This week SUPBoarder Magazine released their latest SUPBoard PRO video where they test 7 of the top SUP racing paddle boards. The crew at SUPBoarder conducted an unbiased, indepth review of several factors that impact a rider’s performance with head to head testing to find out which 14’ all water racing SUP board was the champion of all boards. No surprises, the Starboard 2020 All Star came out on top! Here’s what Will Rogers, test pilot & editor at SUPBoarder Mag, had to say;
Summary & Conclusion
“All Star wins best All Water race SUP”
“The Starboard All Star is a very, very fast board even at 26’ wide”.
“The All Star scored well all round while the Wood Carbon offers a very competitive price point.”
“It has got an incredible pick up of speed because of that V hull. It is, however, a lot more technical to use and you are going to have to be much more on it with your footwork, and transitioning to the back of the board for buoy turns and surfing are harder but if you do get the hang of it and understand how this V works on the bottom the board, it is going to be the fastest performing SUP racing board for you.”
The first metric to review was ‘toughness’, which was defined by general wear-and-tear and how well a board handles dings and scrapes. Generally, the matted carbon finished boards are much better at keeping your paddle boards look better for longer as it can hide scratches and dings better than a gloss finish.
They review the handles in depth, the positioning on the board for race set up and how easily you can carry the board. The Starboard All Star was the clear winner in this category with it’s dual handle mount that features a wide array of carry positions due to the optimised multiple plug mount positions. The multiple handle plug position allows riders to create personalised & comfortable carry positions for use in an array of customised race set ups.
Traction Pads 8/10
SUBBoarder looks at the standing area, traction pads all the way back to the tail kick pad. This is a really important aspect to review as the set up can have a huge impact on the user experience and performance. The Starboard All star has a big open deck pad, nicely fitted on to the board and very grippy. The different textures of the full length deck pad helps the rider know their position when transitioning from the main standing area to the tail of the board when performing a step back turn. The tail of the board is also finished with a nice raised kick pad, in just the right place for surfing.
The Starboard Race Ultra fin is a high quality & lightweight race fin which has a very nice construction with the balsa and the Bio-resin finish. It’s the biggest & highest fin in the test, which means the larger area at the back gets you going in a straight line. Overall it’s a great shape fin.
Step Back Turns 7/10
For the step back test (or buoy turn), they looked at the whole process of moving from the general standing area, transition to the tail and back to the front again. The team found that it wasn’t the easiest board to step back turn on and was slightly more technical due to the rounded V hull causing some rocking, however, when you are performing a step back turn it does come around quickly through the corner.
Primary Stability 6/10
For primary stability, they describe how the general stability of the board feels underfoot when you get up and are paddling. Unfortunately SUPBoarder scored the All Star the lowest on this scale. They found the rounded V hull caused the board to roll a bit more than the flat hulled counter parts, which means the rider needs to be well balanced and planted and therefore requiring a bit more effort.
Secondary Stability 10/10
Their definition for secondary stability described how far you can push the board to the edge (lateral roll) before it starts to completely roll over, or capsize. Here things really got shaken up, whereby the All Star scored an incredible 10/10 as it has a huge amount of secondary stability. They pushed the board right over, almost totally vertical, and found they could not roll the board over & capsize it as the big flat rails hold the board and prevent it from rolling completely over exposing you upright.
This is important for keeping the board moving in a straight line, with much of the direction coming from fin size & placement, as well as the ability to rail steer. Once again the rounded V hull requires slightly more concentration than the flatter hulled boards, requiring the rider to tune it in with rail steer to keep it tracking straight.
Ability to Handle Side Chop 7/10
This aspect talks about paddling moderate to rough water conditions where the chop is coming at you at a side on angle. Here they marked down the higher volumed & ticker railed boards as they found the side chop affect these the most compared to the lower volumed front deck boards. Due to the bigger boxy rails they found side chop to attack the board a little more.
Paddling Up Wind 9/10
Conditions for this metric are described as punching upwind into moderate wind & swell size and not big open water conditions. This is where the All Star once again comes into it’s own league, winning this rating with an impressive 9/10. This is where the rounded and big boxy rails really come into play as when you punch under the swell, the top and bottom V combined with the extra volume of the front deck softly pull you out and prevent from deep diving. This prevents the boarding from coming down hard and painting a nice smooth glide over the chop.
Bump Catching 9/10
Defined as sprinting to catch small waves whether it’s technical beach racing or going downwinding ~ i.e. which board gets on the wave the quickest. The All Star once again rises above the rest of the competitors and was said to have an extremely quick pickup and therefore catches waves the fastest.
Nose Handling 8/10
Does the nose get buried if not trimming back enough and how does it handle. The optimised nose volume stops the board from pearling when the nose gets buried keeping the board on track.
Ability and ease with which the board handles once riding on a wave, primarily influenced by tail shape and fin positioning. Surfing right off the back of the tail of the All Star is very comfortable, while the rounded V hull makes it very easy to transition left to right (when changing direction on the wave), however, surfing the All Star in the mid section may be a little more tricky due to the rockier centre V hull and is more suited to the more accomplished SUP racer.
General Comfort/ Ease of Use 6/10
Simply put, ‘how easy is the board to get on and paddle’. Once again, the All Star requires a little more concentration because of the lower primary stability.
For measuring this, they performed a lot of complex speed tests in various conditions using a set cadence. The test include average speed as well as sprinting over set distances whereby the scores were averaged to give a clear winner for each.
The All Star won the comparative sprint test, holding the highest average top speed and quite far ahead of the rest. Even at an inch wider than the other boards the gains from the rounded V hull are clearly evident.
For the average speed test, they measured how far the board travelled in 60 seconds at a consistent cadence across the boards tested. The All Star once again was at the top coming in at 2nd and only narrowly missing the top spot to a 1 inch narrower board, but still far ahead of the rest of the field.
Board Tested: 2020 All Star 14’ x 26” in Wood Carbon construction