Review: Stretch F4 Quad Surfboard

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At first glimpse you may walk right on by the Stretch F4 as it sits there on the rack in your local surf shop. From the side it looks unassumingly like a fat summer fish, albeit one with a strange indentation along the rails on the top deck.

I passed it many times whilst pondering which performance shortboard would be the next in my review quiver. Then, I pulled it out and took a closer look. It is a wide board, probably an inch wider than most people would consider for a standard shortboard. It’s also a quad, which for many puts it firmly in the experimental realm – would you really blow that much cash on a board that is both a Surftech AND a quad? Not to mention quite fat and featuring a Bat Tail… a Bat WHAT?

The boys at Stretch say:
The design of the nose and tail is fuller which straightens out the mid-section, thus inducing speed. The fuller template also affords riders to go about 2″ shorter than their normal shortboard. The fin configuration is such that it rides like a tri-fin yet produces even more drive and acceleration. A “fishy” feel that surfs off the tail; this design is quick turning, ultra-responsive, and fast! From small beach breaks to Tahitian death tubes to monster Mavericks, Nathan, as well as many other riders, are riding this design in any size, in any condition, and in any location! We like to think of this board as the next evolution of the surfboards!

All very interesting. The F4 certainly showcases the innovation Stretch has become renowned for. It’s definitely not a fish and it’s certainly not a fun board. So does the skill, technology and research Stretch have put into this quad creation pay off? Is it a board that will appeal to your everyday surfer as well as those looking for a finely tuned, ultra-high performance waveriding machine? Is it capable of taking you places you only dreamed of? Let’s find out…

The stretch f4
Teetering on the edge – looking good

Fact File
Rocker – Relaxed entry with gradual, continuous curve throughout.
Rails – Soft 50-50 rails through nose & mid section. Sharp behind fins.
Bottom – Single concave with subtle vee out of tail.

Review
I was contemplating asking for the shorter 5’9” model but thought I’d better be sensible and go for the 5’11” seeing as I’d been surfing a 6’0” for a while. Paddling is super-easy on the F4 as it has plenty of volume and, as a Surftech, has plenty of that lovely buoyancy. Slotting in a pretty standard fin combination (two M5s and two smaller G-1000s) I felt I’d have most conditions covered, so enough with the details, let’s cut to the first wave. Perfect day, clean offshore two foot swell and I was frothing like a rabid Doberman in a Poodle parlour. Straight out the back and onto a nice peaky little right, take off, not even a pump required and I was literally flying down the line. I don’t remember getting so much speed with so little effort, ever. Hit the section and, I swear, the board launched a good half-foot off the lip (yep I was in the midst of popping a nice poodle-size air)… and all on my first wave! So, there I was hanging in mid-air contemplating the section below me when I landed, on my ass, in the whitewater – but still, somehow, attached to the F4 which rode on. Stoked! I didn’t quite nail that thing like, say, Nathan Fletcher who designed this board would have – but leave me to bask in my boost to ass-landing weird, kooky glory. Yeah.

Cut to some slightly more critical conditions as I ventured to the South Pacific idyll that is Tonga. Pan to crystalline three to four foot, super-hollow waves, generated by a north swell that had pounded Hawaii and now meandered down to the “Friendly Isles”. The boys at the surf resort were onto it like bed bugs on a backpacker, so I blazed a trail to a particularly shallow section, cleverly with reef boots excluded…

tube time
Fun little bazzas on the F4

The board held super-tight in anything I threw at it. In waves where, for me, it felt pretty critical not to lose your line (with finger coral not much more than an inch or two below your fins) the board excelled. I would not hesitate to say, in all honesty, that I’ve had my best tube rides on this beauty, whether beach or reef, heaving or fun. Jamie O has been riding a quad at pipe, Slater has been threatening to break one out in contests and Anthony Tashnick even won Mavericks in 2005 on an F4 so there’s got to be something in this so-called evolution of the shortboard.

