Meet the pros/Movie Premiere

Meet the Pros at Big Winds, and Movie Premiere at Big Horse Brew Pub!

Free beer served at the shop from 5:30 to 7, then the party moves to Big Horse Brew Pub for food and beer, with movie premiere at 9 o’clock.

We are offering a 2 hr., in store only, deal on all in stock Cabrinha kite gear (kites and boards) from 5 o’clock to 7 o’clock.  Biggest savings of the year!







Women’s Clinics


The Decision

Anyone who windsurfs knows firsthand the dedication and tenacity it takes to learn and develop windsurfing skills. It’s the favorite sport for many — not only for the thrill — but the sheer sense of empowerment and accomplishment.


I’m always inspired to see talented windsurfers on the water. The truth is, sometimes we feel stuck, reaching for the next level and not making it as quickly as we’d like. And let’s face it: women are a minority in this sport. We push ourselves for the love of it, and benefit from inspiration in women around us.

When one of my friends recovered from a bad skiing injury and felt timid about getting back on her board, I thought the best thing I could do to help was sign us up for Big Winds’ Women’s Clinic. There might have been a smidge of self-interest, but it was a great excuse. (Plus a pretty simple task — a single phone call or website click.)

BW.WC.Heidi.Rigging BW.hookingin

We are students!

The first morning, eight women abuzz with nerves met (goddess) Heidi Chappel and her assistant Milena. Introductory conversations outside Big Winds helped us get to know each other, where each was in her windsurfing journey, and even share any fears we had. (Why not throw in some group therapy too?) Experience levels varied. Some sought confidence in the footstraps and harness, while others strived to jibe, or finesse a bomb-proof jibe.

After checking wind reports, Heidi announced we’d caravan to Viento, where the wind was promising and people sparse.

There we watched Heidi on the dryland simulator while she imparted her wisdom. (In “real” life, Heidi teaches high school English — no doubt the kids love her!) Then she distilled what most women were there to work on: the carving step jibe. Everyone had a turn on the simulator to practice Heidi’s stages for the “set-up,” “the carve,” and “the transition. Each part of the jibe had several steps yet within a short amount of time we had them drilled in our heads. It was obvious many ladies learned new pieces that might hold keys to their success.

Preparing our own equipment, Heidi imparted some excellent rigging tips, and key things to look for in a properly (or poorly) rigged sail.

On the water, one instructor sailed with us and the other stood hip-deep near shore, calling out feedback as warranted, and offering heavy doses of praise and encouragement. It’s hard to describe the sensations, surrounded by women sailors in a wave of camaraderie. All of us with the same chant in our heads: “slide, release, mast, boom, boom.”


Day Two – We Want More!

The next day, pumped for more fun, the wind called for another day at Viento, which excited us all.

Two solid days of practice with the right guidance works wonders. It was amazing how each person’s skills improved. Some relearning jibe steps in line with Heidi’s methods. Some who never jibed in their lives occasionally nailed them, gifted by hoots and hollers from camp mates.

At the end, none wanted it to be over. We exchanged email addresses and promises to sail together again. And we hung out with our picnics well past the end of the camp.

For those who have thought about trying Big Winds’ Women’s Clinic, I heartily recommend it. You’ll learn from amazing teachers. You’ll have fun. You’ll make new friends. Most of all, you’ll be empowered, all in the company of inspiring females.


Senator Ron Wyden stops in at Big Winds to celebrate the 4th!

Senator Ron Wyden stops in at Big Winds to celebrate the 4th! We talked with him about paddlboarding and why The Columbia River is such a special playground – all part of his 7 Wonders Oregon tour.



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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031


New in The Gorge – LP Foil Boards

LP-Foils-Spring2015 from LP Foils on Vimeo.

Big Winds is in its second year getting involved with kite hydrofoils, and is happy to announce a retail partnership with local manufacturer LP Composites! LP has come up with a product that has tested extremely well for durability, handling, stiffness and speed. They have just released a very light weight product called the FRS Series Kite Foil, available in two mounting systems (Deep Tuttle, and 4 Hole Plate), and two different strut lengths, 39” and 35”. I’ve had the opportunity to now test the 4 hole plate on my Lift board, with a 39” strut, and first impression was that this was a high performance product…fast, maneuverable, and light! The LP is so stiff, there is absolutely no vibration. I hit my first ever roll tack, as it pivots effortlessly! The Gorge can serve up some pretty harsh conditions, and this foil can handle it! I look forward to testing this foil more, with the 3 different shims that come with it to allow for more or less angle on the rear wing. We are stoked support the first manufactured foil here in the Gorge, and can’t wait to see the products to come (including the windsurf foil!).

