It’s no secret that SUP technology is growing by leaps and bounds. River SUP in particular was literally invented just a few years ago, with the first boards being ones designed for coastal use, but paddled down river and surfed. Repeatedly patching river damaged epoxy after paddling was not the most productive use of time. Because of this, inflatable SUP was born (iSUP). These SUP’s were (and still are) very durable, and can withstand the rigors of heavy duty down river use. So what’s the next revolutionary step in the progression of river based stand up paddling? Boardworks surf, along with Mike Harvey and Zack Hughes, the co-owners of Badfish Stand Up Paddle, have delivered the next “game changer”. The Boardworks Badfish MCIT (Multi Chamber Inflatable Technology) inflatable has a very stable drop stitched platform based on the utilitarian ShuBu iSUP. There are 2 inflatable chambers on the side of the board that act as tapered rails. The revolutionary part of this board lies in the fact that the deck is lower than the rails; a technology that was taken from racing and touring boards. A lower center of gravity on the deck, adds stability. The inflatable rails sit up higher than the deck, which also add gobs of stability. This in addition to having an incredibly stiff board creates a true river weapon.
I had a chance to talk with Mike and Zack, to get even more info on this board. Here’s the scoop:
The Boardworkds Badfish MCIT will be offered in 3 sizes:
- 10′ – 150lbs and under
- 10’6″ – 150-200lbs
- 11’6″ – 170-225lbs
MCIT is the real deal, and is what sets this board apart. Badfish and Boardworks wanted to work together on a project that was different and new. With the river and surfing experience of Mike and Zack(Badfish), and Boardwork’s production background; we knew something unique was brewing when we heard the news. The MCIT was the result. This board paddles like a traditional box shaped inflatable SUP,
but has secondary stability that has never been seen in the world of iSUP's.
- The MCIT inflatable is VERY stiff. The fillets that are used to glue the rail to the drop stitched floor create longitudinal stiffness that is needed for advanced downriver whitewater paddling and surfing. When this board hits holes and other river features, it will paddle up and over them, and not taco like some "softer" boards out there.
- The other feature that makes this board so stable, is the placement of the deck. The main deck of the board is recessed (lower than the rails), thus creating a lower center for gravity for the paddler. The rails are taller than the board, which also creates stability.
- Even though the MCIT has big fat rails, it still has a surfy tail. The board is nice and stiff, and the tail is narrow; which means that it turns easily, and is nimble. This board will most likely be offered with a thruster fin set up, which is also good for surfing. Zack Hughes grew up on the coast of CA, and knows how do design a surf board with the best of them. Mike has a background in river paddling, and also builds whitewater play parks...I would say that these guys know how to make a river surfer better than anyone.
- The Colorado portion of R and D testing was done solely on The Arkansas River at low flows. This means that the river was super technical with lots of shallow rapids (no fall zones). Although the features were not as powerful, the lines of the rapids were much more difficult. This is part of the reason why the MCIT is as nimble as it is.
- Because of it's incredible primary AND secondary stability, this board will be a great choice for kayak fisherman. You can walk around on the deck without having to worry about falling over. Being inflatable, means that you deflate the board at the end of the day, throw it in the trunk of your car, and drive home.
- This is also a great choice for multi day trips. It has the stability of roto mold boards (that weigh more than twice as much), but the portability of of an inflatable. There's also a conveniently located bungee on the front of the deck for a gear bag. You could do a self support pretty easily.
- This is a fun board for flatwater. The increased stiffness improves glide.
- There's more rocker on the MCIT than with the Shubu series. Zack worked very closely with Boardworks to perfect the amount of overall board rocker.
- The bumper nose cone increases durability and is good for advanced river paddling.
- MSRP is $1380. There are much less expensive iSUP's on the market. You will have to decide if you want to spend an extra few hundred dollars on a new technology. Just like feathery, fat rockered skis, long travel ultra light trail bikes, and other new advancements in adventure sports technology, you have to pay for the research that goes into the products design and development, as well the increased cost of manufacturing.
- The MCIT is still an inflatable, and is not as stiff or fast as a hard board. If you are planning on entering Third Bragging Rights in Boulder, CO or The Battle Of The Paddle next year, you will want to stick with a traditional composite racing or touring board constructed from a light, stiff material.
The Boardworks Badfish MCIT inflatable is definitely a revolutionary advancement in SUP (and iSUP in particular) technology. It was co-designed by a high performance river SUP company (Badfish Stand Up Paddle), and will be incredibly stable, and also very nimble. These are 2 features (agility and stability) that do not always go hand in hand with river SUP. If you have tried paddling your favorite class III kayak run on a stand up board, you know that stability is of ultimate importance. It mean the difference of paddling a rapid upright on the board, instead of swimming next to it. The multi chamber approach to inflatable SUP will alleviate the issue of traditional SUP's having ZERO secondary stability. We can't wait to try this board on high water runs with boily eddies, pourovers and holes that typically would humiliate the real world stand up paddler.
For the time being, CKS is the only Boardworks Badfish MCIT retailer in the world. You can expect this board available to the general public around January of 2012.
For more information on Boardworks and Badfish check out the following links: