I’ve had a Starboard Race fin for a few months now, but the weather’s been pretty unfriendly to stand up paddleboarding around here lately, so only recently managed to finally get it out on the water.
Paddle location was up in Vernon, on Kalamalka Lake with the Kalavida Surf Shop and Bob Purdy from PaddleForThePlanet.ca. This was one of my first times paddling on freshwater, which might have contributed to the strong impressions I have of this fin, but either way I’m happy to report that the fin dramatically improved the flatwater performance of my Starboard Cruiser.
As mentioned, I ran the fin on an older model single fin Starboard 12’6 Cruiser. I’ve always been a bit frustrated with this particular board as its considerable amount of rocker tends to seriously hinder its glide and tracking, and missing sidebite fins doesn’t help in the tracking department.
Starboard’s marketing copy alludes to the fact that you can expect to gain 5 strokes per side with this fin, and though I did notice an improvement, strokes per side increased by about three, which I’m more than happy to have!
Though the larger surface area makes changing direction a bit more tedious, I’ll gladly take the tradeoff due to the dramatic improvement in straightline tracking.
One note though is the fin’s box insert shape is quite large… I assume this is to give the relatively fragile Bamboo the increased strength it needed versus a fibreglass or carbon fin. Problem with that though is I had hard time finding a fin box that would accommodate it.
My Starboard K-15’s finbox was too short to accept the extra long base, and I also tried on a couple Dave Mel boards, but the fin’s base was just a touch too tall.
I probably wouldn’t suggest modifying the fin to fit into a smaller fin box, so might be a good idea to do a test fit before purchasing.
That all said though, as mentioned I did manage to fit it into my Starboard 12’6 Cruiser’s without a problem.
Overall, I’d strongly suggest picking one of these fins up, especially if you’re underwhelmed with the flatwater performance of your all-rounder SUP.