Photograph by Jeremiah Klein
Targeted as a go-to surfboard that performs well in a variety of conditions, The Happy Everyday is the latest addition to the Channel Islands Happy series of shortboards (joining the Two Happy and Happy Traveler models). If you even have a quiver, then you probably already have a board for everything – you have your slab board and your points board, your groveler and your step-up; but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have an array for everything. I tested the Happy Everyday, well, every day for several weeks, in a bunch of different waves – Currumbin Alley, Snapper Rocks, Duranbah, T-Street, Upper Trestles, HB Southside, HB Northside – to see if that would make me happy too.
The dimensions of the Happy Everyday that I tested were:
5’10” x 19.75″ x 2.5″, 30.9L, built with Spinetek
FCS Fins: Mick Fannings, Mayhems, Channel Island Uprights
Says Channel Islands about Happy Everyday:
“Created by Britt Merrick from what was initially the Two Happy performance shortboard model, our new Happy Everyday fills a need in every surfer’s quiver: the everyday shortboard. Britt wanted to sketch out the performance attributes of the Two Happy but modify it to meet the everyday conditions most of us face. To achieve this goal, Britt shortened the rail to create a curvier outline, especially in the tail area. For the entry and exit rockers, he lowered them to increase paddling and planing speeds to cover a wider range of conditions. The single concave under the front foot acts like a gas pedal and the generous double concave through the fins provides rail-to-rail ease and plenty of lift in the small stuff.
Originally CI’s main goal was to provide a cohesive family of boards that all feel familiar, so that a surfer could switch from one model to another without any problems. So, initially, the Happy Everyday was designed to complement the other two Happy models (Two Happy and Happy Traveler) to simplify the decision-making process when buying a new board.
First and foremost, this is a small wave performance board. As for the contours, the flat shape is more generous than other Happy models. There is also more nose area, a wider tail block and the Merrick Hip (slight bump in the outline, just above the fins). A keen eye will also notice similarities to the Curren Red Beauty, where the hip is used as a breaking point in the outline. There is also a straight section in the middle. All this contributes to planing speed.
The foil is full, which means it feels a bit higher in your hand, so it’s easy to paddle and it enters the waves more easily. Once you’re up it’s fine, thanks to the increased planing area and moderate single concave under your front foot, which ends in a double concave between the fins. Speed is plentiful.
There is a stepped rocker – compared to the continuous rocker curve found in most Channel Island boards – which is a low entry rocker just in front of the fins, which returns to where the outline breaks, or that very subtle hip in front of the fins. The flat area of the rocker – the space between your feet – is where you’ll feel the most driven. When you lay on it during a bottom turn, you will feel it pushing you forward. Put your back foot in, though, and you’ll notice a release, due to the amount of curve there. This allows for a good balance between steering and pivoting.
Statistics: 12 sessions; 90 waves; Top speed: 36.5 km/h (Currumbin Alley); Longest course: 299m (Snapper Rocks)
The Happy Everyday likes a more vertical and direct approach, and I’m generally more horizontal and focused on the sculpting. The Spinetek’s bounce, however, got me excited to try a few middays. I was impressed with how quickly I could turn with the concave. The extra lift I got from going through it was addicting. And with this Spinetek, I could really feel the flex through the lower cuts and turns. It has this springy feel, almost like the board stops for a millisecond before propelling you into the next part of the turn.
You could go with your normal shortboard length but you might find it too bulky. I suggest riding it two inches shorter, where you’ll enjoy this ride more. You’ll probably go faster and get through corners easier too. Shaving two inches off your favorite shorty would make a huge difference, even if it means having to wait a few extra weeks for a custom; otherwise, you’ll probably end up with too much foam under you and really feel like a boat. I took the 5’10”, which is the same length as my normal shortboard, and after talking to Devon Howard from Channel Islands about some issues I was having, it became apparent that I should have taken a 5’8″ instead. Reducing the rail track by two inches has a major impact on how well you can ride a board. My weight distribution, my position, the way I turned and my ability to find the sweet spot… All of that was turned upside down on the 5’10”. In some of my small wave boards I felt like I was pushing water, and in some of my bigger wave boards I felt like I couldn’t get the rail through a turn .
It’s fair to say that it was a difficult board to ride, at first. But once I put the Channel Islands Upright FCS fins in it and stayed in 1-3ft surf, I found bright sparks and it became easier to enjoy the board. The Happy Everyday can work in anything you throw at it, but it suited me better in smaller beachbreaks.
Choose the pattern you are most familiar with, then diversify it as you become familiar with the board. My favorite FCS model is the Mayhem Large. I like the flat foil, because it’s simple. Also, I’m a big fan of the same size tri-fins, and the Upright, MF and Mayhem fins were all the same size across the entire set. Initially I started with Mayhems, then tried the Mick Fannings, then ended up on the Channel Islands Uprights. And for someone who lives and dies by the Mayhem model, I can honestly say Happy Everyday goes best with the Channel Islands Uprights. I had a more skater feel and noticeably moved faster and faster once I was up and riding. But the bigger the surf got, the more I wanted a stronger fin. So once the surf got past three feet, I swapped the Uprights for the Mayhems and instantly got more ride and control.
I was not “Happy Everyday” on this board. It posed some challenges and took a while before I found pleasure in riding it, but I like tough boards and eventually found some endearing qualities. The model is full of energy, gets up and leaves. Add it to a Two Happy and a Happy Traveler and you have a solid three-plank quiver.
So, would I buy this board? Definitely, but I’d probably get a custom 5’8″ PU. That way I could play around with the width and thickness, since their 5’8″ dims don’t work for me. And that’s something to be aware of when buying – stocks aren’t always for everyone, which makes taking one on the rack a gamble. But if you’re struggling to fill that hole in your quiver – a surfboard to rule everyday surfing – and your current options aren’t bringing you any excitement, the Happy Everyday is worth a shot.
Buy direct from Channel Islands Surfboards in Australia or USA
Prices vary, but expect to pay around $1,225 in Australia and $955 in the US for the Spinetek option; $950 in Australia and $775 in the US for the PU option.
Other Board Reviews: Campbell Brothers Alpha Omega | Rusty Barrel | Christensen lane separator
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