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8'3" SMIK spitfire vs 8' 2021 Starboard Pro

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Created by Daveb27 1 month ago, 23 Feb 2021
Daveb27
8 posts
23 Feb 2021 5:04PM
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I'm conflicted, I really want the Smik, I have 8' hipster I love, but for my back up board, for bigger surf, good conditions, I may need to decide between the the above, so any advice or experience would be good.

The main factors for me are stability, availability and cost.

The Smik is 112ltr, ~ 29.75"wide, the SB Pro is 121ltr 29" wide, but some reviews on here reckon the SB Pro isn't very stable, do you think it would be less than the SMIK? The breaks here tend to be choppy beaches, so don't want anything too tippy. My Hipster, is about right, I can enjoy mushy light onshore waves on it, without falling off too much.

The SB seems readily available in England at the mo, the SMIK less so, it's also a bit more expensive depending where you buy it what version etc.

There are other options, like Snova flow 8'4" or infinity RNB, but they are above my budget, which is dependent on selling other boards during lockdown, which is a slow process.

Hoppo3228
VIC, 440 posts
23 Feb 2021 11:36PM
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If you love your Hipster, talk to Scotty @ Smik about what you like and what you are wanting from the new board. He would know - more than anyone else - what size and design etc you should be looking at for a Smik. Also, they offer customs in cheaper builds than carbon only (timber deck with carbon rail etc). Depending on what your definition of 'bigger' waves means, perhaps a Spitfire with a rounded pin tail could be an option...

I looked at the SB Pro as the new shape interested me, but the Starlite construction was really heavy and the rails were boxier than I like. I would only buy a carbon SB due to the weight - which pushes the price way over a Smik anyway.

A flow2 and the RnB are both aimed at general everyday waves, just like the Hipster - so you're not gaining range with those, just a different feeling. Their wide tails and concave's give them lots of drive/speed in weaker waves, not what you want in bigger surf.

As a quasi-step up board, I really like the JL Stun Gun. They are sweet at OH - 2xOH. A Sunova Throttle could also be an option (I haven't seen one in real life yet though).

For a stable board with good range the JL Destroyer is sweet also. But it has lots of wave crossover to the Hipster. Perhaps a bit more hold with its area pin tail and V. (BTW I have no affiliation with JL - I just like what they do).

A Gong Alley could also be an option and save some $$. Perhaps Colas can give you a suggestion here.

Anyway, good luck!

Kovert
86 posts
23 Feb 2021 9:31PM
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I've just bought a Smik Spitfire V2 8'3 waiting for it to arrive, should hopefully have feedback next week with forecast (UK)! I'm upsizing from a JP 8'1" Surf Pro to extend range though so should be super stable. Didn't want to go too high in volume as it can add to instability, width is key. The starboard shape is amazing but as Hoppo said, I've seen the Starlite 8' and picked it up, way too heavy for what I'd want in a performance shape and don't think you'd gain anything over the Hipster in surfability.

Daveb27
8 posts
23 Feb 2021 9:46PM
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Hoppo3228 said..
If you love your Hipster, talk to Scotty @ Smik about what you like and what you are wanting from the new board. He would know - more than anyone else - what size and design etc you should be looking at for a Smik. Also, they offer customs in cheaper builds than carbon only (timber deck with carbon rail etc). Depending on what your definition of 'bigger' waves means, perhaps a Spitfire with a rounded pin tail could be an option...

I looked at the SB Pro as the new shape interested me, but the Starlite construction was really heavy and the rails were boxier than I like. I would only buy a carbon SB due to the weight - which pushes the price way over a Smik anyway.

A flow2 and the RnB are both aimed at general everyday waves, just like the Hipster - so you're not gaining range with those, just a different feeling. Their wide tails and concave's give them lots of drive/speed in weaker waves, not what you want in bigger surf.

As a quasi-step up board, I really like the JL Stun Gun. They are sweet at OH - 2xOH. A Sunova Throttle could also be an option (I haven't seen one in real life yet though).

For a stable board with good range the JL Destroyer is sweet also. But it has lots of wave crossover to the Hipster. Perhaps a bit more hold with its area pin tail and V. (BTW I have no affiliation with JL - I just like what they do).

A Gong Alley could also be an option and save some $$. Perhaps Colas can give you a suggestion here.

Anyway, good luck!


Thanks for the thoughts. I have a Gong Karmen too, 8'4" which I use in bigger surf fot the moment. They are good value for sure and the shape is ok too, perhaps a bit boxy in the tail? Their FSP construction is strong and light too, and easy to repair. The deck pad not so good IMO?

I guess I just want to experiment a bit to make sure I'm making the most of my aging abilities, before I start upsizing as I've been forced to with prone surfing!

Daveb27
8 posts
23 Feb 2021 9:57PM
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Kovert said..
I've just bought a Smik Spitfire V2 8'3 waiting for it to arrive, should hopefully have feedback next week with forecast (UK)! I'm upsizing from a JP 8'1" Surf Pro to extend range though so should be super stable. Didn't want to go too high in volume as it can add to instability, width is key. The starboard shape is amazing but as Hoppo said, I've seen the Starlite 8' and picked it up, way too heavy for what I'd want in a performance shape and don't think you'd gain anything over the Hipster in surfability.


Look forward to hearing about the spitfire. I used to have a 6'2" Firewire spitfire for prone surfing, which was an ace board. Funny how things go around?
Should be good this weekend in Kernowfornia, but already crowded to the rafters, carparks were full last weekend, even with lockdown!

supsean
130 posts
24 Feb 2021 3:52AM
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Select to expand quote
Hoppo3228 said..
If you love your Hipster, talk to Scotty @ Smik about what you like and what you are wanting from the new board. He would know - more than anyone else - what size and design etc you should be looking at for a Smik. Also, they offer customs in cheaper builds than carbon only (timber deck with carbon rail etc). Depending on what your definition of 'bigger' waves means, perhaps a Spitfire with a rounded pin tail could be an option...

I looked at the SB Pro as the new shape interested me, but the Starlite construction was really heavy and the rails were boxier than I like. I would only buy a carbon SB due to the weight - which pushes the price way over a Smik anyway.

A flow2 and the RnB are both aimed at general everyday waves, just like the Hipster - so you're not gaining range with those, just a different feeling. Their wide tails and concave's give them lots of drive/speed in weaker waves, not what you want in bigger surf.

As a quasi-step up board, I really like the JL Stun Gun. They are sweet at OH - 2xOH. A Sunova Throttle could also be an option (I haven't seen one in real life yet though).

For a stable board with good range the JL Destroyer is sweet also. But it has lots of wave crossover to the Hipster. Perhaps a bit more hold with its area pin tail and V. (BTW I have no affiliation with JL - I just like what they do).

A Gong Alley could also be an option and save some $$. Perhaps Colas can give you a suggestion here.

Anyway, good luck!


Were you looking at the 2021 starboard? From what I've seen, the new pinetek construction on it is much lighter than previous versions, plus I thought the rails were the thinnest that they've ever put into a starboard?

Hoppo3228
VIC, 440 posts
24 Feb 2021 8:24AM
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Select to expand quote
supsean said..

Hoppo3228 said..
If you love your Hipster, talk to Scotty @ Smik about what you like and what you are wanting from the new board. He would know - more than anyone else - what size and design etc you should be looking at for a Smik. Also, they offer customs in cheaper builds than carbon only (timber deck with carbon rail etc). Depending on what your definition of 'bigger' waves means, perhaps a Spitfire with a rounded pin tail could be an option...

I looked at the SB Pro as the new shape interested me, but the Starlite construction was really heavy and the rails were boxier than I like. I would only buy a carbon SB due to the weight - which pushes the price way over a Smik anyway.

A flow2 and the RnB are both aimed at general everyday waves, just like the Hipster - so you're not gaining range with those, just a different feeling. Their wide tails and concave's give them lots of drive/speed in weaker waves, not what you want in bigger surf.

