If you like surfboards

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mike dubs
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 8:30 pm
Location: Camber or the Kent northshore

Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:43 pm

Been thinking about writing something for a while, but as I just treated myself to a new Hydroflex construction Roberts Black Punt for my 51st birthday, now seems a good time.

I have been kiting since '99 and solely strapless surfboards since '08 and have been through a lot of surfboards trying to find the right shape, strength, weight and responsiveness for my mainly x on conditions at Camber that is generally 3-5 ft but can get up to 8-10 ft when its honking ( I only use 9/7/5m kites).

I started on a 5'8 Slingshot Celeritas, then a 6' resin 8, Amundsen Strapless 6, north Kontact, Cabrinha Skillet 5'6, Firewire Taj 5'11, Firewire Hellrazor 5'8 (FST), BWS Drifter 5'9, BWS Mulcoy pro 5'10, HB surfkite 5'10, Hydroflex Roberts Ill and now Black Punt all since 2008. I have learn't a lot about shapes and what my 80-85kg needs, I have also seen how too much strength/construction can leads to weight and a dead feeling and how weaker construction leads to damage.

The BWS Mulcoy Pro was the most responsive but constantly in need of repair, but all of the boards have suffered from jumping (some terribly so with folds and breaks), pebbly beaches and groynes that have lead to dings, cracks and repairs, that's why my boards only lasted 5/6 months as I am fortunate to kite a lot, due to retiring early.

All that changed when I found the Hydroflex construction and the shapes available. I contacted Patrick Rebstock who rides them all the time (just look at his Facebook photo's and TDZ videos) 20 months ago who gave me advice on shapes he liked, I also spoke to Hydroflex direct and finally Real Watersports in Hatteras who stocked the Roberts Ill I wanted, it is the Triple x supercharger version. Service was great and shipping was reasonable.

The Roberts Ill, I have ridden it 150+ times in the last 20 months It is superb in every respect and super light and responsive But also super strong, Its been jumped hard and landed badly more than a few times, its been washed up on the pebbles and groynes and cartwheeled down the beach in 50mph and it hasn't got a mark/ding or scratch to it, just a few very minor dents from knees/elbows but to all intents looks pretty new. The secret to this strength is the foam and the way they dont just lay glass on the foam but fire it into the foam giving an immense bond and stopping any delamination from occurring, so retains strength and flex longer.

http://www.hydroflex-surfboards.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


After research I decided on the Black Punt shape with stringerless EFC foam blank. Looks superb and hopefully get out on it Fri or Sunday but it should be even quicker and livelier than the Ill.



I have no connection with Hydroflex or Real but thought people should look at these if they like kiting surfboards as you wouldn't regret it as I feel the magic mix or performance and strength is there.

http://www.realwatersports.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


I have attached some links and some photo's of my boards. the blue is the Ill the orange is the Black Punt. The boards cost about £600 but another £300 in shipping and duty on top, thayt you could avoid if visiting the States, although the total is high it has lasted longer and better than any other board, with a lot more performance, as by now I would have been through a couple of other boards.


I might sell my 5'10 roberts Ill if someone is interested, if you ride one of most of the production boards out there, it will transform your experience.

mike

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baxterbradford
Posts: 105
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:24 pm
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Location: Lymington
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Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Really interesting post. Thanks for taking the effort to write this. I'd never heard of Hydroflex. The video where he melts the core with acetone shows an impressive degree of resin penetration.
The boards come in a tremendous range of shapes and sizes, opening up a whole new sweet shop for anyone wanting to go down this route. So much more choice than the kite brands offer, so long as you can make an informed choice!
mike dubs
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 8:30 pm
Location: Camber or the Kent northshore

Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:00 pm

Some of the best shapers in the world, you can research and find video reviews of the shapes either by the shapers or video bloggers which are very useful.

A lot of other talented US strapless riders use them too, the Triple X construction is the way to go for kiting. The Ill was in supercharger which means you can pump it to increase stiffness if you want, but I preferred it au natural, so didn't need it this time.

I only posted it as I think they are too much of a best kept secret and I think strapless riders would really benefit.

Mike
Jasonlockyer
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 12:46 pm

Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:31 pm

Amazing timing for this post, thanks, I have been looking at these.

Am sitting on BWS Drifter and Mulcoy. Its time for my Drifter to retire (its the newer china made version, solid, been great for learning strapless, but now find it a bit stiff) and the Mulcoy is not travel friendly. One board between the two to travel with is my aim.

This is what Real suggested :

"The Roberts ILL has more continuous rocker from the tip to the tail which will give it a looser feel and be very snappy. The Roberts black punt with a wider center, is good for planing early and a building speed with the flatter rocker line between your feet. If you already have both BWS boards you should go for the ILL over the Black Punt"

On that basis I would be very interested in your Ill if you are partial to selling - am often in Canterbury and pop down to Camber when conditions are right. But would be interested in reading what you think of the BP once tested, please.
mike dubs
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 8:30 pm
Location: Camber or the Kent northshore

Thu Nov 27, 2014 2:56 pm

Jason,

I had the drifter and mulcoy, the Ill is pretty much between the two, not as snappy as the mulcoy but not far off, it goes upwind better and a similar float and planning to the drifter but a lot livelier, and it's about the same weight as the Mulcoy.

I am at Camber tomorrow and Sunday (forecast holding), you definitely wouldn't need the drifter/mulcoy combo if you had the Ill.

The Black Punt I have has been tweaked on the rocker, rails for kiting.

