I am planning on doing the 111km Hawesbury Canoe Classic this year on a SUP board, so I was after a opinion on what board people thought might be best. I am going to have to compromise as I want to use the same board for downwind open water paddling and races on Sydney Harbour.
I was thing about trying one of the C4 Waterman boards and a Deep board. Anyway if any one has any thoughts I would love to here from them. Staying at home in bed that night; the guys at work have already suggested one
thats a nice little paddle, well i havent had a go on either a c4 or a deep as i have a naish, but i have only heard good things about the deep boards, maybe look at a 14footer over a 12'6 considering your your looking at doing the hawkesbury classic, it would aslo be good for downwinding and there are a few competitiors racing in the 14 foot class now, maybe have a chat with casso as i know he has a deep raceboard or ring up the guys at dolphin, i would still check out some c4 boards and just see what you like
The Starboard 14ft ACE is one of the fastest boards on flatwater (I'm guessing you want something fast for the classic so you're standing up for as little time as possible!) and it's great for picking up harbour chop/boat wash and for light to moderate downwind conditions too.
Sam P and Dave K used this board in last year's Sydney Ocean series and came out on top, and Connor & Sam took 1st & 2nd and Annabelle 1st Woman at the Doctor all paddling the Ace - so it's definately not a flatwater only board!
BUT make sure you demo all the boards you're thinking about! The Classic is a very long paddle and IMO the most important thing about any board will be that you feel comfortable paddling it for that long.
Like Ali Cat,I have the Starboard Ace 14'. Have just swopped to the 27" wide which would be better if you're over 80kg than the 25" wide which I had and sold on. The 25" is easily a faster board but after a long paddle might be harder with your balance as you tire. You'd definitely want a 14', wear gloves and wear some thin footware for the 111km or so. Other considerations might be the Suplove Stingray 14', perhaps the new DC 14' flat water racer Dale has, or even a longer board - SIC or Naish 17' maybe.
Best of all talk to Cam who posted this:
Lanee did that race last year and after testing a few different boards she choose to use the Starboard 14' x27 ACE..
She finished the race and set quite a good time a HUGE effort..
If you want to use the board is a down wind board as well then look at the Starboard 14' Coast runner Sam at wind surf and snow has a demo I think
Hope this helps
Whatever board you get, try get a carbon or lighter board. The Ace I have is the AST construction and a bit heavy at 17kg, but I love the way it rides. The K15 could be ideal or a coastrunner perhaps. Good luck with the training ahead.
I think what everyone has said is really good advice but a couple of things I would point out, like you said, you will have to compromise one way or the other. If it is only one board you can have you really have to look at where you will be doing most of your paddling post the Hawkesbury. It is all good to do the HCC on a specialized flat water board but then what do you do with it after? Unless of course you plan to sell it then by all means get a flat water specific board. Like Ali said the Starboard ACE would be a perfect board, but is it what you want after the HCC? With all due respect Ali, yes those guys and girls all did fantastically on the ACE in The Dr but they were hardly DW conditions it was more of a flat water race in the ocean and also look at the calibre of those that paddled the board.
Definitley go 14 or bigger, the K15 would be another really good board. Mat Worley actually holds the race record on the K15 of 15:32. Although the talk at the SUPA Nationals was thatwe would like to give a bakers dozen a nudge (13 hours).
The coast runner could be a good all round board. One of the guys I regularly paddlewithhas a coast runner and it seems to go pretty well in the flat and very wellin the ocean.
Not sure about C4, maybe check the V1 out. Other boards you could consider as all rounders are possibly the Fanatic 14, Naish Javelin 14 or 17, DC, Jimmy Lewis Sabre (someone Hurst came 3rd on this board at the SUPA nationals DW race).
Hope that helps butif you need anymore info or have any questions feel free to pm me and I'll help if I can.
For what your after, I think production boards are good but the are always made for majorly for one style of paddling only. I'd go a custom and speak to the person who is building it for you. At least you can decide together what type of rocker will be benefical (flat/ocean) and the shapes/widths that will work for you as an individual. It makes sense to me as your not after just a flatwater or DW board. And the price of some of the customs getting around are cheaper then the production boards. I'd recommend speaking to Dale (DC) or Simon (deep), although they may not sponser the worlds best paddlers, they have had them or will have them on there paddling teams (DC e.g. Beau & Travis. deep e.g. some of the up and coming groms from SLSA)
Thanks to everyone for their input it has been a great help for me. Now comes the fun part of trying out the boards.
I tried a C4 14' and Starboard Coast runner 14' on the weekend and was really impressed with the Coast Runner. Going to take one out for another spin this weekend as I was pretty impressed with its performans and I have heard good reports about the board.