Looking for one of the best all round surfboards? My full review of the Lost Puddle Jumper HP includes everything you need to know!
The Lost Puddle Jumper is one of the top picks when it comes to small wave fun at the moment – promising that perfect compromise between performance, float and fun.
So after grabbing the Puddle Jumper HP (it’s more performance orientate brother) over in Australia I’ve been putting it to the test to see if it’s the small wave groveller board you’ve been looking for…
REVIEW: The Lost Puddle Jumper HP
What I Was Looking For
When I first started looking for a new board I was basically after something a little bit longer and slightly different than my Firewire Seaside – something that gave me a little more paddle power and get me into the wave slightly earlier.
Especially helpful as I’m currently kicking around in Australia and mainly surfing punchy beach breaks.
I still wanted the foam beneath me (great for smaller days) but also wanted something that had a completely different feel so I didn’t simply end up neglected my current setup!
Why The Lost Puddle Jumper HP?
Well to be honest it had popped up on my radar a couple of times whilst I was looking for a new board and was one of the models my mate Tom from Boards in The Bay had recommended whilst I was chatting with him about getting a new stick.
One a surf trip down to Yamba I clocked my buddy Kyles board and it turned out to be the original Puddle Jumper in 5’6 – slightly smaller than I was looking for though. Mid session we swapped over (he also fancied a blast on my Seaside) and both scored some of our best waves of the session…typical!
Not flush with cash – thanks COVID – I was searching around for a decent second hadn’t one and came across a Puddle Jumper HP and took the plunge.
HP v Original Puddle Jumper
So what’s the difference between the Lost Puddle Jumper and the Puddle Jumper HP?
Well it comes down to the fact the HP stands for high performance – so basically they’ve taken everything everyone loved about the original Puddle Jumper, slimmed it down, tweaked it and given it a high performance boost.
The most noteable aspects of this are the pulled in nose, the fact the widest point of the board has been brought back and a narrower, tweaked tail.
All of these changes have been made to ensure the Puddle Jumper HP retains all the fun, paddle power and playfulness of the original, but also give a good boost to the speed and turning ability – which also allows it to perform in a bigger range of waves too.
Never a bad thing!
Size and Dimensions
The Puddle Jumper HP comes in a range of sizes (as you’d expect from any mainstream surfboard brand) and packs a little bit of extra volume for the length, allowing you to either ride it shorter than your normal board or the same size and include a bit of extra foam,
Here are the full dimension run downs as per the Lost site;
I opted for the 5’11” – which comes in at 36.8 litres. It added the extra length I wanted in comparison to my Firewire Seaside, but didn’t jack the volume up heaps – essentially it found that sweet spot between length, volume and performance.
Thruster or Quad Setup?
The Lost Puddle Jumper HP, like the original Puddle Jumper, comes with a 5 fin setup – which allows you the flexibility to choose between a whole range of setups, with thruster or quad setup being the two most common options.
Now personally I absolutely love riding quads – they’re quick, stable and with good flow, so I went straight to riding my board with a 4 fin setup – which, after checking out a whole heap of reviews before buying it also seems that the general consensus is the Lost Puddle Jumper rides best as a 4 fin setup.
However, I did find the Puddle Jumper surprisingly sluggish when riding it as a quad fin (and totally not what I was expecting) and it felt like I really had to force the turns on it.
Despite not being a fan of thrusters (I’ve dabbled a lot over the year but never really got on with a 3 fin setup, especially compared to the benefits of a quad) I decided to give it a blast with 3 fins to see how it went.
To be honest I couldn’t have asked for a better result- it felt like an entirely different board! Flowing and really responsive. Since then I’ve not even considered setting it up as a 4 fin again!
So yeah I love it as a thruster, but given the feedback I’ve had from others don’t write it off as a quad either – ride it as both and figure out what works for you.
Fin wise it’s also worth mentioning that it’s also available in both FCS2 and Future Fin setup.
What Waves Does It Suit?
I’ve been testing it out over the last few months in Australia – surfing beach breaks and points in a huge variety of conditions, from reeling walls to fun punchy peaks.
And to be honest the Puddle Jumper has handled everything I’ve thrown it into. Give it some open face and it shines with great rail to rail action and sitting in the pocket.
Give it a bit of mush to play with and it fires through the flat, slower sections and allows you to easily generate speed. That being said though it’s certainly not as fast as my Firewire Seaside – which is much quicker off the mark and does feel much more responsive too.
Overall anything in the waist to slightly overhead range and the Puddle Jumper HP will handle it no worries!
I’m glad I opted for a slightly longer board than the Seaside as that extra glide and paddle power do mean it’s now my go to when things are getting a bit smaller, without having to sacrifice performance.
The Bottom Line
For me the Puddle Jumper HP did exactly what I wanted – it gave me an extra bit of length and paddle power for the ability to get into a wave a bit sooner when it jacked up, forgiving yet with the performance I needed and a thruster setup to set it apart from my other boards.
Its super fun in a huge variety of conditions too and I’ve really enjoyed riding it for the past few months.
The only downside I’d say is the fact it does lack the speed that I’ve come to love with my Firewire Seaside and I found myself having to put in more effort to keep my speed whilst surfing the Puddle Jumper. The Seaside on the other hand does feel like the board is doing a lot of the work, which means I can spend more time thinking about how I want to attack the wave or enjoy a cruisey ride!
Which does warrant the question – should I simply get a longer version of the Seaside?
That being said I feel like to a large degree this is more personal preference than reflection on the Puddle Jumper itself – as it’s a great board and my friends who have also had a play loved it too.
…but always worth mentioning as both boards sit within the same performance groveller niche.