Starboard SUP Board Review 2016
Starboard SUP is one of the top brands water-sports and they are back with a killer new lineup this year. Let's review Starboard SUP Boards for 2016.
Making products that help you have fun on the water since 1993, Starboard SUP continues to push the boundaries of technology and design on their quest to be one of the top names in the water sports game. They offer a vast line of shapes and sizes and then go a step further by offering each of the boards in several different constructions. From inflatables to soft tops to premium wood and carbon fiber make ups, Starboard has all their bases covered and makes a beautiful, highly durable product.
The line can seem extensive (and a little confusing) but once you understand that each board is offered in a few different construction styles, it gets much easier to understand. Once you understand the different constructions, it’s time to find the right shape for your needs. Below each model you will find links to all the different constructions available for that board. Before we begin, take a look at our review from last year to understand the different construction types that Starboard offers across their SUP line:
Starboard SUP Technology
First, lets break down some tech. Starboard uses terminology that is unique to their brand so we will explain what all those various terms mean so you know what to look for in your next board. The terms below refer to the construction of the board. Many of their board models are available in more than one construction style. If you have seen our 2015 Starboard SUP Review, the types of constructions mentioned in there are similar. However, there have been some updates in 2016 that make the line even better for 2016. Note that this is not an exhaustive list of Starboard Tech. Take a look at Starboard’s technology overview 2016 for a full list.
High quality at a reasonable price. The Starshot technology has a precision molded cell core (slightly lighter weight for 2016) for added strength and water resistance, multiple layers of high grade fiberglass, Australian Pine wood reinforcement in the deck area and 360 degree glass reinforced rails. A crocodile skin textured deck pad covers 3/4 of the board for a large, stable footing area and each Starshot board is precision molded and compressed ensuring an extra strong and hard outer surface.
ASAP (soft top)
The ultimate in strength. Starboard’s ASAP construction stands for ‘As Strong as Possible’ and is a great choice for anyone looking for max-durability in their board in a full soft top style. The core construction is the same as the Starshot with the main difference being the full soft top, an extra layer of glass and black reinforced rails.
Arguably the best looking option and lightweight. The molded wood construction from Starboard is an exclusive technology they have been using since 1994. A fused cell core reduces weight and increases water resistance, Australian Pine veneer forms an outer layer which results in added impact resistance and rigidity and a 3-dimensional glass laminate is combined with high grade epoxy resin to create a thick impact resistant outer skin and added overall strength. Glass rail reinforcements are added for extra stiffness and all inserts are reinforced for ding-free production.
Top of the line performance and lightest weight. The Carbon Sandwich technology features lightweight biaxial carbon laminated over the entire hull for super light strength to weight ratio and efficient flex. Add to that dual density PVC to further maximize strenth. The deck area is reinforced with .6mm thick pine for added longevity to the PVC. Basically, this thing is the lightest weight construction Starboard produces and can be found in their high end race boards.
Starboard Inflatable Technology
The Zen model boards come with a 4.75″ drop stitch construction for a perfect balance between volume and overall stiffness. A double layer PVC laminate wraps the deck and base of the board. New for 2016 is their 2+1 Railband that adds extra durability.
The Deluxe model boards have a 6.0″ drop stitch construction which is Starboard’s stiffest inflatable technology. In contrast to the Zen, the Deluxe has a half layer PVC laminate to reduce weight but dual stringers across the deck for increased rigidity. New for 2016 is the 2+1 Carbon Rail that add extra support and durabiltiy.
Magic Bag & V8 Double Action Pump
Similar to 2015, the 2016 Starboard inflatable SUP boards come with a wheeled Magic Bag. New for 2016 is an improved hard plastic shell around the base for added durability and easy standing in an upright position.
Starboard’s V8 double action pump is improved with a new V8 flow valve system for easier flow and a high density pump hose for 20% faster inflation time. Plus, the double action makes it easy to convert double action to single action for easy inflation up to 15-18psi.
