Inflatable SUPs have gained popularity over the past couple of years for a few reasons:
1) They are durable
2) They are light
3) They pack down to fit in the trunk of your car.
For 2013, we are witnessing a stiffer construction due to 6″ wall thickness. At Big Winds, we offer a number of inflatable options, so we put a couple of our favorites to the stiffness test. In the first test, we pumped up the 2013 Starboard Inflatable Astro Whopper (10′ x 35″) to the manufacturer’s recommended 18 PSI. We placed the board on a couple of sawhorses and bounced on it to see how much the board deflects. The Deluxe construction offered by Starboard this year makes for a very stiff ride, with only 1″ deflection.
We next tested the 2013 Naish Mana Air (10′ x 33″). We pumped it up to the manufacturer’s recommended 14 PSI and found it stiffer then any of our 4″ wall thickness offerings. With only 1.5″ deflection, the 2013 Naish Mana Air proved to be another great contender in our 2013 inflatable line-up.
Every now and then something comes along to earn the designation of “Game Changer”. One such innovation this year is “Techno Butter”! Say what? Yep, this new proprietary wetsuit material by O’Neill totally changes the wetsuit game.
Click to enlarge
O’Neill has a number of suits featuring this all new neoprene and they are light years ahead of other wetsuits in comfort and light weight. Techno Butter suits are 17% lighter than other high end suits and retain 30% less water! The difference in feel is HUGE!
Treat yourself and get either the Psycho 3 or Psycho 1 wetsuit. Ladies too! It will absolutely amaze you. Guaranteed.
It’s spring and time to get out on the water! But it seems so cold! Well, it’s certainly chilly, but that’s no reason not to get out and paddle!
When it’s chilly, think of paddling as the aquatic equivalent of skate or Nordic skiing. You’re going to warm up really fast. The more clothes you have on, the more clothes you’re going to end up putting in your backpack, as you warm up really fast. The same thing is true with Stand Up Paddle boarding. The trick is to not over dress.
Many people have this feeling that they’re going to be falling in the water so they wear a bulky wetsuit. If you are paddling on flat water in relatively calm conditions, you’re not likely to fall in. And if you do, you’re going to get right back up on your board. However, if you are going on a downwinder, paddling in rough water, or SUP surfing in the ocean, you will likely need to wear a thicker wetsuit more appropriate for the conditions.
What TJ and I like to wear best in cold conditions is a really simple farmer-john-style O’Neill Superlite, an inexpensive 2mm throwback to the old days. The Superlite John has front and ankle zips. It works great, is stretchy, easy to get in and out of and is inexpensive, priced at just $99. O’Neill also has a version for the ladies called the Bahia Jane for only $85.
I wear a very thin capilene zip turtle neck underneath the Superlite — the same base layer I would wear skiing — and a fleece or hoodie over the Superlite that I usually peel off once I get going and warm up.
There you have it: chilly conditions for SUP, don’t overdress. If you’re going on a downwinder and know you’re going to be in the water a lot, dress appropriately to stay warm. If you’re paddling in relatively flat, calm water, you probably won’t get wet. So don’t overdress and you’ll be a happy camper!
The 2013 Wide Point Series from Starboard proves to be a favorite for our Oregon Coastal conditions, as it retains a high performance feel on the wave, yet remains stable and forgiving in bumpy waters. After a wonderful summer of surfing the 8’10″ Wide Point, I chose to step down in size to the 8’2″ x 32″ this year. At 130 L, the 8’2″ has a great sense of float for a guy my size (165 lbs.), and has been ridden by friends of mine pushing 200 lbs. With the continuous single concave, there is an added sense of stability complimenting the oversized width.
I can use this to my advantage when blasting through the whitewater, or trying to keep my balance in the moving currents and rips. Like any board, it took a little getting used to, but I’m hoping after a summer of surfing the 8’2, I’ll be able to eventually feel good on the new 7’8″! We have the new 2013 8’2 Wide Point AST Silver in stock for only $1599, a great value for a high performance shape weighing in at only 20 lbs!
Every now and then it comes along, a true game changer. The real deal. Very different from all before it. Rob and I have been sailing it for the past three days.
The Naish Chopper. I hadn’t even heard of it till we went to the Naish loft to pick up gear.
It’s a sail. It comes in four sizes: small, medium, large and extra large. All four sizes rig on a 370. A really refreshing concept in simplicity: it’s windy, I’ll rig my small sail; it’s pretty windy, I’ll rig my medium sail; it’s kinda light, I’ll rig my large sail.
Simplify windsurfing gear. Everyone’s been asking for that for years. But does it work? Yes, it does. The Chopper is arguably the most impressive sail Rob and I have ever tested. I spent all yesterday afternoon on the Small (it was windy), while Rob was on the medium. The first day at Kanaha was pretty light, so Rob sailed the Large. Two days ago he sailed at Kaua in mast high+ with raging conditions on a Small Chopper and said he never even thought about his gear, it was so totally dialed.
Yesterday while I was on the Chopper S, Neil (my new friend from the UK who sails here frequently and is ten pounds heavier than me) was on a 2012 Session 3.7. It was windy. We launched at the same time. After a few reaches, he came in and took a bunch more out haul as the wind had spiked up a notch. I was just loving life on the S. We zoomed around for quite a while, then the wind backed off and Neil took a break. I was still loving life. The Chopper didn’t seem to care that the wind was pulsing, it just stayed perfectly calm. The sail was blowing my mind by now. So solid, so stable, so light in my hands. No tugging or yanking. Awesome.
I finally came in and gave my setup to Neil. He absolutely couldn’t believe it. I had to wave him in after a while so I could go back out. He was having WAY too much fun. He’s going to buy a quiver to take back to the UK.
The Naish Chopper is simply amazing. I look forward to spending a lot more time on it.
Coming soon to Big Winds!
This is one amazing board! Erin was the first of the three of us to sail it on our opening day at Kanaha in really rough, onshore conditions with a sizable swell running. She earned the enduro award for staying out for a sold two hour session. She loved the board. The way it turned, planed, it’s overall feel.
Erin, Rob, Francisco & Lalo Goya, Keith Taboul with a pile of sweet new gear to test!
The next day, I got on it in windy conditions at Camp One. It pretty well blew my mind right off the bat. It seemed I could do no wrong. I’ve not had much love for twin fins in the past, they seemed too squirrelly, with not many redeeming feature sat least in the Gorge conditions I normally sail in. The Tempo, however, proved to be an entirely different animal and it was flat awesome: grippy yet loose, fast, quick and the turns were really, really nice.
I give the 2012 Tempo 76 rave reviews and my highest recommendation for anyone looking for a high performance ride.
Coming soon to Big Winds!
The Starboard Gemini, a tandem windsurfer, got put through its paces last week. Here’s the video.