This is my latest 7'3", a Hit the Road FLV. It's significantly different to previous HTR designs and even though I've yet to surf it in ideal conditions, I've been very impressed with the way it surf's so far. Here's a quick rundown on this latest design and why I think it's going so well. I've noticed a few crew have been comparing this new FLV to 80's style boards such as the Black Beauty and so I just want to say that this new take on a full length vee is nothing like the 80's style vee bottoms, and that the performance of them is light years ahead of the 80's style boards.
As you can see, the nose is slightly wider then previous designs and the tip of the tail is slightly pinnier than previous models but still holding a softer type curve.
The slightly wider nose really improves wave catching and also adds stability to the front of the board, but without reducing the boards sensitivity or responsiveness, while the new tail shape provides better control at higher speeds and puts more outline curve up under your feet where you need it.
The rocker modifications are very minimal, but the new curve is slightly smoother and more even than before, providing minimal drag while generating maximum planing and drive.
In line with current design directions, there is more thickness up in the front of the nose, substantially improving the board's ability to catch waves.
Earlier this year during a design rave with John Pyzel, I got to thinking that maybe I should try some of the full length vee's that he's been running in his Padillac models and this is where the most significant design changes have occurred.
Since the concave has become the standard bottom contour, use of the vee bottom has become very limited in performance boards these days. At most, a tiny bit behind the rear fin, or up in the very first part of the nose.
I had reservations about running the full length vee, as I knew that it was probably going to slow the board down. A vee creates a displacement hull.... generating lift, but also pushing water...
My other concern was that the full length vee would reduce the the rocker curve along the rail of the board, creating a straighter rail line around the critical fin area.
So I was looking at a loss of speed and a loss of turning response, not a winning combo right? But maybe... there were things i wasn't even thinking about or hadn't considered?
So, after much consideration, I designed and built a full length vee that runs from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail, varying from rolled vee to concave vee as it moves it's way along the bottom of the board.
The only one way to find out, right? Roll the dice, build it, and surf it!
Ok, so I've had a few surfs on the board now and the results have been quite surprising, with the new contours performing much better than I expected. To be honest, it's actually a very exciting board and I'm really liking the marriage of the vee with the concave.
Here's what I've discovered so far..
As expected, the full length vee does create drag and a loss of speed while the board is in a flat trim. But, when I put the board over on its rail, the straighter curve kicks in, and the board friggin flys!
My feeling is that as I surf the board more, and learn how to tap into this better, that I will be able to generate some serious speed by putting this board over on it's rail.
The other big surprise is the turning. The constant vee feels like it transitions out thru the tail much better than the previous concave/vee combinations. The result is a board that feels very smooth off the bottom and yet hooks much tighter under the lip than the previous concave/vee combinations.
The one other thing that I really like about the new bottom contour, is the way the concave vee rolled from rail to rails on the face of the wave. I used to really like the way the old 70's and 80's vee bottoms did this, allowing the boards to make subtle trim adjustments and spontaneous direction changes very easily.
The funny thing is that I was already very happy with the performance of my previous Hit the Road boards and felt no need to improve the current single into double concave configuration. But this full length vee feels like it's opening up a whole new level of performance for the bigger boards, and I'm super keen to get this 7'3 into some more surf as soon as possible.
I've also built an 8'4" version... now just waiting for swell for it... i think it's going to be a very interesting board....
The one thing that I never even thought about when designing this board, and it wasn't until I started padding it out the first time, that I even realised, that the vee bottom will reduce a board's overall volume when compared to a concave... quite significantly! Didn't see that one coming! Looking back at the design files, I can see that the FLV"s need to be 1/8" thicker to compensate for the vee bottom.
I also think that because the vee allows easier rail to rail transitions, that the FLV (Full Length Vee) designs could also be made a 1/4" wider.
I will be putting the FLV up on the website as a new model sometime in the near future, but in the meantime if you think you'd like one, use the order form below and just add in the comments that you'd like to try the FLV. I recommend adding an 1/8" thickness and 1/4" of width to your standard measurements.