After design testing in both California and the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii, the SG1 semi-gun stand up paddle board by Pau Hana Surf Supply is in production and now available nationwide. In pure simplicity, the SG1 is a true semi-gun stand up paddle board with a pulled in nose, sleek lines, and a pulled in tail.
While the board does not fall into the one-stick-quiver category of do-it-all boards, the SG1 by Pau Hana delivers true semi-gun performance in a variety of conditions. Stand Up Paddle Surfing Magazine took the SG1 through its paces in both small and big surf. In this review, we’ll look first at the shape, dimensions, and design, then at performance.
The SG1 is 9’10” x 28” x 4 7/8”. Looking first at the outline, the nose of the SG1 is much more aggressively narrow than the standard high performance stand up paddleboard. This is because the board was built for down the line speed. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a board with as aggressive a nose outline as the SG1. The middle section of the board has a clean and curved outline that blends into a pulled in squash tail.
The rails of the board are tapered to allow water to easily flow over the side, helping the rider to put the board on edge and lean into a turn as opposed to more boxy rails found in many sup board designs.
The tail chose for the SG1 is a squash tail. While the nose and aggressive outline of the board provide speed, the squash tail adds stability to the design, blending the best of both worlds. The squash tail also makes the board fun and stable in smaller surf.
A unique design feature of the SG1 is a continuous vee-bottom that begins at the fins and carries through up to the top ¼ of the board. The theory behind this unique feature is that the continuous vee slices through the water at high speeds rather than skimming over it.
While the dimensions and outline of the board may appear intimidating, Pau Hana developed this board looking at the overall volume of the board. The board could easily float a beginner up to 165 lbs, an intermediate surfer up to 195 lbs, and an advanced surfer up to 220lbs. The board retains a healthy amount of thickness from the nose through the tail making it a viable option for paddlers of varying abilities and weights.
The board features a 5 box fin setup to allow for quad, 2+1, single fin, or thruster fin arrangements.
Now, let’s have a look at the performance for the SG1 stand up paddle board semi-gun. As was mentioned previously, the board performs like a true semi-gun. It goes fast and straight, has excellent hold, and turns well when ridden deep off the tail.
On flat water, the board is fast, smooth, and stable. For a high performance board, this piece of equipment paddles similar to most traditional 10’ stand up paddle boards even though it measures in at only 9’10”. We credit this to the vee bottom , board volume, and water splitting nature of the design.
In rough water the board is more stable than expected. While it is less stable side-to-side than most production 9’3” stand up paddle boards, after 2 or 3 sessions on this board, the uneasiness quickly disappears leaving an intermediate/advanced surfer comfortable in bumpy water or surf zones.
Taking off on a wave is smooth and controlled. The board shines in waves that require a steep drop and immediate turn down the line of a fast, racing face. For many stand up paddle boards with pulled in noses, the front of the board tends to swing and sway just before taking off on a wave. The SG1, however, holds its line through the take-off, maintaining control. Again, we attribute this to the vee through the nose.
Bottom turns on the board were much more controlled and predictable with quad fins as opposed to thrusters. With thrusters, the board tended to slide out just enough to divert the rider’s attention away from the wave and back to the board, creating momentary uneasiness. However, with quad fins, the board did not slide out.
Turning in general with the Pau Hana SG1 begins with the board loading up, then releasing into a turn. Whether this is a pro or a con depends on the rider’s preference. More traditional stand up paddle board shapes turn in smooth and controlled lines. The SG1 however seems to load, then release. For example, if you were to drop in on a wave, and instead of heading straight down the line, decided to execute a full bottom turn to generate speed up back up to the lip, as you begin to execute the turn, you would feel the board hold, hold, hold, and then quickly release sending you back up the face of the wave. The same would hold true for making a similar turn off the top, though not quite as dramatically. With a few sessions on the board, you can anticipate the hold-release performance characteristics. However, when you are new to the board, it will take a few waves to get it wired.
The board is very fast. The biggest challenge most stand up paddlers will have with this board will be figuring out how to control the speed. If you’re not looking over your shoulder and cutting back to the pocket of the wave, you are likely to outrun the shoulder and find yourself stuck in the impact zone of the next, bigger wave.
It sits very nicely in the pocket and has excellent hold even in the steeper sections. It is smooth and controlled while firing down the racetrack.
Where is the limit? In small surf, like with any stand up paddle board, it can be ridden in knee high waves. If you’re looking to hang five in the little ones, it’s not going to happen…there’s no place to stand on the nose. In bigger surf, the board caps out at about 7’ Traditional Hawaiian Scale (approx. Double-Overhead). At that point the board tends to run out of gas a bit on the bigger sets. It would be safe to say that the board could handle anything size-wise that 95% of stand up paddle surfers are currently riding.
In conclusion, the SG1 by Pau Hana is a sleek and quick semi-gun. It’s fast and controlled with plenty of hold. The pros are, until you get into really macking surf, the board has plenty of speed. The squash tail also lends itself to fun in smaller surf. The cons are that, in our opinion, this board falls into the specialty board category. It’s not a one-stick-quiver of a board. It’s a fast semi-gun that can also be fun in smaller waves.
Who would this board be a good match for?
1. Someone who is struggling to milk their current stand up paddle board for speed and can’t get enough to make the steep, fast sections.
2. A lighter paddler that is looking for something a little more aggressive that he or she can grow into yet still have fun in small surf.
3. The stand up paddler that’s ready for a steep takeoff followed by a cat and mouse chase to the shoulder of a thick wave.
Pau Hana has boards locally available in Hawaii, California, and other locations both in the U.S. and internationally. For more information and dealer inquiries visit: www.pauhanasurfco.com.