Coming up next: Starboard LIMA 2021 vs Quickblade

This year I was able to get a lot of different paddles in my hand and ended up using the Quickblade Trifecta 96 for sprint as well as long distance races … Perfectly balanced, very pleasing handle and easy to paddle. With the UV88 I struggled a bit to get a clean Catch but it fits my taste in terms of stiffness and blade grip.

So why testing another paddle?384g

Recently QB seemed to do a little Update on their fabulous Diamond Elite Shaft and maybe even to the Blade Edges to get the weight down a little bit. My Trifecta 96 cut to 195cm with round tapered shaft as well as the UV88 cut to 197cm are just a tad under 500g.

I didn’t have the opportunity to test all the different shaft and Blade options that Starboard has to offer in their LIMA 2021 Lineup. I was a bit curious about naming a 87,5sq inch Blade an XL Blade. With an aggressive deep concave and a wide Blade tip this paddle caught my attention. I ordered the XL Lima 2021 with the round S35 shaft.

The weight Starboard is publishing on their site was exactly what I weighed in for the whole paddle at its maximum length. Cut down to 194cm it weighs 384g.

First test was quite promising as the blade is easy on the catch and provides a lot of grip while the shaft flexes more than I’m used to. It’s still very efficient and way easier on my shoulders when performing some intervals.

At the moment I try to get a clean exit, as the Lima tends to stick definitely more than the Trifecta which is my go to paddle when not focusing too much on a perfect technique.

The low weight is just amazing and I’ll do some tests to see if that flex leads to losses compared to the Quickblade opponents.

Stay tuned, there’s more to come 😉

Starboard Sprint (2021)

Starboard Sprint 2021 Header

Now that I’ve paddled the Fanatic Strike for almost a year and the decision was made to choose „safer“ boards from race to race, I had to look for something new.

During the time trials in the first half of the year, the Strike turned out to be the fastest board. Nevertheless, I did not get warm with the Strike, especially during more leisurely training rides, because it seemed impossible to me to find a position where a efficient waterline was the result.

After a first test session at lake Neusiedlersee I was really impressed about the Starboard Sprints ability to punch upwind while providing lots of secondary stability when struggling to keep the balance. But it didn’t feel so comfortable that I would start a race right away.

Challenge is good, feeling comfortable is better

I didn’t want to make the same mistake as with the Strike and this time I wanted a board that felt really good and comfortable for the first few meters. Since the Sprint 2021 21,5″ was a bit more nervous than the Strike, I decided to order the Sprint in a size larger.

Starboard Sprint 2021 14×23,5 perfect size for heavier (85kg+) paddlers …

The standing area is greatly widened due to the dugout rails and provides a lot of room for proper foot placement.

Searching for challenge? Try the Wuux Race Sup in 19″ width 😉

On my first trip with the sprint, I was able to significantly reduce my best time at my home spot.

If this time it goes the same as in the past, the times on the home track should also be realizable in the race:

9,1km/h in Q3/2020

So it seems like feeling comfortable, coupled with an efficent board design, looks promising.

Subtle changes,… refining what worked well in the past

The Sprint and the Allstar 2021 not only combine the updated look, but also the updated carbon sandwich construction ensures load-optimized improvements.

Except for the fact that both models are now dugout designs, this where similarities come to an end.

It is immediately noticeable that the Sprint has very high, slightly sloping sidewalls. These ensure large safety reserves if the initial stability is overused. The new nose design sheds water quite efficiently without wrapping over the entire nose, when hitting bumps.

Especially in upwind conditions, I really like the very calm handling of this board… It’s not as playful as the Allstar, but it’s very effective at maintaining glide and the sharp nose makes it possible to stay on course. When facing bigger bumps the high sidewalls tend to push you back when loosing stability, although I have to say that I do have to work more when having sidewaves. The Allstar had a looser feeling and also the RS was easier to deal with sidewaves.

On my home spot, I mostly have to deal with eddies and high currents, and this doesn’t push the nose around as much as the Strike, but it’s definitely more challenging than the Allstar. Same scenario when drafting, but because of the high volume, you don’t have to change your foot position as often as with the Strike.

The standing tray seems to be about 2-3 cm higher than the Allstar’s (2021). This prevents water from entering that often and helps keep the ride dry.

Shallower bottom concave, wide tail…

Allstar 2019 24,5 with deep center concave compared to the shallower concave of the Sprint 2021 23,5

If you’ve read my previous reviews, you know that I’m basically a big fan of strong concaves in the underwater hull. Why? It serves for stability and lift.

In the 2021 Model, Starboard went for a shallower concave to reduce wetted surface area and further increase speed. I can safely say that the sprint is clearly faster than the Allstar 2019 & 2021 (24,5) in flatwater conditions.

Do you give up a lot of stability for those 10-14 seconds per kilometer?

The answer is no, but you should be aware that the secondary stability sets in very evenly and leaves a lot of room until you really have to counteract it. Overall I’d say the Sprint is relatively easy to paddle for it’s width, but both the Allstar and SIC RS might be a little bit easier to handle.

Due to the high sidewalls it’s possible to lean it to extreme angles.

I am currently noticing that I like to take the Sprint in whatever conditions and never have the feeling of being better off on another board.

Currently I’m trying to find out what fin setup I like most, but by now I feel most comfortable with the stock Race Ultra 2.0.

The Sprint is a great board when heavier riders (85 – 100kg) are searching for a flatwater orientated board that’s not shy of hitting some bumps. It provides good speed without challenging its rider.

Soon I’ll try to give you some more impressions and I’ll do a comparison with the LightCorp Signature 2.0 24,75!

Allstar 2019 vs 2021

How much difference does the material make in a race?

The Austrian State Championships in LongDistance took place on September 6th, 2020.

The conditions are never comparable 1: 1 and the daily form will also vary. But if we compare the statistics of the Weissensee Classics race with those of the Grundlsee, one thing is extremely noticeable when looking at my stats.

AVERGAGE HR

The average pace was almost identical in both races and the conditions were also very comparable. If you also consider the dilemma at the Weissensee with the lack of drinking water supply, the significantly higher average heart rate is particularly noticeable.

But how did it feel?

Keeping in mind, that it was way colder at lake Grundlsee and camelbak served me well, I have to state that it was way harder to keep my desired pace! The Velocitek Makai is such a great piece of gear to react instanttanously, when paddling technique starts to suffer from getting tired. But the downside is, that you’re getting pushed to try even harder even when muscle fattigue kicks in. Everything seemed to go a lot easier with the new 2021 Allstar, and the glide of the 2019 Allstar is way worse than with its successor. I had no reserves for short sprints or to significantly increase the pace for a longer period of time.

Summarized

The 2019 Allstar is perfect for challenging conditions but it’s definitely not the best flatwater board. The target group for the 2021 model is the same, but faster by quite some margin in flatwater conditions. I’m totally happy with my results as these are showing 1:1 what I’m able to do in my training sessions, but there’s a lot of room for improvements 😉

Second in the first heat, right behind Move Mike on his 2020 SIC RS 14×21,5

In the 200m sprint race, I couldn’t find any significant differences and claim that the new board can’t be moved any faster. Perhaps that was one of the reasons to get an excellent fourth place.

If you want to have a deep dive into my stats:

Coming up next: Starboard Sprint 2021

Since the Allstar 2021 is making some impressive changes and has served me well in my last race, I was still wondering which board I should ride for the next racing season.

In austria most races take place at lakes where wind and swell don’t call for an Allstar and when doing flatwater races there’s still the Starboard Sprint that got my attention.

As many of you’ll know I also own a Fanatic Strike I like to use for training sessions. For Races I’m still struggling to feel really comfortable with it as my feet do feel a bit cramped in and let’s face it… I’m too heavy for the Strike 14×21,5. It’s not possible to find the right standing position that would let the Nose slightly pierce the water while not sinking the tail too much. Last year I decided to go for the Strike because I was able to keep the balance while struggling with the Starboard Sprint 2020 14×20,75″.

While I had the opportunity to test the Allstar 2021 , Move Mike had a Sprint 2021 14×21,5 for testing purpose. At 2-3Bft we were able to take both boards for a short lap and while I was struggling a little with balancing, there was this tremendous secondary stability and lots of volume that served me well in headwind conditions. Downwind it was way more manageable than I’d thought… so maybe this would be the right choice for me?

Last year I gained some experience, paddling the Strike alongside the RS and the Allstar.

The Strike was too narrow for my paddling skills and the waterline seemed to be always a bit compromised due to my bodyweight. With the Sprint I didn’t have a feeling that the waterline was compromised, but as I didn’t felt as comfortable as like with the Allstar I decided to go for the 23,5″ Version.

At the very first ride I did some kilometers getting used to it and decided to do a short speed test at my home track.

6:38 new record at the first attempt

I tore my left finger joint capsule in a training accident four days earlier, so I had to focus paddling on the right side changing paddling side was way slower than normal.

All this didn’t ruin a new track record and I do have a feeling that there is way more in it. It was the right decision to choose a board that I feel comfortable on from the start.

