For a couple of years I have been riding the SIC Bullet 12’6 almost exclusively for our open water paddleboarding excursions. There are a number of reasons that this is my board of choice.
The previous generation Bullet that I have been riding for two years
1) When I am trying to keep up with Mark, anything smaller than 12’6 is a joke…even if he is only riding an 11’6. I need all the waterline I can get. While the Bullet is not as quick as a displacement board, it is still pretty quick. And the next two points make up for any speed deficiency in calm waters
2) The stability of this board in open water is second to nothing else I have ridden. It is hard to explain just how stable this board is when there is chop throwing you every which way, but it sort of just rolls with everything. While mixed up chop, swells, and wind try to toss you every which way, you kind of just bob along on the SIC Bullet. The full volume rails are responsible for this stability in less than stable conditions. Seriously it is tough to fall off of this board! (I have done it mind you, but usually when attempting to paddle standing on one leg…can hardly blame the board for that)
3) It will catch any little bump it encounters. This board wants to surf the open swells and I am more than happy to go along for the ride. This means that when you figure out how to link bumps you will have lots of fun, and you will go fast! It is, after all, designed for downwinding in Hawaii.
I originally purchased this board two years ago when we decided that we were going to be doing the Cape Cod Bay Challenge (a 34 mile paddle marathon from Plymouth to Wellfleet). Knowing that a displacement board would get pushed around too much in side wind/chop, I decided to look for a downwinder board. The SIC Bullet came up at the top of the list and when a nearby dealer had a demo for sale, I headed over to try it out. Paddling it on a calm-ish tidal river was not exactly comparable to the conditions I had in mind for it, but when the wind got a little gusty I turned the board so the wind was hitting me on the side and that was what sealed it for me. I could keep the board straight with a side wind. There was another woman demoing the board at the same time and I was nervous that there was going to be a brawl over who got it, because I knew I needed to paddle this board. There was no brawl and I walked (ok drove) away with the board.
There has never been a time that I have regretted taking the Bullet out. I have paddled that board hundreds of miles and it is still a pleasure every time I step on it. When you find a board that you connect with, you will try things and go places that you would not otherwise go.
On this board we have had adventures from Warwick across the west passage of Narragansett Bay to Prudence Island and around it (an 18 mile paddle in some of the most mixed up conditions we have encountered), we have gone around Conanicut Island (approximately 21 miles,), I used it for the aforementioned Cape Cod Bay Challenge, and on many, many other smaller paddles. It is the board I feel safest on in uncertain and ever-changing conditions. It is predictable in a comfortable, but never boring, way.
The Bullet is most at home in the open roiling waters, with swells to catch, but it’s no slouch on flatwater either. It comes in several sizes and different construction options. For more information about those, check out our previous blog post. The 12’6 that we have is TWCC and while it’s a little heavier than the current model, it has proven quite durable, and has an excellent carry handle that your entire hand can fit around making it much easier to transport. If you are in the market for a top-notch open water board, do yourself a favor and move the SIC Bullet to the short list.