Review: Al Merrick Robber

The Robber - Pic from CI Surfboards

The Robber is a truly unique hybrid surfboard. It is at once loose yet drivey, sensitive yet forgiving. I love the design and the faux wood spray finish.

To surf the Robber effectively I found I needed to completely chill out (good thing we’ve been testing a heap of retro fishes) and feel loose and flexy. Short of donning my afro wig I almost imagined being Rob Machado whilst testing this board. It really helps. If you visualise yourself as someone like Rob whilst riding his signature board in the right conditions a little bit of magic might just happen.

[quote]If you visualise yourself as someone like Rob whilst riding his signature board in the right conditions a little bit of magic might just happen.[/quote]  

The board definitely takes a bit of getting used to:

  • it’s flat yet has forgiving round rails
  • it’s loose and slidey yet holds a tight line on bottom turns

My best part of riding this Al Merrick creation was backhand cutbacks – it seems this board was made for them. Starting off I’d draw an easy line out onto the face and then arc fairly sharply around. The board turns on a dime with instant response to back foot pressure and rockets back around. Hitting the foam the board spins back with awesome release (thanks little trailer fin) landing you, ready, in the pocket to do it all again.

Fluid, flexible and fast would be the three words I’d use to describe how the Robber should be surfed. Don’t expect miracles unless you have the natural grace and flow of one of the world’s greatest surfers but if you’re after a summer board that’s less fishy and more performance then the Robber could be the one for you.

Plus it looks sick.

Sleeping with the Robber

Sleeping with the Robber. We didn't want this one to go back to Channel Islands.

Matt

Matt is a world traveller who has surfed everywhere from the icy cold beaches of Cornwall (UK) in winter to the scalding black sand beaches of New Zealand in summer. His inspiration for life comes from surfing and sharing the love through words and images.

17 Comments

  • Reply February 2, 2010

    Phil Richards

    Yeah, the robber is a sweet board. got mine about a month ago and it rides pretty good. found i dug a few rails to begin with but you’re right about it turning ona dime. good review tx

  • Reply February 2, 2010

    Tina

    Hey Matt, how do you think it would be for a girl surfer? I’ve been surfing for 2 years and am looking for something between a Mal and shortboard?

    • Bradley Hook
      Reply February 2, 2010

      Bradley Hook

      Hey Tina,

      I reckon you may be better off with something a little more sturdy than The Robber as it can be loose at times. If you like Al Merrick boards how about trying The Pod or the Waterhog models. Both will suit your level whilst leaving room to grow.

      Cheers,

      Brad, Editor, Surfd.com

      • Matt
        Reply February 2, 2010

        Matt

        Yep – totally agree with Brad. Get yourself on a Pod and you’ll have heaps of fun. Let’s do a Pod review soon!

      • Reply January 28, 2012

        Andrew

        I saw the comment on riding a pod for the girl that asked about the robber.
        As a word of encouragement I ride a pod it’s my second one, it has helped me to catch waves more consistently, I am not a beginner but because of my age I need all the help I can get. For the size of board it’s floatation is a great help to get it moving. When you jump up, because of he plan shape (there is good width around the nose) you can land it and be under control much more on late takeoffs where you nomally might have been a gonner.
        Definitely a good board for imtermediate surfers moving up.

  • Reply February 23, 2010

    Jonny Market

    Hi…I’m about to head to Bali and have been thinking about buying either a 6’4″ Pod or 7’0″ Waterhog for the trip. I’m not a regular surfer, so I’ve never improved beyond advanced beginner/intermediate, but I’m comfortable paddling out in head-high waves and do ok once I get to my feet.

    My dilemma is catching the wave earlier vs. having a board I can actually duck-dive. What’s your advice on either board? I’m 5’8″ and weigh 160lbs.

    Thanks…Jonny

    • Bradley Hook
      Reply April 2, 2010

      Bradley Hook

      Hey Jonny,

      I’d go for the catching the wave earlier option. Bali is all about reef so you should theoretically be paddling out in the channel and, hopefully, landing up back near the channel after each ride. Depending on where you surf you might want something with a bit more rocker than the pod, which is pretty flat. You don’t want to be node-diving at a place like Bingin, believe me. I’ve got scars to prove it.

      Have a great trip.

  • Reply September 8, 2010

    sean

    hey im also thinking of getting a ci pod, im an advanced begginer and my only problem surfing is pooping up, i need a more steady board. would a pod work?

    • Reply August 22, 2011

      andrew

      i have the same problem as u i would get the robber the pod a whouldent have as much fun

    • Reply August 22, 2011

      andrew

      i have the same problem as u i would get the robber the pod you wouldnt have as much fun

  • Reply October 12, 2010

    joe

    hey man im 14,been riding since i was 10.iv had 3 boards and the one i have now is a 6.4 quad ,its not that fast.is the robber for me i want to go faster and get some quick turns in on small waves(knee height to 3 foot). thanks good review 2

  • Reply February 4, 2011

    Rod

    Hey, as anyone riden this board with a thruster set up?

    cheers

    • Bradley Hook
      Reply February 4, 2011

      Bradley Hook

      Hey Rod, the review copy we had was a thruster. It was pretty loose and skatey but heaps of fun.

  • Reply April 27, 2012

    Dylan

    Looking into the Robber for a step down off my 8’0 longboard. Im 6’5 200 and struggled in good waves with my 6’6′ simon anderson xfc which i find is to narrow and thin for my surfing and size. Trying to decide between a Pod and the Robber I guess in the 6’4 range. Any thoughts?

  • Reply April 28, 2012

    Dylan

    Hey I’m 6’5 I surf in New York, Long beach mostly. I am a tall lanky guy at 6’5 and feel most comfortable in decent waves with my 8’0 long board. I took a step down to a Simon Anderson 6’6 xfc but felt it was too drastic of a change, and narrow for me. Would you recommend a Robber for me in the 6’5-6’7 range or do you think I would be better off with a Pod or Gravy model?
    Thanks!

    • Bradley Hook
      Reply April 29, 2012

      Bradley Hook

      Hey Dylan, I would go for the Pod – much more stable and better paddle power. The Robber can feel a little skittish sometimes.

  • Reply January 14, 2013

    Pete

    Here is my take on the Robber , I bought one two months ago and have surfed it regularly here in hawaii where I live. My main break is Honolua Bay which is a great place to test out boards as its a high speed arena. My regular go to board is the Merrick Waterhog 7’0″ fun shape in smaller conditions and when it heaves I ride a 6’10″ Flyer II in epoxy (more like a big guy tri) . I hate to give up paddle power. I have also tried the Pod 6’2″ (which is the biggest model they make) . Took a firewire potatonator and dominator out for a test ride (Rented at local surf shop). Also took a Rusty Dwart quad out for a test (All these last boards in the 6’0″ range. They all paddled well but felt skittery on the Bay wave which is usually very hollow. I got the Robber because i like the forward volume, thin tail and old school V (Bring it back) . It is also flat rockered which is the current trend for speed. Board length is a bit bigger than the standard Robber 6’5″ which is the second tallest one they make. I use it with the larger side fins and small trailer fin (Hybrid twin) . Tried as a true thruster too. To make a long story short I absolutely love this board. It catches waves easy, Ultra fast I’m making sections I previously didn’t, Loose, positive and best of all making super late drops (Merrick knows those rails). Surfing better than ever and have had quite a few of the requlars commenting on it. The board even works in mushier waves I ride soemtime. I’m in love with my board .

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