Starboard produces two versions of this particular board, the Coast Runner and the Open Ocean. Both built off of the same outline, but the Open Ocean has extra rocker up front to help deal with steeper offshore downwind swell… Pretty much specifically for something like the Maliko Gulch run on Maui. The Coast Runner has a flatter profile, which gives the board better glide for flatwater touring and comparably mellower open ocean swell that we get around the North American continent.
At first glance, the Coast Runner appears to be a blown up version of their highly successful and versatile 12’6 Race, but a number of noticeable differences exist between the two models.
Whereas the 12’6 Race is available in three separate widths (27.5″, 29.5″, 31.5″, the Coast Runner is available in just one, 28″.
To compensate in the width department, the Coast Runner has a pair of partial footwells, which helps to get the paddler “deeper” into the board. They’re nowhere near as deep as those found on the Ace series but they still allow the rider to stand surf stance when downwinding, which is a nice compromise.
The bottom contour is similar to the 12’6 Race, which is generally flat, with a very slight concave running along the center, which again helps a bunch in the stability department.
The Coast Runner’s rails are a touch softer than that of the 12’6 Race, which helps to increase the board’s manoeuvrability.
The Coast Runner was designed to be an offshore downwinder/touring board, and it fits the bill absolutely perfectly.
If you can afford the luxury, I’d suggest rolling with the Carbon version of this board. Though it’s a reasonably light considering its construction, my problem is I’ve become quite accustomed to the hyper light weight of my Carbon 12’6 Race. The Coast Runner AST not only needs that extra effort to get to the beach, but once in the water it takes a fair bit more effort to pivot and manoeuvre the board. If I had better foresight, I would have bought my Race in the AST construction and the Coast Runner in the Carbon due to its extra length and volume, but such is life!
The Coast Runner’s probably not going to win many races when put up against the latest breed of tippy speedmachine flatwater race boards, but if you’re looking for a reasonably fast and very stable board to catch open ocean swell on, then this board should definitely be on your shopping list!