Category Archives: Stand Up Paddling

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.

 

 

 
Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

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.

Conditions:
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

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

Free Stand Up Demo

Test the newest race and tour boards in Hood River this weekend!

JET-Team-8.20.14-by-Gorge-Us-Photography-11

No registration required.
Just show up!

When: Sunday, 4/19, 1-3pm
Where: Hood River, Event Site

Will will have various performance paddles for you to try as well as some, if not all, of the following boards:

Amundson
TR-12’6 x 29

TR-12’6 x 27
TR-T 14′
TR -X 14′
TR- 11’6″ 

SIC
X-Pro 14′

V2

Starboard
Elite Tour 12’6
All-Star 12’6 x 24

Elite Tour 11’6
Naish
Javelin 14′ X 26 LE

Bark
D2

Downwind 14’
Contender 12’6
Appleby Race 12’6

Naish
Glide 12’6 x 30 GS

 

Let’s Go Paddling!

An Introduction to Stand Up Paddleboard Technique

Stand Up Paddleboarding is taking off in all corners of the world for several reasons: it is relatively easy for just about everybody, it is pretty unintimidating, you don’t need waves, you don’t need wind and it is great for fitness! It’s the perfect complement to windsurfing, kiteboarding and surfing, which is why so many people are adding it to their list of water sports.

Even though it’s easy to get on a board and go, good technique allows you to paddle longer, faster and have way more fun! Here are some tips for getting started.

SUP boards are surprisingly light and easy to carry with a convenient handle. Keep the board on the downwind side of you, and also help stabilize it with the hand that’s holding your paddle.

 

Getting Underway

1) Wade out into knee-deep water and ease your way onto the board on your knees. Place your paddle across the board well in front of the carrying handle.

 

2) Stand up and place your feet on each side of the carrying handle, which is generally the balance point of most boards.

 

3) Bend your knees slightly and hold your paddle so that the angle of the blade is pointing forward.

 

Proper Forward Stroke Technique

The Reach: A good long reach is the foundation for an efficient and powerful forward stroke. The lower arm is straight and the lower shoulder and hip are rotated forward, knees and back are slightly bent, and the upper arm is also slightly bent with the upper hand over your forehead. This position allows you to achieve a nice long reach, setting up a great stroke.

 

The Catch: The catch is the act of plunging the blade into the water and is the beginning of the power phase. At the catch, try to plunge the entire blade into the water, creating maximum power right from the start. The upper body “collapses onto the blade”, with the upper arm straightening to push the handle forward, adding power to the blade. The lower arm stays straight. Engage your core as you exhale, protecting your lower back.

 

The Power Phase: The power phase should be short and smooth, with relatively little effort from any single muscle group. The key is to get your whole body working in sync with a compact, efficient motion. Here’s what’s happening in this image: the hips and shoulder that were rotated forward are now rotating back, adding power and allowing the lower arm to stay straight. The lower arm is drawing the blade backwards, allowing the board to glide by it (the blade travels only a few inches in each stroke, but the board moves 10’+). The upper arm continues to drive the paddle handle forward, also adding power.

 

The Release: When the blade reaches your feet, lift it out of the water with your lower hand, while you lower the top hand and move it away from the paddling side. The Power phase is over.

 

The Recovery: This phase is key to an efficient stroke. As the blade is pulled from the water, twist the paddle as if you are opening a door handle by turning your thumb forward, “feathering” the blade so it can move forward through the air with little resistance. The body has becomes more upright, as the hips and shoulders once again begin to rotate towards the blade and follow it as it moves forward. Both arms stay straight, and the upper arm stays high and swings slightly outward to allow the blade to be drawn forward again.

Those are the keys to an efficient and powerful stroke: A nice long reach, a deep and powerful catch, a smooth and short power phase using your entire body, a quick release and a fluid recovery with minimal motion.

 

Turning the Board

Now you have a nice forward stroke, but at some point you’ll need to turn around. Here are some basic turns.

Bow Sweep: With your legs bent low, point the blade at the bow of the board and draw it backwards, scribing a nice wide arc with the blade from tip to tail.

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Cross Bow Sweep: From the same preparation position as the Bow Sweep, rotate your upper body across the board and begin to sweep towards the bow, then lift the blade over the bow and continue to sweep back to the stern.

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Pivot Turn: From a surf stance (with one foot behind the other) and both feet well back towards the tail of the board, use the sweep stroke to turn the board towards your backside. With your weight back, the front of the board is lifted out of the water and is free to turn quickly. As you complete the turn, move quickly back to your forward stroke position.

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Upwind Paddling Technique

Here in the Columbia River Gorge, many of us paddle in all conditions from calm and glassy to windy and bumpy. We’ve developed techniques, which allow us to be able to paddle successfully into strong headwinds and crosswinds, and are great for a killer workout!

The key is to choke down on the shaft and STAY LOW! A short, compact stroke is what many of us have found to be the most efficient when to working our way into a stiff 20+ mph headwind. Here are the images that demonstrate our Upwind Reach, Catch, Power, and Recovery.

Now that you have the basics to paddle efficiently in a range of conditions, get out there, get fit and have fun!

