I have been a fan of John Amundson’s stand up paddle board shapes for quite some time now so I was especially anxious to ride his new 14’ x 28” race/tour SUP for next season. This new model still has a very high degree of stability for its size. The rocker line has been flattened and the entry has been modified creating a board with a very slippery feel when paddling quickly combined with a beautiful glide This is a combination that in the past ... read more
I am always excited to test Joe Bark’s new models because they are always great performers. The new Candice Pro Elite 12’6” x 27” is no exception. With a 1” narrower wide point and substantially narrower entry to midpoint outline the new Candice is super slippery feeling, accelerates like mad and is very responsive. This combined with significantly lower volume than last year makes this new 12’6” race model ideal for paddlers under 170 pounds. Be ... read more
When you test as many boards as we do one quickly finds that many are not very memorable. The opposite is true with the SIC X14 in the semi carbon custom construction. Super high stability combined with awesome acceleration, glide and tracking in flat to moderately choppy water. It is a fairly wide board at 29.5” with 296 liters of volume and is best s ... read more
The more we paddle the SIC X-12'6 scc the more we like it. Its combination of speed, glide and maneuverability in flat water are at the top of its class. It feels like it has a bit less volume than their stated specification and is best for a paddler under 160 though acceptable for paddlers up to 180 pounds.
Two days after we finished the video I h ... read more
The Amundson Source 11'6" x 32" is a well- executed all water design. It has a unique combination of stability, glide and tracking rarely found in an all water design. Whether you want to take your dog, do SUP Yoga, or go for a sunset paddle with one of your kids on board that Source paddles beautifully. Its thermally molded AST construction strikes the perfect balance of light weight with performance and durability.
The Amundson Cross 11’ is a true crossover design. Unlike many all-around SUP boards its straighter rails and wider square tail combined with a more subtle rocker profile allow the Cross to be a delightful flat water tourer, SUP yoga master and fun board to play on. It also is an ideal first entry into small surf.
For more info on our entire line of Amundson SUPs give us a call at 1-877-473-1199, email us at info@paddleboardspecialist ... read more
Blk Box race boards are for the serious racing enthusiast. . They are unbelievably slippery, surge forward with every stroke, are awesome upwind, downwind and crosswind. Hand crafted in Michigan to precision tolerances and available in three all carbon configurations and in 27 and 28” widths with square tail outline. The Carolina Cup was where I raced mine for the first time and I beat my personal best by a substantial margin. Can’t wait to rac ... read more
The Starboard 14’ Touring is a performance touring board with very high stability for paddlers up to 250 pounds. It has plenty of load capacity front and rear with its 10 tie down points and handles a wide range of water conditions with ease. In this review Starboard designer Brian Syzmanski reviews the details of its shape and its features are reviewed as well. Paddleboard Specialists stocks the full size range of Starboard Touring models in bot ... read more
The newest Starboard race boards have gone through an evolutionary transition for 2013 making them faster, more stable and more finely tuned to various conditions. Paddleboard Specialists owner Gary Stone spent a weekend with Starboard designer Brian Syzmanski thoroughly testing the new models. Enjoy the commentary from Brian in this video clip. Paddleboard Specialists has the full range of 14’ All Star and Sprint race boards in stock for immedia ... read more
Looking for an Ultra-fast race SUP board? Blk Box designer Matt Campbell has the answer. His design won the 2012 Midwest SUP race series. Blk Box eps blanks are precision CNC cut, finish shaped by Matt himself then laminated by his superb staff. Blk Box is the only SUP manufacturer to offer Spread Tow carbon on their boards, a super high end carbon ˝ the weight of standard 3K carbon and 5 times stronger. (Spread Tow carbon is used in the flat lam ... read more
We’ve tested quite a few inflatable boards now and this is the first one we have tried that has a true touring shape and qualities. It combines speed, glide and tracking in a compact easy to inflate package. After over 10 hours of testing from flat water to wind chop we whole heartedly give this board a high rating. In this video Paddleboard Specialists owner Gary Stone reviews all the details of this model.
After over 5 hours of testing in conditions from dead flat to a 7.5 mile downwind run with wind gusting to 20 knots I know this board well. In quite flat conditions it is surprisingly fast for an all conditions race board though it does not have the glide of the best flat water boards I compared it to. (Very close in speed to a Bark Dominator in our sprint comparison runs) Upwind it flies…something about the nose shape manages the chop really wel ... read more
Starboard has done an excellent job creating a new design with all the elements a touring paddler wants. Light weight, lots of tie down points, excellent glide and tracking as well as good maneuverability and stability through a broad range of water conditions. This board is available in 12'6" x 29" width as well and in a 14' x 30" version too. Paddleboard Specialists owner Gary Stone reviews all the details of the 2013 Starboard 12'6" x 30" woo ... read more
After months of anticipation we finally got to give the Amundson TRX 14 carbon a serious workout. The board is amazingly stiff with no flex whatsoever and delivers excellent tracking, better than a majority of 14’s we have tried. It’s moderate rocker line gives up just a touch in flat water speed but the board handles very well through a broad range of water conditions making it a board worthy of consideration for touring and all water racing. In ... read more
We've been fans of Joe Bark's designs for quite some time now, so when we heard a new Bark 14' hollow carbon race board was going to be available to test at the Outdoor Retailer trade show we could not wait! Gary arrived early at the Surftech booth at the on water demo day to find the board was still in the box but the Surftech team set it up for him so he was the first one to ride it!
In a nutshell, this board RIPS. It is the most slippery Bark ... read more
From the first moment I heard about the Flume I knew I had to go there to train with Quickblade mad scientist Jim Terrell. I considered myself a good paddler but I came away with much improved form and performance. Now I can share everything I learned with you. He built the training flume to share his knowledge of stroke technique from 4 Olympic canoe racing championships. We work with Jim on a regular basis so we are fully knowledgeable on ever ... read more
Last fall we heard that Jon Amundson was working on a replacement for the TR-X model in his lineup. We’ve been testing a custom prototype of the new TR-X2 model since last October. When we got our hands on a production board we got really excited. This board is one of the nicest touring/recreational boards we have ever had the pleasure of paddling. Paddleboard Specialists owner Gary Stone reviews all the details of the 2013 TR-X2 in this video c ... read more
The Naish Nalu 10’10” is a departure from other all water boards we have tested. We admit when we first saw it we were skeptical. To our surprise the Nalu works fantastically well. The concaves keep the board tracking straighter than any other all water board we have tested while maintaining maneuverability for small to medium wave riding and turns in flat to choppy water…. all in a super stable 32” package that works great for a wide range of ... read more
Bark touring and racing boards have been our go to boards for lake, bay and open ocean paddling for a year and a half now so we were really excited to get Joe's latest production offering on the water. It didn't disappoint by delivering classic butter smooth Bark glide, exceptional tracking and impressive stability. Check out the board close up and enjoy the commentary of our test team. In these clips the full Paddleboard Specialists tes ... read more
Our good friend Connor Baxter claims the crown at the 2011 Battle of
Connor Baxter has been a very close friend to PaddleBoard Specialists
owner Gary Stone for a very long time. This is why we were so thrilled
to see Connor take first place at the 2011 Battle of the Paddle. It
was by far the most exciting finish of any of the Battle of the
Paddles so far. See the video below to watch Connor ride a bump to
catch D ... read more
Take one part Laird Hamilton, one part Joe Bark and you have a concoction for great Stand Up Paddle boards. The new Surftech/Bark lineup for 2012 was one of the highlights of the Outdoor Retailer show this year. We caught up with Joe in this video and test paddled every new Bark for 2012. The new Laird collaboration is made for larger paddlers who want the same stability and speed of the Dominator and Competitor models. Surftech did a great job w ... read more
Chris Aguilar of Soul Surf Media produced this great video of our
Midwest Stand Up Paddle Festival. Chris is the producer and director
behind the first stand up paddle feature film, Destination 3 Degrees.
It was a real honor to have Chris at the festival preseting his film.
Chris was gracious enough to capture the days events and put together
this beautiful recap.