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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031


Review: Sailworks 2015 Revolution

IMG_1010This year’s Revos sure look different. But are they better? Staffer Eddy Patricelli spent two weeks riding a quiver of Revos in 12-40 mph winds. Here’s his take. To test ride one for yourself, hop over to Big Winds. Up to $100 in demos can be applied to a sail’s purchase.


Photo by Katie Crafts

What I Like 

Planing Power: The Revos have it. Period. Prior to this photo being taken, I hadn’t planed much on the 5.7 model. When my son hopped aboard I backed off the downhaul and outhaul slightly, connected my boom to the clew’s upper grommet and shazam! Off we went, full plane. My son’s added 35 pounds be damned.

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2015 Revolutions are available in 3.0-6.2 sizes and start at $564. Recommended mast: NoLimitz Sumo RDM.

Control: Over two weeks of testing I have yet to re-rig. A 4.5 in 35 mph winds — I hung on. A 5.0 in 13-20 mph — I planed throughout. From a tractor-like pull, to a soft, supple power sensation, the Revos’ adjustable power profile has kept me sailing, and smiling. I can share these sails with my wife without either of us feeling compromised. A big deal.

Speed: I welcome drag races riding the Revos. I can’t say the same for other wave sails. Coast through lulls, loft higher jumps, blast upwind — the Revo’s slippery nature opens big doors.

What I Don’t Like
The sail’s foot outline is fuller than most wave sails. It adds to the sail’s impressive speed and power. The rub is that it’s cumbersome for spinny freestyle tricks.

Bottom Line: No surprise, I dig the Revos. This wave sail line hasn’t lost sight of the bump and jump sailing most of us do. They’re speedy, powerful, and exciting to ride. That’s a great foundation for any session, waves or not. It’s also why these new Revos will comprise the bulk of our demo sail fleet this summer at Big Winds. Try one for yourself here!

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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031


Review: Naish Starship 100

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Fresh out of the box, this 100-liter model from Naish looked fast, felt light and begged for a ride. So we gave it one … in virtually no wind. That wasn’t our plan. But nor was what happened when we hit the water.

No-Wind Tester: Eddy Patricelli, 185 lbs., 22 years on the water, former board test editor for WindSurfing magazine.

10 – Planing: Most kiters had headed in. Remnant blasts of a 10-20 mph wind day had all but IMG_0929vanished. But I hit the water anyway. Lucked out on a gust, linked it to another, and planed across the river. A total fluke. So I thought. I planed back across again … and again … and so on.

9 – Riding:  This board wants to go. Period. It’s ridiculously fast to plane, and ridiculously fast. Its speed adds coasting power to connect the gusts in big ways. The board comes with a real deal, MFC 32 cm, G-10 FreeWave fin, which adds to the lively, responsive ride.

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100-liters (90-liter pictured), 240 cm X 62.3 cm, 17.5 lbs. w/  straps and fin, $1,929

8 – Turning: I had a hard time assessing jibing. I was dumbfounded to even be planing at all. On a 5.3 Force 5 (review to come), the board kept pace with riders on 7.5-meter sails and 130-plus liter boards. Planing jibes? It turned great. As in, far better than the big boards most were jibing on that day.

9 – Overall Impression: The board wowed me. It offers simple, straight-ahead fun with phenomenal horsepower. Hang on. Hustle for the straps, and from there, try to find the Starship’s top speed. I didn’t, but had a blast trying. So will just about anyone — especially since the Starship comes in 90-, 100- and 115-liter models. My advice: try one (demos here).    

Best Suits: Thrill seekers, dragsters, and gear minimalists. This board’s planing power drops wind minimums, and prioritizes what sailors want most — fast, no-hassle fun.

Score: 36/40


Review: 2015 Windsurf Boards

2015 BW High-Wind Board Test

In the Gorge, 70-80-liter boards aren’t a pipe dream. They’re a staple. So we tested some over lunch … A long lunch. One not-so-happy boss later, here’s our take on the latest quad, thruster and single-fin shapes available here at Big Winds.

Lunch Test Crew:

Matt Morrow

Matt Morrow. Click to enlarge.

Matt Morrow: 180 lbs, 19 years windsurfing, loves swell slashing upwind of Doug’s.

Mark Ames

Mark Ames. Click to enlarge.

Mark Ames: 170 lbs, 32 years of sailing, loves all windsurfing!

Eddy Patricelli

Eddy Patricelli. Click to enlarge.

Eddy Patricelli: 185 lbs, 22 years on the water, former WindSurfing mag board test editor.

Lunch Test SessionFirst impressions matter. That’s what’s at play below: results assembled from three Big Winds staffers rifling through the shop’s demo fleet of 70-80 liter boards over a lunch break that lasted (ahem) 2.5 hours. Of course, one session in 20-30 mph winds off the Hood River Waterfront Park is not a conclusive test. It’s a starting point to help you find your perfect board. More lunch test sessions are to come. Shorter ones. Till then, try these rides for yourself. Two days of board demos ($80) can be applied to a board’s purchase.


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78 liters, 223 X 56 cm, 15.5 lbs. (w/ straps + four fins): MSRP: $2,295

Matt – Planing: It surprised me. It’s the only quad in this test and its planing performance hung in there with the fleet. Riding: Its bottom shape has so much vee I expected a radical ride. Instead, it was easy to sail. It tracked well and was exceptionally behaved. Not the fastest of the bunch, but fast enough. Turning: This board shined in the turns, begged to be spun around and to be put on a true wave. Best Suits: Advanced riders under 190 lbs. who want an amazing wave board that’s also suitable for freestyle in high winds.

Eddy – Planing: Not the earliest to plane. Not far off the others, but my 185 pounds felt wind lulls a bit more on this board. Riding: It’s friendly and controlled over chop. Fast too, thanks to its forgiving ride, which inspired me to keep the pedal down. If anything, I’m anxious to try the Goya Custom Quad’s larger sibling, the 84-liter model. My hunch is this quad can be ridden a size up when matched with heavier sailors. Turning: On edge, it had no rivals. Hands-down winner for swell riding and carving fun. Best Suits: Intermediate to experts looking for a fun ride that prioritizes maneuverability; anyone headed for Punta San Carlos.


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77 liters (93 pictured) 228 X 56 cm, 14.25 lbs. (w/ straps + thrusters) MSRP: $2,455

Matt – I’ll break form and cut to the chase: This was my favorite board. It planed quickly, was fast and lively, yet it stuck to the water when I wanted it to. In short, the board made me feel like a hero. I planed out of my turns, jumped higher than I thought I would, and was lightning fast on a reach. I did notice the carbon construction’s stiffness in the chop, but the board was just so much fun to sail otherwise that I could not wipe the smile off my face. I would recommend this board to anyone that wants to put it in my car and get me on it again.

Eddy – Planing: It would’ve taken the top spot in planing performance if not for the Starboard Kode Freewave 81, which has a slight size advantage. Regardless, this JP had me hustling for the foot straps for the right reasons. Riding: The thruster fin setup offered what felt like all-wheel drive underfoot. On this board (and the Naish Global S) I never spun out, nor topped out — great for jumping. Turning: Good in the corners, but not quite as agile as the Goya Custom Quad or Quatro Mono, perhaps because it felt like I was entering turns with exception speed. Best Suits: Virtually everyone, with the exception of novice high-wind sailors. This model’s Pro Edition carbon construction favors experience.


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78 liters, 222 cm X 57 cm, 15 lbs. (w/ straps + 3 fins) MSRP: $2,399

Matt – Planing: Super quick to plane. It’s a board that will get you on the water when most are stuck on the beach. Riding: Through the chop I noticed the extra tail width — it wasn’t the smoothest ride — but it would be a dream board for the light-medium size sailor on a wave at the coast. Turning: The unique tail shape allowed tight snappy turns. Best Suits: Beginner to advanced wave sailors tackling onshore conditions.

