Starboard’s Pocket Rocket 8.5ft has been a corner stone of the brand’s surf SUP range for a while. A more ‘fishy’ style board than traditionally shaped tech-sled it remains a firm favourite. In contrast the ultra-modern Hyper Nut 7.4ft takes design notes from Meyerhoffer surfboards rather than Tomo/Vanguard inspired rippers. With both boards described as being stable surfers (Starboard’s website lists them as comparable in fact) we decided to pair them up for closer inspection.
Both Starboards came supplied in lightweight carbon layup (lighter than many similarly constructed SUPs on the market – check weights on Starboard’s website). They’re super easy to transport but care needs to be taken as they will chip if mishandled. Lipped carry handles are well positioned and getting to the put in is a breeze.
If transport is a factor the Hyper Nut 7.4ft (105L x 30”) is short enough to fit inside a small car. This shouldn’t really be a purchasing point but we can’t argue it does increase appeal. Travelling SUPers will appreciate both boards conforming to kit friendly airline carriage guidelines and therefore make good trip companions.
Both the Hyper Nut and Pocket Rocket (8.5ft x 137L x 30”) are equipped with high quality honeycomb fins – a quad configuration for the Hyper Nut and thruster for the Pocket Rocket. There’s the opportunity for tuning the PR to conditions as it has five fin boxes. We recommend playing around with skegs (including sizes) on both SUPs depending on conditions though – experimenting is always worth it.
Pocket Rocket 8.5ft
The Pocket Rocket 8.5ft is a versatile machine. For progressing intermediates it displays user friendliness allowing improvement in wave arenas. Stable, yet not to the detriment of manoeuvrability, it has oodles of glide for a surf orientated board and cruddy or clean conditions are applicable – as a ‘real world wave rider’, for medium sized to larger riders, it’s A1.
Up front you’ll find the majority of width and while nose rocker is ample there’s a flat area underneath that promotes glide and therefore early entry into waves. Starboard’s Pocket Rocket picks up surf super efficiently – even less than pro-active riders will have enough time to set a rail and consider their imminent move.
For those with experience the Pocket Rocket is as its name suggests. Revving up to full throttle the 8.5ft zips around in super charged fashion. Even though there’s ample foam under foot its carving ability and tail squirting prowess is akin to a much smaller wave rider. Surfing from the tail is extremely loose – vertical lip hits, round house cutties and slashy carves are all rewarding. Quad fins loosen up the PR further and it’s possible to get progressively new school. We preferred the grip thrusters gave in both slack and punchy waves though.
Hyper Nut 7.4ft
Starboard’s Hyper Nut 7.4ft is one of the shortest sticks on test. Those new to this style of board will need to be aware of nose to tail ‘rock’ – offset stance usually helps to overcome the nose submerging. That said 30” of width equates to stability – even for 85K+ paddlers. So much so you forget the Hyper Nut 7.4ft is only 105L – for most this will be the lowest volume surf SUP they’ve used.
Tracking and glide isn’t quite as efficient as the Pocket Rocket – pretty standard with shorter boards. Scouring line ups is still possible, however, and its planted feel means breezy/ choppy waves are fair game.
Pumping the Hyper Nut 7.4ft will get riders into waves early. Foot placements need to be forwards to keep speed going – stepping back onto the tail in contrast lights up manoeuvrability aspects. The ‘nut’ shape is almost two boards in one – a larger stick up front reducing to a more technical tail. One pleasant surprise was how vertical riders can get on waves. It certainly allows skate style slashes but works for traditional power surfers as well. It’s this feel unique.
Quad fins are efficient and deliver decent amounts of grip in small conditions whereas swapping out skegs to smaller versions will deliver an even looser experience – worth it if you’re at the lighter end of the weight spectrum.
We assumed Starboard’s Pocket Rocket 8.5ft and Hyper Nut 7.4ft would be quiver best buddies for real world wave missions. Whilst this is true both SUPs are good as stand alones also. Although the two offer impressive levels of stability (relative to their overall dimensions) this is one of the few traits the two share. The Pocket Rocket enjoys more pivotal style turns whereas the Hyper Nut is adept at rail to rail slashes and carves. Both boards perform well in cruddy and quality conditions although we’d rather be on the Pocket if waves should pulse through at size. Either of these two sleds will suit riders frequenting average surf locations. Pair with the brand’s Pro range for increased versatility.
Pocket Rocket Carbon £1999.00
7.4ft Hypernut Carbon £1975.00
Both boards available in other constructions from £1149.00