It's been more than 'a few days', but I'm finally getting to the 'review' I promised you....between the BOTE HD10'6", BOTE HD12’ and the LiveWaterSports L2Utility.
From Carla's perspective, of the 3 boards she tried, it was nearly a toss up between the BOTE HD12' and L2Utility. It was really good for Carla to be on the HD10'6" before the Lorelei 2 hr Eco Tour because she was sure that was the one she wanted to eventually purchase. After a short test drive, it was clear she preferred a 12' board. Both of the 12' boards provided the extra stability, length and movement through the water she was looking for. I'll focus the review on both 12' boards.
Mark and Carla's first thought: The HD 12' and the L2U 12' being equal in length were quite different in and out of the water. We were surprised at what a difference there was between these two boards!
Starting with positives on the L2U. Light!....Wow that board is easy to carry and move around using the flexible raised carry handle. We are amazed at how light LiveWaterSports built this board. Stable! The L2U provided great stability and buoyancy while paddling open water and maneuvering around the mangroves. It is definitely agile and quick turning while standing in the basic paddle board stance. The L2U sits a little higher in the water having a little more board exposed above the water surface. This extra 'freeboard' above the water surface did seem to be influenced by wind when paddling crosswind. It is completely manageable, but with the board being physically lighter, and with more board above the water surface, the wind did influence it slightly more than the competition. For hunting and fishing reasons, I like to be stealthy. Sneak up on 'em and whack 'em type of guy. (or sneak up and take pictures) The L2U's unique hydro-v style hull did trap some air when padding in choppy waters. That did produce a little 'clop, clop, clop' in wavy conditions. Most folks won't notice or care, so it's not a negative for the vast majority of folks. Quality Fit and Finish! F&F on the L2U is VERY GOOD. We can see why many of your Customers choose the L2U. It is an excellent SUP. Definitely the right board for many of your Customers.
Mark and Carla's thoughts on the BOTE 12’ HD: We both enjoyed this board too. At one point during the Eco tour, I asked Carla if we could switch so I could have the BOTE HD12'. (We were about to cross another open area with a fairly stiff wind and I wanted to compare it against the L2U I was on) She wasn't too quick to give it up...I had to ask twice! Positives on the BOTE HD12': Solid Build! This board has a solid, high quality feel and is physically heavier than the L2U. Heavier can be negative to some, but a positive to others. Moving about land while using the integrated grab handle was not an issue for either of us. Physically, I (Mark) could put it up on a car or rack without issue, so the extra weight became a positive for me after we entered the water. Stable! This board, like the L2U is very stable and tracked very well while paddling. When in a basic paddle board stance, it did take slightly more time/effort to turn/maneuver it compared to the competition. However, neither of us had any issue maneuvering the HD12' through the narrow mangrove channels so it was not a 'show-stopper' for either of us. Stealthy! Due to its physical weight and thinner profile, it seems to sit a little deeper in the water. The Hybrid Displacement hull is stealthy, sliced through water and tracked very well. Quality Fit and Finish...VERY GOOD. The BOTE 12'HD is a fantastic SUP, has great F&F and will provide many of your Customers desirable advantages over other manufacturers offerings.
Wrapping it up: These manufacturers seem to be leaders in the industry and anyone interested in SUP's should consider what accessories and value added options these Manufacturers offer prior to purchasing. Both the L2U and the HD12' are exceptional SUP's. Very different from one another in some aspects, yet both producing a wonderful experience on the water.
YOUR INFORMATIVE GUIDE TO PADDLEBOARD SHOPPING, AND A BIT ABOUT OUR FAVORITE BRANDS. WITH LOVE, OTHERSIDE BOARDSPORTS
Ok, so now that you are as mad about paddling as the rest of us; how do you go about selecting the right board for you? We’ve got the details you’re after and the answers to all the questions you’ve been googling; as well as what we feel are the best boards in the industry.
