Sandwich Island Composites, better known as SIC, makes really awesome paddleboards. They are known for producing very fast and stable open water/downwinder paddleboards, like the Bullet Series. The Bullets win the major downwindingcompetitions year after year and we can attest that it is pure joy to paddle in bumpy, open water. But I was curious as to how the SIC X-12 paddleboard are out on open water where the swell and chop could make things a bit challenging.
The SIC X-12 is designed to glide extremely well so the board holds its speed rather than slowing down a lot between strokes and during transitions. This makes it a great touring and racing board. Turning the X-12 is also a breeze, especially doing pivot turns. The board has just the right amount of tail rocker that keeps it feeling loose as you turn. In addition, the scooped-out, lowered deck puts you closer to water, which makes the board feel more stable so you can concentrate on your power stroke and not worry about the balancing part- great for flat water pursuits!
The X-12 that I rode is a 12’6” long, 29.5” wide displacement paddleboard that has a canoe-like nose rather than a surfboard type nose. Displacement shapes allow the nose of the paddleboard to cut through the water instead of pushing through and over it in the way planing boards do so there’s much less drag. This also gives the board more waterline resulting in better glide, speed, and paddling efficiency, so you can go farther and faster using less energy. I have paddled the X-12 around our local reservoir and it is a really awesome flat water ride. The first time I hopped on X-12 there was a slight wobble from side to side that quickly disappeared as soon as I got to cruising speed where the stability was excellent. This is actually a good sign as it means the board will have plenty capacity to keep getting faster and more efficient as you begin paddle more forcefully.
I took the board out on the beach recently on a fairly windy day. The morning was spent on a salt pond behind the beach. In the areas where the wind was moving some light chop across the bow it felt perfectly stable and solid. A lot of displacement paddleboards tend to get pushed sideways in side wind and chop, but X-12 cut through it very well. The glide, stability and speed was magnificent everywhere we went on salt pond.
I then took the board to a local surf spot and headed out through the break and into open water. The X-12, as I mentioned earlier, is designed to ride flat in the water for maximum glide. As opposed to the Bullet, which is designed to go from displacement to planing mode so you can surf the open water swells. The wind had changed from northerly direction to a full on southerly and it had pick up quite a bit. The X-12 felt really stable heading directly into the wind and up and over the incoming break. I went from kneeling to standing up with no trouble as we headed further out into the open water.
When we got a good distance away from the beach I started to head across, parallel to the shoreline and that’s when things turned awry. I immediately felt very unstable as the X-12 caught and magnified every bump and wave that hit it. The side-to-side stability I felt when heading into the wind and surf was completely gone. After a couple of swims in the cold water I decided it was a good time to head back.
The ride into the beach was not as bad as the side chop scenario but it was still not easy to control the board. I caught the first wave in and straight lined a good distance to the beach. We put in at a rip current which created a cross break in that area and of course when I got to that spot into the water I went in again- which by now was expected.
The X-12 is a flat water board that can be ridden in smooth open water and definitely shines everywhere except the surf, which it is not designed for anyway. The board probably has the most glide of any board I’ve ridden making it an absolute joy to paddle on a daily basis. It is light, around 30 pounds and has a proprietary EZ-Grab carry handle making it super easy carry and mount on your vehicle. If you paddle a lot in harbors, lakes, coves or any other flat water areas, this board would be a great choice for you.