The Almond R Series have gotta be the sexiest foamies around, amiright? But do they surf as good as they look? The general consensus of the Almond Surfboards R Series Review is….a resounding yes!
Almond Surfboards have been producing their beautiful traditional style surf craft since 2007 and are known equally for the high quality of their surfboards.
Over the last few years Almond have introduced three softboard models into their collection and have joined the likes of Formula Fun, Album Surf and Spooked Kooks in that their boards are 100% recyclable. To top it off, many say that these boards ride extremely close to their fibreglass counterparts.
This Almond Surfboards R Series review will look at the three softboard models Almond currently have available which are based on two of their most popular shapes – the Secret Menu, Joy, and the latest released in 2020 the Pleasant Phesant.
1. R-Series 5’4″ Secret Menu
The Secret Menu has for a long while been Almond’s most popular board under 6 foot so it makes a lot of sense that they picked it as their first softboard. It is a little pocket rocket that paddles like a longboard but is definitely rippable. Although small it packs a volume of 36.4L so it will definitely float ‘bigger than you would think’ surfers.
Constructed with double stringer for real surfboard stiffness, a high density copolymer foam core with a waxless deck pad and future fins box (in quad fin setup) this is one rad little unit.
There is only one size available but with a number of eye catching deck designs:
5’4″ x 21″ x 2 3/4″ (36.4L)
- Exceeds many expectations as a foam board even in head high +/ bigger waves and reported to go well in variety of waves including small, mushy, punchy, clean and closeouts
- Seems to be best in 3-5 foot range
- Can catch small waves like a longboard
- Fast, forgiving and stiff
- Very versatile
- Lightweight. Easy maneuverability
- Many like that you don’t need to wax, however noting you need to wear a shirt of wetsuit to avoid chaffing
- Several tall surfers circa 6’1 – 6’5 say it surprisingly worked for them despite the small size of board however I did note one review of tall surfer saying they found it too small
- Skatey feeling when carving
- Great float and easy to paddle
- It is a really fun board but it also performs at high level when needed
- Lack of wax and small size great for always having in the car
- Futures fin box setup is really popular for quality and variety of fin options
- Many comments about the refined rails
- Many mention the great look of the boards and getting comments from people saying “can’t believe it’s a foamie”
- Can duck dive easily
- People like that it is environmentally responsible
- Perfect travel campanion
- Fast, generates lots of speed and great for drawn out lines
2. R-Series 6’4″ Pleasant Pheasant
Almonds Surfboards have struck a popular nerve with their R-Series and in 2020 have added another of their key surfboards to the soft top lineup. The Pleasant Pheasant or Plez Phez as it is affectionately called straddles the gap between the Secret Menu and Joy at 6’4″ and 50L volume.
With the added length and volume this board will offer benefits for paddling, extra glide and earlier entry into waves compared to the Secret Menu. With more rocker and less volume than the Joy, the Pleasant Pheasant allows for more control, tighter turns and exploration on the face of the wave.
As Almond says:
“The advantage of the Plez Phez is the ability to get your foot right on the tail, where you have maximum control of the board. The addition of the side bite fins in no coincidence—they help give the board added bite into the surface of the wave for pumping and generating speed. The round tail and relatively compact outline make for tighter turning radiuses when you put this board on rail. The ideal approach on a Pleasant Pheasant would be to utilize the entire rail line to drive the board and generate speed, and then shift your weight back to push the board through a cut-back turn”.
With a single fin box, and Futures side bites – the Almond R-Series Pleasant Pheasant is another unique entry in the foamie world.
One size only, but with a number of deck design variations:
6’4″ x 21.4″ (50L)
- Best R-Series yet
- This is my second R-series with owning the Joy first. Surfing New England waves, and both boards rip. The joy is improving my surfing, and helping me get away from more volume of my longboard or Joy. This board catches waves with east, moves like a skateboard, and never need to worry about wax. A new go to on most days.
