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Gong Sup

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Created by bomberdave 3 months ago, 11 May 2019
bomberdave
VIC, 191 posts
11 May 2019 8:11AM
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Im interested in the Gong range of SUP's. Im built a bit like the mad Frenchman (Colas)... Is there an Australian importer/distributor?? Has anyone ridden or brought one back into Oz??? What are your thoughts on the brand in general???

colas
3322 posts
11 May 2019 2:46PM
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No distributors currently in other countries. There was an UK distributor some years ago, but I guess UK was too close to France for a local distributor to "compete" with direct orders, and also the sheer amount of sold boards yearly would require a high commitment for potential distributors. As a direct order company, Gong relies on ambassadors (such as me) than distributors and shops. They have built an impressive online community around the Gong forums, you will find most of the info on the brand here, with user feedback. Most of the feedback will be from Europe.

Here are some pointers I can provide:

The brand have been growing steadily since more than 15 years, his history is (in French) at www.gongsup.com/Schools.html

It has more than 15 full time employees now and is planning to hire 15 more in the next 2 years. Basically they double their operation size every 2 years. They are financed by regular bank loans, not investors who would seek dividends at the expense of the company long term health.

Personally, I was hooked on Gong innovative SUP designs, especially adapted to "real world" waves: Patrice Guenole, the shaper, has been a longboard and sailboard competitor, and practice most of water sports at a high level, and especially in all kind of waves (Hawaii, the Atlantic coast but also the Mediterranean sea). He has also an engineering mind, and is deeply personally involved in the manufacturing processes, wherever in the world.

Area10
1422 posts
12 May 2019 2:22AM
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I have three Gong boards (and have owned others, over the last 10 years or so), and I have no connection to the company. Highly impressive shapes, often ahead of their time, and the build of the recent boards is equally impressive, especially for the price.

The shaper, Patrice, can really SUP surf, too:

MTsup
18 posts
13 May 2019 1:19AM
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Hi I am a Gong customer since 2013 when I bought a 9'1 Asyl. The board is fantastic to surf when it's not too rough or too windy, please consider that I am 190cm tall and 110Kg diversely skinny, but is a bit fragile compared to the more recent Gong 2017 NFA 12' Pro which has a full carbon build.
The 12 footer has an incredible construction and is so versatile and agile despite its length that tells you how good the shaper is.
My son got a Gong surfboard which still looks new despite the use by many friends of him.
What I could apreciate as a customer is the fact that their customer service would answer all questions almost immediately. So far all advice has been good.
Ciao

colas
3322 posts
13 May 2019 1:06PM
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Select to expand quote
MTsup said..
Hi I am a Gong customer since 2013 [...] but is a bit fragile


Yes, on the know issues to look for on second hand Gong boards:

There was a period (mid 2012 to mid 2013, the first year in Chinese construction with the bamboo visible on the deck) when the handle and fin boxes were not set in higher density foam, and they had a lot of failures there. Plus the Chinese factories were not as experimented as nowadays, fragile rails due to oversanding were not uncommon.

The last 6 months of the Portuguese production (grey brushed carbon + red tail, end of 2016) started to have some quality issues too (pinholes, oversanding). Gong rejected most of the bad boards (and stopped working with this factory) but some could have slipped the final quality controls.

Helmy
VIC, 678 posts
13 May 2019 5:03PM
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OK. I'm dizzy...!!!

Area10
1422 posts
14 May 2019 12:24AM
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Helmy said..
OK. I'm dizzy...!!!


Basically, buy the ones from 2018 and 2019 :)

although I've also had an early Gong board (one of the all-red ones) for the best part of 10 years now and it is still going strong despite being a light construction, and used as a rental board for 2 seasons.. very chipped and the deck pad is wearing out in places, but it's still going strong despite a lot of use and abuse. There are quite a few others of the same era still in use round here too.

dingfix
57 posts
14 May 2019 4:18AM
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I was unlucky in that i got one of the few that slipped through Quality control. I returned the board and received a full refund. Shame as it was a great shape. Would i buy from them again - definitely.

anchorpoint
73 posts
14 May 2019 4:32AM
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hi,

i have a gong curve 8.4', nice board, nice shape, its not a big company like starboard or naish, really a kind of human sized company with a real shaper ! they always have a dynamic quiver on offer .

