Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - photofr

Pages: 1 [2] 3
My Allstar 14x25 just arrived on the West Coast of France (Brittany). The timing is perfect: the weather is finally warming up a bit. Speaking of which, I already have a new name for the new board: “Brittany Special”. After all, I do feel this board can “do it all” and deal with just about any condition we’ll find in Brittany. It’s the Jack of all Trade, without a doubt.

Below is my view on the 2016 Starboard Allstar 14x25. Please note that I am not a world class paddler and FAR FROM IT. In fact, I am kinda old, not too fast, but I really enjoy paddling long distance in open ocean, 4 to 6 times a week.

The Allstar 14x25 Stability is amazing. 

11.9 kilos, with fin and two handles installed.
The board is 540 grams heavier than my 2016 Sprint 14x23.
Carrying it on my bald head is super easy. The board is therefore pretty light, even though it could be lighter. On the plus side, the board seems SOLID.
Please keep in mind that this is all relative… and that I am spoiled: I am in fact used to surfskis that are 21+ feet, solid as a rock, in the sub-9 kilo range.

I have to admit, I was a little worried after reading some of the feedback for this board. People were raging about board stiffness, or lack thereof. To my pleasant surprise, I find the Allstar 14x25 to be more rigid than my Sprint 14x23. After paddling the Allstar for 22km, I can tell you that it’s quite rigid, yet very pleasant on the body (not too rigid).

I think that’s where most people will be pleasantly surprised: this board can really do it all!
Competition: Open ocean (and I do mean all conditions), buoys turns > Excellent.
Marathons, long distance open ocean, cruising around with the family > very good, especially with the multiple attachment points for the handles.
Downwind, Downbreeze > Seriously at the top of its game; the board just wants to go, and is easy to handle.
Upwind > Almost enjoyable, one of the best upwind machines I have tried to date.
Flat water > You aren’t going to break world records on flat water, but you will never feel like it’s pushing a lot of water either. This board feels good on the flats, and is in fact a lot quieter than I expected (compared to an Ace, this board is wisper quiet, compared to my Sprint Unlimited, this board is loud). Nonetheless, you will feel the glide, you’ll like it, you’ll even feel fast, event if you won’t be Sprint-fast on the dead-flat-water.
Free Diving > I seriously considering putting fins, mask and snorkel and getting some lobsters from this board. Climbing back onto the board has got to be the easiest of any board I have been on so far. Possibilities are endless actually.
Drafting > This board excels at drafting other riders, and happens to be one of the easiest board to control when drafting boats. Stability is almost endless.

Very versatile board that will most likely please a lot of people.

The colors are nice, but they are surprisingly tuned down when compared to the 2016 Sprint 14x23. The nose of the Allstar is closer to the orange of an orange rather than blood red. The color scheme is still nice, just different, which I thought was a bit strange. Perhaps there’s a reason for this, but I can’t even imagine what it would be.

To be fair, I expected a much thicker board, and expected to be standing way atop the water. That’s not at all the case, and this is (to me) great news. The rails of the Allstar are about 25% thinner than the rails on the Sprint 14x23. The front end of the Allstar is however thicker (taller).

You’ve probably read it too: the fin box is quite short and will not accommodate fins with large bases. To be fair, I will most likely change the gigantic stock fin, and put a much MUCH smaller fin on this board. My reasoning is that this board has way too much stability, and this board tracks way too straight. I can’t even imagine putting on a larger fin!

There are no drainage holes (no scuppers) on this board. Waves will come and go (water will just run on the deck and disappear). You will not have to wait for the water to drain from your board like you did on your Ace. This board is very dry on flat water, however, this is a “wet board” in open ocean, AND water will stag in your standing area (granted, very little, but you will have remaining water there). You can’t even blame it on my weight, because I am only 135 pounds. This isn’t a huge concern, but I wanted to let you know.

ROCKER (Banana Shape)
The front rocker is more pronounced on the Allstar than that of the Sprint (thankfully so). The rear is even more pronounced. The balance of rocker makes this board super easy to surf open ocean swells. I can actually see a Downwind / Downbreeze school with a fleet of Allstar boards for their Intermediate and Advanced paddlers; it’s that easy.

