When I first started looking into performance longboards again after my time out I loved the look of the TJ Pro but being realistic I knew I was some way off of a board like that so the next one which caught my eye was the Gem so when I had the chance to try one in Thunderbolt I jumped at the chance. The team at Surfed out set the board up ready to go and I was off!
The TJ Gem comes in 3 sizes,
8′8″ X 22″ X 2 7/8″ – 60.7L
9′1″ X 22 1/4″ X 3″ – 67.1
9′5″ X 22 1/2″ X 3″ – 70.3L
It’s quite hard to be specific about some aspects of the board as it was my first time riding a board built in the now well known Thunderbolt technology but here is my experience of the board.
The model I rode was the 9’1″ Thunderbolt Black version as that’s my usual everyday board size. It has many similarities to a Surftech board I used to ride and probably did my best surfing on, the Robert August Sabre shaped by Mike Minchinton.
The board has a narrow, relatively flat and thick feel to it, that makes it really fast particularly down the line. Like the sabre the board is perfect for slower waves like saunton as it generates and carries speed like a bigger board but also fits in the pocket of smaller, steeper waves. It took me a very long time to get the board wired through turns but input that more down to the crazy acceleration created by the carbon technology which Thunderbolt utilises, this aspect is consistent throughout their range of high performance models. I did surf the board in some solid conditions at a certain left hander and made section which I would never expect to make although the flatter rocker did limit my options a little when it came to manoeuvres.
All in all this board is a fantastic all rounder for someone wanting a one board does all and is best in waves from thigh to head high, especially as I mentioned at places like Saunton. The board is versatile enough for steeper waves but would require a different approach to your surfing. It is great on the nose and locks in perfectly but does not offer a huge amount of width so would suit someone who is comfortable in there nose-riding ability.
I set the fins up exactly how Taylor said to do so but reverted to my usual 8″ centre and medium side bites, the thunderbolts all take more fin than a pu board in my opinion which is never a bad thing as you can create even more drive.
There’s my thoughts on it, here’s how the official description reads,
“The Gem is a collaboration between Dan Mann and 3X World Longboard Champion Taylor Jensen. Earlier this year Taylor asked Dan to consider a ‘one board in the trunk’ option for long boarders who want both trim and turns; he was essentially asking Dan for a design that would land somewhere between his TJPro and his TJEveryday. Dan’s response was an intriguing intersection of shortboard style concaves with a longboard style outline and the same fin placements that Taylor likes in all his boards. He and Taylor decided to call this model The Gem because of how valuable it is – a one board quiver for 9 foot plus board riders that can trim on the nose as easily as it can carve on rail. The diamond tail isn’t a coincidence. It’s a Gem”
If you have any further questions please feel free to get in touch or to try one contact Surfed Out in Braunton.