Nothing bad to say about the board quality!

cheers

colas
3322 posts
14 May 2019 2:48PM
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Area10 said..
although I've also had an early Gong board (one of the all-red ones)





Taking the opportunity to add more history: The red ones were made in Tunisia before 2010(*), it was the same factory used by AHD, Nah Skwell, and a lot of other brands (before Patrice bought it, Gong was part of a bigger French group that owned this factory). There were 3 kind of molded constructions: the "Proteck" that was a kind of mock sandwich with fiberglass "mat" , quite heavy, and "Highteck" that were true PVC sandwich boards. "Epoxy" was a kind of second choice line, it was Highteck boards that ended up a bit heavy and sent at a discount.

These Highteck boards were very good and durable, and very interesting to buy second hand even nowadays. Proteck boards not so much. The only drawbacks were:
- They had a soft layer of epoxy putty on them on the rails under the paint. The idea was to have a kind of crunchable shock absorber to protect the structural glass layers underneath from paddle impacts. But although it was very efficient to protect the board structure, it chipped the paint on nearly each hard paddle stroke
- The pads were glued with epoxy, making them quite hard to remove to replace them.
- Lateral fin boxes were mini-tuttle boxes: insanely tough, but with a very limited choice of available fins.
- They had no carrying handle

The hightech boards were also sold under the italian "Drops" brand (red and white) at some time.

(*) the first chinese boards after 2010 were also all red, but they were traditionally built, and thus the rails didn't chip much, and they had standard pads, fins, handle and a gore-tex vent.

GizzieNZ
3896 posts
15 May 2019 12:07PM
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think Patrice might have been on design team of my Bic Wing too

colas
3322 posts
15 May 2019 12:39PM
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No, I don't think he ever worked for the Bic group. He worked a lot with the legendary French shaper Fred Meunier (ACE, Holywind), however.

Kovert
52 posts
18 May 2019 1:13AM
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Hi Colas, do you know why the new Alley 8'1 is not available currently? There doesn't seem to be much feedback on the forum have you ridden it? Thanks!

Gboots
NSW, 703 posts
18 May 2019 10:40AM
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Would love to see these as an option in Australia

colas
3322 posts
18 May 2019 2:46PM
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Kovert said..
Hi Colas, do you know why the new Alley 8'1 is not available currently? There doesn't seem to be much feedback on the forum have you ridden it? Thanks!




The first 2 shipments were all pre-sold. And since it is shown as unavailable, I guess the next shipment (mid July) is, too. It will become available again once a new shipment is planned (or more Alleys are added to the next one?). You can always mail them to see if you can pre-order one.

Patrice was not planning to make a lot of Alleys, he thought only pro-level riders would want them, so he originally made only the small 3 sizes (7'2" 7'4" 7'6") with no compromises, for the same kind of expert riders than the Curve SPs. But the team convinced him that there could be a market for it also for intermediates/good riders, so he completed the line with the 3 bigger ones (7'8" 8'1" 8'6") with a slightly more forgiving shape.

The current ones has just arrived at the headquarters for inspection, pad glueing, packaging and dispatching (1355 boards in a busy week!). This explains why Patrice is not actively seeking OZ and US distributors currently, he has already a hard time coping with the huge European demand.

