This board was my promotion from a cheap big board to something a little more serious. It started out as a $200 board but I got it for quite a bit less on sale ($140). It has all the good stuff… composite stringer, 8lb deck, Surlyn slick, 50/50 rails, deck contours, etc. The board surfs well and you can feel the quality just holding or floating on it. I think I made a tactical error when ordering it though. I went an inch or two too short which is a big deal in terms of performance. Although the size is perfect for my height it doesn’t have as much buoyancy as I’d like for my weight.
I recently took my old cheaper 662 board out in some medium sized surf and in a few areas it outperformed my highend board since it floated me better. That trip to the beach was actually a catalyst for me ditching the board for something new. I watch Craigslist for deals on boards and good board from a brand I wanted to try popped up for reasonably cheap so I hopped on it and put the Empire Botha up for sale. I took my new board (a Toobs Magnum) out last night and so far I dig it, it was a good decision.
The Botha was a great board, just not the right size for me. Next time I need/want a new bodyboard I’ll probably hit up local custom board maker Toobs to make me a board to order. It’s more expensive to do it this way but it’s still way cheaper than buying a surfboard :)