BluefinSup Sprint Carbon 2020

A Review of the Bluefin SUP 2020 Sprint Carbon for @StandUpPaddleUK

Ok so I’m a little ‘behind the 8 ball’ on this one as I’ve had this board since around August (well, a prototype) and then had the SUP Package for a couple of months now. So after a few trips away, and some lake & river testing. I am ready to write this.

Say hello to the redesigned, new and improved, 2020 Sprint Carbon

The 2020 Updated Colourway

I knew the folks at BlueFin SUP were looking at 2020 changes. In fact I had a sneak preview some time before they all were dropped – so to see the colour way and deck design changes was awesome. They have not disappointed when you open that box – it is all new and improved.

Even the Swans wanted to see this Board

This is their next generation of Tourer. As a user of the 2019 Sprint I can safely say the upgrade and change is apparent, but not just in its visuals. Coming in at 14ft long, 30inch wide (30.3 to be precise), and 6.2inch thick.. She’s quite a beast. A more flat profile has ensured the nose doesn’t stick too high from the water so you aren’t fighting head winds for the fun of it. They’ve opted for a US Box Fin over last years smart lock central fin – something I agree with as the choice to change fin is something the more experienced paddler will often do (you don’t want to always use the standard surf fin….) and the intro of the smaller side fins is a good idea as they do provide additional stability when on board.

The Board Rake is now much flat than its predecessor, meaning you don’t find yourself fighting the board when in a head wind, something I always found an issue with the 2019 Sprint.

They’ve also upgraded similarly to my 10’8 Cruise Carbon, adding dual chambers ie the ‘Carbon’ standard. This makes the board much more stiffer. I’ve also noticed the board glides in a straight fashion when paddling, something the 2019 suffered with but also could have been some poor technique on my part..

What’s it like to ride?

Well, as I said in my opinion this is the best board I’ve ever ridden in the Tourer class. Before you even get out on the water you will notice how well constructed the board is. You can see that the ‘Carbon’ is the flagship of their range. Five different handgrip positions for carrying the board (nose, tail, central grab, either side of centre by the rails), Several different D ring positions (same as last years cruise Carbon and Sprint, I haven’t attached the kayak seat as yet but this will work on this board). It’s not too heavy to carry solo which is obviously quite good considering generally you paddle solo! Weighing in at approximately 22kg* when pumped up, it definitely isn’t the lightest board but you can tell the difference in the rigidity. (*Bluefin confirmed the pumped weight is 22.4kg)

While we’re on the subject of rigidity, this thing is bloody stiff. That was one of my gripes last year with the 2019 model, it didn’t seem stiff enough and When trying to perform a step back turn you could feel the board bowing, that is not the case this year! I’ve knocked out a few step back turns on the 2020 and feels like more of a solid unit. The dual chamber of the board definitely helps.

The stiffer board, and lower rake profile make riding this board a real enjoyable experience

Given the boards profile this is a touring board, the Sprint name is quite deceptive thinking it might be a race board but it is more for long-distance tours. Given that I predominantly use Rivers and Canals where I live this board is perfect for me. The profile is very much set up for cutting through the water and so far I’ve got nothing but good things to say about using this board on the river.

A River Touring Beast


I was recently in the Lake District and obviously the board came with me. Myself and my girlfriend were staying right next to Ullswater lake so this was a spot I had to paddle. Given that the water was so flat here you really can ride any board, but I was on the Sprint Carbon, so getting up some speed and burning it around the lake was very much on my agenda! As I said previously, super stable even when getting bashed with roller waves from the Ullswater Steamer and local boats, the Sprint cut through all of it with ease, remaining stable in the process.

Standard UK raining on my Paddle days in Ullswater – bloody Moody

Click here for a quick IGTV video of the 2020 Sprint Carbon..

As you’ll see on the front of the board, there’s a white attachment – for your camera. There’s been so much uproar and complaint, to various brands, that have moved to this threaded attachment. The attachment for use is simple, a threaded M8 (something like this – https://www.irockersup.com/gopro-compatible-mount/) however if you email BlueFin they will send you one out. The threaded attachment is much safer than the last moulded GoPro mount as they were always prone to snapping after overuse. It’s also a more versatile mount for things other than a camera – I’ve recently seen some cool gear like cup holders, Garmin mounts, Phone holders (I wouldn’t recommend one of these haha!)

Things I Like

  • The new Design and Colourway
  • It’s a beast on Rivers, Canals and Lakes. I have been chewing up the water and haven’t got a complaint about how it has handled
  • The flatter profile of the board at the nose
  • Ultra stable and very rigid
  • It’s a complete package again with added new extras
  • The new Paddle is quite good, as someone who uses a paddle from another brand it has made me think twice about my paddle choice (rumours of a new stand alone paddle from BlueFin are out there……)
A great deal to like about this Board

Things I Didn’t Like

Not actually board related – more package..

Sadly yes, there are a couple things, but that is the same with any piece of kit. I love the GoPro Hero 9 but there was many things I wasn’t pleased about!

  • The Pump – still feels like a cheap alternative in comparison to something like Red Paddle’s Titan pump. When putting the BF pump under pressure, say 15-18psi, when standing on the ‘feet’ of the pump it somethings feels like you’re going to snap the body from the base. The intro of the ‘Triple Action’ is great as it relives user tiredness but the double action mode (ie pumps on push and pull) makes the pump feel weak as a unit.
  • The Hose for the Pump – still not properly connecting to the valve access. You really have to get it into the right position to get the hose working right or it pings out. I’ve actually ended up using my old Red pump or my electric charger, which is BlueFin, to make sure I’m not wasting time chasing the hose around. I’ve never found any hose on any BlueFin board I’ve had or used to be flexible.
  • The Bag – bit of a catch really as the Carbon range has wheels which is very handy but the back and arm strap padding isn’t the best especially if you have far to walk with a 20kg+ bag. Don’t get me wrong, the bag is durable – last years bag on the 10’8 Carbon is similar and has no damage whatsoever, just a padding issue!

Pricing

As with most of BlueFin SUP boards they come as part of a package deal. The board, a triple action Pump, US Box Fin/Smart lock fin 2x, Ankle leash, Board carry strap, Repair kit – all in a Carry Bag. And even now they have upgraded their Paddle to a super lightweight carbon, which is 100% an improvement on last year.

Price £899.99 (Use the code ‘Darren10’ at Checkout for a little discount)

That is the high end of their board range, and I would suggest for anyone looking to get a Tourer but can’t afford this, you should look into the 2019 Sprint. It may have some flaws but it is still an great board which will serve you well.

The versatility and ability to pack your board, paddle, equipment into a single bag is really priceless

Possible 2021 Improvements or Changes?

I have a couple of suggestions, and to be honest it is items which we say to several brands..

  • Extend the Deck Pad Grip to the very rear of the board, even if there’s a cargo net. Mainly because I want to step back all the way. Plus it adds grip to your storage area!
  • A better pump. The ‘bigger’ brands have put a lot of time and effort into making a sturdy, beast of a pump, this isn’t quite there yet
  • Cargo Nets – would prefer to see an adjustable strapping or webbing as current type will become saggy over time which will need altering / cutting.
  • QR Belts and waist attachment with every board sold. That’s not a BlueFin SUP gripe, that’s an Industry gripe.
  • More guidance – information about SUP safety in the bag, as above – Industry gripe..
On the whole this is a very solid package and at the top end of a complete board package. I personally took the decision to use these boards a couple of years ago and I haven’t regretted it.

