Category Archives: Gear

2014 Naish Mana 8’10

Reflecting back to Christmas Day, 2013, on the Oregon Coast, it was my introduction to what has become one of my favorite SUPs in the surf, the 2014 Naish Mana 8’10. In 2015 the Mana 8’10 will have only a graphics change so Big Winds nabbed some of the remaining 2014s to offer our customers at a screaming deal.

The 2014 Mana 8’10 GT (wood construction) is a beauty both on the water and off. With the exposed wood veneer on the top deck, it is arguably one of the cleanest looking boards on the showroom floor. This full wood sandwich deck offers more than a naturally pleasing look, it allows for the board to flex more naturally and freely too. A wood veneer laminate optimizes strength, and reduces weight to only 20.7 pounds, including the 3/4 deck pad.

2014 Naish Mana 8'10 at Big Winds

photo: Gorge-Us Photography

The 2014 Mana 8’10 is also available in the GS construction (standard glass matrix w/ wood standing area). This is a great option for the same shape at a price point value. The GS construction only weighs 2 pounds more, but is $200 less!

The 8’10 Mana is one of the most forgiving boards I’ve ridden, not too wide, and not too narrow. I really enjoy the 30.5″ width and at 133L, it’s super stable for riders up to 200 pounds. The compact design works really well for us here in Oregon where conditions can get challenging. When you’re on the wave, the exaggerated tail rocker and V bottom shape makes it easy to turn and carve down the line, too.

Now is the time to secure a great surf SUP for “real world conditions” at a discount of $400 off the retail price! Big Winds offers 10% discounts for any accessory with the purchase of a new 2014 Mana 8’10 GT, so if you need a board bag, an upgraded fin set, paddle, leash etc, now’s the time to grab one!

-TJ

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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

Starboard Astro Inflatables

Of the many disciplines one can pursue in Stand Up Paddling, the Touring Inflatable category has become an increasingly popular one. Using an inflatable SUP for touring has many advantages: easy to travel with, light weight, very durable and stow-able. Starboard has been offering two different touring sizes in their Astro line up, a 14′ and 12’6. These boards are stable and fast, allowing one to show up at any flat body of water, pump up, and go for a casual paddle or more.

Starboard Astro at Big WindsThe Astro Touring boards are a great choice for people who don’t have the space to store a long SUP or don’t have a rig to transport one. They’re for folks who are vacationing to far away places, where wave riding isn’t the primary goal. They’re for the adventurer who is hiking into a remote area for the solitude of paddling where people are few in numbers.

Starboard Astro at Big WindsThese boards are stiff enough to paddle with little to no bounce, when inflated to the recommended pressure of 18 psi. They have enough volume to accommodate any paddler weight, including your favorite SUP buddy or gear for self-support overnighters. I keep a couple of boards on hand in the RV at all times and forget they are even there. We have a 12’6 for my wife and a 14′ for me. We’ll stumble upon places we hadn’t even thought about paddling at and be ready at the drop of the hat. The idea of packing away a 12’6 board and 14′ board and completely forgetting that they are with you is great! They travel by air easily, too! Taking the 12’6 to the Caribbean for touring and snorkeling was one of the best trips I can remember.Starboard Astro at Big Winds

The 2014 Starboard Inflatables are still in stock, and we are closing out the 14′ and 12’6 models. When considering size, don’t let the 14′ fool you, it packs down almost as light and as small as the 12’6 and paddles faster, too. Give us a call if you are in the market for a new Touring board, as the inflatable options are better than ever.

-TJ

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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

2015 Cabrinha Tronic and Ace Twin-Tips

Big Winds offers a number of really fun twin tips for 2015, a couple of stand out boards from Cabrinha are the updated Tronic and new Ace.

The 2015 Tronic is a really fun twin tip for boosting and riding in surf and swell. Its updated shape this year is quite noticeable from the years past with the new Parabolic Rail offering a stiffer feel under foot, allowing for a very responsive tip and tail. If choppy waters are an issue in your riding venue, the new Tronic provides one of the smoothest rides with the deep V and quad concave bottom contour. 2015 Cabrinha Tronic at Big WindsThe softer curved tips and rounded rail means no more tip spit in your eyes and allows you to turn on a dime! Available in 3 sizes, my preference is the mid size at 141/42cm (I’m 5’10” and 165 lbs).