As a quasi-step up board, I really like the JL Stun Gun. They are sweet at OH - 2xOH. A Sunova Throttle could also be an option (I haven't seen one in real life yet though).

For a stable board with good range the JL Destroyer is sweet also. But it has lots of wave crossover to the Hipster. Perhaps a bit more hold with its area pin tail and V. (BTW I have no affiliation with JL - I just like what they do).

A Gong Alley could also be an option and save some $$. Perhaps Colas can give you a suggestion here.

Anyway, good luck!



Were you looking at the 2021 starboard? From what I've seen, the new pinetek construction on it is much lighter than previous versions, plus I thought the rails were the thinnest that they've ever put into a starboard?


Yes, the 2021 boards. The weight surprised me too. The rails were much thicker than say a Placid or Flow2.

Kovert
86 posts
24 Feb 2021 8:17AM
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Daveb27 said..

Kovert said..
I've just bought a Smik Spitfire V2 8'3 waiting for it to arrive, should hopefully have feedback next week with forecast (UK)! I'm upsizing from a JP 8'1" Surf Pro to extend range though so should be super stable. Didn't want to go too high in volume as it can add to instability, width is key. The starboard shape is amazing but as Hoppo said, I've seen the Starlite 8' and picked it up, way too heavy for what I'd want in a performance shape and don't think you'd gain anything over the Hipster in surfability.



Look forward to hearing about the spitfire. I used to have a 6'2" Firewire spitfire for prone surfing, which was an ace board. Funny how things go around?
Should be good this weekend in Kernowfornia, but already crowded to the rafters, carparks were full last weekend, even with lockdown!


I'm south Devon, it's been the busiest I've known it in 25 years most of the winter! Most spots are completely over flowing and taken to choosing times wisely.

Hoping the Smik arrives before the weekend, Saturday looks like a perfect day for a test run!

bufordGB
NSW, 3 posts
24 Feb 2021 12:46PM
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Daveb27 said..

The Smik is 112ltr, ~ 29.75"wide, the SB Pro is 121ltr 29" wide, but some reviews on here reckon the SB Pro isn't very stable, do you think it would be less than the SMIK? The breaks here tend to be choppy beaches, so don't want anything too tippy. My Hipster, is about right, I can enjoy mushy light onshore waves on it, without falling off too much.



Hey Daveb27,

I ride the 7'10" Spitfire. My litres : weight is 1.42 and it's very safe to assume that I am more than 1 foot shorter than 7'10"...

I came to the Spitfire from an 8'0" Blue Planet Taro Chip for which my litres : weight is 1.58. I surfed the TC for about 1 year before switching to the Spitfire; I rode a 9'2" oil tanker again for about 1 year before the TC, litres : weight is 1.97.

I've been riding the Spitfire on-and-off ~18 months, usually in shoulder-to-head height conditions.

So about the stability/tippy-ness of the Spitfire. I really noticed the difference moving from the 'oil tanker' to the TC, it took me maybe 2 months of public humiliation - lots of falls, lots of missed waves - before I had some sense of control over the TC. Hardly surprising given the difference in outline and litres between the two, eh?

Then came the move from the TC to the Spitfire. I had my chops on the 8'0" so losing only 2" and 10 L meant the change wouldn't be anything like the move from the oil tanker to the TC, right? Wrong! It was another 2 months of public humiliation for Yours Truly.

Have no doubts about it, the Spitfire is my go-to board these days but it did take time and patience for me to get to this point. Ultimately the Spitfire is what it says on the tin, a performance board. It is super-responsive and goes like ** off a shovel but the flipside of these properties is it might seem tippy or unstable in the short term. If you're an intermediate 'weekend surfer' like me, that tippy-ness will be you not the board.

Even now, if conditions are junky or the wind is blowing above, say, 12 knots, I'll favour the TC over the Spitfire. It's not that the Spitfire cannot handle those conditions because I know that it can, it just means I'll be working hard, consistently, to keep my place in the line up. For my modest skill levels, it becomes a simple equation of return on effort.

I can't comment on the SB Pro.

colas
4136 posts
24 Feb 2021 2:05PM
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Daveb27 said..
Thanks for the thoughts. I have a Gong Karmen too, 8'4" which I use in bigger surf fot the moment. They are good value for sure and the shape is ok too, perhaps a bit boxy in the tail? Their FSP construction is strong and light too, and easy to repair. The deck pad not so good IMO?



For information, the boxy rails in the tail of the Karmen is a design feature. They are meant as facets that the rail will plane on in turns, projecting the board forwards and digging the whole rail in the turns for carving turns, what is called Horizontal surfing (e.g cutbacks where the board stays on the same height relative to the wave). In the Gong "shortboard" SUP line, the Karmen and the Mob are both Horizontal surfing boards. You can see that the Karmen volume is spread out on all the board.

On the opposite, Gong boards designed for Vertical surfing (The Alley and Fatal) have thicker rails mid-section, but much thinner ones on the tail and nose, so that it is easy to use the thick midrail as a fulcrum to instantly whip around the board, at the expense of spending some speed in turns. I would not advise the Alley for you, as the centered volume makes it less stable for paddling in chop (but easier to put on the rail, there is no free lunch).

Also, for UK customers, it may not be easy currently to buy boards made in Europe (such as Gong), due to the Brexit mess. You may want to check the Gong forum subject "Deliveries to the UK" for an up-to-date situation. I would advise to only consider boards that are actually in stock in UK while the Brexit wrinkles are being ironed out.

PS: On the pad, the 2019 pad had long slots close together, and the pad bands were too thin and could move underfoot with use. My solution was to just semi fill the slots with pad bits to connect them where your feet are mainly resting while paddling. See the Gong forum subject "Eviter les decollement du pad 2018/2019", a pic, I added 2 pad bits on the lower slots: (it has been corrected in the 2020 pads).

Daveb27
8 posts
24 Feb 2021 5:13PM
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Select to expand quote
colas said..

Daveb27 said..
Thanks for the thoughts. I have a Gong Karmen too, 8'4" which I use in bigger surf fot the moment. They are good value for sure and the shape is ok too, perhaps a bit boxy in the tail? Their FSP construction is strong and light too, and easy to repair. The deck pad not so good IMO?




For information, the boxy rails in the tail of the Karmen is a design feature. They are meant as facets that the rail will plane on in turns, projecting the board forwards and digging the whole rail in the turns for carving turns, what is called Horizontal surfing (e.g cutbacks where the board stays on the same height relative to the wave). In the Gong "shortboard" SUP line, the Karmen and the Mob are both Horizontal surfing boards. You can see that the Karmen volume is spread out on all the board.

On the opposite, Gong boards designed for Vertical surfing (The Alley and Fatal) have thicker rails mid-section, but much thinner ones on the tail and nose, so that it is easy to use the thick midrail as a fulcrum to instantly whip around the board, at the expense of spending some speed in turns. I would not advise the Alley for you, as the centered volume makes it less stable for paddling in chop (but easier to put on the rail, there is no free lunch).

Also, for UK customers, it may not be easy currently to buy boards made in Europe (such as Gong), due to the Brexit mess. You may want to check the Gong forum subject "Deliveries to the UK" for an up-to-date situation. I would advise to only consider boards that are actually in stock in UK while the Brexit wrinkles are being ironed out.

PS: On the pad, the 2019 pad had long slots close together, and the pad bands were too thin and could move underfoot with use. My solution was to just semi fill the slots with pad bits to connect them where your feet are mainly resting while paddling. See the Gong forum subject "Eviter les decollement du pad 2018/2019", a pic, I added 2 pad bits on the lower slots: (it has been corrected in the 2020 pads).



