Pau Hana Viper
12'6" X 24" X 6.5" (200 LITERS) • $1,895
The Viper Race Series is a high performance line, built to accumulate time advantages from three design goals: reduce skin friction, capture free energy and increase control. To increase forward drive and reduce skin friction along the longitudinal axis, the board is built in progressively narrower widths with a convex rounded V bottom. This surface helps release the board from the water’s "stickiness" and limits drag. The descending widths (26", 25", 24") further reduces these factors.
To capture more "free" energy from downwind bumps the tail was kept wide—90 percent of the maximum width—capturing more lift from the passing swell and transforming it into forward momentum. The wide tail also increases lateral stability but is thin enough to sink for a good pivot turn.
The first thing we noticed about the Viper was its tail. That thing is wide! But it serves a purpose. The board's 24-inch width is much more stable than that number would indicate and the reason is the tail. In flat water, we could inch forward on the board to maximize glide; when things got choppier during mid-day paddles it was easy to step back a few inches to exploit the tail stability. A trade-off for the tail width is that it was hard to adjust our line and make quick transitions when things got steep in the surf. The rear stomp pad and lines of padding up the back half were a nice touch that allowed us to feel out the board with our feet as we surfed, pivoted or chased bumps. And we didn't have to chase bumps for long either, as the Viper caught them with ease. The slight tail rocker allowed for good control on glides too, unless they got too big. The board's Vector Carbon is a nice, light lay-up (22 lbs) that dedicated racers will love but others may find too fragile. For bigger paddlers the Viper comes in a 14' X 24" version. Aspiring racers should take a hard look at this series from Pau Hana.—WT
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