Category Archives: New Gear

2015 Cabrinha Switchblade Review

2015 Cabrina Switchblade

Big Winds just received the 2015 Cabrinha Switchblade kites and we love them! The 2015 Switchblade, now in its 10th edition, is a kite that has had a significant influence on the sport since 2005. Kite designer Pat Goodman has developed another polished product this year and coupled with the new Overdrive 1X control and security system with Quickloop, it stands out as one of the most versatile performance kites on the market to date. Whether your style is freeride, freestyle, surf, or foil the new Switchblade will not disappoint you.

2015 Cabrinha Switchblade

TJ foils up on the new Switchblade.

The 2015 Switchblade is offered in sizes 4-14m (except 13m) and we’ve now flown every size from 5m to 10m and are blown away by the park and ride stability and direct steering. Even though the bar pressure may have gotten a bit lighter than what the Switchblade has been known for, Cabrinha offers two settings for soft or heavy bar pressure. The new Switchblade retains its ultra low end power, yet turns faster than ever. The turning speed comes from a minor bridle refinement and the low “V” from the Overdrive Bar (adjustable from 44-56 cm). The bridle refinement adds to the stability of the kite which is important in our strong, gusty winds here in the Gorge. This new bridle also allows the kite to climb up through the power zone with zero stalling. Some minor improvements include the new strut to leading edge connection and new rounded leading edge end closure at the wing tip.

2015 Cabrina Switchblade

The biggest improvement in the 2015 Cabrinha line is the new Quickloop chicken loop on the Overdrive 1X control system. The Quickloop has been two years in the making and was worth the wait as it’s the fastest and easiest reload we’ve ever tested on any other bar. The main QR is a push away release with a catch that holds the QR in the released position until you are ready to reconnect. To reconnect, you simply push the open end of the loop into place and the latch automatically engages the loop. Dropping the QR body back down secures the loop back into place. Gone are the days of the IDS and Quicklink, however, you can use the new 2015 Overdrive bar on any Cabrinha kites dating back to 2009 (which will increase the performance of any older IDS kite).

The new bar comes complete with a short leash, although the pro leash can still be purchased separately.

Big Winds is arranging demos of the new Switchblade and Overdrive 1X control system, so come on by the shop to check one out!

– TJ

Click to go to




Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031


Big Winds Surftech and Kialoa SUP Demo

surftech4Big Winds is hosting a free demo of Surftech SUP boards and Kialoa paddles, Sunday, July 6th at the Slackwater Beach from 10 to 2.









Come on down and try out these models of SUP boards:Big Winds Surftech and Kialoa Demo

  • Dominator 14′
  • Challenger 12’6″
  • Appleby Race 12’6″
  • Hero 11′
  • Generator 10’6″
  • Generator 11’6″








Big Winds Surftech and Kialoa DemoAnd these paddles:

  • Kialoa Insanity
  • Kialoa Hulu

No sign-ups necessary. Just meet us down there at 10 and take them out for a spin! Hope to see you there!







Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031


Review: Dakine Maniac Spreader Bar

This past weekend was a great opportunity to try out a new harness product, the greatly improved 2014 Dakine Maniac sliding spreader bar. The 2014 Pyro Maniac waist harness comes complete with the Maniac spreader bar or you can purchase the bar alone in either 10″ (with 8″ of travel) or 12″ (with 10″ of travel) for $60. This spreader bar allows for more freedom of movement, most noticeable when riding toeside on a directional or twin-tip. The Maniac spreader bar will work great for those needing this freedom, especially when riding with a seat or shorts harness. It also works great with the grippy waist harnesses.

maniac spreader bar

After your first use, you should tighten the webbing as it will loosen up once it gets wet and stretches. This adjustment is done easily behind the bar itself. If the webbing ever needs replacing, Dakine offers the webbing to be purchased for only $7.

Pyro Maniac

Pyro Maniac. Click to enlarge.



