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Inflateable SUP
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dllee



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 4069
Location: East Bay

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think so far, inflates come only up to 12'6" class, except for the much wider and thicker tandem and quads.
Longer is faster if narrowness can be achieved, it seems, so 14 footers rule the roost and the "serious" paddlers compete there.
Cool to see you paddling, Ben. I remember the first day you paddled your Formula board.
I still paddle Formula boards, along with smaller boards, but lack of longterm balance has me waiting for wind.
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bamer



Joined: 16 Nov 2016
Posts: 98

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dllee wrote:
I think so far, inflates come only up to 12'6" class, except for the much wider and thicker tandem and quads.
Longer is faster if narrowness can be achieved, it seems, so 14 footers rule the roost and the "serious" paddlers compete there.
Cool to see you paddling, Ben. I remember the first day you paddled your Formula board.
I still paddle Formula boards, along with smaller boards, but lack of longterm balance has me waiting for wind.


Dom,

RED, Shark, ULI, and a few others specifically make 14' inflatable race SUPs.

https://redpaddleco.com/en-us/inflatable-sups/fastest-inflatable-race-sup-boards/

https://www.sharksups.com/product/14-racing/

https://uliboards.com/product/14%E2%80%B2-race/

I have a RED from a few years ago: Race 14' x 26", inflates to 25psi, and has the stiffening battens. I'm super happy with it. If I was looking for any kind of SUP again, other than a surf only or all out race, I would definitely get another inflatable.

My only advice for OP would be get something from a good brand: JP, Starboard, Naish, RED, Chinook. To narrow down your choices just look at the specs, some reviews, and see what fits your budget.
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dllee



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 4069
Location: East Bay

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to know.
Last week, was talking to Vincent (2nd at Bay Challenge) about his hard 14'x25 raceboard vs inflates and his up to date was similar to mine.
We did see both tandem and quad inflatables at the event in San Rafael.
I'm looking at used Fanatic Allwave vs Fly for 70% flatwater and 30% AshbyShoals or weekend Bolinas.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 18941

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bamer wrote:
Can you name one single identifiable expert to back this claim? You said you heard this 'from multiple expert sources', including Big Winds' employees, so coming up with a single named expert or Big Winds employee is a low bar.

I have a 14' inflatable race SUP and couldn't be happier with it. But at the time of purchase the choice was clear: the inflatable offered slightly less performance versus a rigid board, but it was considerably less expensive and I would be able to store it in a relatively small bag.

When I bought my board, the general consensus was inflatable performance was estimated to be between 90-98% that of a rigid board. But if you are telling me inflatable performance is now beyond that of a rigid board, that would very specifically bring me back into the market for something new.

But I'm skeptical because I have never heard this before...

In StarBoards marketing for their 2019 inflatable race boards they state that their new design's are 'closing the gap' between rigid and inflatable boards. Acknowledging that there is still a gap.

In Naish's marketing for 2019 they recommend their inflatable race boards be used in 'one design' events. The clear implication is that the inflatables are not as fast, so 'one design' would offer the user protection from faster boards.


Like you, I could Google BigWinds' staff, but it wouldn't help me identify which staffers made or personally support the claim. I discussed SUPs at length with 2 or 3 Big Winds guys when I was in the market for one. Besides, BigWinds' commentary usually starts with "We", not "I", as in "We've" almost all slacked way off on WSing and are now focusing on SUPing, especially long downwinders on big (i.e., very windy) days." I sure as heck don't recall what other SUP racers have said the rigid designers are trying to figure out what makes the high-end inflatable racers faster so the rigids can play catch-up. The focus then was on flex patterns, stroke rates, and chop frequencies.

It's not too surprising, since one of WSMag's annual board tests long ago found that a simple polyester Tiga B&J WS board beat the socks off all the dedicated race boards in the test fleet. They cited that as the reason they stopped measuring board stiffness/flex.

Or not, since most modern dedicated head-to-head SUP speed comparisons give rigids a 5% edge in most conditions. Of course, they emphasize that 5% is not important unless top speed is the buyer's ONLY criterion. Perhaps this sheds some light on the puzzle:
http://www.supracer.com/inflatable-stand-up-paddle-board-racing/

My personal bottom line after researching this a bit is that I'd love to get into that end of SUPing, but my balance forbids it. I'll be hanging on to my Sea Lion WindSUP for its advantages when I can no longer stand the excitement WSing offers. It's as slow as Christmas in good winds, but remains fun and versatile when the biggest challenge is planing.
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LUCARO



Joined: 07 Dec 1997
Posts: 461

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dogjohn wrote:
Duo Boards look like an interesting alternative to inflatables. Half rigid, half inflatable. Has anyone tried them?

https://www.duo-boards.com/duo-windsup/


Pretty novel rig idea for travelling too

https://www.duo-boards.com/duo-rig/
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