photo credit: breedfreakphoto.com
Here’s my question. While I love SUP, I also like to ocean swim and I imagine that I’d have a lot of fun on a prone paddleboard in Santa Monica Bay. I “pirated” a sprint board a few months ago from a lifeguard while I was ocean swimming (he was paddling) and I was amazed at how fast and efficient it felt, especially compared to swimming!
I’d like to get a 12″ stock board and found a used [name redacted] board in Huntington Beach that’s about 10 years old in good shape. So I’d like to know if boards have changed significantly over the last decade so that a new board such as a Bark Commander would have many advantages over an old board. I am basically looking for another way to enjoy the water and get a workout and so don’t need the fastest board.
That is always the question isn’t it. Will old stuff serve me as well as new stuff? How much of “new” is marketing and promotion rather than something significant? The answer is that it all depends on who you are and your needs.
In your case, given that you say you don’t need the fastest board – go get the old beater. Who cares – right? That old board will do what you need to do – right?
The real question that you might be asking given that you took the time to email us is whether or not you will regret the purchase? What happens if you really start liking this paddleboarding stuff? Does it make sense to get something newer so you don’t have to get a different one in a few months? What happens if you start paddling with a group and you cant keep up because of your old clunker board? Will you have made short sighted decision?
Those are completely different questions that require different answers. In our opinion, if you are even grazing those topics you should probably do your research and consider getting a newer board. Although it is EXTREMETLY difficult to make generalizations regarding board shapes, in our opinion, things are quite a bit different than they were a few years ago. Board shapes are faster across the board. Another thing to consider is that board technologies have changed and these newer technologies can help prevent dings and make the boards lighter, more durable, and, in some cases, faster. One notable example is the new Commander that you mentioned from Surftech. It is made out of composite material that is extremely durable and resistant to dings and dents. Although that might not seem like a huge benefit right now, the first time you lose your board going through the surf and you see it smashing in to the beach you will have a peace of mind knowing that your board will be in your garage when you get home and not the ding repair shop. Other examples, are the hollow carbon boards from NCP and the Kings boards wrapped in carbon fiber weaves.
The bottom line for us is that if all you really want to do is go out and paddle solo – get the old beater. If, however, you are like us and you might enter a race, paddle with some other paddlers who will be on newer and faster boards, or you value having a board that is ding/dent resistant like the new Commander from Surftech, you should at least do some shopping and board testing and see what you like before you sink some cash into a beater board.
Full Disclosure: Surftech is an advertiser with Riding Bumps. That said, Roch paddles a Commander and this article would have been written in almost exactly the same way whether or not Surftech was an advertiser on Riding Bumps.