Eddy – Planing: This Naish rivaled the JP Freestyle Wave 78 and the Starboard Kode Freewave 81 in early planing, but it bettered them in its ability to hold a plane in the turns and through the lulls — an ideal attribute for back-foot-heavy sailors and real-world wave conditions. Riding: Tame, controlled for me, and plenty fast. Turning: It didn’t turn as tightly as the Goya Custom Quad or Quatro Mono Single, but it did carry speed on edge better than any board I can recall … ever. Best Suits: Those seeking one board for both bump-and-jump and wave sailing. East Coasters who want a powerful board for the imperfect conditions they face.

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78 liters, 240 X 55.8 cm, 15 lbs. (w/ straps & fin), MSRP: $1,995


MattPlaning: This single-fin model shot onto a plane (and shot upwind with speed ) like no other in the test. Riding: I felt dialed in instantly, and its straight-line performance was so good I began to worry it wouldn’t turn well. Turning: As soon as I put it on its rail the Mono responded. Not with a skatey type of turn. The Mono required me to commit, and get forward to utilize the whole rail. So much fun in swells. Best suits: Gorge sailors looking for a classic single-fin shape to blast around on, tear swells apart and fly past their friends.

Mark – Planing: It’s longer and narrower than others, but it planes just as quickly. Riding: Step on and go. This “modern classic” felt settled motoring through the rough stuff. Comfortable footstraps and pads soaked up the bumps. It has great straight line tracking stability, and feels engaged — eager for rider input. Did I mention it also jumps like a rocket? Turning: It’s a blast! Drawn out jibes are a dream, and snappy, rail-to-rail quickness is there as well. After riding multi-fin wave boards for the last 2 years, the Mono felt like reuniting with an old best friend. Best Suits: Experienced sailors who want a lively, fast, more traditional feeling wave/bump board.

Eddy – Planing: I expected this single-fin board to plane earlier than the fleet. And while it was near the top, I still gave a slight planing edge to its JP and Starboard rivals. Riding: There’s comfort in things you know. This old-school shape (longer, narrower) had that favorite-pair-of-jeans quality. Easiest of the fleet to sheet in and go. Turning: Against modern shapes, it surpassed all but the Goya Custom in carving prowess on my scorecard. Not bad for a “classic”. Best Suits: Sailors looking to keep it simple. A proven shape, a single fin — why complicate what works?


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75 liters, 227 X 55.2 cm, 15 lbs. (w/ straps & three fins), MSRP: $2,335

Matt – Planing: It popped up onto a plane, and somehow felt like the whole board was up out of the water — almost like a hydrofoil. Riding: Control on the Sphere was unsurpassed. Its unique planing sensation translated into an extremely smooth ride. I was challenging mother nature to bring on the gusts. Turning: Turns were easy. The thruster fin setup handled tremendous amounts of pressure with no spinouts. Best Suits: This is a great board for intermediate sailors looking for fun and control, or advanced sailors looking to transition to a thruster from a single-fin background. I felt like this board was made for Gorge riding.

Mark – Planing: It’s a high-energy ride that’s quick to plane. Riding: This board really balances the characteristics of a single fin and multi-fin boards alike. Early planing and fast, but super quick rail to rail, with loads of grip in the turns. Best Suits: It’s a great choice for those who sail both coastal and inland locations, and seek a powerful, ultra-responsive wave board. 75-115 liter models offer a size for every sailor and condition.

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81 liters, 231 X 57.5 cm, 16 lbs. (w/ straps + 3 fins) MSRP: $1,999


Matt – Planing: It offers a lively, engaging ride, and it was easy to get planing. Riding: I was impressed by it’s smooth and controlled ride, probably due to the comfiest foot straps and pads that I’ve ever slipped my feet into. I did, however, have a few spinouts, but I sail with a lot of back foot pressure. Turning: For me, this was the easiest board to jibe of the test. It also carried speed through turns like no other. Best Suits: It’s a perfect high-wind board for an intermediate sailor to master their jibes or advanced sailors looking for a smooth riding bump and jump board.

Mark – Planing: The Kode Freewaves have a reputation for early planing. No exception here. This board jumped up to speed. Riding: The combination of a nicely domed deck, and the most most comfortable foot straps and deck pads I’ve ever used provided a very connected feel. The board was incredibly stable through chop. Very confidence inspiring. Turning: One of the easiest jibing boards I’ve sailed in a while. Carries speed through carves as if on autopilot, while the thruster fin setup offers a loose, playful feel. Best Suits: It’s such a comfortable, rewarding board to sail, it’ll deliver for a wide range of sailors.

