G. Niblock on the L41 TipSUP Noserider. Photo: J. Chandler

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Original SIMSUP S2 For Gary

Picked up my new 28.5" wide, 119L, Original SIMSUP S2 this morning and surfed it in tiny 1-2 foot Sharks this afternoon. This board has six liters less volume than my current S3. The "stock" S2 has about 127L of volume so at 119L this is a substantial reduction in volume at 28.5" vs. 30" of width.

Initial impressions are congruent with all other boards where I have reduced volume. Surfs better, tippier and a bit more difficult to paddle. Previously I've gone from 129L (S1) to 127L (S2) to 125L (S3), and it takes a little time to get used to each successive change.

SIMSUP #4 (fourth SIMSUP and second S2) was specifically designed to go on rail more easily than my current S3. The removal of the second set of bumps (wings) was compensation for the narrower width and s-rail (k-rail),making the board less stable but increasing the maneuverability of the board. This is, in fact, the case.

Surf today was 1-2' at best and weak. Therefore it was a good test of the board as an all-arounder in crappy surf. My thought is that if it works in crappy surf, it will work just fine in good surf. Again, this is, in fact, the case. I caught one good lined up and fast wave at Sharks and the board performed flawlessly, buttery smooth on the face of the wave and fast, zipping through several sections with alacrity. I can hardly wait to get it out in the real deal.

The biggest surprise had to do with the reduction of volume which made the board, with the loss of float, a tad slower to paddle. Less volume = a bit more sluggish paddler, but a much better surfing SUP. Standing position when paddling is more critical as standing too far forward will bring the nose too close to the surface and could therefore catch chop (etc.) vs.standing too far back which sinks the tail and puts the brakes on. This issue though is just something that I will get used to and is part of the learning curve of this new and more responsive surfing SUP. This fits the pattern of the other SIMSUPs I've owned, as I have progressed from less to more performance oriented SIMSUPs.

The bottom configuration is classic SIMSUP and there is no loss of speed as the hull design is the same proven standard.
The board weighs out at 15.8 pounds naked, and with Future Controllers, 16.8 pounds.
The FCS recessed carry handle has been improved for grip and the location on the board is perfectly placed for balanced carry with fins installed. That said the one knock on the carry handle is the sharp edge around the circumference of the handle at the surface. After my surf today the first thing I did when I got home was to take a sharp blade and bevel the entire circumference of the handle at the deck. 60 grit, then 30 grit paper were used to finish the newly rounded edge. This is a MUST if a person wishes to avoid a possible cut from the edges of the handle at some point in the future...if one surfs barefoot of course. If one always wears booties then no biggie.

Overall (and again) I'm completely stoked with my SIMSUP and looking forward to an even higher performance future with the new S2.

For more info on the SIMSUP series of boards which has quite literally taken the SUP surfing world by storm, check out Kirk's newly designed website at


  1. Hi Gary, congrats on the new toy!
    What is the length? 8' as the S3? Same rocker?

    1. Yes Jean-Michel, same as the other three. The biggest differences are the thinned out k-rails and the substantially reduced width and volume.

  2. Do you prefer the S2 vs S3? Is the tail a similar width? Is the only difference then the k-rails on the S3?

    1. Anon, a good place to start with board comparisons is the Original SIMSUP website Essentially, the generic S3 has a double wing tail profile whereas the S2 has a single wing tail profile. Both boards have k-rails. Each wing accounts for a 1/2" reduction in tail width. Therefore an S3 is two inches narrower at the tail. This allows for a bit more maneuverability while making the board a bit more unstable.

      The S1 plan shape is the foundational SIMSUP shape which allows for speed, stability and maneuverability. The other models are modifications of that original plan shape. Design elements have been added to the basic S1 design with the idea of making subsequent models (S2-S5) more maneuverable.

      That said, one can collaborate with Kirk to design a custom board that does not fit directly within the design specifications of the stock models. For example, my current board, the custom S2 has only a single wing, but the volume at 119L is a substantial reduction from my S3 (125L). Additionally (and importantly) the width of the S2 is 28.25" vs.30.25" for the S3. Finally the k-rail on the S2 has been refined and thinned out making the rails less buoyant (easier to sink in a turn) and looser with less drag than the k-rails on the S3.

      The result is that the current S2 is a fast and more maneuverable surfboard than the S3, but the S3 is more stable overall and easier to paddle especially in a choppy or windy sea.

      Which one do I prefer? Both. It takes more energy to paddle and surf the S2, so for short sessions, or sessions where I know it's NOT going to be really windy or bumpy, the S2 goes in the truck. I prefer the way the S2 surfs. For travel away from home where I can only bring one board or rough water sessions, or 2.5+ hour sessions I take the S3. I prefer to paddle the S3 and it doesn't tire me out as quickly as the S2 does.

      It's all about trade-offs and having Kirk make a board that is custom for you and you only. The S2 is my fourth SIMSUP and I've had the chance to refine and tweak each model to fit me: my age; ability and physical fitness level. If you want to talk more, email me at the link at the top right of the blog. Good luck and enjoy the journey!