Now it’s not up to me to start the quad versus thruster debate as, to be honest, I really don’t care. I love all boards (send me more, more, more!) and I believe they all have their merits. Well most of ‘em anyway.

For example, on a slightly fatter wave I would probably choose a standard thruster over the F4 if I wanted to do a few cruisy turns and gently swoop my way down the line. You may even find that the F4 is not the ideal board if you’re into standard up and down forehand surfing, or have the grace of Parko. But don’t let that deter you from giving it a try, because if you’re after something that will break you out of your comfort zone and put a bit of spring in your step then this is an option not to be overlooked. To be honest, I get a little upset when I have to take anything else out at the moment.

turn
The audience, transfixed

Quads are in and I don’t think it’s a fashion thing. Stretch believe it’s the evolution of the surfboard and I’m stoked that other progressive shapers are honing their skills in this area. Guys like Simon Anderson, inventor of the thruster, have a few sweet looking creations coming out of their stables. Like some of you, I remember a quad I had in the early nineties. It featured standard size fins throughout and went really fast in a straight line but, man, try to cut back on it and watch a guy stick a rail.

The F4 is another planet. Fast and fluid like your thruster, but offering way more options. Throw down a big hack, do a tight turn in the pocket, cut loose on the shoulder, then race down the line and feel the grunt this baby packs. If you’re up to the challenge, you might even eye up that crumbly section and let it fly!

new board
I love you. No i love you. Love at first wax.

Pros
It’s fast and holds a tight line
It’s simultaneously loose and fishy
Use it in almost any size (mine held tight in surf much too big for a standard 5’11”)
It is a Surftech and is strong
The cool deck indentations give you a nice grip when duck-diving
Feel more confident in the barrel

Cons
May take a bit of getting used to, especially with your forehand re-entries
Expensive (but I think it’s more than worth it)

Bradley Hook

Between searching for waves (often in unlikely places) Brad writes for travel magazines, contemplates life (his book is called Surfing Life Waves) and runs this website.

60 Comments

  • Reply July 28, 2007

    Jack K

    Awesome review, thanks for doin' the testing boys. Bought an F4 and it's smokin!

  • Reply July 31, 2007

    Pete

    I've had an f4 – 6'5" for about six months now. took a bit of getting used to – messing about with different fin combos but I love it. Fast as owt!

  • Reply August 4, 2007

    billy

    all i wanted to know.

  • Reply August 8, 2007

    mitch d

    great article ive been looking into these thanks for the help

  • Reply August 11, 2007

    mike

    I just bought this board but have yet to try it out because of an injury, I can't wait to take it for a rip though

  • Reply August 16, 2007

    Anonymous

    0

  • Reply September 4, 2007

    David

    Good review

  • Reply October 25, 2007

    Nick

    Really good to see an independent review of equipment in a good range of waves. Makes the decision easier than just listening to the sales guys spiel!

  • Reply October 28, 2007

    craig gordo

    good review,just ordered one now just gotta have alittle patience!!! one question… does it surf rite off da tail or a little further up than usual? chur crag

  • Reply October 28, 2007

    Bradley Hook

    Hi Craig, yes, it surfs off the tail like a normal thuster really – no need for any major adjustments. Had some really fun waves on my F4 over the weekend – still completely stoked with it!

  • Reply October 30, 2007

    michael

    i got my fletcher and is awesome goood reviews on the board sounds like my experience sweet and fast

  • Reply November 1, 2007

    Tim

    I have surfed a 6'5" f5 for a good bit of the summer. It belongs to a friend, but after getting used to it, rode it over my board any chance I got. Now I am in the position of getting one myself tomorrow actually. The board rips. Super fast, but

  • Reply December 3, 2007

    peter

    0

  • Reply December 10, 2007

    NanDO

    Well guys… i hope all this is true jejeje i tried the F4 last weekend… i am about to buy a 5'11 and i think i will. I just dont like the YELLOW… i guess i'll get use to it… i guess i have to get use to it jeje. Good review!

