this will more likely be a discussion of my initial impressions and the process of transitioning from a long board to a short(er) board.
The SurfTech JC Equalizer is an epoxy copy of the Equalizer board by shaper John Carper. According to the marketing materials, the epoxy process results in a more durable board without having much (if any) negative impact on performance. At 6'10", the board might be stretching what can be considered a short board, but I'm 6'2" and the board is definitely shaped like a short board.
Right out of the box, the first things I noticed were 1) the board is SUPER light and 2) it looks really bad-ass. I have no idea if that translates to a good surfboard, but it makes me look slightly more legit and its much easier on my arm for the long walks to less congested surf spots.
On my first few outings with the new board, the surf conditions were less than optimal -- choppy conditions, crunchy closeouts, and one amazing day which was unfortunately too big for my britches. However, during those initial days, I found the transition to the new board to be less intimidating than I had anticipated. I was easily able to find a good balance point for paddling out, and although I wasn't catching many (if any) rides, I felt like I was very close. For its smaller size, the board still has quite a bit of float, but now my rear end sinks a bit into the water, as opposed to floating on top of the water using the Wavestorm.. I've never mastered the "duck dive" under the waves, and after a few days of trying, I'm no closer to pulling it off with the new board, but it does seem slightly more attainable now.
After a few days of frustration, I finally got a day with some small friendly waves which gave me an opportunity to make a little more progress with the transition. When I was able to drop into a wave, it was immediately apparent that this board was significantly more maneuverable. For the first time (albeit brief times), I felt like was able to really turn the board as opposed to "mosey" it up and down the wave. I'm still learning where the speed and power comes from as I find my rides end much sooner than before as I lose forward momentum, but that speaks more to my current ability than to the capabilities of the board.
Although the move to the short board has been a challenge, it has been a rewarding one. During my first few outings, I would switch off with a buddy who had a longboard, and I was immediately nostalgic for the smaller "sportier" ride of my short board. Even though it was much easier to catch rides on the longboard, it didn't have the same excitement I got from learning to ride all over again on the short board. In my mind, that makes the JC Equalizer a great board as its accessibility and performance at an early level has overcome the anticipated frustrations of moving to a short board.