Mini-Review: Starboard 9’0 Stinger

I got a chance to take Starboard’s 2009 9’0 Stinger in AST Startouch out for a spin the other day and just thought I’d post up some opinions of the board. Keep in mind I only had this board out in flatwater conditions around here in West Vancouver, but just wanted to see how it felt and paddled, hence no waveriding experience with it.

The 9’0 Stinger was one of Starboard’s first attempts at getting into the SUB (stand up shortboard) market. By today 2010 standards, a 9’0 is by no means a shortboard, but in the Spring of last year (2009) it measured in as one of the smaller boards on the market… Amazing how much things can change in just one year.

So yeah, this was my first crack at getting onto a smallish SUP. My normal flatwater ride is a 12’6 Starboard Cruiser, and my waverider is a Walden 10’10, so needless to say this 9’0 is sufficiently smaller than anything I’ve paddled to date.

But that said, after taking 10 minutes or so to get a feel for the board I was pleasantly surprised at its stability and the fact that I could actually get a decent amount of glide out of each stroke… Well, decent in comparison to what I was expecting to see at least!

As for build quality, though the AST finish is nowhere near as sexy as Starboard’s Technora or Wood Sandwich TAC finishes, I’m consistently impressed with its durability and solid feel. I’ve had over 100 days out on my 12’6 Cruiser AST and the rails are in excellent condition, I’d expect the same for this board.

I’m going to need a bit more time with the Startouch finish to decide whether or not it lives up to its name as a suitable wax alternative, but so far I’m reasonably impressed. Though my initial stumbles were primarily due to lack of famililiarity with the board, I noticed that as I found the board’s sweet spot (just forward of the cutaways), grip was pretty fine with a pair of surf booties.

Now as mentioned, I have yet to take this board out on the waves but I’m really starting to think that the Stinger concept has a lot of merit when it comes to (pseudo) SUB design. I’m not a shaping wiz by any stretch, but in theory, the cutaway outline should means the board provides more volume for greater flotation, but the narrower rear section of the board means the board should see greater maneuverability. Best of both worlds?

And for flatwater, hmmm. Let’s just say you shouldn’t expect to get any major distances out of this thing. Though I did say it had a decent amount of glide, that again was only in comparison to what I was expecting, which was next to none. 🙂

I’ll be holding onto this board for the next week or so and will take it out for another couple paddles, but I’ll just use it to practice my sprints and fliparounds. Perhaps if you’re in the 120-150lb range you might be able to eke out a few flatwater tours once in a while, but regardless of your size this board was never designed to be run on the flatwater and it really shows.

The Stinger comes with a quad fin FCS setup. Kind of a non-issue considering what I was doing with the board, but I ran a set of GL’s up front and a pair of M-7’s out back.

Overall, I can’t wait to get this thing out on the waves. Though the fish/stinger concept seems to have been nixed in favor of more rounded outlines this year, I think this board (in theory at least) makes a ton of sense and should be a lot of fun to ride in the waves!

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