The idea of a quiver of paddleboards is foreign to most people. Most people get one board that is suited for all of their needs and they are happy with it. It may not be the best choice for everything they want to do, but it is their board and they make do. Then there are “quiver people”. These people have a board for every conceivable eventuality. Ok, that might be an exaggeration….a quiver could consist of a paddle surf board, a cruising board, and a racing board-three distinct boards for three completely different disciples. It makes sense. You couldn’t very well race a surf board, and you can’t easily surf a raceboard. And if you live near a lake, you might want something in the middle that you can just cruise around the “backyard” on. We’re not judging.
When we started our sup shop, my personal board was a Coreban Icon, a 10’ x 29.5” board with a lot of rocker in the nose (that is an upward curve in the nose of the board to keep it above water when surfing). This board wants to surf, that’s what it is made for, mostly. For our first boards, we wanted to both surf and paddle flat water. I bought it without first trying it, but it was the shop owner’s suggestion and I was determined to go home with a board that day, so the Icon it was. That first year we surfed a fair amount, but I was out on flat water just about every day. It is not exactly the ideal board for flat water because the aforementioned rocker means there is less surface area to glide across the water, and 10’ isn’t too big to start with for a paddleboard.
I took that board out in just about everything from glassy lakes to chest high, mushy surf (I’m not a surfer by any stretch), to white caps on the lake, to 20+mph winds and currents in a river. It was not always easy to get places on it, but it got me where I needed to go. It is a fun, maneuverable, stable, comfortable board. I decided before getting it that I was getting something of my own and I would learn what I needed to on it, whatever it was. That board has a special place in my heart.
When we suddenly had access to a wide array of boards, I became a bit of a snob about what I got on. I realized that my Icon was really not a flatwater board at all. BOGA’s 11’ Race Trainer, the El Tiburon, became a favorite of mine. It has a displacement type hull and flat bottom so the whole 11’ is in contact with the water and it cuts through chop instead of slapping on top of it. It is a fast board and tracks straight as an arrow. I could paddle on one side all day and stay in a pretty straight line. This board became my “go to” most of the time.
Then the water got really warm and suddenly getting wet was a good idea rather than something to be avoided. When that was the case, the El Tiburon wasn’t as much fun any more. I wanted something that I could do pivot turns, yoga, 360s and cross stepping on. So something more playful, more maneuverable, a little smaller started to seem like a good idea. I switched to BOGA’s Mahina for awhile. It is a 10’6 all-around board. It has a fair about of rocker in the nose also so it can certainly hold its own in the surf, but we are on flatwater most of the time (a 4 minute drive to the lake trumps 45 minute to the ocean more often than not). The extra 6” of length gives it more glide than the Icon, but it is still playful and maneuverable. But it just never quite felt like that comfy pair of shoes you go to all the time.
Last year I never fully warmed up to BOGA’s Classic which is their best seller and an all around 11’2 board that has a lot of glide, but is still sleek enough that you can get back on the tail and turn it right around.
So after a summer of experimenting and temporary “go-to’s” I found myself drawn back to the Icon. For the last several weeks we were out on the water last year, 90% of the time I took the Icon-even when Silly came with me, it was usually the board I chose, though she prefers the BOGA Yoga….that’s kind of her board around here.
The Icon was like that comfy old pair of shoes that just feels right. Even though they might not be the most practical choice for the occasion, they are what you want to wear. That’s the Icon to me. Whatever Coreban does, it just feels right.
This year I have started off on the BOGA Classic. Mark doesn’t give up the Corran Doppler too much, so the Classic is what I gravitate toward. It is smooth and stable, and it still turns without effort. It has been out in white caps, 15-20 mph winds, and glass and I have had a good time on all of them. Not sure what the hesitation was toward that board last year, but this year I dig it!
Who knows what this season will hold, we have some new boards on the way and one of those could become the new favorite. For now, I’m counting down the days until the water is warm enough to get back to the cross stepping, yoga, 360’s and anything else that almost guarantees I will get wet. If our quiver disappeared tomorrow and I was left with just one board, I would take it out every day that I could and learn how to paddle it in as many conditions as possible, because it’s not what you paddle…it’s that you are paddling.