Thursday, May 24, 2012

Destroyed at Ditch

My 4 year love affair with a Starboard Ultimate Blend 11'2" SUP snapped to a sudden halt Tuesday in overhead waves at Montauk's Ditch Plains.

The Ultimate Demise

A combo of TS Alberto and other coastal systems heaved solid swell toward the Long Island coastline, enticing me and Jon Ford to hike east and meet Andy Brant for some SUP-sailing. For the first 30 minutes, we sailed starboard tack in meaty head high waves, and caught some fun rides. Sadly the wind died, but with the building surf I de-rigged, grabbed my paddle and headed back out.

When I reached the far outer break, which seemed further out than we'd ever seen, sets were rolling in well-overhead. I caught a couple half-ride wipeouts, and let one wave pass under me which felt like a small house. Suddenly, out of the fog, loomed Poseidon's monster. With glee I started paddling, trying to match speed with the hulking mass. Speed, though was not the problem -- the 1-2' overhead and now pitching wave: problem. I dove off to the side, held my breath and experienced a massive pummeling. After getting thrown like a rag doll and dragged under, I swam for the top, and swam more, and finally lungs bursting reached clean air. I had survived; my precious Starboard Ultimate, had not.

The Ultimate will be repaired and retired to flat water paddling. I now search for a new SUP surf board. I've ridden Starboard's 8'10" Wide Point, and 9'8" Element in solid surf, and next will test the Fanatic AllWave. I'm looking forward to changing up to something new, but will always miss the original.

The Starboard Ultimate Blend 11'2" standing ready for waves in better days:
the Starboard Ultimate


McPhilly said...

Oh man — I've coveted that board. It's a classic.

I don't own a SUP yet, budget is too tight, and I have a garage full of wind and surf boards — but that was one I thought would be very durable, coming from Starboard.

Well at least now you have a "flat water paddler" I guess.

rdm said...

good story. I've had some Hatteras hold downs like that. On the bright side though you'll be amazed how short you can go now.

Rich Simons said...

Ouch.....Sorry to hear about your loss.

I just tried some SUP on the waves in Hatteras. It was fun and I have a greater appreciation for your skill.

Rich S.

Unknown said...

Hey guys, thanks for your comments!

Phil- I bet one of those retired windsurf boards would work as a SUP. Just need a paddle and a 12' leash.

RDM- Already having way more fun with a loaned 9'5" Naish Mana. Losing the Starboard was a blessing.

Rich- Can't wait for you to get a board and join us here on our home breaks!

TonyWind said...

Hi Jeff, my condolences for the passing of your beloved Starboard. I was considering a Starboard superfish 9" 8' and I know the board is sailable. However, from the pics, the boards doesn't have a windsurfing mast track but rather "3 holes". Had yours the same fitting? How do you attach the mast base to the board?

TonyWind said...

Forgot to add, is there a place out East where I can test the Starboard's 8'10" Wide Point and 9'8" Element?

Unknown said...

Hi Tony, thanks your comment. I've seen a mast track on some of the older models, and these tracks may have been 3rd-party additions. Most SUP boards with the windsurfing option use holes with an embedded nut for screwing on a single-bolt mast base. I've used both holes on the Ultimate but didn't notice much of a difference when sailing. My new board, a Fanatic AllWave 9'2" (blog post forthcoming), has only 1 hole. I guess their CAD software helps pinpoint the exact balance point?

I've never SUP'd the Superfish, but if its dimensions are 9'8" x 28.5", I'd imagine keeping my balance (at 180lbs) to be challenging. I have paddled the Starboard Element 9'8" x 30", and wouldn't want it any thinner. My AllWave measures 9'2" x 31.5" - more width means more stability and curvier turns. Can you take the Superfish for a paddle to see how it feels? Try comparing it against other boards, both in flat water and bump/waves.

I just caught your followup: I believe Jon Ford at Hampton Watersports has both of those boards in stock (I've ridden both). Contact him here:

TonyWind said...

Hi Jeff,

Many thanks for the tips. Based on my experience, at 165lbs, 140 liters should be plenty for me to paddle comfortably (at least on flat water).
I read more about the mast box of the starboards and apparently there is a regular windsurfing mast track on these boards hidden under the soft deck. I agree one doesn't need a lot of adjustment on those boards. Maybe seen you out East sometimes!

wilanz said...

I'm very curious to see your updates on the AllWave. I tried it and the Pro Wave and liked the ProWave better in the little Florida waves. Did you get a chance to try the starboard wide point with a sail?

I'm shopping and really like the new 10' Exocet windsup. It jumps up on plane nicely. The 11'8 version sails even better but it was too big for me to SUP surf. The RRD WASSUP 8.5 was excellent in high winds with a 4.7 sail but in light winds or while paddling the nose kept sinking on me with a 6.0 sail. I'm trying to track down a 10' version.

Unknown said...

Hi wilanz, I have some GoPro footage to go through from a decent head-high SUP-sail sesh. Hope to post that up in the next week or so, along with some more impressions of the AllWave, ProWave and Wide Point. Thanks for your comment!

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