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.
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.
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 😉
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 😉
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