In this the first video from our Becoming a ‘Better’ SUP surfer SUPboarder Pro series we look at the most important thing you need to be doing as a surfer – bending your knees. This is key if you want to progress your surfing. The more you bend your knees, the more manoeuvres you will make and the more enjoyable your SUP surfing session will be.
After the release of the Starboard Longboard review this week we thought that we’d take a look at 5 main brand SUP surf Longboards that are available all over the world. Don’t think that these are the only Longboards out there that are worth looking at. They’re just the ones that most of you have been asking about.
Please remember, if you’d like to know about another brand of Longboard or which board would best suit you, send us an email to email@example.com . If you can include information such as your, size, ability, boards you have already used, conditions you like to surf in and of course any particular brands you wish to know about, that would be useful. We haven’t used all the boards out there, but have probably seen it or have heard about it from other riders, so we can definitely give you an honest, independent opinion.
There aren’t many boards out there that can do what the Aqua Marina Rapid can do, and at the price it can do it too. The Aqua Marina Rapid is 100% setup for white water / river paddling, but it can also get you out in the waves too. Many of you have been asking about the Rapid review and we can say that if it’s a good priced, action packed iSUP board you’re after, you’re really going to have to try hard to beat the Aqua Marina Rapid.
White water tester : Ben Payne
Whitewater photos : Polly Weaver
Short and nimble, the Rapid 9’6” is an advanced river SUP delivers easy surfing action with surprisingly radical performance attributes. Featuring stability, ease of use with desired speed and control, the Rapid guarantees unbeatable fun in all types of waves.
Surfing on a wave is a great simple way of enjoying play time with mother nature, without such a risk of broken bones or death like in many other extreme sports! But the want to progress to the next level is only human, and the desire to push that turn a little harder or ride that wave a bit longer is in all of us (even though some of us might hide it a bit better than others!) Don’t get me wrong… comfortably cruising down the mellow clean face of a 2 foot wave is pretty cool. But there’s still something great about watching top level riders in our sport cranking power cutbacks and busting airs on a SUP that makes us want to experience it too… or am I the only one?! But the truth is… Are we ever going to be able to achieve those airs on the boards we are riding? Are the power turns in the critical pocket of the waves achievable on a board that actually floats our weight? Without a doubt, riding smaller boards on waves does make these types of extreme manouvers more achievable. The smaller boards are just setup for it… but are we setup for it? If you want to ride smaller surf SUPs you are going to have to get used to having water over your feet and standing on a board that has to keep moving, otherwise it’s going to be sinking. It’s possible for some of us but it does require a certain skill level, a higher level of fitness and more time on the water. Something unfortunately many of us can’t realistically achieve. But is that the only way? Is using small, unstable, sinking boards the only direction of surf progression for us SUP surfers?… Hell no!
We had to wait for it… but longboard surf SUPs are finally here!
For me when SUP first arrived on the block I was already into longboard and shortboard surfing (pop up style) and must admit like many was abit unsure about SUP surfing at first. Having a go in the surf with a SUP board that was big, very slow and unresponsive, the total opposite to the surf shapes I was previously used to, almost put me off. But after I tracked down a more responsive wave shape and gave it a go I was hooked. As you may know, I love gear, boards in particular… the shapes, the designs and how they effect the riding feel on a wave. I was always amazed that even in the earlier days of SUP there wasn’t really a longboard SUP shape… or one that I would class as a surf longboard shape anyway! 12’x30’’ and weighing 14kg really wasn’t going to tick that box for me! But why wasn’t there? SUP is perfect for this longboard style of boards. I knew what I needed… a 9’-10’ performance surf shape, not too thick in the rail shape.
