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Surf Slate 8'2" 2018 board review

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Created by Dean25 > 9 months ago, 9 Oct 2018
Dean25
5 posts
9 Oct 2018 9:48PM
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Before I bought this board I could not find too many reviews on it, so now after a few months I decided to write one for the interested audience.
I'm 52 years old, weight 77 kilos, height 179cm, sup surfing for 3.5 years, before that prone surfing since I was 16. Switched to sup surfing because of back and neck problems. I was never really good at prone surfing, only an average surfer.
The sup opened a new world to me and I can say I'm addicted to sup surfing spending more time in the water and having allot of fun.
I try to switch to a new sup every year (a friend of mine is the owner of a JP shop...) and the list of boards I had so far is as follows:
Started with Wide Body 8'8" x 32" as my first sup ever, a great beginner board, easy to stand on and paddle, average speed and maneuverability on the wave. Went on to a Wide Body 8'2" x 32", improved maneuverability, still very easy to balance on but difficult to generate speed on (the 8"8" was much better in that aspect), maybe because of the length to width ratio. My board was an older model, the newer boards are better shaped and slightly narrower at 31.5" which improve the speed - I borrowed one for a demo and felt the difference. Next I wanted something that at least looks like a surfboard, so I went with a Fusion 8'5" x 30". Still very easy to stand on but what a difference in speed and fun!! the only problem I found riding this board was that the volume was high at about 130 liter, makes sense for a heavier rider than me but a bit too much for me. I played with different sizes of center fins and settled for the 5.5". Surfed this board during summer and winter at small and medium sized waves and enjoyed every moment.
Then I saw the new design of the surf slate and wanted to try this odd shaped board. read allot about the "square" design, it's benefits, main sources of information were about Tomo surfboards design.
Opted for the larger 8'2" x 30" size since most of the time the conditions are very choppy and mushy waves (and because I'm lazy...). The board exceeded my expectations, it's still very easy to balance on, catching waves is a breeze (no pan intended...) especially fun to catch a wave in the last possible second - acceleration is so much fun on this board! I can nose ride it and moving the back foot to the elevated pad converts it to a tight carver. the fins are relatively small but fit perfectly this board. in several occasions when I took a very late drop the width of the front "caught" on the wave but I found out that if on a late drop I approach in a slight angle to the wave there is no issue. Again, the speed of this board is really something to experience. my board is the pro model which is light, plus the finish and construction are very good, the board almost never leaves my car - the benefit of having grown up kids - not having to be the family driver..
I'm waiting to see how the board will behave in the winter, larger and more powerful waves, but have no doubt It will be magic.
what I would change in this board design? lower volume. 8-10 liters less (from 128 to 118-120) would make it perfect for me, but then again there is the 7'8" x 29"...maybe next year!

Eski
WA, 56 posts
10 Oct 2018 7:13PM
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Thanks for the review Dean
The new slates look pretty interesting with the more pulled tail and nose. Keep us posted on how it handles some winter heft.
Ta
Eski

Dean25
5 posts
28 Oct 2018 9:40PM
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So, we had the first winter-ish storm this weekend, conditions were very difficult, 7 foot waves with 20 knots cross shore wind, but I went in anyway. I was the only sup in the water the rest were prone surfers.
The board handled great. I had to paddle all the time just to stay in the same location but when a set came in I just let the board turn with the wind and with 2-3 strokes was on the face of the wave, and man, what a rush!!!
In warp speed the board was very stable, I was standing mid-board to make is track better because the waves were fairly closed and very steep - you needed to pick up great speed to pass the closeout section without being swallowed.
Going back in was very difficult, I had to be on my knees because of the strong wind, needed resilience and patience.
I had a wonderful experience and gained allot of confidence with the ability of the surf-slate to handle all sorts of conditions.
In difficult conditions, the added volume and width are a significant advantage, and lets face it - how many perfect days do we have each year to justify that 100 liter board?
Overall, I'm very satisfied, had a great session!