It really does need to be pointed out that even now, several months along, Coronavirus has really put a strain on production of all manufacturers including BlueFin being no different. I have seen a lot of negative commenting on places like Facebook but I think a lot of people need to realise that every part of the supply chain is stretched at the moment so you may well have to wait a few more additional days to get your board. Often issues aren’t from the manufacturer of the board, it’s actually the delivery service. Be Patient Paddlers!

Ciao, from a happy Paddler. Darren

Don’t forget to read my article about Quick Release Belts and Leashes – It’s an important one for all paddlers..

It’s Here.. the GoPro Hero 9

Another year, another GoPro. Check out the review of GoPro’s latest flagship camera

Every year for us adventurers September is a time when you’re considering selling your old GoPro to upgrade to the newest model, this year was no different..

New Case, New Packaging, New GoPro

Enter the GoPro Hero 9

I’ve had the Hero 9 since it was released and it is evident that this camera is the most powerful offering GoPro have ever done. The biggest sensor yet and new front display are huge upgrades. However, overall the camera isn’t a massive upgrade from the Hero 8 Black and I do think a lot of people will stick with their Hero 8 as GoPro really did iron out a lot of the kinks with that camera and to be honest, I had got my Hero 8 working in a way that suited me to a perfectly!

I’ve opted for the upgrade to the new Hero 9 for a couple of reasons:
5K video (which looks unbelievable by the way)
Hugely improved battery (I’d say you’re probably getting about 20-25% more battery)
The front display: I’m a massive fan of this one as I’ve got more into recording content for brands and manufacturers
New modes and software upgrades (improved Hypersmooth stability and Hindsight mode make sure you aren’t missing shots)

Not much bigger than the Hero 8, but feels better in the hand with the additional weight

A quick few things I’m not so pleased about before the praise starts:
The camera gets quite hot during heavy use and data transfer
The touchscreen does seem to be a little bit unresponsive at times (but the Hero 8 was the same when it first came out, after a couple of updates it was seamless)
4K/120p doesn’t exist oddly – why GoPro?
SuperPhoto mode really needs improving (again.. the Hero 8 had the same issue, images appeared overly contrasted but a couple of updates later super photo was actually a great feature on the Hero 8)

SuperPhoto shot along Striding Edge, Helvellyn – it feels overly contrasted..

As I said, this is the most powerful offering from GoPro yet. It’s so bloody versatile it is unreal – but all GoPro cameras are. The sensor upgrade to a 23.6 megapixel shoots immense 5K video and is definitely improved upon when compared to its predecessor. In the right conditions the footage on the Hero 9 rivals that of a DSLR camera, no not a joke.

GoPro is perfect for a good hike, especially when the backdrop is this good

The Hero 9’s electronic stabilisation with its new Hypersmooth 3.0 boost is something close to incredible – I recently climbed Helvellyn Mountain and ran up and down several peaks, the footage was seamless and Smooth AF.

GoPro as ever retains all the modes from the 8, while adding more. Video, Photo (inc Night Mode), Timelapse (inc Timewarp, Nightlapse) – mainstays of the GoPro camera range. SuperPhoto is back again, as I’ve already said – a few kinks to fix it yet. Timewarp has been improved with a x30 mode, which is great. Feels much smoother when you watch back also. Hindsight mode is a cool feature when in Burst mode – to quote GoPro “it is a bit of a combo between looping recording and a video version of Live Burst. You have the option to select 15 or 30 seconds of HindSight. When you have this enabled, the camera continuously records audio and video, but only saves 15 or 30 seconds to the SD card when you hit the shutter button. This feature ensures you won’t miss a moment of action that you want to capture, while also saving valuable SD card space”. I won’t go too in-depth with the Video modes as they are pretty much similar to the 8 barring the 5k video. As I said, HyperSmooth 3.0 is improved on last year, aka the Gimbal killer.

Hindsight mode.. Could be a game changer, but a battery drainer..

The little front display is good but the quality of it is actually quite low. I’ve only really used it as a viewfinder for setting up my shoots.

As I said previously the camera can get bloody hot. It seems to be more when the camera tries to process large amounts of data i.e. recording 5K and oddly when transferring data on the app to my phone, it’s definitely overheating more than the Hero 8 was, but again that was a fix they provided on the Hero 8.

In comparison to the Hero 8, I believe it is a step up in certain areas but those looking to get a bargain camera will now be able to pick up a Hero 8 quite cheaply on eBay (probably around £200 for just the camera) which really is a great price for such a good camera. If the Hero 9 is out of your budget then I would be opting for this.

The Testing

I tested the Hero 9 pretty hard during a trip away to the Lake District, Paddleboarding and Hiking – here are a few shots, with the settings I used;

Taken with SuperPhoto @ Ullswater Lake
Shot in Timelapse mode – 1sec – No Protune settings altered and Cropped in App
SuperPhoto, Shot Portrait – you can see the difference between Timelapse and the higher Contrast of SuperPhoto
Shot in Timelapse mode, Portrait – 1 sec, no settings altered
Grabbed in App from TimeWarp footage – No settings altered, straight from the camera

Things to be Excited About…

Things I am quite excited about with the Hero 9 would be the detachable lens. Having the ability to remove the lens to install the New Max Mod looks quite exciting and it also means the ability to have Lens Filters is back ie Polar Pro.

How cool does that look? Reintroducing the removable Lens Cap was welcomed by the GoPro community

The New Max Lens Mod will be released in October/November at a cost of £89.99. This ultrawide lens accessory will bring Max Hypersmooth (seen on the GoPro Max) and have the ability to lock horizon even if it’s rotated, this is pretty cool. I’ve got a GoPro Max and can safely say that is the smoothest and best stabilised video I’ve ever seen – so this to gain that feat is immense.

This camera is the biggest redesign ever done, the camera is bigger than the Hero 8 and has a larger 2.27 inch rear touchscreen. It’s definitely better in feel – I think it will take more of a beating on the mountain with its increased size and weight. I can’t wait to get it out snowboarding, COVID dependent!

5k Video – need I say more on the subject? Crispy, clean and rivalling cameras double the price.

The 1.4 inch colour front display is very handy like I said if you are a blogger/vlogger – As you can frame up really easily but the quality of that front screen isn’t amazing but it isn’t there for quality I suppose.

GoPro has retained the handy and simplified menu for those who need the assistance of settings

The battery has had to improve with all of these new improvements of the main camera, the overall battery size is 40% larger (1720MAH battery). This does mean the older GoPro batteries will no longer work in the camera as the overall size has increased of its body. On testing, I would say my batteries are lasting 20-25% longer.

Gripes…

  • The Touchscreen – it currently isn’t good enough for responsiveness. As with a lot of outlets reviewing this camera I too am disappointed with the touchscreen display out the box. It’s quite unresponsive and sometimes it feels like you have to press very hard on the camera for it to respond to touch as I said previously it feels like an update is needed to get this right. I am told by GoPro that there is a firmware fix coming in November, which is great but you’ve also spent several hundred pounds on a camera which needs an update immediately, not ideal.
  • The camera gets quite hot in data transfer and when shooting non stop / 5k ie big file creation
  • No 4K/120p
  • SuperPhoto mode really needs improving
  • Again having to do firmware fixes on a camera so new, not great
Gripes aside, my package came with the Handler, Magnetic Clip and the Case

Pricing

Hero 9 is RRP £429.99 in most outlets outside of GoPro.com.
Buying via GoPro and their GoPro Subscription (was GoPro Plus) you’ll get a large discount (the GoPro Sub is great – It auto uploads content to the GoPro server, has protection of your camera which means you get a replacement if your camera is damaged – 2 per year. The cost £5 per month) opting for this you’ll get a Hero 9 for £329.99 – a bargain for the tech you are getting, and protection.

Overview

  • Avid GoPro users will be upgrading no doubt. Rumour is they’ve increased their GoPro Sub service to +500,000, with that extending to over 700,000 by Christmas.. The dropped price with the Sub service is a clear driver for this.
  • It’s the best GoPro yet by far
  • Simplified Hero 8 settings and Menu is retained – a good shout for those newer users
  • Better battery by about 20-25% compared to the Hero 8
  • New Sensor is a huge step up from the Hero 8, 23.6MP from a camera this size is excellent
  • 5k Video is dreamy and HyperSmooth 3.0 is brilliant
  • Webcam mode is actually quite useful – this no longer ‘just an action camera’
  • Those happy using the current Hero 8 settings do not need to upgrade
  • Fixes needed to several ‘Gripes’ with the camera
  • Hero 9 comes in a nice packaged case, a cool change from the old plastic box – kudos on that one
Overall, I’m quite happy with the Upgrade

Red Original Accessories Paddle Board Lock

The Red Original Paddle Lock. Protecting your equipment! A review for @StandUpPaddleUK

Simple and effective. It may just be a lock, but does exactly what it says on the box…

With paddleboarding forever on the rise, and it’s ever more increasing popularity due to the COVID, it seems board theft is becoming quite prevalent.. Worry no longer..

The Red Original Board Lock features;

• 3.2mm Marine grade twisted stainless steel cable: Resistant to corrosion and provides increased cut resistance.
Abrasion-resistant Coating: Protects the cable from fraying or from damaging other objects the lock is attached to.
• 340cm Long: Ability to lock multiple boards together with one lock.
Programmable Combination lock: Easy to use carabiner combination lock can be set to a personal code further reducing the likelihood of board being stolen. 

I locked my two boards to a sign post. It easily fits two boards stacked. I looped the cable through my D rings for a more secure locking but you could link the cable through grab straps (Although a sharp pair of scissors / blade will likely cut your straps) My suggestion is loop the cable through the strongest points on your board – this really depends on the brands / style. Red Original Accessories are a universal fit which is great.

Two boards stacked and Locked

The programmable lock is great and it’s also a carabiner which is handy. I’ve used this a couple of times now and have confidently left my boards outside on a main road in St. Ives during my last trip away.

Just don’t forget your Code..

RRP £32.95. Don’t forget we have a checkout discount, use the code StandUpPaddleUK15

Is it worth it? 100% Yes – regardless of the haters, the cheapstakes and nay sayers. Spending £32.95 on a product which is protecting an items worth between £500-1000 each, it’s a no brainer for me.

As ever, find me on Instagram search @Darrens_Visuals / @StandupPaddleUK for more!

Things to Consider When Buying a Paddleboard

Discussing the points to look out for when buying a Paddleboard – @StandUpPaddleUK

When I think about paddleboarding I think open waters, the sound of the paddle breaking the top of a lake and generally just having quite a relaxed time. I’ve been paddleboarding now for a few years – I am by no means a professional but over the years with @StandUpPaddleUK I’ve tried, tested and reviewed various different board shapes and sizes, so I’d like to think I know a little bit about the subject, hence this post for @StandUpPaddleUK.

Firstly I’ll point out I use BluefinSup Boards, so yes, you’ll see them in some of the images in the post – this is not a ploy or plot directing people to specific brands, this is an honest post trying to help you find the right board. That aside, let’s get started..

In the industry there are many manufacturers of boards, obviously some are better than others – that’s a fact but you’ll be lured in by many peoples opinions. The StandUpPaddleUK managers are involved in many paddleboarding groups on Facebook & Instagram, there is a very common theme coming to the forefront every time we log into one of those apps. The want for ‘Cheap boards’ and a huge lack of information..

The current pandemic has really surged the interest in SUP. So much so all of the manufacturers that we are in communication with have has told us that they are struggling to keep up with demand, many out of stock. It’s very likely that most people will be having a staycation this year and the allure of a paddleboard seems like the perfect piece of kit for that trip in the UK.

wp-1599059608381.jpg
If you’re having a Staycation, an iSUP is ideal..

I’ve always believed in the saying ‘buy nice or buy twice’. That is 100% the case when it comes to buying a Paddleboard, new or secondhand. I don’t want to get into a rant about one brand being better than another, so let’s discuss the key points you need to look out for when buying a Paddleboard;

  • Sizing (Length, width, thickness)
  • Board type (all-rounder, touring, race, surf, multiperson), yoga)
  • Versatility (Hardboard or Inflatable)
  • Quality of the Build (Drop Stitch, Chambers, Rails, Deck Pad)
  • Accessories (Pump, leash, paddle)
  • Manufacturers Eco-Credentials (are they working with any renewable technologies, do they provide a buyback system where they safely recycle old boards?) * this one is quite an important one for me personally*

Those are probably the key points to be looking out for when buying a board, let’s explain each one a little bit;

Sizing and Board Type

Finding what size is right for you is really the pinnacle when purchasing a board. Each type of board has its own set of characteristics so you really need to be choosy over what you select (ie are you a social, touring, racing paddler). A key point to note is most people will be OK with an All Rounder, but for those looking to cover more flat water may want to consider a longer board which will glide across the water better, and track straighter.

As with the characteristics, each board manufacturer will have a set maximum weight per board size & type, it’s always best to check with the manufacturer that the board you’re interested in will be able to hold your weight.

It will be very easy for me to put a chart here and say that a certain weight will work with a certain board, however it really does depend on the type of paddleboard you’re using. Do your homework with the specific brand you a considering buying – each brand will be able to help you with this.

For those in the beginners phase, here’s a rough guide for board width and thickness;

70 kg – 30″ wide > 80kg – 31″ + wide > 90kg – 32″ + wide > 100kg – 33″ + wide >110kg+ – 35″ + wide.

You will find the majority of boards run between 4-6″ thickness. 5″ is suitable for a beginner (and most people), with heavier paddlers opting for 6″. The thicker the board, the heavier the board. But again this will also differ with each manufacturer. Wider boards than you require can cause unnecessary instability and affect your paddle stroke (difficult to reach a vertical stroke pattern).. And a wider board is actually more board to control, bare that in mind.

All rounders in the 10’6-10’8 range are great boards for beginners in my opinion. A smaller paddler, 1.7m / 5.6 approx maybe opting for a smaller compact board like a 9’7 with a max width of approx 31-32″. 

Remember, ROUGH GUIDE.

Note: I ride a 6.2inch thick tourer board, I’m 6ft, 88kg.. That’s a personal preference through trial of different boards, and for my usage type.

Versatility

wp-1599059816665.jpg

Quite a simple one really. Are you looking to have a hardboard or an inflatable? Obviously with a hardboard you will need the facility to be able to transport the board and and store it. iSups are by far the more popular option is easily packed away into a backpack. Generally anyone manufacturer providing a paddleboard package will be able to have the board, a paddle and the pump housed in the bag.  If you’re planning on hiking to lakes or travelling abroad then an inflatable is for you.

20191014_120945.jpg
I’ve travelled abroad with my iSUP packed in a bag a few times. Very versatile and 100% flight safe in my experience
wp-image-1314743932jpg.jpg
I’m not a user of a hardboard – I have used them in the past but for guidance on them I’d have to point you elsewhere for assistance..

