Surftech French 10'6" B-1 ReviewInflatable vs. hard shell SUP for the river. That is the the great debate. Epoxy boards are slick and fast, but ding easily. Plastic boards are durable, but heavy. Inflatables are also very durable (as well as the only ultra portable option), but are not stiff, and do not have great speed...Wouldn't it be cool if someone came up with a light, stiff fast, high performance, stable, bombproof board? Surftech may have just changed the name of the game by releasing the French 10'6" B-1. This board uses "BOUNCE" technology, which is an extremely light and strong plastic / composite like substance. The exact details of BOUNCE technology are classified. Obtaining the ingredient list for this substrate is about as difficult as finding the exact location of Jimmy Hoffa's body. Not gonna happen. To be honest, it really does not matter all that much. All that you need to know is that this board is as close to indestructible as they come, but also has the performance characteristics of TufLite or epoxy. Do you like apples?
- BOUNCE technology is incredible for river SUP. It is also good for people that tend to be rough on their gear. There are a few nearly indestructible boards out there, but up until now there hasn't been one that is this light, stiff and fast. 29 lbs is pretty light for a stand up board. A C4 Waterman CMAC ATB is one of the lightest SUP's on the market, and it comes in at about 20 lbs. For 9lbs more you get a board that can splat rocks, be dropped off of cars, and handle the many abuses of real world river SUP'ing.
- A lot of attention has been given to the durability of this material(BOUNCE). Besides being really strong, it is also fast and stiff. I spoke with Ken "Hobie" Hoeve and asked him how this board compared to TuffLite and epoxy SUP's. He said that he would have a tough time telling the difference if someone hadn't told him that the board was constructed from a new material. He liked the "best of both worlds" approach that the B-1 has; as durable as roto-mold plastic, almost as light as epoxy, and as stiff and fast as anything out there.
- The R&D team that helped create this board is world class. Dane Jackson (2012 Tribe Rider of the Year), Ken "Hobie" Hoeve and Taylor Robertson all had quite a bit of input of this SUP. Basically, this a all around SUP that excels in the river, flats and ocean.
- The channels on the bottom of the board create stability and tracking. They help keep the board stable when surfing. Check out Dane Jackson testing out his B-1. I think that his SUP head stands and 360 jumps at the Glenwood Wave were his of making sure the channels work properly.
- The Surftech B1 has a weight limit of well over 200 lbs. Hobie is 225 lbs, and has been using it all summer. Lighter riders will feel more stable on the board, and heavier ones will be able to carve and surf really well...and still go down river.
- Made in the USA.
- The center box single fin design works well for a versatile board like this. It is highly recommended to use a soft flexible core fin. They tend to dissipate the energy that happens when the fin collides with rock, and will save lots of time and money over the long term (i.e- broken fins and center box). The really cool thing about a fin like the Pro Tek Super Flex Center Fin is that it can actually be shaven down to any size. If you buy the 7" version, you can use a roto-sander and make it any size or shape that you want.
- If you can only afford one board for your arsenal, this is the one for you. There are surf specific boards like the Badfish, river runners like the Universal, and now boards like B-1 that do it all.
- The B-1 isn't inflatable. It's still 10'6" at the end of the day. If you live somewhere where space is very limited, you may want to buy a board that will roll up and fit in the closet during the off season.
- Did Surftech design a board that will last too long? If you like to buy new gear every year, and have "the latest greatest", you may be stuck with this board because it has the potential to last exponentially longer than other SUP's.
- It's got a center box single fin and no thruster options. It is currently is only available in a 10'6" version. If you are very light and small, or very heavy, you only have one model to choose from.