First Impressions of the F-16 distance stand up paddle board and C4 14′ and 12′ distance stand up paddle boards

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It was great to get in the water this afternoon/evening after being land locked in California for a week. My friend called me last week and told me to call his buddy who would let me use his board to stand up paddle surf in California. I told him that I didn’t go to California to stand up paddle surf, I was there for other reasons. It’s too cold for my Hawaii warm blood. If I need a wetsuit, forget it.

I called up Todd Bradley because I saw an F-16 setup for goofy foot at his place. I asked if I could borrow it today because it seemed windy. He told me he was doing a downwind run with a friend from Kahala to Outrigger Canoe Club which I think is around 3 miles or so. After I invited myself I met him at 4:40 PM at OCC and we drove to Kahala to launch.

If Todd didn’t wait up for me every 20 minutes or so, I would have been at least 15 minutes behind them. To say the least, I did a decent amount of swimming today. It all came together at the end of the run where the chop died down and I caught some waves.

Conditions: Wind around 5-10 mph with higher gusts toward the end of the run. Wind way side shore and side offshore. Going around Diamond Head had some larger chop and small bumps but nothing major.

Equipment: I used my C4 Waterman 8.5″ paddle and rode the 16′ long F-16.

Pros of F-16: The F-16 is a fast board. It is also noticeably light. It paddles fast and catches small bumps easily. The foot steering mechanism works surprisingly well. A little push of the foot and the board actually starts to turn. This is especially helpful on a 16 foot stand up board. The ability to turn with the foot lever is especially helpful when the wind is blowing at your side and the waves and chop are hitting you from the other side. Normally you would need to paddle on one side just to stay on your path but with the foot lever you can paddle on both sides and not have one side of your body fresh and the other exhausted.

Cons of F-16: The board is a bit tippy for its size. This is probably due to my skill level and lack of experience on the board. I had a tricky time when the waves would push against the tail of the board and I would lose my balance. Again, this is probably my skill level. The foot steering mechanism is easy to turn left but harder to turn right. This is due to the way you need to place your foot to push the lever. It’s an odd position but I’m sure with time it gets to be a natural feeling.

Verdict on F-16: This is an awesome stand up paddle racing board for distance runs. It really comes alive when the wind at your back is strong. You can almost ride it without paddling in that situation. At $2,500 you need to be sure you get out and paddle it but it really is a nice alternative when the wind picks up.

After the run I got on Todd’s prototype 12′ and 14′ distance stand up paddle boards. These are 2 generations old to the ones that C4 has coming out in a few months by Boardworks. Both boards had sunken decks and a lot of dual concave on the bottom. I didn’t have my camera with me so I’ll have to get pictures later but I didn’t think I could stand on them because of the width. I was wrong.

Both the 12′ and 14′ were super stable. It was a weird feeling to be able to balance so easily on a board that narrow. They are surprisingly stable and they are FAST. The dimensions are 12′x29″x5″ and 14′x26″x7″.

I only did a few short ‘out and back’ tests but both boards were impressively fast. I can’t wait to try the production models coming out soon. Todd said they also have a high end production model being made in conjunction by master OC-1 builder Karel Tresnak. That version will be a carbon fiber mold, similar in construction to the F-16 and OC-1 canoes but very different rocker, angles, concave, etc with the same dimensions as the production 14′.

This is pretty exciting for me to see what a dedicated distance stand up paddle board is like. The ride is very different than my 10′ range stand up boards and I like it. This whole stand up paddle thing has messed up my kite boarding because I have no urge to kite anymore.

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8 Responses to “First Impressions of the F-16 distance stand up paddle board and C4 14′ and 12′ distance stand up paddle boards”


  1. Carnet Williams 1carnetw

    Sweet! I can’t wait to get my hands on those downwind boards and give them a try. Like a rocketsled going downwind I imagine. See lots of those monster boards on Maui the last time I was over there.

  2. Evan Leong 2evan

    The run was super fun. I spent a decent amount of time falling off but that’s fine since it was my first time on that run and board. I wish I had switched off to the C4 models throughout the run so I could get a side by side comparison in the chop around Diamond Head. I think Todd said they are being produced now at Boardworks so it should be at least a month or two before we see them. He gets his before everyone else so I’ll invite myself over to try it and give everyone the scoops.

  3. DW 3DW

    Funny you have little urge to kite anymore. Same for me too. :-)

    It takes epic kiting conditions to motivate me now. I dream about paddling all day.

    Dwight

  4. Evan Leong 4evan

    DW – I was even considering selling all my kiting stuff but the value drops so fast that it may not be worth it.

  5. Chris Koerner 5Chris Koerner

    Evan – I’m suprised I didn’t bump into you on the SoCal trip. I’m usually hanging around all the spots you mention. I’m really interested in the distance boards – please keep us posted on the ETA. Will the 12 & 14 be Boardworks? The Karel sounds great but like the F16 it’ll probably be better for Hawaiian downwind conditions.

  6. Evan Leong 6evan

    Chris – I was only able to get a few short visits in for stand up paddle shapers during my trip. I’m waiting for more info from Todd on the distance boards because I really want to get one (or 2) also. The 12′ and 14′ C4 distance boards will from Boardworks. The Karel design will be the same dimensions as the 14′ and made in carbon fiber weighing 18 lbs total.

  7. Chris Koerner 7Chris Koerner

    Cool. Let me know when you’re coming back to the mainland. There’s a lot of SUP divisions in the paddleboard races including a couple Catalina crossings. We can hook you up with a board & paddle. There’s some cool distance boards in use over here for our conditions. I’m sure Ron showed you his standamarans.

  8. Evan Leong 8evan

    Thanks Chris. I get to California normally once a year or so in the fall. Maybe next time my wife will let me get in the water there but I am dreading cold water and wet suits. I saw the standamaran at Ron House’s shop and will post it in the near future. Aloha.

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