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HOME arrow GEAR INSIGHTS arrow Paddle Surf Hawaii 9'3" Ripper -vs- C4 Waterman 9'3" Sub-Vector -vs- 9'3" Naish
Paddle Surf Hawaii 9'3" Ripper -vs- C4 Waterman 9'3" Sub-Vector -vs- 9'3" Naish PDF Print E-mail
By: Stand Up Paddle Surfing Magazine   
Tuesday, 24 February 2009

    Three boards that have created a lot of interest from wave riding stand up paddlers is the 9’3” Ripper by Paddle Surf Hawaii, the 9’3” Sub-Vector by C4 Waterman, and the 9'3" SUP by Naish. All are short, all are high performance boards, and all have knowledge and proven theories behind their designs.


    We recently received the following letter from Chris Farmer requesting a head-to-head comparison of the Ripper and Sub-Vector boards. With input from our readers, we agree that the 9'3" Naish should also be included in the review. Although we have our thoughts on the equipment, we have decided to open it up to those who have these boards for your input on the strengths and weaknesses of each. Share your input by registering and commenting at the end of the article. Need help? Shoot us an email at  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  


    Thanks again for dropping us the note, Chris, and sparking up the discussion. Here's the letter and responses. . .  

    "What is the possibility of you doing a surfing comparison of the 9'3" Sub-Vector by C4 and the 9'3" Ripper by Paddle Surf Hawaii like the car mags compare competitive models? These two boards are probably the most progressive on the market. Both companies cannot stock enough to meet consumer demand so there's got got to be something going on! Maybe a series of comparisons over a period of time to allow both boards to be evaluated in a variety of conditions. Unlike cars, surf boards have to adapt to a wide variety of conditions. Mahalo! PS love your site!!!"


    This is an open article. We invite you to register and leave your review below. Need help? This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  



feed15 Comments
May 24, 2010

Update on my last review...

Finally got used to the Ripper, but took 2-3 months and a lot of frustration. Now I love it and want to go smaller. I'm really looking forward to see what PSH has coming out next.

If you want a similar board without all the frustration I went through, check out the Cabrinha 9'8" SUP. Turns like my Ripper, but has the stability when I need it in the chop.

December 10, 2009

I finally got a 9'3" Ripper and unless it's super calm, I can't hardly stand on the thing! I'm 160lbs and live on the Gulf Coast of Florida. I've only been SUP'ing for maybe 6months now, but have kite/wakeboarded for years and I sup at least 4 times/week. This is my first shorter SUP and I thought I would be ok since I had tried a 9'4" custom Walden and was stable on that, but it was 29.5" wide and a fuller nose. It doesn't seem that hard to balance on in flat water or in 1-2 ft surf, but when it gets bigger, even when it's semi-calm (slighty choppy), I can't hardly stand on it. It helps to have some forward movement for stability but I've been out in about head high twice and when I'm really paddling to catch a wave I get close and then lose my balance and fall right before I get the wave. Seems like you have to drop in late (for a SUP) in order to even catch any waves. Yeah, it seems like it rips, but I'm not catching any more waves than if I were just on a regular surfboard, so I don't see the point.

April 07, 2009

I've just recently got my own PSH 9'3" Ripper. Here's what I think of it:

Conditions: Light on-shore wind. Waist high, punchy waves.

After loving my first session on Matt Lumley's PSH 9'3" Ripper a few weeks back, I thought I'd better go and pay Andrew Allen from Balmoral Boards a visit - just to see what he's got in stock. As it turns out, I get there and he starts unwrapping a brand new blue one, fresh out of the container. He knows I love the blue ones, the bugger - how could I say no to that? So, now I've got one too!

I've just got back from a little session out Mona Vale Basin where it was a bit bumpy with lots of cross chop bouncing off the rocks but there were some really fun waves coming through. I had it with just one other guy out for most of the session. That was my fifth surf on the 9'3" Ripper.

One word: Ripper.

The board is: 9'3" x 28 3/8" x 4 1/4".

If you've seen the 9'3" Ripper's plan shape, you'll know that this is one good looking board. A nice pulled in nose but with still enough volume to get up there from time to time. Not too curvy through the mid section and then pulling back in again, just the right amount, to that nice diamond tail down the back end.

There's not a heap of nose lift but just enough to keep the nose dry when taking steep-ish drops or coming down from a reo. The fact that it's pretty flat throughout means it planes really well and holds it's speed and momentum through turns. It's easy to connect bottom turn, cutback, foam bounce, back into another bottom turn ... all with speed and flow and as if it's just one manoeuvre - nice.

Paddling this little puppy is a breeze. It tracks really well (with my 6" centre fin) and it's got good stability. None of the surfs I've had it have been really clean (in fact most of them have been quite choppy), yet I've not a problem standing on it at all. I've ridden bigger boards which have been heaps harder to balance on while you're waiting out the back. The flat deck feels nice under your feet and gives a great base to move your feet around on.

Punching out through the waves is pretty good with just a fraction of kickback when you hit a decent bit of white water. The good stability helps with that wobbly bit in the foam just after the wave has passed.

I've pretty much managed to try out my full repertoire of moves on this board now. Lots of big bottom turns in a variety of sized waves - really nice, you can fully lean into them and generate lots of speed ready for the next manoeuvre. Some snappy cutbacks - just get on the tail and snap it, easy. Some of those get down low, big, carving cutbacks on my backhand - unreal, these big arcs are where the 9'3" Ripper excels. A few drop-knee, forehand cutbacks around the paddle - I love doing these and Ripper does them well. One or two semi vertical re-entries - not bad, just need a bit of push to the waves to help spin it back around. A couple of decent floaters - these are quite fun on the Ripper. I've even got up near the nose a couple of times, just for fun.

I've seen guys in Hawaii doing helicopters and even 360s off the tail, on the 9'3" - I've got to get into them, they look so cool.

This PSH (and I'm sure all the other production models are the same) just seems bullet proof. I've accidently whacked it a couple of times now with my paddle - really hard, without as much as a little scuff mark. The first time I did it, I was scared to look down at my brand new little baby and see what awful thing I'd done to it. But when I did manage to bring myself to look - nothing, no damage at all - phew.

Overall, this is a wicked board. The PSH 9'3" Ripper rips. I just love it.

Highs Points:
- Good stability for a short board.
- Turns off the tail beautifully.
- Awesome momentum between turns.
- Super high quality, bullet proof construction.
- Paddles great.
- Very comfortable under your feet.
- Big name so great resale value.

Lows Points:
- A little heavy for a 9'3".
- Fairly full rails might be hard for a fly-weight to bury.
- It's got no carry handle (yet - apparently they will in the future).

See some video of this session here:

Here's a full bio on me and my details:

April 02, 2009

You say at the top of this thread that you have your own thoughts on these three boards. Can you let us know what those thoughts are?

March 10, 2009

I finally got hold of a C4 9'3" Sub Vector. Here's my review of it:

Conditions: Light off-shore wind. Waist high, closing out waves.

Just the other day I was surfing at Sydney's Palm Beach when I ran into visiting Hawaiian, Todd Bradley. After shaking hands and a short chat he suggested I take out one of the new C4 9'3" Sub Vectors that he had brought over. I've been very inquisitive about this board so I jumped at the chance.

One word: Stability.

The board is: 9'3" x 28.81" x 4.25".

I took my first look at this board and thought, wow - what a sweet looking ride. The metallic silver artwork looks a treat. It's great that it comes in a number of different designs too - adds a little bit of variety or uniqueness to a non-custom board.

The plan shape looks great. You can tell it's going to be stable just by looking at it. The semi full nose and wide tail adds lots of extra foam. I'd be interested to know the volume but couldn't find that information anywhere.

At 4.25" thick, it's not any thicker than its competitors on the market but the thickest point is very close to the rails, before the concave deck starts. This makes it look thicker than it is. It'll also be one of the factors adding to Sub Vector's stability.

I pick the board up and two things hit me straight away - it feels pretty heavy and the handle hole in the deck seems too shallow. Both fine if you are only carrying it for a short time but over any extended distance, they could be a problem.

I throw it in the water, push it out over the shallow sandbank and then jump on. Crikey, it's like standing on the footpath - very stable with minimal wobble, the rumours are right. A few stokes of the paddle and I'm travelling along quite nicely. It's got great glide for a little board and tracks well too - even with the quad set up which was running on this board.

Punching out through the waves was fine. I noticed a little bit of kickback when the white water hit me (probably due to the slightly fuller nose and fairly low nose rocker). This was made up for in the stability of the board in that area of bouncy white water just behind the broken wave (you know that tricky bit?). I think I only fell once while paddling out and there were some fairly difficult waves to punch through on this day.

Out the back, waiting, still feeling super stable, I notice how comfortable and grippy the C4 deck grip is. The big ribs allow you to really lock your toes onto the board and the concave deck creates an obvious sweet spot while paddling or waiting.

I swing around for my first wave (the Sub Vector turns easily) and I drop down into a fast right hander (my forehand). A fairly soft bottom turn to get me lined up and heading along the wall. The 9'3" picks up speed well and starts planing quickly. I'm soon confronted with a crumbling lip and closeout section with which I would normally try and whack or float over - the C4, however, didn't seem nimble enough to get up there quickly so I just went for a layback snap as close to the lip as I could manage. It felt good but not quite as radical as good, semi vertical re-entry.

My other waves were OK under the conditions. I could pump the 9'3" Sub Vector down the line and pick up good speed both forehand and backhand. It also does decent carves when you have a bit of wall to work with - something I thought it might struggle with due to the volume in the rails. If you are light on in the weight department - I'd say you may have some problems sinking the rail enough, though.

The one place where the performance lacked a bit for me was in the ability to throw it around. Very quick changes of direction or hops up onto the foam were tricky. I'm thinking this might be due to the board's weight. Sure, this makes it nice and strong but detracts from the performance somewhat. If you were a bigger and more powerful surfer this may not be an issue at all.

While on a wave the stability, again, is just great. I nearly came unstuck on a backhand closeout re-entry but just got down low and centred over that stable platform and ended up riding away clean. I thought for sure I was going to end up eating it.

Overall, a great performance board for a bigger rider which is quite hard to fall off.

- Great stability for a short board.
- High quality, super strong construction.
- Paddles great.
- Very comfortable under your feet.
- Versatile fin options.
- Awesome graphics and design.

- Seems pretty heavy.
- Thick rails would be hard to bury for light-weight surfers.
- Carry handle is a little too shallow.
- Hard to come by in Australia.

See some video of this session here:

Here's a full bio on me and my details:

March 09, 2009

I ride a Roger Hinds 9'6" swallow stinger quad. I weigh two bills. I have a Ron House 9'1" that is a little too small. Roger Hinds (Country Surfboards, Seal Beach) is a genius with the planer. The board is a bit tippy, but it goes like hell baby. I ride it just about every time... in one foot Bolsa Chica slop, and six foot La Jolla reef wedges... and everything in between. I will say that it dinges easier than my Naish 10'6" that I have well outgrown. Hobie's stock 9'9" board looks surprisingly similar to Roger's 9'6" (Roger used to shape and glass for Hobie.) Call him and beg him to make you one. He doesn't like to make paddle boards... he thinks that they are evil, so you will have to beg him, offer him lots of money, and beg him some more. He makes them for me though, because I am his lawyer and I am evil. Out.....

P.S. If he won't make a paddleboard for you, aks him to make you a nomad quad, around 6'9"... now THAT is a fun board too...

March 01, 2009

I have rode all 3 models and found the sub-vector the only one i couldn't fault. the ripper was great once on a wave but very unstable when paddling along and the naish felt really sluggish to paddle and seemed to have a lower speed limit than the psh and c4 when surfing. the c4 won in my books as it was super stable to paddle and absolutely ripped when surfed. very interesting single-to-double concave on the deck and 3 stage rocker no doubt the guys at c4 have once again produced a top end board.can't wait for the 9'8sub vector

February 27, 2009

Please, give me a break. All these boards are POP-OUTS. Although, they look kool and ride very well. I personally wouldn't ride one. I've tried the C-4, rode well, but tippy to paddle. How about one hand made in America or China. I ride an 8'9"x30" with wings about 16" up, quad fin. Works well. Ron House, Gerry Lopez, just to name a few, make excellent boards that aren't made in a mold. I made my own board, I love it. That's my thoughts on it. Michael Mauri

February 25, 2009

I'm stoked on my Sub Vector. C4 Waterman nailed it with this board. By that I mean they created a board that is stable when paddling, loose when surfing, durable, versatile, and extremely fun over a wide range of conditions. I'll explain...