Bonjour Colas,
I've seen your vids, tres bien.
Yes, Brexit is not good. Prices have gone up & availability down for most things.
I get what you mean with horiz vs vert surfing and that's why I'm still experimenting to see what sup best suits my style and the usual choppy conditions we have.
I've tried the Karmen as a quad & thruster and much prefer it as a thruster, it just feels more natural, more like a mid length prone board.
As for the deck grip, gorilla glue clear (100% silicone, no solvent to damage paint or composite), and a bag of sand to compress the lifting edges during cure, seems to have done the trick. It tends to lift, where your rear foot rubs & twists. IMO, a single sheet, as on other boards, with fewer exposed edges, is better?
Hopefully we will be able to get the ferry to SW France to visit the Gong shop in person, either late 21 or early 22.






colas
4136 posts
24 Feb 2021 6:00PM
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Select to expand quote
Daveb27 said..

As for the deck grip, gorilla glue clear (100% silicone, no solvent to damage paint or composite), and a bag of sand to compress the lifting edges during cure, seems to have done the trick. It tends to lift, where your rear foot rubs & twists. IMO, a single sheet, as on other boards, with fewer exposed edges, is better?



Yes, Gorilla glue (polyurethane glue), or the MS Polymer glues.
Apply in the thinnest layer possible (otherwise it will cure on the surface of the glue but not inside it), one side only (I apply to the pad).
The sand bag is a nice trick. I use ziplock (bags for freezing food) bags that I fill with 40C water, as it helps curing the glue in winter (the glue cures better above 20C)

Yes, it tends to lift, especially with boots. And it was less the case with the older pads which were more in one piece... but the many pieces helps a lot traction and knowing where your feet are placed. Inspecting the pad becomes part of the post-session routine...

As a Gong ambassador, I cannot emit judgements on other brands, but as a personal opinion the other suggestions in this thread seem to the point. You cannot go wrong with JL, Smik, Sunova, Genration, Infinity, ...

Daveb27
8 posts
5 Mar 2021 12:46AM
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Select to expand quote
bufordGB said..


Daveb27 said..

The Smik is 112ltr, ~ 29.75"wide, the SB Pro is 121ltr 29" wide, but some reviews on here reckon the SB Pro isn't very stable, do you think it would be less than the SMIK? The breaks here tend to be choppy beaches, so don't want anything too tippy. My Hipster, is about right, I can enjoy mushy light onshore waves on it, without falling off too much.





Hey Daveb27,

I ride the 7'10" Spitfire. My litres : weight is 1.42 and it's very safe to assume that I am more than 1 foot shorter than 7'10"...

I came to the Spitfire from an 8'0" Blue Planet Taro Chip for which my litres : weight is 1.58. I surfed the TC for about 1 year before switching to the Spitfire; I rode a 9'2" oil tanker again for about 1 year before the TC, litres : weight is 1.97.

I've been riding the Spitfire on-and-off ~18 months, usually in shoulder-to-head height conditions.

So about the stability/tippy-ness of the Spitfire. I really noticed the difference moving from the 'oil tanker' to the TC, it took me maybe 2 months of public humiliation - lots of falls, lots of missed waves - before I had some sense of control over the TC. Hardly surprising given the difference in outline and litres between the two, eh?

Then came the move from the TC to the Spitfire. I had my chops on the 8'0" so losing only 2" and 10 L meant the change wouldn't be anything like the move from the oil tanker to the TC, right? Wrong! It was another 2 months of public humiliation for Yours Truly.

Have no doubts about it, the Spitfire is my go-to board these days but it did take time and patience for me to get to this point. Ultimately the Spitfire is what it says on the tin, a performance board. It is super-responsive and goes like ** off a shovel but the flipside of these properties is it might seem tippy or unstable in the short term. If you're an intermediate 'weekend surfer' like me, that tippy-ness will be you not the board.

Even now, if conditions are junky or the wind is blowing above, say, 12 knots, I'll favour the TC over the Spitfire. It's not that the Spitfire cannot handle those conditions because I know that it can, it just means I'll be working hard, consistently, to keep my place in the line up. For my modest skill levels, it becomes a simple equation of return on effort.

I can't comment on the SB Pro.



