Author Topic: iSUP - Starboard Racer Deluxe 14'x28"  (Read 7974 times)

photofr

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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.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:
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.

Nelo SUP - 14' x 23"
Nelo Surfski 560M - 18'4" x 17"

Muskoka SUP

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Re: iSUP - Starboard Racer Deluxe 14'x28"
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2015, 06:36:36 PM »
Thanks for taking the time to do that.  Two thumbs up.  Oh, and the iSup is really great looking.. It sure looks like Starboard has raised the bar for everyone else in the inflatable game.  Things can only get better.  Nice.
It ain't over until the fat board sinks....

NorthJerzSurfer

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Re: iSUP - Starboard Racer Deluxe 14'x28"
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2015, 06:06:36 AM »
great headstand!

photofr

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Re: iSUP REVIEW - Starboard Racer Deluxe 14'x28"
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2015, 07:56:21 AM »
Thanks MUSKOKA & NorthJerzSurfer !

Here's my completed board review, virtual tour and couple of action photos…

My new 2016 Starboard 14’ x 28” arrived in the mail couple of days ago. It came in a small box, delivered by my postman. Trying to be funny, he said: “they make them smaller and smaller”. I smile, and told him that it was actually 4 meters long. To this day, I think he was blown away (mind you, the board is actually 4.27 meters long).

As you would have it, I was in the water no more than 20 minutes later.

GETTING READY / INFLATION
Everything was in the box: board, deluxe bag, pump, hose, pressure gauge, racing fin, warranty card as well as a nice repair kit. Took me exactly 5 minutes to inflate the board to 15 PSI, granted, I just wanted to get in the water.

THE BAG
The bag means business: it has a lot of little features. Everyone’s favorite is probably the wheels. The part I like the most is that you can tuck all the straps back into the bag. It makes it perfect for the “animals” handling your gear at the airports – and your board & bag is now sure to arrive with the straps. This feature is ideal for putting my board on my motorcycle, where I don’t have to worry about straps dangling.

The bag padding for your back is a super nice addition. The large top pocket is thoughtful. The bag zipper gives you simple and easy access to the bag’s inside. Simply put: this bag makes sense.

THE PUMP
It’s a double action pump. I started with the low-pressure setting to quickly inflate the board. With a single switch, I was in high-pressure mode. Unlike the 2014 pump model, I had zero difficulties pumping the board to 18 PSI the second day around.

The pump has a built-in pressure gauge... so one less thing to loose.

BOARD SPECS
Length: 14’  / 4.27 meters
Width: 28”  / 71.1 cm
Weight: Spec is 13kg / mine is 13.22, inflated and including the fin.
Leash attachment: One, Rear.
Tie-downs: none.
Carry Handle: One (centered and well balanced)
Rocker: Optimized for flat water glide (yet, super versatile).
Inflation point: One, rear.
Fin Box: Standard US Box (will accommodate all US Box fins)
Fin: Racer, light sandwich layout
Colors: I think you will really like them.

BOARD CONSTRUCTION
When you open up the box, the first thing you notice is the board quality and thickness of the material. It feels really strong. Once inflated, you will love the 3 different standing areas. The front one is identical to my race board (tiny squares). The middle one is like fake-skin, and rear one is non-skid for buoy turns. You can tell that there’s no skimming on quality there.

The sidewalls are completely reinforced with carbon; it adds rigidity. To put it in prospective, I had the 12’6 x 26 inflatable Racer without the carbon rails. The 14’x28” Racer provides more rigidity. Could it be more rigid? Yes, why of course – but this is a huge step forward and great improvement.

Another added feature for 2016 is the rear spoiler UNDER the board. Take a look at the photos, because I am not even going to attempt to explain it... aside from saying that it nearly eliminates your board wake – and it really works (though to this day, I cannot explain why).

STABILITY
The first thing you will notice is that the board is stable. It doesn’t feel like a barge because it’s still lively, but it’s plenty stable for most total-beginners on flat water.

It’s an inflatable, and so the recessed deck that I am used to isn’t there; I am sitting “way up there”. Remarkably, I still found it plenty stable, even in big open water conditions.

GLIDE / FLAT WATER
That first day was so cool: the water was like a lake – and the board was “right at home”. The board felt swift; the glide was nice. I kept thinking: “this is an inflatable?!”

Speed-wise, my inflatable 14x28 could compete with just about any 12’6 rigid board.

TRACKING
I was a bit shocked when I first got the board and realized that the fin was so far back. Once on the water, it really paid off: the board tracks very well.

UPWIND
This board handles upwind well. Its stability and its tracking probably had a lot to do with it, but I just kept paddling at a steady slow pace.

SIDEWIND
I found it to handle side wind better than any other board I have owned. The Racer is very predictable and stable, so much so that I decided to do a headstand with a full on side chop.

DOWNBREEZING
This is where I am really surprised. The Racer 14x28 is primarily designed for flat water, but I wanted to see its limits (I still haven’t reached them yet... by the way).