Eddy – Planing: This board planed the earliest of all of ‘em for me. So early, I had to check that it was the Technora (read: not carbon) model. Riding: The low-profile nose provided a controlled, nose-down ride that kept me on the gas in the gusts. Also, the word “range” haunted my session on this board. It planed early, was the biggest board in this fleet, and somehow felt the most well-behaved when I was overpowered. That’s a big claim. Turning: Solid performance here too. Best Suits: Anyone who wants a board with an unrivaled wind range and an exceptionally smooth ride; one-board quiver seekers.

Goya Boards
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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031


2015 Performance Race Board Test

Types of SUPs:
Starboard All Star
Bark D2
Naish Javelin LE
Infinity Blackfish
SIC X-14 Pro Lite
SIC X-14 Pro

Test team:
Steve Gates: 65 years old, 5’9”, 150 lbs.
TJ Gulizia: 39 years old, 5’10”, 165 lbs.
Jon Davies: 39 years old, 6’0”, 190 lbs.
MacRae Wylde: 51 years old, 5’10”, 170 lbs.
Ford Huntington: 17 years old, 5’11”, 175 lbs.
Don Wiley: 53 years old, 5’9”, 152 lbs.

Smooth water with a light breeze

A few words about our Test Team:

“With an amazing array of new 2015 high performance race boards in our shop, I wanted to get the best read possible on how these boards compare. I rounded up a very experienced group of guys with plenty of SUP races under their belts over the past decade. Among the group we have multiple wins and podiums all over the U.S., including Battle of the Paddle, Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge, Oregon Open Ocean Classic, Round the Rock, Willamette Cup, Carolina Cup and more. We have all paddled a ton of boards over the years and were stoked to get together and chase each other around on some of the fastest fourteens on the planet. As you can see from our comments we have varying impressions of the boards. This is good and as it should be. ” -Steve Gates




Starboard All Star 14′ x 25” Custom Carbon 269 L. 25 lbs $3399:

Steve: This All Star is very fast and slippery feeling. Not the most stable, but the glide and acceleration are excellent. It would be best-suited for advanced and expert paddlers up to +/- 185 lbs. who want a fast board in a wide variety of conditions.
TJ: Fast! This board speaks to me. The one characteristic that stands out is the flex pattern. Positive and negative “yaw” allowing the board to get to maximum speed from a dead start. Not the lightest, but certainly one of the fastest. Best for paddlers who want to excel in a variety of conditions – very versatile.
Jon: Nice water release, glides well. I like the new deck height. Fairly stable, great top end speed. This was my favorite board of the test. Best for a flat-water race.
Macrae: This is the go-to, all around board. It has the ability to perform in any conditions. No matter who was on it, it seemed to perform, and it had the fastest GPS time of any test. It’s a little taller than last year’s, and has a distinct, stiff feel when you get on it. Very stable and tracks well. Best for a medium-to-large person who expects to paddle in many different conditions. My favorite.
Don: This and the Bark were my favorites. When the All Star got up to speed it had a balanced and consistent feeling in all directions relative to the light wind and chop from other boards. Tracking didn’t seem to be affected by the wind. It would be a great race or all-around board for someone my weight or above.
Ford: Incredibly fast and responsive board. It really cuts through the water with ease. Fast acceleration and is able to hold a steady, fast pace. It’s best suited for anyone looking to really bring their overall athletic ability up. Whether you’re working out or racing, the All Star doesn’t disappoint in any areas. I’d say you need relatively good balance to paddle a board like this. If you like recessed decks (some people don’t) then this is the board for you.