Length and Width: 14' x 25" (14 feet x 25 inches) (4m27 x 63.5 cm)

In summary, the 2016 Allstar is super enjoyable, relatively very stable, and incredibly versatile. In my opinion, this board will meet 90% of all paddlers’.

Gear Talk / TRYING to think outside the box
« on: April 21, 2016, 12:29:26 AM »
Seemingly, you can open a board catalog and see a clear common denominator:
Most boards look very similar for 2016 - with only a few exceptions.

From where I am standing, most boards widest point is just at the standing area, or even slightly in front of the standing area, by a few inches. Sure, it's one way to add stability, and making the nose wider adds volume.

Isn't this "old school" though?
You want volume, but when you make the bows wider, you slow the board down as soon as the nose touches the wave in front of you.

Why aren't we seeing more boards with:
A narrow bow (for speed AND a narrow catch for more speed)
Higher bow (for volume)
Widest area 4 to 12 inches behind the feet (for stability)

SUP is closer to the speeds of surfskis than windsurf boards, so why not use the 35+ years of the surfski progression? Surfskis used to look a lot like the 2016 SUP boards, but have evolved to what they are now, sharing all 3 points above.

So what the deal, and why aren't more people thinking outside the box?

Gear Talk / Great Board Features
« on: March 02, 2016, 12:30:17 AM »
Some things in life can make a pretty big difference. Back in the days, you’d walk into a room and went to each lamp to turn it off. Today, one switch and the entire room lights up.

What are some of the features you’d like to see as “Standard Equipment” for on your next SUP?

This was mentioned recently, but I’d love to see longer carry handles as a standard feature on all boards. It would go a long way into making the boards balanced while carrying them – no matter how heavy your fin or added leash is.

Plugs add weight to boards – no doubt. However, a bow leash plug is easy to incorporate and a big deal when it comes to safety. It’s practical for towing (or at least keeping a friend’s bow into the win) but has a number of other uses:
-   Anchor point (when you take a breather or for snorkeling).
-   In a pinch, link your bow leash plug with your carry handle and you have multiple attachment points for your gear.
-   Securing your camera leash way up front and out of the way.

Okay, this one is tricky because someone just came up with a brilliant idea that doesn’t require tools to install or remove your fin. Still, if you are going to use a screw, it would be so nice if manufacturer would make the screw in the back of the fin, not the front. Aside from being more tucked and out of the way, I believe it to be simpler. A hand screw would be BONUS.

Some decks start just inches away from where my toes are. Opening this space a little more wouldn’t necessarily affect board handling – in fact, it might just make it lighter. Ultimately, it would give some people a little more room up front to place a small bag, life vest, or CAMERA. A little room guys, please!

There are all sorts of handles, some are lighter than others... however, if you have ever tried to pull a board onto a deck, you know that a stern handle could have made your life easier. Plus, when you fall off (DW or shore break) it could give us a little somethin’ something to grab onto.

We have currently have technology to make a 14’ board at about 5 pounds. 6 pounds would make it bulletproof. This would require working from molds, therefore building a mold each time... but would make the manufacturing process so much faster. Ultimately, boards would never have a single paddle mark, due to the sheer strength of the board. REF.: 22’ surfski that are merely 9 kilos, including the rudder system – a craft that is very stiff and sturdy. Please, let’s see lighter boards.

Let’s have 4 tie-downs standard on all boards (stern setup) – and let’s include this on all race boards. This would make them so much more versatile: touring / rear camera post setup, etc...

So what's missing on your board?

I have spent about a year and a half training hard: Technique, Balance, and Endurance. It's 2016, and I think I am ready to really try out different boards.

My first choice was: AllStar 14x23 (yes, I did say AllStar)
I placed my order, and my board should arrive in France towards the end of March. As far as I know, it will be the only one in France, and perhaps one of the very few in all of Europe, so there's no real feedback on that board yet.