Mine (a 8'1") is in it so I should be able to test it end of next week if all goes well. I did not order one in the first shipment as I wasn't sure I would like it: although the Alley tail is a tail has have been asking Patrice to make for years (love the round tails), I am not found of narrow noses, so I was kind of hoping to see a hybrid Karmen front / Alley back in the future. But the first feedbacks seem to say Patrice was able to make them manageable in (at least) the big Alleys. We'll see... I really find this tail so sexy...

surfinJ
430 posts
23 May 2019 2:21PM
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I just saw a Karmen yesterday. A very fun looking shape. What really amazed me was the construction and finishing. Very solid!

colas
3322 posts
23 May 2019 5:30PM
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First session on my Alley. Report in French at:www.gongsup.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=137112#p137112

In a nutshell:
- the queen of rollers and hollow waves. An incredible smoothness in turns, even in power. I would not have thought this possible on a "wide" board (29"1/4)
- can be fun in weak waves, if you oversize a bit, but it is not the best board for this (generating speed is technical)
- not so unstable, but you need to keep your feet close to the stringer, and especially the front feet on takeoff

If Google Translate is not good enough, please ask for clarifications. And I may translate it if there is a demand.

Kovert
52 posts
23 May 2019 11:31PM
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Nice comparison with the Karmen and a great point about the curve/length of the board, I always measure length over the rocker curve but do all manufacturers? Does shift the final length significantly! I still have an itch for the Fatal 7'3 I need to scratch at some point soon. The Alley does look good look forward to hearing more.

benjl
252 posts
24 May 2019 6:24AM
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Hi Kovert

can you please ellaborate on the rocker curve and final board length differences?

Keen to explore this

colas
3322 posts
24 May 2019 2:38PM
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Kovert said..
Nice comparison with the Karmen and a great point about the curve/length of the board, I always measure length over the rocker curve but do all manufacturers?


Gong measures the length projected on the ground, as all manufacturers I guess.

colas
3322 posts
24 May 2019 2:44PM
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Kovert said..
I still have an itch for the Fatal 7'3 I need to scratch at some point soon. The Alley does look good look forward to hearing more.







The Fatal is stabler, and very forgiving on feet placement on takeoffs whereas the front foot positioning is critical on the Alley. In turns, the rear foot placement is more critical on the powerful tail of the Fatal than the smooth tail of the Alley.

But the Fatal paddles slower, you feel it has to overcome the front wake wave, whereas the Alley pierces it, but is more prone to nosediving. The joy of the Fatal is in the sudden rush of late (but safe) take offs and bursts of speed, the Alley has a smoother ride and earlier wave entry, but that can be as radical turn-wise as you want.

On the wave, the Fatal allows you to generate insane acceleration and speed out of turns, even in weak (small and/or slow) waves. The Alley needs more power in the wave for this, I'd say chest high or more.

On the Fatal, you tend to rely on the front part for stability. I think it is the opposite on the Alley, with its narrow nose but comfortable tail.

Kovert
52 posts
24 May 2019 2:59PM
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benjl said..
Hi Kovert

can you please ellaborate on the rocker curve and final board length differences?

Keen to explore this


Sure, it's pretty common in the surfboard industry to measure a board over the bottom curve rather than a straight line on the floor. The more curve, the shorter the board will be in a linear measurement so two boards side by side both quoted at 8', the board with more rocker will be visibly shorter in a linear measurement if both were shaped with the length measured over curve.

I've always measured my boards over curve but not sure the production manufacturers do and as stated by Colas Gong measure over a flat distance so potentially adds in another variable!

Kovert
52 posts
24 May 2019 3:31PM
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Select to expand quote
colas said..

Kovert said..
I still have an itch for the Fatal 7'3 I need to scratch at some point soon. The Alley does look good look forward to hearing more.








The Fatal is stabler, and very forgiving on feet placement on takeoffs whereas the front foot positioning is critical on the Alley. In turns, the rear foot placement is more critical on the powerful tail of the Fatal than the smooth tail of the Alley.

But the Fatal paddles slower, you feel it has to overcome the front wake wave, whereas the Alley pierces it, but is more prone to nosediving. The joy of the Fatal is in the sudden rush of late (but safe) take offs and bursts of speed, the Alley has a smoother ride and earlier wave entry, but that can be as radical turn-wise as you want.

