Stand Alone Surf generously provided us with a couple of their 2010 Dave Mel Stand Up Paddleboard demo models a while back, and we reviewed the 10’6 Waimea a few weeks ago, so now it’s time for our thoughts on the bigger of the two boards, the 11’0 Kahuna.
I’ve personally become emotionally attached to the Waimea, which is my absolute favorite board for riding the small to medium sized beach break waves we get around here.
That said, the Kahuna has a special set of merits all its own… And for those looking for a board that does it all, in my opinion, between the two it’s the more worthy contender as a single quiver board.
Weighing in at 11′ long by 29″wide and a 5 1/8 thickness, the Kahuna complements the Waimea exceptionally well. Where the Waimea has a generous amount of width at 31″, considerable amount of rocker, and a nice big nose for easy wave riding in a variety of conditions, the Kahuna offers a touch more performance towards bigger, steeper waves.
The Kahuna’s pulled in nose helps to make late takeoffs a piece of cake, while at the same time its flatter rocker allows for stronger glide, which not only helps to build up speed to catch the wave earlier, but this benefit also shows up when flatwater paddling.
Its 29″ width is nicely suited to this shape, providing increased mobility and glide over the Waimea, which is especially noticeable on flatwater cruising.
The Kahuna is again constructed with Dave Mel’s bomber epoxy construction, with Gore-Tex vent plug for worry free hot Summer days, and a very comfortable deck pad for those longer sessions.
If you’re a more (or even just somewhat) accomplished SUP surfer that’s looking for a board that will handle the bigger waves, still plays nicely with the small bumps, and still want to get some speed on a flatwater cruise every once in a while, then do yourself a favour and check out the Mel Kahuna.
At the end of the day, it’s going to be painful to give these boards back, but at the same time looking forward to seeing what Dave Mel has in store for this year… From what I’ve been told they’ve substantially improved their finishing process, and have a new series of boards specifically geared towards larger paddlers… Sounds perfect!