  • Reply December 14, 2007

    reid

    iv got a 5'10 quad with a different tail from matt kechle. It is fastt. its very easy to turn from small to head high surf its great. I would ride a bigger quad in big swell also

  • Reply December 18, 2007

    Shaw

    I'm in the middle of deciding whether or not to get one of these. This was super detailed about what I wanted to know. Nice work. Shawn.

  • Reply December 20, 2007

    Bill Kilbourne

    I've been riding a custom Poly Quads for about 6 mos. One of the best boards I've owned. I've decided to go Quad on all my future stix.

  • Reply December 23, 2007

    charles webster baer

    vote for charles webster baer of bend , oregon , usa for president of the usa http://globalinternetgovernment.com .

  • Reply January 4, 2008

    Reg

    I'm 95kg and have a 6'3 (pancho sullivan) bushman tuflite that is awesome and I am looking at the 6'5 F4 quad for a second board and larger swells…would these 2 boards get me thru most situations?? cheers

  • Reply January 7, 2008

    connor

    hi, great article. i'v just bought a 6'0 Surftech M10 Ratboy, the only thing is, the fins. It's hard to get these future fins in the UK i'v seen a few about but there around £50! any tips? thanks connor

  • Reply January 11, 2008

    Joh

    It's so hard to find meaningful feedback on the new boards and materials. Thanks for the great review.

  • Reply January 16, 2008

    jaime gill

    0

  • Reply January 19, 2008

    Paul Tindall

    Have been tossing around buying one of these so the well done review by someone other than a surf company or shaper was a great help. Will be placing an order. Cheers. Paul.

  • Reply January 22, 2008

    john raymond

    sounds like a fantastic read, thanks for reviewing.

  • Reply March 16, 2008

    Pete

    Great article and I love my F4-6'1 it's a little rocket!

  • Reply March 24, 2008

    coloreo

    what is the name of the song in dane´s session in young guns 2 and who plays it. thanks

  • Reply April 25, 2008

    kim

    i was thinking of getting an F4 and this really helped thanks .

  • Reply May 5, 2008

    johnny aguilar

    hi, i just bought, one and is fast and you can do everything. k.s johnny

  • Reply May 6, 2008

    Ace

    Cheers

  • Reply June 16, 2008

    sweet

    Love the boardies too. Mine are pink and black. Dig your articles Brad.

  • Reply June 16, 2008

    Benji

    Agree man, I also got one, in 6'5" ( I'm a big guy!), and it works really great!I love it too

  • Reply June 22, 2008

    matt

    couldn't have done better myself. great article and great review. The TRUNQ rocks. Everybody surfer needs one!

  • Reply June 23, 2008

    Georgina Armour

    you're funny!

  • Reply July 18, 2008

    Jamaican Rob

    Still getting used to the board after 25 years on a thruster. Began on a single fin in the early 80′s, tried twins but did not like them – then got my first thruster. Have had my F4 quad for 6 weeks during a Huntington/Newport Beach wave drought. So far i

  • Reply September 4, 2008

    Chris

    I love quads, but mine are all a little more fishy…wider boards from Kane Garden, Mandala, and Bluecoil. I have seen these on the rack and they looked interesting. I would love to demo one of these boards before I thrown down the bucks, so maybe the sur

  • Reply October 20, 2008

    Michael

    Great article, was looking for a new epoxy board to take on my travels. Was going to get a CI Flyer 5’10 but after reading this article, the responses from the readers and my friend who owns one, my mind is set on the F4. Keep up the good reviews! Send th

  • Reply October 20, 2008

    dillo

    this report is really good, and just wanted to say if your thinking about geting one… Get it!!! Because I just got mine and I love it!!!!

    • brad
      Reply October 20, 2008

      brad

      Glad you love the board Dillon – even after 18 months mine is still the bomb! Thanks everyone for your feedback.