‘Something that I could still bury a rail in a bigger wave to force a bigger turn or carve off the top…. I just needed to be teleported to NOW! ‘
Looking into the 2019 SUP ranges we finally have a decent number of good looking longboard SUP shapes that really should perform well. I know that some brands have been making good longboard shapes for a while now, but for me it’s not until you have all the big SUP brands joining the party that its time to say that SUP longboarding is really part of the sport. SUP longboards are now available major brands all around the world, not just from small local shapers. Starboard was the icing on the SUP longboard cake for me. Yes they had the Nut boards before but it wasn’t until I saw the new Starboard longboard I got really excited!
What’s so special about Longboards anyway?
It’s simple to explain. Take the tail shape of a good small pro shape board (thin at the rails, with a good amount of tail rocker and a nice fin setup – maybe quad or preferably a US box with small side fins 2+1). Then add 7’ on to it and round the nose off at the front. Then you have a board that’s not that wide but not too narrow, nice and long which gets you into waves super early. But it still has the ability to get you back on the tail to crank a turn almost as hard as a small performance board. Also this board is happy to ride 1’ to 10’ and you won’t have to surf every day to get fit enough to use it. What you can do on a longboard SUP is pretty much anything and if you watch the best longboard SUP surfers they absolutely rip. They’re fast, turn hard, can handle big waves, and the boards allow you to walk the board and nose ride. The surf skills you can pick up on a longboard SUP are immense, and as a result they’re great for personal progression. Compared to longboard prone surfing you really do get the best out of both worlds… surfing and SUP! Or keeping on the theme… have your cake and eat it!
High level aspirations are good but are realistic aspirations better?
So does this mean that we should all sell our small pro shape boards or stop aspiring to use them? No definitely not. But there is a point where you need to be realistic about what you can achieve with your SUP surfing. With enough time on the water every body could get on a small (in relation to their size) performance shaped SUP . But if you put half the amount of time into using a good SUP longboard your progression and level would defintely be higher. Longboard SUPs still require learning new skills, the boards are thinner than most boards and less stable than your average 10’ all round SUP board. But despite all this the performance gain is so much greater. I will still be using my smaller SUP in the surf for sure, but this new generation of longboard SUP really does have me scratching my head to which board to take when I open up the back of my van!
The years to come…
The longboards on the market today are good but there is still a way to go yet to find the perfect shape and design. Just like in surfing, it will never stop. In the next few years I would like to see longboard SUPs available in thinner widths. Not so much that we are sinking like on our shorter boards, but widths around 26’ -27’ would be great to use on a wave. The dream size and shape is still out there for me. But that’s part of the fun… trying to find it!
We look forward to seeing more amping videos from riders like Jackson Close above using 9-10’ boards in the surf, cracking some hard turns and walking the board to get their toes on the nose. The longboard surfing style might not be for everyone but I can guarantee it will put a big smile on your face. I for one will be doing a lot more of it this year. Look out for the feature articles we will be doing over the next few months on SUP surfing longboard techniques and other longboard reviews too. Get out there, give it a go and as always, any questions you have about longboard surfing send them over. I will happily get back to you.
We have a look at the most user friendly race iSUP we’ve tested… the RRD AirRace. It’s the 4th edition RRD AirRace they’ve made, and year after year they have tweaked and tuned the shape and design. The complete AirRace collection comes in the ‘Prefo construction’ which means they’re made from their very best materials, as well as top RRD R&D going into every board. The AirRace is 14’x26” so it’s the narrowest and longest board in their collection. It’s built for full on racing or very fast touring/cruising.
True to all of the RRD equipment we have tested, this is one good looking iSUP that is fast and super easy to paddle.
Fin set up Single US box
Weight 12 kg
Rider size 60-110kg
Other sizes in board range;
14′ x 29″ = 315L
14′ x 26″ = 300L
12′6″ x 29″ = 288L
12’6”x 26″ = 270L
10’6″x 25″ = 230L Kids
Can you imagine being able to go as fast on an inflatable board as you can on a full carbon board? This is what the AIRACE shapes do. Stable, practical and furiously fast! The special narrow nose and straight outline design, a 6” profile thickness and a super flat scoop rocker line makes the perfect recipe for a great competitive board to be used for flat water races and pure pleasure fast rides. Now available into 6 different sizes! Built with a new SDB “Sandwich Dyneema Belt” on bottom and TPB “Thermo Plastic Belt” on the deck that wraps the whole contour of the board from the deck to the bottom as a stringer, the board becomes about 50% stiffer than any conventional inflatable board. Thanks to the Edge PVC Soft Rail, positioned under the board tail, water flows away fast and clean without turbulences.
