Category: Board Review

Board Review – Get hip to the Hip Hippo.

Let’s do an experiment. Imagine a surfer. Take a couple seconds, I’ll wait.

Are you ready? What’s the image that comes to mind?

The person you thought of is small framed, thin, tan, blond scraggly hair; it looks like they just got out of the water. I’m thinking you’re thinking somebody like Anne Marie Chadwick from Blue Crush or Spicoli from Fast Times?

Spicoli and Chadwick

Well, guess what? Larger framed people with dark hair like to surf too. If you’ve ever tried to get up on a surfboard and it just straight out sunk then you know you’re riding the wrong surfboard. Surfing with the wrong board is like hammering a nail with a screwdriver. It’s like, yeah, it works, but why?

The Hip Hippo over at Kona Board House is just one of the specialized surfboard in our lineup that is engineered for a specific need. The Hip Hippo is designed to act as a normal midlength surfboard for larger framed people. Did you ever see that photo of Andre The Giant holding a can of beer? Let’s just say you’ve been surfing a longboard for a little while and you’d like to shave some length off your board but everything you’ve tried feels like you’re standing on the can in Andre’s hand, Kona is here to help.

The hand of Andre The Giant

First off, let’s take a look at the volume. The Hippo packs a lot of volume hidden in secret spots which is a good thing. You get a board that is the same length with great responsiveness and speed that is not going to sink under your feet. Our stock Hippos start at a length of 7’2″. A standard midlength board at this length has about 48 liters of volume. The hippo clocks in at over 60 liters!


Length Width Thickness Volume
7ft 2in 23.20in 3.25in 61.19L
7ft 4in 23.25in 3.30in 63.59L
7ft 6in 23.28in 3.35in 66.20L
8ft 23.35in 3.45in 73.02L

This board is wider and thicker than your average board so some of this additional volume comes from these dimensions but we’ve also domed the deck. Additional float is also packed in under the chest area. So volume is built up along the center of the board and tapers nicely out to the rails. This technique helps a lot with paddling the board and keeps the rails sensitive for transitions.

The Hip Hippo

The rounded nose and additional width is carried throughout the length of the board. This larger sweet spot creates a good amount of surface area under your front foot. This allows the rider to shift their stance a decent amount without tipping.There’s great waterflow through the bottom contour to help with a mix of speed and stability. A single concave in the front of the board creates additional lift still keeping this board above the wave. The single turns into a double under your feet and around the fins to stabilize the board. The double concave turns to a vee out the diamond tail which creates a great hold on the wave while making rail to rail transitions easier.

All around I’d say this is a surfboard plus about 25% more surfboard. So if you’re surfing out there having some trouble connecting with the waves you want maybe you need something with a little more volume and check out the Hip Hippo.

Board Review – The Lemon Head is Born!

Anyone who’s ever surfed more than once knows that the chase for the perfect wave is never ending. The next part of that statement is once you’ve found the wave, the quest for the perfect surfboard shape is also never ending. That’s why Kona Surf Company is here. Surfers surfing in the surf are three variables constantly changing. Kona is shaping the boards to keep up with the changes. The Lemon Head is a product of an exploration that started as something then became something totally different yet stands alone as it’s own entirely unique surfboard.

We call this the Lemon Head because the wide, round nose creates a large sweet spot. This shape started as a Fish surfboard. Fish boards are traditionally fast and loose in small waves. We thought what do you have to do to give this shape more stability and control? First, we took the Fish and gave it a full, round nose. This definitely made the board more stable but the fish tail was still very loose so we thought what do we have to do to get some more bite out of this tail? Keeping the width of the tail – a big feature of the Fish – we inverted the channel of the split tail and gave it a bat tail! The Lemon Head is born. The wide platform nose is nice and stable and the center point on that bat tail gives you some great hold on the wave. That’s the first part but there’s quite a bit more that went into creating this shape. We are pretty proud of it and we think it’s worthwhile to break it down so you can get excited about it also.

Steve Lis' original Fish surfboard

The Lemon Head is great for smaller breaks. You want to surf this in two to six foot waves. If you don’t want to lug your longboard around yet still want to get out there and have some fun on a small day, this shortboard is a perfect alternative. This is a really cool looking shape. It’s an excellent introduction to shortboards that can be ridden by entry level or intermediate surfers.

The Lemon Head (with Josh for scale)

I mentioned that wide, round nose that provides added stability but it also has a nice amount of kick to it which is going to give you some nice lift on drop ins. The nose rocker is low, not as low as a nose rider but low enough to make paddling really easy. Also, traditional Fish surfboards have a pretty flat entry on the bottom. There’s a honking single concave running under the front of this that is going to push a lot of water fast.

The nose rocker curves quickly into a wide point pushed forward. This again adds stability to the front of the board. It’s great for shifting your weight to your front foot. Additional volume is packed into the dome there under your front foot. That volume tapers off into the rails. With this technique, the 60/40 rails are sensitive all the way through the board. You don’t get that hard edge and it helps dig the rails into the face of the wave and turn smoothly. Meanwhile that heavy concave under the nose transforms into a deep double concave under your feet creating a lot of drive forward.


Length Width Thickness Volume
5ft 6in 20.65in 2.45in 32.31L
5ft 8in 20.84in 2.45in 33.59L
5ft 10in 20.98in 2.50in 35.49L
6ft 21.06in 2.58in 37.86L

That taper on the profile from the center of the board to the tip of the tail is probably the only line left that is close to the Fish. The bat tail keeps additional width on the rear of the board for stability. A little tail rocker, endless options for fins, the center point of that bat tail and a big vee waterflow that is pushing water from the double concave through the fins has got some fangs biting the face of that wave. Based on our research from our surf team, there seems to be two preferred fin set-ups. The combination of the single fin and the bat tail gives you that balance of stability and control. The waterflow blasting out of the double concave through a quad fin set-up also gives you a great balance of stability and control. Single fin is better for smaller surf. Quad fin is better for medium days.

The five finned bat tail.

So there is it, the Lemon Head. You’re going to want this under your feet on weak days where the surf is maybe knee to head high. That low rocker is going to get you into a lot of waves and make it real easy to paddle. The additional width and volume give this board plenty of stability. The waterflow and the fin set up balance that stability with a nice push forward down the line. This board is a lot of fun for all skill levels and we know once you pick this one off the tree, it’ll be your favorite.