For the moment, my dilemma is solved, as I went off piste and got myself a 2nd hand Steller OZX 8'5" 112ltr and saved some ???. Nice board that complements the SMIK Hipster I use on smaller waves, and the OZX for the bigger days, the OZX os faster onto the wave, has harder rails for more assured bottom turns, more control on steeper faces etc. It also has very good stability and looks the business, it weighs a bit more than the Hipster, but overall very happy with it.











FRP
415 posts
5 Mar 2021 5:18AM
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Select to expand quote
Daveb27 said..

bufordGB said..



Daveb27 said..

The Smik is 112ltr, ~ 29.75"wide, the SB Pro is 121ltr 29" wide, but some reviews on here reckon the SB Pro isn't very stable, do you think it would be less than the SMIK? The breaks here tend to be choppy beaches, so don't want anything too tippy. My Hipster, is about right, I can enjoy mushy light onshore waves on it, without falling off too much.






Hey Daveb27,

I ride the 7'10" Spitfire. My litres : weight is 1.42 and it's very safe to assume that I am more than 1 foot shorter than 7'10"...

I came to the Spitfire from an 8'0" Blue Planet Taro Chip for which my litres : weight is 1.58. I surfed the TC for about 1 year before switching to the Spitfire; I rode a 9'2" oil tanker again for about 1 year before the TC, litres : weight is 1.97.

I've been riding the Spitfire on-and-off ~18 months, usually in shoulder-to-head height conditions.

So about the stability/tippy-ness of the Spitfire. I really noticed the difference moving from the 'oil tanker' to the TC, it took me maybe 2 months of public humiliation - lots of falls, lots of missed waves - before I had some sense of control over the TC. Hardly surprising given the difference in outline and litres between the two, eh?

Then came the move from the TC to the Spitfire. I had my chops on the 8'0" so losing only 2" and 10 L meant the change wouldn't be anything like the move from the oil tanker to the TC, right? Wrong! It was another 2 months of public humiliation for Yours Truly.

Have no doubts about it, the Spitfire is my go-to board these days but it did take time and patience for me to get to this point. Ultimately the Spitfire is what it says on the tin, a performance board. It is super-responsive and goes like ** off a shovel but the flipside of these properties is it might seem tippy or unstable in the short term. If you're an intermediate 'weekend surfer' like me, that tippy-ness will be you not the board.

Even now, if conditions are junky or the wind is blowing above, say, 12 knots, I'll favour the TC over the Spitfire. It's not that the Spitfire cannot handle those conditions because I know that it can, it just means I'll be working hard, consistently, to keep my place in the line up. For my modest skill levels, it becomes a simple equation of return on effort.

I can't comment on the SB Pro.




For the moment, my dilemma is solved, as I went off piste and got myself a 2nd hand Steller OZX 8'5" 112ltr and saved some ???. Nice board that complements the SMIK Hipster I use on smaller waves, and the OZX for the bigger days, the OZX os faster onto the wave, has harder rails for more assured bottom turns, more control on steeper faces etc. It also has very good stability and looks the business, it weighs a bit more than the Hipster, but overall very happy with it.












Good looking dog!....and board!

Bob

Kovert
86 posts
5 Mar 2021 9:11PM
Thumbs Up

Looks sweet! Can safely say the smik spitfire 8'3 is stable as houses, almost feels like cheating after the JP 8'1! Picks up waves early and turns well from the gutless crap I had this morning. Look forward to getting it in some juice, imagine the 7'10 would be dynamite!

Kovert
86 posts
6 Mar 2021 4:53PM
Thumbs Up

Round two yesterday after swell filled and got my favourite lump of rock to test it on. One of the most confidence inspiring board I've used, handled steppy drops well, got in early and turns so sweet on rail. Got to dial my back foot placement skittle more after the smaller JP but get it right and it doesn't miss a beat through the turns. Super stable and easy to get about on and position for a wave. Think this could be the one!



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"8'3" SMIK spitfire vs 8' 2021 Starboard Pro" started by Daveb27