Author Topic: 14' vs unlimited  (Read 3126 times)

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Re: 14' vs unlimited
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2018, 02:47:32 AM »
Well, we’ve been over the arguments for and against UL, and for and against greater race regulation and standardisation, on these and other pages scores of times over the last 10 years. For each point you’ve made here there is an excellent counter-argument. In the end, which side of the fence you fall seems to boil down to whether you are an authoritarian type of not. If you are, you’ll see things one way. If you aren’t, you’ll see it another.

ukgm

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Re: 14' vs unlimited
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2018, 02:53:09 AM »
Well, we’ve been over the arguments for and against UL, and for and against greater race regulation and standardisation, on these and other pages scores of times over the last 10 years. For each point you’ve made here there is an excellent counter-argument. In the end, which side of the fence you fall seems to boil down to whether you are an authoritarian type of not. If you are, you’ll see things one way. If you aren’t, you’ll see it another.

My view (and my past research in other sports did the same) is not to default to my own views but to run some form of stakeholder analysis and let that inform or dictate the market development. That's good product design if nothing else. If I implemented what I personally wanted, the sport wouldn't be anything like it is. The reality is that my personal needs are not being met but I am not the market.

Area 10

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Re: 14' vs unlimited
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2018, 03:11:43 AM »
As I say, there are good arguments against that approach. For instance, it risks killing innovation. Would a “stakeholder analysis” have led to SUP foiling, or predicted that SUP foils would dominate the M2O this year? Absolutely not. We need leaders not just organisers and followers. If an innovative idea is good it will survive; if not it won’t. But if you prevent attempts at innovation the sport will ossify. Every time you change things up a little, you attract new people.

But I’m not going to go over all these arguments again. We’ve done it to death. You are one side of the aisle and I am another. That’s fine.

ukgm

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Re: 14' vs unlimited
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2018, 06:20:40 AM »
As I say, there are good arguments against that approach. For instance, it risks killing innovation. Would a “stakeholder analysis” have led to SUP foiling, or predicted that SUP foils would dominate the M2O this year? Absolutely not. We need leaders not just organisers and followers. If an innovative idea is good it will survive; if not it won’t. But if you prevent attempts at innovation the sport will ossify. Every time you change things up a little, you attract new people.

But I’m not going to go over all these arguments again. We’ve done it to death. You are one side of the aisle and I am another. That’s fine.

I am actually on the same side of the aisle as you are and completely agree personally with how I'd like things to be. I just know the impact of what my mindset does to a sport in the end.

Area 10

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Re: 14' vs unlimited
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2018, 07:29:50 AM »
“Your” mindset will keep it fresh, alive, and growing, always seeking the new adventure. The other way leads to what has happened to canoeing. You’ve got it all the wrong way round because you’ve been listening to the people who want to control the sport, not those who want it to develop - sometimes beyond their control and previous experience.

The analogies with other sports are generally bankrupt. SUP is the first new watersport to have appeared in the internet age. That has changed everything: a person sitting in the North of England can now watch Kai Lenny foiling live in Hawaii and ask “how can I get to do that?”. He can even contact Kai Lenny directly and ask him! Innovation can spread SO quickly now. In this context, if you don’t keep innovating and moving forward, you go backwards.

There has always been an arms race in every technical sport. You can never get rid of it. Fortunately with SUP, it really doesn’t make much difference if you’ve bought a 3000 dollar board or an old used 500 dollar one. The better paddler will still win. It’s not like F1 etc at all! Put Michael Booth on an old raceboard from 3 years ago weighing 30lbs and he’d still beat everyone in a typical flat water race.

As much as I have been critical of Starboard about some things in the past, one thing I have always praised about them is their innovative drive. I’m hoping that they (and ONE, Sunova etc) will help nudge the race organisers once again to consider the UL class - for all races not just DW ones. Once most paddlers have tried an UL board, they never want to go back to 14. So there are a lot of sales to be made there.

ukgm

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Re: 14' vs unlimited
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2018, 08:17:41 AM »
Once most paddlers have tried an UL board, they never want to go back to 14. So there are a lot of sales to be made there.

I'm struggling to go back to my SUP from a surfski at the moment for the same reasons. If it wasn't for the friends I have and that I consider SUP the best form of cross training ever, I'd probably would have sold up by now.

PonoBill

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Re: 14' vs unlimited
« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2018, 12:04:40 PM »
Manufacturers generally want to support what works in their distribution network. Early on for SUP that meant things that sold through dealers via distributors. That means a 4X markup over cost to produce. 14' was an arbitrary decision made accidentally, but it fit into distribution nicely. Unfortunately for the manufacturers it both narrowed the market (Clydesdales needn't apply) and also made competition much easier--the competition new exactly what to build. Flooded market = dealers with stock that isn't moving.