On the wave, the Fatal allows you to generate insane acceleration and speed out of turns, even in weak (small and/or slow) waves. The Alley needs more power in the wave for this, I'd say chest high or more.

On the Fatal, you tend to rely on the front part for stability. I think it is the opposite on the Alley, with its narrow nose but comfortable tail.


It's that explosiveness I'm keen to explore! Particularly in smaller punchy waves, will hopefully make it happen this year. I've picked up a shortboard shape as I couldn't wait months for the Alley. See how I get on with it and may even look at the slightly smaller alley as a quiver option. Thanks for the detailed insight as always, appreciated!

Kami
1394 posts
24 May 2019 3:42PM
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Select to expand quote
Kovert said..

benjl said..
Hi Kovert

can you please ellaborate on the rocker curve and final board length differences?

Keen to explore this



Sure, it's pretty common in the surfboard industry to measure a board over the bottom curve rather than a straight line on the floor. The more curve, the shorter the board will be in a linear measurement so two boards side by side both quoted at 8', the board with more rocker will be visibly shorter in a linear measurement if both were shaped with the length measured over curve.

I've always measured my boards over curve but not sure the production manufacturers do and as stated by Colas Gong measure over a flat distance so potentially adds in another variable!


That's right Kovert to measure the board over the bottom curve can be much shorter than its linear measurement . In fact, this is up to the radius of the rocker.
To measure board over the bottom curve is a practical method of drawing using traditional templates like hand shaping does. In the industry they probably use 3D program which draws shapes using the orthogonal graphic method. That way allows to virtualy pickup measurement over flat distance.

colas
3322 posts
24 May 2019 4:25PM
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Kovert said..
It's that explosiveness I'm keen to explore! Particularly in smaller punchy waves


Then you will definitively love the Fatal!

colas
3322 posts
25 May 2019 3:21PM
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colas said..
First session on my Alley. Report in French at:www.gongsup.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=137112#p137112



I see that the Gong team has translated my review. Here it is (with some minor corrections):

My first test on my Alley 8'1 120L (I'm 97 kg at this moment).

I had the opportunity to get out and score the end of some relatively decent conditions before a incoming week of onshore winds.
Buoy at 0,6/1,0m 8s. Glassy. I put in the Thrusters, FCS II Jason Severson L front and M center.

At first glance she's very different fro the Karmen. But whereas the Karmen volume is spread out through the board, which gives a thinner aspect and fuller rails, the Alleys volume is concentrated through the middle, where its thickness is greater than that of the Karmen. The board is actually shorter than what it's 8'1" length suggests, it's more like having a 7'7" board with a small thin 6" nose extension. You stand farther back than on the Karmen, the nose is more out of the water and you got at least 15/20cm sticking out when you're paddling.

Paddling is less stable than on the Karmen with the same volume (8'4" at 120L) but it' not a big problem if you get your feet a bit closer, as discussed in www.seabreeze.com.au/forums/Stand-Up-Paddle/SUP/Mastering-lateral-balance-on-a-small-SUP-board . The balance is in '3D', the board rock'n rolling as if on a ball whereas the Karmen is more like '2D', rolling as if on a cylinder. If you're used to this type of balance it is easily manageable. Getting out through broken waves is easy, the thin nose pierces them without getting blocked.
You feel a little higher on the water than on the Karmen, my feet were nice and dry on the pad.

I was really surprised with how easy it caught waves. The board paddles fast, the trick is to keep her reared up enough to have that margin of security, then move your weight back up front: the thin nose then adds effective length, enhancing paddling speed while cleanly piercing the front wake, and provides a suprizingly early entry, but you need to be more careful than with the Karmen, it has less lift so doesn't forgive errors so easily.

That's where you find the principal difficultly of the Alley : it does not like your front foot on the rail, it's best if you keep this in mind and keep it centered around the median line on takeoffs.

