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My next Surf SUP - Smik board comparison (eg Hipster vs Spitfire?)

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Created by northy1 1 month ago, 26 May 2020
northy1
226 posts
26 May 2020 5:31PM
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Anyone ridden these boards able to describe the performance differences ie stability, ease of getting into / catching waves, wave turn type, radicalness?!

Say for example in this size:
Spitfire 8'3" x 29.5" x 111L
Hipster 8'0" x 30.5" x 118L
Le Short Mac 8'5" x 29" x 115L

FYI I have a few boards inc for the waves:
- 2014 carbon Starboard Widepoint 8'2 x 32" and 123l - fun board but too big in waves for me over chest high..i hardly use this now and its kept as a family board as it was superceded by:
- Jp Surf Pro 8'10 x 30 and 128l - im still playing with this board (out 6am today in head high) but interested in getting something that feels smaller for more zip on the wave...but i also dont want to fall off all the time either!

Any thoughts?
Im 90kg average joe (so more like 95kg in winter wetty) in Wales, UK - beach breaks

PS - other possible contenders might be Gong Alley Pro/Karmen, smaller JP, or Infinity Blurr2/B-line

Cheers!Northy

Nugdam
QLD, 461 posts
26 May 2020 8:03PM
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Hey mate,

I'd highly consider the 7'10 if you want a to progress. The 7'10 is super stable for me I'm sitting around 95kg. It catches waves easily but can be hard if it's a little windy, this is where a slightly bigger board seems to help.

The hipster is great if you want a fast loose board. I tend to surf fairly aggressive and the hipster allows some fantastic top and bottom turns. I let my mate use my board on the weekend and now he wants one too!

I've noticed when the surf gets quite big and punchy the 7'10 hipster tends to skip down the wave face a bit when you drop into a big bomb but you do get used to that and its only when you are really hooking. MY 8'5 x 30 hipster does not seem to do it.

anchorpoint
113 posts
27 May 2020 4:15AM
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Northy1...all those boards look good and only good feedbacks ( i own the hipster and the blurrv2 and rode for few days the JP surf and Im 90kg average joe like you ...) but the question is the style of board you want really...same square tail & pointy nose than the JP surf or different style ? if you want the keep the same feeling than downsize the JP or go smik spitfire or gong carmen...the hipster is very good but different style as a twin fin..The infinity Blurr v2 and the Gong Allew are performance round tails and have moreflow than a square tail...so i guess what im trying to say is to do you want to keep the same feel minus volume or go different template/style...but all boards you listed are IMHO deliver in their register .

northy1
226 posts
27 May 2020 4:53AM
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Thanks for the detailed feedback both!

In terms of style and board shape I'm not sure what I want as I'm a pretty rubbish prone surfer and come from a windsurfing wavesailing background. I'm still struggling a bit with SUP top turns...think my brain still wants a windsurf boom and straps to leverage around!

How does the blurr2 ride compared to the JP...what does that round tail translate?

And is the hipster twin totally.different feel to anything else out there...super loose right?

anchorpoint
113 posts
27 May 2020 12:21PM
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northy1 said..
Thanks for the detailed feedback both!

In terms of style and board shape I'm not sure what I want as I'm a pretty rubbish prone surfer and come from a windsurfing wavesailing background. I'm still struggling a bit with SUP top turns...think my brain still wants a windsurf boom and straps to leverage around!

How does the blurr2 ride compared to the JP...what does that round tail translate?

And is the hipster twin totally.different feel to anything else out there...super loose right?


Use your paddle for top turns, it kind of replace the windsurf boom.. you have to commit and move your feets accordingly (big SUP require a lot of footwork not like windsurf ) , being prone surfer background normaly make learning SUP surf faster than someone that never surfed before, you have to depollute your brain from windsurf habits..

yeah the smik hipster is really loose as a goose ..its a fun board in the real sense..but i would not use it as my only board .

hard to compare the JP and the blurr v2 but i prefer the infinity (the JP always get good feedbacks so it is a good board ) , as they say you should demo as much as possible as in the end it has a lot to do with personal preferences , level, doomed deck or flat deck preference etc..

colas
3921 posts
27 May 2020 12:56PM
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In the Gong line, I would recommend the Karmen for your level.

