Been riding this board for a couple weeks and am really excited about where its taken my riding. Its a very smooth and fast board that's great for wakestyle. It has great low end for its size, tons of pop, tracks well but switches super easy, but most of all its got a smooth ride. Enough hype? No? Okay...
Tunnel V Concave
The Hein boards have a unique concave bottom that is actually detuned towards the edges. Its gives the smooth skatey/slashy/surfy properties of a flat bottom board, with the chop killing feel of a concave.
I was pretty down on the concave design overall after riding several different concave boards. I liked how they smoothed out the ride, but hated how some of the designs seemed so edgy, always wanting to be on the rail instead of letting you just ride. By comparison my old SX 132 felt very fun and surfy. After riding the Hein board though I feel that concave has matured to the point where it can smooth out the ride and still keep the surfy feel of a flat bottomed board. The detuned edges of the concave may raise some eyebrows at first, but riding is believing! The edge design allows you to 180 the board on the water so smooth without catching an edge or slowing down.
You know those sick tail carves you see pros do in the vids that throw up a huge sheet of water and just look fun? This board makes those so easy you can almost do them by accident. Go into a transition super fast on your toes, send the kite the other way as you lean back and you carve over to your heels. The board feels so smooth during the whole thing that you just have to smile.
I think again the "V" concave design is to thank. The inch or so of board that surrounds the concave and curves upwards towards the edge and lets you rotate the board on edge with ease.
This board is thin throughout the board not just at the rails. This makes it very light and somewhat flexible. The flex is controlled by a carbon layer that keeps it snappy. I can't explain what about the thinness is so great, but something about riding this board feels a lot nicer than going back to my thicker SX 132. Hein believes his construction process can make a thin board that is very strong, he thinks that thinner boards can actually be more durable than thicker ones.
This board is fast! You can hold a lot more edge in chop because of the concave, and you don't need big fins so you can get rid of all that extra drag. Hein's style is to ride fast on a smaller kite than most, so his boards are built with plenty of control and glide.
I think this board has excellent pop in that it allows you to keep in control and on edge at great speeds. At slower speeds the board has a touch less pop than flat boards. However, I have progressed quickly in most my tricks since I have gotten this board since I can hold speed and load up much bigger tricks than I could on my old board.
Center Fin Design
Hein's boards have an optional center fin that sits in between the two other fins on each tip. This allows the fins to be shorter so that they can grip but still be broken loose when needed.
Straps & Pads
Hein helped design NSI's latest adjustable straps, and he makes his own pads. The pads are quite grippy and comfortable. They have a nice toe ramp and arch support, both help you position your feet under the pads easily. The pads are also quite large which is nice because I find myself using the extra space to shift my feet when I change directions.
Really happy with this board. I would suggest it to anyone who has been riding a flat bottomed board because they don't like the feel of some of the concaves out there. Given that concaves have been around in wakeboard design and are becoming dominant in tow-in surf boards, they will have a place in most kiteboards in the future. I had a problem with concaves for awhile because I didn't like they way they felt. This board changed my mind! Give it a try if you get a chance.
Tunnel V Concave