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  1. #1
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    ROBERTS "MUTANT" / a review

    SIZE: I'm 6 ft/180 lbs, riding a 5'9" x 20 3/8" x 2 3/8" custom Mutant in Hydroflex "Natural" construction. Futures fin boxes. Volume isn't documented, but, based on stock models, is about 34 Ltrs...floats me to my ribs.

    PROS: Most impressed by how well the Mutant paddles. Impressively fast - makes sections easily on most waves. Overall, feels HP for a groveler...nothing bulky or "corky" about it.

    Zippy right from the take-off. In waves with any power, the Mutant can quickly generate a ton of speed and whip through a roundhouse like butter. Some entry rocker (not flat) and a little kick out the tail allows it to fit in slightly steeper/bowlier waves than lower-end grovelers. Re-entries are remarkably makeable and stable for such a fishy design.

    Quad trailer boxes are closer to the stringer than usual. This, combined with the conservative (shallow) swallowtail, acts a lot like a square tail thruster...but with a little extra speed. Easily does a good bottom turn on a steep wave and goes straight up (my couch potato didn't like to do that...and definitely didn't want to re-enter).

    On ultra small/lined-up waves, this board's straight rail line trims surprisingly well.

    CONS: Not very forgiving on botched turns. Rails spec'd at "medium-full" on website, but pretty sure mine are just medium...little too knifey to turn well in really slow mush. Generates enough speed to do quick "check-turn" snaps on almost any wave, but seems thinner rails need more speed to complete a roundhouse cutback than most grovelers.

    Mine has the leash plug on the stringer, about 3" up from tail (that's a lot). Using traction w/ a large kicktail wedge, this plug placement forces rear foot too far forward. I had to hack off some of my traction's wedge and re-stick the pad to allow my foot to get farther back over the rear fins.

    FINS: The Mutant's tail shape/fin box configuration doesn't absolutely require quad fins (unlike couch potato or similar ultra-wide tails). Performs as well as a thruster as it does a quad...although tri and twins, especially, feel slightly draggier to me than quads.

    My favorite all-around setup, so far, has been WCT fronts w/ Stamps quad rears (symmetrical foil, similar to QD2 4.0). Smooth and fast.

    Also works very well with full WCT tri set or T1 twins w/ TT1 trailer. As a thruster or twin, turns on this wide tail kinda feel like they "teeter" on what I'm guessing is the vee of the extreme double concave...perceptible, but not enough to throw off performance.

    CONSTRUCTION: Hydroflex claim their "3D" epoxy tech lasts twice as long as polyester...however, after only 9 days use, I already have tons of pressure dents on the deck and a serious rail ding. Yellows just as fast as PE, too.

    Their claim HF doesn't delaminate is false (maybe not from deck dents, but HF can delam). Rail whacked my shin hard and only got one crack line on the rail (as opposed to a wide shattered crush I woulda got on PE)...but it delam'd and absorbed water, so repair was as extensive as woulda been on PE.

    The benefits I see to HF are it is slightly lighter than the equivilant board in PE (but not as light as EPS) and doesn't get spider cracks. Flex/responsiveness are good and I do feel it will last somewhat longer than PE.

    CONCLUSION: Not much to complain about. Like most wide tails in small mush, need to press hard on the tail to get a snappy turn...however, on the Mutant, you don't need to think about that so much (automatic, if your rear foot is back far enough). Hydroflex isn't as good as the hype, but it is better than PE.

    There are designs that grovel in tiny mush better than the Mutant...but it's all a compromise. Bought this model for performance and wider mid-range, not absolute low end. Super stoked on it, so far.

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    Last edited by waterbaby; Mar 2, 2016 at 06:45 PM. Reason: review subject to change the more I ride the board

  2. #2
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    close-up of the nasty rail ding I got within the first couple of days. Disappointing having to peel off the delam'd glass from a brand new board.

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  3. #3
    thx for the review- ive been wanting one for a while,but I don't have a connection to get a good deal on Roberts so I probably wont get one anytime too soon. most of their lineup looks killer to me-Roberts that is

  4. #4
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    Great review. thanks for posting that up. its tough to find good reviews on boards. we need some more board reviews around here. i guess i could probably do a few myself.

  5. #5
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    thanks for the appreciation.

    yeah, Roberts is no hype. I have two of his shapes (other is a Modern 80s) and they're both world class performers. Worth the extra money.

    ...however, when I first rode the Mutant, I thought it was a dog because turns were bogging even on decent waves. I blamed it on several things (mostly rails and fin setup), but when I augmented my traction to let my foot get to the very back of the board, it came alive.

    The Dream Machine was another small wave option from Roberts I considered, but it just seems way too wide to be able to compete with the performance of the Mutant...I could be wrong.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJerzSrfr View Post
    Great review. thanks for posting that up. its tough to find good reviews on boards. we need some more board reviews around here. i guess i could probably do a few myself.
    In order to do a review, you need to know how to surf first.

  7. #7
    This is Mick with Roberts. I live in Wilmington / Wrightsville Beach, NC so I get a ton of time in small surf and on my Mutant. Thanks for the great review. I'll make sure Robert reads over it.

    The Mutant is one of my all time favorite boards. I'm 5'9.75 and 185, Mutant dims 5'6 x 20 1/8 x 2 3/8 pinched. My fin set up is the Roberts Large fronts and the Roberts Medium rears (3.75). I find the larger fronts give me a ton of instant speed. With the quad setup being McKee, I like the way that fin combo feels but everyone likes their own thing.

    I use my Mutant as a high performance groveler. I'm usually surfing small wind chop so the Mutant is my go to. For a more cruisey or floatier approach but still some performance in really tiny tiny stuff the wider fuller Dream Machine is probably one of the best for that.

    Thanks for the support. Catch a wave for me.

  8. #8
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    cool. I'm just an intermediate surfer (with the occasional advanced moments) and not the best paddler, so I let them talk me into a bigger board. Glad I did, as I don't think I'm up to a 5'6. I bought the mutant as my groveler, but it's become my daily driver for most anything below shoulder high (we don't get a lot of barrels up here).

    Fairly new to quads. Was skeptical about the McKee-type setup on this wide a tail, but it actually performs much better than my previous spread out quad. Have a set of Roberts large fins on the way...bought them really more for my Modern 80s, but I'll try them in both boards.

    Only bummer is I just realized Hydroflex installed my center box crooked. The little shark-tooth fin that came with my T1 twins looks like it tilts about 3/16ths to the side and, of course, my bigger fins even farther (I have several sets of Futures and tried all the centers in there). It's good the Mutant works so incredibly well as a quad, since I don't know what complaining to hydroflex would do at this point.
    Last edited by waterbaby; Sep 22, 2015 at 01:48 AM.