harley ingleby hi4 longboard thunderbolt red review

REVIEW: Harley Ingleby HI4 Performance Thunderbolt Longboard

Looking for a well rounded, performance longboard? Well the Harley Ingleby HI4 longboard in Thunderbolt tech may be what you’re looking for!

Time to get back into my love of longboarding and following an opportunity to grab some bargain Thunderbolt surfboards I found the Harley Ingleby HI4 in my quiver of boards to test out.

So is this performance longboard the epic all rounder it promises to be?

Well here’s my full review of the HI4 longboard…


REVIEW Harley Ingleby HI4 Performance Thunderbolt Longboard

Who’s It Aimed At?

The Harley Ingleby HI4 Thunderbolt surfboard is an evolution of Harleys 2 x world tour winning HIHP model.

Essentially it has been tweaked to open up more board walking and nose riding ability, whilst still keeping plenty of performance for more progressive longboarding as well.

Although you might think it’s therefore aimed more at advanced longboarders, personally I think this is a really well rounded longboard which will suit mid range intermediates and upwards.

With plenty of paddle power, versatility in terms of both traditional and progressive longboarding it’s a solid option for anyone looking to mix things up and who want one log to cover a lot of conditions.

Obviously if you are a more advanced longboarder you’ll absolutely froth over this model as it offer the best of both worlds!




Board Breakdown and Dimensions

As I’ve previously mentioned the HI4 is a more well rounded version of the HIHP and comes in two sizes:

  • 9’1 x 22 9/16 x 2 7/8 (64.5L)
  • 9’3 x 23 x 2 7/8 (70L)

It has a continual rocker from nose to tail (slightly more mellowed from the HIHP), slightly wider dims all round, with some extra flip in the last part of the tail. So even though it’s more forgiving in a wider range of conditions and board walking, it’s still heaps easy to turns and sits in the pocket beautifully and can handle some solid swell.

It’s also worth noting that the 9’1 comes with an 18″ nose, whilst the 9’3 bumps that up to 19″ – so the 9’3 is slightly more forgiving if you’re looking to maximise time on the nose.




Thunderbolt Construction

The HI4 is available in both Thunderbolt Red and Thunderbolt Black construction.

The main difference is the fact the Thunderbolt Black contains more carbon construction and therefore has a slightly livelier flex pattern and overall is much lighter.

For most day to day surfer the Red is a solid option – but if you’re competing or looking for top level performance the Thunderbolt Black is the way to go.

You can learn more about Thunderbolt Construction here




Fin Setup

There’s a whole heap of variety when it comes to fin setup in the HI4 longboard – with it’s 5 fin setup.

This means you have the option of single fin, quad fin or 2+1 setup depending on your personal preference and surfing conditions.

I’ve ended up surfing mine a lot as a single fin (with the 9.75″ Kelia fin) and it goes really well.

For those looking to really push the performance of the board the HI Quad setup or HI Tri Fin are solid options too, which you’d expect as they’re Harleys signature fins!

The HI Tri Fin setup is an interesting one too – with the centre fin only being a tad smaller than the side bites, given a more thruster feel to the board for some epic top to bottom surfing. You could always tee it up with a more traditional single fin/side bite setup as well.

The Tri Setup is a solid choice for bigger days, offering more manoeuvrability and I’ve found myself swapping out the single fin for this option when it gets overhead or is a little punchier. 

What I also found was a nice touch is that the centre fin box also has as marker to show where Harley places his centre fin too, so it’s super easy to get everything dialed in before you hit the water.

I’ve yet to test it out as a quad, but I’ll update this review when I do.




Ideal Wave Conditions

harley ingleby hi4 longboard thunderbolt red reviewAs an evolution of Harleys HIHP, the HI4 is certainly a high performance longboard, which excels in the waist high and above range. The bigger and cleaner, the better the HI4 will go and I’ve surfed it to a solid head and a half without any issues. In fact the bigger it gets the better it feels underfoot!

When it comes to chop the Thunderbolt construction is pretty light so it does feel the chop a little more than PU construction, but even so it still goes well when there is a bit of a bump or wind on the face.

It goes super well at the points (as you’d expect) but can also handle mid sized days at punchy beach breaks as well – although the success of that is really going to come down to your skill level on a longboard!

I’ve also taken it out in some less than optimal, small, mushy days too (think thigh high rollers) and was pleasantly surprised how well it handled the small stuff. Really cruisey, still able to hold some nose time and able to catch heaps of waves.

So it’s a pretty great all round longboard in that respect!




What’s It Like To Surf?

Given the fact Harley has won 2 world championships there was little doubt in my mind that the HI4 would go well but I was still absolutely frothing after a couple of test sessions on this board.

My first sessions was super small and mushy, but the HI4 still had no worries which was a pleasant surprise.

The points were pumping soon after that and I then surfed it up to head and a half on the face, which is handles with ease. Plenty of speed and control, with the HI Tri Fin setup allowing it to easily whip into the pocket and handle those more critical bottom turns and bigger faces no worries at all, whilst still carrying through any flatter, dead section with ease.

So it’s great to know I can grab it out the rack no matter what the swell is doing!

I was a bit dubious out how nice it would feel given the lightness, as most of the longboards I’ve surfed over the years have been pretty heavy. Even in a pretty stiff offshore breeze I had no worries gliding into waves and it even handled a bit of chop on the face really well too.

When it comes to nose time, the fin setup certainly helps and the single fin will be my go to for smaller days, but I felt it was more solid up front on waist high and upwards, especially when the wave had a bit more shape.




Final Verdict & Pricing

Overall I’m absolutely loving the HI4 and it has quickly found a permanent spot in my quiver.

A great all rounder and I’m loving being able to push my log skills on those bigger days with it, it has certainly revitalised my love of longboarding and given me a new challenge in the process too, next stop 12 o’clock!

When it comes to pricing this is going to be the big decider for a lot of people – with the HI4 coming in at AU$1,995 (US$1,280, £1,095) which is certainly premium pricing, even for a longboard.

I’ll be totally honest here, one of the main reasons I grabbed the HI4 was the fact it was at the Firewire Factory sale where I picked it up for the bargain price of AU$750!

Is it worth full price? Well given it’s solid construction, all round performance and having had an absolute blast on it I would argue yes it is – but only if your wallet can afford it!


Have you surf the Harley Ingleby HI4 longboard?

What did you make of it?




Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *