Hyperlite had success in their 2001 line with both their regular Byerly shape and their Byerly Finless shape. However, what do you do when you want to ride finless some of the time, and with fins the rest of the time? The answer is the 2002 Byerly shape.
The 2002 Byerly series comes in 142 cm and 137 cm sizes. The width and 2.6 inches of abrupt 3-stage rocker are similar to past Byerly shapes. It's available in Hyperlite's Biolite foam core or new wood DNA core.
The Byerly shape for 2002 has some significant changes from the 2001 shape. The 2002 shape is an "all in one" shape that can be rode finless or with the optional center fin. There are two molded-in fins that are thinner and deeper then the 2001 finless shape. The board comes with a long 1.2" center fin that is a similar shape and profile to the molded-in fins. With the optional center fin in, the board grips very well and tracks as well as you could possibly want. If you're looking for a finless loose ride, then take out the center fin and you're just using the two small outer molded-in fins. This is also convenient for having a board that tracks well with the center fin, then removing it for hitting sliders or kickers.
The rail design is new for 2002, which according to Byerly makes it sit higher in the water then the previous stepped down rail. The rails also have a deeper cup for a stronger initial edge. Another addition is a new molded-in center beam meant to help break up the water more on for softer landings. The final change is that the width of the tip and tail have been widened .25".
The graphics on the Byerly 142 are simple on top with only a spider web in the middle that reads Byerly. Being a fan of simple graphics, I like the top of the board quite a bit. The royal blue color is very powerful, and the DNA core has a nice green color. The bottom of the board is where we see classic Byerly style crazy graphics. Not a real "kid-friendly" graphic, as it's a scene that appears to be a witch or goddess of some sort getting burned at a stake. Very cool looking though.
We tested the Byerly with and without the center fin on the board, so we'll break down the ride for both.
With the center fin in, the Byerly tracks very strongly. It's very easy to keep a steady line in the water, and the board corrects you very well on landings. It's still a bit looser then a board with 2.5 inch fins, but the 3 short fins do help it track quite well. Just like the 2001 Byerly, it has a very abrupt and bucky pop that shoots you more up then out. This kind of pop takes a bit getting used to, but once you get the hang of it you'll have an easy time generating pop without as much speed and edge as you'd need on some boards. We noticed the abrupt pop more with the center fin in the board, because the board seemed to grip the wake a little more and slow down the board when going through the wake.
Without the center fin, the Byerly is a very fun playful board. It tracks a bit bitter then the 2001 finless due to the deeper molded fins, but it's still very easy to slide out and looser then any board with normal fins. It's very forgiving on landings, and seems to be smoother through the wake then with the center fin added.
We also noticed that the new molded-in center beam and rocker did soften landings quite a bit. Landings on the Byerly were very smooth.
The Byerly 142 probably isn't a great board for beginners, due to the abrupt pop and shorter fins. That's really it's only downfall. For intermediate to advanced riders this board is great because it's so flexible. Want to work on your progressive edging? Take out the center fin and make yourself use your edges to generate pop and speed. If the water is rough put the center fin back in for a solid ride. If you want to hit a slider, take out the center fin again. It just provides a lot of options. The board also does the two other important aspects of a board very well. It pops great, and lands soft. Isn't that the whole point? For these reasons the Byerly 142 gets 4.5 out of 5 stars, and that's probably why this is the board that Parks Bonifay dominated the end of the competition season on.
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