Introduced three years ago, the Hypernut line, initially branded under the name “Innovation”, replaced the “Surf Fish” line that included the Airborn SUP surfboards. Over the last few months we’ve tested the Hypernut 6’10’’X26.5’’ 2017 (please, notice that this shape has remained unchanged for 2018 and 2019). The board’s specifications are summed up in the table below:
The Hypernut outline is very reminiscent of the Tomo Vanguard surfboards, the first compact shapes to hit the market a few years ago. As a result the rails are parallel for most of the length with the noticeable addition of the “Inverted Nut Rail” feature. Introduced with the Nut line of boards, the INR is basically a hip in the middle of the board that should improve its turning ability, stability and, above all, grip. Interestingly, the board’s maximum width is not located around its midpoint, but right behind it. The nose (we would call it Diamond Nose) is obviously pretty wide as well as the swallow tail. The bottom contour is characterized by a mono-concave feeding through to channel tail. The scoop-rocker line is pretty fast and features a moderate nose kick while the rocker is pretty flat. The rails are quite sharp in the tail and get softer towards mid length. In all, the Hypernut shape is extremely interesting and elaborated. Does it actually translates in better performance? Read on …
• Construction & Features
The Hypernut 6’10’’X26.5’’ 2017 was available in two different technologies: Wood and Blue Carbon (Starlite and Carbon Balsa the 2018 version). We’ve tested the more performing and expensive Blue Carbon version of the board that, as a matter of fact, features the proven Brushed Carbon technology adopted by Starboard for its top of the line boards in the next several years. Again, this technology has been replaced in 2018 with the similar and more eco-friendly Carbon Balsa construction. Besides, we are testing the Hypernut 6’10’’X26.5’’ Hypernut Foil version and, having ridden it as a normal SUP surfboard, we didn’t notice any difference in weight, performance etc. The Blue Carbon Hypernut is built in ultra-light Biaxial carbon technology laminated onto water resistant high density foam sandwich and a Fused Cell core. Interestingly, the angles of the carbon weave are optimized in order to provide the right flex to the board. As usual, we are a little biased about this technology as we do love the Blue Carbon / Brushed Carbon / Carbon Balsa technology from Starboard/Cobra and we believe that it’s still the best available today, period. Not surprisingly, the Hypernut 6’10’’ is extremely light for a 91 L. boards at just 12,3 Lb (5,6 Kg) with fins, not to mention very impact resistant. On a side note, however, the red finish is extremely prone to scratches. The board features a pretty good, ledged hard handle and it is equipped with a very functional multi-piece deck pad that includes a 3mm EVA fish scale Tail Pad, a 3mm square grooving with crocodile skin section and a thinner, 2mm EVA crocodile skin section. The nose area still features the “Startouch Finish” though. The Hypernut 6’10’’ can only be configured in a Quad-Fin setup. The board is bundled with a good quality Quad set: 2 Light Core front fins FCS M4.7’’ and 2 Light Core back fins FCS M4.5’’. However, this year all the boards in the line will be provided with smaller back fins, 3’7’’ instead of 4’5’’. Overall, construction quality is extremely good, we dare say “the state of the art”.
We have tested the Hypernut 6’10’’X26.5’’ in beach and reef breaks with waves ranging from mushy waist high to solid overheads.
Stability – Lateral stability is good for light paddlers, good to average for medium weight paddlers and decent for the heavyweights, depending on their skill.
Row – The parallel rails outline limit the row effect but adopting a SUP shortboard paddling technique is recommended to medium weight to heavy paddlers.
Takeoff – Pretty good! In fact the Hypernut is almost as good as its bigger sibling, the Hypernut 7’2’’. The board accelerates very quickly and creates a lot of lift thanks to the wider tail and the tail channel catching anything from waist-high mush to well overhead.
Nose Sinking – Occasionally an issue dropping in late on steep and hollow waves.
Carving – In small, mushy and choppy waves the Hypernut 6’10’’ is an amazing wave shredding machine but it still shines in bigger, clean waves. Not only the board generates plenty of acceleration and lift thanks to its sophisticated hull and outline, but it keeps speed through the turns at the same time allowing for a great degree of maneuverability, drive and vertical projection. In that regards the board is quite close to a pro, narrower and thinner SUP board. Needless to say, pro boards still has the edge over the Hypernut in critical sections and off the top but the fact the latter is not that far from them even in this department surprised us. That said, the Hypernut also allows for super-fast rail-to-rail transition and we suspect that the inverted rail concept plays an important role here. In that regards, notice that it is not necessary to drive the board off the tail throughout the turns. Fast and lively the board provides a smooth riding feeling yet allowing for incredibly tight, quick turns even in big waves. As we said before the wave entry provided by the board is great let alone its quick acceleration even on mushy waves. In all, the board is fast and extremely maneuverable even though only the expert paddle surfer can fully exploit its potential.
Making it out – Very easy particularly for light paddle surfers.
Nose riding – The wide nose provides a decent stability for nose tricks to light paddlers.
Suitability – Intermediate to expert stand up paddle surfers looking for a one board quiver.
Ideal conditions – The Hypernut 6’10’’ provides solid performance in a wide array of conditions from waist high mushy waves to solid, clean overheads.
Tips – Choosing the right size of the Hypernut is the key to make the most out of this shape. The 6’10’’, however, while specifically targeted to light weight paddlers, can be ridden even by medium and heavy weight paddlers. However, light and medium weight paddle surfers may want to replace the (still good) stock fins with a smaller set. As previously stated, the 2019 model is bundled with smaller back fins.
• Conclusions & Verdict
Extremely performing in a wide range of conditions the Starboard Hypernut 6’10’’X26.5’’ is one of the best SUP surfboards we’ve tested to date. The Hypernut blends stability, tracking, liveliness, grip and riding speed providing at the same time a pretty smooth feeling. Construction wise the board meets the highest standard, being the lightest 91 L board we’ve reviewed so far. Unfortunately the Starboard Blue Carbon / Carbon Balsa boards are pretty expensive but we do believe that the cheaper Wood / Starlite version is not that far in terms of sheer performance.
The Hypernut 6’10’’ is a hell of a board! Light to medium weight paddle surfers will make the most out of this fantastic shape that comes highly recommended even to heavy (advanced, in this case) paddlers. In short, the Hypernut 6’10’’ is a no-brainer for everyone looking to improve their SUP Surfing abilities and, above all, to have fun on the water.
State of the art construction - top notch performance in a wide array of conditions for light, medium weight and heavy paddle surfers – Good stability for light paddle surfers - Extremely light! – More than decent stock fins.
High price tag – Red finish prone to scratches.