NAISH SUP Hokua Raptor V116 LE 2015-16 Board
The Raptor is designed to extend your water time on days you’d normally pass up. Because it’s so light, compact, and easy to handle, there’s no reason not get out there; it thrives in short, junky swells and intermediate riders and above will adapt to it within a few sessions.
If the Raptor’s 116l is hidden on
first sight it becomes apparent when you step on to it: the lateral balance is instantly reassuring. The fore-aft tipping points take a little longer to adjust too but there aren’t many places you couldn’t reasonably paddle this board. However, you need to position yourself under the peak and get in within a few brisk short strokes otherwise the row effect will take over, and it’s not well suited to strong offshores which get under the broad nose holding you up.
Where the Raptor excels is in moderately blown / wind driven surf and pitchy, tippy waves. It’s fun from the take-off which suddenly seems more dramatic with so little board out in front of you. It will trim along in a straight line but really it loves to be kept moving; tick-tacking and joining the dots to find speedy sections. At 7’ it fits so much easier into tight pockets and skips and hops up to the lip on demand; speed is easy to find with a re-entry or floater.
Putting a top turn or cutback in with the Raptor couldn’t be easier. A mere turn of your head and upper body will send it through a 180 degree power turn. The board wants to stay underneath you which makes sticking adventurous layback manoeuvres much more likely. We found the comfortable upper limit for the Raptor in head and a-bit surf, drops needed to be carefully navigated with a shallower penetration or the speed at the bottom just gets too much, but by then, your standard Hokua would take over. The Raptor is for people that want to extend the days and locations they can surf but don’t want to just plod around. This is board is always lively, fun and eager – you won’t master it in the first few sessions but it will entice you back for more…and more…