  • Reply January 30, 2009

    Saltwater

    Great reveiw How much do you weigh and how tall are you? Im 70kg and 5'10 wondering if i should go the 5'11 as the next size up looks too big. Ive been riding a 5'10 x 2 1/2 x 20 3/4 fish and its great for paddling into waves and surfing bu

    • Brad Hook
      Reply February 1, 2009

      Brad Hook

      Hey there, I am about 5'10 and 74kg so very similar to you. I would definitely recommend the 5'11 board.

  • Reply February 12, 2009

    saltwater

    Thanks. How far off the tail should i put the tail pad? I hear your backfoot has to be right on the tail all the time. Is that true? Also does it matter if im more of a front foot surfer? I mean will i have to try to be more backfooted or can it be ridde

  • Reply February 19, 2009

    marc

    I was wondering what the difference in the tufflite and the tl2 shapes are…the tl2 are quite a bit narrower… i am around 90 kg…have a 5´8 merrick fishcuit ad a 6.2 ksmall…(which is a little too small) so i am a bit unshure about the right size, 6.

  • Reply February 19, 2009

    marc

    I was wondering what the difference in the tufflite and the tl2 shapes are…the tl2 are quite a bit narrower… i am around 90 kg…have a 5´8 merrick fishcuit ad a 6.2 ksmall…(which is a little too small) so i am a bit unshure about the right size, 6.

  • Reply March 13, 2009

    Saltwater

    Thanks for noticing that Marc, i ordered a tl2 5’11 but didnt realise it was a different shape. It says on the surftech advert that its 27cc and the 5’11 tl1 is 24cc. is that the same as Litres? if its very similar than the tl2s seem to be more bouyant ev

  • Reply July 4, 2009

    Adam

    HIya, just wondering, I have just snapped a 5’6 randy french tufflite (can you believe it), it was a twin fin and heaps of fun in anything up to about 4ft. Looking for something that will hold in up to 6ft swell, the F4 sounds great. My shortboart is a 6’3, I weigh 65kgs and am 170 cm tall. I am an intermediate surfer and was wondering if as an all round board people would think the 5’11 or 6’1 would suit me best? Cheers for your comments and great review.

  • Reply July 24, 2009

    PB in San Diego

    I’m an intermediate sufer – and have a F4 TL2 6’3″ half mooon and I am 160/165 lbs & 6ft tall and use this as my larger wave board without getting into my 6′ 6″ pintail. The quad fins hold well but don’t slow you down in big waves especially cause im below 1175lbs, this thing flys, i feel confident on this board in overhead+.

    Hope that helps anyone.

    Latas

  • Reply August 24, 2009

    DAG

    I have heard from some the board wanted to go straight. Huh??

    I have been surfing for 26 years now. I grew up in Hawaii surfing with Dave Wassell when we were groms at Zombies and graduated to suring on the marine base with the miller bro’s and jason bogle. THis other review I read makes it sound like this board is retarded. If you can surf it, it will definitly turn. My other board is a Merrck Flyer 2 and they do feel very different.

    I demo’d the Stretch F4 board and was rippping big off the lips at Ala Moana bowls. I was amazed at the stability off the top. I don’t surf straight so I am not sure what this guy is talking about when he says that the board wants to go straight. The going straight has more to do with the rider.. The word I would use to describe this board is stable. . It is uper quick in transition from the bottom to the top. Tons of speed for sure. I rode a Rusty quad the day before I tried this board and the Rusty was a freeking rail bucket. The F4 is super snappy and fluid. The transition point on the round house is in a little different position of the rail but I surfed it a gain today and it felt really good. I am 6′ 1″ and about 200 to 210 lbs so I ride the 6’5″. It does have a difeernt feel of teh top but is has plenty of pop of the white water.