Cabrinha offers a completely new design with the new Ace twin-tip. A combination of the ever popular Custom and X-Caliber, the new Ace implements the same Parabolic Rails as the Tronic, but has a quad concave to quad V bottom. 2015 Cabrinha Ace at Big WindsWith slightly less rocker than the Custom, but a bit more than the X-Caliber, the new Ace gets up on a plane quickly, and provides a very fast and smooth ride. This Freestyle/Freeride twin-tip is certainly going to be a big hit for people riding in a variety of water conditions and experimenting with a variety of riding styles.

Both the Tronic and ACE are built from a vertically laminated Paulownia wood core with a new volcanic basalt laminate offering both vibration resistance and added durability. The new Hex Flow fins are another unique addition to the 2015 line-up, with a dimpled pattern over the surface of the fin comparable to that of a golf ball. The hex pattern helps to create a boundary layer assisting in the laminar flow over the fin. New rails, new construction and new fins all add to a very new feel in the twin-tip category for 2015.

-TJ

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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

Review: Imagine Connector SUP

When Hawaiian waterman Dave Kalama teamed up with Imagine Paddle Surf, we knew there was something in the works for the ultimate downwind SUP. Leave it to one of the guys who started it all to shape a fun, forgiving and fast downwind board. The 2014 Imagine Connector is a very worthy SUP and is a steal at only $1599.

Available in 2 sizes, the 14’x 27″ and 14’x 29.5″, the Imagine Connector looks different than any other downwind board we’ve carried here at Big Winds, with lots of volume up front and thinned out through the tail. This works so well in the swell and has been tested in some of the

Imagine Connector

Imagine Connector. Click to enlarge.

biggest swell the Gorge has to offer. No matter how deep the bow wants to penetrate, the high volume, sleek piercing nose prevents the board from pearling. It allows you to really want to punch into the bump ahead of the trough you are gliding in and keeps you committed with little to no worries of diving the nose deep. The thinned out tail makes sense, as there is nothing for the wind or side swell to push on laterally throwing you off balance from behind. Foot steering is also super responsive due to the low volume tail section. Once committed to the glide, the board really accelerates to the next bump and “connects” with ease.

The 2014 Imagine Connector is available in one construction, but is relatively light for a non-carbon board. The 27″ wide model weights 28 pounds and the 29.5″ wide model comes in at 29 pounds. When the 2015 Connector launches, it will only be available in a custom carbon/wood construction, and will retail for close to $1000 more! Now’s the time to grab a 2014 Connector at a steal of a deal!

Smaller Sizes for Quickblade Trifecta and V Drive

The hottest race paddles on the planet for 2014 are now available in smaller sizes and Big Winds has them!

Since last spring when the Quickblade V Drive and Trifecta blades burst onto the racing scene, they have pretty well dominated almost all events. From the M2O, to the Naish Gorge Paddle Challenge, to the BOP, more podiums have been claimed by racers using these two blades than any other.

The Trifecta (a Travis Grant / Jim Terrell design) previously only offered in a 96 square inch blade now has an 86. The same goes for the V Drive (a Dave Kalama / Jim Terrell design). Previously offered in a 91 and 101 it is now available with an 81 square inch blade. This is a huge opportunity for lighter paddlers looking for powerful, high cadence blades.

Quickblade paddles at Big Winds

Big Winds GM Steve Gates with the Trifecta 86 (left) and the V Drive 81.

Sound too small? Maybe, maybe not! Consider that Quickblade owner Jim Terrell and 10 time M2O Champion Jamie Mitchell, both used a new V Drive 81 at this fall’s BOP!

A couple of days ago, our new V Drive 81 and Trifecta 86 arrived and I jumped at the chance to put them through their paces on the water. Never mind that the air was 40°, it was raining and the water had dropped to a cool 45° — I had been looking forward to testing these new blades for awhile!

Quickblade paddles at Big Winds

Steve, with the (left to right) Trefecta 86 and 96 and the V Drive 81, 91 and 101.

I’ve logged a ton of hours on the V Drive 91, including this summer’s M20, and was anxious to see how the smaller 81 felt. Being a lighter guy, at 150, and after talking with Jim about it, I guess I was predisposed to thinking it would feel great in the water. It didn’t disappoint. In fact, both the V Drive 81 and the Trifecta 86 felt magical. A solid catch, with zero flutter through the power phase, trademarks of the larger sizes in both blades, were there in spades and both blades generated plenty of power.