Bark D2 14’ x 26” Pro Elite 238 L. 27 lbs. $2449

Steve: This board has characteristically smooth Joe Bark feel. Effortless and quick, it’s fast, stable, and easy to turn. It would be best for intermediate to expert paddlers +/- 180 lbs. who want a fast, stable board in even bumpy conditions.
TJ: A great addition to the Bark line-up. The D2 is as fast as any of the 14’ x 26” boards tested, the low profile shape is great in crosswind conditions, and it doesn’t get pushed around. The tray (standing area) is comfortable with contours under foot, allowing the paddler to feel their position on the deck. Best for paddlers up to 185 lbs., looking for a fast 14’ race board that excels in dead flat to crosswind.
Jon: Nice mix of stability and speed. Loved the extended flat deck surface. The long, narrow nose seemed to cut the water well without inhibiting turning. Broad tail should allow for some downwind ability. While it may not be the absolute fastest, it was really easy to paddle. Best for a mid-sized paddler in flat to moderate conditions.
MacRae: Fast, comfortable board. There will not be any tricks in learning how to ride it. It is quiet and slices through the water with ease. The top-end speed was great, it was easy to sit in the draft train. It’s quite stable and tracks well. The best part of this board is there’s nothing wrong with it! Would work well for medium-to-large people looking for a race board that’s easy to paddle.
Don: This board stood out for me. It had a light, agile, close-to-water feeling that I didn’t quite get with other 14-footers. Very stable for its width, easy to sink for pivot turns, still quite secure. The nose buried in chop a few times when I moved towards the front of the deck pad, but I couldn’t tell at all by feeling. The white bottom paint is a bonus for someone whose board spends a lot of time on the roof of a car. It would be a great race or all-around board for light paddlers. I think it would be fine for down to 130 lbs. or so.
Ford: The D2 was as stable as a 26” with the responsiveness of a board much narrower. Felt solid underfoot, and turned extremely fast. Best suited for anyone. I’d say it would be a great first race board or a board for someone who’s been racing for years.




Naish Javelin LE 14’ x 26” L. 20 lbs. $3999

Steve: Deceptively fast, very smooth and quite stable. As a wider board, it’s more stable, but it’s also the lightest and really responsive to each paddle stroke. Turns easily. It would be best for intermediate to expert paddlers up to 200 lbs. that want a single board for a wide range of conditions.
TJ: Very stable, comfortable standing area, and light! One of the lightest constructions offered at only 21 lbs. I like the flat deck, no water pools, and it’s easy to run around on. Best for anyone looking to compete at the highest level and stand atop the podium!
Jon: Nice flat deck with a great traction pad. Seems plenty fast but position on the board is critical. I really like everything about it except the low-pointed nose, which tends to dig into the water if you’re not careful. Seems best for larger paddlers, flat water only.
MacRae: This board is super stable. It feels wider than 26” but paddles well in flat water. It seems like the nose is designed to go over the water rather than a wave piercing through the water – to make this work you have to stand a bit further back than on other boards. It can catch in a draft train, but once you find the sweet spot it tracks well and is fast. This board can support anyone, but it might feel big for a small person, and a larger person would be rewarded for testing different fore and aft positions.
Don: Unfortunately I didn’t give the Javelin a fair chance – I found it kind of squirrely and had a tough time staying in a draft train. In hindsight, I was standing way too far forward, this was putting the nose too deep in the water and causing it to wander from side to side. Next time I’ll stand a little behind the paddle. This board would’ve been fine (maybe ideal) for my weight if I’d stood farther back.
Ford: Naish always makes a solid board. And the 2015 Javelin still holds that same standard Naish is known for. Fast and stable in all conditions, his board is great for anyone over 150 lbs. It’s also a great board for some of the bigger guys looking for stability without compromising their speed.




Infinity Blackfish ST 14’ x 26” Custom Carbon 22 lbs.

Steve: This board is an attention getter with a custom carbon look and three-fin configuration. It’s light, fast, and moves well in smooth water. The lifted nose allows for excellent control in rough conditions. Best for: advanced to expert paddlers up to 190 lbs. wanting a downwind capable, all-conditions race board.
TJ: This custom board is different than any other SUP I’ve paddled. It is by far the most stable 25” board I’ve ever paddled. The three-fin configuration is interesting, effective for stability, tracking and speed. It feels light and nimble, but the water that “whiskers” off the nose is different than boards with a piercing nose. Excels in bumpy water, and will get you to the front of the pack at “moto-cross” mass start races. Best suited for anyone looking for stability in a narrow width. Versatile for bumps and downwind runs too!
Jon: Very stable and easy to paddle. It has a curious but pleasant water release. The unique fin setup is intriguing. Not sure who it would best be suited for.
MacRae: Just looking at the board you can’t help but think wow – that is different! The narrow nose, wide and thick tail, and three fins is certainly a different configuration from what we’re used to seeing. Rides well over water, made the most splash of the test. Speed-wise, it was right there with all the others. Because of the big tail, this board seemed really stable. Easy turns. It seemed to come out of the water with each stroke – it surged ahead. My impression was that a bigger paddler with a powerful stroke would be best for this board, but the volume and stability could support anyone.
Don: Hmm. It had a different feel but I’m not sure why – probably because I was psyched out by thrusters on a race board. It hung in the draft train well and responded well to sweep turns. Pivot turns took a little more effort than the others. I felt like I was a little too light for this one – maybe best for 160 lbs. and up.
Ford: Interesting board. At first I wasn’t sure what I thought of it but it definitely grew on me. The Blackfish seemed very rigid in the water. Kick turns were very comfortable on this board, most likely because of the tri-fin setup. If you like a board that can hold its speed and accelerate when you need it to, this is for you. It’s very different from any board I’ve ever been on, but I could see anyone looking for something different really enjoying it.




