BLEND DRIVE 10’5
The Blend Drive is a real pleasure from unboxing the premium fins, using the perfectly centred ledge handle to first strokes out on the water. The 10’5 will do anything you ask of it on flat water outside of earnest racing, but its magic is revealed riding swells. It makes everything so easy; OK riders looking for the flashiest turns won’t be looking for a 10’5 board but for so many riders and so many situations, the Blend Drive makes proper sense.
The Blend Drive bears a very familiar template to Starboard’s classic 10’5 Drive of old. The broad, rounded nose is obvious while the swept in, rounded tail hints at looseness on the wave. Built using the Starlite technology with very strong Innegra carbon rails and renewable pine impact zone under your feet, this is a tough board. The ledge handle is a delight. The Drive carries a flattish rocker running out to a tail-kick which should liven up turns and nose lift to reduce pearling on take-off.
The do-it-all shape for one board quiver. The fuller nose makes it easier to paddle onto waves and improves stability for nose riding. It has a stable shape with good glide and impressive wave riding performance. Low entry nose rocker allows for early entry into waves. The Blend Drive has a heavy tail rocker and V for improved maneuverability out of turns. The full nose allows for nose riding with a wide tail for a greater stability when stepping back on the tail.
Like settling into your favourite armchair to watch a classic action movie. The Blend Drive feels like a stand up paddleboard should…it paddles well, catches waves with ease and has enough spark to keep you wanting more. A ‘does what it says on the can’ type of situation, which is just fine by me! The ledge handle is supreme and perfectly balanced with the fins in. For those wanting longboard style surfing with almost ‘cheating’ stability and wave catching, the Drive just about stands up as a surf sup in its own right, it is the sup equivalent of a ‘fun board’ that you’d grab for average conditions. When you factor in its easy glide it won’t feel stale on a river or lake pulling touring duties either. The dilema for surf-focussed paddlers is whether they will go for the comfortable apple-crumble appeal of the Drive – huge wave count, easy roll-in take offs, and as drama-free a paddle out as you can get, or the skill-stretching Starboard Longboard? Paddlers expecting even a 70/30 split to their surfing / flat water paddling should be very satisfied with the Drive, and if you live some hours from the surf but that’s where your heart is, this is a very practical choice.