Starboard SUP Line-Up
Pocket Touring SUP Board 9’6
One of the most unique boards that we stock at Windward is the Starboard Pocket Touring 9’6 SUP Board. This pint-sized touring machine gives you all the benefits of a great big touring board in a super manageable size that’s perfect for smaller riders. With a pronounced displacement hull and recessed deck area, the Pocket Touring board accelerates quickly and is highly agile thanks to the low weight. The narrow 29.5″ width allows the paddler to have a fast side to side stroke for maximum speed and the wide yet low profile tail reduces drag and adds stability on turns. Tie downs at the nose and tail give you ample space for your gear for longer distance adventures, and the crocodile skin style deck pad is highly comfortable and also offers a ton of grip for a secure hold under your feet. The Pocket Touring is available in both the wood sandwich construction as well at the Starshot construction. For any paddler under 170 lbs that wants the power of a touring board with the maneuverability of much shorter board, the Pocket Touring board from Starboard is a great choice for you.
- Speed and precision despite the short length
- Easier to maneuver thanks to the short length
- Nose and tail storage for longer distance treks
- Not intented for paddlers over 170 lbs
- The narrow width could be difficult for beginners
Elite Touring SUP Board 12’6 x 31.5″
A true touring board that offers stability, speed and excellent tracking is the Starboard Elite Touring SUP Board. Built for long distance paddling with enough storage to lug all your gear, the Elite Touring board is ready for your next adventure. The strong, defined nose cuts through the water for a fast, smooth glide while the recessed deck area offers a ton of stability so the paddler feels comfortable, even at higher speeds. The bottom of the board has a round V double concave shape thru the midsection that leads to a deep V concave at the tails for a smooth glide and zero drag. The wide, square tail adds stability on turns without adding any unwanted drag while the 22″ Dol-Fin ensures straight, clean tracking. Deck storage at the nose and tail give you space for coolers, fishing gear or dry bags and the crocodile skin style deck pad offers excellent grip and continued comfort, even after hours on the water. Available in both the wood and starshot construction, there is an Elite Touring board for every budget. If you prefer longer distance adventures and want a board that will offer speed, precision and comfort, the Starboard Elite Touring board is very likely the right board for you.
- Defined displacement hull slices thru the water
- Deep V double concave bottom channels the water for a smooth glide
- Ample deck storage is ideal for longer distance adventures
- Longer board with a more defined nose means reduced maneuverability
- Not ideal in surf or wavy conditions
Sportsman SUP Board 12’0
If you’ve got a fisherman in your family then you may want to take a look at the Starboard Sportsman SUP Board. This gear-ready sup board / fishing board can carry a whopping 285 lbs and was made just for the fishing enthusiasts out there. With a specially designed nose and triple concave V bottom shape, the Sportsman is able to glide quietly thru the water while making no noise or wake. The wider backside is meant to leave room for a cooler or tackle box and multiple FCS inserts around the board give you ample space for accessories of all kinds from Go-Pro’s to GPS’s. The ultra-wide tail increases stability while giving extra space to move around when reeling in a bigger fish. Traditional tie-downs at the nose are perfect for holding life vests or dry bags and the 22″ Dol-Fin assures that you keep tracking straight, even while carrying heavier gear. For the water-sporting enthusiast that likes to paddle but needs extra room for fishing gear or coolers, the Starboard Sportsman is the only way to go.
- Built to cater towards fishing enthusiasts
- Massive weight capacity of 285 lbs
- A ton of room for coolers, fishing accessories, dry bags and more
- Activity-specific shape not ideal for everyday casual paddling
- Very large, wide shape not ideal for surfing
Yoga Dashama Inflatable SUP Board 10’0
Starboard recognizes that SUP yoga is growing like crazy and they knew they had to create a board that would cater to that customer. That’s where the Starboard Yoga Dashama Inflatable SUP Board came from. This deluxe inflatable yoga-friendly model is 10’0″ x 35″ making the Dashama highly stable without loosing any of it’s paddle-ability. Some of the other top features include an easy-to-carry shoulder strap, paddle holder at the tail, D-rings for anchors or other accessories and an FCS insert at the nose for your Go-Pro. The full EVA deck pad is comfortable and offers traction for added stability and the reinforced carbon rail adds durability and rigidity. The thruster fin setup allows for easy turning and maneuverability while the 6″ thick Deluxe technology keeps you up higher off the water for additional overall stability. Wide enough for comfortable poses but perfectly sized for everyday cruising, the Starboard Yoga Dashama is perfect for yoga enthusiasts of any skill level!
- Yoga specific design
- Additional straps include a shoulder carrying strap on the side and paddle holder at the tail
- FCS insert at the nose can hold your Go Pro camera
- The 35″ width could be difficult for shorter paddlers to reach the paddle out to the water from the center of the board
Astro Touring Inflatable SUP Board 12’6
For the paddler who wants the power of a touring board with the practicality of an inflatable, the Starboard Astro Touring Inflatable SUP Board is made just for you. With dimensions of 12’6″ x 31″, the Astro Touring board is narrow enough to be fast through the water without being too narrow for larger riders or beginners. The pointed nose allows the board to drive into the water for a strong, smooth glide while the narrow tails exits the water quickly for easy turns and minimal drag. The 3/4 deck pad is comfortable and adds grip for your stance, deck storage at the nose gives you somewhere to stash your life vest or dry bag, and the paddle holder at the tail comes in handy when you want to jump in the water for a quick cool down. Available in both Zen and Deluxe construction. For riders under 200 lbs, the Zen will work great. For the bigger riders or those looking to carry additional gear, opt for the Deluxe construction that can hold weight up to 240 lbs. If you are a traveler in search of the finest waters across the world, then you need a board that is ready to travel with you. The Astro Touring from Starboard is just that board.
- Fast, smooth gliding touring shape
- Easy traveling and easy storage with the inflatable construction
- The Deluxe construction can hold up to 240 lbs of weight
- 12’6 length can be less maneuverable than shorter options
- 31″ width can feel narrow to taller riders who desire a wider stance
Astro Racer Inflatable SUP Board 12’6 x 28
Inflatable race boards? Why yes, we’re glad you asked! Available only in the Astro Deluxe construction to ensure premium rigidity, the Starboard Astro Racer Inflatable SUP Board is a lean, mean, easy-traveling race machine. If your SUP racing addiction takes you all over the country then you might want to look into the convenience and portability of an inflatable race board. Some of the top features include the carbon dual stringer technology, 28″ width for added stability in choppy conditions, a narrow outline for speed and an extra grippy tail pad for stability on buoy turns. Fully inflated the Astro Racer can float riders up to 210 lbs and still perform well. For the SUP racer that needs a board that is easy to travel with, the Starboard Astro Racer is one of our top picks.
- Narrow outline for added speed
- Dual carbon stringers for ultimate rigidity
- Extra grippy tail pad for stability on buoy turns
- 28″ width can be too narrow for beginners or bigger paddlers
- Race shape can be highly unsteady for inexperineced paddlers
Drive SUP Board 10’5
Getting into some of Starboard’s classic surf / SUP all-around models brings us to the Starboard Drive 10’5 SUP Board. This perfectly shaped board is ideal for smaller riders who want a super maneuverable, all-around cruising / surfing SUP board. The Drive is the shortest SUP-specific board that Starboard makes and the ideal weight range is riders under 200 lbs. With a classic longboard-style shape, the Drive can cruise flat water, hit smaller surf and is appealing to both beginners and experienced paddlers alike. Available in either the premium wood construction, or an inflatable, there is an option for every type of rider! The slightly more narrow width increases speed and tracking due to the paddler being able to hold the paddle closer to board while the tri-fin setup allows for better maneuverability on turns. If you travel or lack storage, the inflatable Drive is the way to go. If you want one of the best, most lightweight constructions that Starboard offers, opt for the wood. The perfect board for smaller riders who want all-water performance is by far the Starboard Drive.