Review: 2014 Cabrinha Contra

We had a nice light westerly wind here in Hood River last weekend allowing for a perfect time to test the 2014 Cabrinha Contra 17m kite. The average wind was right around 12 mph, gusting to 15, lulls below 10. The Contra is a 3 strut kite, available in two sizes, 15m and 17m. The 2014 Overdrive Bar it is flown with is a 57-65cm adjustable control system, and the 17m test was flown on the 65cm setting.

2014 Cabrinha Contra

TJ under the Contra at the Event Site.

After watching the only other guy on the water come in on a 13m, having difficulties staying up wind, I launched the 17m and felt the immediate power this canopy provides. Within the first down stroke, I was moving, reaching forward to pull depower in the trim strap. The Contra is fast turning for its size, playful, easy to maneuver and quick to down loop. It may fit the freeride/freestyle category best — not a race kite — but a playful park and ride kite. There is plenty of power in this 17m. For that size canopy, it has a feather light feel due to the reduced diameter struts and light weight bladders.

2014 Cabrinha Contra

2014 Cabrinha Contra

Here in Hood River, it’s not essential to have a kite this big. The 15m Contra would be about as big as we need to go. For those outside of the Gorge, though, the Contra 17m is a great choice to get off the beach and out on the water. Coupled with a directional board, or light wind twin-tip, the Contra 17m will get you up and moving in the least amount of wind providing a fun filled session. If you’re taking a vacation to a lighter wind area of the world, the Contra 17m packs down small and light (15 lbs w/ bar and bag), offering a great guarantee to be on the water when many may be watching from the beach. It’s like buying wind insurance! Feel free to give us a call any time with questions regarding the 2014 Cabrinha Contra: 888-509-4210.


What’s New?

We’ve been busy adding a lot of new products to our website. Have a look:

Backpacks Dakine Jetty Wet / Dry
Backpacks Dakine Trail Photo 16L
Backpacks Dakine Cape Wet / Dry
Electronics GoPro Hero3+ Black Surf
Equipment Bags Dakine Party Duffle 22L
Equipment Bags Dakine Trail Photo 16L
Flotation Vests Dakine Kicker Vest
Kite Control Systems Cabrinha Kites Overdrive 1X Siren
Kite Deck Pads North Kiteboards Front Surfpads
Kite Deck Pads Naish Kiteboards Skater Front Footpad
Kite Deck Pads Naish Kiteboards Surf Stomp Pad
Kite Footstraps North Kiteboards Vario Straps
Kite Footstraps North Kiteboards NTT Contact Pads
Kite Footstraps North Kiteboards Surfstraps
Kite Footstraps North Kiteboards NTT Split Straps
Kite Footstraps North Kiteboards Vario Pads
Kiteboard Fins North Kiteboards Bend
Kiteboard Fins North Kiteboards NQ
Kiteboard Fins Naish Kiteboards G-10
Kiteboard Fins North Kiteboards TS S Front
Kiteboard Fins Naish Kiteboards Thruster DFS
Kiteboard Fins North Kiteboards TS M Front
Kiteboard Fins North Kiteboards Quad
Kiteboarding Accessories Naish Kiteboards Surf Stomp Pad
Kiteboarding Accessories Naish Kiteboards Skater Front Footpad
Kiteboarding Accessories North Kiteboards Front Surfpads
Kites Cabrinha Kites Siren
Kites North Kites Neo
Nuts and Bolts – Kite Naish Kiteboards Naish DFS Fin Key
Nuts and Bolts – Kite North Kiteboards North NTT Washers
Nuts and Bolts – Kite North Kiteboards North Leash Plug
Nuts and Bolts – Kite North Kiteboards North Footstrap Screw
Nuts and Bolts – Kite North Kiteboards North Track Nuts
Nuts and Bolts – Kite Naish Kiteboards Naish DFS Screw
Nuts and Bolts – Kite North Kiteboards NTT Strap Buckle Set
SUP Board Bags Dakine SUP Sleeve
Travel and Leisure Dakine Party Duffle 22L
Travel and Leisure Dakine Trail Photo 16L
Windsurfing Boards Naish Windsurf Starship
Windsurfing Footstraps Dakine Tyrant
Women’s Tops and Bottoms Dakine Women’s Neo Insulator S/S
Women’s Tops and Bottoms Dakine Women’s Neo Insulator L/S
Women’s Tops and Bottoms Dakine Womens Classic L/S

And these SUP boards:

Aquaglide Cascade 10’6

Aquaglide Cascade 12’6″ Touring

Starboard SUP 10’5 Wide Point

Starboard SUP Air Born 7’10

Starboard SUP All Star 12’6

Starboard SUP All Star 14′

Starboard SUP All Star Jr. 10’6

Starboard SUP Astro 12’6 Tour

Starboard SUP Astro 14′ Tour

Starboard SUP Astro Blend 11’2 DLX

Starboard SUP Astro Racer 12’6

Starboard SUP Astro Racer 14′

Starboard SUP Astro Stream

Starboard SUP Astro Tour

Starboard SUP Astro Whopper 10′

Starboard SUP Astro Whopper 10′ DLX

Starboard SUP Astro Wide Point 8’2″

Starboard SUP Blend 11’2

Starboard SUP Drive 10’5

Starboard SUP Freeride 12’2

Starboard SUP Freeride XL 12’2

Starboard SUP Pro 8’5

Starboard SUP Whitewater SUP Package

Starboard SUP Whopper 10′

Starboard SUP Wide Point 8’10

Starboard SUP Wide Point 8’2

Starboard SUP Wide Point 9’5

Tahoe SUP Alpine Explorer

2014 Inflatable SUP Review

The inflatable SUP market is booming. Every reputable manufacturer in the business seems to have their version of an inflatable. There are reasons for this: many stand up paddlers don’t mind a slight compromise in performance to offset the logistics and expenses of hauling around or traveling with a standard epoxy board. Just getting an SUP off the roof rack and to the water can be a hassle. And traveling by air with a 10′+ SUP? Forget about it. Allow me to introduce the 2014 line up of inflatable SUPs we offer at Big Winds, for wherever your next paddle adventure takes you.

Inflatable SUPs are divided into five categories: All Around, Touring, Wave, Race, and the emerging Whitewater class. Each of the brands we sell at Big Winds (Starboard, Naish, Tahoe, and Aquaglide), offer an inflatable in one or more of these categories.

The All Around inflatable SUPs are one of the more popular due to their overall versatility. Many All Around inflatables can be used in a variety of different water bodies, including flat water lakes and bays, moving water rivers and creeks, and even small ocean waves.

One of the most popular models we sell in the All Around category is the Starboard Astro Whopper Deluxe. The Whopper is one of Starboard’s best selling SUPs, so it makes sense that they offer this classic shape as an inflatable. Starboard regards the Astro Whopper as the “Swiss Army Knife” of all of their Astro Inflatables.whopper-yoga

At 10′ in length, 35″ wide and 6″ thick, the Astro Whopper is a great choice for exploring, longboard style surfing, fishing, yoga, and even whitewater. The Astro Whopper has a “whopping” 300 liters of volume, perfect for even the heavier weight paddlers. The Astro Whopper comes complete with the new high aspect pump, making it easier than ever to inflate to the recommended 18 PSI. It weighs in at 28 pounds, a bit heavy due to the EVA pad covering the entire top deck. (But your dog will appreciate this). The Astro fin boxes are built strong, thicker than the 2013 model assuring that they’ll hold up if paddled over rocks or reefs. With the choice of running a single center fin (6.75″) for cruising, or adding the 4. 5″ side bites for surf, the Astro Whopper has multiple options. The Astro Whopper is a great choice for the whole family.

Naish offers a number of inflatables. In the All Around category, the Mana Air 10′x 33″ is our favorite. If the Whopper is a bit too wide and heavy for you, consider the 2014 Mana Air 10′ as a super fun board for surf, cruising or even whitewater. The 2014 Mana Air has a bit less volume

Mana Air

Mana Air

than the Whopper Air at 230 liters, so it performs really well for the smaller to medium sized individuals. It features a 10″ slide-in fin, with two rubber side fins that are integrated to the bottom of the board. All Naish Airs are equipped with a new high aspect pump, allowing inflation to the recommended 14 psi to be much easier now than in the past. Naish also offers a slick electric pump that plugs onto the battery of your car that shuts off automatically at the desired PSI. Overall, the Mana Air 10′ is a comfortable and stable board that is fun in a variety of conditions.

Aquaglide offers a 10’6″ x 31″ inflatable SUP called the Cascade. The Aquaglide board is a great

Aquaglide Cascade 10'6

Aquaglide Cascade 10’6

price point option for those looking for a stable and stiff inflatable SUP for under $1000. The Cascade 10’6″ comes complete with a high volume pump and single center fin. It is maneuverable enough for surf and perfect for recreational paddling. With the 6″ thickness, the Cascade 10’6″ can work well for all levels of paddlers and heavier riders up to 300 pounds. This board packs down small, but not as small as the other above mentioned 10′ inflatables.


Next up are the Touring boards. Typically a touring board is 11′ or longer, has a pointed nose, plenty of volume for loading gear and is stable to paddle on both flat and bumpy waters. Our

Astro Touring

Astro Touring

favorite touring boards are the Starboard Astro Touring 14′ and 12’6. These boards are both 30″ wide and have over 300 liters of volume (the 14′ has 351 liters and the 12’6″ has 302 liters). They come in the standard Deluxe Blue model, which is 6″ thick with the Deluxe Back Pack and High Aspect Pump. The Astro Touring boards can be used for downwinding, too. It is fast enough to obtain the proper glide in small to medium size wind swell and stable enough to handle the bumpy water. This is a great board for traveling to non-wave destinations as it packs up small and is light: the 14′ is 26 pounds and the 12’6″ is 24 pounds.


Alpine Explorer

Alpine Explorer

Tahoe SUP has an 11′ Tour board called the Alpine Explorer (2013) which works well for loading gear and paddling distances. This board has two spots to stow gear, fore and aft, and can handle the heavy load without bowing out like a banana, due to a separate chamber running the length of the board. This chamber is inflated separately and acts as a stiffening beam and provides a slight ridge under the board for better tracking. Two side-by-side fins provide even more straight-line tracking.

Aquaglide Cascade

Aquaglide Cascade

Aquaglide comes in with a 12’6 Cascade Touring board under $1000. It is super stiff, 6″ thick and very stable at 31″ wide. Like the other touring boards, the Aquaglide 12’6 is ideal for adventure travel or recreational paddling. The weight comes in a bit heavier at 34 pounds but it’s still compact enough when deflated to fit into the provided backpack. The entire package is under the fifty pound mark for air travel.



For the ocean goers looking for a great inflatable for wave riding, we like the Naish lineup. These boards are designed by wave riders in true wave conditions.


Nalu Air

Nalu Air

For a good longboard style design, the 2014 Naish Nalu Air 11′ is stable and fast enough to catch waist-high to shoulder-high waves. The Nalu Air 11′ is narrower than the Mana 10′ at only 30″ and has less volume (210 liters), making it faster for catching waves and fun for cruising around between sets. Naish makes a smaller 4″ thick version for the smaller guys, the Nalu 10’2″ which is also 30″ wide” with even less volume (180 liters). The equivalent to this board for the ladies is the 2014 Alana Air 10’6, which is the same shape and design as the Nalu Air 10’2″, but with a great color scheme for the gals.