See you on the water!
– Steve

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

Fiona Wylde: First Woman to Qualify for Men’s Sunset Beach Pro

Big Winds favorite waterwoman, Fiona Wylde, checks in from Turtle Bay:

fiona1Hi All,
The Men’s Stand Up World Tour Sunset Beach Pro holding period started directly after the completion of the Women’s Turtle Bay Pro. Myself and one other girl, Izzi Gomez, last year’s World Champion, received the opportunity to enter the Trails to see if we could make it into the main event. When I was put in the brackets, I wasn’t concerned about making it to the main event, I was concerned about making it out of the shore break. On Thursday, Sunset was stormy and surging between 10-15ft Hawaiian, so I put on an impact vest and paddled out. Once I got out there, I caught the best, most exhilarating waves of my life! I placed second in my first heat of the trials and advanced to the Quarter Finals. If I made it out of the Quarters, I would have a place in the main event. I didn’t think of it like that, I concentrated on staying safe and not getting caught inside, but also to catch good waves. I got second in the Quarter Final heat and qualified for the Men’s main event! Unfortunately Izzi did not qualify. This makes me the first woman to ever make it to the Men’s Main event!!! They did not continue the trials to get a winner, but stopped after the Quarter Finals so they could begin round one of the main event and save some time. fiona3

The following day, Friday, conditions calmed down and we had fun 6-8ft Sunset to enjoy, but not without tricky Kona winds for round one and two of the Main event! In round one, I got fourth in my heat, but still got some fun waves and started to figure out Sunset more. In round two, I placed second in the heat and scored a 5.67 backed up by a 2.93! I only caught two waves because I broke one of my boards and it took me a while to get back out to my caddy who had my second board. However, only the first place in the repechage heats move on along with the two highest second place heat scores out of the round. I had the third highest heat score out of the repechage and missed out on round three by only 1 point!
fiona2
This has been such an amazing experience and I have learned so much about my surfing and my personal levels. I was not necessarily competing against the guys, but against myself and seeing how much I would push myself. What I am most excited about is that I didn’t back down when it was big and gnarly, but I went out and actually had fun.
fiona4
My good friend and amazing cinematographer, Forrest Ladkin, is making an edit of the event for me and I will send it out once it’s complete. In the mean time, here are a couple photos from Brian Bielmann, some screen shots and the video recaps of Day one and two where you can see me surfing and doing some interviews. Thank you all so much for your support!

Talk to you soon,

~Fiona Wylde

Review: Paddle Grip Wax

Highly experienced Big Winds paddlers weigh in on the virtues of Grip Wax from Element Expeditions.

Steve Gates:

In putting together my kit for the Molokai to Oahu Race (M2O) this past summer, one of the first things that went into the bag was a tube of the Warm Grip Wax from Element Expeditions. I made sure my Team’s paddles were all appropriately waxed. I know from experience it helps in relieving the grip tension on the shaft, so it’s especially effective in long distances races like the M2O.

Grip Wax at M2O

Matt Morrow:

I just returned from three days on SUP surfing on the Oregon Coast. It was my first time paddling using gloves and I was worried the gloves would cause my forearms to fatigue. I happened to borrow a paddle for the trip that was freshly waxed up with Element Expeditions Grip Wax and I was blown away. The wax allowed me to use a MUCH gripwax-cold-ssofter grip, and I experienced less forearm fatigue in 3mm Gloves using Grip Wax than when I am paddling with bare hands and no wax. I think the Grip Wax works exceptionally well with gloves as the wax allows the gloves to almost stick to the paddle shaft like glue and therefor your hand can be relaxed on the shaft. There was no residue on the gloves after paddling, probably less wear and tear actually as I was not gripping so hard. I certainly was able to stay out longer, catch more waves and have more fun because of the grip wax, it was amazing. Furthermore, in 3 days of getting pounded by Oregon Coast surf, I never lost my paddle once and believe the Grip Wax played a big role in this. I will be recommending it highly.

T.J. Gulizia:

I’ve been using the Paddle Grip Wax for awhile now, and honestly, feel it a necessity for all types of paddling. During the summer months, I swear by the Anti-Sweat wax. A little of this stuff goes a long way, and lasts awhile before needing to reapply. It goes on as a very thin, clean layer, doesn’t sluff off or clump up, and doesn’t attract sand. If my hands are wet or get sweaty, the wax comes into play so I don’t have to apply the gorilla grip which means less fatigue and fewer blisters. For surf and whitewater, the Cold Water Wax is the ticket, especially when wearing gloves. A finger tip grip is so much more relaxing than a tight grip and the blood flow into my hands allows for better circulation and a warmer feel in frigid waters. Great product, all natural, and inexpensive.

Grip Wax on the Oregon Coast

And, straight from founder Seann Feldmann:

Our story is quite simple. Years ago, my co-founder, Frank Frankovitch and I were attending MooseFest Whitewater Festival near Old Forge, NY in the heart of the Adirondacks. As Frank and I were preparing our boats for launch, I noticed a fellow paddler applying a brand name surf wax onto his paddle shaft. As a surfer and a paddler I thought it was curious that he was applying a top coat surf wax directly onto the paddle shaft. I wondered if there were any alternatives on the market and when I returned home my search came up empty. So, I decided to make my own and started experimenting in my garage.

Knowing that most surf waxes require a base coat and are notoriously messy, I set out to solve two problems. The first being to create a non-petroleum based sport grip that could be directly applied to the paddle without the need of a base wax. The second, was to create a delivery system that reduced the mess involved when applying wax. Countless formulas and delivery systems later, I came up with a 100% organic formula that could be stored in a twist-up recyclable tube. Frank and I attended many paddling events and would hand it out to our friends for feedback. We listened to comments, then tweaked the packaging, made revisions to the formula, and finally expanded the line to include a grip for every season and paddle sport. The rest is, as they say, history.

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

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

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

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

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

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!