Sandwich Island Composites, better known as SIC, makes some of the most innovative standup paddleboards on the market. Sandwich Islands was the name explorer Captain James Cook had given to the Hawaiian Archipelago in 1778 and SIC paddleboards are engineered and designed by Mark Raaphorst in Hawaii. Raaphorst had over 20 years of experience building surfboards, windsurfers and outrigger canoes before getting into the SUP world in 2004. Since then he has established a reputation as being on the cutting edge of high performance paddleboard design, building super fast race boards and excellent downwind boards. The line has grown over the years to include SUP surf designs, touring boards, and inflatable paddleboards.
The early SIC paddleboards were the first on the market to have an integrated handle and EVA deck pads- now industry standards. Raaphorst also made the transition to molded cores that greatly reduced the weight of boards. Molded boards are more consistent in shape than custom ordered boards and that helped SIC to produce more boards and expand their line.
SIC boards quickly became known for their speed and agility in open water racing. The design and shape of the boards became more refined as Raaphorst incorporated the ideas of many hardcore and successful watermen in the area. SUP racers quickly took note and an increasing number of SIC boards began showing up at all the major paddleboard events.
Active Steering System (A.S.S.)
As the sport has progressed so has paddleboard tech. Raaphorst developed a proprietary mechanism that would allow the rider to track straighter in high cross winds and strong currents. He came up with ASS, short for Active Steering System, a cable and pulley system connecting the fin to a lever on the deck of the board that is controlled using your foot.
The fin acts as rudder with the ASS system allowing the rider to paddle on both sides of the board even when encountering heavy winds and waves from the side. It saves having to paddle on the same side for extended distances, making paddling less exhausting and more efficient.
Open Water Stability
The SIC Bullet series is designed for paddling in open water. Due to their unique shapes they handle choppy water better than most any other SUP on the market. The nose rocker is designed to keep the board from pearling (burying the nose in the water) when travelling down swells. The board is fast on open swells and the flat bottom and sharp rails hold the board steady and very stable even when running through side chop.
SIC boards come in different construction options Tough Wood (TW), Single Carbon Composite (SCC), and Double Carbon Construction (DCC). The DCC construction is the lightest with full carbon fiber wrap; the SCC has carbon fiber wrap over the rails; and the TW has a fiberglass wrap making it a little heavier than the other models but very durable. Also, as you go from the TW construction to the DCC the price increases due to the amount of carbon fiber that is used, which makes the board lighter.
SIC also has a SIC Fish Series (surf), SIC Recon Series (all-around surf/open/flat water), SIC X Series (race/fitness), SIC F Series (for bigger guys) and SIC Air Glide (inflatables).
SIC is building boards that can gain the maximum amount of glide and speed through cutting edge design. In the open water a paddleboard comes under many a lot of opposing stresses including the ones that the rider puts on it by their weight and stroke. By making a board that travels straighter and counteracts the effects of yaw (forces pushing the nose from side to side) you can get better speed and glide and save the rider from expending an unnecessary amount of energy. Come down to your local SIC dealer and check them out for yourself!