Still, I plan on using my AllStar as my all-around board, my go-to board for every day paddling in Brittany, France. Frankly, I can't wait until I receive this board. I suspect it will be tons more stable than my 17'6 x 23 that I have paddled extensively - but only time will tell.

All of this waiting around got me thinking… what about the ULTIMATE FLAT WATER 14' board on the market? What about this 2016 Sprint?

The Sprint and the AllStar are both 14' x 23" - but Sprint is supposed to totally excel in flat water. More importantly, the 2016 Sprint was in stock  :-X

Any way, needless to say, the 14' x 23" Sprint is coming. It should be here this Wednesday. It should arrive just before my mother's birthday (don't worry: the board is for me).

I'll see how my training goes, and how I further progress within the next few months, but my goal would be to at least participate in the 11-City Tour (a 200 km race in Holland) - with this "Weapon of Choice".

If nothing else, it will keep my mind very occupied for the next 3 weeks while I impatiently wait for the AllStar (my dream board) to arrive.

I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Gear Talk / An Inflatable - faster than a 12’6
« on: February 23, 2016, 01:36:35 AM »
I am totally blown away: my first tests reveal that my 2016 inflatable board is faster than the fastest 12’6 rigid board I own. Three of us are ready to give it the “acid test” but we are waiting for three more. These tests take quite a bit of time to organize, and take about ½ a day of paddling – so bare with us.

In the meantime, here’s what I have found using two boards:
12’6 x 24” Starboard Sprint – Rigid Carbon Board.
14’ x 28” Starboard Racer – Inflatable Board.

8 Runs: 2 on flats and 2 sidewind with each board. 
The iSUP came ahead – each time – and this blew me away.

I’d like to see the results with several other paddlers, including someone in the 80-90 kilo range, but in my opinion, this is also where the 14’ will shine even more. Can’t wait for the weather to warm up a bit.

iSUP: 14’ x 28” Racer
VIRTUAL TOUR & PHOTOS: www.tourfr.com/56104/plan.html

SUP General / Thanks to YOU GUYS
« on: February 20, 2016, 03:00:03 PM »
Thanks for the efforts all you guys put into the forum. Your feedback, photos and videos have helped me greatly.
I started looking at this site in late 2013, and signed up about 7 months later.

I couldn't take it, so after watching "one too many" SUP video you guys posted, I went to the bank, and the fun really began.

Hey: I just wanted to say THANK YOU - because SUP is one of the best sports I have ever gotten into.

It's been about 20 months, and roughly 4000 km later.
So thank you for the motivation; this sport gets me in tip-top shape, and is very VERY versatile.
Have a great 2016 Season !!!

Downwind and Racing / 11-CITY TOUR - Race Average Speed
« on: December 24, 2015, 03:41:09 AM »
The 11-City Tour is probably an amazing race, and still most likely the longest race in the world for SUP that I know of.

For those interested, here’s the official website:

It takes place every year in Holland, during the month of September, with 100’s of paddlers covering “220 km”.

For those who have looked at same of the details of the race, you are probably a little scared by the distance... while serious athletes may just be intimidated by the average speed on this race. After all, if you do the math, the top contenders are averaging more than 10.3 km/h.

Well, I have some good news for you:
I plan on racing in Sep 2016, and when taking a closer look at details, rules, requirements, entry fees, lodging, and NUMBERS that were communicated, I find it fantastic and fabulous. Unfortunately, I have also found a number of discrepancies. I tried contacting the race organizers, but I am afraid that the language barrier was a bit much. I then tried to inquire with couple of racers who attended the race, but I have yet to receive a response.

Bottom line: I started digging deeper – and found some promising good news. 

Remember though, when it’s all said and done, you can always enter the race without racing (see the website, because it’s actually 3 events in 1).

This is what you will find on their website, videos, and blogs.
Communicated Distance: 220 km
Communicated Total Time: 21h21*
Illusion (Dream) Average Speed: 10.3 km/h

If you go to their website and add up each of the 5 stages, you too will come up with 200 km for the total distance.

