Surftech’s 14 foot Bark Expedition awarded “Gear of the Year”



January 14, 2010 (Santa Cruz, CA) – The 14 foot Bark Expedition was named “Best Stand Up Paddleboard” in the Dec 2009/Jan 2010 issue of the Men’s Journal. The “Gear of the Year” issue awards top honors to the best outdoor products of 2009. Other “Gear of the Year” honorees included notable brands such as Oakley, Canon, Rolex, BMW, Mountain Hardware and GoPro among other prestigious brands. “We couldn’t be happier with this honor.” said the board’s designer Joe Bark. “I worked with my top team guys here in California and in Hawaii testing out countless 14 foot boards over the course of more than a year until we found the magic formula. We were designing boards that would paddle well in flat, calm water and in rough, choppy seas. We had our guys test the boards in oily glass conditions as well as open ocean wind swells. This board far exceeded expectations in both conditions.”


“An Everest size pile of new products materializes every year, each one claiming to be the next big thing. The majority are unremarkably satisfactory; a few are laughably pathetic. Rarest of all are the 25 superlative objects on these six pages.” stated the Mens Journal article. In honoring the 14 foot Bark, the article went on to say, “As stand up paddleboarding grows from niche to mainstream, the gear only gets better. Case in point: the new Joe Bark 14 foot Expedition from the legendary South Bay shaper, made by Surftech. The sleek silhouette makes quick work of multi-mile trips, yet still feels stable in choppy seas.”

To get your hands (or feet) on the “Best Stand Up Paddleboard” of the year, stop by your local REI store or visit Colorado Kayak Supply, Outpost of Holland, Tahoe Paddle & Oar, the Kayak Connection, Great Outdoor Provision Co. or check for dealers in your area.

The Expedition was tested in a variety of diverse conditions. Check out the gallery to see the team putting it through its paces.

For more info contact:
Duke Brouwer
Surftech Marketing

Surftech on facebook
Surftech on facebook

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8 Responses to “Surftech’s 14 foot Bark Expedition awarded “Gear of the Year””

  1. Dan 1Dan

    Hi Evan,

    This spring I plan on buying a 14′er. I have read about other people saying they like the Expedition. So I have a few questions.

    What would be the advantages/disadvantages of the Expedition vs a bark with a canoe stlye nose like this(assuming it was a 14′)?

    Would one be better for distance than the other?

    Is 14′ too big not to have a rudder?

    Can you compare how your FW14 would stack up to both types of Bark boards?

    Board will be used on East Coast – coastal waterways/sounds/bays and maybe open ocean.

    Is one more stable than the other?

    I assume the durability nod goes to the Surftech?

    Anything else you think might be be applicable.

    Feel free to email answer if it’s easier.

    I have checked out your review of the Expedition already. Just wanted to hear comparative thoughts.

    Thanks and sorry for the monster post.

  2. Evan Leong 2evan

    Dan – See answers below:

    What would be the advantages/disadvantages of the Expedition vs a bark with a canoe stlye nose like this(assuming it was a 14′)?

    - I think this depends on what your goal and use for the board will be. I’ve tested and ridden both types of boards you mentioned. They are pretty different. The Expedition is more applicable to surf conditions and is an entirely different feel than the canoe style nose (csn). The csn tracks straighter and has more glide, especially in flat water conditions. The Expedition has screw inserts to attach handles and other things like a net, bungee, etc. You can fit a kid, dog, etc on the front easier. The csn is more for a single person bc the front area is pretty dome shaped.

    Would one be better for distance than the other?

    - I think in flat water conditions, the csn paddles straighter and glides farther then the Expedition. In wind and swell, the Expedition seems to have a better rocker outline and doesn’t have an issue with the bow steering. If you’re going on a long distance cruise, it’s easier to strap on gear to the Expedition than the csn.

    Is 14′ too big not to have a rudder?

    - This depends on you. Lots of people ride 14’s w/ no rudder. I personally like a rudder on anything that’s going to go on a downwind run. In flat water I don’t think it matters that much unless you’re making a lot of turns or going around buoys. The rudder on the Bark will add 3 lbs.