Either one of these new blades, the V Drive 81 and the Trifecta 86, will be a perfect choice for those paddlers looking for a powerful, smooth blade that can go the distance.

-Steve

Quickblade paddles at Big Winds

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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

Patagonia at Big Winds

The newly redesigned Patagonia wetsuits and newly introduced drysuit caught our attention this year and thought they would be a perfect fit to the Big Winds offering for Fall 2014 and Spring 2015. Patagonia has always stood by a mission that has inspired us: To build the best product, to cause no unnecessary harm and to use business to implement solutions to the environmental crisis. After hearing about the new upgrades from local Patagonia ambassador Jason Slezak, we thought there is no better time then now to offer our clientele a new wetsuit and drysuit option at Big Winds.

Patagonia wetsuits have a new exterior fabric this season. It is 88% recycled polyester, ultra durable and water-resistant. The wrists, ankles and knees are built with a very durable and long lasting Supratex material that overlaps well with gloves and booties. These updated suits are now 100% externally seam sealed, triple glued, blind stitched and internally taped on high stress areas.

Big Winds carries the new R2 and R3 back zip wetsuits. The R2 is rated for water temps of 55-60 degrees and has worked perfectly so far on the Columbia River this fall. The 3.5 mm neoprene is located in the torso and thighs and is reduced to 3 mm in the arms. The R2 is lined with a

Patagonia R2 wetsuit at Big Winds

Patagonia R2 wetsuit. Click to enlarge.

green interior fabric in the body. This fabric is 67% recycled polyester and very hydrophobic, allowing for minimal water uptake and quick drying. The arms and legs are lined with a blue lining, which is 100% recycled polyester and ultra stretchy. The easy-access center back zip entry has an internal gasket to prevent water from flushing down the back, maximizing comfort. The R2 suit is easily as warm as any other 4/3 mm suit out there and retails for $389.

Patagonia R3 wetsuit at Big Winds

Patagonia R3 wetsuit. Click to enlarge.

The R3 suit is rated for water temps of 48-55 degrees and will be our go to winter and early Spring suit. The thickness bumps out to 4.5 mm in the torso/thighs and is lined with a mid-weight chlorine-free merino wool. It’s the wool that makes this suit feel like you are inside a toaster oven, offering the warmth of a 5/4 mm suit, without the bulk and thickness of a 5/4 mm. The same green polyester lining used in the R2’s torso is used in the R3’s arms and legs for maximum stretch and warmth. The new R3 back-zip full suit retails for $489.

After watching Jason Slezak testing the drysuit in the Gorge last winter and hearing the positive feedback from our Alaska friends up north, we feel this is a good season to re-introduce a drysuit into the Big Winds offering. Patagonia has recently entered the kiteboarding market, hiring ambassadors like Jason and Julien from Liquid Force and Reo Stevens from Cabrinha.

Patagonia Drysuit at Big Winds

Patagonia Drysuit.

This new kiting suit is made with durable waterproof, breathable and windproof, 3-layer Gore-Tex. It’s rated for cold water and air temps of 48-55 degrees and can certainly be pushed into an even colder environment with proper layering underneath. It comes with a Gore-Tex waterproof hood that is stowable. Wear it up when rigging your kite to stay warm.  Then zip it down and out of the way just before hitting the water, so it doesn’t flap and fill with water. The neck gasket is a comfortable 2 mm neoprene and is easy to pull over. It is coupled with a front collar flap with snaps to prevent wind and water entry. The wrist and ankle gaskets are latex, which prevents any water entry (no more balloon legs!). Like most drysuits, the Patagonia drysuit is a rear zipper entry. The zipper used is a YKK/Aquaseal waterproof zipper that is easier than any other drysuit zipper I’ve used. There are a few other nice features, including a chest pocket, leg pocket, relief zipper and suspenders. Priced at only $699, this is the best built, highest quality drysuit we’ve seen for the price. If you want to make kiteboarding or windsurfing an all season sport, this is the ticket to challenge the coldest of water and air conditions.