RECTIFIED Distance: 200 km
Communicated Total Time: 21h21*
RECTIFIED Speed: 9.37 km/h
Note: the new average speed of 9.37 km/h seems a lot more reasonable. It still seemed a little high, but we are talking about world-class athletes. Nonetheless, I kept digging...

Since I took the time to verify the communicated total distance for the race, I felt a little obligated to satisfy my curiosity and double check a few more things. I took a closer look at the times that were communicated on their website. I merely added up each of the 5 stages time of the first place finisher’s time during his 5 days of racing. What I came up with was quite surprising – but it’s making a lot more sense.

RECTIFIED Distance: 200 km
RECTIFIED Total Time: 22h58
RECTIFIED Speed: 8.86 km/h

So basically, that’s how we can go from a scary 10.3 km/h average speed to a much more realist average speed of 8.9 km/h.

I will not at all be surprised if the ACTUAL total distance ends up being something closer to 180km.

I have so many questions...
Under the circumstances, I am a little unsure if this is really a race I’d like to dedicate 6 months of serious training for...
How did they come up with 220 km?
Why are the times not added up correctly?
Most time-keeper programs add everything automatically, so how did they let this happen?

Keep in mind that they would have said 110 km Race, and I would have asked WHERE & WHEN !?

* Based on the official document located here:

Gear Talk / iSUP - Starboard Racer Deluxe 14'x28"
« on: December 19, 2015, 02:11:00 PM »
Just received my 14x28 inflatable board.
Simply put, this thing is amazing.

I'll give you some real feedback once I have put more time on the board. We have a storm coming, so this will be perfect to see the board's limits.

In the meantime, here's a VIRTUAL TOUR of the board: http://www.tourfr.com/56104
Photos, details, descriptions, and a bit of feedback.

This board is totally fun, tracks like a dream, probably one of the funnest UPWIND I have had in a long time.
I don't want to spoil it though… but suffice to say that the graphics are pretty cool too.

Yeah… almost forgot:
All photos on the Virtual Tour were taken with a cell phone… so be gentle.

Flatwater and Touring / Sweet & Versatile Boards for touring
« on: December 09, 2015, 07:42:31 AM »
While not for everyone, I find the 17'6 x 23" to be very versatile.
Here's to thinking outside the box with your Unlimited boards - AND I HOPE TO SEE MANY MORE UNUSUAL PHOTOS.

Gear Talk / Aiming at better designs
« on: July 25, 2015, 04:20:34 AM »
Our Stand Up Paddle boards are great; I certainly enjoy the sport. In fact, I am so ecstatic that I can’t help trying to come up with ways to improve SUP.

Currently, there are two different things I would like to see:
More Speed (as in more glide for each and every single stroke – more efficiency).
More Stability (both do not usually go hand-in-hand, but I know it’s possible).

I’d like to present couple of ideas – trued and tried – and I would love to see them applied to Stand Up Paddling. Before getting started, I’d like to point out that I am not particularly looking to win races, or any speed record. More efficiency and more stability would actually make the sport more pleasant, and safer for many users – not just racers.

Currently, SUP look more like surfboards than anything else. It’s fairly normal, since SUP derived from tandem surfboards. SUP have also borrowed many aspects from windsurf boards, which is somewhat normal since windsurf boards derived from surfing. So far, this seems logical, until we look closer at Craft Speed.

Surfboards are designed to travel at speed in excess of 28 km/h.
Windsurf boards are designed to travel at speed in excess of 35 km/h.
Surfski Kayaks for speed in excess of 10 km/h.
Ocean Kayaks for speed in excess of 7 km/h.
Stand Up Paddle boards generally travel between 7 and 9 km/h.

A 7-year old will tell you that hull design should come from Ocean Kayaks or even better yet: Surfskis. The problem with that is that surfski is really uncommon, and most people do not even know what it is... or what it’s designed for.

Basically, a surfski is a kayak... specifically designed for Open Ocean fun. Downwind paddling is its main purpose “in life” although surfski happen to do very well upwind, side wind, and/or on flat water.

Interestingly enough, surfski have been around for over 50 years. Originally designed for saving lives in or near the shores of Australia and South Africa. They have since evolved dramatically.

