Hey there folks!  It’s good to be back.  We’re back at home in Nosara, the movie is finally out and the new site is finished.  So, that’s a lot off my plate and the focus can be put back where it should be, understanding paddle surfing.

Before I dive in to meat of today, I’m sure a lot of you are wondering about the switch from paddlewoo to progression project.  I’m going to be putting out a complete statement at some point, but the gist is that I came up with paddlewoo before I knew where all this was headed.  I just wanted a generic term that encompassed paddling, and that it was.  But through the evolution of this past 2 years of paddle surfing focus I’ve realized that these seemingly disparate endeavors, the podcast, journals, video contests, coaching, retreats and movies, all do have a singular focus.  Progressing the sport and athletes in paddle surfing.

Progression Project aligns 100% with the mission and future of what we’re doing.


Ok…  Let’s get back to talking paddle surfing!!!

I brought some some new boards from Cali.  The L-41 and a Hobie.  Both are 83L and that’s all they have in common.  The L-41 is a 6.10 x 26.5 and the Hobie is a 7.7 x 24.  Volume in both boards is pack in the middle and both board have thin rails, but the L-41 uses a step-rail and the Hobie has a domed deck.  The Hobie has the smallest tail I’ve had on a paddle board, almost a shortboard tail, while the L-41 is the widest.  Hobie is a thruster, L-41 a quad.  If you want to equate the boards to popular shortboards the L-41 with be a Rob Machado quad fish, like the fishcuit and the Hobie would be an early 2000’s Channel Islands Kelly Slater model.  Apples and Oranges.

Today I’ll break down my thoughts on stability as it relates to the shape.  This is an accurate comparison as both boards have equal volume.

First, on either board, at my current weight of 188lbs. or 85.5kg, I’m well under water while not paddling.  I sink both boards to my knees if the board is horizontal.  If I keep the nose up, which I’ve found is much easier and we’ll explore that later, I sink my back leg to the thigh.

I came into this experiment with some preconceived notions.  One was that the L-41 would be much more stable given the 2.5 inch width difference; and wider tail.  And, yes, it is more stable in clean conditions, but the advantage is quickly overridden by chop.  The low rocker profile and short length (6.10) make front/back balance as challenging as side-to-side.  The margin for error front/back is minute.  Too far back and I lose speed and sink back into a hole and too much weight up front and the nose buries and I’m squatting, waist underwater, waiting for the recoil to give me enough momentum to pop back up.  This compounds in chop where with forward velocity and chop over the nose, the board gets buried.  I’ve paddled the L-41 now in choppy conditions about five times, and I’m getting the hang of front/back balance.  Here’s what I’ve discovered:

  • Surf stance is a must and as conditions deteriorate, wider is easier.
  • As stroke hinges forward more weight needs to be on back foot than other boards.
  • Weak side wave entry difficulty is a 10/10.  Any little chop, combined with wave push usually results in a fall, catching toe rail (also tough on the hobie, but for different reasons, rails up front are like a shortboard, so margin for error is extremely small)

This said, I didn’t buy the L-41 to surf in choppy conditions.  I envision her being perfect in waist to chest high, light offshore surf – the same days that I’d favor a quad or twinnie retro fish.  And on those days she’ll be stable as can be.


The Hobie is a whole different feel.  At 7.7 wide and with lots of rocker, front/back balance isn’t much of an issue, in fact, once up and paddling she feels stable.  The difference between the two boards is that even when paddling the Hobie at a good clip, my feet are still under water.  And when you stop paddling the sink rate is much faster.  I find that in choppy conditions I can relax more on the Hobie than the L-41, here again because of length.

I’m sure a 7.4 popdart at 83L wouldn’t have the same issue.  I’m only discussing the length of what I wanted shaped.  I’d also say that for 120% V/W ratios and up, the L-41 would be a much more stable shape.

Of my whole quiver, the Hobie has the least amount of float.  The F-One, 7.5 is 82L and the Starboard 7.4 is 78L.  But both feel to have more float than the hobie.  My guess is that’s where you feel the width.

Paddling the Hobie is surf stance to pop up, but then I can go into my normal chambered back foot right behind front foot stance.  There’s no real tricks, just more focus needed.  As in paddling any small board, it’s all in the transitions, which I’ll be writing about a lot more in near future.

Good to be back folks!  Enjoy your day!

Published by Erik Antonson

Erik is the founder and host of the PaddleWoo podcast, 2X Costa Rica National SUP Surf Champion and owner of Blue Zone SUP Camps.

Join the Conversation


  1. “I’d also say that for 120% W/V ratios and up, the L-41 would be a much more stable shape”

    Believe you meant to say V/W ratio!

    Would like to hear more ( or video) of your L41 experiences. Cheers!

    Ps really like the “project” movie, using it for inspiration/amp before going out.

  2. Hey Rob, Thanks for catching that. I want to get some footage on the L41 but am waiting until we some offshore, clean conditions. Glad you like the film! I watch it to get fired up too 🙂


  3. Excellent .. love it
    Paddling a 7.4 by 27 very similar to the L41 and cant get off it . Find it more stable in all conditions than my traditional shape. Enjoying the conversation and like to see some footage. Be great if we could post photos here in the comments ?
    Cheers Shane

    1. Hey Shane. I’ll look into posting photos in comments. If anyone knows a good plugin for wordpress, let me know. What’s the volume on your 7.4 x 27?


