Surftech K Star Rapoza Review
I learned to surf on a longboard because I found it easier to progress my surfing compared to learning on a mini mal. The first longboard I surfed was borrowed from Pete Ash from Widemouth Bay, the father British pro surfers Reubyn Ash and Joss Ash. This longboard could take off on waves with a flick of the wrist. I think Pete was reluctant to lend it to a kook learner, but I perused him because I didn’t get on with the Mini Mals. I’m so glad he did lend it to me because I may not have had the opportunity to go back to my longboarding roots today.
I was out of the water for around 16 weeks due to a surfing injury and I found it physically hard to get back on a shortboard due to being so unfit. So I borrowed my friend’s longboard and found this better to gain my fitness back. However, I didn’t like the way my friend’s longboard surfed. There wasn’t any aggression, or speed like you get from a shortboard.
Everything seemed to be slowed down and about grace. I started to look at performance longboards; I wanted a longboard which I could surf like a shortboard. I went over to Newquay and had a chat with friend and I picked up a custom performance board shaped by Keith Bedoe 9’0 x 22 ¼ x 2 7/8 with pin tail and 2 plus one fin set up. This board suited me well, I could throw it around, bottom turn sharp and it felt fast. However, due to the light glass on the board it didn’t fair very well in heavy surf. I creased and snapped the board, and after getting it repaired the board didn’t feel the same and I snapped it again a few weeks later.
Even at trade prices longboards aren’t cheap if you are going to snap them every 6 weeks. So I thought about getting a surftech longboard due to having a really light and strong epoxy construction. I have owned 6’2 Santa Cruz Tuflite for nearly 8 years now and it’s still going strong, with this in mind I set out to get a surftech longboard. The problem was getting something I liked; it was a nightmare because you can’t have surftech surfboards custom shaped. I was finding boards which had the right length, width and thickness, but the board would have a squash tail instead of a pin tail. There was always something to put a spanner in the works with regards to choosing the right spec. I was without a surfboard for 2 months and I was back to borrowing my friend’s slug just to get in the water. I thought enough is enough and decided to contact surftech in the UK to see if they could help.
I spoke to a guy called Richard and told him want I wanted and about my dilemma. He suggested I go for the Town & Country 9’1″ Rapoza K-Star, he said this board was the best performance longboard surftech make and Sam Bleakley won the Euro championships on it. I thought if this board is good enough for Sam Bleakley, its good enough for a kook like me. The only reservation I did have is that the board had a thrusters set up instead of a two plus one. However, I asked if they would send me the board to review and if I liked I would buy!
Length : 9’1
Nose : 18
Middle: 21 7/8
Tail : 13 1/2
Thickness: 2 5/8
Fin set up: Thruster
When i took delivery of this board i was amazed how extremely light weight it was for a 9’1, the board was way lighter than my 9’0 glassed board for sure. I noticed the tail was pin sharp which i liked the look of because this would help with swift bottom turns.
The K-Star had loads of rocker right through the board, from nose to tail. The board came with a set of FCS G5 fins which i replaced with my FCS K3 fins because these are larger and i felt they would be better for holding turns and stop the board skipping out.
The first days surf was down at Gwithian with nice glassy 4-6 foot clean waves, perfect for testing the board out. At first it took me a few waves to get the hang of the board, i found that standing right over the centre fin you could get some really decent snappy turns. I was dubious about the thruster set up for a longboard, but i have to say i really think it helps speed and ease of movement. The board felt very stable and lose at the same time giving the board a progressive feel, i could move this board just as well as a shortboard due to the fin set up and how lightweight the board was. So far i had a massive grin on my face because i had found a board which was performing very well, it was easy to paddle, wave count was good and this thing could turn!
On the smaller waves this board still performed and i even managed to get a nose ride out of it. It was easy to plain up and down the face of the wave to gain speed and real easy to paddle into the wave. The K Star was ticking all the boxes up until i took it out in quite strong winds, about 17-20mph. Longboards aren’t the best to surf in strong winds anyway, but due to being feather weight this board was virtually impossible to get into the wave. At one point i got to my feet on the board and the wind blow the board up over the top of the wave with me on it!
I took the board out on 8ft board snapping waves and i was a little nervous because i didn’t want to call Surftech up and say i had snapped the board. However, the board got mashed by some pretty heavy white water and close outs and it hasn’t got a scratch on it. I can say for certain that my glassed board wouldn’t have come out of these conditions in one piece.
I would say if you want a longboard which isn’t a log and want to do some radical surfing rather than cross stepping and nose riding i would highly recommend the K Star. I have had so much fun on it I’m going to buy one because it suits my style of surfing. The K-Star feels light weight for sure, but it also gives you added strength and a more robust feeling due to the Tuflite construction. My Santa Cruz Tuflite fish is a good board but it was one of the first Tuflite boards and it feels pretty stiff. However, the K Star has just as much flex as any glassed board i have ridden. The only let down was in the strong winds where i felt it needed to be heavier to cope with the force of the wind. However, due to all the fun i have had, this is minor and nothing really to moan about.