Quality of the Build

Not all paddleboards are made equal.. What are the most important parts of a well constructed paddleboard? High Quality Drop Stitch (Single Layer, Stringer, Double layered or MSL Fusion (RedPaddleCO only), Double Chambers, Multi Layered Rails, Fin types…

Drop Stitch – there is quite a lot of different varieties of drop stitch patterns. For example my board has a double layer with around 11,200 stitches of 500 denier space yarn per m2 which makes up a very rigid board. Basically a woven drop stitch provides less stretch and higher strength. Again it’s very much manufacturing dependent because some brands are glue-free (laminated), others are using glued layers, but the key point to understand about drop stitch is it consists parallel sheets of material connected by thousands of 5 or 6 inch length threads. If a brand is promoting how good the drop stitches are then you’re on the right track to a good board.

Laminated Double Layer construction makes for a more durable, stable, lightweight and more strong paddleboard. It’s the best performance construction being used by most brands. A Double Layer will be heavier (in comparison to a Single Layer) but it makes up for that by being longer lasting. There is a version of Double Layering which involves gluing – these types are much heavier and quite outdated in terms of technology. My understanding is this technology is still being used but the ‘big’ brands have phased it out.

MSL stands for monocoque structural laminate. This has been developed by RedPaddle Co and only found on their boards. It’s lighter than other materials yet it maintains a stiffness and strength which is better than all the previous technologies RedPaddle have used.

– Some brands are using a Single Layer or Single Skin, these boards are generally cheaper due to the less intensive manufacture. Less material makes a more lightweight SUP. Single layer boards are generally less durable but much lighter than Double Layered.

– As above these are also brands using Single Skin with Stringer (Comes from a surfboard method of manufacture). The Stringer runs from nose to tail, it is a cheaper option on the spectrum. It provides a more rigid ride but still has some flex.

Rails – Generally a dual rail band is the most common set up, but you will see brands are still providing boards with a single rail with a taped seam. Personally I’d go for the dual rail as it makes a significant difference in the strength and durability of your board.

Double Chambered – having a double chamber paddleboard is another component of stiffness. As ever each manufacturer will have varying types of double chamber technology so once you’ve decided on the correct size board then you could look at the manufacturer and decide from there. In simple terms the chamber is what you pump air into. The advantages of a double chamber means the board will be very durable and more rigid. It also means that the air is evenly distributed across the board. On average Double chamber board is approx. 25-30% stiffer than a single chamber.

Fin Type – most boards come with a standard US Box fin. Arguably the most widely used. Some brands have their own take, for example a ‘Smart Lock’ Fin which is locked into place with a simple catch and lock system. Loads of different fin types, surf, touring, rivers.. That’s a different post though!

Accessories (in a Package)

Generally when you buy a paddleboard package it will include;

  • Board
  • Paddle (sometimes)
  • Leash (likely coiled)
  • Fin
  • Pump
  • Main Bag

That would be the minimum in a paddle boarding package, but as discussed previously there are manufacturers who only sell boards, no packages. On the face of it that’s a lot of kit in a bag and generally a manufacturers focus will be on the board as it is the main item.

A good indicator of a good package is the pump. If you pull out of pump and it’s very light weight, flimsy and cheap feeling piece of equipment then odds are that this manufacturer has focused on the board rather than the accessories. That’s my opinion but it is something I’ve found.

There are now so many different packages out there that it’s difficult to establish the difference but in my opinion any manufacturer providing a package set up should be charging you between £500 and £800 – that range should tick all the boxes.

Oh, the Leash, how could I forget you.. the foremost safety item of your SUP. All packages will be provided with a Leash, these come in various types (straight, coiled, QR, waist – post about specific uses to follow).

IMG_20181117_143756_726.jpg
Never paddle without your leash. They save lives

As a user of an inflatable paddleboard which came in a package I can safely say that there are manufacturers out there who provide a solid bundle deal.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3228.JPG
I’ve used several package boards for a few years now and had no issues

Manufacturers Eco-Credentials

As I said at the top this one is quite important one for me, and many SUP-ers, as you can imagine once your paddleboard is destroyed beyond use/badly punctured/ Non repairable; where does it go and how does it get recycled?

Many brands have their own initiatives, working with companies providing recycled materials to make boards. Others providing buy back services; when you upgrade they take your old board and recycle it / reuse materials. Others recycling boards in bulk safely. There is lots of good processes going on in the industry. Head over to any brands’ website and review their sustainability or environmental page for more info.

What you need to remember is that very cheaply manufactured boards are not going to recycled in a conventional way, if at all.. 

Now with all that being said. I’ve owned various different boards since I’ve started paddleboarding. I’ve purchased second-hand boards and I’ve had boards come straight from the brand.

IMG_20190106_144824_895.jpg
My first board was a 10’8 RedPaddleCo, it was secondhand and served me very well

 

a-IMG-20191018-WA0009
My Sprint 14 was a New Board and has been excellent since I opened the box

Do your homework when buying your first board, often finding a good secondhand board is the sensible option until you are 100% confident you will be sticking with paddleboarding for the long term. Outlaying over £800-1000+ on the top of the range paddleboard isn’t really a requirement when you’re a beginner. I would advise going to your local lake or paddleboarding club and asking to use the boards/have a lesson (obviously this will be dependent on coronavirus/social distancing as some clubs aren’t allowing rentals – this may well have changed). It’s always a great idea to test out different manufacturers boards before you commit to buying one..

GOPR1090_1596372053816.jpg
Don’t be afraid to ask a friend to use their board. Here’s Dale and Me switching boards to give them a little test.. You’ll often be surprised by riding a similar board from a different brand

 

You’re going to find opinions on this absolutely everywhere online, dare I say snobbery too. There are many a paddler out there who are loyal to a brand and will push their specs. I’d advise speaking to the experts, people like supinflatables.co.uk/ – very knowledgable and a nice navigable site, with a ton of info. And of course the manufacturers themselves – most brands cover every size board and will be able to help you make an informed decision.

Well, that was a lot of information in one hit! As you can see once you start getting into the nitty-gritty of paddleboard construction you can really see why the best boards are expensive, and it is a minefield. They can be difficult to manufacture and the technologies used are not cheap so why would the board be? We want as many people as possible on the waterways, paddling safely and sustainably. This isn’t a post to push people away from the sport, far from it, more to make you consider what you are buying and where you’re buying it from..

Ciao, Darren

LifeJacket Skin Protection #GotYourBack

LifeJacket Skin Protection is a company doing their best to prevent Cancer in Men. Get your Discount Code inside! Article by Darren Farrar

Sun Protection and Skin Care is absolutely paramount, especially when your out on a bike, hiking or paddleboarding. It’s never been more important to protect yourself from the sun. Today I wanted to bring this brand to everyone’s attention. Say hello to LifeJacket. Skin Protection designed for Men.

Introducing LifeJacketSkin

These guys are focused on helping to prevent cancer in Men. Did you know almost twice as many men died from skin cancer versus women all over the world? In the past 20 years skin cancer in men has certainly become a more regular thing, with the forecast over the next 20 years estimating that it will double. That is a crazy statistic, especially against something that is preventable if you protect yourself correctly..

As a very outdoor orientated person I’m forever out on my bike, paddleboard, even walking and hiking, sunscreen is something you almost forget about, even take for granted that your skin is not protected. Billy at LifeJacket contacted me after seeing that I was an outdoor person on Instagram. We had a good chat about the products, the brand and most importantly what I took most of the conversation was how much he cared about getting people protected.

