Board Review: Hobie CMLB Comp

9′ x 30″ x 4.65″ (136.7 liters)

At the top end of our sport, the trending topic of conversation in SUP surfboard design is getting wave-riding craft as small as possible. Meanwhile, SUP longboard shapes continue to sell well and fulfill fun quotas for wave-riders of any and all skill-levels. Three-time ASP World Longboard Champion Colin McPhillips and the crew at Hobie have been pushing the bar on long SUPs for years and have it down to an art with their CMLB series. The nine-foot CMLB Comp we tested is a refined shape in that vein, made for chasing down waves, getting in early and then laying it on rail. When we turned this board for the first time, we expected a sluggish transition; instead, it whipped around under our feet in a tight arc and was instantly ready for more. We credit the maneuverability to its generous (yet balanced) rocker lines, thin nose and tail, and hard rails out the back. Whatever it is, it's some magic stuff, striking a balance between foam for mobility and sleekness for performance, although these characteristics do make it a little harder to nose-ride. But we especially like the springy flex of Hobie's Epoxy Hybrid Lamination. It feels more like a traditional surfboard with natural flex but snaps back quickly thanks to its carbon stringers and wrap, which gives the board an electrically nimble touch. This construction isn't as durable as many production shapes out there but if you're more into performance than longevity, we'd say it's an easy trade off. For surfers ranging from big guys who want performance, to longboard aficionados, to high-action throwbacks, the CMLB Comp will not disappoint. —Will Taylor

This board review was originally published in our 2016 Summer Issue.

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