I will do a more in depth review after I’m completely fine again and currently I’m trying to learn a lot about hydrostatics to get a better understanding why different board designs work for me and some don’t . What I can tell by now is that it’s the easiest board I know for doing step back turns and the waterline seems to fit perfectly for my weight. The standing area is exactly as wide as on my Allstar 2019 which is great to feel comfortable and free in my foot placement.

Compared to my other boards it’s nearly one kg heavier but it doesn’t seem to compromise it’s ability to keep a very fast pace. As always … if you want me to pay special attention to certain traits, please let me know.

Big Block , lots of volume and never ending sidewalls 😉

Starboard Allstar (2021)

Most of the time we only see slight changes in products that have been popular for several years. It’s the same with our most beloved sports discipline , as physics will always lead to compromising other strengths of proper working boarddesigns/constructions.

Last years Starboard Allstar 2020 went away from their deep monoconcave bottom design and switched to a round vee with slight double concaves to help provide enough stability. As some testers stated, the new design leads to a better glide but made the board a lot tippier than the previous models. The 2019 Model has a user friendly design, which works not only for the higher skilled paddlers and that’s not the only reason I bought it myself 😉

I was really excited what Starboard will show for the 2021 Allstar. Are they staying with the 2020 bottom design? Are the strengths of this allwater racer stay put? Is there something totally new?

Let’s have a look at this beauty:

Popping colors, darker blue tint, dugout design…

It’s a complete redesign… here we have a dugout style board, a new carbon sandwich construction, and a way narrower tail compared to the forerunner models.

Low center of gravity with the new dugout design

I can happily tell the valued properties and features, meet the requirements of the premier class, like the pigmented paint, GoPro mount, a nice and redesigned grippy deckpad, multiple handle positions and excellent workmanship.

The bottom design is mostly comparable to the 2020 design with its big belly in the middle and those double concaves, but this time… combining it with a narrower tail (-9cm) and the deep cockpit it’s as easy to paddle as the old deep concave in the well known predecessors 2019 and older.

First Impressions

I was really excited about putting it on water for the first time and I was asking myself how long it would take to get used to it. No jokes, I felt instantly felt comfortable and I’ve had zero issues focusing on paddling and putting power onto the blade.

I had a feeling I could easily cut my paddle down 3-5cm, as I’m standing exactly at water level. The drainage holes are working great when paddling, but as you’re going a little slower there’s always some water coming onto the standing area, when tilting the board left and right. Because of this, it may not be your first choice to do your winter training with. For sure there is a more reactive feeling due to the convex hull, but there is also a lot of stability due to the low standing area. Overall this sums up for a comfortable ride with lots of stability!

The nose seems to enter the water with a bit of splash like I’m used to with the 2019 Allstar. As I mentioned in the Starboard Allstar 2019 review, I’m a big fan of this nose shape. This design works great when drafting, entering swirls or hitting bigger bumps, I’m happy Starboard carried on with this great working design.

Tail … here the magic happens

The tail is way narrower than previous Allstar designs and when paddling with moderate power I could feel that it requires definitely less power to maintain a good traveling speed.

In my case I could manage to paddle my homespot time trial track with relatively low hr of 150bpm at a solid 8,5km/h, or 7:06/km at very high temperatures. When putting more power into the stroke I could reach an average speed of 9km/h which is exactly on par with my best time for the Fanatic Strike 21,5! The new bottom shape definitely has less drag, but I struggled to paddle straight compared to its 2019 predecessor. I can do 15 to 20 strokes per side with the 2019 model, but in the beginning I had to change every 10th stroke with the Allstar 2021 to get it straight, as it seems a little more difficult to steer with the rounded rails .

I did some testing with other paddlers which are more experienced than me and everyone was quite satisfied with the effortless glide the Allstar provides.

There’s really a lot to like with this board and I’ll need some more rides to compare them 1:1 with direct switching to give you a better idea how about the differences.

In terms of haptic and feeling I can tell that the 2021 Allstar is stiffer than its predecessor while not being rock hard as the Fanatic Strike 2019/2020. The restorative flex is less noticeable than before and feels just right for a paddler of my weight. Most importantly there’s no disturbing flex when pushing it whilst sprinting.

Here you find what starboard changed with their best carbon sandwich construction:

Some critical areas as the nose and the rails are benefitting from using stronger 150g/sqm biaxial carbon, but at the old construction compressive strength at the top of front area was noticeably better, maybe due to fact using 100g biax carbon and full pvc wrapping over the entire board. During a regular rece I don’t think this should make a difference as the vulnerable areas got beefed up and other areas show a lighter construction to save some weight.