CaptainJimbo
92 posts
30 Oct 2018 5:47AM
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Hi Dean, great lot of info on the Slate. I'm 71, 74 kg and, like you, was an average prone surfer. Also like you, I'm now hooked on Sup'ing. I have a Speeed 8'10" and, although it's great ON the wave, I still find it's a bit tippy when there's some chop at the take-off point. [Being 71 might be a bit tippy too!] I'm hoping to demo a Slate in Merimbula in November. I'll let you all know how it goes.

cbigsup
362 posts
31 Oct 2018 4:51AM
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CaptainJimbo, Great stuff mate. My 70 years seem a little lighter now!!

I had a first generation Slate 7'6" x 29" x 115. The points on the nose caught twice on hollow waves. Adios.

The latest version appears to have eliminated that problem.

Dean25
5 posts
2 Jul 2019 7:40PM
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Here is a short follow up to the review I wrote Oct-2018:
The single most important fact about this great SUP is to learn to put your leg way back when you want to turn. it completely transforms the SUP into a curving machine. While this is a general good practice to learn, on these boards with wide tail it's even more important. the drill is to have 2 positions with your back leg while the front leg stays about the same location right behind the handle. the back leg moves into 2 positions - speed (more forward) and turning (backward, right in front of the elevated pad). I saw that many SUP surfers do that.
In addition, I added to my stable a Starboard Hypernut 7'8, smaller, lighter and thinner - a completely different beast. I usually take the Hypernut when the surf is cleaner and higher. Enjoy both boards tremendously, the Nut is less sensitive to rear leg position, I think it is because of the thinner rails.

Rossall
WA, 515 posts
6 Jul 2019 7:52PM
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Just picked up a 8'2" 2018/19 this afternoon and hopefully get out tomorrow. Just wondering how the quad vs thruster setup compares and what fins everyone is using

phil

cbigsup
362 posts
7 Jul 2019 2:58AM
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I remember back in the day that the first gen worked the best with four fins all the same size!

Ordered a set from Piros!

Dunno if the same applies today..

Rossall
WA, 515 posts
7 Jul 2019 7:30AM
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Yeah remember all the info on the early slates re quad preference. The new one is totally different Board, all rounded off and looks more traditional than it's predecessor. The tail is quite pulled in and it came with a thrusters set up, nice quality as well. So just wondering how other riders are finding it and experimenting with different set ups.

Dakine
NSW, 6 posts
7 Jul 2019 9:48AM
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Select to expand quote
Rossall said..
Just picked up a 8'2" 2018/19 this afternoon and hopefully get out tomorrow. Just wondering how the quad vs thruster setup compares and what fins everyone is using

phil


Gday Phil,
Give the FCS PC-7 quad set up a go. Had my 8'2 since December and found these absolutely rip. And I found the stock R7 fins it came with work best in a thruster set up ( I got the pro construction which come with good quality fins. Not sure if u got the wood edition which on past wood JP's they only come with crappy plastic side fins ) An extremely fast beast as a quad but also really love the thruster set up for tight snappy turns. Good luck experimenting!!

Dean25
5 posts
9 Jul 2019 7:22PM
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I never tried the slate with a quad setup, it should gain some speed but I prefer the way it turns and don't think more speed is needed.
Might give it a try this winter. I'm using the original setup of a single R7 in the back and 2 R5s on the sides.

Rossall
WA, 515 posts
10 Jul 2019 2:37PM
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Why is it that a quad fin set up is supposed to make your board quicker that a thruster set up but you obviously have more drag with 4 vs 3 fins. I guess more lift with quad but more speed ????

colas
3328 posts
12 Jul 2019 5:30AM
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Select to expand quote
Rossall said..
Why is it that a quad fin set up is supposed to make your board quicker that a thruster set up but you obviously have more drag with 4 vs 3 fins. I guess more lift with quad but more speed ????


Never say "obviously" when speaking of hydrodynamics...

I guess it should be made into a FAQ :-)

Seriously, a quad is faster in turns, where 2 fins out of 4 work "with the flow" (have a angle of attack low enough to have low drag). Whereas on a thruster, only one fin is "in the flow" in turns, The rest of the fins add drag. So, you can say that a quad is 50% efficient, better than the 33% efficiency of a thruster.

Gboots
NSW, 703 posts
12 Jul 2019 9:24AM
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Colas what would be better for weaker smaller waves on boards like the Slate ?

colas
3328 posts
12 Jul 2019 2:24PM
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If you pump your turns, you will want fins that you can push on for leverage, even at low speed, so big ones: typically twin fins.