- Bought this after many folks hyped it up! And they were right! Such a fun board!!! Super easy to paddle into waves. Easy to cruise down the line and even able to spray a bit!!! Help really good in head high conditions! Getting a second one for my quiver for sure!!!!
- What a pleasure to ride this board, easy to paddle, and when you step on the tail it responds, great for carving and enjoying the face of the wave. I love the color design (Sage), this is my third r-series and I simply love them all. The Almond team is fantastic just like their boards.
- If I had to summarize this board in one word, I’d fail, simply because that just wouldn’t do it any damn justice. I wanted to wait a couple of months after purchasing and riding my pleas pheas before writing a review because I wanted to get to know the board and understand what I’d just added to my quiver. On my first go I took it out to some 4-foot surf and I thought that it felt a little sluggish and surprisingly loose. I was confused because I was hoping it would really glide down the line and generate speed with how flat and buoyant it is. It wasn’t until I dug into some Craig Anderson footage of him surfing his 6′-something single fin with a more open and cruisy style. He sits back over the tail and gets a lot lower on the board to draw out his bottom turns. I was doing the opposite, often bogging rail and getting frustrated when I’d slide out of a sharp cut-back turn. I was trying to surf it like a HPSB and sheesh was this just the worst approach for this board. The greatest outcome with the pleas pheas has been understanding how it changes your surf and approach to a wave’s face. As cliche as it sounds, it’s like wanting to pick up a book over Netflix or writing a letter instead of shooting a text. It just slows down your surf; I mean this in a very good way. The board got a lot faster after I adjusted to how it was intended to be ridden. It paddles like a boat; you can still muster a duck dive to get through the break zone; you never have to worry about dinging it, and what I think is most important is that you’re making a conscious decision for a sustainable board purchase. No, it’s not as fast or as light or as flexible as a glassed poly board, but it isn’t trying to be and that’s how you gotta approach the r-series pleas pheas. This board is truly great. Well done Almond and well done on paving the way towards a more sustainable future in the surf industry.
- I love how easy it is to catch waves in this board, even though is a bit on the heavy side I found the board very easy to paddle. Definitely makes me want to get in the water more often.
- It’s an easy board to catch all sorts of waves with, from clean 5ft peelers to mushy 2ft beach break. Once in motion, it is FAST accelerating like a real board and very distinct from any other foamie that I have ridden. Turning is easy and thrilling, you have high control over trim and direction, with the ability to really pull the board around if needed. It duck dives fin, it paddles out great, it feels safe and thrilling at once.
- Ridden a few times now in mediocre to fun surf. Board is a blast! Tons of volume for great float and wave catching ability.
3. R-Series 8’0″ JOY
The JOY has also been a very popular and versatile board for Almond Surfboards and is the second board to be developed into a softboard version for the R-Series.
With a low rocker and substantial volume, it’s a wave catching machine which will get you into waves early. A pintail design helps it turn easily. Thankfully, Almond have retained the single fin box for this board which is rare for a foamie.
The Joy R Series’ construction is the same as the Secret Menu mentioned above, also with double stringer and a wax free deck pad.
This board will suit a variety of surfers from beginner to advanced.
One size only, but with a number of deck design variations:
8’0″ x 22″ (72.2L)
- People love the recyclable construction and wax free deck
- Great in shore break and decent size surf
- Good feedback as to suitability for learners as well as seasoned surfers
- Some feedback regarding deck/rails causing chaffing
- Catches everything, easy to paddle into all size waves and gets into waves early
- Manoeuvrable and versatile down the line speed
- Holds well while riding in the pocket, doing bottom turns and cheating 5.
- The dense foam construction is reported to ding, dent and tear quite easily if comes in contact with sharp or rough surfaces so you do need to take care
- People love the look of it
- Reviewers comment that it surfs much like a regular board and many say it is the best softboard they have ridden, much more responsive