Big Winds has altered the dynamic by both selling leading brands but also putting a huge number into their rental fleet. They pull the profit out through rental and then sell off everything at the end of summer at an appropriate discount. Given the number of big Sunovas on the racks at Big Winds rental center I suspect there will be a lot of Sunovas on car roofs next year. Never as many as black SIC Bullet V2's, but quite a few I bet.
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UKRiverSurfers

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Re: 14' vs unlimited
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2018, 12:11:18 AM »
If you’d been SUPing from the outset you’d have seen how quickly things change.

Of course, the advent of good-performing UL inflatables would change everything too. They’d then be no reason not to have an UL.
Yes, you had K15's before and the organisers killed off allowing the extra length. Allowing UL's a second time around is a different proposition whereby to get acceptance may require legislative change.

As for ULi's, Starboard loaned out there UL Allstar for the head of the dart this year (the only race left in the UK that had a UL class). That looked fabulous.

I seen one - a Starboard unlimited - the guy put a hole in it by placing it on the ground! Nice - looks good - made like shite. Sorry Starboard - your build quality is utter rubbish
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UKRiverSurfers

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Re: 14' vs unlimited
« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2018, 12:14:25 AM »
“Your” mindset will keep it fresh, alive, and growing, always seeking the new adventure. The other way leads to what has happened to canoeing. You’ve got it all the wrong way round because you’ve been listening to the people who want to control the sport, not those who want it to develop - sometimes beyond their control and previous experience.

The analogies with other sports are generally bankrupt. SUP is the first new watersport to have appeared in the internet age. That has changed everything: a person sitting in the North of England can now watch Kai Lenny foiling live in Hawaii and ask “how can I get to do that?”. He can even contact Kai Lenny directly and ask him! Innovation can spread SO quickly now. In this context, if you don’t keep innovating and moving forward, you go backwards.

There has always been an arms race in every technical sport. You can never get rid of it. Fortunately with SUP, it really doesn’t make much difference if you’ve bought a 3000 dollar board or an old used 500 dollar one. The better paddler will still win. It’s not like F1 etc at all! Put Michael Booth on an old raceboard from 3 years ago weighing 30lbs and he’d still beat everyone in a typical flat water race.

As much as I have been critical of Starboard about some things in the past, one thing I have always praised about them is their innovative drive. I’m hoping that they (and ONE, Sunova etc) will help nudge the race organisers once again to consider the UL class - for all races not just DW ones. Once most paddlers have tried an UL board, they never want to go back to 14. So there are a lot of sales to be made there.

 Or - R&D on paying customers???
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Richmond Custom Carbon 16'
Starboard Point 14'8
Starboard K15
Starboard Astro Touring 14
Starboad Big Easy
Redpaddle Ride 10'6
Badfish Rivershred
Jackson SUPercharger
Badfish MVP 9'o
Badfish IRS 7'2
Pack OC1 12'

ukgm

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Re: 14' vs unlimited
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2018, 01:20:18 AM »
1) You’ve got it all the wrong way round because you’ve been listening to the people who want to control the sport, not those who want it to develop - sometimes beyond their control and previous experience.

2) The analogies with other sports are generally bankrupt. SUP is the first new watersport to have appeared in the internet age. That has changed everything: a person sitting in the North of England can now watch Kai Lenny foiling live in Hawaii and ask “how can I get to do that?”.

3) It’s not like F1 etc at all! Put Michael Booth on an old raceboard from 3 years ago weighing 30lbs and he’d still beat everyone in a typical flat water race.

4)  Once most paddlers have tried an UL board, they never want to go back to 14. So there are a lot of sales to be made there.

You've brought the UL situation up a few times now so I've reflected a little more on the subject.

1) In my experience of talking to those at an international level who I don't know personally, there is a mixture between those who want to control it or those frankly apathetic to it.  For those I do know well from a domestic point of view, I've sensed nothing but a positive enthusiasm with trying to drive the sport positively forwards. Whether the direction that is being driven in will please everyone is unlikely but the process is being kept open enough that anyone who is actually interested can engage and be part of this process. You, me, or anyone in the UK can engage with the likes of GB SUP or BC to help this along. I have done so with the former and turned down the latter.

2) The internet has changed nothing with respect to the typical pitfalls or issues surrounding sports technology or a sport at all. The internet is not the reason SUP and its stars are so accessible, it's purely because its both new, there is no money in it and frankly, it's small. Once those three factors change, you won't get within 20ft of your stars without being bundled by private security. Downhill MTB'ing was exactly the same in the 1990's and that's pre-internet. Sailing was like this in the 1970's and 1980's.

3) The key difference between amateurs and elites is that I feel that amateur performance is heavily dictated by being a product of their lifestyle constraints whereas elite's are dictated mainly by their genetics. In other words, at elite level, things are likely more equal (through natural selection) which means the only thing to really separate them is the equipment. Put simply, Booth won't beat Baxter using a board from 3 years ago weighing 30lbs. Granted the margins between current race boards are probably small (and this isn't helped in part that Starboard dominate the market).