    Can you compare how your FW14 would stack up to both types of Bark boards?

    - So far that’s up in the air. I think the FW14 that I have doesn’t have enough volume for my weight. I told Mark that everything else about the board is perfect, other than the volume. The next version will be much thicker. These boards are so different that it’s hard to tell other than personal preference. I do like the rudder on the FW14. It’s very slick. When the wind is light and waves are small, it’s fun to surf the Expedition. I’ll also take the F-14 for conditions like that but the Expedition is more durable and actually surfs pretty good for a 14′ board. I took out the csn Bark 14 in similar conditions and had a great time on it last week. I’m much more scared of the csn and F-14 or FW14 getting damaged than I am with the Expedition. They are all used for different conditions and purposes.

    Board will be used on East Coast – coastal waterways/sounds/bays and maybe open ocean.

    - You’ll need to be more specific on this question.

    Is one more stable than the other?

    On flat water they are all stable. Actually, they are all pretty stable in general.

    I assume the durability nod goes to the Surftech?

    - Yes

    Anything else you think might be be applicable.

    - You should try and demo these boards to see what you prefer. Everyone has different preferences.

  3. Dan 3Dan


    Thanks for responding.

    I think that I am more interested in the csn boards.

    I will not be paddling without much gear or carrying anyone but myself.

    That said-

    When comparing a 12′6 CSN board to a 14′ CSN board by the same shaper…so they are almost the same

    will there be much difference?

    will it be noticable?

    What about how far you can go on a paddle…would the 14′ increase the total distance due to more glide and better tracking…less effort…leaving more in the “gas” tank?

    Is it worth the $ and the extra hassle for a 14′ or really doesn’t make sense to go bigger than 12′6 unless you are going up to 16′ or 18′?(for conditions described in earlier post- I understand on a DW run it would)

    note – probably will be making a move on a board in late March early April…if your FW14 goes on the auction block keep me in mind before posting.THX.

    Be well.

  4. Dan 4Dan

    oops – will be paddling with limited gear

  5. Evan Leong 5evan

    Dan – I think there is a noticeable difference btw the 12′6″ and 14′ but I’m 210 lbs now (ate too much during the holidays). The 12′6 may be easier to transport and can go in the stock 12′6″ category for racing but that’s about the only advantages I can think of. 14′ is better but if you want to go fast over a long distance then the 18′ open class displacement hull boards are hard to beat. I currently either ride a 14′ or 18′ for distance boards.

    If you are over 200 lbs then the 14′ or longer is probably going to feel better for you.

    Are you in Hawaii? If I sell the FW-14, it’ll be in Hawaii because it’s too much hassle to ship it.

  6. Dan 6Dan


    I understand the shipping thing. To my dis-pleasure I am NOT in HI.

    I am 175lbs with little fluctuation…165-180.

    I would like to ride/try/own an 18′er but storage is not possible right now without building a special storage unit. My shed is too small to fit one.

    I think the 14′ is the way to go. I live on the water w/dock so transporting the board would be minimal. A trip here and there for 30min. to check out other local spots or to drive back after a paddle and few road trips to events during the year.

    I figure at my weight I will fly on a 14′.

    How fragile are these types of boards? I understand you have to vent them and if done riding, needs to go in a bag(out of sun) but other than that not to bad?

    Thanks for answering all my questions.

    Be well and enjoy the day.

  7. Evan Leong 7evan

    Dan – You’re in a good weight zone. The FW-14 would work fine for your weight as will the others. With carbon fiber boards they get hot really fast so it’s best to keep them out of the heat. My carbon boards get so hot in direct sunlight that sometimes in a few minutes I can’t touch it without my hand getting burned.

  8. Helford River Expeditions 8Helford River Expeditions

    Hey everyone,

    Im amazed at how the su paddleboard industry has “grown up” so quickly. Its fantastic! I just think there need to be more comps and races for all age groups and abilities to move it into the main stream surf market!

    Helford River Expeditions

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