- All around shape that can cruise or surf
- 30″ width can work for both beginners and more experienced paddlers
- Available in rigid or inflatable construction
- Not intended for riders over 200 lbs
- The 30″ width could be too narrow for taller riders who require a wider stance
Blend SUP Board 11’2
Continuing on with the all-around category from Starboard brings us to one of the most versatile surf / SUP boards in the line, the Starboard Blend 11’2 SUP Board. A little bigger than the Drive so it can hold a little more weight and offer additional stability, the Blend is perfect for any paddler looking for one board that can do it all. From cruising around your local lake to learning to surf, the shape of the Blend is perfect for riders of any skill level and almost any size. The weight capacity on the blend is around 220 lbs so for heavier riders, look at the Atlas (just below this). Available in a ton of options to suit your personal needs, you can snag an inflatable version, super durable soft top version (ASAP) or treat yourself to the glossy finish on the Starshot construction. For those looking to travel, choose the inflatables. For the lakehouse crowd that needs a highly durable option, check out the ASAP construction. Finally, for the fancy pants in your life, check out the (still very durable) Starshot option. Riders under 220 lbs that want 1 board that can truly do it all, the Starboard Blend is an excellent choice.
- Available in several different constructions to suit your needs
- Perfect all-around shape that can glide in flatwater or surf small waves
- Weight capacity of up to 220 lbs
- Not intended for riders over 220 lbs
- 30″ width is substantial but can still seem a little narrow for first timers
Atlas SUP Board 12’0
Last but certainly not least is the big boy Starboard Atlas SUP Board. This monster all around cruising, small wave surfing, perfect for beginners-style board is the perfect ride for so many different types of paddlers. First, beginners will love the ample size and stable platform for them to learn the basics and enjoy cruising around on this sturdy board. Heavier riders will appreciate the added volume and high weight capacity (250 lbs!) which also works great for tandem cruising or bringing your kids / dog along for your adventure. Experienced paddlers will enjoy the versatility and high durability of all the various types of construction that is available for the Atlas. Travelers or those without space to store a 12′ board will appreciate the inflatable options. Lake houses and other family-friendly scenarios love the durability of the ASAP soft top construction. For a slightly fancier look, check out the (still durable) Starshot like the one pictured to the right. Finally, for those needing additional space for coolers, fishing gear, tandem paddling or yoga – check out the Atlas Extra. With a whopping 36″ width and weight capacity of 280 lbs, there is room for the entire family! Options galore, excellent durability and high versatility is why season after season, we sell a TON of the Starboard Atlas.
- High weight capacity – 25o lbs on the regular Atlast and up to 280 lbs on the Atlas Extra
- Many different variations available depending on your needs
- Lightweight compared to other boards with the same volume
- Can be a little overwhelming to smaller riders (too big)
- Due to the additional width, not ideal for surfing but can survive on small waves
All Star SUP Board 12’6
What you you get when a top water sports company puts all of it’s highest end performance tech into one board? The All Star Carbon Sandwich SUP Board is the answer. New improvements for 2016 include added rail stability and speed from the triple concave bottom. Plus added nose volume and improved volume distribution for extra speed downwind. One of their more exclusive technologies is their flex controlled oscillation. This is all about flexing the board on the downstroke and releasing the stored energy on the upstroke. The result is more power and speed. Go fast? Nah, go faster and win with the Starboard All-Star Carbon Sandwich SUP Board.
- Lightest and strongest Starboard Tech
- Flexes and stores energy for explosive upstrokes
- Super light weight at just over 25lbs
- 28″ width can be too narrow for beginners or bigger paddlers
- It’s on the higher end of the price spectrum
Well hopefully you have a pretty good low down on some of our favorite boards from the Starboard lineup. If this article, mixed with Starboard’s years and years of experience doesn’t make you want to buy one of their boards, we don’t know what will.