In our opinion; the first thing to understand as you approach the purchase of a paddleboard; is that you get what you pay for. We sell premium boards because we have spent the last 10 years building our business based on getting you the right equipment the first time, so you can spend all your free time on the water with us :) There are easily 1 million and 1 options to select from when shopping for your new paddle board; ranging in cost from around $400 to up and over $2,000. From our perspective, the individual purchasing their own paddleboard is doing so because they intend to board often and are making a purchase they expect to be long lasting, durable, and lovely to not only look at but also to use. For that consumer, we really strive to provide the best of the best; which for us has narrowed the vast sea of options down to just three brands; Bote, LIVE & Rhizotomy.
First let’s cover the basic types of paddle board hulls. Traditionally- this includes the planning and the displacement hulls. Basically- the planning hull is great for maneuverability- wide, flat and designed to ride the water. While the displacement hull is designed to break or displace the water from the front of your board to the sides for tracking and speed. Both hull types have evolved within our favorite brands as you will discover; for optimum enjoyment of your favorite paddling activities.
Often in a guest’s first round of inquiry when purchasing a board comes the question- what about that inflatable board? Simple question but in truth a rather complex answer- meaning it’s not really the question one needs to answer first. The first question any shopper should ask themselves is; what do I want to use my board for? Followed by owning any concerns the individual may have about their intended use. Which naturally will then answer the question of which type of board the individual should invest in. As we hope to address all users and the many and varied uses in the SUP market- Lets start by exploring that first question about the inflatable paddlleboards anyway.
For starters inflatables or as our favorite brand and arguably one of the best inflatable brands, BOTE calls them, aeroboats are just awesome, that’s it, it is that simple. Digging below the surface the aeroboats; built on a BLLLLLAHHHH or planning hull, are versatile, they go anywhere and are up for any challenge. Great for all user groups including those of you who enjoy SUP sports like fitness or fishing, white waters or camping trips, and there’s always room for rover with a load capacity of up to 450 pounds. ( The rigid military grade PVC construction of an aeroboat is nearly indestructible and will not fold under pressure, providing as much stability as a traditional board and being covered nose to tail in the heat embossed BVA; rover will feel stability under his paws no matter where he rides along.
Not only will a quality inflatable stand up to such adventure challenges; it’s versatility allows additional user groups to enjoy ownership of a quality board without the headaches of a hard-bodied board. Storage of a traditional board can be a hassle for anyone; for the inflatable, this trouble is history. The board deflates to fold and fit into a pack in under 30 seconds; allowing us apartment dwellers to find space for safe keeping even if that means in that random corner kitchen cabinet. This convenience is also travel friendly for those of us that enjoy the travel as much as the paddle.
All the power and possibility of the paddle board oh so conveniently wrapped up into a pack, which at just 37lbs including the paddle and pump, you can easily haul into any situation- great for the adventurer to roam literally anywhere. Aka its Bucket list compatible and ready to go in just 60 seconds when you utilize a power pump, although most come with a hand pump. Beyond the storage; this board broadens the horizons for the vertically challenged, or outdoor exercise group as a great fitness companion that is easily manageable from site to site as you will no longer need a hand getting the board topside of your vehicle.
Dings/scratches/chips/dents/cracks/breaks…. are too, all things of the past with the inflatable board- what about tears and punctures you may ask?? The inflatables we carry as well as most every other reputable brand today are manufactured with military grade PVC. Premium designers including Bote also feature drop stich construction, and are chamber inflated making this all highly unlikely unless of course you are on the extreme end of the spectrum… and enjoy the rapids. Yet still, we’ve got you covered- Two-part epoxy and a quick patch job will have you back down the river in just 12 to 24 hours!!
Well, now that we’ve gushed on and on about our love affair with the aeroboat/inflatable SUPs… why ever would you even consider a hard body??
Well, here’s to looking at you….
The selection of a paddle board again, is really all about your personal wants and needs.
While the inflatable has all the versatility you could ever hope for; more of the bells, whistles and shapes really come into play with the hard body boards. The hard-bodied boards have a variety of hull shapes and are born of vastly differing schools of thought; these distinctive differences as well as the top side add on’s are what make each of these boards attractive to differing user groups. They are also what make a full day or even a week on the water entirely doable; weather permitting of course :). In general, hard boards are crafted from a foam core and are wrapped in fiberglass, carbon -fiber or plastics.
