Yes, Peter Trow has been riding a custom made Stretch directional in Santa Cruz (and elsewhere) for ten years (or more).
It has changed a little bit over the years, but it has always been really short, like 4' 10" with a wide nose and a smallish swallow tail.
It obviously works well for it's intended rider because Peter Trow kills it in the waves.
Just don't know how well it works for everybody else, and in other locations.
Not suggesting it doesn't, just don't know how great or not great it is.
They have real waves in Santa Cruz, so that obviously factors in to what size/shape/rockerline/volume surfboards they use there.
Here is the video from that contest.
Peter Trow shows up at about two minutes in, Sky Solbach also.
Guys riding twintips and mutants, and Trow on his Stretch (says Flexifoil but it's a Stretch).
Kind of funny, makes you feel like nothing has progressed in the last ten years.
I have had this board for almost 1 yr, mine has added reinforcement/stringers, as I wanted this board for wave riding & jumping.
The board has a flat nose & tail rocker, so much so that before I put the fins on it looked more like a skim board. But the rocker does work well, although for me, the board does not feel as fast or as crisp as the old Naish 5'0 Global. The lack of crispness is possibly down to the extra reinforcement and the slower speed is because is does have very rounded rails.
The rounded rails do give the board a very assured feel on a wave and for me, the board excels as a high wind waveboard, as it is super controllable…. I have used it in up to 45-50knots in a moderate sea state and it was perfect. The board also has a full deck pad and despite its small size, it is one of the easiest boards to gybe.
On a wave it feels very loose & snappy, but again with great control. It feels just as it looks in the video above.
When I spoke to Stretch, he did warn me that this was a small board, "as Trow is a midget" - I saw him years back in Cape Town & he is small !!
My board has future fin boxes and I did need to change the fins for the largest future to get the board to work for me (I am 90kgs and like a board that grips). Also, if you order a board be warned about colours - I was asked if I wanted orange and said yes, expecting a bright orange, but mine is more mustard brown!
In summary, at my weight, the 4'10 is a great high wind board and feels great in the air.
is also nice. I have one in 5'8" by ~ 17" wide. so it has a bit more length, but still very thin (1" thick), and low rocker (less than 1" tail lift) and high density pvc core. Very controllable and smooth and in chop and strong wind and I have yet to see any damage jumping after many seasons. The yes has a bit more nose and overall length so feels a bit more like a normal surfboard..but still pretty different.
For more normal surf shapes his bamboo/cork/carbon rail construction is strong and holds up well to strapped jumping. I have a couple of those and never hold back on jumps. Did crack the rails one one on a kiteloop gone bad, but that was an extremely hard landing. The others have held up fine. My favorite is the 2x4 model with slightly reduced tail rocker in lengths from 5'8 to 5'11 and widths of 18 to 18 3/4" depending on wind range, weight and amount of glide desired.
Here is a pic of the cork carbon bamboo, that a buddy of mine has
This is my go to board in any conditions that I can't paddle a surfboard into. Been riding it for a bunch of years. I'm a surf guy but ride it in everything from mirror glass flat water to choppy blown out surf.
Goes upwind really well and lays down a really nice toe side carve in flat water.
I've beat on mine and have had a ton of hard landings on it but never put a ding in it yet.
I would like to try one with a tighter quad cluster since it can feel a little too locked in at times.