Patagonia Drysuit at Big Winds

Patagonia Drysuit

Big Winds is one of the first retailers to offer the all new Patagonia wetsuits and drysuit and we feel confident that Patagonia has a quality product that they stand behind with an ironclad guarantee. Give us a call, stop in or order online.

–TJ

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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

Autumn SUP Testing: Naish 2015

October 9th, 2014
Waterfront Park, Hood River, OR
Big Winds Naish Glide SUP Testing

Steve: We had a nice afternoon of testing here in the Gorge on a beautiful October afternoon. We were able to test five of the new Naish 2015 Glide series SUP boards. The first board was the 2015 Glide 11′ X 33″.

TJ: The board is stable! It’s got a really nice keel up near the nose that allows a short, wide board to actually track rather well. Typically, short, round boards want to pivot around like a saucer but this one goes right along in a straight line. You might try different fins, depending on your weight and style, that could improve directional stability even further.

Steve: Then we jumped onto the all new 2015 Glide 12’6″ X 30″.

TJ: This board really impressed me. It’s a huge upgrade from from the 2014 model. I really think that people will enjoy this for every day paddling, flat water to downwinding. It’s a good, stable board. It’s got a new recessed deck shape that allows water to flush out the back.

Steve: We tested out the 2015 Glide 14′ X 29″. This board is stable and has good downwind potential, aided by slightly uplifted nose. It will work great for touring, enjoying downwind ocean runs, recreational racing and fitness training.

Then, we tested the all new 2015 Glide 14′ X 30″. The extra inch of width adds a surprising amount of stability, making it a great touring board.

TJ: And again, it’s got that new recessed deck that reduces water accumulation to nothing.

Steve: Last, we tried the 2015 Javelin 14′ X 28″ GX. TJ, do you think this board is as fast as I do?

TJ: In a word, yes. With every stroke, it just wanted to accelerate. Drag was almost non-existent and yet it felt stable.

Steve: It will also serve well as a very high performance touring board for someone who doesn’t necessarily want to race but wants to feel the speed.

So, we’re excited about the Naish 2015 Glide line-up. Stop by, give us a call or visit us online and we’ll provide all the information you need.

Big Winds Naish Glide SUP TestingBig Winds Naish Glide SUP TestingBig Winds Naish Glide SUP Testing

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

2015 Naish Global

Next season Naish will be reintroducing the Global to its board offerings. Much like previous iterations, and the Naish Koncept that followed, the 2015 Global is designed as a do-it-all wave board, effective in conditions all over the world. However, in terms of design, the 2015 Global is a significant departure from its predecessors. While the name and the pitch are familiar, it is important to note that this is not the continued evolution of the boards that came before it, but a completely new shape, and a big step up in terms of performance. The 2015 Global is available in Small (78 liters), Medium (88L) and Large (98L).

Naish Global at Big WindsI am 175 pounds and I have been riding the Small Global as a high-wind board here in the Gorge in mostly 4.2 conditions. I have tried the board on good days and in some pretty funky up and down conditions. The board performed well in both powered up and more marginal conditions.

In terms of appearance, the most unique feature of the 2015 Global is the square tail. The increased tail volume helps the board plane up and coast through lulls. Combined with the board’s tri-fin setup, the square tail provides exceptional grip and drive as well as super stable feeling in carving turns and jibes.

Naish Global at Big WindsWith any new board I expect to have to make small adjustments to my sailing to get the most out of the board. The Global felt pretty good right off the bat. With its notably flat deck and wider tail, I had to loosen my back foot strap a little bit in order to make sure I could get over the centerline and apply pressure on the toe side rail to turn and trim the board. Once I got that dialed in, it was easy to adjust to the board and really put it through its paces.

At a diminutive 222 cm (under 7’4″!) the Small Global feels super compact and controllable. Like other stubby onshore and all-around wave boards, the Global carries speed on swells and through tight turns, planes early and is quick for a wave board. Where I think it sets itself apart the most is in the ride quality. While other boards have felt skittish, prone to spin outs or had an uncomfortable, pounding ride, the global manages to package all of the characteristics I liked in other similar boards with a ride that I’d be happy to live with full time. The new high density deck pads are super grippy and help with creating a super responsive feel.