4) The insight I had last night is that we're being too closed minded with how we are viewing UL. If UL is truly UL (and therefore anything goes), we should be looking beyond just a 18ft hard board that is often referred to in this thread and instead be thinking about foils, multihulls and a truly blank canvas approach to the racing class. If i was going to race UL, I wouldn't be using just a longer race board. That's too narrow minded.

« Last Edit: September 14, 2018, 01:24:10 AM by ukgm »

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Re: 14' vs unlimited
« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2018, 03:44:39 AM »
1 and 2 are a matter of debate.

3 is just wrong IMO. This could be tested empirically. The good boards from 3 years ago are just as fast as the good boards today, and nothing has changed in the construction technology.

But on 4 we agree entirely.




ukgm

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Re: 14' vs unlimited
« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2018, 05:08:07 AM »
1) 1 and 2 are a matter of debate.

2) 3 is just wrong IMO. This could be tested empirically. The good boards from 3 years ago are just as fast as the good boards today, and nothing has changed in the construction technology.

1) Of course. It's merely based on anecdotes, experience and some reading. They can't be empirically stated.

2) To clarify further, if we take Starboard as an example (and just to clarify to anyone reading this, I am not currently sponsored by anyone in any shape or form in this sport), there is no way that the narrowest sprint from 2015 is going to be able to compete with the 2018 21.5 version. However, if we shift things to more open water, its probably more marginal and with the technique heavy downwinding races, yes, you're probably right. There hasn't been enough seismic shift in design there. As for construction - true. I personally believe hollow board construction is the way we need to go - they are a lot lighter and it would slow down the ridiculously artificial annual R&D cycle from most brands.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2018, 05:27:01 AM by ukgm »

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Re: 14' vs unlimited
« Reply #27 on: September 14, 2018, 05:38:44 AM »
Well, if you are only talking about narrower widths now being available, for those paddlers who can use them, then that’s not much of a claim. If you put an average paddler on an early carbon All Star today, in pure flat water, and a 2018 carbon All Star of the same width, I’d bet the differences in speed would be so small as to be essentially impractical to measure. In fact, the earlier one might even be faster.

I was watching some (presumably) carbon Nelo race kayaks on the canal I was paddling yesterday. They looked very light, being lifted out of the water easily with one hand despite being very long, and they seemed pretty durable since the guys who owned them were portaging around locks every few minutes and do it every week, yet the boats looked spotless. Then I looked at my portly fragile piece of foam and wondered how the SUP brands get away with this kind of expensive crap when the canoeists don’t have to put up with it.

ukgm

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Re: 14' vs unlimited
« Reply #28 on: September 14, 2018, 06:05:04 AM »
1) Well, if you are only talking about narrower widths now being available, for those paddlers who can use them, then that’s not much of a claim.

2) If you put an average paddler on an early carbon All Star today, in pure flat water, and a 2018 carbon All Star of the same width, I’d bet the differences in speed would be so small as to be essentially impractical to measure. In fact, the earlier one might even be faster.

3) I was watching some (presumably) carbon Nelo race kayaks on the canal I was paddling yesterday. They looked very light, being lifted out of the water easily with one hand despite being very long and they seemed pretty durable since the guys who owned them were portaging around locks every few minutes and do it every week, yet the boats looked spotless. Then I looked at my portly fragile piece of foam and wondered how the SUP brands get away with this kind of expensive crap when the canoeists don’t have to put up with it.

1) I would argue that some of the more complex bottom shaping and concavities is what has ultimately allowed all of us (even pro's) to handle narrower than ever boards. We just didn't have that a few years ago. You could argue it was a psychological breached but I personally don't believe so.

2) I have got flatwater test data of a 2014, a 2015 and a 2017 All star. The gains are easy to see but the problem is that my ongoing improvements of my paddling in general has clouded this and made it worthless. I'd need to retest them again concurrently  if I had them all. On rougher waters, I can't say. Like you, I am cynical of brands annual 'improvements' though (I personally feel that the 2019 Allstar is a step backwards from the 2017 model for example).

3) Nelo's build quality is legendary in kayak circles - let alone craft in general. You're so right though - we get screwed in SUP in the main and 12-13kg is frankly unacceptable for a 14ft board in my view (my new surfski i'll get next year is massively longer and larger and will weigh far less than that by some margin).

JEG

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Re: 14' vs unlimited
« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2018, 02:04:05 PM »
I don't have experience with UL but I get the feeling its more comfortable on dw/racing and probably fast glide too. I do admire those that completed the m2o on 14ft like josh riccio is awesome to watch. The construction side of things could be better as we're getting rip off and to many short cuts for our hard in money.

 


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