The Karmen has a kind of "autopilot" shape that basically chooses the most efficient trajectory in turns for you. So it is quite easy to maintain a nice carving flow with it. Plus the semi-pulled-in nose and tail provide good stability while not being cumbersome or slow to paddle. The Karmen will show you how to surf well :-)

Shape-wise, the Karmen has a "planing rail" in the tail section: it is a bit boxy, with a facet (vertical wall) that makes it act as a (small) planing surface once on the rail, and projects the board into the turn, engaging the whole rail and performing nice, satisfying swooping carves. This tail have been honed for years on the Gong flagship "Zero" longboard shape. The Alley has volume more centered: the rail has more volume in the center and the tail rail is very thin, so the board can rock more easily during the turn, allowing the pilot to change the turn trajectory at will, which is necessary for vertical surfing , when you "pinch" the turn to go straight up to the lip. But this means you can also botch your turn if you make mistakes, and it has less trajectory stability in high speed turns.

Of course, things are not black and white. You can surf vertical with the Karmen by moving more your rear foot, and the Alley is still easy to use by non-pro riders, it is not a pro-level-only board (as were the Curve SP previously in the Gong line)

So the Alley is for more advanced riders, as it obeys more swiftly to the pilot orders... but also mistakes. So you have to know how to push a board into high gear with the Alley. But if you want to progress, the Alley can be a very good choice, as it will provide a more obvious feedback to your manoeuvers.

I would recommend the 120 liters version. (Karmen 8'4" or Alley 8'1") for your weight, based on your experience with your current boards.

For the ultimate performance in less than head high surf, the Gong Fatal is also quite impressive. Very stable for its length, incredible accelerations, ultra zippy, but it can become a handful to manage in overhead conditions, and it paddles more slowly than the Karmen or Alley.

Disclaimer: I am a Gong ambassador, and I have not tried the non-Gong boards you cite in your post.

northy1
226 posts
28 May 2020 4:50AM
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Thanks for all the feedback! Unfortunately no demo available so will need to do more desktop research. My biggest concern when looking at a new circa 110/115 litre wave board is losing the ability to pick up smaller (waist to chest) waves as a result of reduced volume..but i assume bottom shape, tail width etc all play a key part here.

Kovert
67 posts
28 May 2020 5:56AM
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As far as ability to pick up waves goes in relation to volume, I've just moved down to the JP pro 8'1 at 102 litres from circa 112 litres and it picks up waves earlier and better than a few other bigger boards ive had including the hipster 7'10. Yes it's harder work to paddle and doesn't turn quite as fluidly as the twin but it can still chuck a hard turn and flow in waist high waves with little power and just seems to get better and better as the waves turn on.

Reduction in volume has definitely not affected wave catching ability and feels like the rocker and volume distribution are the main factors. Narrow nose, narrow tail and width don't add up to early take off on paper but very different in practice. Really is a mine field!! I've had a few stubby boards around 7'6 and while fun and more stable offer nowhere near the performance. All fun learning!

colas
3921 posts
28 May 2020 11:38AM
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northy1 said..
My biggest concern when looking at a new circa 110/115 litre wave board is losing the ability to pick up smaller (waist to chest) waves as a result of reduced volume..


You do not lose the ability to surf small waves, but the take off is different: instead of gathering speed by paddling, you rock the board into the wave. A bit like a shortboarder takeoff differs from a longboarder one.

What happens is that as long as you are not comfortable paddling on a board when going down in size, your paddling efficiency will be reduced, as well as your takeoff placement (you will have to focus more on your balance than looking at the wave). So at first you will catch more waves, but with practice you will take off on anything.