I got in the water a little earlier to take advantage of the lone peak peak before the crowds got there, small but hollow and powerful Hossegor tubes, about shoulder high. And the Alley was a revelation : I have never had such a smooth board under my feet. Even with the power it was never stiff, at any moment you could re-engage in a turn if you want or reposition yourself on the wave, and practically without having to think about it. I never though it would be possible on a board so wide (29 1/2'' Width) . The carving is super sane, and the board quite tolerant with your back foot placement. With the Karmen, I had to really pay attention to get my foot back on the sweet spot, but here it is instinctive. I think the Alley automatically lifts the nose when turning, kind of some power steering to help tighten turns, where the Karmen projects you into the turn for max speed.

The added volume didn't bother me too much in the hollow sections (but I didn't try to actually tube ride) but was a big help when I wanted to drop in a little earlier. The shape seems to be quite tolerant of the added volume in the wave, even if I suspect it could bring a 'Cork Effect' in chop. I need to say I was quite surprised : the back OFO is not as thin as it seems, I never though I'd have such fluid rail to rail with a tail that isn't so narrow.

On the good, powerful waves, I never had a speed problem : The board is fast and easily manages critical sections.

I felt that its 'feeling' was quite different from that of the Curve : She's much freer and playful underfoot.

When the crowds showed up I moved to with smaller, slower peaks, waist high max. The board took off easily on the waves ( the rocker is relatively low and the nose pierces the water good, a lot more efficient than my 2016 Fatal that has much more rocker), and surfs quite well in a relaxed way. She does have a somewhat harder time generating speed though than the Karmen in weak waves. You need to have some good technique to generate speed with the Alley in the weak stuff, but once you get some speed, it's roller city even in the small stuff but with a little more speed loss when turning than the Fatal/Mob/Karmen.

In short, testing validated. I've been won over by its smoothness as well as the capability to be so radical in the turns, if you have powerful waves or the technique to power it. I think a competitor or younger rider could easily size it down, and it's not out of the question that I get myself on a 105L one day (something I was wary at first of because of the pulled in nose). But a comfortable volume is really nice on an Alley, for paddling speed and getting into waves early, and less fatigue at the end of a session, it doesn't hold back the shape to much (within reasonable limits). And at nearly 60 yrs, I heal slower, and I'm not really into taking too much risks by tackling really hollow waves, so I really don't need to go down in volume.

Tu sum it all up :
- The Roller Queen in powerful conditions, and dreamlike smooth and nimble in turns even in comfy dimensions.
- Still fun in small conditions, even if it is not the best board for them.
- Fast paddling for its size
- Not as unstable as one might think, but it is mandatory to get your feet close to the stringer, especially the front foot on take off."

StewL
5 posts
5 Jun 2019 1:59AM
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Hi Guys,

I've been trying to register on the Gong forum to query some bits about the Chips. It's been a while and needs authorising - anyone know if I need to contact someone or do something else at all?

Cheers!

Area10
1422 posts
5 Jun 2019 3:41PM
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StewL said..
Hi Guys,

I've been trying to register on the Gong forum to query some bits about the Chips. It's been a while and needs authorising - anyone know if I need to contact someone or do something else at all?

Cheers!


Try emailing them at info@gongsup.com

colas
3322 posts
5 Jun 2019 6:02PM
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Yes, email them giving the nickname used to register and the time.
They have a hard time fighting spam by bots registering fake accounts so they often alas reject legitimate registrations.
If it has been some time, your first registration has been deleted, re-do another and mail them immediately.

This is why my nickname is "coolas" there, my first registration with "colas" didn't work out :-)

colas
3322 posts
5 Jun 2019 7:30PM
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The NFA 9'0" in action, somewhere near Hossegor...
You can see the smoothness of the curves...

IanInca
22 posts
6 Jun 2019 2:27AM
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Select to expand quote
colas said..
The NFA 9'0" in action, somewhere near Hossegor...
You can see the smoothness of the curves...



Jealous of that wave and Patrices smooth skills..



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"Gong Sup" started by bomberdave