Sandwich Dyneema belt
Superlight PVC dropstitch
70% Double skin construction
Thermo Plastic Belt
NEW Soft PVC sharp rail edge on the tail drastically improves grip and glide!
A big thank you to all our SUPboarder subscribers for your support over the last few months/years. We are super excited about the new SUPing season ahead. We have loads more top PRO features, reviews and some great head to head kit tests planned.
But we also have new filming gear to use too, thanks to you guys and girls. Your SUPboarder PRO subscriptions have allowed us to buy a new piece of camera gear to help us produce better quality and even more video features. The new Solo Shot Optic 65 self tracking camera will allow us to collect more video footage so we can produce more video content.
So a BIG thanks to you all for the support. It really does mean a lot to the SUPboarder team, and it allows us to continue doing what we do.
Remember… please let us know about any particular features you’d like to see or gear you’d like to see tested. It’s important to the SUPboarder team you receive the content you want to see. We have a few interesting video features coming out soon following the SUPboarder PRO questionnaire. Watch this space!
When it comes to buying an iSUP the choices are vast. And if you are looking at getting on the water for as cheap as possible it can be even harder to know which board is best for the money. Just remember that the cheapest isn’t always the best!
After testing and using hundreds of iSUPs we have put together all the things we have learnt when we’ve been looking at and using iSUPs. In general you do get what you pay for when it comes to iSUPs and their packages, but to be fair in 2018 we have been seeing many good value iSUPs that will get you on the water for a really good price. Hopefully by the end of this video you will have all the information you need to ensure you and your friends get a good SUP for your money.
So lets talk SUP rocker-lines or board rocker shapes. Understanding what rocker is on a board doesn’t have to be complicated or a subject that only applies to more advanced paddlers. Understanding the basics about rocker-line shapes can really give you a good grasp on how certain boards should perform on the water. In this video we look at rocker-lines in the simplest way, and which boards you should expect to see the different types of rocker-lines on.
After numerous questions and comments about which board is best, the Starboard Airline or Red Paddle Co Elite? we decided it was time to get hold of the 2 boards to do the ultimate SUPboarder head to head comparison video. The Starboard Airline Vs Red Paddle Co Elite was going to be a showdown for sure as they are both review and race winning boards.
Thanks to you, our SUPboarder Pro supporters we can bring you this battle of the race boards. Remember if there’s a board you’d like to see go head to head let us know.
Testing notes and observations
The deflection test results this time were different from when we tested the Starboard Airline previously. This time the Airline dropped 2mm less. This could be due to the Airline cable being tighter or readjusted whilst being used by others as a demo board. We try our best to match test and review conditions but this is not always possible.
Now obviously, the more you do something, the better you’ll get at it. But unfortunately spending all day at the beach is just not an option for most of us. But there are afew things you can do in just one session that can really improve your SUP surfing. You just have to remember to do them! So next time you head into the surf, make sure you give them a try if you’re not already.
Once you’ve mastered the basic paddling technique you may want to try paddling with more power. Being able to paddle with a more powerful stroke will allow you to paddle faster and therefore further, and also in tougher conditions, for example into the wind.
Whether you’re a complete beginner to SUP surfing or an experienced surfer it’s important we all play by the rules of surfing. But as well as that, there are some things you can do on and off the water that can make SUP surfing a busy surf break/line up a more relaxing and enjoyable experience for everyone. After many years of being in and on surfing line ups, Reuben from SUPboarder talks about what you can do to make friends in the line up on a SUP.