Traveler – Rusty Surfboards

Pack one for your next surf trip, there’s a good chance it could be the only board you’ll need when the surf bumps up. The Traveler is basically a step-up shortboard that covers a wide range of conditions, from chest-high beachbreaks to eight-foot hollow reefs. It is such a solid and versatile surfboard.

The Traveler is designed to handle bigger waves than a shortboard, but is loose enough to shred small waves all day long. I recommend going with Futures Fin Boxes or FCS with the Traveler because of the convenience while on the move in between cars and airplanes. It’s also nice to be able to plug in smaller fins, which loosen the board up if you find yourself riding the board in little waves, and plug in big, wider-tipped fins for stability when the surf is solid.

It’s great when one board can cover a wide variety of surf sizes and conditions. There are a good number of surfers who travel with only one or two boards (usually a shortboard and maybe a step-up). The Traveler is an ideal complement to the shortboard as the step-up.

The Traveler gets into waves easily, since it has more volume than a shortboard, still has rocker and rails that are maneuverable enough to go on rail, and holds its rail in steep, hollow waves.

The Traveler is generally three to six inches longer than your standard shortboard, and works best with a round pintail. They work great with either a tri-fin or quad-fin configuration, shaped out of a PU (polyurethane) blank, but EPS (epoxy polystyrene) works too.

A great board to have wherever you want to sit and take off outside of the bubble or ledge in order to glide in early and set up for the barrel. The Traveler allows for more high-performance surfing in juicy surf, unlike a mini-gun that a lot of other surfers will be riding the same session.

The Traveler is the bomb and it goes with me on every surf trip.

A similar high-quality alternative to the Rusty Traveler from another builder would be the Al Merrick K Step-Up.

Photos: John Maher surfing a 6’6″ Rusty Traveler in Fiji and Chile.  Scott Winer Photography.

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5 Responses to Traveler – Rusty Surfboards

  1. Pierjunky says:

    I’m 6′, 190 lbs, mid-twenties, and I surf beach breaks around HB almost always, which fin box configuration — tri-fin or quad-fin — would you recommend?

  2. John Maher says:

    If you’re going to be surfing Huntington on a Traveler exclusively, I would recommend going with an entirely different surfboard model. Try a Redline, R1, or a GTR (summer board).

    Fin configurations come down to personal preference.

    I would ride a tri-fin configuration in shortboards around Huntington Beach.

    I would go with quad-fin configurations in a fishes, because the tails are wide, and that combination allows for the board to get tons of scoot down the line.

    As far as the Traveler, I like to ride them with either a quad or tri-fin configuration. I tend to get quad-fin configurations in my Traveler when I am planning on surfing waves on my forehand, and I like to ride it as a tri-fin when I am going to surf waves on my backhand.

    One solution for you could be to custom order your boards with 5 fin-boxes (like Kelly Slater does), that way you can try both quad and tri-fin set-ups in your board and find out which you prefer.

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  4. kfish says:

    Hey John- Great reviews. I just picked up a 6’6″ traveler for an Indo trip. I weigh about 150lbs and am a ‘light-footed’, intermediate-level surfer. Which Future fins template would you recommend for extra hold/control in hollow, powerful surf? thx

    • John Maher says:

      Hi Kfish thanks for the complement and using the site. I’d go with Futures AM2 in Fiberglass or honey comb (yellow). Rusty makes great fiberglass fins that they sometimes offer with their boards called Rusty 454’s (not sure if you got a set with your Traveler but if you did they work great).
      Also, EA’s made in anything but plastic work great and are really popular in solid surf.
      Hope this helps and you get shacked out of your mind on your new board!

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