Now before I get into the chit chat about the products and the brand. For those that are interested in the science behind the product click here. LifeJacket have gone into depth about skin protection in this article. These guys are backed up by science and medical professionals, the link is really worth a read..

Sunscreen generally is expensive. It’s expensive because it’s tested and formulated in a lab, cheaper alternatives do not provide you with the same protection and it is a product you shouldn’t cheap out on when purchasing! The products I’ve been testing over the past few weeks have really been great. LifeJacket sent me over the daily protection moisturiser, the daily repair Moisturiser and the 50+ Sun Gel – the Weekender Pack. Sachets were also sent, these are great to put in your bike bag for when you’re out and about.

Generally I don’t suffer with sunburn very often. Lucky in some ways however having dark hair and relatively tanned skin does often mean that you forgot to apply – I’m at fault for that. As I say I’ve been using the products for a few weeks now, it was the ideal time as we have had some very hot weather, over +30° for several days.

Satchets are really handy for when you’re out and about

I went to the lake local to where I live and the weather was 34°, the perfect test for this kit. I used the 50+ Sun Gel before I went out on my paddleboard. Usually even when I apply a factor 30 and I go out paddle boarding, often I get redness on the shoulders and collarbone. After using LifeJacket by didn’t experience any form of redness, soreness or skin irritation. This was really surprising as pretty much every suncream/sunscreen I’ve used doesn’t fully protect me or irritates my skin.

Second test was while out on my road bike. I used the 50+ Sun Gel. Again, quite a warm day it was between 32 and 34°, there was a slight wind also. I cycled approx. 40 miles so I was out for just over 2hrs. I had the Sun Gel applied. I always find after I’ve been out in the sun my quads and upper arms usually get a little bit burnt. Not on this occasion. The Sun Gel protected me very well – which is great as the ‘cyclist’s tan’ often is a burn line rather than a healthy tan line..

Third test was during a weekend away in Kent. I was out paddle boarding with my mate at Joss Bay, well over 30° with a coastal breeze. We were out on the water for about an hour and a half. I was more than expected to have a little bit of burnt skin, especially with the coastal breeze but I woke up the following day with absolutely no irritation or burnt skin. The 50 Sun Gel is brilliant – who knew I would be saying that about suncream..

I’m not a Doctor, not a medical expert or a specialist in skin but what I can say is these products are working for me and I feel obligated to share this and the brand with the community. StandUpPaddleUK are in discussions with LifeJacket about giving our community a discount on their products at checkout, and we will be giving away some of their products in the near future! Stay tuned to our Instagram for this..

Fourth test was the most important one yet, a trip to Sardinia with my girlfriend. Projected 30+ degrees for a week.. LifeJacket’s products were about to get tested!

As you can imagine I’m off paddleboarding for hours on end, hiking and generally putting my skin through its paces but LifeJacket really had me covered. First day was 34 degree, obviously opted for the 50 SunGel. Probably through my own mis-care I had slightly burnt legs but applying the Daily Moisturiser really helped. I woke up the next day feeling pretty good and not really burnt.

I spent most of my day in and out of the sea water.. You should be reapplying sun screen every 2 hours and after getting out of water…

This is not really a review. This is me saying that I absolutely approve and agree with what this company is trying to do. Never has it been more important to apply sunscreen and I genuinely hope the people that read this agree. Myself and Dale (StandUpPaddleUK) have been using the products are really hope to help educate paddleboarders about protecting their Skin.

LifeJacket have been kind enough to provide the following for StandUpPaddleUK Followers;

1. The discount code is now LIVE: standuppaddleuk10 gives 10% off the entire shop and, Unlimited use.

2. LJ have set-up a survey for our followers. First 500 people to complete it get our welcome pack sent out to them for free. It contains x3 sachets plus a card with a message from LifeJacket, and a 15% one-off discount code. CLICK HERE FOR THE SURVEY. It is really quick and simple to complete.

LifeJacketSkin sell various products other than sunscreen and they have a shed load of info about effective skin care and sun protection. You can find them below, and don’t forget to use our discount code !

Ranging in various sizes for Hold Bags and Carry On…

Find out more on their site. That’s enough from me, the products work and speak for themselves. I’m happy to be working with these guys to really combat the issue of Skin Cancer!! Ciao, Darren.

Vivobarefoot ESC Tempest ‘On Board’ Review

Vivobarefoot ESC Tempest Review by @StandUpPaddleUK’s Darren and Dale

So a couple of weeks ago Darren of @StandUpPaddleUK did an ‘out the box’ review of the new Vivobarefoot amphibious shoe, the ESC Tempest.

Click here for the ‘Out the Box’ Review by Darren

Darren and Dale have been using these in various different scenarios but we wanted to see how well they integrated with the use on a paddleboard.

DF: I headed down to Cornwall to test out the shoes on the paddleboard and along the coast line.

DM: I have managed to get them on the water quite a few times due to it being the summer holidays and being a teacher.

First impressions when in the shoes when wet:

DF: As expected the very grippy on sand and rocks. I went swimming and it feels like you get an additional bit of traction and it doesn’t feel like the shoe is trying to float to the surface which is great (especially if you’re doing the triathlon) I found the fit to be exactly the same when the shoe was wet or dry, no shrinkage which is another bonus. Note they come up tight when new.

On the paddleboard:

DF: I expected super grippy through all motions of the paddle and stroke, and that was confirmed! As I said before the shape and orientation of the sole really provides a sure footing when pressed against the deck pad. I also found them to be snug and comfortable while on the board, as we all know sometimes when you’re standing for long periods the soles of your feet can get quite sore, I didn’t find that with these. I was riding my 14 Tourer and felt comfortable at all times with the grip of these shoes.

DM: Once on the board although having quite a big sole on the boot and a lot of grip it feels as if you are not wearing a shoe, it feels very natural and there is a good connection between you and the board. The first time out I was just messing around on a 10’6 board and really moving around the board doing step backs and generally messing around with fiends and everything just felt so grippy and natural. Having since been out a few times on my tourer the experience is the same, great contact with your board and a real sense of unity that you don’t get form wearing trainers on a board or a thicker boot. 

Use in the sea / water:

DF: As I said before, impressed. I went swimming in these as I thought I was getting a little bit more traction on my feet, the only downside is when you’re coming out of sea water/sand the inside of the shoe allows sand to enter which can be uncomfortable if your barefoot. I quick rinse and they are good to go.

Yes, that’s underwater!

DM: What is nice is when they get wet they stay light and don’t fill up and feel cumbersome. The drainage is good and even when taking a slight swim these shoes did not get in the way and felt super light. I didn’t have issues with anything entering the boot in any of my paddles but wasn’t in the sea so just general dust and dirt stayed away.

Comfort level / Fit :

DF: Surprisingly quite comfortable for a minimal shoe. I wore them around St. Ives town, walking about 6miles and they were good. No discomfort on the board either. Just remember that these are a snuggly fitted shoe due to their design around the top of your foot. Due to a previous foot injury I found the polymer band to rub on my metatarsal a bit.

DM: Fit wise these things as mentioned they come up tight, now let me explain why, the tight part comes from putting them on and is due to the lack of stretch in the material sock due to a polymer band which sits across the top of the foot. Once on this does not bother you and actually in use helps keep the shoe tight on your foot and in place. A few times I have questioned what would happen if this band was removed? Well honestly I think the shoe would be easier to get on but would also be more likely to slip and possibly come loose which you would not want. Once on a short walk around feels very strange due to the shape of the shoe. This is not a discomfort but very different to wearing a normal shoe/boot. After a while this feels pretty normal and you get used to it. 