What you lose is the ability to glide into some non-breaking waves, however, as they travel faster not being slowed by the ground, so you need paddling speed.

scott mckerc
WA, 250 posts
28 May 2020 12:30PM
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Select to expand quote
northy1 said..
Thanks for all the feedback! Unfortunately no demo available so will need to do more desktop research. My biggest concern when looking at a new circa 110/115 litre wave board is losing the ability to pick up smaller (waist to chest) waves as a result of reduced volume..but i assume bottom shape, tail width etc all play a key part here.


You're 100% correct that bottom shape and nose and tail widths / general amounts of rocker/ entry rockers, etc etc play a part in ease of getting into waves.

IN answer to your earlier question regarding the spitfire and hipster twin.
If you did go down to he 7'10 over the 8'0 in the hipster twin, it would be harder to paddle into the wave comparatively.

But then the wider nose tail of the 8'0 hipster would probably be easier than the 8'3 spitfire.

I would say the 7'10 hipster and 8'3 spitfire have a very close ease of entry into the wave.

And to reiterate what the differences between the two are, as I'm constantly switching between the Hipster and spitty depending on the wave conditions.

Noting that in Margaret river most of the waves are comparatively powerful to anywhere else. (plus a variation of deep water bombies where paddle power and length become increasingly important.

But basically. the hollower and more powerful wave I'll be reaching for the spitfire. Although a fast board in it's own right, it can contain higher speed/ vertical (Barreling) walls better. If you really want to push and feel resistance. Drive through your turns. Then this is the spitfire sensation.

The hipster twin will be from the chest to overhead range where acceleration / rail to rail transition / and tightness of arc -without slide) are the appeal when the waves are not as consequential . But tight turning whilst producing drive.

Two different sensations which are both very appealing.

Bother working in a wide range of conditions with the spitfire no slouch when it's small and the hipster still handling some solid juice.



Nugdam
QLD, 461 posts
28 May 2020 5:06PM
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Took my 7'10 hipster out today for the first time in a few weeks. It's a bloody ripper board for aroumd chest high waves. My bottom and top turns are so fun with this board and its so much easier to power through your top turn when you stall a little bit. Oh and its a bloody awesome feeling spraying water over the proners when you are smashing your top turn!

Getting into waves you tend to pump and paddle which seems to create enough speed to get over the Lip.

ctx1
6 posts
31 May 2020 2:52AM
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Hi Northy,

Thought I would drop you my thought on your thread- might help? I am 94kg, 6'1" and of a decent standard (but nothing amazing) and all most surf SUPing down in Cornwall, UK. I can only give you my opinion on the SMIK Hipster twin (both the 8' (118l) and 8'6" (134l)) and the JP Surf 9'2" (135L).

Firstly both the Hipster and JP are awesome boards. I originally owned the Hipster 8' and whilst I could surf it and catch waves I found it bit wobbly and when the wind got up I was missing waves (probably more down to ability than the board). Then I sold it and got the JP. This is an awesome board - fast, responsive and a lot of fun.

Whilst this was the case, I just could n't get the feeling on the Hipster Twin out of my head and recently brought the 8'6. Now I know this is probably bigger than you want but I the feel of the Hipster IMO can only be described as 'pure art' in chest to over head high - basically anything bigger I would not want to go out on in beach break beaches. It is stable but get back on the tail and it is fast, loose, responsive and feels so much smaller than 134L board. I don't think there goes a session where I don't say in my head, "I love this board!" about 10 times! As you can tell, I can't speak highly enough of it - and I promise you I am in anyway connect to SMIK, it's just a sick board. I know the 8' shares exactly the same characteristic and is probably even more agile but for me sacrificed the stability (you might be fine though?).

The JP still has a spot in my quiver and I won't sell it but I end up just grabbing the SMIK each time unless like threads above say the waves start getting steeper - but the SMIK is still more than capable from my experience.

Hope I have helped and not created more questions. Give me a shout if you want any further help.

Cheers
CTX1

ctx1
6 posts
31 May 2020 2:52AM
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Hi Northy,

Thought I would drop you my thought on your thread- might help? I am 94kg, 6'1" and of a decent standard (but nothing amazing) and all most surf SUPing down in Cornwall, UK. I can only give you my opinion on the SMIK Hipster twin (both the 8' (118l) and 8'6" (134l)) and the JP Surf 9'2" (135L).