You should then keep the rear fin(s) as small as possible to minimize the drag in turns, but still have enough directional stability to avoid losing drive: If you feel you kind of lose speed out of the turn because you kind of oversteer, use bigger rear fins.

Your typical twin fins + trailer set is a nice way to start. But I must say I now use Quobba L in front with a Quobba M in rear: you get less initial punch than twin fins (especially the C-Drive twins), but when you can pump the waves, their speed is quite unmatched.

Gboots
NSW, 703 posts
12 Jul 2019 5:10PM
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Colas ....for dummies like me....are you saying just two fins ....or two large fins and two small trailer fins as a quad ?

colas
3328 posts
12 Jul 2019 3:31PM
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Select to expand quote
Gboots said..
Colas ....for dummies like me....are you saying just two fins ....or two large fins and two small trailer fins as a quad ?




Two large fins would be best, but since the front boxes on boards designed for thruster or quad setups are too far forward, it means that when pushing in turns you may end up pushing too far back for the fin, oversteering, and killing the speed. So you must add rear fin(s) to stabilize your turning radius. How big or how many depends on your technique and conditions, the more your add, the stabler the turn, but the bigger the drag. In general the small trailers sold with the twin + trailer sets (e.g. Mark Richards, Al Merrick, ...) are a good starting point.

The wider the tail, the more you can have big back fins, as you can keep your rear foot firmly on the kickpad. On Simmons shapes you can even have the twin fins just on the tail, and I guess it could work also with the twins in the back boxes on wide tailed boards with a quad setup.

And the lighter and shorter the board, the more efficient it is to be pumped in turns, and the more critical the fins become. Fin differences are less obvious on longer boards. In riding short boards (7') I feel I use the fins as main wings on a plane, whereas with 8'+ boards, I use the rail as the main "wing", the fins are more like the tail wings of a plane, to give directional control, so they are less critical.

Adding a central trailer fin to a wide tailed board means that the tail will release easier when on a rail than 2 quad trailers, but will stabilize the board yaw like feathers on an arrow during the rail-to rail transitions. You may like it or not. 2 small trailers will be more efficient at holding a line on the rail in wide tailed boards, but may give a "shopping trolley cart" impression between turns where the nose of the board veers right/left a bit uncontrollably.

In a nutshell, experiment as wildly as possible. In small weak waves you cannot really ruin your session, you can make anything kind of work, and it will always be interesting and educative, and can carry spare fin sets with you. Experimenting in good waves can be frustrating, though.

Dean25
5 posts
31 Jul 2019 6:24PM
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Select to expand quote
Rossall said..
Why is it that a quad fin set up is supposed to make your board quicker that a thruster set up but you obviously have more drag with 4 vs 3 fins. I guess more lift with quad but more speed ????



in addition to what colas explained, according to my understanding the speed of a given shape is also dependent on how wafer leave the bottom surface of the board. since when moving forward water is channeled to the rear end of the board, having the third fin right in the middle introduces drag thus reducing speed. in twin or quad setup the middle part of the rear end of the board is free of drag thus generating more speed.

colas
3328 posts
31 Jul 2019 8:17PM
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Select to expand quote
Dean25 said..
having the third fin right in the middle introduces drag thus reducing speed. in twin or quad setup the middle part of the rear end of the board is free of drag thus generating more speed.


Yes, because in a thruster setup, the 3 fins points to different directions, so at one point in the turn, only one fin is properly angled, the 2 others are just at a bad angle and only generate drag.

With a twin fin, only one fin out of 2 is creating drag, so the twin fin has an "efficiency" of 50% instead of 33% for the thruster.

Quads are more complex. If the 2 inner fins are properly set up in the turn, you could get a 50% efficiency, but otherwise, only 25%. This explains why quads can be felt as tracking, when the 2 inside fins match the turn radius, all of a sudden the board is more efficient and can feel as if on a track and not willing to change the turn radius. Thrusters are more predictable as their efficiency stay constant in a turn, offering more control.



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"Surf Slate 8'2" 2018 board review" started by Dean25