I am not far off junction 4 of the M20.

Mike

P.S they don't ding either, so good for travelling.
Jasonlockyer
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 12:46 pm

Thu Nov 27, 2014 3:54 pm

Thanks Mike.
Just overlayed the Black Punt shape over the Mulcoy shape - size for size pretty much exactly the same outline nose to tail, bar the swallow tail finish. Enjoy.
Similar for the Ill v the Drifter, just a bit more width at front fin level with the ill. Drifter must have more edge/concave tho.
Am based in Paris but with kids in Canterbury. Next car trip over probably after xmas, perhaps our paths will cross - bear me in mind if you are thinking of selling the Ill. Or if you fancy wave riding with the opposite stance come over to Wissant or Wimereux area and ride with a view of Dover cliffs ....
mike dubs
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 8:30 pm
Location: Camber or the Kent northshore

Thu Nov 27, 2014 4:01 pm

I will sell it, so if you fancy it PM me, it's in great condition and a wonderful board.

Mike
Tony
Site Admin
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Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:00 pm

Good review, good info, thanks for spending the time to put it together!

Cheers

T
mike dubs
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 8:30 pm
Location: Camber or the Kent northshore

Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:00 pm

So, third outing today on the new board with some good waves x shore (albeit slightly underpowered on my 9m) at Camber.

It has the similar light and responsive feel as the ILL did, although slightly smaller and a litre or so less volume its as floaty, so I put that down to the EFC foam. The hard rail is all the way on the back third rather than the back quarter on the ILL, which helps upwind even with a bit more rocker.

It planes a bit quicker as its got a bit more concave and has the same speed as the ILL.

In the turns on the wave its even livelier and quicker than the Ill, fantastic at snapping off the top and I think slightly tighter bottom turns.

Overall delighted and looking for a few more sessions to get my timing dialled.

Super tough still, as tripped over today and fell on it on the pebbles with no dings when other boards would have been pebbledashed!

Will post some action shots when I can be bothered to hook up my Go Pro
mike dubs
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 8:30 pm
Location: Camber or the Kent northshore

Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:35 pm

So time for an update;
My Hydroflex Black Punt has been superb but as ever fancy a change, particularly as I have been nagging my mate Max to get off his Circle One boat. I gave him a go on my Roberts Hydro and his smile was a mile wide when he did, so I'm letting him have it.

So rather than get another Hydroflex which I would have, but for the £1k cost including shipping and import taxes. I looked at some UK shapers and after researching I settled on Luke Young Shapes http://www.lukeyoungshapes.co.uk/. He has shaped in Hawaii, ghost shaped for big names and makes tow ins for the Irish big wave guys.

Had a good long talk about all my previous boards, what I liked etc about each. We settled on 5'9 18 5/8 and 23/24 litres as it suits my 82kg frame, thruster, round tail, single concave, thin tail rails, mid wide point, deck channels (my request) for strength and finger grip which equalled a mix of my 3 favourite boards so far, the black punt, firewire taj and the stretch Mulcoy pro. We agreed on PU blank, S glass and epoxy resin, 6+4 oz on bottom, 6+6 oz on top with 4oz foot patch strength wise and to keep the weight sub 2.7kg. Cost all told £580.

We had chats and photos through the process with options to tweak and it arrived 10 days later looking beautiful and exquisitely made. See attached photos

https://www.dropbox.com/s/yabd3lfmlkqe3 ... 1.JPG?dl=0, https://www.dropbox.com/s/7wl8b0hgg9vyd ... 2.JPG?dl=0, https://www.dropbox.com/s/9szzqxamw9c2d ... d.JPG?dl=0

Got out on it today as Camber, 6m weather 4/5ft waves and wow is it great, soaks up chop, very lively, turns wide or tight, loads of grip an some fast bottom turns in chop and loving the round tail feel. Absolutely stoked and a great blend of the things I wanted. Will post a vid on a good wave day.

But if you're looking for a board give him a call you want regret it.
baxterbradford
Posts: 105
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:24 pm
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Location: Lymington
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Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:46 pm

Looks really impressive Mike, quick service and a great financial saving too. Good to hear that he was interested in making a board for kiting. It's half the price of the Amundson John'O I was looking at in the Autumn. Will look forward to your future posts.
mike dubs
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 8:30 pm
Location: Camber or the Kent northshore

Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:16 pm

I've had 2 Amundsens, 3 BWS, a Stretch thing, 2 Roberts hydroflex, a resin 8, FireWire taj and countless cabrinha, north production surfboards and my Luke's shapes board is as strong, light and really high performing as the best of any of them.

Will get my next one from him again for sure. Give him a try, at least it's yours, a one off. If you're not sure of shape, you could do worse than get a copy of my one, flexed for your size.

Mike
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Dragnfly
Posts: 1555
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:54 pm

Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:11 pm

What's with all those spot deck pads? Wouldn't it have been better/ prettier/ less of a trip hazard, to opt for 1 larger one?

Also - what's going on with the screw holes for the rear fin??

Lovely looking board, and an amazing price for a custom bit of kit like that. Good work = )
baxterbradford
Posts: 105
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Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:22 pm

That's a great endorsement Mike. I'll certainly consider it. I opted for an Axis New Wave, to combat the Calshot chop. Will see how I progress, but love the idea of having board made. I'd contacted shaper of my longboard logs, but he preferred not to try to make a kite surfboard.

@Dragnfly The screw holes on rear fin are the standard FCS box arrangement. The other board looks like it has Futures.
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