After riding the F-16 and the C4 prototype racing stand up paddle boards a while back I asked Todd Bradley if I could borrow the C4 boards while he went on his trip to Tahiti. Todd said that the boards were going to someone else while he was gone but I could borrow the F-16. Not a bad concession, huh? I picked up the board and finally got a chance to ride it.
The last session on the F-16 was in moderate winds and high chop. I had a hard time balancing and using the steering mechanism. I asked Jeff from Wet Feet if this was normal and he told me that it needed to be really windy to get the full effect of the F-16. On Thursday, October 25, I did a second downwind stand up paddle run with my friend Kekoa. He went on the Angulo 11′9″ and I went on Todd’s F-16. The F-16 is 16’ X 27 3/8” X 5 1/4” and the Angulo is 11′9″ X 31″ X 4.25″.
I can’t remember where I heard it but the suggestion was to that it took something like 5 sessions to get the feel for the steering. I think that’s feasible. This second run I had a much easier time steering with my right foot and not falling off. The issue was that I was in a weird foot position during the last session that it made me off balance. Now I placed the steering lever between my big and second toe and that made it easy. The steering system on the F-16 works really well in my opinion. When you catch a wave and then surf, it goes back to neutral and you can still step on the tail to turn.
This board is super fast in high winds. The winds were 20 mph + in the gusts and I could move without paddling if I wanted to. I actually caught a number of open ocean swells and those were super fun. It’s a whole new feeling to catch ocean energy that doesn’t even break. I’m starting to like this board more and more each time I ride it. As luck has it, when I really fall in love with it, Todd will be back and then bye bye to my F-16.
I heard through the grapevine that there is a new 14 foot model coming out. I don’t have any real details other than it’s supposed to be even better than the F-16. I guess we’ll see.