    This board tuns really snappy if you have the power to apply it it turns just fine. I hit one big overhead section with ease and one of the boys at bowls was all over this board, “wow brah is that a quad?” I didn’t want to go into a long winded explanantion about Stretch and the develoment of the board. Yes it is a quad but whern you look at what the tow in guys are surfing and most tof the kitesurfers, I beleve these boards will be well established as a high performance bord for the future. I was a skeptic and now I am a beleiver. I never pictured my self on one of these but Here I am the proud owner of a Stretch F4 an I really love it.

    • Reply July 9, 2011

      Puindeep

      This was a super helpful reply for me. Tanx!

  • Reply October 28, 2009

    Matt

    I am 6’2″ and weigh over 230lbs (105kg) and have been riding a 6’6″ Mark Richards Rocket Fish (21″ wide and 2.75″ thick) and have been really struggling to catch waves on it and it feels too loose. I have a friend who weighs around 198 lbs (90kg) and has a 6’5″ Stretch and loves it. I am concerned that I will not get enough of an advantage by only going to 6’5″ but the F4s next size jumps up to 6’10″. I am also approaching 48 and feel that maybe the 6′ 10″ might really be good for catching waves and still loose enough with the quad fin set up. I am an Aussie and ride points and beachies from 2′ to over 6′. Any comments or suggestions?

  • Reply November 9, 2009

    Matt

    I bought the 6’10′ F4 and love it. Not too bouyant and turns great.

  • Reply November 23, 2009

    gammatravels

    got the 5.11″
    i love it
    i’m 5.9″x140lbs (172cmx72kg)
    small, fast and furious!!
    ;)

  • Reply March 8, 2010

    Nautilaus

    Ive been riding a stretch 6’1 f4 tuflite for the last couple of years in 2-8ft surf. Had H2 and MRTX fins on it as quad setups and it rips. Its had its nose broken, rails dinged, tail chipped and repaired and still goes as new…. tough fast snappy and stable. Im trading it in for a stretch f4 half moon 6’3 tl2 cause ive gained weight and would like the extra couple of inches for stability when it goes into the 6-8ft range cause the smaller size board does bounce like a skipping stone on fat wedge like waves when taking off and hitting steps. I cant fault this board and Ive ridden a shitload of different designs. Buy one you wont regret it!

  • Reply March 9, 2010

    oxygen energy

    Hey Mann I love your site! Your reviews on different surfing gears are really great! They’re very useful to starters like me. Thank you for posting!

  • Reply December 2, 2010

    Romain

    Hey Bradley,
    I’d like to buy one of this board, i usually surf on a 6’2”, 18 1/2 / 2 3/8, what would you recommend me to buy? the 5’11 or the 6’1 (no 6′)

    • Bradley Hook
      Reply December 13, 2010

      Bradley Hook

      Hi Romain, definitely go for the 5’11” – you’ll love it.

      • Reply November 10, 2012

        David

        Romain, i think you might be able to go down to a 5’9″. I can’t stress enough how much extra buiyancy the tuflite adds. I usually surf 6’2″ by 18.63″ on my standard shortboards and 5’11″ by 19″ on my smaller wave boards but the 5’9″ F4 has been absolutely perfect

  • Reply July 24, 2011

    More Waves

    Nice review, they work…

  • Reply August 7, 2011

    Pete

    Own my 3rd f4 now. Absolute magic in a huge range of conditions. I kept on downsizing. Now to a 5’11 and It still holds well in huge surf. Probably my favorite board and I have ridden many.

  • Reply August 24, 2011

    Giuseppe

    Got the 5.11″ 2 years ago (I’m 5.10″ x 145lbs, surf north Spain).

    Needed few sessions to get used to it at the beginning and I thought I made a big mistake buying it.

    Now I really love this plastic stick…couldn’t live without it!!

  • Reply December 13, 2011

    Jay

    I bought a 7’6 F4 in poly a few months back and the board is great. Even at 7’6 the board is still loose turning. I bought it for big days and the board performs great in large surf; holds a high line great. It actually is pretty fun in small surf too, even though that was not my intensions for the board. Cannot wait to be able to afford a smaller F4.

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