One of our core brands for instance has pioneered an entirely different board. From the shape and integrated accessory built in’s, to its weight and capacity, LIVE boards are in a class of their own. Built on either a catamaran or Hyper-V hulls with hollow cores, these boards vastly reduce the surface area on the water and can support an unprecedented weight. You haul just 62 lbs of board and the largest of the LIVE brand boards will haul 750 lbs of whatever or whoever you like; with the capacity for multiple riders- it’s the ultimate family board. Gear? camping, fishing, star gazing gear or maybe a bit of everything- LIVE can haul it all and do so in style. Style? Yes style, have you a flair for the bold and unique? You can custom design the LIVE boards from the ground up; your board, your choice- even the YAK tracks can be customized in both design and function. With this integrated technology, you can attach just about anything; literally thousands of options from cooler stays to sit on top chairs to multiple rod holders and of course the beer Koozie- this board leaves its passengers wanting for nothing and gives you confidence that it will still be there when your adventures are through.
Let’s cover in a bit more detail what the catermaran and Hyper-V really mean for the board function. The Hyper-V is far from your typical paddle board but from the topside you can hardly tell; the magic lies underneath it all. The board is mold constructed using a high tech, proprietary process with a hollow center; it appears as if someone came along and removed it’s “guts” with a melon baller. The resulting hollow or Hyper-V, displaces water, reduces surface area and gives the board speed, stability and weighs in at just 31 lbs, wow!
The catamaran or LIVE L4explore is a whole different animal still- two hulls fused by the 8ft deck allow for 750lbs!!! A 14 ft. Hobie only carries 500lbs and it weighs in at 250lbs to give you some perspective. The add on’s here are incredible- like the live well or the camper box for instance… paddle boarding unlike any rental you’ve ever seen. This is the adventure board of your dreams. The catamaran paddleboard not only displaces the water as is glides along on its v shaped hulls but also has significantly less surface area on the water. This design allows you to float along like no other, no matter what you tow along with you. This board is especially loved by the bigger and taller boarder, the 8ft of usable deck offers an incredibly stable space to get you under way.
If it feels like LIVE may be a bit of a jump over the shark for you; look to Bote.
Not even remotely a second-class board-Bote brings all the toys to the table. Winner of 3 of the last 4 innovator of the year awards- Bote paddleboard hold their own with beautiful art distinctive by board type and still haul all the goodies with a top capacity of 500lbs. Their boards come stock with several add on’s to which no other brand holds a candle such as the paddle sheath and the traveler link- their magic is in the boards construction. Let’s start with shape of your board or more appropriately, Bote.
To discuss board shape; one must first see the purpose in differing platforms as briefly mentioned previously. It’s all about how you’re hitting the water, and what type of water you are hitting most often. By selecting a board for your environment, you will be buying yourself the easiest, most comfortable of paddle experiences ahead.
For the Bote board this all started with the HD; meaning hybrid displacement. Featuring (as all Bote’s do) a double concave hull for planning and speed; combined with the deep- v nose to break surface tension for better tracking this board was created for everything but proves especially capable fishing and easily tackles any squall that should arise in your travels, as they do. This design combination is also featured in the Bote Rackham board- with the addition of the raised platform rails- which are shaped to shed water and keep the cockpit dry. This design proves especially helpful for those of you meeting choppier waters or more rigorous adventures. For those of you out for the long haul let me introduce the BOTE Traveler. Designed with the deep V entry as the Rackham and the HD; this board also features a recessed cockpit and a narrower body to ride more like a race horse; lower the center of gravity and create more stability to haul your gear when taking on the open water. The magic, again is in the board design with Bote.
Finally, if you simply love being outdoors and are in the market for a board that tracks well and is incredibly visually appealing that will stand up to paddling in any environment- flat water or small waves, then we have you covered on that front as well. Might we steer you to the Rhizotomy boards. Well-crafted simple boards that are visually striking, aerodynamic and durable- they dare to be different. The boards are constructed from high density EPS foam, and are coated in a fiberglass epoxy. The perfect planning board for the whole family at an unbeatable price.
No Matter the use, no matter the user, remember what you’ve read here and apply it moving forward with your future board purchase and if you find yourself searching for the perfect fit, come see us in the Florida Keys and we promise not to disappoint! Call us any time because we obviously love talking paddleboard talk!
