Starboard’s Drive continues to be a super popular stand up paddle board in the UK and straddles the all round SUP/small to medium size wave board category. Looking exactly like a longboard style wave rider it’s a balanced and composed ride on the flat and will suit those looking for mellow sessions cruising their local put in.
Manufactured, as is usual with the big S brand, to a high standard it looks the business sitting on the beach. A quality central fin potrudes from the board’s underbelly and has been optimised for the Drive’s flat water capabilities. There’s the option of adding side bites – recommended if heading to the surf.
Once aboard the Drive it’s a very forgiving ride, even when faced with confused sea states. As such it makes a good junky wave machine and rewards paddlers with an easy sweep out to the line up. Sticking with the non-wave theme for a second, the Drive tracks well for a blunt nose SUP and glide is respectable, which makes it a good choice for those looking for a tool to simply get afloat.
Back into waves and it’ll climb white water easily, getting you out back swiftly, and offers a great tutoring platform for those surfing newbies. Prowling the take off Starboard’s Drive 10.5ft is nippy and able to be positioned in the right spot just at the correct time – that said, remember not to be a wave hog, as this board will allow that if you let it!
Picking off swells super early the Drive drops in with a decent amount of speed. It’s then a progressive carve off the bottom to slingshot riders down the line or back up to the lip. While perfectly capable of cutting back the Drive isn’t an aggressive wave rider. Instead it’s all about the fun factor and styling it. If you do want a degree more manoeuvrability then it’d be worth swapping the central fin for something smaller which loosens the Drive up further.
The Drive is strong and durable in AST construction and while light enough it might be worth considering the brushed carbon model for a truly throw about sensation – that extra reduction in weight will allow for more aggressive riding.
That said, the Drive really is a multi-tool for paddlers who sweep across various environments – not just waves. Even Yoga antics are applicable with Starboard’s Drive 10.5ft.
Although we put the Drive 10.5ft through its paces in waves there’s more to this sled than arcing cutbacks. Composed and well-mannered on flat water it’s a delightful board to paddle for the sheer hell of getting afloat. When a bump does show itself you’ll be more than tooled up for attacking a few liquid walls and for a 30” wide SUP the Drive carves well – albeit in a more drawn out fashion.
It’s not hard to see why Starboard’s Drive 10.5ft has such a loyal following. Straddling multi-disciplines this is a one SUP fits all that can be used across inland waterways and surf orientated ocean environments without blinking.
Price: From £799.00 (Starshot Construction) AST £1085.00 (as reviewed)
Available in: Astro Inflatable, Starshot, AST Electric, Wood and Carbon