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Discovering the Craft: The Journey of Ian Chisholm and the CJ Nelson Slasher Low Pro Surfboard

I had the opportunity to do a zoom call with Ian Chisholm, a seasoned surfboard shaper with a passion for performance and design, and his collaboration with CJ Nelson on the Slasher Low Pro surfboard. This tale is not just about crafting surfboards; it's about the evolution of surfing styles and the relentless pursuit of the perfect ride.

The Surfboard Shaper: Ian's Journey

For those unfamiliar with Ian, he's a pivotal figure in the surfboard shaping scene. At 58, Ian boasts nearly three decades of experience, having shaped over 15,000 boards, predominantly longboards and mid-lengths, and laminated over 10,000 boards.

Ian Chrisholm

His journey began far from the ocean waves in Melbourne, but his passion for surfing led him to Torquay, next to the iconic Bell's Beach, nearly 30 years ago. Ian's involvement in the Australian Single Fin movement and his exploration into tri-fins and 2+1 setups showcase his versatility and innovative spirit. Despite the fluctuating market trends, Ian's love for high-performance surfing remains unwavering. His admiration for Hawaiian surfers and the 2+1 setups underscores his commitment to pushing the boundaries of surfboard design.


The Collaboration: Ian Meets CJ Nelson

Ian's path crossed with CJ Nelson, a renowned figure in the surfing world, over two decades ago. Their friendship and mutual respect for each other's craft led to a collaboration that would redefine surfboard performance. About ten years ago, amidst personal and professional transitions, Ian and CJ reconnected to embark on a project that would bring Ian's vision to life, with CJ's expertise guiding the way.

The Masterpiece: Slasher Low Pro

Slasher Low Pro Surfboards


The Slasher Low Pro surfboard stands as a testament to Ian and CJ's collaborative genius. This surfboard is a performance-oriented single fin that challenges traditional designs. Its unique features, such as the tail rocker, heavy concave, and refined rails, are engineered to deliver a board that excels in both noseriding and wrapping turns without the need for pumping. Designed to thrive in beach breaks and point breaks, the Slasher Low Pro is ideal for waves ranging from one to four feet. Its ability to stay in the pocket and perform critical maneuvers sets it apart from conventional longboards. The board's design, inspired by the Pearson Arrow, allows for seamless transitions and a level of control that appeals to both high-performance surfers and those who cherish the art of noseriding.

Design Innovations: Beyond the Traditional

The Slasher Low Pro deviates from the classic Californian outline, adopting a semi-pig shape that enhances its performance in the pocket. The board's bottom contours, from the nose to the tail, are meticulously crafted to optimize stability, lift, and maneuverability. The extensive concave and refined rails allow the board to handle a variety of wave conditions, making it a versatile choice for surfers seeking a blend of tradition and innovation.

The Ideal Rider: Who is the Slasher Low Pro For?

This board is not confined to a single type of surfer. Whether you're a seasoned noserider looking to add dynamic turns to your repertoire or a high-performance surfer seeking a reliable single fin for smaller days, the Slasher Low Pro offers a unique blend of stability, control, and versatility. Its design caters to a wide range of surfing styles, making it a valuable addition to any surfer's quiver.

Fin recommendation for the Slasher Low Pro surfboard is to use a big fin, specifically around 10.5 inches across the range. The reason for this recommendation is due to the board's design, which benefits from the base and rake that a larger fin provides. This choice is aimed at enhancing the board's drive, speed, and stability, especially when noseriding. The recommendation applies regardless of the rider's weight, as both lighter and heavier surfers (up to 240 pounds as mentioned) have found success with larger fins on this board. The emphasis is on maintaining drive and speed, which smaller fins may compromise. Additionally, the choice of fin can also be influenced by the construction of the board, with different constructions like Thunderbolt black offering unique performance characteristics

Slasher Low Pro surfboards
@cj_nelson. Ridden by @ben_considine


A New Era of Surfboard Design

Ian and CJ's collaboration on the Slasher Low Pro marks a significant milestone in surfboard design. By challenging conventional shapes and integrating innovative features, they have created a board that bridges the gap between traditional noseriding and high-performance surfing. The Slasher Low Pro is more than just a surfboard; it's a symbol of evolution, a tool for expression, and a testament to the endless possibilities that await in the world of surfing. As we look to the horizon, the journey of Ian, CJ, and the Slasher Low Pro reminds us that the quest for the perfect wave is a never-ending adventure. It's about pushing limits, embracing innovation, and, most importantly, sharing the stoke with fellow surfers around the globe.



Some questions you might ask, answered here! 

1. What are involvement surfboards? 

CJ Nelson refers to the Slasher Low Pro surfboard as an "involvement board" due to its design and performance characteristics that are aimed at providing a more engaged and dynamic longboarding experience. This concept of "involvement" in surfing refers to a style that emphasizes a deeper connection and interaction with the wave, allowing for a wide range of maneuvers and a more expressive form of surfing. Here are the key reasons why the Slasher Low Pro is considered an involvement board:

  • Versatile Design: The Slasher Low Pro is described as the most forward-thinking longboard in CJ Nelson's range, incorporating elements learned from decades of longboarding. It is not strictly a traditional log nor a high-performance shortboard but a new vehicle designed to take longboarding into the future with dignity. This versatility allows surfers to engage more deeply with the wave, making it an involvement board
  • Performance Features: The board includes performance rails for shredability, a beveled concave for technical noseriding, and a wide point back for whip and control. These features are designed to enhance the surfer's ability to perform a variety of maneuvers, from aggressive turns to technical noserides, thereby increasing the level of involvement with the wave

2. What materials are used in the construction of the CJ Nelson Slasher Low Pro?

The board is available in various constructions, including Thunderbolt Silver, and Thunderbolt Black with options like a carbon bottom or brushed carbon. These materials contribute to the board's performance and durability

3. In what surf conditions does the CJ Nelson Slasher Low Pro perform best?

The Slasher Low Pro is designed to work best in knee to head high surf conditions. It is versatile enough to accommodate a wide range of surfing styles and conditions.

4. What types of fins are recommended for use with the CJ Nelson Slasher Low Pro?

Recommended fins for the Slasher Low Pro include the Power Flex, Involvement, Noserider, Classic Pivot, and Cali Pivot fins. These fins complement the board's design for optimal performance

5. What are the design features of the CJ Nelson Slasher Low Pro?

The Slasher Low Pro features a concave nose for exceptional noseriding capabilities, performance rails for shredability, a beveled concave for technical noseriding, and a wide point back for whip and control. It also has a low rocker for speed and carry, and a performance-based rail for control and drive

6. What is a "pig shape" outline? 

A "pig shape" surfboard, or a "piggy outline," refers to a specific design of surfboard that emerged as a significant innovation in the history of surfboard shaping, particularly in the 1950s. This design is characterized by several distinctive features that set it apart from other surfboard shapes of its time and even from many modern designs. The Slasher Low Pro likely incorporates modern adaptations of the pig shape's distinctive features, such as a shifted wide point and a design focused on maneuverability and versatility, to cater to surfers looking for a board that bridges the gap between traditional longboarding and more performance-oriented surfing


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