Starboard too, has a good offering to the inflatable surf SUPs. The Astro Wide Point is the Starboard Astroinflatable version of the 8’2″ x 32″ Wide Point. It’s the shortest inflatable we offer and is set up with a quad fin configuration. This board, even in the deluxe model, is 4″ thick with only 130 liters of volume, making it a great choice for small to medium riders. The new 2014 Astro Drive is based on one of our favorite crossover boards, the Starboard Drive 10’5″ x 30″. With a more narrow hull shape, this is a great choice for a crossover board (flat water to surf). Set up as a thruster, the Astro Drive comes with a 6. 75″ center fin, and two removable 4″ side fins.

The Race boards have become very popular and more events are including an “Inflatable Class” especially for those traveling by air. The Naish ONE 12’6 is a great choice for training and racing and Naish has dedicated a lot of energy to get the N1SCO events taking place world-wide. The Naish ONE provides a stable and economical racing class for those that don’t want to spend huge amounts of money on upgrading their equipment every year.

Naish One Racing

Naish One Racing

The ONE race formats are a blast to take part in and great for the spectators to see all of the action right up front. With the growth of these events springing up locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, other companies have started making Race shaped inflatable SUPs. The Starboard Astro Racers are the fastest in their class, offering both a 14′ x 26″ and 12’6 x 26″. Narrower than the Naish ONE, these boards are know to have won more events than any other inflatable board. The new 2014 Astro Racers are great to travel with, as they pack down smaller than any other inflatable and are the lightest weight: the 14′ is pounds and the 12’6″ is 21 pounds. I trained on my Astro Racer 14′ last summer, and found it surprisingly fast and stable for only 26″ wide.

The emerging whitewater class of inflatables, though young, is a personal favorite to me as we have a number of rivers surrounding Hood River that are perfect for Stand Up. Coming from a kayaking background, I’m finding Whitewater SUP the ticket to get back on the rivers including everything from meandering water to Class 3+ whitewater. My choice is the 2014 Starboard Astro Stream 9’6″. It is designed and built to take all the abuse a river can put on an SUP and going inflatable is my preferred choice as it’s lighter than plastic, compact enough to travel with and built to take hits.

Dan Gavere

Dan Gavere

Dan Gavere has put a lot of energy in growing the sport and with his new pro model Stream 9’6″, he’s made it easier for everyone from beginners to experts to navigate rivers standing up. This board is ultra stiff and super stable at 36″ wide. It has a three fin configuration. The new 2.5″ whitewater fins are short enough for running shallow rivers, yet just long enough to track well when ferrying across the currents, eddying out and peeling out around rocks and obstacles. Make stand-up paddling easier than ever on whitewater, and get the 2014 Starboard Stream 9’6!

– TJ

2014 Naish Mana Standup Paddleboard

Over the past few seasons Big Winds has been introducing many of our customers to the joy of surfing with a paddle in hand and we’ve had a huge, immediate success with the Naish Mana series. The Mana’s are Naish’s best selling SUP boards in their surf line and for good reason: they are easy to surf and super fun! I personally started my SUP surf progression on the Mana 9’5 during the winter of 2010-11. This particular size worked great for my novice days of progressing in the surf and my wife found it enjoyable for just cruising around on the Columbia River (a one board solution for the both of us to enjoy!). As we all progress with our paddling skills so do the SUP boards and for 2014, Naish has given the Mana an updated shape and great new look.

2014 Naish Mana Standup Paddleboard

photo: Gorge-Us Photography

We have now had the opportunity to test the new 2014 Mana 9’5″, 8’10″, and 8’5″ on the Oregon Coast over the past three months and love them! The first time I took the 9’5″ GT out, I immediately took notice of how it turns on the wave with little or no effort. Naish has taken 27 liters of volume out of the 9’5″, dropping it from 190L to 163L. With reduced volume, increased tail rocker and a V bottom shape, the turning and carving becomes much more dynamic and rail-to-rail transition effortless. Although the Mana is a more performance oriented board now than it ever has been, it still retains its ability to allow beginners to have fun due to the wider outline. At 32″ wide the 9’5″ Mana is an inch wider for 2014. This added width equals added stability and can help get the paddler out through mushy whitewater with unbelievable ease.

