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At-a-Glance-Board Review: SuperBrand Unit

Surfboard Review: The SuperBrand Unit



Surfboard Review

Unit combines quad-like ease with the bite of a thruster

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 25 December, 2014 - If you don't know about SuperBrand’s approach to designing and building boards, it’s pretty interesting. They call themselves a “Shaper’s Collective” which means they have a shaper on each continent sharing computer files and ideas globally rather than having one rockstar shaper. The global team of shapers include Jason Koons, Adam Fletcher, Nuno Matta, Lynn Shell, Matt Kinoshita and Ricardo Martins.

The Unit is the latest offering from SuperBrand for those smaller grovel days. At first glance the board looks like someone went mad on the computer design and just squashed the length of a standard shortboard down to toy-like proportions. Adding to the toy-factor is the brightly colored inlays SuperBrand has become known for using with their designs. 

What we rode: SuperBrand 5’10” Unit. 20 1/2 x 2 5/8 at 33.5 Cubic Liters. Fins: Futures V2 JC1 Black Stix. Test rider stats: 6’1” 190 lbs 35 years surfing. Tester’s Ability: Intermediate-to-sometimes-advanced.

What we found out: The most appealing trait of the Unit is that it has a lot of grovel-friendly traits of a quad: easy paddling, early wave entry and quick-from-the-get-go speed, yet when a worthy section appears the rider can jam a turn the way one can only jam a turn on a thruster. And let’s face it, a hack or snap on a thruster feels much more solid than the same turn on a user-friendly quad design. Thrusters typically take a few pumps to get going, so this board taps a kind of “best-of-both-worlds” realm for us.

The Unit’s bottom contour is based off of SuperBrand’s Slug model. The single to double concave is standard on a lot of boards these days. On the Unit the double concave kicks in further up than on most shapes - before the front fins. Some single-to-double concave designs seem to ‘stick’ when laying a board on rail in slower surf. Our test board didn’t need a good wave to go rail-to-rail in slow, burgery surf. 

In my quiver there was a gap between a grovel quad and a good-wave shortboard. And the Unit bridges that gap nicely and in the process has become a one-board summer quiver.


Accelerates as soon as you’re into the wave.
Skates fast down the line without excess hopping.
Rail transitioning responds quickly to shifts in weight
Paddles great and gets into waves well for its volume. 
Worked in both mushy point surf as well as small, punchy beach break.
SuperBrand price point is reasonable for a new board. Plus all new boards come with S glass and premium fins.

Fair amount of pressure denting after a few surfs. 
Can sideslip on heavier waves, but once the fins engage again it takes off right away. 

Wave Type That Works Best
Waist high to a tad overhead. The board went well in mushy point surf as well as punchy beachbreak. But as the waves get hollower it starts to loose some ‘bite’ on late drops and critical turns near the lip.


The board comes in a few different construction options:
SUPERpremium PU: In the US, Premium S Glass is used, a fiberglass that's 25% stronger than normal glass per layer. 
SUPERflex: SUPERflex uses a stringer-less EPS core with four different types of reinforcements going in six different directions.
SUPEReps Epoxy: EPS core with a wood surfboard stringer for traditional surfboard characteristics, epoxy resin, and three different fiberglass reinforcements.

Bryan Dickerson

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