The wind was blowing at 30 km/h – with stronger gusts from time to time. Waves were very small, but the board was a blast. It picked up waves with ease. Surfing took literally seconds to figure out that you had to be quick on your feet, and step back.

As you would have it, the nose wants to pearl. I wish my first wave was on video; you would have been laughing pretty hard as I submarined the whole thing. Strangely enough, I didn’t fall: very predictable.

You have to walk... but walking on the deck is so simple: everything is smooth. I felt like on a Cadillac – and it surfs well. 

VERSATILITY
What can you expect out of this board?
Flat water racing
Flat water touring (because it’s THAT comfortable)
Choppy water racing
Downwind / Downbreezing (must try if you are up for it)

For camping with the 14x28 Racer, I recommend:
Take a strap and run it from the center handle to the rear leash D-ring. Place your dry bags in the center and attach them to the strap. It’s that easy, and it will keep everything with the board.

THE POSITIVES
Okay, so I know you will like the bag and the thoughts put into it.
You will love the board construction, and carbon side wall reinforcements.
Your flat water ventures will be great – and this is where the board will be most at home.
Should you choose to venture downwind, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENTS
I know that weight is a factor for all boards, but placing 4 tie-downs up front would have been great. Putting a D ring up front for added security / towing / tie-down purposes would also be welcomed (if you are going to do without the 4 tie-downs, the front D ring would be super cool).

Perhaps for 2017 we will see two models:
14’x28” with plenty of rocker, dual bladders / inflation points
14’x 25” with zero rocker, for flat water racing

TRY ONE
Personally, I would take the time to try this 14’ x 28”. I believe that you will be blown away, and I believe that you will never think of inflatables the same way.

Bring your rigid 12’6 along... when you come out to test the 2016 Racer, just for kicks.

SUP VIRTUAL TOUR – with action photos here:
http://www.tourfr.com/56104/plan.html 








« Last Edit: December 21, 2015, 08:17:27 AM by photofr »
Nelo SUP - 14' x 23"
Nelo Surfski 560M - 18'4" x 17"

baddog

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Re: iSUP - Starboard Racer Deluxe 14'x28"
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2015, 07:59:25 AM »
Given your light weight and propensity for narrow fast boards, I find it hard to believe you didn't opt for something narrower.  Not sure about your relationship with Starboard, but the 12'6" x 26" Race or a Red Paddle x 26" would seem like a better option.  I out weigh you by 30lbs and that 324l board would float me like an aircraft carrier.

photofr

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Re: iSUP - Starboard Racer Deluxe 14'x28"
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2015, 08:16:01 AM »
I am a freelance photographer, and dedicated Starboard photographer. I pay for all my boards though, if that makes any difference.

My main reason for going with a 14-footer is because I place about 20-35 pounds of photo equipment on my board for event photography. Since most races in France do not take place DW, I opted for a 14' flat water board.

Going from a 17'6 to a 12'6 seems a little drastic (at least to me). I like the glide, thank you very much :)
Nelo SUP - 14' x 23"
Nelo Surfski 560M - 18'4" x 17"

baddog

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Re: iSUP - Starboard Racer Deluxe 14'x28"
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2015, 10:37:49 AM »
Cool photofr. I've had a couple inflatables, the original Astro Touring, which was quick enough, but too wide (32"), unrefined by today's standards and that reverse camber was hideous for lighter paddlers.  Currently I have a Red Paddle Sport 11', an awesome board, but a bit too wide and without the glide I'm after.  Since you had a 12'6" Race, I guess the glide of the 14' is worth the weight and length penalty???  I've been selling off all my race boards, but I still crave something fast.  Looks like I'm going to have to give the 12'6" x 24" or 25" All Star a serious look.  Have you reviewed your 25" anywhere?  Thanks.

photofr

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Re: iSUP - Starboard Racer Deluxe 14'x28"
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2015, 10:49:11 AM »
My view when comparing the Racer 12'6 x 26" 2014 model with the 14'x 28" 2016 model is as follows:
12'6: Fast, ultra light, quite flexible (didn't have carbon rails back then), somewhat tippy in confused conditions.
14': Super fast, not as light, stiffer than the 12'6 above (which is remarkable for a 14' board), super stable (even in confused conditions).
Hope that helps a little as far as inflatables that I know.

I ordered a 14' x 23" ALLSTAR, after trying a 14' x 25" Allstar. I haven't spent enough time / mileage on the 14x25 to give an adequate opinion, but my first impressions were so positive that I bit the bullet, and ordered a 14x23. My first impressions of the 14x25 were: super stable, fast, and one of the funnest boards I have been on. Caught runs and "made you feel fast".

Take that with a grain of salt, because my every day board is a 17'6 x 23" needle-nose, needle-tail.
Nelo SUP - 14' x 23"
Nelo Surfski 560M - 18'4" x 17"

Area 10

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Re: iSUP - Starboard Racer Deluxe 14'x28"
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2015, 12:10:34 PM »
Great review. The 360 thing is very clever.