2014 Naish Mana SUP

photo: Gorge-Us Photography

Naish replaced the 2012 9′ Mana with the 2013 8’10″. For 2014, the 8’10″ is bumped out a half inch, gets a slightly pointier nose, and exaggerated tail rocker. The biggest waves I’ve ever ridden have been on the 2014 Naish Mana 8’10″ GS in December on the Oregon coast, a day I will never forget! If I had to choose just one board, this would be the one for everyday conditions. It’s long enough to catch the slow building waves, but short enough to rip once on them. I don’t consider myself a lightweight by any means (165 lbs), but this board is designed for the lighter weight riders, having only 133L of volume. The GS construction is reasonably light too, only two pounds heavier than the GT wood construction. Not bad for a $500 cost savings!

2014 Naish Mana

photo: Gorge-Us Photography

We had been anticipating the release of the 8’5″ Mana after hearing about it in Maui at the Naish dealer meeting in July, and have now had the opportunity to surf it on several occasions. The 8’5″ GT is under 20 lbs and loves to crank out turns with its light swing weight. It has a generous width of 30.5″, making it very stable and comfortable in less than ideal conditions. The stability was particularly noticeable near the tail, making it easy to step back to get over the whitewater or make a quick pivot turn to catch the oncoming wave. With the 6.5″ center fin, the board tracks great and stays locked to the water in bumpy conditions.

All 2014 Naish Mana’s have a three fin, thruster configuration. The GT models have a really nice US 6.5″ wood center fin, whereas the GS models can vary: Mana 10′ and 9.5″ GS comes with a stock 9.0″ AST fin, whereas the 8’10″ has the 6.5″ AST fin. One thing I did was upgrade the outside FCS side fins from the stock molded composite fins to a lighter weight, performance fin set with a more responsive flex pattern. The FCS PC-5 fins work great for a guy my size, and PC-7 for the heavier guys. We have a great selection of aftermarket fins to choose from here at Big Winds, and if you have questions on which might work best for you, give us a call or stay tuned for upcoming blogs discussions on fin selection.



2014 Cabrinha Overdrive 1X Control and Security System

overdrive4We’ve been receiving many questions regarding the new 2014 Cabrinha Control Bar, known as the Overdrive 1X. This 2014 bar is Cabrinha’s answer to the one-bar fits all question, simplifying and reducing the overall cost to your next quiver of various sized Cabrinha kites. The Overdrive has many new features and has brought up a number of questions regarding the use of it.

Can I use the new 2014 bar with my older Cabrinha kites? YES! The new 2014 Overdrive bar can not only be used to fly all IDS kites from 2009 to the current 2014 models, but also improves the overall characteristics and safety of the older models (we will dive into this at length).

Can I use my older IDS bars with the new kites? NO. The older bars may fly the new 2014 kites fine, but the security system will not work, so please do not use older model IDS bars to fly your new kite. It’s just not safe and you will be losing the overall benefits the new bar delivers to the new kites.

Here is an explanation of these benefits:

The newly improved 1X Bridle on the 2014 kites brings an upgrade in kite control and steering. There are fewer moving points on the bridle which equates to faster turning and better responsiveness. All bridles except for the Vector have only 2 pulleys in 2014.

Working in unison with the 1X bridle is the newly designed 1X Bar. Security is one of the biggest selling points for us at Big Winds, which is why we have felt so comfortable recommending the 5th Element bar for the North kites over the years, particularly the Rebel. The new 2014 1X security system is a complete shutdown system, the best we have seen yet for a 4 line system. Cabrinha OverdriveThis full blown shut down system relies on only one line to immediately shut down the power of the kite, in any condition. The 1X security line basically runs up one of the center lines, woven through a couple of loops and pulls way up that line close to the kite.

