Nick ‘Mez’ Mesritz is widely regarded as the world premier bodyboard shaper and innovator. His boards have helped many of the world top riders on their way to competitive and free-surfing greatness. As a long time Indo resident, wave rider, shaper and now bodyboard retailer who better to ask about the best boards for tropical waters. We were lucky enough to catch up with Mez over the weekend in his shop in Kuta and film for our new podcast. Below is an extract from that interview. Stay tuned for the full podcast to be released before Christmas!!!!

In the mean time if you are looking for a new sled you will find a full range of NMD/ VS boards and apparel at the NMD Board Store on the corner of Jl Legian and Jl Melasti Kuta, Bali. You can also get in touch via info@balibodyboarding.com if you are interested in getting you hands on an NMD Limited Custom for your next Indo adventure.

Name: Nick Mesritz

Years shaping bodyboards? 23 years

Years bodyboarding? 25 years

Living and bodyboarding in Indonesia?  12 years

Top pros you have shaped for: Player, Winchester, Hardy, Stone, PLC, Stewart, Eppo, Botha, King, Bullet, Finlay, Clarke, Roach, Aka, Lindholm, Maligro & Wonton to name a few.

What’s the difference between the board I ride at home and the board I should be riding in Indonesia?

Indo is pretty much 30-32 degrees celsius all day everyday. The water temps are in the mid 20’s and your board will need to be stiff enough that it doesn’t become a pool noodle once it hits the Indo surf. Most of the good breaks in Indo are reefs and the waves hold a lot of power, so generating speed is not an issue, its all about controlling it. With this in mind, you can ride a narrower board as compared to what you would ride in a softer beach break. Narrower boards allow for quicker turns and adjustments.

How does warm water affect flex, and board performance?

Bodyboards are constructed from thermoplastics that become pliable or moldable above a specific temperature, and return to a solid state upon cooling. Warm water and hot temperatures in general cause a board to become more flexible the hotter the temps become. Vice-versa, cold water and ambient temps cause a board to become stiffer. Any over flexible board loses its projection and recoil, where as an overly stiff board is hard to flex and control.

Does warm water affect the boards buoyancy? Should I ride a thicker/thinner board?

For the most part, no. But you have to consider 2 things:

1) In colder waters you are generally wearing a some sort of wetsuit. This adds to your overall bodyweight, especially as wetsuits are designed to trap a small amount of water between the neoprene and your skin. We’re not talking huge numbers here, but you will always feel heavier in a wetsuit and thus feel free when you don the boardies in Indo.

2) The saline content of the water. Places like Indonesia tend to have a high saline concentration, which makes the water more dense and therefore more buoyant.

One thing you should take into consideration is that with a reduction in board thickness comes a reduction in board flex and also longevity. If you are looking to go with a thinner board, make sure there is a compensation for thickness by way of an extra strength i.e. double stringers, mesh layers, Parabolic Base or hybrid cores like PFS.

Will I be able to ride the board I bought in Bali when I get back home? (Will it have softened up enough to ride in back in Australia/ Europe in the summer time)

It depends on how much you’ve ridden it in Indo and also the waves you’ve ridden it in. If you get a stiff board for Indo and then give it a solid working in 6’+ waves over a few weeks, chances are it will develop a good amount of flex and thus be ok once you get back home.

What do the pros ride in Bali?

Most of my guys ride exactly the same shape they ride anywhere else, but they will tend to add things like mesh or an extra stringer to compensate for the higher temps found in Indo.

Should I change the shape of the board I ride for Indonesian waves?

No, unless you ride excessively wide boards in typically weak beach breaks.

Are bottom contours (channels) a good idea for barrelling waves?

Yes, they are a must. They increase surface area where you need it most. More surface area = more contact. They also channel water flow along the rail/ slick edge for better rail control.

How do deck contours affect a boards performance?

Some improve grip, some make the board more flexible in strategic areas. Some just make the board weaker. If you want better hand grip, look for a contour that has either recesses or raises in the positions you place your hands. Grab the board in your typical riding position to get a feel of the contour and to see if it works for you. If the board has an elaborate contour, ask yourself is it functional or fashion. There’s nothing wrong with a contour that makes the board appealing, but function comes first.

Would you recommend stringers for bodyboarding in Indonesia?

With out a doubt. Stringers are essential in places like Indo. In fact, I would only recommend not using a stringer in only the coldest water temps.

Whats the best way to look after my board when I’m in Bali? (sun, roof racks, baggage handlers etc)? 

Get a good quality, padded board bag. Wrap your boards in towels if you have the room within your board bag. Keep them out of the sun when at all possible. Ask for top load when on a boat trip or for airplane loading, as I have seen a lot of boards trashed by being stored under surfboards and other junk. Avoid roof racks unless you are sure the boards will not be subject to force of the ropes/ ties and will not be squashed onto the roof, racks or surfboards.

Can you explain the concept behind your new parabolic cores?

I wanted to design a board that could turn and scoop like the old Dow boards, but had the down the line speed of a PP board. The key ingredient of the PFS design is the vertical beams running in a parabolic (curved) orientation from nose to tail. Constructed from high density structural foam, the beams offer 3 key performance attributes:

1) When you pull up on the nose of the board you force the vertical beams to load under tension. When you release the load the vertical beams whip the board back to its original rocker profile. In a nutshell, the more recoil your board possesses, the more projection you get out of turns.

2) When you land from an aerial or a heavy drop, the vertical beams help absorb impact along the length of the beams. They wont prevent creases, but they do prolong the optimal flex of the board.

3) The stiff nature of the vertical beams creates a more rigid central core, whilst enabling the outer rail sections to flex somewhat independently i.e. flex more. So when you drive off the bottom, the centre of the board is acting like a PP board, but the rails are flexing like that of a good PE/ NRG board. 

To be continued…