Having had the experience of testing Fatstick boards in the past we weren’t sure what to expect with the brand’s 12.6ft racer. Team rider Will Littleboy certainly puts the 14ft version to good use but as an affordable SUP brand, by their own admission, we were somewhat sceptical of a company more associated with all round recreational sticks.
Upon arrival the Fatstick has some impressively good looks. Uber sexy bamboo livery shines through the top glass coat on deck while the hull paint job switches to black pretty fast. The mid-section deck pad is high quality and grippy although surprising was the raised spine, where the carry handle is located, in the standing area. The whole package is one of quality and certainly not budget, which some may presume with the brand’s low pricing structure.
On the water the Fatstick is stable and slices a clean line through chop. It doesn’t feel lightning fast upwind but isn’t any slouch either. It certainly holds its own against other similar SUPs and the board’s primary stability ensures trimming is easy for the less experienced.
Reaching our destination it was time to whack in a buoy turn – at which point we realised there was zero traction at the rear of the board. Waxing, therefore is a must. You could of course add a tail pad but this would spoil the board’s sexy looks and add unnecessary weight.
Having spun downwind the real character of the Fatstick shines through. We’ve spotted a trend across a number of 12.6ft touring/race boards of late. Usually proper downwind performance is reserved for specific sleds. There seems to be a crop of SUPs, however, which have been optimised to work in light to moderate conditions. True downwind enthusiasts may guffaw at the Fatstick’s pure ‘runner’ pedigree but there’s no denying it picks up bumps easily and rides them until every last drop of ocean energy is spent – with minimal effort we might add.
Switch to total flat water and the Fatstick’s ride returns to one of composure. It’s certainly up there holding its own in this environment but open water swells is where it really wants to be.
If you’re planning on racing in breezy conditions or looking for a more recreationally led downwind stick (in the 12ft class) then look no further. Fatstick have produced a super high quality roller machine that could unlock your desire for hunting down chevrons (bumps). While not a specific DW sled it’ll go some way to tutoring in this area of SUP and during the right race conditions may even help you to a podium.
There’s also the option of upgrading to carbon/honeycomb fins with all Fatstick models – something we’d definitely recommend!
You can see a vid of our ed putting the 12.6ft through its paces –