Spring’s just around the corner, and we’re looking forward to what’s proving to become a massive 2011 SUP season here in Canada.
We’re halfway through March and though the rest of Canada is still frozen, we’re already fielding daily phone calls and emails from people all over Canada wanting to find out about more about stand up paddleboarding in Canada!
So with that, we’re getting started early with our editorial reviews, and thought we’d kick off the season with a quick roundup of some of the boards we’ll be running this season.
9’0 Starboard Stinger AST: One of the earliest production “shortboard” SUP shapes, the Stinger is surprisingly stable and maneuverable thanks in part to its cut-away rails which allow for a narrower tail section, and higher volume up front to allow for greater flotation and stability. Don’t expect to master this puppy first time out, but definitely check out one of these smaller shapes once you’ve got a firm handle on some of the bigger waveriding boards… They’re incredibly nimble once you get the hang of ’em!
10’6 Dave Mel Epoxy: A new addition in the quiver for the 2011 season, for a waveriding machine this board has a decent amount of glide, making it pretty darn adaptable to flatwater cruising. A great all round ride for wherever you choose to put in.
Another thing I’ll say is you can really feel the soul and attention to detail built into this board… The craftsmanship is very impressive and the colour schemes kick ass. The 10’6 has a super cool sea foamy green streak effect which really makes it stand out… The ladies are gonna love these!
10’10 Walden GSI: She’s starting to show her age a bit, but this board still performs very nicely in the waves and tours the flatwater surprisingly well.
What’s always really impressed me with this board is though it’s got a considerable amount of volume in thickness, lending itself to a serious amount of stability, the step deck rails really help to increase this board’s agility in the waves, which makes it an exceptional all-round board.
In coming months we’ll be giving this board a proper paint refinish as the epoxy has taken an absolute beating from surfing our rocky beaches, and the rails have seen their fair share of beginner dings.
11’0 Dave Mel Epoxy: Similar to the 10’6 Mel, this is another hand built board from Maui that’s been built for the waves, but it still has a reasonable amount of glide for the flatwater.
And for what it’s worth, the camo deck pad that came with this particular board makes for a super cool yet understated presentation.
12’6 Starboard Cruiser AST: This is the board that introduced me to the sport three years ago, and it still gets a fair amount of water time. The Cruiser isn’t the greatest flatwater cruiser due to a considerable amount of rocker… Plus the single fin setup makes it a bit of a bear in the waves, but due to its outline and overall volume it’s one of my favorite touring boards when the conditions get rough.
Note that newer models of the Cruiser run a three fin setup, so their performance will be much better in the waves. My older model also has a very shallow carrying handle which makes transporting the board a bit of a hassle, but this too has been fixed in the new model.
If you’re looking to get into an all-rounder like the Cruiser as your do everything board, I’d definitely suggest picking up a Bamboo Race Fin, or another type of classic or hatchet style fin to help increase straightline tracking on the flatwater touring sessions.
15′ Starboard K-15 AST: The ultimate flatwater cruiser, the Starboard K-15 has incredible glide and speed. It’s a bit tippy when the water conditions get choppy, but if the conditions are mellow, this board will blow you away!
A reasonably complete quiver yes, but we’re looking to fill some holes.
Next on the list is a Starboard Race 12’6 Brushed Carbon as an attempt to get the PaddleSurf.ca team more competitive on the race scene, as well as a wider surf SUP… Something like a Starboard Hero or Whopper. Ya know, something that’ll be reasonably mobile in the waves but still provide plenty of stability.
And if you’re a Canadian board builder or distributor and would like to share your shapes with the Canadian stand up paddleboarding community, please feel free to get in touch with us here at Paddle Surf Canada as we’re constantly on the lookout for adding new boards to the quiver.
Thanks for reading and happy paddling… Hopefully sooner than later!