I bought my 5'8 Hellfire back in april of 2011, since than I have surfed the board every day 2-4 times a day and it has 1 small little ding on the rail that I fixed and cant even feel it now. Amazed at how well the board is holding up but Im still more amazed at how the thing works, I wrote a review on the old forums where I tried to spew everyone with the froth I was emitting, but I think with a new forum now and an all new level of froth, its time for a new review.
What can I say, the board is magic. Improved my surfing so much, took me from struggling to do a cut back to starting to land airs. The board Overall and like people say does love good waves, the better the waves the better the board performs, so if your lucky enough to get in perfect surf than you will be stunned at how good this thing goes. I surfed a right point down here in CR a couple times this last year when it was epic and to say it was amazing is an understatement. The board flew down the line clearing sections effortlessly getting faster every pump allowing a wave that would normally be a freight train to be a nice open wall, a canvas to draw lines on, times that will not be forgotten. the waves during one of the swells were solid 12 ft + with occasional 15+ faces and the board handled it like a champ, got the first wave of the swell at 4 50 in the morning and it was a solid 12 footer where I took off and just had to race the thing for 400 yards, couldnt slow down the whole time. I reached speeds I don't think I will ever reach again to be honest, speeds that make everything into a blur and make gravity be null, at the top of my pump I would at times hover off the board. Did my first air, landed my first layback, gotten the best barrels of my life, gotten the best waves of my life and ridden the biggest waves of my life all on this board, I will admit I have a love affair with her, she is a thing of beuty and she allows me to do things that without her, I could not.
Thruster set up is my preferred setup for this board but that is not to say that with 4 fins the board doesn't work, ohh does it ever work but I will get to that later. I ride the board with K3 fins and for fast punchy beach break it works great, the board generates speed very easily and can be put on rail by simply thinking about it and with the hold of the center fin it really allows you to manage that speed however you please to. The smaller center fin that the K3's have really gives the board a nice amount of release but without taking away from its ability to draw a line due to the raked back front fins so all in all the board can do anything you want, wether it be a grab rail cutback or a a big tail blow the fins complement the board in a way that it allows it to do both. I rode this board also with H3-Nexus fins which I no longer own due to a some dude that snaked me when I was getting shacked but those fins were great as well, they liked to draw longer lines so they preferred point breaks and in them they thrived. So much speed and a nice blend of looseness and hold, the high amount of flex and tech put into the fins really give a nice whipping sensation coming out of some turns, which when combined with the extreme double concave running the length of the board allow you to carve a wave as if it were a warm stick of butter. Thruster setup as a whole on this board is bulletproof, when the waves allow, you can generate so much speed in such a short distance, can do gouging bottom and top turns, full rail cutbacks and every power hack in the book. The wider tail and wider general outline of the board also give it a nice amount of release so if you want to release the fins or get airborn its not like you have to push the board harder to get it to release you simply have to think about it and badda bing badda boom, next thing you know you will be doing slob grab inverted full rotation reverses. No. Not really. But the board does perform at a very high level without loosing the ability to draw a nice line or grovel when the waves get a bit weak, however, it does grovel better as a quad.
Quad setup...its a tricky one. I think depending on what fins you use and what the waves are like might make or break the Hellfire as a quad. Ive tried multiple setups on my board as quad, out of them all I only liked the feel of one; The back fins have mostly always remained the same, they are a very small template flat foil back fin that is substantially upright allowing for there to be some release and pivot in the board. As for front fins Ive tried it with H3 Nexus fronts and K3 fronts, as well as using the whole stretch quad setup a couple of times. Hands down the best was the H3 nexus fronts with the small trailers. I rode that setup during the big point break swell when it was solid 12 ft because at times when I was flying down the line as thruster I felt like I couldn't get enough drive or as if I was lacking a bit of fin, so I slapped that setup in and...game over. It was everything good about a quad setup with none of the drawbacks, I never blew my fins out when I was bottom turning, didn't have issues putting it on rail and most importantly when I was reaching light speed the board didn't feel like it was out of control. Quads are great for some things, they are great when the waves are small and mushy and your struggling to get speed, they are good for doing skatey turns and they are epic for getting barreled but personally I do not like how unpredictable they are. Can be flying down the line and go to bottom turn and all of a sudden blow all 4 fins out, or go up to the top to do a nice turn and try and bring the board back around but somewhere along the way you end up going back over the falls watching your board fly out the back since it didn't quite agree with you on the turn that you wanted to do. Go up to do an air or a tail waft and you can't get any release, go out to do a cutback and boom all of a sudden your doing a nose pick, quads work for some people, they worked for me at a certain point in time but due to having lost my favorite front fins and not being able to find an adequate replacement I do ride quad much anymore. If you only have a hellfire and you want to grovel on it I will suggest you go and find yourself a pair of H3 Nexus fins, if its too much of a wallet breaker than just settle for something similar that is very upright and has a elliptical template with a flight foil on the inside, pair that with 2 small flat foiled trailer fins and you will lower the bar in terms of what your hellfire can surf by about 3 feet.