What I find fascinating is how similar the original surfskis are to today’s SUP boards. Since I used to build surfskis, and since I have paddle one since 1987, I though it would be logical to share some ideas.

Let’s take a look at what didn’t work for surfskis. There’s a lot we can learn from design mistakes – nothing wrong with that.

Surfski were too short to be fast.
Their bow was too wide.
Bows didn’t cut the water; bows were pushing a lot of water instead.
Seating area was too high when we narrowed the surfskis; there was a lost in stability.
Surfskis were hard to control without a rudder system.
They were heavy.

Surfskis became longer: they have leveled off between 18 and 21 feet.
All surfskis bows are now penetrating bows to cut through the water.
They all have volume up front (height, not width).
All seats have been lowered for more stability.
Not all surfskis became narrower; there are more accessible surfskis today than ever before.
They all have a rudder.
A 21-foot long surfski weighs as little as 8.3 kilos – complete with the rudder.

I believe that distance paddling SUP boards will have to eventually mimic surfski design attributes. Perhaps 18’ long, 26” in width, “needle nose”, pin tail, lowered standing area, rudder system... Essentially, the bow will have to look like a modern surfski in order to find more paddling efficiency.

Beach Races, SUP surfing, and SUP boards for the river will continue to be different – as you would have it.

I am impatiently waiting for the SUP world to converse with the Surfski world. To do so seems so much more logical (to me) than checking out surfing and windsurfing designs.

A faster craft, a faster SUP will make me want to paddle and train even more. Currently at 2500 km per year... we can all do more !

Downwind and Racing / Downwind in France, Brittany coast
« on: July 14, 2015, 10:29:20 PM »
A memorable day on the coast of Brittany, France.
Strong gusts to 40+ MPH, steady small swells coming into the river, two super fun paddlers making their way to about 9 miles up the bay.

The start is near Larmor (very close to the city of Lorient). There are two other destinations possible for great downwind within a 10 minute drive from this place. There's even an island 4 miles offshore that provides great downwind potentials, including my favorite run which is from Groix to Etel for a 19-mile DW run.

Hope you guys enjoy.







Gear Talk / Reviewing my Starboard RACE 14x25
« on: July 07, 2015, 08:19:05 AM »
My favorite board to date that really suits my needs. I primarily got it for open ocean paddling (long distance), lighter downwinds, training with maniacs, and photography. So far, I am still blown away... there’s a lot to like, including its noticeable speed (at least for lightweight paddlers.)

I love the piercing nose; its shape just look cool to me.
The concave tail also has this distinct look and feel that one could enjoy looking at.
It feels fast.

The center carrying handle is perfectly positioned.
Small side lip remind your feet of the boundary; it’s also a nice feature to make board-handling a little easier.
Surprisingly, the deck area is pretty dry, thanks to its long front end. In case water makes its way, you’ll find that the scuppers work very well – and water drainage is super fast.
The full pad is a huge welcome addition, especially coming from my Sprint boards.

Stability on flat water is very good. I don’t weigh very much, but my heavier friends seem to have some difficulties in the chop with this board.
The board benefits from a huge amount of stability when it gets going fast... so catching boat wake and open ocean swells actually make life a whole lot easier when it comes down to stability.

Okay... this is a feeling, but nonetheless: the board feel like it’s gliding. Not all 14 footers will feel like they are gliding, so the “feel” remained important to me. This board doesn’t disappoint.

Day one with the board and I got my second fastest time on my home course. I have paddled it over 150 times using many boards... but the 14x25 surprised me right from the first day. Experience has thought me that I will get faster on it... so this is super motivating. (By the way: my fastest time was on my Sprint 17’6 x 23” – which is in a class of its own).

The board isn’t the lightest 14 footer in the world... but it’s pretty light. Mine came in at 10.5 kg – including the fin and center handle. Of course, I’d love to this boards even lighter, but who wouldn’t ?

Great feeling, perfect: the board will feel right at home.

I loved it; the board just wanted to play with every boat wake. A rolling swell becomes super fun. Highly recommended.

