No one is more excited than I am when we get a new demo board. The Focus SUP Smoothie 10’10 is an all-around board designed to take on the flatwater, open water paddling and surf with equal fervor. I have not yet had the opportunity to surf it but I am very anxious to give it a try based on all of my other experiences with the board so far.
The Smoothie is a comfortable board under foot. It is nice and stable, long enough to have good glide and it is shaped in a way that makes it fun on top of functional. And the 10’5 and larger Smoothies have tie downs which are so very convenient! The first time I took it out was on Stump Pond. It was a nice calm day and the board responded well right off the mark. It doesn’t take a lot of effort or switching sides to get it going. Once you are moving you can take a look around and a deep breath without losing ground.…a good thing for sure. If you take a step back you can pop the nose up a bit and it will spin like a top for you. But all of these are things you would expect on flatwater…what about in the open water?
I took this board out to Jamestown for a paddle in slightly windy conditions with a lot of boat wake and swell coming from all directions, including crashing against the rocks and coming back at you just when you think you are in the clear. This board handled everything the boats and rocks threw at it! I was a little nervous about the width being cumbersome out there….not at all. It provided plenty of stability, without any sluggishness. It was the perfect choice of boards for that day. We were out with some friends who were new to open water paddling, so we took it pretty slow and sometimes just waiting and getting tossed around is harder than moving through it…it was not a problem on the Smoothie.
The board was good in flatwater and it was good in open water. How about if I take it to ACA Instructor Training? Ok. It was a lot of fun the first day in flatwater…there were no surprises there. Days two and three were back to open water. The rest of the class was on 12’6 boards and we were in approximately 10 knot winds with some swell and more boating channels that you could keep track of. I hung with the pack. Once we rounded a rock wall, we were headed into a beach with the wind behind us. A wake snuck up on me from behind, lifting me up and burying the nose. Oh Oh! After an initial second of panic as I watched my nose pearl in the wave, I took a deep breath and waited to see what happened. The nose popped back up when the wave passed, I took a step back and I got a fun ride into shore. They were not surfable waves, but they got me to the beach.
As we sat and ate lunch, the northerly winds that should have turned to southerly in the afternoon didn’t and instead they just picked up in intensity. Great. We made a break for it and were now paddling into 15 knot winds with stronger gusts. There were two times where I had to kneel down because I was standing still no matter how hard I paddled. But other than that, I was still able to keep up with the rest of the crew.
Even crazy Silly seems to like the Focus Smoothie. She doesn’t fly off the front of it like she does on so many other boards and she is nice and stable. Hopefully in the next few weeks we will get some little waves to play on so I will have taken it through the gamut. It’s bigger than anything I have surfed. But so far, this board has not let me down at all. I have confidence that it won’t there either. If I could only have one board for everything, right now the Focus Smoothie 10’10 would be my choice.