        1. Alright! This will be a great way for folks to ask coaching questions and grow the knowledge-base! Thanks for the suggestion Shane!

  4. Hey Erik, thanks for the reviews. Completely interested in hearing more on these shapes in different conditions. I currently have a 7’8 L41 ST but its packed with a lot more volume than what your comparing so i’m definitely all ears on this topic! We’ll have to get down to Costa this winter to test and compare 😉 Just watched The Progression Project today! Well done.

    1. I can’t wait to get out in some clean, offshore conditions! We’re only a couple weeks away, maybe this weekend.

      We’ve got amazing retreats running this winter, kicking it off with Fisher and Kieran Grant December 10th. On Jan 21st we have another open camp. Pretty stacked with private weeks the rest of the time. Would be great to get you down here!


  5. Aloha Erik,

    Thanks for releasing the Progression Project Film – the film is awesome and very inspiring; I totally love it. Thanks for all your hard work and for publishing your journal – your tips and suggestions are very, very helpful.



    1. You’re welcome Steve! Thanks for reading and supporting. Let us know when you’re ready to come down 🙂

  6. First of all I would like to congratulate you on the completion of the Progression Project movie. I throughly enjoyed it from start to finish, the format was something that hasn’t been done in SUP movies and you completely nailed it. Job well done!!

    I have been waiting for your verdict on the L41. I own two of them so was curious how it would rank, especially against a more traditional shape like the Hobie. My volumes are much higher since I tend to use the boards for very small days, I believe this is where these boards (shapes) excel. I also own two Sunova Speeeds, the Speeed fuses traditional and non-traditional shape together to create an exceptional ride, kinda like the L41 and the Hobie having a love child. if you have the opportunity you should try one, for me they are the best performance boards I have ever ridden.

    Anyway, looking forward to the evolution of the Progression Project. Saludos!

    1. Thanks Gulljammer! I’m going to stay away from a winner/loser type of situation with the boards because they are so different and they draw completely different lines. I’m excited for our offshore winds to return and really get to explore the L41. I know she’s going to excel in mellow little waves and can’t wait to document it.

      Tonight I took my kids out, with their surfing buddies. All four of them between 7 and 9 years old. One of the 7 year old boys looks at me and says “surfing isn’t art, it’s life.” Been tripping on that all night!

  7. Hey Erik,

    I’ve been following your posts for a few months now and was delighted to watch the movie when it came out on Wednesday. I’ve actually watched it a couple of times breaking down the turns to try and understand/visualize some of the tips you have been giving here, which the pros also apply. Congratulations for the excellent work.

    In the L41 x Hobby comparison, you have touched on something that I think is key to stability, in addition to volume and size, which is rock. I think this is overlooked sometimes but makes a huge difference when you try a board out in the water. Rock also affects how the board makes turns on the waves so I’m in doubt where to go in my next board (more or less rock and center/front rock). Can you share your thoughts on that ? I usually surf waist to chest high in fair to choppy conditions (but seldom glassy).


    1. Thanks Fausto! That would make a great topic to explore in more depth. But, to your point, rocker is important in stability, especially in heavy chop or whitewater. And nose rocker seems to be most important. The JP boards have a ton of nose rocker, and are the easiest boards for me to paddle through surf.

  8. I love this series of posts! Looking forward to more breakdown on those two boards. I’m doing a bit of a sprint to try to find the size/shape/volume that really works for me (a moving target I’m sure) and did quite a bit of experimenting with similar sized boards with different shapes over the past year. In support of your new image posting feature (and nerding out on gear in general), here is some more #gearlove–the three boards I’ve been experimenting with.

    1. That board on the left is funky! How does it ride? I’m sure the Infinity and L41 are great.

      1. Ya, the one on the left is different, eh. It’s shaped by Kronos and is a take on the Firewire Cornice designed by Dan Mann –

        The idea behind it is that by putting the wide point at the tail, you can go narrower overall. The board above is 7’5 x 26, 87 L but the waist is 24.5″, which is narrow for me (he makes them smaller for more advanced guys). It’s a fun board. Not meant for steep, hollow waves, but really fun on average waves. If the conditions are chest to slightly overhead and it’s not crazy choppy, its my current go-to. It’s helped me gain confidence at going smaller (I’m an intermediate SUP surfer at best). The bottom turns on it are buttery smooth!

        Here’s the shaper’s take: “This shape focuses extra surface area and volume in the tail, which provides disproportionate stability. Then it takes surface area and volume out of the center of the board. This improves performance. A wide tailed board isn’t supposed to turn well. But this does, because the curvature starts super early. A board that turns well isn’t supposed to be stable relative to it’s dimensions. But this board is stable, because the tail is wide and has volume.”

        Ya, the Infinity RNB above is a gem–works in so many conditions. I LOVE that board. If I’m unsure what board to take, I take that one. The L41 was a bit too big for me but was my first sub 8-foot board and really opened my eyes to what SUP surfing could feel like. My buddy who is a bigger guy than me bought it and loves it.

  9. Hello .. . Erik I would like to hear your thoughts on the 7’10 laird Surrator. Are you familiar?


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