No B.S. Review
Recently, we've received a number of reader inquires and requests to cover the Hamboards brand of longboard skate and unique SUP decks. I had never heard of them before but as soon as I visited their site I knew I just had to give one a try!
Hamboards is a family affair – founded by Peter Hamburg and his five sons, the company headquartered in the heart of the West Coast surf capital of Huntington Beach,CA. All seasoned watermen and surfers themselves, the family's initial intention was to create a land based surf experience for them to enjoy on flat, waveless days. After painstakingly working on the right combination of materials, hardware, and overall design and engineering, the boys at Hamboards feel that they have really nailed down the perfect formula to bring the feel of surfing or SUP'ing to the street.
For the purpose of this review Peter and the boys sent out one of their Bamboo Classic complete decks and one of theirKahuna Classic Big Stick streetpaddles. Coming in at 6'6” x15” this is by far the biggest longboard I've ever seen and/or ridden! Right out of the box you can tell that no expense was spared with this board. Constructed of 100% “Green“renewable Bamboo this board looks more like a piece of art than a skateboard! It's shape resembles a classic longboard surfboard…almost looks like my favorite Pig or Mini Mal. The deck has a baked-on, glossy/grippy coating that provides great traction and sticking power. (The Bamboo Hamboards come with a UV cured translucent grip deck coating for traction and the handpainted Hamboards come with the more exotic glossy grippy coating that looks like a fiber glass gloss coat but has an amazing rubbery grip to it. Now, I have a strict policy about wearing shoes when I skate and I don't know how people do it barefoot but for those of you that do choose to go shoeless, I hear the deck is very comfortable and durable. The powertrain is created with a combination of Original's state of the art S8 torsion trucks, Abec 11 97mm Flywheels, and Biltin Abec 7 bearings. This gives the board a super smooth and fast ride with the dynamic ability to make your choice of long drawn out flowing turns or sharp, tight arcs whenever needed. The extra large S8 Trucks compliment the enormous personality of the board perfectly and they are mounted on a thick rubber riser that sits on top of an even larger wooden riser. This gives the board and rider quite a high platform to work off of; ultimately allowing for more radical turning and maneuvering while avoiding friction and wheel rub. Additional material has also been removed from the underside rail line and wheel wells to aid with overall weight reduction as well as performance grabs and more extreme turning. When combined, the overall esthetic screams surf and the surfing lifestyle on a grand scale! Also, each board hosts the dimensions and signature of the craftsman that had a part in creating your hand made deck, just like a real surfboard!!!
Testing took place over a few weeks. We rode it as both a longboard and a SUP (with and without the Kahuna street paddle) and found both experiences to be amazingly similar to the real thing and an absolute blast! All testing was performed on flat or low grade sloping paved surfaces. Taking the approach of riding it as a classic longboard was first. I did find that there is a slight learning curve. It most likely comes from bad habits I have from riding other, smaller boards and the added height & width and the board's sensitivity to lateral movement could also play a factor. Either way, it only takes only a few minutes to master the new deck and get your foot placement down. Riders with no previous skate experience actually caught on the quickest during our testing! I am the first to admit that I am no Wingnut or Joel Tudor, but I can usually successfully work my way up and down a deck, stall, and hang at least 5 over the nose for a bit. I found that the Hamboard mimicked the feel and sensation of longboarding on a big ol' log flawlessly. It is easy to pump on flat ground and it makes paved bike path's feel like an endless knee to thigh high glassy day! Like a longboard, the Hamboards' weight carries you through “flat” sections effortlessly and it holds and applies any inertia you generate very efficiently. The few graded lots we went to gave us a chance to get a bit more speed under our feet. The Classic is certainly not a downhill racer but it managed the speed well and allowed you to easily burn off any excess speed and stay in control.
Using the board with theKahuna streetpaddle promotes more of a Stand Up Paddle feel, ride, and work out. Again, the larger deck allows for the rider to paddle with a parallel stance as you would utilize on many of your Stand Up Paddle boards. In this position I found that the board rides similar to my shorter SUP's in the 8-9' ft. range; powerful and super turney. Paddling your way down the street also takes some getting used to but once you get a rhythm down and the motions tuned in, you won't want to go back to foot pumping! Aside from just looking cool, the paddle itself is finely crafted and very functional. As with Stand Up, the paddle becomes and extension of the rider and gives you access to more parts or the wave, or in this case, the concrete wave. By the end of the first day I was doing huge laybacks and using that paddle to take my skating to a whole new level! It is also one heck of a work out and it definitely helped me drop a few pounds of holiday weight!!!!
The most notable result from riding this Hamboard is that I do truly feel a difference in my surfing and Stand Up Paddle boarding. I feel more confident stepping on a longboard after a long flat spell and I feel that my backside riding has really improved; especially after attempting and practicing the same sweeping bottom turns on my Hampboard over and over again! The achievements and results also carry over into my Stand Up life as well. I have found myself having more core strength and overall better balance when waiting in the line-up between sets. I used to fall off my board at least one or two times a session and recently, I haven't even got my hair wet!!!
I closing, I would highly suggest a Hamboards Original Deck and Paddle to anyone! Whether you are a surfing longboarder or Stand Up sweeper, this is an absolute must for your quiver and I would go as far as saying that if you don't have one, you're quiver is just not complete! Weather you use it on flat days or for training, I am confident that you'll have more fun than you've ever had on the concrete wave! Coming in at $435 the Bamboo Classic is about the same price as you'd pay for a surfboard but considering that this will outlast any surfboard you buy as well as the fact that you will never have another boring flat day, I think it's worth every penny! The Kahuna paddles are also competitively priced at $159 and if you already own a longboard and can't commit to a Hamboard at the moment, it is a great place to start and it will get you motivated to start saving for a Hamboard deck. Check out Hamboards entire line up of exciting boards at: (http://www.hamboards.com) and get one today! As always, thanks for reading and be sure to tell a friend… – Shaper