Pendleboard’s unique concept relies on having half the board inflatable and the tail section rigid. In theory this should mean the best of both worlds for paddle surfers – especially those who travel regularly.
Straight out the box and the 9.6ft looks sexy. It’s sleek lined with only the faintest of joins, letting you know where the hard section ends and the blow up bit starts. Supplied with pump, three piece paddle and well-thought-out travel bag (including wheels and shoulder straps), it was easy to inflate and get things moving. Surprisingly the pump didn’t have a gauge and no recommended psi instruction. The old fashioned ‘lean on it; is it hard enough?’ test came into play. To be honest, for anyone with iSUP experience, identifying when the board has enough air is pretty easy.
Lightweight and comfortable to carry, we first tried the Pendleboard 9.6ft on a standing river wave. Displaying suitably composed traits, even our heaviest tester was impressed in this environment. It managed to ferry glide into position efficiently and once on the wave cut back and forth without issue.
The 9.6ft, however, is really designed for surfing in the traditional sense. When confronted with an open water wave the board’s glide is good. A good deal of the Pendleboard’s volume is located right up front – we were worried this may push water and impede forward thrust. Not so; the 9.6ft redlines with ease and drops in efficiently.
Due to the board’s half and half design, to get any kind of performance wave riding going you’ll need to be right on the tail. If sliding gutless fat waves, riders will be up front on the inflatable section. This area isn’t the most efficient and it sort of sticks a little. A few board pumps, however, will unglue it and have promote sliding.
Once on the rigid part, however, riders will discover the 9.6ft’s true colours. It’s possible to crank a pivoted turn off the bottom and bash a lip as you would a 100% hard shell SUP. There’s a degree of flex in the front half as you whip one off a vertical section but riders will get used to this quickly. More importantly, the designers have crafted enough rocker into the nose for it not to pearl on re-entry, therefore making performance SUP surfing moves possible.
Fins supplied are pretty standard stock affairs. We’d be inclined to swap these out ASAP – but that’s just a minor niggle.
The Pendleboard will be a complete revelation for travelling SUP surfers or those with limited storage. Displaying ample wave riding performance to keep all but pros happy, the 9.6ft will fit paddle surf quivers snugly. Sceptics may question the technology but believe us when we say: this concept truly works.
Further info: http://pendleboard.com