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HOME arrow GEAR INSIGHTS arrow BOARD REVIEW Part II (In Surf): Surftech and Infinity Surfboards Latest Release
BOARD REVIEW Part II (In Surf): Surftech and Infinity Surfboards Latest Release PDF Print E-mail
By: Nate Burgoyne   
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
ImageWe were blessed with 3-4’ waves on the South Shore this weekend. Along with spending some time at the China Uemura Wahine Classic, I had the opportunity to take the 11’ Kuku Hoe stand up paddle surfboard out in some Oahu South Shore surf to see how it performed in the waves. I tested the board in the slightly steeper inside section waves where the water is more shallow, the face is steeper and the ride down the line is faster. I recently gave my flat water review of the board and now it’s time for the in-the-surf follow up. I had a mixed experience on the board and this is my report.

   The paddling speed in the surf was as I had anticipated from my flat-water review of the board, smooth and quick. The board had plenty of glide and was sufficiently stable in the lumpy shorebreak. With the blunt nose, I had my doubts about its ability to punch through the whitewater, however, the board carried it’s momentum through the foam and was very stable. This held true even through waist-shoulder high whitewalls that I felt were likely to buck me off. The board has some weight to it and I’m sure that this contributes to its smooth water-punching capability.
    Likewise, the board quick turned well in rippled waters as it does on flat water. Sinking the tail and getting the board turned around 180 degrees into position for catching a wave was stable and relatively quick, in about 3 strokes.

   Takeoffs were surprisingly tricky on the Infinity and somewhat discouraging for me personally. As I mentioned before, turning the board into position was not a problem, and getting the board up to speed was also not a problem. The problems that I encountered on take-off and bottom turns seemed to be a combination of the the center-point of the board, the slick deck pad, and soft rails.

Image    To get maximum paddling speed and maintain the greatest stability, I needed to stand just slightly forward of the center-point of the board. The challenge this presented was that as the waves approached from behind just before dropping in, a quick cross-step backward was needed to keep the nose from pearling (or dipping beneath the water). Given the length of the board, the cross-step back for me was about 3 steps. I naturally step back first with my left foot, and after three steps back, I was left switch-stance, which presented its own set of challenges and left me to work with my less than perfect switch-stance wave riding skills. I found that if I took two natural length cross-steps back, this seemed to leave me just barely too far forward of the sweet spot preventing me from getting the board turned down the line where in needed to go right after the initial push from behind. For reference, I am 5’11-6’ tall, 175 lbs, and average build.

    To remedy this, I figured I’d need to simply take bigger steps. As I did this I was learned the limits of the deck pad. (Fortunately, I understand you can purchase the Kuku Hoe without a Surftech deckpad.) The deck pad is made of a high density foam. It is smooth and firm without any ridges. As I took my long strides to the tail of the board, I tended to slip straight off the back because the deck pad lacked the stickiness to keep my rear foot in place after a quick cross-step back to the tail. Following my slips off the back, I tried to be more dainty about the cross-step back by positioning myself a little further back on the board white stroking into the wave, and taking off a bit later than usual. In this scenario, with the turbulence of the water, the deck pad again failed me sending my foot sliding off the side of the board and again putting me in the water. The light curve  of the rails combined with the slippery deck pad were not conducive to good board control on take off. Had the deck pad been removed or replaced by one with more tack, the takeoffs are sure to have been more successful.

Image    For those waves that I was able to successfully take off on, the bottom turn was, again a challenge. I’m not sure if it was my hesitation because of my experience with the deck pad or if the rails were a little too soft (round) for my personal preference, but I was not able to get the drive off the bottom that I need to get moving down the line quickly. With this, I went to angled take-offs to minimize my reliance on the deck pad grip. The board has rather round rails, making angled takeoffs a bit of a challenge. I would angle the board down the line and start paddling. As the wave began to push from behind, instead of moving down the line, the board seemed to side-slip then tip over.

    Now, where was the board a success? Not only was the board good at flat water paddling and punching through the white water, it was a stellar noserider. It seems to be an excellent choice for flat water touring. In the surf, once a bottom turn was accomplished, the Suftech-Infinity stick locked in place making the journey up to the nose almost effortless. The board has excellent nose control.  From the nose, with my front foot planted just at the pinline on the deck, I was able to bring the board from the crest of the wave down to about the mid point and back up with ease. Playing on the nose control, I was able to do, what I term as half a cutback on the nose. I rode down the line, after travelling up and down the face and realized that I was too far in front of the break. So, with some pressure on the outside edge, I brought the tail around and, from the nose, was able to get the nose and the rest of the board headed  toward the breaking part of the wave. Wth a stroke or two I was headed back down the face of the wave closer to the pocket to finish out the wave. I was definitely stoked on that.

    To sum all of this up, 11’ Surftech Infinity Kuku Hoe stand up paddle surfboard, is a great paddler, and should successfully get you through the whitewater to the break. It’s stable and good a quick 180 degree turns. Take offs and board control was a challenge to me. I attribute that mostly to the lack of grip on the deck pad. After slipping off several times, I had to be delicate with the board on take-offs and bottom turns. Had the board been waxed instead, I'm sure my experience would have been completely different. From my time with it, I have found the board to be a superb noserider. If the deck pad were more tacky and maybe if the rails were a bit harder (sharper), it seems to me the perfect ride would be a straight take-off, bottom turn with a slight stall, a smooth step up to the nose, cross-step back, some smooth drawn out lines, another noseride and a clean finish. The board woud also make an excellent flat water touring board. When you get yours, be sure to take it without the Surftech deck pad and either simply wax it up or get a more proven third-party deck pad. Stoked!
feed1 Comments
July 28, 2008

Nice review. Your honesty is much appreciated and will give credibility to all our future reviews. I look forward to them. Thanks!

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