LightCorp Signature 2.0

There are raceboards in the market that trigger a special „I want to have this thing“ feeling.

However, if this feeling is faced with a lot of uncertainties, the risks and opportunities must be weighed up.

Legend of OX, the Mantra, Freeracer and the Signature 2.0

At the Legend of OX 2020 I had the opportunity to do some short testrides with the LightCorp Mantra 23.2, the brand new Freeracer in 14×26 and of course the Signature 2.0 in 14×24,75. The Freeracer has a really nice shape and its surprisingly fast while being agile, with the Mantra I had high hopes this thing could be a lightweight version of the easy to paddle Starboard Sprint 2021. Although being equally as wide and sharing some design similarities (supposedly), these boards do feel totally different. I didn’t feel comfortable right away and while first stability was quite okay, I did struggle without having secondary stabilty I was used to.

5 weeks later my own board arrived

Gerd Weisner told me I should do a short ride with his own Signature 2.0 in 24,75″ width. First I told him that I didn’t think this would be a good idea, because I heard that this beast is really difficult to paddle and I didn’t mean to embarrass myself. He told me that it initially might roll more than other boards, but it has some great secondary stability. So I decideded to go for a short test and when I started to trust the Signature, it got firm when leaning to much towards one paddling side.

First impressions

I don’t want to say that it was easy, but with a little practice it was definitely manageable.

The low inertia, effortless glide and good secondary stability, paired with a standing area at water level made up for a totally new expierience.

A hollow racing board with a far better carbon/price ratio than any other brand in the world, a great shape that can be fast in many conditions, a customizable design and a passionate founder with a lot of hydrodynamic knowledge were the biggest pluses for me.

Pure Carbon Porn …

Evolutionary stages

The LightCorp Signature 2.0 in its current stage of development was able to dispel all the concerns I had in advance. With a recognizable stiff chassis and a reinforced base due to additional stringers in the deck area and many small improvements, I decided on this board.

While Gerds Signature had a stiff chassis with a flexing standing cockpit area, my board is as stiff as one could wish! I can happily tell you that this will be standard for all new Signature 2.0 Models.

The minor downside for weight weenies… my Signature weighs a still fantastic 10,19kg without fin. With the RS Pro Railsaver (not necessarly needed) and a standard fin you still have a weight of 10,5-10,7kg and that’s easily 1-3kg lighter than most competitors.

Reinforced and only finest materials lead to an excellent low weight of 10,2kg

Differences Hollow vs foam core Boards

Compressive strength is way better with this construction than most eps sandwich constructions as there’s used much less carbon/fiberglass in conventional products.

One thing comes to mind, what if you somehow manage to get a hole in your board? This is a double edged sword as it could fill your board until it sinks. However, when you repair this hole, you won’t suffer from a water-soaked eps core making your board heavier than it once was.

You can instantly feel the low inertia, two or three strong strokes and you’ll glide with traveling speed.

The finish of this board is quite perfect and it leaves a feeling that this thing could last forever when taking care of it.

A Gelcoat finish could probably chip, but you have way less issues with paddlemarks and once you polish your board, it’ll look like brand new.

These boards are actually unique pieces that are built by NELO in Portugal.

Wile waiting for your personal masterpiece I was curios about the design in real life. As every painter seems to add his personal note, the end result was a little different from what I’ve expected – Don’t get me wrong, it’s a matter of personal taste, but I’m truly in love with this design!

Expectation vs Reality

If you don’t like my colors don’t worry… there are 7 templates and 25 colors to choose from.

This leads to a crazy 10.000+ different design options!

How does it feel?

Once used to it there are many things to like about this board

As I’ve stated before it’s definitely a challenging board for its width but with the right fin a some practice you start getting more and more comfortable.

Due to the low weight it’s easy to get the Signature of the line but it took some time feeling confident enough to put power on the paddle without wiggling to much. Compared with the Sprint I’d say it’s comparable with the 21,5″ Sprint in terms of initial stability.

The reason for the reduced initial stability comes from a convex bottom shape coupled with a relatively narrow tail and a even more rounded front. There’s also a big advantage of this design as you’re not creating drag when leaning the board slightly. Boards with wide tails, like the Fanatic Strike do suffer from drag when you’re not able to keep the board leveled.

Let’s talk about board width …

Narrower boards are faster than wide ones, lighter is faster, there are many claims that are not always true.

Boards are designed with a waterline in mind of the shaper and this topic is much more complicated than judging board volumes or project bottom areas. You want to keep the wetted area as small as possible while keeping the desired waterline to get a board moving fast. So volume distribution, displacement and rocker lines have to fit to the paddlers weight. Gerd is a full sized powerhouse with about my bodyweight. The LightCorp Signature 2.0 14×24,75 is still his go to board for most races, as it perfectly suits skilled paddlers with a little more weight.

I’m going to do some speed comparison tests with the Starboard Sprint, the Fanatic Strike, and also my Allstar. By now, I can tell you that while I’m working on my basic endurance, I’m reading some fantastic paces that keep me excited for these tests!

Paddling this board since 5 weeks I did about 120km and every time I do feel more comfortable with it. I’m a big slough when it comes to turns and moving on a board and yes… I know that I do have to practice it in the future. But it’s winter and with temperatures around freezing, the best drysuit can’t get me going for a bit of swimming. All this in mind I see myself doing some turns and getting my muscles firing faster to get more control in several conditions.

Two weeks ago I had to deal with 2-3Bft and I had to smile a lot as it was a great pleasure with the Signature 2.0.

Things I hate

I am a really hard person to be satisfied because I often can’t get small abnormalities out of my head. Let’s say you’re out on the water for a relaxing paddleboarding session and hit a few leaves in the water … with the Strike or the Sprint I have to lift the nose a bit to get rid of leaves sticking to the sharp slicing nose. Not with this one! When I’m moving on deck I don’t want to feel a board flexing, even when I’m hitting some bigger waves. When I play around and tilt a board left to right, I don’t want the deck to flood because my feet get colder in winter and it just bothers me.

Yes I’m picky.

None of those mentioned things that could disturb me stays true for the LightCorp Signature 2.0.

They even invented a greatly working drainage valve that prevents water from entering the deck area although providing a very low stance at water level. And if you want 4 instead of my two drainage holes, because you’re loving it to get that big nose buried (that’s a challenge I haven’t been able to accomplish by now) they can build that board as you want it.

For LightCorp I see one big disadvantage for providing hollow boards… it’s not as easy to change shapes and details from year to year as most of their contenders are doing.

But I don’t think that’s necessary, once you’ve found a good shape.

At this point I can’t tell you if this is the fastest board I’ve tested by now and at the same time I see myself starting next year with either the Sprint, Allstar, Strike and the Signature… but only if I have a feeling my baby won’t get hurt 😉

I love the design of my board, what would be your preferred look?

Could it be love?

Many years ago I’ve watched a report on tv on the topic Objectophilia where a chubby guy was totally in love with its steam locomotive – what a crazy observation…

Why does this come to my mind now?

Jokes aside…

While I’m not prone to falling in love with my gear, once I begin to connect with this board, I will completely understand.

Having the ability to choose your preferred design and getting a customized board is a feeling of luxury only few brands can offer.

I’ll update this post as I’ve done some more testing and please let me know if you do have any questions.

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 😉