How it rides in different conditions

Tracking, turning, stability, cruising and of course racing will be featured after this weekend as I’ll have the opportunity to try this board at the Weissensee Classics Race 🙂

16.08.2020 and here we go…

Weissensee Classics 2020 with the Allstar 2021 14×24,5

A wonderful landscape, great drivers and, thanks to a bridge crossing the lake, a great view for the audience made for a great experience!

The event started relatively late on Saturday at 6pm with 200m timetrials head to head with 21 competitors. I started in the last heat with two others and could manage to finish first with a time 1:05min while facing some headwind (I’ll post the official results as soon as they are here). The result was good enough to compete in the A-Finals, where the 10 fastest paddlers went for a second round. After a lousy start, which forced me to switch paddling side after only 4 strokes, I had to deal with a massive chop from the two fastest guys, but I had zero issues to keep on track. In the end I was pleased about my 6th place.

First heat…great board for a good result.

Long Distance Race 12km

I don’t really know what happened to me when packing for this event, I knew it would get warm and normally I have to hydrate my body like crazy – I forgot to take my beloved camelbak with me . I tried to figure out how to place a Gatorade under the handle in case I would need it. Half emptied and squeezed I finally found a way to secure it.

The race started on Sunday at 11:30AM and I tried to keep up a good pace while keeping my heart rate low. The race consisted of 3x4km laps and during the first two rounds it was surprisingly easy to hold a consistent good pace while keeping some reserves for the last round.

My turns were soooo bad and I really have to practice them, but after I could always do some short sprints, I finally finished 10th overall with a strong last lap. Not a drop of liquid was needed during the race. I used the QB Trifecta 96 and with the respectable glide of the Allstar it was a pleasure to paddle this track with low cadence.

What the hell was I doing? #badturning

The Allstar is such an easy ride and serves you well when drafting, dealing with chop, sidewaves and other stuff. Stability wise it was a bit of an overkill for this environment, but it was good to see that it’s possible to race against the sub 24″ fraction and get good results.

Obviously there are faster boards out there, but I’m not sure if there’s an allwater raceboard that would suit better for an average paddler like me.

Here are the results of the Weissensee Classics race:

In the 24/7 ranking (Boards wider than 24″) I could win the LD-Race and finish second in the 200m sprint.

https://www.weissensee-aktiv.com/events/austrian-sup-tour-15-16-august-2020/ergebnisse/

If you want to have a deep dive into my stats of this race, you can check out the link below 😉

Specs and more

If you want to have more specific information about this board I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

Final Verdict

This board is absolutely great in every aspect and if you’re searching for a board that can do it all with performing excepional in more challenging conditions, this is the right board for you.

There are a few circumstances where I would not recommend taking a closer look at this board. If you’re searching for a typical leaders board and you’re paddling mostly in flatwater, there is still the Sprint out there and many other good working designs. It’s also a comparable „wet ride“ like the older Allstar Models as there will always be some water on the standing area, if you don’t want that… take a closer look at the Sprint, or other Dugout Boards with either a higher standing area, or a drainage valve system. *Meanwhile I got the information that there are stick on drain covers available (aftermarket), to prevent water entering the deckpad!

Compared to my Allstar 2019 you can save some energy when traveling with 70-80% of power. The lowered cockpit ensures a safe feeling without appearing claustrophobic due to its wide standing area (3cm wider than the Allstar 2019).

Besides it being a fast allwater raceboard, I had so much fun playing around with this board, and when conditions are getting messier it gets even better. There are many more boards which are working great in calm water, but very few of them which are screaming to get pushed into waves 😉

Coming up next: Starboard Allstar 2021

Big changes to be expected and next week I’ll hopefully be able to share everything you want to know about the new Starboard Allstar 2021!

I’ll do some testing and compare the rock solid and easy to ride 2019 Starboard Allstar 14×24,5 with the latest revision of this legendary allwater race board. As testing would only be fair when comparing same sizes, it’ll be a 14×24,5.

In the last months I was able to dial in my paddling technique with the Allstar and could gain speed. At my home track average speeds of 9km/h are no longer reserved for the strike as I could manage to achieve those traveling speeds with the Allstar as well as with the SIC RS.

Starboard Allstar 2019 14×24,5 paired with the Quickblade Trifecta 96 at the SUP Battle 6.0

At the SUP Battle 6.0 at lake Neusiedl, I finished the effectively 8,2km Bauminsel-Classic Race at 12th position while finishing second place in the 24/7 class (24″ and wider). Facing side chop and wind, the Allstar 2019 was the best board I could wish to stay on track and most importantly feeling comfortable putting down power onto the blade.

For those of you being interested in my Garmin measurements:

Guess what, I’m really a big fan of this board, so I’m really excited to find out what these big changes are leading to… stay tuned