The top 10 Starboard SUP boards? Our equipment guru ignores the marketing and magazine test blurb, and makes this list, our top 10…
You’ll be hard pressed to find a better brand overall than Starboard, given their long established reputation in “INNOVATION QUALITY”…something we’ve seen again and again in their windsurfing and SUP boards back through the years.
I purchased the very first 2 Starboard Stand Up Paddle boards ever imported into Ireland way back in 2008, a 12’6″ x 30″ and a 12’2″ x 28”. At the time, they were seen as enormous, long, oversized, surf boards, or affectionately known as WMD’s…weapons of mass destruction! Looking back at them now, while they were good in their own respective ways, since then the designs, fittings and construction of more recent models are simply leaps and bounds better.
Is there a better time to buy a Starboard SUP…I would think not. The advances this year alone in the quality of the Astro and WindSUP inflatables for example have been incredible…the product is so good now, often we stand back and wonder why we even bother “freight-ing” around the long “1-piece” traditional hard boards. Inflatables won’t ever replace hard boards, but WOW, they’re getting close to them now when it comes to performance. And when it comes to the hard boards themselves, the constructions employed today are fantastic…the strongest ASAP (as strong as possible) is superbly robust for families and even for commercial uses, while the Brushed Carbon construction offers a supremely light and responsive board for more experienced riders to enjoy and get the most from their riding.
So that got me thinking, and hopefully without this article turning into a huge promo article for Starboard, as rest assured, we do offer some AMAZING SUP boards from RRD, RED, JP and many other brands too, but what are our top 10 Starboard SUP boards from todays range?
If you know the Starboard SUP range, you’ll know there is over 100 different models, and within each of those models, there is up to 5 different constructions available. So here is the bigsurfshop.com, top 10 Starboard SUP board recommendations, for the majority of SUP riders, beginner to advanced, and this is all based on “real world” use, Euro customer feedback, feedback from our own team and team riders, and also on the features and performance from each of the boards…
No. 10 - Starboard Stream White Water SUP Board
A very young sport in Ireland, but we’re seeing more and more folks getting their SUP’s out into the rapids. If you’ve experienced the buzz of running white water in a raft or a kayak before, then running white water on a SUP adds another dimension to that. Try it! Get more info on this Starboard Stream SUP board by clicking HERE.
No. 9 - Starboard Fisherman & Tender
These are not big sellers, but hats off to Starboard for going against the grain and producing something different. Both these boards are massive, give good stability, have cool features specific to each, and generally keep you dry while you tender out or go fishing…two sports in one! Top marks has to be awarded for creating something niche. Get more info on this board by clicking HERE for the Fisherman and HERE for the Tender.
No. 8 - Starboard Race Boards
I left all the race boards into one category for good reason…they’re all amazing. On average, no other brand places as highly in race events worldwide across the fleet, than Starboard. Maybe it’s because they’re popular, or folks can source them, or there is team rider deals going everywhere, but on the race course, the “proof is in the pudding” so to speak. Race boards are not the biggest sellers in the entire range by any means, but if you’re considering any sort of distance work, be it for fitness, racing, or personal goals and challenges, then you have to check out the race boards. Construction is thoroughbred technology, and like a race car, they’re “shelled out” as much as possible to minimise weight and increase efficiency per every calorie burned by the rider. Get more info on this board by clicking HERE for the ACE, HERE for the All Star, HERE for the Sprint, and HERE for the Race.
No. 7 - Starboard Touring
Probably one of the most understated boards in the range. This year they’re known as the Elite Touring, and while some SUP riders may shy away from the Touring thinking they are too focused, let us reassure you, these are amazing boards. The 14′ x 30″ is a personal favourite of mine. They’re not as extreme as the race boards, they are more robust, they’re fast, easy to manouevre, are stable and comfortable. Stand on one and you’ll instantly know you’re on something special from the very first paddle. Strap your gear on and ask it to cruise up the coast…it’ll do it. Does an all round cruising board get much better? Not by much! Get more info on this board by clicking HERE.
No. 6 - Starboard Astro Whopper
When it was launched initially, the hard board equivalent of the Whopper was supposed to be the most stable board for beginners at it’s “massive at the time, 34” of width, but it turned out to be an amazing surfer for medium to heavier riders in surf up to even 10′ when under the right feet! Add in the practicality of the inflatable Astro Whopper Zen or the floatier Deluxe model, and you have pretty much one board that you can use everywhere, and literally take everywhere with you also. Get more info on this board by clicking HERE.
No. 5 - Pocket Rocket
Probably the most successful sub 9′ surfing SUP from Starboard ever…and for good reason. If you’ve been off the water for a couple months, you can jump on it and within 30 minutes, you’ll have it dialled. It’ll make you look good…you’ll tell your mates you’re surfing an 8’5″ SUP, and still have a lot of stability from the 30″ width and well thought out volume. It turns on a penny and it’s comfortable underfoot…it’s easy to see why so many have chosen this board as their first time “short” SUP surfing board. Get more info on this board by clicking HERE.
No. 4 - Starboard Big Easy
The daddy of them all. Would have ranked higher, but the Drive is a better surfer, so more popular. But where the Big Easy lacks in surfing performance, it doubly makes up in flat water glide. If you’ve taken a lesson at a SUP school in recent years, you’ll have probably come close to, or perhaps even used one of these. It has great glide, and is a very good directional board for almost all rider weights. You could say this represents SUPping to the core. Get more info on this board by clicking HERE.
No. 3 - Starboard Blend
For those who find the Drive a bit too small, the Blend has to be next in line. Ideal for heavier riders looking for an all-rounder, it has great glide at it’s 11′ of length, and it surfs well too…it actually surfs really good with a good set of side fins plugged fin. Hugely popular board as it represents the perfect “Blend” in design, making it suitable for use in flat water and waves. Get more info on this board by clicking HERE.
No. 2 - Starboard Whopper
For all the reasons mentioned in the inflatable Astro Whopper SUP board above (no. 6), the hard board Whopper is an amazing board to ride. You can rest on it, catch anything from 6″ of a wave to a 10′ power wave, and it’ll let the medium to heavier weight rider rip with confidence. Anyone can try SUPping with it for the first time on flat water, and its glide is respectable too. This is one I always want to have in the van…does what it says on the tin, although it’s not such a “Whopper” in size anymore as it’s name suggests, as there are bigger boards available in the range now! Get more info on this board by clicking HERE.
No. 1 - Starboard Drive
Hands down, and without doubt, the most popular board in the whole range. Almost everybody has tried one at some point in their SUPping career, and it’s still an amazing board that does everything well. It has been refined since 2009 a number of times, but it still retains it’s original character of easy use and good all-round performance. Use it on flat water, in waves, rivers and lakes. Windsurf it (with windsurf spec’d board) and you’ll realise it goes like a bomb! And almost all rider weights can use and enjoy it to the full…there is lots of progression available from this board. It also compliments a larger flat water board, or a smaller, more dedicated, surfing SUP. Highly recommended all round SUP board…if there was one SUP board to take to the moon with you, this is it. Get more info on this board by clicking HERE.
Looking for a SUP board? Fancy a Starboard SUP board in particular? Come see them at the bigsurfshop.com shop in Clonakilty, Cork, Ireland. Tel: +353 23 885 0018