Are you looking for a traditional style longboard which offers plenty of nose riding ability and a little perforamnce twist? Well the Skindog Cherry Picker Thunderbolt longboard could well tick all your boxes and more!
Here’s my full, hands on review of one of the best selling longboard models from 11 x European longboard champ Ben Skinner…
REVIEW: Skindog Cherry Picker Longboard (Thunderbolt Surfboards)
Who’s It Aimed At?
The Cherry Picker is one of the best selling board designs from UK pro surfer Ben Skinner, who boast 11 European longboard titles and 2nd and 3rd place finish on the world longboard tour.
So this board has some serious longboard wizardry behind it!
Designed as a blend of traditional and progressive longboarding, the Skindog Cherry Picker is for those who want to indulge in board walking and some solid hang ten time, yet have a board that also turns pretty well in the pocket as well.
Having surfed it in a variety of conditions this board will certainly suit a huge range of skills levels, but obviously the more logging experience you have, the more you’ll get out of the Cherry Picker.
Boards Breakdown and Dimensions
If you’re ordering via Firewire the Skindog Cherry Picker comes in a single sizing at the moment:
9’6 x 23 1/2″ x 2 13/16″ (75L)
However, if you’re UK based you can also order direct from the Skindog factory in Newquay, which then opens up sizing options from 9’2 through to 10’0
It’s a big old beast of a longboard, but ideally sized for some beautiful cross stepping and nose riding.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Cherry Picker is it’s unique tail – a pretty wide square tail with a really flicked up final few inches. This “flick” is one of the reasons this board is such an awesome noserider – creating lift whilst you’re walking on the front part of the board and really holding everything in place whilst you get your pinkies in place!
The blunt squareness of the tail can take a couple of waves to get used to when turning, but as soon as you feel it out its actually a surprisingly manoeuvrable board.
The Cherry Picker is built using the Thunderbolt Silver construction – a tech that provides heaps of durability as well as a really lively, yet familiar feel underfoot.
It’s the primary technology that Firewire are using for a lot of their more traditional style, longer board models and it feels great to surf.
You can learn more about Thunderbolt Construction here
When it comes to fin setup, the Skindog Cherry picker is a dedicated single fin.
I’ve spoken to a few people about fin setups for this board (including ex Australasian longboard champ Jack Entwistle who froths on this particular Thunderbolt surfboard) and the 10″ FCS Connect, or Skindog Sub 10″ are great pairings.
I’ve actually been surfing mine with a 9″ McTavish Involvement fin (borrowed from my Noosa 66 longboard) and it works a treat too.
Ideal Wave Conditions
When it comes to ideal wave conditions this board is very much suited to smaller, reeling waves for more traditional style noseriding, so with that in mind anything from knee to shoulder high is going to suit the Cherry Picker beautifully.
That being said though I ended up taking it out in some solid head to head and a half surf at The Pass (admittedly I’d taken totally the wrong board for the conditions!) and it surprised me how well it went!
It generated a whole heap of speed (especially considering the size of the board) and the noseriding ability was epic!
But for the most part small and clean is the order of the day to get the most out of the Cherry Pickers old school longboarding vibes.
What’s It Like To Surf?
So what’s the Skindog Cherry Picker like to surf?
Well to be honest it did exactly what I was hoping it would do – fast, fun, plenty of stability and you could sit on the nose for hours!
I’ve surfed the Cherry Picker is a wide range of waves whilst testing it – from knee high ankle biters right through to head high reelers at the points and it has handled everything I’ve paddled out in with ease.
Sure it’s not going to be my first choice for the bigger days (as much fun as it was!) but it’s nice to know it can handle a bigger few sets if they roll in!
Super easy to paddle, great stability for board walking and that tail really does create so much hold when you’re on the nose, I don’t have anything negative to say about it at all.
When it comes to surfing the Cherry Picker you’re going to leave your session with a super high wave count and a big smile on your face – a firm additional to my quiver for sure!
Final Verdict & Pricing
If you can’t already tell from this review, I’m frothing on this particular Thunderbolt longboard and I’m loving having a more traditional style log back in my quiver.
So lets talk about pricing…
Now the Thunderbolt longboards are certainly not the easiest on the wallet and the Cherry Picker is no exception – coming in at £1,400 / AU$1,995 / US$1,310 so unless you’re super flush with cash this isn’t going to be an impulse buy!
I’ll be totally honest here, I’ve been eyeing up this log for a while now, but I just couldn’t bring myself to part with that much cash on something that wasn’t a custom. I did however manage to snag this at the Firewire factory sale on the Goldie where it was a no brainer at AU$750.
Having now surfed it I certainly stand by the fact this is an incredibly fun and versatile longboard and I’m certainly keeping hold of mine.
But the big question is, with this knowledge, would I pay $2K for one?
For me, the brutal answer is probably not, especially when I could grab a McTavish for around the same price, all hand shaped.
That being said though, if you have the cash and it’s ticking the boxes for what you’re looking for, the Cherry Picker is an epic board to ride and you certainly won’t regret adding it to your quiver at all, it’s just going to come down to your personal budget!
Have you ridden the Skindog Cherry Picker or any Thudnerbolt Longboards?
What’s your feedback?
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