What if I have twists in my center lines, will the security system still engage? YES! The team at Cabrinha has tested the security system with up to 15 twists in the center lines, and the kite still shuts down when the quick release is pushed. So, if you are not reverting your kite loops, back rolls, or spins, my suggestion is to be a bit aware of your center line twists, and manually un-spin them when doing an upwind reach (located below the bar, same location as the Quicklink in years past).

Diving deeper into the new 2014 Overdrive bar technology, Cabrinha has lowered the front line connection to the CAS in order to provide a more direct and immediate response from your bar input. This “Low V” connection provides direct steering, increased responsiveness and faster turning, especially evident in the 2014 Switchblade and Drifter kites. The new Switchblade turns faster than the 2013, and retains the low end of the 2012 (best of both worlds!).

The adjustability of the new Overdrive 1X is slick, and can be adjusted from the shortest length (49cm) to the longest length (57cm) in a matter of seconds. We tested this on the water too, being able to adjust the bar on the fly in eight seconds. The 49cm length works great on the overdrive1smaller kites (4m-8m) and the 57cm length perfect for the larger sizes (9m-14m). These are only recommended settings as I personally love flying my new 8m Drifter in “Overdrive” mode for a faster turning, quicker responding feel. The Overdrive 49-57cm bar comes standard with 22m rear flying lines and 16m front flying lines. Note that the Overdrive 49-57cm bar should not be used with the Contra kites due to the length of the security line. The Contra must use the Overdrive 1XL to achieve the full function of the security system (57-65cm/24m line set). Cabrinha designed the Overdrive 1X Siren bar specifically for women riders, with a smaller loop and easy to reach Recoil trim adjusters. This bar comes when the Switchblade Siren is purchased kite complete, and has the same adjustability (49-57cm).

To sum it all up, the new 2014 Cabrinha Overdrive 1X control and security system is a huge improvement in safety, simplicity and performance. Upgrade your old kites with this control bar or upgrade your old kites with new ones and be sure to include the Overdrive control bar into your new quiver. Available from Big Winds: 888-509-4210, online or stop by!



Big Winds Whitewater SUP Package

Big Winds has put together a package for all of the whitewater SUPers out there. We have tried a number of whitewater SUP boards and nothing compares to the 2014 Starboard Astro Stream 9’6.  This new inflatable whitewater SUP has been designed by five time whitewater champion Dan Gavere, who has helped grow the sport of whitewater from the early kayaking days to the ever evolving whitewater Stand Up scene. Dan has been a local Hood River source of knowledge and mentor to the Big Winds crew, helping us dial in our own Hood and White Salmon river runs on SUPs. We have been through a tremendous evolution over the years, having started off crushing 12′ epoxy boards, moving into (and quickly out of) the heavy plastic boards and trying to make inflatable surf boards work. Thank you, Dan, for helping design an inflatable SUP specifically for whitewater!

TJ paddles the Smith River

T.J. paddling the Smith River, Redwoods National Park. Photo: Gorge-Us Photography.

Over the years we have found a few key pieces of equipment essential for river running. We’ve put together a package to make your decision process easy and save you some coin along the way. Included with the 2014 Starboard Astro Stream 9’6, we offer a three piece breakdown Werner Carve adjustable paddle. Werner has been a key developer of whitewater paddles for decades and we couldn’t recommend a better paddle for durability, adjustability and convenience. You can store all three pieces in the Astro Stream bag.

The package includes a whitewater PFD with a breakaway belt, perfect for securing your Dakine SUP Coiled Leash, also part of the package. The MTI Thunder R-Spec is a newly designed whitewater rescue vest with the release located up front.

The final (and important!) piece of the package is the helmet. Many whitewater enthusiasts may already have a good helmet but we offer a solid water helmet from Triple 8.

This package makes it easy for our customers looking to hit up their backyard river runs! Give us a call if you have any questions about this package, want something more or different! Toll Free: 888-509-4210 or visit us online at