Updated: Apr 19, 2019
Last month I shared my spring picks under $100. This month, I'm going BIG. This is new equipment I'm using that may break the bank. You may need to start saving NOW to snag one next year... or maybe you're rolling in doe and you'll just grab one now. Either way, I won't judge.
Hippo Stick 7.5 AL Pro
This is my go-to paddle for 2019. It's small enough for a lot of the longer mileage I'm putting in and doesn't wreck my shoulders. All of the "AL" paddles have a solid catch and really come alive when you have dialed in your technique. I'm not a fan of a lot of the different shapes and dihedrals in various brands. It's definitely personal preference, but for races with varied conditions I like a traditional shape because it handles everything well. You won't see me running this in a downwind race, though. Why? I find it has TOO much catch and I physically can't turn it over as fast as I would like. I would probably say this is personal error/preference. But I'll be trying the Blurr for downwind when I get to Hood River, as for now, I'm still running my 81 V-drive from Quickblade. I will give some unbiased opinions of both later.
404 7'6" ATL SUP Surf
I L-O-V-E the 7'6" ATL from 404. I actually picked one up last year after the Pacific Paddle Games because I didn't want to surf anything else in the local paddle surf competitions that were held in the fall. The board is comfortable, stable, and enables me to do things on waves that I wasn't able to do before. I calk this up to its thin, engaged rails, but also it being a stable platform. The parallel rails hold speed down the line, and more volume in the nose helps me keep it up after a cutback in steep sections. This is where I was falling short before. Its kindof like if I took my my old 9'0" Hobie (still one of my favorite boards of all time) and lopped a foot and a half off - which makes it so much quicker to turn but I still do a few longboard style maneuvers on it with a ton of success on smaller days.
Puakea Designs Kahele
Are you in the market for a new Canoe?? I was super hesitant to make the move from my Ehukai to the new Kahele. The claim was that it fits in the bumps better with it's shorter hull, but held speed becuase of a longer waterline. (if you're tight on space, then this boat could be handy fitting into a garage, overhead storage, if you're worried about driving around -there's less boat on your roof too!). I didn't think it would hold its speed as well in flats, with a wider sitting area. But I was wrong to be so hesitant. The wider sitting area made it more stable in the ocean chop, the shorter boat was more maneuverable, and the longer water line makes it fast. All boxes for an awesome time on the water are checked. Get one.
KAHELE, Length at 19 ft. 3 in., Waterline: 19 ft. EHUKAI, Length: 20 ft. 8 in., Waterline: 18 ft. 6 in.