TEST REPORTS – STEP ON
Test Editor Dave Ewer // Photos Dave Ewer.
Of the many advantages that a sup surfer has over their prone brethren, one of the biggest and most fundamental is potential water time. You may live several hours from a breaking wave but unlike a prone surfer, time spent on flat water with your new board is not time wasted.
This test review was originally published in the Winter 2018 issue
of SUP International Magazine.
SUP surfing, unlike prone surfing, has a bifurcated learning arc consisting of wave skills, and board handling skills. Paddling in wind, chop, honing step back turns, cross bow rudders, working on paddling speed and power when you’re not able to surf is productive stuff. You could make a special effort to get these sessions in or you could just take your new surf sup out on your regular paddles with friends and family.
Building these skills adds up to you being able to use a smaller, more throw-about-able board than you may currently be riding, which adds up to more speed, bigger turns and more fun on the wave. It should be remembered that a smaller board is relative to the individual. If your current board is a 250 litre plus 10’6 inflatable, then the Bic Tough Performer 11’6 is going to feel pretty responsive. In fact, this bright, durable, affordable board would make a great entry level into the world of surfing. If the idea of progression in a more, well, progressive manner appeals then the Starboard Longboard in its 9’0 shape must be checked out. This low-volume performance nose-rider has stacks of accessible performance for intermediates and above. Ambitious surfers looking to mount a vertical attack will be impressed with the RRD I-Wave 8’0; simply one of the best high performance surf sups we’ve tested yet, this light-weight board is also quite beautiful to behold.
Fanatic’s Pro Wave 8’5 offers a dependable and dynamic step-down for riders ready to move on from their 9’0 all-rounder. It goes well in a broad wave range and custom surfboard look sets it off. Finally, the JP Surf Pro 8’1 is likely the fastest board we’ve set foot on. The construction means it will last for many years and international surf trips and it would feel at home from Bantham to Barbados.
Mastering a new board and then progressing your surfing sets up an incredibly rewarding feedback loop. It can be daunting to consider stepping down to a smaller board but if we let that stop us we’d never have started to sup in the first place. Progress happens quick; set yourself up with a new ride and within three months you can expect to blow your old level out of
the water. SUP International
BOARDS IN THIS TEST: