Goodbye 2020 – Hello 2021!!!

Today I had a different sensation of paddling… without having a look at the heart rate , technique or other performance related metrics, I set my mind free and thought about 2020 as a paddling year.

Here’s my 2020 SUP Calendar in Pictures:

Paddling community

I felt so grateful for the support I received from various dealers / companies, the Corona TimeTrial Challenge organized by Chris Diver, the commitment of Rudy van Haven and other race directors who managed to get so many races organized as one could wish.

But that’s not all… many people have encountered that SUP is the perfect social distancing sport.

I experience this community as an incredibly well-connected, passionate collection of sports enthusiasts. There are so many nice people that I have met through this hobby and real friendships have formed.

To all interested parties and beginners out there, we look forward to getting to know you

If I can help anyone, whether on the water or online, get in touch!

Build your community, share the excitement, and stay passionate.

Things to come…

The European paddle manufactures Braca Sport and Jantex have some great paddles I’d like to introduce to you!

Speed comparisons will be made and I would also like to talk about differences in board design. Maybe it can help one or the other with the choice of equipment.

I’ll also present some gadgets I love to use for SUP.

Boards are not fast, the paddler makes the difference … technique and training are crucial, but the board should still fit the paddler. At this point I try to be of support with my reports and reviews.

Finally… I will post my final review of the Fanatic Strike and hopefully many more 😉

Happy new year

I wish you a happy new year 2021, lots of great paddling adventures, time for your loved ones and stay healthy!

Sincerely yours, David

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.

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

Raceboard Comparison 10km

While not being able to compete in a 2020 race season head to head, austrias fastest paddler Chris Diver started an online Competition with the Corona SUP Timetrial Challenge to stay motivated and compete at online challenges, ranging from 10km, 5km, 1km-races and last but not least a 200m sprint time trial.

Also a great opportunity to compare my raceboards at race distances 😉

1:10:25 vs 1:08:28

The first challenge was a 10k time trial, I did with the board I felt most comfortable paddling longer distances. As I paddled nearly 400km with the SIC RS, I thought it was a good idea to start with this board and had a great run with near perfect conditions at the traun.

I started 5km down the river with minor current and only slight headwind, one turn and back to the starting point. The RS felt very familiar, was easy to track and saved a lot of energy in the lower body, but it likes to be paddled in less than ideal conditions. The last km was a little hard for me, as sun came out and led to sous vide cooking me in my drysuit 😀

Second attempt- Fanatic Strike 14×21,5

At the end of this challenge a second 10k time trial should have been done at the same spot with hopefully comparable conditions. This time I chose the Fanatic Strike 2019 and while lending my favorite fin to a sup buddy, I had to use the stock fanatic fin I feel less than comfortable with. With some stability and tracking issues but equipped with a new larger paddle, the fantastic Quickblade Trifecta 96, I was able to finish 2min faster than the first time. The first kilometers I was facing much stronger headwind than in the first run and had to deal with slight choppy water. Nevertheless I could hold the pace until the end of the run while not being totally wasted.

5k – 33:29

So there is only one run left to tell you which board is fastest at this particular spot.

Stay tuned to find out if I’m able to double the time I was able to do with the Allstar at the 5k time trial. This was at a different spot with much more current and of course half the distance, so I’m really excited to find out what’s possible with the Allstar.

Starboard Allstar 2019/2021

Right now it’d be a little unfair to post my results with the Allstar as my paddling technique improved by some margin. Therefore it’s clear that now I can manage to do the 10k easily at 8,7-8,8km/h.

There is a totally different feeling in how I can do those average speeds.

With the Starboard Allstar 2021 14×24,5 it takes a lot less energy to keep this board moving with good traveling speeds. The Fanatic Strike on the other hand needs a lot of power to get it up to good speeds, but saves you some energy when pushing it beyond 9km/h, where the Allstar can’t hide it’s still an allwater board.

During Races different things like drafting etc have to be considered when comparing raceboards and in this case both Allstar Models perform exceptionally well due to their rocker, nose shape and forgiving handling.

Hopefully I can do some more tests at the end of the season where new time trials have to be done.

