No B.S. Review
My ever evolving conquest of finding and test piloting the finest handplanes and bodysurfing accessories the world has to offer recently landed me across the pond in theU.K. I have been getting slammed with reader referrals and requests for a company called Thirdshade, renowned for their incredible surfboards and equally impressive selection of handplanes and accessories. A few e-mails and a few weeks later (thank you customs!) our Thirdshade box arrived.
Inside we found one of their signature bat tail planes and something called a quickstrap. The planes are individually hand shaped out of high-grade, durable, birch-faced plywood and come in at approx: 19″x 8″x 1/2″.
The deck is also outfitted with a laser inscribed Thirdshade logo that looks amazing and is even quite functional, adding a little extra grip where it counts! Soft forward rails taper into a long and more defined thumb rail. The hull hosts the powertrain and real power of this beast, a precisely placed series of engineered double channels sweep across the bottom and out the stern.
This brings a new level of performance to the handplane and an unmatched level of versatility; in big or small surf, this board makes the most of any conditions! The Bat Tail Handplane is designed for any bodysurfer looking for the extra speed you can get from a longer rail line and wider planing surface, this handplane also works really well for bigger riders. They are then sealed and oiled for long-lasting protection against the elements and any beatings you or mother nature can hand out.
A perfectly placed thru hole handle provides a simple, organic andeasy grip that never requires adjustment. Accompanying the plane was a contraption that they called the Quickstrap.
Let me start by say that the quickstrap is one of the most innovative advancements I have seen since the reemergence of the handplane craze and I hope we see more of this kind of genius in the future.
The quickstrap is an easy to install (and remove) accessory for use with all Thirdshade handplanes.
The quickstrap fits into the pre-existing handgrip hole and allows the option of placing your hand flat on the board's deck. The deck strap is another very popular option that is best known for allowing users to take a more natural swimming stroke when swimming or while catching a wave. A simple twist of a black wing nut provides a versatility that no one else is offering.
Two kinds of rides with one plane…it is the Transformer of the bodysurfing world! Testing took place over a few weeks and we varied between the deck strap and handgrip hole options. The plane itself is has a nice overall foil and rocker and I love the longer, straighter rail lines.
The handhold fit a 7 mil surf mit and my bare hand equally well. I love the simplicity of it and I found that I could
produce more driving leverage with this connection to the deck. The quickstrap option was my personal favorite and I found that it made for a very comfortable and controlled feel.
The finger grips added a secure, lock-in feature I had yet to experience and the nylon webbing and quick adjustment strap is a one size fits all option that is literally “plug and play”.
In closing, I have to say that I am incredibly impressed with Thirdshade's bat tail handplane and quickstrap accessory. At this point, I have used a lot of planes, from all over the world, and this is one of the best I've had the honor of test piloting. As for prices in US Dollars. The handplanes work out to be about $55 each plus $20 shipping.
Even with shipping you're still getting a better price than some of the others Domestic planes I have been seeing hit the market. The quickstraps are $17 plus $6 shipping. They do sell a deluxe set though that includes a handplane, quickstrap and aftercare oil for $70 + about $24 shipping which works out a bit cheaper.
I am confident you'll love their gear and you won't be disappointed.
Check out Thirdshade's entire line up of goods at: http://www.thirdshade.com/.
As always, thanks for reading and be sure to tell a friend…