Naish Global at Big WindsAll 2015 Naish boards come with high end G10 fins from Maui Fin Company. These fins are a significant upgrade from previous Naish stock fins and the fins that come with most other boards. With the stock fin set-up the board feels rock solid, and didn’t even hint at spinning out during the time I spent testing it. I’m looking forward to trying the board with a smaller center fin and seeing if I can slide it around a bit more. If you’re looking to try a multi fin board for the first time, or have had trouble with cavitation on other multi-fin set ups, this board is definitely one to try!

I think the 2015 Global is one of the best performing boards I’ve sailed in the past few years for the unique conditions we have here in the Gorge. I’m also looking forward to trying the larger sizes out on the Oregon coast as well.

— George

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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

2015 Cabrinha Radar / Spectrum Package

We are offering a great kiteboarding package including the new Cabrinha Radar kite and Cabrinha Spectrum board. The Radar, coupled with the new 2015 Overdrive Control System, may be one of the most user friendly kites and bars to operate to date.

2015 Cabrinha Radar at Big WindsThe versatility of the Radar is amazing! Great for freeride, works in the waves, exceptional for foil, but more so, incredible for the beginner kiter. What makes this kite such a good entry level option is its incredible relaunch capabilities! Simply put a bit of tension on one of the outside lines, and the kite rocks onto its side and lifts off the water. Whether down on the water off to the edge of the window, or directly downwind, the Radar is the closest thing to an auto relaunch we’ve tested.

With a full bodied canopy, the Radar has exceptional low end power too. I have ridden the 10m Radar with a foil board in 9-14 mph winds and was amazed on how it stayed in the sky. The 3 strut simplicity adds to the light weight feel of the kite, giving it a very nimble and lively feel.

If you are looking for a great value in a new twin-tip kiteboard, the 2015 Cabrinha Spectrum is it. The new Spectrum board comes complete with bindings, fins, and handle for only $639, but when coupled with the Radar and Overdrive bar, the board comes out to only $240! It comes in a variety of sizes, 132/40, 136/41, 140/42, 144/43, and 148/44. It is made up with a very forgiving paulownia wood core for a very smooth ride, even in choppy conditions. The new textured top and bottom sheet adds to the overall durability and the new graphic is made up of the 3 colors the Radar kite is offered in: red, yellow, and teal.

2015 Cabrinha Radar - Spectrum Package

This 2015 Cabrinha package is the best price point entry level value we’ve seen, offering you a solid kite and board, along with the market’s easiest to operate control system. If you choose to upgrade to the Switchblade or Drifter for your second kite, the bar will work with any of the Cabrinha kites offered in the 2015 range. Give us a call to secure your Radar/Spectrum kiteboard package today, or check out our website for package pricing.

–TJ

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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

2014 Starboard Air Born 7’10 x 31.5″

We’ve now had the opportunity to give the 2014 Starboard Air Born a run for its money, and the consensus is in: this board RIPS!

At sub-100 liters, it doesn’t have the float that a traditional SUP Surf shape may have, but this is all part of the evolution. We have riders from 160 to 190 pounds riding the 7’10 x 31.5″ and so far, the performance on the wave outshines the difficulties of paddling it out in less than calm conditions. With your feet basically in the water, staying in a semi-aggressive surf stance is a must and weighting down one rail with a little extra back foot pressure alleviates the wobble one might get when paddling in a side by side stance. The Air Born is designed for smaller, mushy waves, and makes less than ideal conditions fun to surf.

Starboard Air Born 7'10 at Big WindsThe first thing we noticed on the wave is that the Air Born is fast, especially for a wider outline. The 5-fin box option allows one to set it up thruster or quad, and when set up quad, the board flies! The acceleration is so much quicker than any other 30+ wide board we’ve ridden.

For maneuverability, once on the wave we noticed the board very playful for its width. Don’t let the 31.5″ get in the way of making the decision to pull the trigger on this board, it’s as playful as most sub 30″ wide boards we’ve tested.

The Air Born in brushed carbon construction comes in at only 13 pounds, super light weight, making the swing weight feel like a standard surfboard. No deck pad included, but we find it plenty grippy with the Startouch texture (and a little wax if needed), keeping it ultra light.

These boards go unchanged for 2015 in shape, and with 2014 coming to an end, we are offering our last Air Born 7’10” x 31.5″ brushed carbon boards at a steal! Give us a call here at Big Winds for your best price on one of our favorite little rippers!

–TJ
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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com