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Swiss Army (wind) SUP – AHD Sealion 8.3ft review

AHD Sealion 8.3ft

  AHD logo http://www.ahd-boards.com

AHD’s Sealion 8.3ft is an unusual looking piece of kit – the huge swallow tail and stumpy outline does confuse many. AHD have come up with a unique shape, that’s for sure, with emphasis placed firmly on windSUP shenanigans. Of course, the 8.3ft can also be paddled in stand up mode, but contrasting to many other windSUP designs, it’s a twin fin sail powered craft first.

At 8.3ft in length it’s relatively compact with 135L of volume and 29.5” width. From a traditional SUP point of view that’s a small board (for many), whereas in windy rig terms it’s about middle of the spectrum – riders up to 85kg should have no trouble.

AHD Sealion 8.3ftAttaching your sail is easy enough but care should be taken if using it in an area with real shore break. (Carrying using the overhead Hawaiian method shown on the very useful ‘How to Sealion’ video http://www.sealion.ahd-boards.com/how-to-sealion will help). You’ll need to be well clear of any wave action when attaching your rig, otherwise it could be ding central as the shore dump chucks your kit on the beach.

Once sailing it’s a relatively stable beast that tracks well upwind – twin fins providing decent lateral resistance. While not the widest of boards, it’s possible to throw in a few old school light wind windsurf freestyle moves – less than accurate foot placement will see riders in the drink though.

The 8.3ft’s forte really is about making the most of slack mushy swells. When it’s too windy to paddle, yet not breezy enough for your small windsurf kit (and you’re not into SUP downwinding), reach for the Sealion 8.3ft. The sensation of wave riding without footstraps is refreshing and the 8.3ft prowls the break efficiently, leaving you to focus on having fun. Being uncluttered, the deck is a joy to move around.

In SUP mode the Sealion feels fairly stable (with adequate skills and experience) and gives a high ride – due mainly to its thickness. While not a red line speed needle, it nevertheless tracks well and copes with chop admirably. If being used in waves you’ll need to give it some oomph during turns, but once you adapt, you can really get some spray flying, otherwise it’s a comfortable and playful cruise down the line on mellow swells. The extra length and thinner rails enhance the balance, grip and glide when compared to the Classic 7.6ft. That said, the still generous volume in the nose allows fun rebounds off white water.

CONCLUSION
AHD’s Sealion series is all about versatility and maximising your time on the brine. The 8.3ft is a multi-purpose Swiss Army windSUP that we feel is best suited to middleweights (70-85kg) looking for maximum bang for their buck. Applicable for flat water (SUP and wind), its true calling is small to medium size mushy waves – the Sealion 8.3ft simply screams fun! Bigger boned individuals should check out AHD’s 150L Sealion XL or the full EVA deck Summerboard version (which is great for all round family use). Lighter riders should aim for AHD’s 115L Sealion Pro, or even the 90L Seal. (If you’re still unsure about windSUP then check out our feature on page 38).

Further info: For more info pop over to www.ahd-boards.com and www.kaisports.co.uk as well as all the AHD Sealion videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Email info@kaisports.co.uk and naishuk2@aol.com or call Jon on 02380 840777.

Price: £999 inc. twin fins

AHD Sealion 8.3ft

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About thepaddlerezine (253 Articles)
Editor of The Paddler ezine and Publisher of Stand Up Paddle Mag UK and WindsurfingUK magazines

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