With love- OTHErside Board Sports Paddling Crew
The foil revolution is still growing! What started as a sit-down activity in the 80’s, to a few guys pushing it on waves in snowboard boots in the early 2000’s. Now we’ve got the likes of guys like Adam Withington who are pushing the freestyle and big air side of the sport well beyond what anyone thought would be possible, and almost household names like Kai Lenny foiling on just about anything in all kinds of conditions, be it kite, surf, sup or even windsurf. The progression is undeniable.
But this sport isn’t just for the freaks and daredevils anymore. Sure, it can be intimidating with that much material under you sharpened to cut through the water effortlessly. Even trying to get set up with the board in the right place can be a seemingly impossible task the first time. But it gets better. And it’s getting more attainable every day. The Otherside and Slingshot sports are here to help!
Slingshot has been a pioneer in our sport since the beginning. Never one to grow stagnant, they have strived to stay ahead of the curve, and want to take all of us with them! They’ve developed a video series that breaks down the learning process of foil boarding to the fundamentals, giving you all the tools you need as a competent kiter to start foiling, all before you’ve even gotten wet! Watching this series is the first step to becoming a foiler.
2/1-2/28, Otherside Boardsports will be partnering up with Slingshot Sports to help you take your second step, riding a foil board!
Anyone that has successfully completed the www.foil-academy.com courses will be eligible to sign out a Slingshot foil board for FREE for 24hours to put their new knowledge to the test. This is a great way to get your feet wet on the industry’s first stepped program designed to help you efficiently and safely progress through the first stages of foil boarding.
For anyone that wants the full immersion style of learning, with hands on instruction, and access to a whole range of foil gear, we will be running a full on Foil Camp at the end of the month. Check out http://othersideboardsports.com/pages/february-foil for more details on this great program. This is for anyone who is serious about learning how to foil in the safest way possible under instructor supervision, getting help along the way. This camp is not limited to just beginners either. Our coaches can help you progress through not only your first rides, but successfully turning around, jumping and beyond! This will be an intense course from Friday to Sunday, including an intro session on our Sesi 2.0 Cable system, taking the kite variables out of the picture so that you can just focus on what is new first, before bringing it to the ocean. We have found that this is the easiest way to learn to get the foil in place, get up on the board, and start riding up on foil in a safe, controlled environment.
We will have 2 sessions on Saturday, with a lunch break in between and time to catch up and compare notes and watch some of the video for an outside look.
Sunday morning we will have another coached session in the morning, followed by lunch at the Bayside Gourmet attached to the shop where anyone having to leave to catch an early flight can scoot. We will be offering a bonus session for anyone with their own gear that wants to get out one last time with the coaches and play around. Don’t have your own gear yet? No worries! We will be offering exclusive deals on all the gear for any of our campers, ranging in budget from school/demo gear, up to the custom carbon foils the pro’s use! Already have your own gear, perfect, we reward that too!! You’ll get a discount on the camp price for bringing your own foil.
Come on down to the keys for a great time, and leave with a skill for a lifetime! Guaranteed to be warmer than where you’re coming from, so bring the family and sit em by the pool!! We’ve got a list of accommodations on our website at http://othersideboardsports.com/pages/florida-keys-watersports.
Prerequisites: Must be an intermediate or above kiter with all of your own kites and gear. No need to bring a twin-tip if you don’t want, but kites/bars/harnesses/booties and helmets are all required, and available for purchase at the Otherside. We recommend generally 9-15m kites, with our winds ranging from 12-26kts typically, depending on weather patterns.
Price: $1495 if you don’t have a foil
$1195 if you bring your own foil
If before, during or immediately after the camp you decide to buy a foil, you will be credited the $300 difference.
Dates are Friday 2/24-Sunday 2/26.
Friday noon-2 meet and greet at shop, talk about gear over lunch at bayside.
Friday 3pm-6pm cable coaching on the Bahn.
Saturday 9-12pm Morning coaching session.
