Superbrand takes a stab at dual world bliss with the Pig Dog S.
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 7 June, 2016 - Superbrand is on to something with the building-a-two-board-quiver-concept. Where most of us will build a quiver composed of a groveller, a high-performance shortboard and a step-up, Superbrand has introduced the Pig Dog series to bridge the specs down to potentially a two-board quiver. They don't promote it that way, but it could be a good sell.
How's it done? The standard Pig Dog is a step-up board squished down where you need it for paddling and float. So the volume of a 6’8” step-up is morphed down into a 6’2”. This removes that extra four inches of flipped up nose and puts the rest of that nose volume under your chest while leaving the tail narrow and pulled in for tube-shooting. This template and foil re-configuring also helps the board perform as an all-around shortboard.
The Pig Dog S takes the above ’squishing down’ design theory further and fills out the board’s template and adds a paddle friendly foil while bulking up the rails to help it cruise through less-than stellar surf.
Pig Dog S has a round, fat outline but with a slightly more pulled-in tail than most grovellers and features low tail and entry rocker. The bottom is mild single-to-double concave, starting just in front of the front foot. The double concave starts between the feet and extends through the fins and then transitions into vee starting at the last fin and extending out through the tail.
Single concave, while helping a board accelerate through the flats by channeling water through one area, has a tendency to ‘stick’ when transitioning the board onto its rail. A way around this is to have the single concave feed into a double concave. By having the double concave of the Pig Dog S start a bit further up than a typical single-to-double concave design, the board is loosened up for rail-to-rail turning. Yes, but did it work?
What we rode:
The board for this test was a 5’6” at 19 3/4” and 2 3/8” thickness with 29.3 liters. The 34-year-old board tester weighs 160 pounds and has been surfing since age 10 and is a slightly above average, surfer whose standard short-board volume is 26.5.
What we discovered:
We really liked the paddle power you get with this board. It had all the comfort and easy paddling but without that fishy, flat, groveller board feeling. It turns pretty quick, but it has a lot of control - more than your average groveller. You can draw out turns, like the board is designed for ‘clean’ surfing - meaning more drawn-out lines on waves with a lot of open face. It’s hard to describe, but when surfing you don’t feel rushed to use up your speed before it’s gone since the board keeps its momentum through these longer turns. We were surprised during the point break sessions because it carves well on open-faced waves. But on the crumbly beach breaks it still goes fast down the line.
Because of the tail being pulled-in the board held well in the barrel, especially when we used it in a quad setup. And because of the board’s volume you can move your feet forward to trim for speed on fast barrels (think old-school cheater fives or Stephanie Gilmore at Kelly’s wave pool.)
What we liked about the Pig Dog S
It surfs all types of waves, but unlike most grovellers it goes on rail quickly and holds a line when the wave gets steep. Best of both worlds.
What we didn’t like about the Pig Dog S
Not best board for big hacks or ultra high-performance shortboard surfing. So the quick direction changes were more difficult. We wouldn’t recommend it for surfers looking for a super-sensitive high-performance shortboard. It’s only shortcoming is that the pro competition-level surfers would feel limited by its design. Reminder, we are talking about a groveller design here.
Wave type that it works best in
Surprisingly, it works in a wide variety of waves. While most grovellers tend to go well in one type of wave, say, only a crumbly beach break, this board worked in mushy point surf as well. While at Swami’s on a two-to-three foot and windy day it surprised us through the steep sections because you still had control, but during the flat, fat sections it cruised and surfed well on rail. At Black’s Beach on a windy, weak day it paddled great and got into waves early and scooted around sections. It held a rail when the wave got steep - as Black’s does. You can even hang five on this board.
In a nutshell: We would recommend it for surfers who are average-to-above-to-good but aren’t necessarily in shape like they used to be. It’d be perfect for the older ripper who doesn’t get out as much as he or she used to. The good surfers out there should not be scared by the grovel-friendly shape because it definitely has some high-performance characteristics. All-around it’s great because the board paddles well without sacrificing what it needs to throw turns.
The purpose of this article is to offer insight into many of the popular surfboard models out on the global market. Like all surfboard reviews it is subjective, however we have a lot of knowledge behind the opinions expressed here. That said, our goal is to educate readers to become more knowledgeable regarding surfboard design.
Below is a crash course on design theory. See the below synopsis on template, tail shape, rocker and bottom contour to learn more.
Over-simplified overall design theory: The more of the surfboard that comes in contact with the water, like a longboard, the faster the board will plane - especially through slow parts of the wave. The less of the board that comes in contact with the water (slim banana-shaped designs) the slower a board will go BUT the more manoeuvrable it will be. What most of us are looking for is the perfect balance for our level of surfing, the waves we ride and how we want to surf (realistically of course.)
Template: A curvy outline will help a board turn quicker and fit in tighter parts of the wave but can sacrifice down-the-line speed since not as much of the board is in contact with the wave as a parallel-railed board. A straight outline will help a board go faster since the water comes in contact with more of the board, thus more planing surface - think of a virtually parallel railed mini-simmons design.
Tail shape: Big, blocky squash tails will float through flat sections but can be harder to release an edge. Thin, pin-tailed shapes provide control at high-speeds (think guns and tube-shooters) but will bog in the mush. In between there are swallows, round tails and more but they all have the same principle: more tail is less responsive, but planes better. Less tail outline and thickness provides more control.
Bottom contour: How water is pushed over the bottom of a board and under your feet is very critical to a board’s characteristics. Roll, vee or flat bottoms release water quicker making it easier to turn a board, but these features will also slow it down. Concave provides lift and speed as water is forced through a small area. This is popular to place under the front foot and can act as a front-foot accelerator on a board, however too much concave can ‘lock up’ a board, especially at high speeds. How the water exits out the tail of the board is usually done with vee or double concave depending on how much release one wants in the board. The best designs take into consideration rocker and tail shape when doing this.
Rocker: The more tail and nose rocker a board has, the better it fits into hollow, steep waves. Conversely, its speed - in both paddling and while up and riding - will be sacrificed if it has more curve. Most shapers combine various rocker formulas for different functions, i.e. flat under the chest for paddling with, say, extra curve exiting the tail for turns in critical parts of the wave.
Rails: Thick, boxy rails work in slow waves while thin, knifey rails tend to be more responsive and precise. That said, we are seeing more thick-railed boards fall into the high-performance category as shapers are blending other design elements to make boxy rails responsive.
Flex: Standard polyurethane boards have certain flex characteristics we’ve all come to love. But PU boards lose their magic flex over time, break easily and can vary from one blank to the next in flex properties. One option to PU is Firewire Surfboards whose boards are built with measured, consistent, life-long flex characteristics.