Firstly both the Hipster and JP are awesome boards. I originally owned the Hipster 8' and whilst I could surf it and catch waves I found it bit wobbly and when the wind got up I was missing waves (probably more down to ability than the board). Then I sold it and got the JP. This is an awesome board - fast, responsive and a lot of fun.

Whilst this was the case, I just could n't get the feeling on the Hipster Twin out of my head and recently brought the 8'6. Now I know this is probably bigger than you want but I the feel of the Hipster IMO can only be described as 'pure art' in chest to over head high - basically anything bigger I would not want to go out on in beach break beaches. It is stable but get back on the tail and it is fast, loose, responsive and feels so much smaller than 134L board. I don't think there goes a session where I don't say in my head, "I love this board!" about 10 times! As you can tell, I can't speak highly enough of it - and I promise you I am in anyway connect to SMIK, it's just a sick board. I know the 8' shares exactly the same characteristic and is probably even more agile but for me sacrificed the stability (you might be fine though?).

The JP still has a spot in my quiver and I won't sell it but I end up just grabbing the SMIK each time unless like threads above say the waves start getting steeper - but the SMIK is still more than capable from my experience.

Hope I have helped and not created more questions. Give me a shout if you want any further help.

Cheers
CTX1

ctx1
6 posts
31 May 2020 2:56AM
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Check out SUPBOARDER online. They are based down here in Cornwall and have reviewed loads of boards including the SMIK and JP etc. Reuben and Will who run it (and if you subscribe) are happy to answer any questions.

northy1
226 posts
31 May 2020 7:02AM
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Cheers for all the amazing feedback -inc Scott himself. Think im going to try a Hipster as its different to the current JP to try something new ...the spitty i think is closer to my current JP.

Just need to decide size next...7'10 or 8'0 (my current JP is 30 wide and 128 and my other board id a Starby WP @ 123 Litre 8'2 x 32 thats feels too big for me). Scott will drop you a line as i heard you can order a custom paint job?

Brenno
QLD, 753 posts
4 Jun 2020 5:42PM
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Northy1 mate,
I have had my 9' x 28" hipster twin longboard for just over a year now, and absolutely love it. Pretty much the only board I have surfed in that time, so have had it out in every thing imaginable. It really should look more beaten up, but tough as.
And yes, you can have custom pretty much whatever you want.


The reason I went with the longboard shape was to increase the stability and glide, especially stepping up to the nose with my 100kg. Do not regret it at all. An excellent point break machine, and does most beachies and A frames with ease.
These boards have such a loose flowing feel to them, and can really handle a good steep drop. The tails and the fin set up are magic.
As I gained a better feel for this board and what it can handle with a 6'2" 100kg gorilla at the helm, I thought that maybe some of the risks I was taking may be my undoing in the near future. As they have been in the past. Lol.
So, what better time to be responsible, and have another chat with Scotty.
I love the dimension's of the 8'6" spitty. I know sharpening the nose will make it a little more difficult for fat boy here to stay upright, so 30" in width sounds perfect. 125L volume is bang on for me too. So now I wait.....and yes, I've gone with my favourite blue. Again.

Mock up. Just to tease me........


Will post more when it hits home and the water.......

Eski
WA, 60 posts
5 Jun 2020 8:50PM
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Hi Mate, I have surfed and owned the 8.0 and 8.6 hipster. They are as the name suggests, SMIK. Turns out of sight, drive and rail to rail, floaters off the lip. Based on your current boards the 7.10 looks relevant, but as an average kook myself I like the comfort of being able to pick up the slightly bigger board after some time out and just have fun - the bigger one allows just that.

I did fine the sweet spot and bias for paddling and picking up a little more forward than other boards, but that appears the design intent with the volume in the nose. As others have described foot back on the tail and you are surfing a much smaller feeling board.

Best of luck
Eski



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"My next Surf SUP - Smik board comparison (eg Hipster vs Spitfire?)" started by northy1