Until then…stay tuned for some other stats and feel free to ask me whatever you want to know.

Raceboard Comparison Traun Short Lap 3,7km

Here we are, … these were the best results I could manage to do in the last months on the short lap Traun with 3,7km :

I know that with my paddling technique I’m bobbing up and down too much and I tried to achieve my goals with lowering my strokes per minute in order to focus on a clean catch and strong power phase.

Aktivieren Sie JavaScript um das Video zu sehen.

By now I’ve been paddling 99km with the Allstar, 263km with the Strike and 356km with the RS. For sure, the strike is the tippiest board out of those three and it likes to be paddled with high cadence and a very clean technique. As I’m a heavier rider, a narrower board with low projected bottom area is harder to get planing and sinks down faster, when entering the recovery phase.

During the power phase you can feel that the drag factor is lower with the strike, but when sprinting, it’s way harder to lift it out of the water and getting to top speeds.

The RS feels very easy to paddle and my results were very consistent, with it being always within +/-5 seconds per km. It’s also the easiest board to accelerate due to its low weight and large and simple bottom shape.

I think the Allstar is faster than the RS because of its sleeker nose shape, what also makes it easier to catch the paddle parallel to the rails.

Whilst at flatwater conditions each board is relatively easy manageable, things are changing drastically when hitting bumps! The Allstar with its high profile nose likes to go over each wave and there’s little chance that water flows over the high volume Nose, but the higher standing area compared to the RS and Strike do sometimes feel a little less safe.

When paddling upwind my feelings totally fooled me, as the strike cuts through waves like a hot knife through butter and splited higher bumps effortlessly with it’s deep concaved bottom shape. So it had to be really fast, or?

As watched the time I was a bit shocked as the RS and the Allstar have been more than a minute faster! The RS felt slowest but maybe that’s because it seems to hit the waves way harder than the opponents you can also feel the board flexing a lot. Higher waves tend to be pierced, rather than going over the bumps as with Allstar . The Allstars bottom shape makes the ride over bumps quieter and there is also flex in the board, but it’s definitely faster recovering and less noticeable.

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As you can see the river Traun isn’t always dead flat 😉

If the RS feels like an elastomere damper, the Allstar seems being spring loaded. The Fanatic Strike is sooo stiff, there is no chance to feel any flex, what makes it feel very connected and solid.

I have to work on a proper technique to master the Strike, but when facing difficult conditions I would always go the safe route and take the RS or the Allstar.

In those dreamy weather conditions you’ll be fine with each of these boards 😉

In the last weeks there were some online challenges I could use to gather some data and I’ll post my findings soon!

By now I wanna thank you and please let me know if you have any questions 🙂

Raceboard Comparison

Three well known brands in the SUP Racing scene and their most successful Boardtypes stay ready for an comparison within the next months.

3 different brands, 3 nose shapes, 3 different constructions, the brands Top of the Line Raceboards in noble carbon constructions head to head.

Test Framework

I’m a hobby SUP-Sportsman who’s highly motivated to gain expierience and wants to get better each time I’m on the water. What seperates me from many top athletes is not only their expierience and speed, it’s also my realatively high weight of 92kg+.

Mostly I’m riding my boards 500m away from my home at the river Traun, situated in upper austria and on the nearby lakes Traunsee, Attersee, Mondsee.

At the traun I’m mostly facing flatwater conditions and depending on the the water level the current can challenge my stability when hitting swirls, or switching sides.

Up and downwind I’ll post my expierience with those boards.

The Contenders

Fanatic Strike 14×21,5 (2019)

A narrow flatwater racing machine with 274liters of volume, big concaves on the bottom, a nosepiercing hull and a dugout concept.

This board rolls more than it’s competitors due to the fact beeing narrower, but it has great secondary stability and is the stiffest board I’ve ever tried.

Fin choice is crucial for me to get this board working properly for me, I’ll adress this during the tests.

SIC RS 14×24,5 (2019)

Beeing one of the most successful allround raceboards of the last race seasons, this board with it’s relatively simple bottom shape works quite well in every condition.