For more info on all of our Stand Up Paddling events and hap ... read more
Debbie Garten of Paddleboard Specialists tests the new Amundson Aquaglide TR 11'4". This is a great board for paddlers 150lbs. and under who are looking for a board to tour flatwater or catch bumps going downwind. It is sized perfectly for smaller paddlers but still has a high degree of performance. At 27 lbs. it is nice and manageable for smaller paddlers to transport. Check out the video to hear all the details from Debbie and Paddleboard Speci ... read more
Thanks to everyone that came out to the first annual Midwest Stand Up Paddle Festival. We had approximately 130 participants and close to 70 racers enjoying the 3 mile rec course and 6 mile open courses. It was an afternoon of learn to SUP clinics, stroke clinics, SUP yoga, SUP body mechanics, how to choose a paddle, board design talks and more. We expected a very hot still day but were greeted with moderate SW breezes gusting over 22 mph at time ... read more
Matt Lennert is a man on a mission. He is planning a 50 mile Lake Michigan crossing on a Stand Up Paddle Board. A chicago chef and avid paddler, Matt is out to show that Chicago is a great place for SUP. Not only is Matt doing the run to promote stand up, he is also raising awareness of two of his favorite causes, Lake Michigan and healthy eating. We talked with Matt about his crossing, training and the state of SUP in Chicago. For more info on M ... read more
In our continuing series of posts on all-water boards we compare the Amundson 11'3" with the Starboard Blend 11'2". The Amundson is one of our favorite beginner boards with it's nice glide, tracking, light weight and solid feel in the water. The Sta ... read more
Hard to believe it is only one month until the biggest standup paddle event the midwest has ever seen. People from all over the country have stepped up to help the event. It seems like every day we are getting news of more paddlers and companies that will be at the festival. We already have a great list of pros on board including: John Becker, Matt Becker, Chuck Patterson, Karen Wrenn, Morgan Hoesterey, Joe Bark, Mark Johnson and Jim Terrell. And ... read more
One of the great things about Stand Up Paddling is that people of all sizes and shapes can do it. That is why it is great to see SUP companies that are making equipment that is specific to a wide range of paddlers. Jim Terrell, the mad paddle scientist at Quickblade has been at the forefront of designing to accommodate every size paddler.
If you're a larger paddler and are looking for a super stable board, we have many options at our shop. Two of our favorites for big paddlers are the Starboard Atlas and the Surftech Universal. Both of these boards are wide, stable and still have e ... read more
In our second installment of our series of posts on all-water boards we take a look at three of our favorites. The Naish Nalu 11'4" is a little surfier than the 11'6" Naish in our last post. It still has nice glide and is great for those that want an all-water board that can handle waves. The read more
We are really excited about all the new 2011 boards that have arrived. So testing has begun. We took out three of our 11'6" all-water boards to compare differences in glide, turning, and overall comfort. In this first video in our series of all-water boards, we tested the Naish Nalu 11'6", the read more
The Amundson Aquaglide TR and the Tahoe Zephyr are two standouts for the paddler that wants a versatile and stable board for touring and even an occasional race. In this video clip PaddleBoard Specialists owner Gary Stone compares the features of both boards.
We had the wonderful opportunity to paddle with two of our great customers this week. Cindy and Brad little came down from Duluth, MN to pick up a new board. PaddleBoard Specialists owner Gary Stone took both Brad and Cindy out for a nice morning paddle and gave some tips on paddling technique. We are always so grateful to have such loyal and dedicated customers. Thanks Cindy and Brad!
For info on our entire line of stand up paddle boa ... read more
We caught up with Mike and Will of SUP the Coast while at the Carolina Cup. These guys are truly inspiring. They are paddling the entire East Coast from Key West to the Eastern Seaboard in order to raise awareness of veterans issues and ocean cleanup. In this video clip Will and Mike tell us about their adventure so far and their personal efforts to rid the ocean of trash. They also show us the custom boards that Joe Bark made for their journey. ... read more
We caught up with our good friend Kevin Vangritis at the Carolina Cup and spoke with him about our SPT Lockable Tie Downs. These rack tie downs are a unique system that combines stainless steel reinforced webbing tie-down straps with an integrated keyed locking system to protect your valuable gear from theft. SPT Lockable Tie Downs are tough eno ... read more
We are always looking for ways to improve our stroke technique. This video clip from Quickblade is one of the most thorough and inventive that we have seen . Jim Terrell gives a great explanation on catch, stroke and release. The graphic representation of the stroke is one of the best we have seen.
