There are great expectations when you get on any kind of surf craft that bears the name of Gerry Lopez. The man is an absolute legend in the surfing community, born in 1948 in Hawaii Gerry Lopez is known as Mr Pipeline after winning the 1972 and 1973 Pipeline Masters on the North Shore of Oahu. Gerry’s style is so smooth and relaxed in the most critical of situations. He once described taking off into the sledging barrels of Pipeline a “cake walk”.
So when Gerry started SUPing and shaping the surfing world was looking out for what was going to come out of the factory. We took one of the Surf Tech boards to Cornwall to see how it was going to perform.
The Lil Darling is just under 9ft long at 8ft 11”, it has a nice quad fin set up, provided by future fins. The board is 28 1/2” wide and just over 4” thick. It has a squash (square off) tail. It is constructed in the Surftech Tufflite which, although not the lightest construction out there, is solid and strong. The board has a nice look to it, with a camo design on the bottom and a green finish on the top. The shape is somewhere between a short board and a long board, with the nose slightly more pulled in than a longboard, but without the reduced volume of a short board.
The board paddles as you would expect for a board of this length. It punched through the waves really well when paddling out. The wind was strong offshore wind and the extra volume on the board really paid off when taking off on the waves.
The board bottom turns well, you can really feel the difference between a thruster and a quad fin on this board, it does not have as much drive as a thruster set up, but what it lacks in drive it makes up for with manoeuvrability, once you have set up down the line you can push hard into cutbacks and top turns safe in the knowledge that board will respond and hold the line you pick.
In some of the pictures you can see me really cranking it and getting the fins out and the board onto the rail, it did not seem to mind this at all. The extra nose volume means that it is not quite as loose as the Nah Skwell 8ft 8” surf, however you can nose ride this board, which you struggle to do on the Nah Skwell.
Here is a video of UK SUPer Guts Griffiths taking it for a spin.
So who would enjoy surfing the Gerry Lopez Lil Darling?
If you are an intermediate stand up paddle surfer who wants to try a shorter board that has some characteristics of a longboard and some of a shortboard then this is a good choice.
All Photographs below were taken by Simon Bassett.