Initial stability is good and thanks to the open deck design with only slighty lowered standing area. This board shines in sidechop and when you don’t know what conditions you’ll be facing.

In sprints the high volume in the nose let’s you propell the board easyly out of th water and secures a good position at standing waterstarts.

Starboard Allstar 14×24,5 (2019)

The last Allstar with big concaves and a squared tail provides a lot of volume in the nose and shares the same weight as it’s competitors in the Carbon Sandwich construction.

Stability is key – this boards seems to combine the great initial stability of the RS with the strikes stability reserves when tipping a bit more.

What to expect?

I’ll do a speed comparison on a short track with 3,7km and some sprint tests from 200 to 1000m. You’ll get the garmin records to do some deep comparisons.

By now I’m having some troubles with the SUP App on my Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire, so I hope garmin will fix that soon.

These tests should be helping people beeing new to the sport, to get some information and to give a little help in their buying decision.

RACEBOARDS Schmäler = Schneller?

Auf der Suche nach dem perfekten Board für lange Distanzen und gelegentliche Renneinsätze, konnte ich in den letzten Monate einige Boards “probepaddeln”.

Bei Raceboards scheint der anhaltende Trend zu immer schmäleren Designs unaufhaltsam fortgesetzt zu werden… aber ist schmäler auch automatisch schneller?

Gerade als schwererer Fahrer ist ein gewisses Volumen und eine dem Fahrkönnen entsprechende Kippstabilität unabdingbar, um die theoretischen Vorteile schmaler Boards in der Praxis umsetzen zu können.

Bewährter Klassiker SIC RS 14’x24,5″ , oder runderneuertes Naish Javelin 14’x24″ ?

In einem ersten Vergleichstest konnte ich das Naish Javelin 2020 in 24″ Breite gegen das SIC RS 14×24,5 alias “Rocket Ship” ausprobieren. Auf der Habenseite des Naish stand eine gute sekundäre Kippstabilität, eine hohe Steifigkeit und ein weitgehend unauffälliges, gutes Fahrverhalten bei moderatem Chop.

Das SIC RS in 24,5″ Breite vermittelte schon auf den ersten Metern meinem Paddelbuddy Tom, als auch mir ein höheres Sicherheitsgefühl. Der Grund hierfür dürfte zum Einen an der besseren initialen Kippstabilität liegen und des nur sanft abgesenkten Standbereichs. Erste Geschwindigkeitstests zeigten kaum wahrnehmbare Unterschiede, so kam es auf den subjektiven Fahreindruck an.

Einfach fiel mir die Entscheidung jedoch nicht, da das SIC RS spürbar mehr flex aufwies, was bei stärkeren Wellen zwar etwas mehr Fahrkomfort verspricht, aber auch weniger vertrauenserweckend wirkt. Schlussendlich hatten wir aber im Laufe der Testfahrten unter anderem mit Seitenwellen zu kämpfen und hierbei war das RS deutlich weniger empfindlich. Wenn es dann doch mal zum ungewollten Abstieg kommt, sollte man auch testen wie schnell man wieder am Board stehen kann. Wannenboards wie das Javelin stellen hierbei den Fahrer vor deutlich größere Herausforderungen als das RS.

Ihr ahnt es schon, die Wahl fiel nicht zuletzt wegen des wahrscheinlich Branchenweit besten Tragegriffs names “EZ-Grab Handle” auf das SIC RS 14′ in der Breite 24,5″.

SIC RS 14’x24,5″ the weapon of choice

Aha-Erlebnis am Grundlsee

Verschiedene kurze Proberunden mit dem neuen Starboard Sprint 2020 in 20,75″ , dem Fanatic Strike 2017 in 24″ und schließlich dem Fanatic Strike 2020 in 21,5″ ließen in mir die Frage offen, ob denn schmalere Boards, sofern fahrbar im Sinne der Kippstabilität, wirklich schneller sind als mein liebgewonnenes RS.

