17 August 2012 ~ 0 Comments

14′ SUP Boards at the OR Show

Since I live close to Salt Lake City, I try to attend the indoor exhibitions at the Outdoor Retailer show, which occurs twice a year (Jan and Aug). This year, I also went to the so-called “open air demo” on a local reservoir (Jordanelle) to try out boards. My primary purpose was to try out 14-foot board for long distance flat water touring, since that is where my interest lies.

Regretfully, I only had two to three hours to try out gear. When I approached each vendor I presented them with a question which went something like this…“I’m after the oxymoron of all boards…a stable and fast 14-footer for touring.” The problem with most 14′ 0″ boards is that are designed for one thing and that is for racing, which makes them rather tiring for long distance, multi-hour “touring.” There are a few boards that are called “race/tour” boards, but those are usually the shorter 12′ 6″ length.

They had a small bay set aside for testing boards. It was very crowded with SUP, kayaks and canoes causing a lot of small turbulence. Perfect for testing the stability of a board, but bad for checking speed. I tried the following 2013 boards (or brands…model types not noted) at the show. All were 14-feet and had a displacement hull (nose).

  • Surftech / Laird, 14′ x 27″ fiberglass board. I failed to note the model as I never got a brochure to make notes. Perhaps since it was my first test board of the day, and I wasn’t warmed up yet, it felt more unstable than most.
  • Lakeshore Stealth, 14′ x 27″ carbon fiber board. Less staple than the 404 or Amundson.
  • M&M / Morrelli & Melvin (they basically said all their 14′ boards were for racing and not recommended for touring)
  • Focus 14′ x 27″ Cali fiberglass board. Nice looking board with slightly recessed deck. Rather unstable. This is a Body Glove division and the price on this board was incredible for this length…$1430 MSRP. Most others were $2200 to $2700.
  • C4 Waterman TGIF, 14′ x 28″ fiberglass board. I didn’t try out this board but talked to the guys at the booth. They mentioned that they don’t design their boards with recessed deck as the top edges are very vulnerable to damage during transport. They claim they have a hybrid nose, but it looks pretty much like one with a displacement hull.
  • Rivera Paddlesurf 404 Race Board, 14′ x 28-1/2″ fiberglass board. As one might expect, this was the most stable, but also the widest of the bunch. And the slowest.
  • Amundson Design Hawaii (by Aquaglide) TR-X Carbon 14′ 0″ x 28″ carbon fiber board. This one seemed, for me, to be the best compromise in speed and stability. It also had built-in gear tie downs, which will be useful.

There were one or two others which I tried out, but the bottom line as this…yes, regardless of the hull design, the width made the most difference in stability. I took a wrist watch GPS and tried to do a comparative speed test on my short out and back test run, but with all the other others in the bay paddling sometimes it was foiled as I had to turn and pause to get around other paddlers.  (My typical average speed was 4.6 to 4.8 MPH outbound and 4.9 to 5.1 MPH inbound). The one brand I was hoping to try out was the KM Hawaii line as they were recommended for a local SUP dealer. I also didn’t try out the Pauhana Crossfit because it appeared they only had glass boards and no carbon, + I frankly can’t stand their graphics!

I have not photos, as shooting new products is strictly prohibited.



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