Jim will be at our Midwest Stand Up Paddling Festival on July 9th. It will be a great opportunity to get stroke tips directly from the mas ... read more
PaddleBoard Specialists owner Gary Stone is headed to Wrightsville
Beach, NC this weekend to experience the Carolina Cup. The Carolina
Cup is the Mid-Atlantic's Premier Stand Up Paddle Race. As the race
site says, "It Isn't a race. It's a 3-day paddle event that'll make
your head numb." Gary will be at the event to meet fellow padders,
race and to celebrate SUP.
All the biggest names in SUP will be there. Including Surftech, ... read more
A couple of SUP boards can start to take up a lot of space in your
garage. The Gatekeeper wall racks solve this problem by getting the
boards up and off the floor. Not only does it make storing boards
easy, it keeps them from getting dinged up. This rack system is super
easy to install . It's sturdy construction and nice padding is sure to last. We offer three configurations: the a double angled wall rack, the single angled
and the dou ... read more
As soon as we pulled the Starboard Ace out of it's box we knew we were about to experience something different. Starboard shaper Brian Szymanski keeps pushing the boundaries of what a SUP board is. While most of the boards we see still have ties to surfing shapes, the Starboard boards seem to borrow from a different vernacular. The Ace is the flatwater ra ... read more
We truly believe this is the year that SUP hits big across the
midwest. That is why we are stoked to be a part of an amazing race
series that will finally unite paddlers from all across the midwest.
Paddle Board Specialists along with five other shops will be hosting
race events in a series that will stretch throughout the summer.
Our leg of the series will be part of our read more
The Werner Bent Shaft is a new leap in the ever evolving sport of SUP. Werner has been in the paddle business for a long time. It is a no-brainer that they would use their huge bank of knowledge from the canoe and kayak world to push the envelope with stand up paddles. Werner's bent shaft paddles result in two big improvements over traditional straight shafts. First is the reach. As you can see in the video clip, you get several inches more reach ... read more
We love the Bark 12'6" Competitor. Until now all of the other 12'6" flatwater/race boards we paddled did not come close. But that was until we tested the new Hobie production race board. This board is fast, stable and a joy to paddle. One noticeable difference between the Bark and the read more
Looking for something to wear when a t-shirt isn't enough and a wetsuit is way too much? The Breeze Breaker is a great piece from O'Neil. It is based on a jacket they made almost 20 years ago. It is perfect for paddling on a cool morning. The torso is made of a thin neoprene to provide warmth, while the sleeves are breathable and loose to avoid ... read more
We are stoked to announce the first annual Paddleboard Specialists Midwest Stand Up Paddle Festival set for Saturday July 9th! This will be the biggest Stand Up Paddle event in the midwest. It is all about letting more people discover the joy of stand up. The festival will be a day for everyone from first-timers to seasoned paddlers to enjoy the water and company of other SUP'ers.
Some of the biggest names in paddling will be on hand t ... read more
Fast. That about sums it up. But more than fast, this board is smooth. Joe Bark continues to impress us with his mastery of shaping SUPs. The 14' production model by Surftech is the bigger brother of the 12'6" competitor. Both of these boards have amazing glide and are perfect for both racers and those who just want a cadillac experience while crui ... read more
We love packing a lunch and heading out on the water for the day. That is why we love this deck bag. It's low profile keeps it out of your way while paddling, and there is plenty of capacity for your gear, food, etc. The Seattle Sports Deluxe Deck Bag offers unique window-view access, high capacity, and light reflectivity. With its multiple tie-down points, bungees, and side straps for added ... read more
In this video clip PaddleBoard Specialists owner Gary Stone shows us
the new Quickblade Kanaha adjustable 3 piece paddle. The paddle
features an extremely well-balanced lightweight design. It has an
adjustment range of 8", and the full carbon construction makes it nice
and light. We have lots of experience with adjustable paddles and we
are really ex ... read more