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!

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 😉