Saturday 12-2pm lunch break at Postcard Inn Tiki bar with video review
Saturday 2pm-4pm Afternoon session
Sunday 9-12 Final Coaching session
Sunday 12-2 Lunch at Bayside
Sunday 2-5 Beers and Gear at Shop
Bonus sitter session for anyone that has/buys their own gear.
Spring is here in the Florida Keys and yesterday we definitely felt it at our paddle shack at Lorelei Restaurant! BOTE boards was on site doing a demo with their entire 2016 line. I have to say I was tempted to buy one! We showcased a variety of different paddleboard models each with their own unique style and purpose. The BOTE Rackham is perfect for our paddleboard fishing enthusiast and equipped with the latest bote innovations. The BOTE Traveller is made for long paddles, as it moves quickly and efficiently in the water. We also demoed our best selling board, the BOTE HD. It is known for its unique hull design, which is a hybrid between a surf style and a displacement touring hull. Fast, stable and compatible with all of Bote’s paddleboard fishing accessories. If you're interested in learning more stop by our Islamorada shop or the paddle shack at Lorelei and ask us some questions, and be sure to follow our social media for dates of the next on the water demo!
Otherside Boardsports’ “Windy Days, Sleepless Nights” Tee ($25)- This is a photograph taken of a kiter in Islamorada, and hand screened with eco-friendly ink onto a super-soft Tee.
Ion Neoprene Beanie ($29)- When the cold weather won’t stop you from that session, Ions neoprene hat is an easy addition to your cold weather kiteboarding gear. In or out of the water, riders will find this snug fitting hat much more comfortable and practical than the traditional wetsuit hood. Available in two colors.
Weatherflow Wind Meter ($39)- Who doesn’t love a little gadget? Download the free app, plug in this anemometer to your smart phone (iPhone and android compatible) and get real-time wind reading that can easily be shared with friends via text message. Connect into their network and see reading from other Weatherflow users all over the country.
Surf Shades ($69)-Kiteboarders know, the sunglass struggle is real! These polarized sunglasses feature an adjustable (and removable) strap that sits securely around the back of the head, as well as a secondary/ back-up strap that will keep the glasses connected to you even after a bad wipe out. Available in two frame shapes.
Go-Joe Board Recovery Device ($79)- Loosing your board while kiteboarding, or having to body drag upwind to retrieve it after a crash is one of hassles of learning to kite. The GoJoe is an inflatable device that sits unobtrusively between the footsteps of any kite board. When the board is dropped in the water behind you, the Go-joe with not only flip your board over for you, but will act as a sail and get the board downwind to you faster. Retrieving the board faster means less time flailing and more time riding!
Watershot Splash Phone Housing ($109-129)- A top pick from Otherside owner Mike, this waterproof housing for your iPhone features interchangable optical quality glass lens for high quality photos in either standard, or wide angle (like Gopro). Every function of your touch screen will work through their robust touch membrane and you can get killer shots without the risk of ruining your phone, or having to pack an extra waterproof camera with you. This is must-have for any waterman or waterwomen!
Volcom Storm Jacket ($129): Wind or rain won’t stand a chance with this lightweight, waterproof jacket. Cinchable hood and critically taped seams make this the perfect jacket for before or after a kite session
Ion Shelter Jacket ($199)- A favorite among our kite instructors, this zip-up Neoprene jacket can be worn alone, or over a wetsuit for an extra layer of warmth. It features an asymmetric zipper and slot for your harness to come through. Cinch-able hood and lined pockets keep riders oh so cozy both on and off the water. Available in Black or Blue
Woo Sports ($199)- This little device connects to your kiteboard and tracks your every movement including height and hang time. The data collected is sent seamlessly to your smart phone where you can see your highest jump, longest airtime, session duration and much more. Connect with other Woo users in your area and access the local and global leaderboards. Who is the highest jumper at your beach? Who has the highest recorded jump in the world? Can you beat your last session? Woo sports has the answers and can add a whole lot more fun to each one of your sessions!
Liquid Force Foil Fish Combo ($1139)- With a recent rebirth into the sport of kiteboarding, foil-boarding is the newest craze and the perfect gift for that kiteboarder in your life that has everything. The amazing sensation of flying has coined the term ‘foil face’ for the huge, radiating smile that seems to be consistent with all who try it!