COMPANY DESCRIPTION: Boardworks Surf of Encinitas California introduces their new line of Soft Top SUPs called the B-Rays. These attractive stand up paddle boards are available now in two sizes 10’6 and 11’6 and are the perfect introductory SUP boards for the whole family. They feature full EVA wrapped deck and rails for comfort and safety with an EVA traction pad inlay. The rails, nose and tail have a high density “crash bumpers” for extra durability. The B-Rays are constructed with an EPS foam core with fiberglass epoxy resin and dual wood stringers for stiffness and strength and a slick skin bottom. These models are designed for stability and glide using the same proven template as the ultra popular Boardworks Joyride models making them perfect for recreational paddling in inland waterways or mellow surf conditions.
2013 LINE UP:
DESIGN AND FEATURES: Well we finally got a shipment of the new B Ray’s up here in Canada and I grabbed both models, a green 10′ 6″ and a blue 11’6″ to test out. These are value priced boards and I was excited to see how they would perform and how much value they had. With my first look at the boards I was impressed with a number of features and unique designs. Both are great looking boards that come with a functional and comfortable 3/4 deck pad that’s set into a full length soft top. The nose, tail and rails, the high impact parts of the board, are built with “crash bumpers” for durability and longevity. These bumpers will protect the board from paddle hits, impacts, transportation and will make the board very user friendly and safe. Both boards are wide and stable and have a good handle inset into the deck but does not have the new Lift Sup handle that is built into the Joyrides, Super Naturals, Sirena’s and Ravens. I have had a chance to try the new lift sup on my 12’6″ Raven and I love it, one hand transportation. The base of the B Ray’s are built with a Slick Skin bottom that is durable and will allow the board to travel efficiently through the water. One of the features that impressed me the most was the tip to tail double concave hull with a pronounced center line. This hull design will allow the B Ray’s to paddle more efficiently while giving good stability. Both boards come with a single center fin. The B Ray has good nose rocker which will allow it to surf and handle some downwind chop while keeping the deck a little drier.
FIRST PADDLE: My first flatwater test was with the 10′ 6″ on Howe Sound here in Squamish, B.C. I went for an hour paddle and like I expected, it was nice and stable and the 3/4 deck pad was very comfortable. One of the challenges, generally of a shorter, wider board is the tracking ability, but the double concave hull with tip to tail center line allowed the board to paddle and glide really well for it’s dimensions. I was easily able to paddle on one side without switching back and forth too much. With the single fin and board stability, pivot turns were easy. At 185lbs the 10’6″ carried my weight easily on flatwater but I wanted to try carrying a bit more weight. My “test weight” would be my 90lb Rottweiler, Seana, who loves to go for paddleboard rides with me. She hopped on and I took her for a tour of the harbour. The board carried her weight easily and there was enough volume in the board to keep us both dry. With the bomber construction of this board I had no worries with damages or scratches from Seana. In a touring situation this board would have no problem carrying enough gear for a weekend expedition.
TOURING TEST: After testing the 10’6″ on the flatwater I wanted to try out the 11’6″ so I organized a small touring trip from Horseshoe Bay here in West Vancouver to Snug Harbour on Bowen Island to go for lunch. It’s an hour paddle and we had a great line up of stable Boardworks products for the ocean tour. We brought the 10’6″ and 11’6″ B Rays, the 10’11” Joyride and a 12′ Epx. We carried our day packs on the board and I had a beginner on the 11’6″ and another friend on the 10’6″. Both loved the B Ray’s, I had to ask for the 11’6″ back so I could try it. I found that the 11’6″ was ideal for the choppy ocean conditions and the added length gave it better speed and tracking. I even managed to surf a few downwind waves and it caught them pretty easy. Bigger paddlers will like the added length and volume of the 11’6″ and it’s ideal for a lot of ocean paddling. With the added length of the 11’6″ the board is heavier making longer walks to the water a little more tiring.
DO IT ALL: These boards have a lot of applications. One of the obvious ones would be for the massive sup fitness and yoga market that could take advantage of the stable, durable, and full, soft top deck design. With the durability of these boards they can be used to explore mellow, meandering river systems, lakes and oceans. I will personally use these boards for rentals and lessons with my business Mountain Surf Adventures and I would also like to explore the possibility of kitting the boards out and taking some of them with me up to the Great Bear Rainforest for my sup expeditions. One thing I always worry about during these expeditions is damage to the hard boards I bring up. My expeditions consist of a lot of transportation and boat shuttles that can wreak havoc on boards. These expeditions are a good testing environment for any gear I take up there and I am sold on their touring applications when a lot of transportation is required. They will be a great compliment to the Boardworks inflatables I have brought up there in the past. Another area of use can be in mellow surf conditions as the stiffness, nose rocker and decent tail design will allow for some fun surf applications. The beginners in our surf courses will like stable base and will increase their success rates catching waves. The soft top design and crash bumpers will keep paddlers safer in the impact zone. Families will really love this “no worry” board and it will be great performer at the camps, cottages and lodges. Outfitted with some basic fishing gear, this board would be a great platform for catching fish. The sky is the limit with what you can do with this board.
THE BOTTOM LINE: I have only paddled this board a couple of times and a season of testing is required to really see how the board stands up but they performed well in a flatwater and touring situations. This board has great value, its “no worries construction” is durable, stable, and fun on any body of water. Try one out and see what you think. To get one of these B Ray’s for yourself, your family or your SUP business contact Boardworks Surf Canada up here in the Great White North or Boardworks Surf in the Blue, Red and White. Have fun and see you on the water.