Conceptual surf – Lokahi Concept 7.9ft review

lokahi SUP logoIn terms of width Lokahi’s Concept 7.9ft is the narrowest board on test this issue – 27” wide. That said, the current crop of no nose board/wide tail surfers are all designed to be ridden a lot smaller – defining small (the brand also has a 7.3ft x 25”), however, isn’t always easy. After all the Concept isn’t the teeniest we have on test in terms of length or volume so it all comes down to feel.

Stepping aboard the 7.9ft in breezy conditions will test the paddling skills of everyone above 80kg (the 8.3ft x 28” may be a wiser choice here). And yet, it’s still more stable and forgiving than a traditional shaped surf weapon with pulled in nose and tail of similar dimensions. With an accomplished paddler as its pilot dips in the drink will become fewer and further between after a period familiarisation.

Lokahi Concept 7.9ft review bottom

The Lokahi feels like a long board, even at 7.9ft in length, mostly due to its narrow width (if that makes sense?). This plays directly into the hands of glide which is pretty good considering it’s a sub 8ft stick. Paddling out is therefore relatively easy and it copes with moderate distance – great if your take off’s are a little way from the beach. Straight line speed is also pretty good due to the board’s parallel rails.

With its sweet spot very defined (step off this and you will take a dunking) the Concept 7.9ft is an efficient machine for prowling clean to semi-clean breaks. It prefers waves with a little punch but actually copes alright with slack swells. Taking off on gutless walls will see the Concept generate as much speed as on a steeper wave – it just gets there marginally quicker when surf quality improves. The Concept’s nose is also a clever design and pearling is almost a thing of the past – due to the cut out beneath that traps a layer of air forcing the front upwards.

Lokahi Concept 7.9ft review fins

Lokahi told us the Concept 7.9ft delivers heaps of drive in quad fin mode. While we found no problem here we actually preferred a thruster set up to increase grip. In either mode speed is the same but heavier limbed paddlers will prefer the security of three skegs. Pushing too hard in quad form results in possibly too lively a feel. Tri fins reduce this without affecting the ability to turn hard. And carve hard the Concept does!

It really loves being ridden from the tail and thanks to the designers there’s an added ‘bump’ of foam embedded in the deck next to the kick pad. This tells SUPers where their back foot is without having to glance.

The narrower width really helps with a more vertical approach to riding and full throttle late lip hits are possible. If paddlers fancy a more skatey session, with slashy re-direct turns, then have no fear as this is also no issue. Whipping the Concept into turns on steeper swells is where the magic really lies, however. And there’ll be nothing but a stupid grin on rider faces after a clean offshore session.


Lokahi’s Concept 7.9ft is a fun no nose style surf SUP that delivers a decent amount of vertical riding in conjunction with the skate ‘n’ slash type normally associated with this design of SUP. Its narrow 27” and 105L may be a challenge for some, in which case look to the brand’s larger 8.3ft model. You can’t knock the benefits though – speed, vertical riding (relative to the shape) and the ability to tear backs out of small/medium clean/moderately clean waves. Lighter paddlers will appreciate the manoeuvrability of Lokahi’s 7.3ft.


Bamboo sandwich construction:

7.3ft  = £1030 with fins

7.9ft = £1050 retail with fins

8.3ft = £1060 retail with fins

Fiberglass epoxy (called clear or also custom):

7.3ft = £780 without fins

7.9ft = £810 without fins



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