Does The Stab In The Dark Winner Work For The Everyman?

by Stace Galbraith June 20, 2021 2 min read

The Inferno72 by Sharpeye Surfboards has been widely sought ever since Taj Burrow deemed it the winner of the most recent Stab In The Dark.

The board looked electric during his testing of the 13 unmarked surfboards around his home of Southwest Australia. Although Taj is retired, watching him surf this black beauty left no doubt that he’s still got it. But was this board only made for someone of Taj’s caliber?

For me, the challenge was to see if it had that same spark for the everyday surfer.

The Inferno72 is an updated version of a QS Favorite, the Disco Inferno. With the Disco Inferno being very popular when the waves are small (hence the QS favoritism), its hallmark was unrivaled speed and pop. However, the feedback from Sharpeye’s team over the years was that it could not turn in a steep section. That’s why the Inferno72 came to life.

Board: 5’11 x 18 7/8 x 2 7/16 28.5L. Stace: 79kgs (175 lbs) and 185cm (6’1″).  

I tested this board all over the country and it was an absolute treat. I started in Newcastle with classic summer-style conditions, headed to West Australia to find waves not dissimilar to Taj’s SITD conditions, then finished on home soil back on the Gold Coast.

My initial feeling was excitement.

After each pop-up, the board had speed on tap and absolute control under my front foot. I could go up and down or out and around as I needed. It never caught rail and flowed seamlessly through dead sections.

Moving on to WA, in more powerful waves, I was looking for more drive off the bottom and through my top turns. During my time in WA, I started to feel the board’s limits in sizable waves. To push its boundaries, I decided to give it one last test day on the Gold Coast. After surfing head-high open-faced beach breaks, I found the board’s limit.

It felt precarious and lacked any hold when going at the lip. That same afternoon, I surfed perfect 3-ft Snapper Rocks and realized that this is where the board should live. It performs like a high-performance shortboard in the pocket but has plenty of life when the sections go flat—and has the responsiveness when you need it.

Fin-wise, I found that the neutral set from Futures worked well for speed generation in small waves around Newcastle. In WA, I opted for the rake set and felt that extra bit was looking for in solid waves. As a final test in my search for a little extra drive, I used the large Jordy template. But, overall, my favorite to use was the rake set. It had the perfect blend of drive and release. 

After signing off on my review, Jack Robinson kindly asked for a turn I happily obliged. 

I loved the board, but I think Robbo loved it more!

He ran off with the board and took it to Lemoore, California, to ride it at the Surf Ranch. Fair enough.

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