Channel Islands Sampler

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The Channel Islands Sampler is a performance groveller that enables surfers to surf their best in sub-par conditions. However, don’t be fooled into thinking you can’t use it in good waves. Like the Firewire Dominator this board will respond to your demands with enthusiasm and predictability. It is not a cruisy fish or some kind of fun board and that means, for many good surfers, it could be an ideal single board quiver.

Overall, the Sampler is an impressive all-rounder, created by a pedigree shaping team comprised of Dane Reynolds and Channel Islands. Progression meets iconic reliability. How can you go wrong?

Reviews from around the web all say the same thing: this surfboard is fast and responsive. To see how the Sampler can be surfed check out Mr Dane Reynolds in the video at the bottom of this page.

The Sampler characteristics

The profile of the Sampler is full but not chunky. The secret to this board’s paddle power and speed in small surf is the hefty volume retained through the mid-section, which means that your front foot can engage to generate speed, while the refined tail offers assertive back foot direction change. Dane rides his super short, allowing volume to compensate for lack of length. I suggest you do the same.

The Sampler is a skatey little tool that will thrive in onshore days when your performance shortboard just doesn’t cut it. It offers serious competition to other groveller-type boards by retaining the Dumpster Diver performance edge. It would be interesting to compare it wave for wave with a Fred Stubble.

The Sampler is not for beginners and will be most enjoyed by intermediate to advanced surfers who are edging toward busting airs and laying down big hacks. It’ll suit you if your local beach has plenty of onshore days with waist to head-high swell. In conditions like these, the ocean becomes your skate park and the Sampler your favourite skateboard.

Go forth and draw tight arcs and let the fins loose – if you can.

The driving force behind Channel Islands Surfboards is the demand on design created by the world’s greatest surfers, allowing for the highest performance surfing possible. To provide the most dedicated surfers with the most advanced, performance designs is my passion – Al Merrick, Designer/Shaper

From the shaper

The Sampler was developed with Dane Reynolds to be that step-down board you ride a little shorter and wider in smaller or weaker surf while not sacrificing performance. It fits in your quiver between something fishy like a High 5 or Pod Mod and your normal shortboard.

Loosely based on the Dumpster Diver, it has flat, racy entry and centre rocker, with ample curve out the tail for tight transitions and airs. A generous single concave runs the whole length of the board, with a slight double within the single between the fins, and just a little vee to provide kick off the tail. The outline is full but sleek in the front half, with an exaggerated and slightly forward of normal Merrick hip, and a wide old-school squash tail.

The Sampler is suitable for every level of surfer and should be ordered 2-4 inches shorter, 1/4 to 3/4 inches wider, and the same or slightly thicker than your normal shortboard.

Take your good wave game to conditions that are not.” – Channel Islands Surfboards

About FlexBar technology

Introducing patented Flexbar technology by Channel Islands and Barron Flex. Flex, rebound, and resonance all play a role in how your board works. Harnessing and controlling these will take board performance to the next level.

The Flexbar optimizes the energy and spring derived from both longitudinal and torsional tail flex in your surfboard by refining and focusing these forces under the back foot. Utilising a combination of alternating foam densities and fibreglass through the entire board, Flexbar finally allows the surfer to feel and use the energy in your board through manoeuvres. All surfboards will eventually lose their “pop” and begin to feel dead, Flexbar maintains the optimum flex pattern through the life of your board.


  • Fairly flat rocker through centre with more lift in the tip and tail
  • Deep concave through the centre of the board, which comes through to the fins, where a slight double within the single occurs between the fins and then a little vee for kick off the tail
  • Full, sleek outline in the front half and slightly forward of normal signature Al Merrick hip tail which bites and releases sharply through turns.
  • Widened squash tail
  • Suitable for all levels of surfers but tends towards novices/intermediates or better


  • Knee to Head High
  • Point  / Reef / Beachbreak
  • Weak / Mushy / Medium


  • Carving / Cruisy / Positional
  • Novice / Intermediate / Expert
  • Neutral Stance


  • Medium Rails
  • Pointed Nose/Mid Width Tail
  • Staged Relaxed Rocker
  • Straight Outline


Channel Island Surfboards: $694

SurfStitch: $855

About Channel Islands

Since 1969, Channel Islands Surfboards has been dedicated to performance and quality through hard work, innovation, and originality. Over the last 43 years, Channel Islands has grown from a local grass-roots operation to a cutting edge organization, catering to the best surfers in the world. It started with hard-core surfing and quality in mind and these guidelines have brought us through four decades of constant change in the surf industry. Channel Islands will shape the new millennium with innovative design and quality as our main focus.

Other reviews:

It is designed to go really fast and works well in all sorts of wave sizes and conditions. The Sampler is relatively flat in the rocker and has a very aggressive single concave running through the entire board with a slight double concave between the fins to loosen it up. There is also a slight V in the tail to transition from rail to rail.

Enjoy the journey as Noel Salas shows and talks about the Sampler.

Surf n Show Reviews

At first glance this Sampler surfboard may look like a stubby little Dumpster Diver small wave surfboards but, as Craig explains, the Channel Islands Sampler is a blazing fast little pocket rocket that loves a steeper face.

A little more accessible versus Channel Islands Surfboards last Dane Reynolds signature model release, the Channel Islands Peregrine, this Sampler is still best suited for surfers with some experience.

The signature Al Merrick hip squash tail allows you to surf loose and fast and provides break points for deep, carving turns off the top.

We’ve had a couple of Samplers to surf and here’s what we think,  it’s a Channel Island surfboard that’s easy to understand, and it literally does exactly what you expect it to. It’s perfect for 90% of surfers out there and is a practical board for everyday surfing, your new ‘go to’ stick. Like the Dumpster Diver its flat, has a flat entry and centre rocker, and nice curve out the tail so it paddles well and gives really nice early wave entry. There is a generous single concave running the whole length of the board, with a double through the fins, it releases off the tail very easily. The vee provides kick off the tail and allows you to turn the board far more easily than you might imagine. The fuller front half of the board and exaggerated and slightly forward of normal Merrick hip are key ingredients here. Along with a wide tail the board has the surface area to deal with flatter sections whilst keeping the speed up so you can still hit the lip.

Magic Seaweed & Surfdome sent a selection of boards to Portugal for Hurley’s athlete Nick Von Rupp. Check out how he rates the Channel Islands Sampler.

“A great paddler. I’d recommend this board for 2-3 foot, maybe a little bigger – 4 foot max.” – Nick Von Rupp



The Surf Station

Dane Reynolds – Sampler


There’s no doubting that a lot of thought and effort has been invested in the release of the Sampler. However, it is best suited to surfers who are progressing fast and actually need the performance edge in smaller waves. For most surfers it may be too high performance for their needs and they’d be better suited to a fish or something with a wider nose and more conventional outline.

Channel Islands Sampler
Fun Factor
Reader Rating55 Votes
Skatey and fast
Quality construction
You won't surf like Dane Reynolds