Other things of note:

DM: I usually wouldn’t mention is safety, as generally feel pretty comfortable on a board but recently doing more river paddling and canals coming out of lockdown these are not always the cleanest environment. The River Trent especially isn’t Evian water and getting in and out on banks you don’t know what you’re treading on! The sole of these would not puncture on a needle or sharp can etc.

DF: Given the multi use nature of the shoe it could be marketed to anyone in the outdoor arena which is excellent. Shoe comes in several colours also if Grey isn’t to your fancy. They do cool black and orange which is very StandUpPaddleUK!

DM : It’s always hard deciding where I would pitch a shoe like this, who would most likely use it? I feel anyone like me who spends a lot of time on rivers, rocks, canals, at the beach where you could stand on sharp rocks would be ideal. I think these would make a great shoe for people touring and offer great comfort when portaging. These would be incredible for those paddling white water, and starting to do more moving rivers as offer so much grip moving around the board yet keeping plenty of contact with the board.

Are they worth the money?

DF: I personally haven’t done a huge amount of research into amphibious shoes. I’ve always worn a wet suit shoe when out paddling. Retailing at £170 on the Vivobarefoot website they are on the expensive side but given that they are a multi use piece of footwear I think it does justify the cost. I like them a lot and will be using solely for paddleboarding from now on.

DM: I really rate these shoes both on the water and off and will certainly be wearing them a lot. Vivobarefoot have a 100 days program where they ask you to try it for a period of time to make your decision. I have to say after a few paddles I really am converted to these. As Darren mentioned the price tag is high but the reasons for this are the manufacturing that goes into a shoe like this, its made with new materials such as bloom and recycled polymers, and the parts which are not sustainable are built well and to last such as the Michelin rubber on the sole.

After all that testing.. DF needed to chill!

Find more reviews over on @StandUpPaddleUK – thanks Darren and Dale.

Red Original Accessories – Silent Air Remover

Shh! It is the Red Originals Silent Air Remover. A review for @StandupPaddleUK

Gimmick or Valuable tool? Yep, this one had already divided opinion on our recent IG Reel..

I’ve always been on the side of ‘it’s just air coming out of the board’ and I believe many would probably agree.

Red Original says; “The Silent Air Remover reduces the sound of a board inflated to 18psi from over 130 decibels at initial valve depression to less than 80 decibels. That is the equivalent of a jet taking off in comparison to background noise in a restaurant”.

I deliberately tested the Air Remover in my car park. I live in apartments, where any form of noise is complained about! So really, a good place to test it..

Tested where I knew people would hear any loud noises…

I set up my board to 15.5/16psi. A standard running pressure. As you’ll see on the video review (coming up shortly) I set up the Air Remover (AR) on the Rear and Central Valves, then using the ‘traditional’ press down without the AR.

Tested with a Decibel Reader in the same conditions for all

Rear Valve – 72db Max with the AR

Central Valve – 105db without the AR

Rear Valve – 114db without the AR

For the rear valve, that’s over 40db difference with the use of the Silencer, which may not sound like much but audibly it really is when you’re outside.

  • Ideal uses:
  • Morning/night paddles in built up areas
  • On Busy beaches
  • When kids are around
  • When boarding with dogs
  • Staying at campsites

The above are all opinions of course, but as a person who has been, for lack of a better word, bollocked, for unleashing my board air into the atmosphere by a river dog walker, I do feel it has its place and I’ll be keeping it in my bag. Maybe a bit on the expensive side, but, it is the only tool of its type as it stands.

Very simple to use and effective

Do you need it? Assess your paddle needs. Definitely valuable if you live in built up areas or paddle in crowded places with kids or animals.

We’ve seen comments of “Useless plastic” / “waste of plastic” – I disagree. You’re not exactly going to be throwing or leaving this on the ground somewhere for it to never decompose! You’ll be putting it in your bag/pouch and using it again. The device may not be to everyones liking or requirement but it does exactly what says it will do, Suppress exhausted air noise from a paddleboard – which it does well.

RRP £34.99

Don’t forget, Red Original have given us a checkout discount code of standuppaddleuk15..

UPDATE – the video test of the Silent Air Remover:

Red Original Accessories – The Waterproof Pouch Review

The Red Original Accessories Review of the Waterproof Pouch for @StandupPaddleUK – Find your Discount Code inside!

Oh, you had me a waterproof..

It has been a big week for us over on StandupPaddleUK. We’ve received a fair amount of kit to test, trial and review. We’ve always loved what the crew at Red Original are doing, it’s high quality products, made the right way, by a brand that really cares about the community.

A bumper delivery for Review!

I’ve got a few reviews to write for their products but let’s get on with the Waterproof Pouch..

So as I said at start of the review, ‘you had me at waterproof’.. Yeah, this thing is legitimately waterproof. There are photos on their website of a guy swimming in the sea holding the pouch, that is insane! I’ve used dry bags before but this thing is the next level.

I mean.. Wow..

StandUpPaddleUK as a collective have been using this item for some time. Dale is a huge fan of the pouch and really does swear by it too.

Dale out on the River with his Waterproof Pouch fitted to the central grab handle

Sizing: the pouch its self is 23cm long x 12cm deep x 5cm wide. You’re easily able to get your phone, keys and a GoPro in there.. We’ve even had a drone in there. It’s also the perfect place for something like an inhaler, the most important piece of equipment when I go out on my paddleboard after my PFD! So knowing that my medication is protected is also a great thing.

I’ve comfortably fitted my Keys, GoPro, Sony A6000 and iPhone in here with space to spare

On the board: The really great thing about the pouch is you are able to connect it to you and your board in several ways. The double Velcro strap system can be secured to grab handles, your deck bungee straps, the RO deck bag and the RO AirBelt. Personal preference for me and Dale is attaching it to your central grab handle as everything is then easily accessible beneath your feet.

As ever, we are testing in line with the use on a paddleboard however you could use it on a kayak, on your bike, open water swimming.. It really is a very versatile piece of kit. I’ve now used this pouch on two paddles and during one of them was a horrendous downpour of rain, the pouch protected my keys and phone. I like the integration with my board, I don’t use a Red Paddle board, so it is really great to see a product working on different brands products. We talk to brands a great deal about integration with other manufacturers/competitors so it’s really good to see that you don’t have to own a specific board to use their accessories..

Integration across the Red Original Range. The Waterproof Pouch and be connected via the velvro straps to the PFD Airbelt. A great idea for the paddler without the need for a bigger dry bag
The Pouch attached to the RO Deck Bag – Attached via the Bungee Cords

Quick Water Test: So the basic of the basic, let’s submerge this pouch and see what happens..

A full basin of water 💧
Submerged for about 2 minutes
100% dry internally

Absolute madness. No water droplets, runs or signs of moisture inside of the Pouch. That’s a pass on the water test.. Kind of the most important part of the review really!

I’ve never really been a ‘rating’ reviewer. I prefer more to explain how the products work, how they integrate with different things and essentially if they are practical in their use. I really do believe that the waterproof pouch is a 10 out of 10 product. I suggest you check out the product itself on their website (click here for the link). As usual a video review on our IGTV will follow.

RRP is £64.95. Oh also of note; Red Original have been kind enough to provide StandupPaddleUK with a discount code – use code ‘standuppaddleuk15‘ at checkout to get a discount!

Thanks to Ross over at Red Originals for the continued support and their immense products! Learn more about Red Originals over on our IGTV Series.