In the pics there is quite a noticeable taco-ing where you are standing, as with many inflatables. So how stiff is this board? I wish manufacturers would start using some kind of taco-ing measurement, such as the amount the bottom of the midpoint is deflected by eg. 70kg spread over a one square foot area around the handle, when the board is suspended by two narrow points (like a shaping trestle) one foot in from each end of the board.

But I suspect that the result might not look too good for current iSUPs, so I don't suppose it is going to happen any time soon.

photofr

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Re: iSUP - Starboard Racer Deluxe 14'x28"
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2015, 01:05:33 PM »
Notice that I didn't compare the rigidity of the iSUP with a composite board (rigid board). It just wouldn't be fair, because iSUP are going to be softer. I have a theory, but no proof yet: Lots of flex can be good.

In the photos, you can see the flex, especially when I am standing between two waves - with my stern sitting on one wave, and my bow sitting on the other. I am discovering additional advantages for the iSUP though… like staying longer on that wave because of the flex. It's just perfect.

So again, flex isn't always bad as far as I am concerned - but it's quite different than my hard board for sure.
Nelo SUP - 14' x 23"
Nelo Surfski 560M - 18'4" x 17"

Area 10

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Re: iSUP - Starboard Racer Deluxe 14'x28"
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2015, 02:23:36 PM »
Hmm... In 99% of situations flex is mostly fatal, I think. But I admire you for sticking up for the brand that pays you.

How does the "carbon" on the rails work? In what way is there carbon there? I can't see how a layer of what is essentially just a fabric will give much structural rigidity, in the same way that a deck pad doesn't. Carbon cloth on it's own isn't stiff, in a hard board it is the resin together with the carbon cloth that creates rigidity. But presumably there's no resin used in this inflatable. If it's stiff enough to create noticeable rigidity how can it can be folded easily? Is this just marketing flim-flam?

photofr

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Re: iSUP - Starboard Racer Deluxe 14'x28"
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2015, 02:48:49 PM »
Actually, the best part is that I was raised in Hawaii… so you gonna get it the way it is (or at least the way I see it) :)

I actually paddle over 2500 km per year, and I love my rigid boards. Inflatables have some advantages, such as airline transport, etc… but I also find them superior for:
Side wind and side chop
Buoyant Tails that are super predicable
Flex that actually help get the nose out of the water
Flex that slow you down DW, yet the same flex that keeps you in the groove of the wave (first time experiencing this today on a number of waves)

So yeah, I believe there are some advantages to having flex.

The carbon?
I didn't produce the board, so I cannot tell you what material was used for the "carbon rails".
What I can tell you is what I have in front of me: A board that's 14' long that's stiffer than the previous 12'6 board.

I can also tell you that the sidewalls feels "thicker" and more rigid. The material used is definitely not rubber.

Here's what I cannot do:
Explain how the Carbon on the rails adds rigidity, yet allows to be folded.
How a rear spoiler under the board looks like it will create a huge wake, and instead creates virtually NO WAKE AT ALL as intended.

Marketing Hype… ?
I don't know, but like I said: I am just telling you how I see it. I am just glad to be able to share what I found to be good and bad about the board.

Can it be improved?
Yeah… of course… and so can every single item that I have bought over the past 30 years.

Is it the board I would buy if DW was my only dream?
No; this board was designed for flat water. I am just amazed that it can hold its own in a Downbreeze.
Nelo SUP - 14' x 23"
Nelo Surfski 560M - 18'4" x 17"

Area 10

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Re: iSUP - Starboard Racer Deluxe 14'x28"
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2015, 03:14:55 PM »
I'm afraid I don't understand how where you were raised, or how many miles a year you paddle is relevant to understanding how adding carbon cloth to an inflatable's rails is supposed to make it more rigid.

Unless I hear a convincing explanation soon, I'll assume that this is just another ploy to separate the gullible from their money.

photofr

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Re: iSUP - Starboard Racer Deluxe 14'x28"
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2015, 04:26:50 PM »
Since all my boards are carbon, I assumed that the carbon rails were the reason for the added stiffness of the boards. Turns out, and based on their website, that I was WRONG.

The Carbon Rails are there for extra support for the standing area. (I am not sure what that means, but there is nothing there mentioning stiffness of the board).

PERSONAL TESTS: When I physically compared the two boards, I found that the 2016 is far more rigid that the 2014; they cannot even compare.
POSSIBLE EXPLANATION: I had to turn to Starboard's website, and I found: "Dual Stringer on the deck for increased rigidity." I otherwise cannot explain to you why they are stiffer, expect that they are.

Please keep in mind that my only goal was to share my first impressions and images of a board that is just making its appearance on the market. In no way was my goal to teach or explain inflatable board construction that I know so little about.

Nelo SUP - 14' x 23"
Nelo Surfski 560M - 18'4" x 17"

levity

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Re: iSUP - Starboard Racer Deluxe 14'x28"
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2015, 05:49:41 PM »
Have you tried pumping it to higher pressures, >15psi?  I find that this makes a big difference in iSUP board flex.
A 150mm thick board at >20psi should be pretty stiff with the right fabric and construction.

 


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