SIC X-14 Pro Lite 14’ x 24” 253 L. 23 lbs. $2799

Steve: The Pro Lite is fast and sleek. The glide and acceleration are impressive, as well as the speed. This was the narrowest board, but didn’t lack for stability. Very fun and very fast, this board would be best for advanced to expert paddlers under 180 lbs. looking for an elite-level race board.
TJ: Speed over stability, but manageable for only 24”! It gets to speed quick and stays there. The standing area is slightly recessed, allowing the side of your foot to find a wall to brace off when stepping back for a pivot turn. Best for light-weight riders (175 lbs. and under) looking for a fast board that will keep speed with little effort in strength, but willing to be challenged in bumpier waters.
Jon: Really more stable than you would guess for a board of this width. It’s too small for me but for someone less than 170 it would be a good alternative. Best suited for flat-water racing.
MacRae: Looks fast, was fast. This board slid through the water with ease. What I really liked was there was almost no slowing or drag as you finished your stroke. Even at speed, the board seemed to hold its momentum, and was the smallest board in the test. It’s easy to paddle. Would best suit smaller to medium paddlers, and larger paddlers with good agility. I think it would be best for someone with an efficient stroke over a power stroke.
Ford: One of my new favorite boards. Feels just like the X-14 Pro, just narrower. Has that kind of responsiveness that a skateboard or a short board surfboard does despite being 14 feet. This is the perfect board for someone my size. Best for: someone who is very confident with their balance. It’s not for anyone – it’s an extremely high performance board made for the paddler who is relatively advanced in their stroke and overall technique.




SIC X-14 Pro 14’ x 26” 253 L. 23 lbs. $2799

Steve: Stable and fast, bigger guys can take this board in almost any conditions and have a great time. A proven, competitive elite-level race board. Best suited for an intermediate to expert paddler up to 200 lbs. looking for a single board for many conditions.
TJ: I paddled the SIC X-14 all last season and loved it! The SCC construction puts it at one of the lightest options in its class at only 23 lbs.! The X-14 Pro seems to have a very efficient waterline that maxes out from nose to tail, and the low profile shape doesn’t get pushed around in cross winds. Best for someone looking for a fast 14’ elite class board, for coarse racing, sprints, and even mild downwind.
Jon: This board has rounded rails, which can leave the paddler feeling vulnerable at first. Once you realize it’s actually quite stable, you can settle down and pick up speed. It’s fast – great water release and it seemed to be the best gliding. Best suited for flat-water racing.
MacRae: This board is a flat-water machine. It’s very predictable, fast, and has a good glide. The board accelerated well and was not difficult to keep at a high rate of speed. It doesn’t feel wide, but it’s very stable. Best suited for small paddlers looking for a stable, fast board, or for medium and large paddlers looking for a fast flat-water board.
Don: Great glide and tracking, and very comfortable in the draft train. It seemed to take a little more effort to make small direction changes than the others. This board is fine for m weight, but for a one-board quiver I’d lean more towards the Bark, All Star, or Javelin.
Ford: This is one of the most solid boards out there. It just feels incredible to paddle. It’s the perfect combo between a board that is fast and a board that’s quick- it can accelerate really well, but can also hold a fast pace no problem. Great board. This is best for someone who’s really looking to get faster. Its stability will throw you off at first if you aren’t used to narrower boards, but once you get used to it, I don’t think you could go wrong.

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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031