Cheers to another review, stay tuned for more Red Originals product reviews..

Vivobarefoot ESC Tempest ‘Out of the Box’ Review

The VivoBareFoot ESC Tempest Review by Darren Farrar for @StandupPaddleUK

As you know may, or may not know, I’m one of the guys behind StandupPaddleUK. We review, test and trial equipment in the paddleboard/watersports industry.. And pretty much anything that can be used while out with your board!

Find us on Instagram StandupPaddleUK

As someone that paddles a lot of rivers and canals footwear is an absolute must. I know a lot of people are very keen on barefoot paddleboarding, which has its advantages when the weather is really hot but I always find myself trying to get out of waterways and more often than not the terrain is not favourable to bare feet. I started researching different types of footwear and qas generally pointed in the direction of a wet suit shoe or boot. I myself do use a Gul Powershoe but the problem with a wet suit shoe is they absolutely stink out your house and car!

This all led us into looking at amphibious footwear and the first company that I came across that produced something which not only looked cool but had a ton of technology behind it and is made by a sustainable company, Vivobarefoot.

In a different life I was a personal trainer so I’ve been well aware of the brand as I used to wear the footwear while working in the gym. However these amphibious shoes are completely different.. Minimal still, but different!

Now I must point out that these are solely being tested for general fit and in line with the use on a paddleboard. I’m not testing their performance for running/triathlons, the review is to show how well the shoe integrates with the day to day use of paddleboard. That being said these are being marketed as an Amphibious Swim/Run shoe so anyone outside of the paddleboarding arena will need to do a bit more research elsewhere if running is your niche.

Introducing the Vivobarefoot ESC Tempest Amphibious Shoe

Straight out of the box: No plastic. Boom. Love that Vivo!

The make up of the shoe: The upper of the shoe have a very interesting pattern which I’m sure when in the water (mainly for swimming) provides some form of friction).

Quick draining mesh and recycled plastic PET ankle sock construction are designed to keep your feet comfortable between land and water.

The bio-based Bloom EVA midsole gives additional flotation! **Bloom is amazing FYA – it us formed into a performance foam made using algae biomass which cleans and restores the environment when harvested. The first sustainable alternative to the synthetic and petrochemical EVA foam!

How do they feel when they’re on: Bloody hell they’re difficult to get on.. I’m a UK8.5 / 9, so with a wet suit shoe I always size down because they’re stretchy. Out of the box I would say these are slightly smaller than ‘true to size’ and anyone with a wider feet should size up by one.

Now for me, these are very weird but also cool looking shoe. We’ve been sent the Zinc colourway but the shoes do come in three different colour options, these which are:

Obsidian
Obsidian/Orange
Zinc

Image from the VivoBareFoot Site
Image from the VivoBareFoot Website

Sole of the shoes are very chunky and they have been manufactured with Michelin so you can almost guarantee that the sole is of the highest quality. *The level of grip that you get from these while on a paddleboard will be tested with an ‘on the water’ test*

There are no laces on these as they are a Speed Toggle. The ST is quite a thin lace system which I feel could be a little bit thicker but on the whole does a good job of tightening the upper. I’ve honestly worn these without tightening the ST as the fit was so snug to my feet.

Overall fit: I have found these, quite tight and fit very snuggly around the top of your foot. If you’ve broken a metatarsal before like me then you may feel that they rub on the top of your feet, however this may wear off once the shoe has been worn in. When walking around normally there are no issues, I found them to be quite comfortable without socks. The shoes essentially work straight out of the box with minimal adjustments and are also very fast drying is also helpful!

Currently retailing on Vivobarefoot’s website for £170. They do a cool 100 Day Trial which may be worth the option for some people. Click Here to read more about the 100 Day Trial!

As a footballer, well, an ex footballer, these reminded me and felt comparable to these…

A very similar fit to that of the Adidas Ace boots..

Myself and Dale will be carrying out ‘on the water’ tests which will be video reviews on our IGTV. We really want to test out how well these handle on the paddleboard, getting in and out of water (specifically onto the sides of rivers or canals). I get the feeling they will be a great tool in our arsenal..

Remember that this is a minimal shoe and while we’re not talking about running it is advisable that if you are trying a minimal shoe for the first time that you seek advice from a professional.

Thanks to Vivobarefoot for allowing us the opportunity to test these out. Stay tuned for the ‘On the Water’ video review. Ciao, Darren.

@StandUpPaddleUK x @BluefinSups 10K Giveaway

@StandUpPaddleUK and @BluefinSups bringing you a HUGE lockdown giveaway!
#StandUpPaddleUK #BluefinSup

Well, this is a big one guys and girls!

Screenshot 2020-04-18 at 19.08.45

At @StandUpPaddleUK we hit 10k recently, and we were planning on giving away lots of items around the time.. But #COVID19 hit us all and halted that giveaway a little! We’ve pressed on, so far doing a giveaway for @Paddlelogger. We have other brands involved, but we want to keep them secret, dropping giveaways during the lockdown period to try and keep the paddleboard cheer high!

So, @Bluefinsups have been beyond generous and given us a 10’8 Cruise Carbon Paddleboard to giveaway.. Amazing right?

BF1
Win a 10’8 Cruise Carbon

Screenshot 2020-04-19 at 09.56.51
The 10’8 is currently retailing at £699,99 so this is some prize

Screenshot 2020-04-19 at 09.57.19

I ride a couple of Bluefinsup boards (a 10’8 all rounder and a Sprint 14) and these are such great kit I assure you!

IMG_20190625_073748_364
Riding the 10’8 Cruise Carbon

 

 

The giveaway is pretty simple;

  1. Head to Instagram
  2. Search @StandUpPaddleUK and @Bluefinsups
  3. You must Follow both accounts
  4. Create a new post
  5. Post must be of ‘YOUR DREAM SUP SPOT’. You don’t need to have a SUP in the photo, the only catch is that you’ve been to the location you post. It doesn’t have to be the Bahamas or Maldives, it can be anywhere!
  6. In the caption tell us why it’s your ‘Dream SUP Spot’! You must include the hashtags #BluefinSupSpot AND #StandUpPaddleUK to be included in the giveaway, and it is the best way we can track all entrants. Also tag the image!
  7. Share our post on your Story so all your friends can see the giveaway!
  8. Sit back and await the winner, which we be decided by @Bluefinsups next weekend (25th/26th April)

Now, I can’t win this but my idea of a dream #bluefinsupspot looks something like this..

LRM_EXPORT_20180808_221959.jpg
This is Lake Lugano is Switzerland. The most Epic of Epic. Over to you!

 

Good Luck!

@darrens_visuals

#Paddleboarding #Paddleboard #SUPUK #SUP #BluefinSups #StandUpPaddleUK #Standuppaddleboarding

 


 

14 a

 


Terms & Condition’s

  •  StandUpPaddleUK & BluefinSups will judge the competition and decide on the winner, which will be picked at random from all entries via Instagram. (Site to be used https://commentpicker.com).
  • In the event a random name generator is unable to be used a member of @StandUpPaddleUK and @BluefinSups will select the winner of the giveaway, from entries processed and tagged correctly in the Instagram tag feed.
  • The competition is open to anyone.
  • There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
  • By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
  • The entrant must be following A) StandUpPaddleUK & B) BluefinSups on Instagram in order to enter, and have used both the hashtags #StandUpPaddleUK and #BluefinsupSpot
  • BluefinSups as the prize provider, shall have the right, at its sole discretion and at any time, to change or modify these terms and conditions, such change shall be amended immediately upon posting to this webpage.
  • BluefinSups have overall decision of the winner, and descretion of the winners selection.
  • StandUpPaddleUK also reserve the right to cancel the competition if circumstances arise outside of its control.
  • Closing date for entry will be Friday 24th April at Midnight. After this date the no further entries to the competition will be permitted
  • Prize: 10’8 BluefinSup Cruise Carbon Package
  • The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material, as well as their entry. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current [UK] data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.
  • Any entries into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of the Instagram user of these terms and conditions.