I didn’t have the chance to get it in super rough conditions yet, but I paddled along cliffs with “some” backwash. You’ll have to stay alert, and you probably won’t have time to relax. The board will remind you that it’s a racing machine – no doubt.

Heads up: you will weigh less than me and you are likely to also enjoy it in the rough, OR you will weigh more with more stability and ability than me.

I can only comment on small downwind conditions, for now. I found the board to be very reactive, and super stable. The open deck makes it so easy to step back in a hurry. The bow didn’t want to burry itself for no reason, but when it does go under, you don’t feel like someone put on the breaks. It’s smooth and predictable.

Someone else can comment on their experience in bigger downwind... but that’s all I can comment on for now.

It works pretty well; it’s a keeper.

Perhaps because I am a feather, but I feel like I get blown away with side winds. I have tried “everything” – and this board is also affected by side wind. I paddle such long distances that I might one day place a rudder system on it. This would solve all of my problems, because I really don’t mind paddling straight upwind for hours.

Very versatile board that surprised me on its small downwind ability.
Very fast – at least for a feather-weight rider.
A good feeling glide.
The bow looks cool, as does the unusual concave tail.
Plenty of handle attachment points.
A full non-skid pad.

The deck could be lowered by 2 to 5 cm and the stability gain would be incredible. I have a feeling that heavier paddlers are bashing the board because (and only because) of the stability – or lack thereof for them.
I seriously can’t think of anything else that’s important.

I’d love to see two fins provided with this board – one for downwind, and a weedless one.
Perhaps a 25cm space can be added in front of the rider’s feet before the deck rises. I know, it’s silly, but this would give us a possibility to place a small bag in front of our feet, without placing it so high.
As usual, a bow attachment point – for towind, anchoring, or simply to secure our Go-Pro cameras as well.

Gear Talk / Closer look - Starboard 12'6 x 25 Sprint
« on: April 03, 2015, 10:27:01 PM »
Just came back from a little run on my Starboard 12'6 x 24 Sprint. It was windy, 20 knots with unusual much stronger gusts. The playground was well "lid up" for the board choice.
To my great surprise, this little Sprint board did very well.

In case you are wondering, it was a workout on the legs (and the whole body really) but super fun.
I am using the 2014 model, but the 2015 is WAY more stable (even though just 1" wider). A lot of that may come from its different hull design, as well as the carved out area for your feet that I like so much. Regardless, both boards surf little runs with ease.

I am not a very big paddler (128 pounds) - board weight seems to play a huge role for me. My Sprint comes in at around 9 kg, so trowing it around is pretty easy, and getting it on a runner is a breeze.

So here's to sharing couple of photos with you guys (from Brittany, France).

Gear Talk / 2015 Starboard 14 x 23.5 Sprint
« on: February 13, 2015, 02:57:40 AM »
Does someone own the 2015 Starboard 14 x 23.5 Sprint ?
I would love to hear your feedback on stability and speed of this new model (especially compared with the 2014 Sprint 12'6 x 24).

At this point though, I would take any comparison you got against other SB boards.
I am thinking of getting raid of my 2014 12'6 x 24 Sprint, and replacing it with a Starboard 14-footer.

Here's what isn't working for me with my 2014 Sprint:
The wave created in the rear is absurd, yet I only weigh 129 pounds. I have tried ever position imaginable on the board.
Stability is okay, though the 2015 12'6 x 25 is so much MORE stable. Its cut away to allow for a wider stance is brilliant.
It's pretty fun and responsive, surfs pretty well in small DW - but I can always use more stability and speed :).

14' tails are far narrower and should close the waterline a little better. I may get more speed.

The 14' x 23.5 Sprint comes to mind, but perhaps a more playful mate would be a 14x25 Ace, or a 14x25 Race.

Downwind and Racing / Winter DW - very small downwind
« on: February 08, 2015, 02:05:21 PM »
Here's some great fun, in what I would consider the "smallest" downwind conditions ever.
Still, we really had a good time.

Featuring: ACE GT unlimited, 17'4 x 28"

Pages: 1 [2] 3

SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2023, SimplePortal