6 Cool Stand Up Paddling Items to Keep an Eye Out for in 2012
Inland SUP is no longer a primitive method of river (or flatwater) travel reserved only for misplaced coastal surf addicts looking for a fix. It’s morphed into one of the fastest growing adventure sports, and the world’s quickest growing paddlesport. It has been interesting to see the rise (and fall) of new SUP technology. Here are 6 super cool items to keep an eye out for in 2012. Some of them are going to revolutionize the sport, and others help to make various part of SUP easier and more fun.
1.The Badfish Stand Up Paddle River Surfer – The words “game changer” are very overused, especially in paddlesports. The Badfish River Surfer is a true SUP game changer. If you have tried surfing a river wave on a 10’+ SUP, and then try surfing the exact same wave with the Badfish, you will become a believer. The River Surfer is basically a short(6’11” or 8’0″), thick (5″+) SUP with a very high rail. It is one of the only SUP’s on the market that is designed to surf a river wave, which dynamically speaking is the complete opposite of an ocean wave. It has kick rocker on the nose (just like a freestyle whitewater kayak), and can carve on small steep waves just like a play boat. If your goal is to be able throw 360’s on your hometown wave like it’s your job, the River Surfer is the stand up board for you.
2.WilsonPac by VestPac – This is a very useful item for more than just SUP. The Vestpac is a hydration system combined with iPod, cell phone, car keys, ski pass, money and whatever else you can stuff into the pockets. What sets the WilsonPac apart is the 3-D air mesh fabric that is used. The breathable mesh dissipates moisture (similar to breathable membrane fabric used on dry tops and ski shells), and is also very comfortable to wear against your skin. This hydration combo pack is PERFECT for bringing to the ski resort in the winter (carry your pass, iPod, phone and credit card on your person), and even better for flat water SUP’ing in the summer. For more information on this unique product, click here.
3. Super Flex Pro Teck Fins – Stand up paddling in the river is fun, but also comes with a set of limitations. One major factor in the realm of River SUP is something called “rocks“. Stand up boards have gotten pretty durable over the years, and fin technology has been either a.) indestructible permanent (non removable) rubberized fins or b.) removable composite or plastic ones (breakable). The Super Flex fin offers the best of both worlds. They are made of a rubberized material that can withstand the rigors of downriver SUP. They can take a beating and not break, or even worse, break the fin box. You no longer have to take your fins off of your board for shallow river paddling, and sacrifice the loss of control. If you tend to be rough on your gear, get some Super Flex surf fins.
4. Boardworks Badfish MCIT iSUP –Badfish is bad ass enough to make the short list twice. Do we dare use the “game changer” adjective again? Heck yea! The MCIT stands for Multi Chamber Inflatable Technology. In short, this is the most stable high performance SUP on the market, and will make you a better down river stand up paddler. The primary stability of this board is completely ridiculous due to the lowered deck (low center of gravity) and raised (inflatable) tapered rails. The bumper bow can bash rocks all day long and keep on ticking. If you want to raise the bar in 2012, and paddle some rivers that you had thought were previously unobtainable (or painful to swim), the MCIT will take you there. For more info on the MCIT, click here to read a few detailed reviews.
5. Salamander SUP Quick Release Belt & Coiled Leash – This item is not high tech and shiny, and it’s not made of composite or carbon. It does however make your life a WHOLE LOT EASIER and safer when on the river. It’s a 1.5″ webbing belt that attaches to your waist. Attached to the belt is a quick release that also connects to your SUP. The attachment point has a velcro accessory that acts as a quick release. You can decide how much velcro you want connected together, which determines the breaking strength of the system. Most SUP leashes do not break away, and/or require the paddler to wear a rescue vest (in order to have a breakaway). This is one of the only quick release leashes on the market that does not require a rescue PFD, and is a true break away system. Don’t fret getting your leash tangled in river debris, this simple and cost effective solution works like a charm. For more info and a detailed review, click here.
6. The Boardworks Raven – The Raven brings the best of racing board technology to the recreational paddler’s realm and price point. It has a bow that pierces through waves with ease, is constructed from a space age material (TEC-V) that is light, fast, stiff and very strong, and costs about 1/2 of what a comparable race board does. The Raven is very stable, yet is also fast. It’s race ready, but is also a great choice for a flat water touring board. If it’s a fast, sexy, user friendly, mid priced SUP that you are after, check out the Boardworks Raven. Men’s Journal gave it their Gear of The Year Award for a reason.