So, thanks to somebody's helpful tips on uploading photos, here's my hardtail.
It's most definitely not new this year. I've had from new since 2015 and it's been in many iterations.
26"/32mm stanchions, 27.5"/35mm stanchions, geared (never more than 10 cogs), SS and it's been in it's current guise since early 2021... 32:18 gearing, Surly Krampus fork, 69er with a plus front tyre. Mismatched brakes (Deore left, Guide rear). I can't let go of the dropper even though the extra cable hurts my 'simplicity' aesthetic....
I love the adhoc-ness of it. It's surprisingly capable if obviously quite rattly...
Did a pairs 6 hour 'race' a couple of months back and managed 42ish km on it (despite taking most of the following week to recover, ouch).
I'd had a Marino HT made for me a year ago with more modern geo (450 r, 425cs, 64hta, 76sta etc) but actually found I preferred the shorter geo of the Surge in a hardtail.
My other bike is a 140mm travel Marino fully that I'm loving for everything that would be more of a handful for the SSSurge.