STABLE WHEN PADDLING- I think many SUPs are designed with just riding waves in mind. The Sub Vector was clearly designed to surf well but also with the understanding that it's gotta paddle well to catch waves in the fist place. The board has almost zero 'yaw' when paddling. It's the first short board I've ever paddled that truly lets you paddle on one side as long as you want while tracking straight (as long as you have decent technique). At about 29" wide it is narrower than some other similar length boards. It feels like this allows me to paddle with a more vertical stroke (blade closer to midline). This fact, combined with the rail and template curve clearly help the board track straight when paddling hard. The Sub Vector has significant rocker but is by far the fastest paddling short board I've ever been on.

MORE ABOUT STABILITY- Maybe it's the concave deck or the tapered full volume rails but this board is rock solid stable. I weigh about 170 lbs and find my Sub Vector to be as or more stable than my bigger SUPs. It's a trip how stable the board is. I came off a 9'0" Batwing and it took a session or two before I fully 'trusted' the stability but once I understood that it may rock but it won't roll I got spoiled.

LOOSER WHEN SURFING- This is where the Sub Vector stands out. It definitely has a short board feel, almost fish-like, extremely fast and loose. As is the case with most short boards it handles well off the lip. Stuff like floaters and rebounds are much easier on this board than with longer style boards, but what is unique about the Sub Vector is how fast it 'squirts' off the tail. Maybe it's the concave between the fins? I don't know, I'm not a shaper, but I promise you when you load into your turns on this board you will come out with speed to burn. It's uncanny how fast the Sub Vector surfs.

DURABLE- All the boardworks C4 Waterman boards are bulletproof. I don't even bother putting my Sub Vector in a board bag, even when surfing off a small boat (which is often). It gets the usual cosmetic stuff like paint chips but I have yet to see any dings.

VERSATILE- Right away I was stoked on options the the 4 1 fin set up offers. You can run your Sub Vector as a quad, thruster, 2 1, whatever you prefer. In most conditions I ride mine as a thruster, it just suits me, but I know some good surfers who prefer quad on their Sub Vectors. As far as versatility goes, changing fins makes the board work well in a wide variety of conditions. I set the rear fin far back thruster for bigger surf (overhead) and just move it forward with some side biters for average knee to shoulder high surf. Finally, as I mentioned above the board paddles unreal which you will especially appreciate when going out at hard to access spots.

EXTREMELY FUN- The fact that I just spent too much time writing what sounds like an ad for C4 Waterman should give you some idea of how stoked I am on this board... Seriously, the Sub Vector is by far my favorite SUP for surfing anything from waist high to a few feet overhead California beach and reef break waves. It's my go-to board.

DOWNSIDES- To provide some balance I wracked my brain for the downsides to this board. Best I can come up with is that at my weight you really have to surf it off the tail. In other words, if I don't get back when dropping in it screws up my first few turns until I adjust. I could see this being really frustrating especially to newer paddlers who are used to dropping in, turning, and trimming from further up on longer boards. But if this is the trade off for how well it paddles then I'm fine with staying on the tail.

I wrote enough. Sorry if I seem a bit biased. I am. I got to ride a Sub Vector...

February 25, 2009

PSH boards are popular but hard to come by in Australia (please send more Blane), C4s are even harder to come by. What we do seem to have quite a few of are Naishs and they make a very nice 9'3" to fit into this high performance category.

Here's a review of the littlest Naish:

Conditions: Light off-shore wind. Full, waist high waves.

Ever since I had seen some photos and a bit of video of the new Naish 9'3" in action, I had been stinging to get on one. Then the big day finally arrived. Sam from WindSurfnSnow had a demo board for me to try and he said I could have it for a couple of days. Unreal.

One word: Yoooue.

The board is: 9'3" x 29.25" x 4.5".

Sam was sick of everyone borrowing his own 9'3" all the time so he unwrapped another one and put it in his demo fleet. A win for me as I'd be able to get a couple of surfs on it before handing it back and I wouldn't feel guilty about inhibiting Sam from using his beloved board.

When I went to pick it up from the shop, I was surprised by the shape (it was the first time I had seen it in the flesh). I picked up a Naish brochure and compared the pic that they had been teasing us with for what seems like months. I thought the pic in the brochure (same as on the website) was cool and it looked like the board would go great. The board in front of my eyes was another thing again. This thing just looks all time. Just like an oversized version of one of my standard shortboards - in every detail, from the plan shape to the rails to the rocker. Wow. If this board surfs as good as it looks, Naish are onto a winner here.

I had been hesitant about how unstable it was going to be with my 88kgs but some of the mini reviews I had read around the place indicated that I wouldn't have any problems. They were right. Sure, it's more wobbly than my 11' Oxbow but it is one of the most stable sub 10 foot boards I have stood on. My first paddle out was a breeze. A combination of the great stability, fairly full little waves and that pulled in nose piercing through and popping over waves had me out the back in no time, with dry hair and minimal death wobbles. Waiting out the back was easy too. I tried the old look back over the shoulder trick which can often make me come unstuck on a little board - no problems with the Naish 9'3".

So I'm out the back feeling very impressed with the board so far, now let's get a wave and see how this baby Naish really performs. I think I can say that the first wave I got was the best first wave that I had ever got on a board I had never ridden before. Two re-entries, a decent little cutback and then another reo on the close-out. All in complete control as if I had been riding this board for ages. I amazed myself - it was just too easy. This board rocks and I had only caught one wave.

You ride this board like a regular shortboard. Not a lot of foot movements up and down the board, just keep in the sweet spot and push it hard - off the bottom and the top. I still managed to do a few (longboard style) drop-knee cutbacks around the paddle and soul-arch bottom turns but the turns I loved the most were those really leaning-it-over type turns where you just grind out a nice arc on the face of the wave.

Coming off the top during re-entries and floaters is where that pulled in nose with plenty of nose lift really comes into play. You don't ever feel like nose diving, even on the most critical of waves, forehand or backhand. Another reason why this board is so easy to surf.

A couple of mates were down the beach having a swim. They are non SUPers but have been keen to give it a go for a while. I knew they'd be much better off on my 11 footer but I didn't have that with me - so lets see how the 9'3" Naish works on a first time beginner. Not good. One of the guys is an awesome surfer (multiple times club champion of the local boardriders club) the other a very competent surfer - neither of them could stand on the board for long enough to get more than one paddle stroke in. Don't bother looking at this board if you are anything less than a good intermediate SUPer.

After three days of fun surfs, I begrudgingly gave the little beauty back. I couldn't bring myself to leave the shop knowing that I may never get to experience the little Naish again … so I ended up getting one for myself! Now that's a pretty good indication of how much I liked it.

- Good stability for a little board.
- Just surfs unreal.
- Very hard to nose dive.
- Awesome to look at.
- Super light weight.
- High quality construction.
- Carry handle makes carting it to and from the water's edge a breeze.

- Decent price tag.

NC Paddle Surfer
February 25, 2009

I own the Sub Vector. I have surfed the PSH Ripper 2 on different days.

Both boards are the most fun you can have on a SUP in my opinion.

The Sub Vector handles heavier surfers better.

I like the option to ride quad or thruster on the C4. You don't have that option with the PSH. I hope Blane changes that.

I had to laugh when someone said where can you buy Naish in Oahu. You must be a young pup. You live in the place Robbie once called home and the location of the original Naish shop in Kailua. Get over there and check it out.

Now go demo them!

February 25, 2009

Todd Bradley of C4 Waterman just sent us a letter he received recently about the Sub-Vector. He gave us permission to post it, so here it is:

The new boards come in some really cool and exciting designs. I chose the Sub-Vec in Blue deck & bottom with the Black rails and offset stripe. I'm even happier with this design than the wishbone's and have you to thank for it. The Metallic Blue deck w/ghost "C4" graphic was pretty cool too but I wasn't keen on the yellow rails. Karen seemed to think she knew who would want that board and another lady wanted a Blue & White board and has the third one spoken for. All in all you have three really happy customers! Thank you again!

UPDATE:I've had two sessions on my Sub-Vector and this board surfs unreal! The waves were small but I have found the "short board" feel I've been looking for! The Sub-Vector I rented from Wet Feet came as a 2 1 which was good. I threw a 5 1/2" fin in the center box all the way back like a thruster and it performed a lot better. Robert was kind enough to set me up with a quad "Future Fins" Vector F4 437 for my new board and what a transformation! Doug Lock @ Wet Feet likes the "Future Fins" Schimitar which I will try once I have my board wired and will be able to notice a difference.

February 25, 2009

Didn't know Naish made a 9'3" but after looking on his website it would be a contender. I've never seen a Naish SUP on Oahu. Does anyone sell his boards here? You can see many PSH & C4 9'3" at all the surf breaks on Oahu.

February 25, 2009

If you've got input on the Naish 9'3", I think it would definitely be appropriate to cover in this article. Post it.

February 25, 2009

What about the Naish 9'3"? I think this is also in the same "short, high performance" category.

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