Thursday, June 1, 2017

Starboard Race SUP Test- 12'6x24.5, 14x24.5, 14x23



The Bonita Springs paddle shop that sponsors our SUP race team, CGT Kayaks and Paddleboards, sells a couple different brands of paddleboards, including StarBoard. Not all of us on the team race the StarBoards (I ride a Riviera and some others use Hovies), but we're all curious about the pretty blue and red StarBoards and how they perform. Justin DiGiorgio had the idea to do a board test of the three different models of StarBoard AllStar that CGT currently has on the for sale / for demo rack: a 12'6x24.5 and 14'x24.5 in carbon construction, and a 14'x23 in the cheaper "hybrid" construction. The AllStars are all designed to work for both rough water and flatwater racing, with the different lengths and widths intended to suit different weights and styles of rider.

The format of the test was one we have used previously- 2x400m with a 30 second rest between them to turn around. The first 400m was downriver, and the second upriver, to cancel out any effects of current. The total paddling time of each trial was about 5 minutes. The testers were Justin (91 kg), Matt Kearney (64 kg), and me (77 kg), and we each tried each board once with long rests in between. We did the timing and distance tracking with my Speedcoach SUP 2 GPS. These are the results:



All of us were fastest on the 14x23 AllStar, slowest on the 12'6x24.5 AllStar, and intermediate in speed on the 14x24.5 AllStar. That is exactly what we would have expected because longer, narrower boards are inherently faster, at least in flatwater conditions where stability is not a limiting factor. What was interesting was how the board dimensions had more or less effect on our speed based on our body weight. As the medium weight guy, I was about equally advantaged by the 1.5" narrower board (+0.36 kph) and disadvantaged by the 1.5' shorter board (-0.33 kph). For lightweight Matt there was less of a 12'6 penalty (-0.22 kph), but unexpectedly there was also less of a narrowness advantage (+0.11 kph). Perhaps the slightly heavier weight or different flex pattern of the 14x23 "hybrid" construction board vs. the 14x24.5 carbon construction board was more of an issue for Matt. Heavyweight Justin had the greatest disadvantage on the 12'6 (-0.47 kph), but benefited from narrow width about the same amount as I did (+0.33 kph). However, for Justin we predict that the narrow width benefit would be lost quickly in rougher water due to more difficulty staying on the board.

5 comments:

Jacob Graham said...

You didn't mention too much about the construction/weight of the boards. I'm interested to hear your take on the 14x23 hyrbrid verses the all carbon?? Been keeping an eye on this board for a while now...thanks james and co!

James Douglass said...

Hey Jake! All else being equal, carbon construction might be faster. But all we can say from this test is that it was not enough faster to outweigh the effect of 1.5" of width. If CGT gets some boards with the same specs except for material then we can do a controlled test of carbon vs. hybrid construction, but I suspect that any differences will be close to the margin of error. I'd have a tough time paying $1000 more for a barely-detectable difference.

Peter Turnley said...

How did the 23" compare in speed to your Riviera?

James Douglass said...

Hi Peter- It's hard to say because we didn't include the Riviera in this round of testing. However, back in February we did a similar 2x400 m test pitting the 14x23 Allstar vs. the 14x23 Riviera. The Riviera had a slight edge for me that time- 10.24 kph on the Riviera vs. 10.14 on the AllStar. In another test in early May we put the 14x23 against a 14x23 Hovie and for me they tied at 10.08 kph each. In the most recent round of testing speeds were faster all around (10.38 on the 14x23 AllStar), probably because it was slack high tide and the water was deeper... and maybe also because I'm getting more comfortable on the AllStar... but unfortunately the Riviera wasn't included in that test. I suspect that there is no significant underlying difference in flatwater speed between the Riviera 14x23 and the SB 14x23.

Peter Turnley said...

Thanks for the info. Interesting considering the price differential between the two. Good to know.