Zweifelnd auch nur wenige Meter bei spiegelglattem Wasser mit einem 20,75″ breitem Board zurücklegen zu können, bot sich mir die Möglichkeit das Starboard Sprint 2020 fahren zu dürfen. Das erste Aufstehen am Board war nicht unbedingt geprägt von großer Zuversicht. Wissend, dass gerade diese Boards mit zunehmender Geschwindigkeit an Stabilität gewinnen, paddelte ich einfach mal drauf los und das gelang auch überaus gut! Da aber nicht immer mit den an diesem Tag vorherrschenden Laborbedingungen zu rechnen ist, war dieser kurze Test auch schnell vorbei.

Sobald ich nicht voll auf Zug war, kippte mir das Board immer wieder zu sehr in eine Seite und ich konnte nicht volle Kraft auf’s Paddel bringen. Mangels besserem Fahrkönnen und der Möglichkeit das Sprint in 22″ Breite zu testen, blieb es bei dieser Erfahrung.

Fanatic Strike 2017/2019/2020

Nachdem ich schon einige Kilometer mit dem Fanatic Strike 14’x24″ Modelljahr 2017 paddeln durfte und damit zwar vorwärts kam, aber nie so richtig warm wurde, mangels ausreichender Kippstabilität und fehlendem Volumen für einen >90kg Fahrer dachte ich nicht schmälere Boards tatsächlich fahren zu können.

Da sich das Starboard Sprint 2020 nicht schwerer fahren ließ, als das besagte 2017-er Fanatic Sprint, war ich neugierig wie sich wohl ein ausgewiesenes Flachwasserboard wie das Fanatic Strike des Modelljahres 2019/2020 fahren lässt.

Schon das Starboard Sprint 2020 verwunderte mich durch eine sehr hohe sekundäre Kippstabilität. Gerade wenn die Bedingungen nahezu ideal sind, sollten stärkere Wankbewegungen eher die Seltenheit sein, hierzu reicht meine Fahrtechnik derzeit aber einfach nicht aus.

Wenn man aber schon die Möglichkeit hat, verschiedenste Top-Boards an einem Ort versammelt zu haben (Rennen eignen sich hierfür bestens 😉 ) , wollte ich auch das brandneue Fanatic Strike 2020 in 21,5″ Breite testen.

Rein in die Wanne, aufgestanden, nicht gleich losgepaddelt und siehe da… das fühlte sich unheimlich stabil an, wenn auch nicht vergleichbar mit meinem SIC RS 14’x24,5″.

Schon die ersten Meter zeigten große Unterschiede zum mittlerweile gewohnten RS.

Die flache Nose scheidet leise durch’s Wasser, die Rollneigung bei geringeren Geschwindigkeit war deutlich geringer als beim Sprint und ein Blick auf die GPS Uhr zeigte ungewohnt gute Pace Zeiten.

Da das 2020-er Modell den Shape des Strike 2019 quasi unverändert übernommen hat und gegen Ende der Saison auch stärkere Preisnachlässe erzielbar sind, war für mich nach diesem Test der Wunsch geboren, dieses Board mit in den “Fuhrpark” zu nehmen.

Schon beim ersten Test auf der “Hausrunde”, konnte ich bei suboptimalen Bedingungen auf Anhieb meine bisherige Bestzeit des SIC RS erzielen.

In den zukünftigen Einzeltests werde ich mich bemühen die Unterschiede des SIC RS 14’x24,5″ und des Strike 14’x21,5″ herauszuarbeiten.

Natürlich ist mir klar, dass das Strike bei Flachwasser schneller sein wird, alleine schon aufgrund der Breite, warum dennoch der Vergleich mit dem deutlich breiterem Board interessant ist – wartet ab 😉

Coming up next…

Im Bereich SUP erwarten dich demnächst Testberichte zu folgenden Paddeln : Quickblade UV-88, Croslake Marin 2 und Marin 3, Fanatic Carbon 25HD.

Boards wie das Croslake Expedition 13.0 superlight und das Fanatic Rapid Air Touring 11.0 werden ebenso mit einem detaillierten Testbericht gewürdigt.

Die Kategorie Audio/Kopfhörer wird noch um die Tests des Bestsellers Bose QC35 II und den noblen Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless erweitert.