I haven't paddled enough 14' SUPs to write a comparative review; I'll just detail my buying and paddling experience.
I paddle for fitness, generally out and back, from various places around Perth and have been looking at 14' SUPs for a while to enable me to make the most of my limited time in the windier conditions we get in Perth.
I also wanted a light board to make transport and handling easier.
There were a number of well priced secondhand 26" boards available, but I felt, and the general advice I received (thanks seabreeze), that these were too narrow for me. The YOB Bathurst Downwinder ticked a number of boxes, I could demo paddle and was well priced. The service I received from Sally and Lach at the YOB Australia shop was great. Even though it was near the end of the day and the demo boards had been packed away, a few strings were pulled to enable me to take a 14x27 Bathurst downwinder in perfect conditions for testing. I hadn't paddled for a few weeks and I was paddling in the river into a 10kn sea breeze with gusts over 15kn with the added fun of boat wakes. In these choppy conditions - not what I would regularly paddle in - I found the board quite twitchy, but it had great secondary stability and I came close, but didn't fall in!
I arrived back at the YOB store and received a great deal for a SUP, leash, paddle (I tested this as well) and an upgrade to a click-in fin (a great invention).
I've since tested myself in challenging conditions (with swims this time!) and relatively flat water and I am very happy with the way the board goes. I'm getting used to moving around the board and finding my way to the back (and it's a long way back after paddling a 9'8) for some pivot turns.
I'll post an update when I have paddled some more.
The web site provides more information for anyone interested and here are some pictures
Interesting. I haven't seen a YOB over in Qld. Thanks for the post.
Just an update after a few paddles. I am really happy so far.
I paddled a few of my 'q shape' 5km out and back paddles where I always plan to paddle with the wind to my advantage. One of these started into a 20km/hr headwind and while it was tough paddling, especially in the gusts, the 'downwind' was great with the extra length helping to paddle over the wind chop. I would never have attempted this on my shorter board.
I did make a mistake with one paddle where I felt the wind direction would not make much of a difference ... only to end up with a long paddle up river against an additional tidal flow! This was tough but manageable on my Bathurst, but would have been really tough on my short board.
If you do paddle more wind affected flattish water out and back, a 14' board will make things a lot easier and get you out more. There are many great 14' boards available - I think I've got one of them!!