Thursday, November 20, 2014

New SUP: 404 14' Pintail Zeedonk

CGT Kayaks and Paddleboards is the outfitter / shop that organized the Imperial River summer race series that I did the last part of this fall. CGT recently opened a new brick-and-mortar shop in downtown Bonita Springs, just a few blocks from my house. When I heard that they had a line on some barely-used demo boards I called dibs on a 14' carbon fiber race sup. I'd had the bug to get a race-specific SUP since doing the summer races, but was waiting for the right deal to come along. This one was just $800, which is real cheap for that sort of thing.

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The sup is a "Pintail Zeedonk" from the brand "404 Paddleboards." It's 427 x 67 cm, with a very pointy nose, a long flat section, and some slight vee and rocker in the pintail section. "Zeedonk" is supposed to mean it's fast as a zebra but stable as a donkey. I'm not familiar with donkey stability, but I did notice that it was a lot more stable than the only other race sup I've ever tried- a 61 cm wide Starboard.

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Of course the Zeedonk was less stable than my 360 x 80 cm wide Exocet WindSUP (right side of picture), but it's also significantly faster.

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I took the Zeedonk for a practice run on the 4.5 mile Imperial River SUP course yesterday and finished in 0:51:27, which is about 6 minutes quicker than my best ever time on the WindSUP. Having to change out of my wetsuit top during the course, and getting some pine needles stuck on the non-weed fin I was using might have slowed me down, so I'm thinking that with some more tuning and training I could break the 50 minute barrier. That's going to be my goal for the time being.

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One of the things that I gather is important for getting the max speed from these race sups is standing in the right spot; not too far forward to or too far back. In the picture above it looks like the middle of the board is low and the nose and tail are high, but when it's in motion its own wake wraps around it in such a way that the bow entry and tail release seem pretty good.

As one might imagine, I'm already contemplating putting a mast track on the board to see how it works as a windsurf. I think the rocker is flat enough that it could plane, or at least glide really fast. My only hesitation is that the construction is quite light and I'm not sure the board would stand up to bouncing through chop at windsurf planing speed. I'll enjoy it as just a SUP for a while before I decide if I'm going to do a conversion or not.

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