 

2019 BluefinSup 14 Sprint Review

@darrens_visuals review of the 2019 BluefinSup 14 Sprint Paddleboard

After cutting my teeth with Bluefins Cruise Carbon, I wanted to see how other boards in the range looked, held on the water and most importantly.. Did they provide any variation in their range? After chatting with Liz at Bluefin they sent me down a 14 Sprint to test..

14 a

Some similar, but also great, features to what the 10’8 CC has (see my other review) yet in a slightly different package. The Sprint 14 is the Tourer of their range, it is of course narrower in profile, which requires extra balance for more proficient paddlers. I wanted to test this board purely to see if it handled as a faster board, and it’s safe to say it did!

How much better? Well, I took this bad boy to the Algarve in Portugal to give it a test on the Atlantic!

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3228.JPG
Perfectly packaged, and 100% flight safe

We were staying right on the coast of the Algarve in Vilamoura, perfect location for paddleboarding..

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3224.JPG

The board dims; 426.5cm x 77cm x 16cm (L x W x H)

DCIM100GOPROGOPR3226.JPG

The Sprint really does ‘cut through waves but tracks well on flats’ as they state on their website. The double layer side rails are again reinforced with 500 denier PVC fabric & bonded with heat welding.

LRM_EXPORT_48163143370159_20191015_184848945

20191017_120758

Staying in the Marina was perfect. The ability to jump on the water was excellent. The Sprint absolutely chewed up the flat water in here. I was shocked by the pace I was getting out of it.

DCIM100GOPROG0062971.JPG

I tested the board for about 3 solid days on the sea, both in the Marina and out on the open sea. As with the 10’8, very impressed by the overall package but more so impressed with the board this time. The speed I was getting was great, the step up from an all rounder was just what I personally needed and would suggest anyone thinking about taking that step to consider a 14 Sprint.

The board held really well on the open water, several times I was hit with waves from speed boats and rip boats, but it held up well (less stable than the 10’8 but expected due to it’s dimensions and size), however when hitting the waves head on the board cut through them with ease – a thigh workout for me but the board held up well.

I like the ‘Smart Lock Fin System’, there’s no loose metal parts, really simple to click into place and it secures the fin nicely. I’ve had tons of use up to now and it is still snug and tightly fits.

Obviously Bluefin has slapped on the GoPro mount – it’s almost a requirement nowadays, but it’s still something I value as a must have given what I do.

a-IMG-20191018-WA0009

After this trip I’d been solely using the 14 Sprint on the Canal system in Milton Keynes.

IMG-20200308-WA0011
The Grand Union Canal is a beauty for a flat paddle

The Sprint 14 is more than capable in most water conditions I’ve taken it into. Really impressed with it’s stability in choppy water, and how easy it was to ride the board off the bat. It’s a more advanced board so newcomers should look into a 10’8 / 12 before progressing to a longer tourer. RRP is £1299 but there are currently sales on the Bluefin site, click here to be directed.

As always you can find me on IG @darrens_visuals and @StandUpPaddleUK, feel free to contact us with any questions paddleboard related!

Happy Paddling!

2019 BluefinSup Cruise Carbon 10’8 Review

@darrens_visuals review of the 2019 Bluefin Sup Cruise Carbon Paddleboard

I originally formed this review for StandUpPaddleMagUK and I’m finally getting round to publishing it on my own site!

BF1

 

Now I’ve been paddling for a few years now along the UK coasts, rivers and abroad. I form part of the Instagram UK SUP page @StandUpPaddleUK. We like to think of ourselves as a promoter of the people, a place for UK SUP to share images, and an unbiased place that reviews equipment. Which leads us on to the business end.

IMG_20190628_080553_660

I recently received the 2019 Bluefin Sup Cruise Carbon 10’8 and WOW I’m impressed by the package. The Carbon is a dual weapon, both paddleboard and kayak. I had no preconceived ideas about this board, only that it looked very cool… Which is important of course!

108-carbon
Click the image to goto the Bluefin Website

Looks and features
When I unrolled the board I knew I had made the correct choice. Those tuna blues, and grading greys on the croc diamond deck pad. It’s such a cool looking board.

  • Dual cargo nets for stowing bags, and also you can connect bags to the rings (14x D mount rings in total).
  • A very comfortable board under foot also, which is a big plus for people that like to paddle for hours on end.
  • Rear kick pad for those sharp turns on the step back. Gives you a good boost actually
  • GoPro mount, a plus for GoPro-ers like me
  • Five grip handles.
  • Two main pump points, the rear pump for the bulk of the board, and the central point for the ‘kayak seat’ – such a cool idea. I’ve had 18PSI in both and it holds very well.
  • Travel friendly backpack which really does hold ALL the items that come in the box, and more! Can go in the hold on a plane, which is very cool.

What’s in the bag?

  • The Cruise Carbon 10’8 with integrated GoPro mount.
  • Kayak conversion kit.
  • Backpack.
  • Triple action pump.
  • Coiled leash.
  • Carbon fibre double paddle and fin.

Let’s talk stability
I’ve come from riding the ultra stable 2017 Red Paddle Co 10’8 (also used the 2018 version), so it’s a great board to gauge against. Now, there are different brands, boards and design but in my opinion, the Cruise Carbon rivals Red’s 10’8 for Stability.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2520.JPG
Excellent stability on the 10’8

The FRS carbon composite rail, 1000 Denier Exo surface laminate and Pro-Weave drop stitch materials make the Cruise Carbon so tough it holds up to 28 PSI! Bluefin say it will be, “The most rigid and stable inflatable stand up paddle board you’ll ever buy,” and I really have to agree with that.

I always find jumping onto a new board a happy go lucky moment, you are either going to love the board – or hate it because you find it unstable. My first ride was on a very strong current on the River Ouse in Bedford and I didn’t once feel like the board wanted to eject me quicker than a fighter jet. Comfortable and stable, two things of huge importance!

It also feels like a quick board, yes that really depends on how fast you paddle, but it doesn’t feel too bulky or heavy through the paddle motion.

default

Do I need a gym membership to carry it?
Nope. I’ve used boards in the past and carrying them from the truck to the water was a pain in the backside, due to being awkwardly shaped, lacking hand grips, the size! The Cruise Carbon is light, when pumped up it is manoeuvrable due to all the handle grips. I was very surprised at the ease of carrying and moving in and out of the river.

DCIM100GOPROG0091743.JPG
Easy to handle and not too heavy

CONCLUSION
Is it worth your cash? In a word… Yes. Currently retailing at £799.99 on their website – this is quite the package deal considering what comes out of the bag. The guys at Bluefin are even throwing in a free camera! And for a limited time, using the code DARREN10 at checkout will also gain you a discount!

BF2
Shot with DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Any questions please get in touch with Bluefin SUPS, myself on Instagram @darrens_visuals or @StandUpPaddleUK !

DCIM100GOPROG0152109.JPG

You can find Bluefin Sup by clicking here – and don’t forget to use my discount code DARREN10!

Happy Paddling!