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!).
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.
The 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.
These 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.
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.