Having tried the Snell Brothers Widow Maker 8.3ft big boys’ wave toy a few issues ago (standuppaddlemag.co.uk/2015/06/11/solid-as-a-rock-snell-bros-8-3ft-widow-maker/), we were keen to inspect the popular Navigator 10.6ft. Billed more as an all round SUP that can be used for wave riding, it’s manufactured in similar Snell bamboo/sandwich construction and looks the bomb.
As with a lot of boards, the provided fins aren’t what we’d like to see so these were swapped out for a higher performance set which instantly transforms the on water performance.
The Navigator offers great glide for a round nose SUP and it cuts a decent track through the water – paddlers barely having to deviate from their chosen course or having to drop in corrective strokes. As such it’d make a good all round stick for those looking for crossover performance.
Feeling quite long underfoot, paddling to the peak is a rapid experience. If there’s a lot of froth kicking about then you’ll need to step right back – further than you’d think, to hoof the nose over white water – but this is easy to get used to.
The Snell Navigator isn’t the lightest stick in its class but this actually comes into its own on fatter swells as momentum is easy to generate and keep the board gliding. Making sections and escaping crumbly lips is super easy with the 10.6ft and as such it’s great for building confidence in those new to surf environments.
Stepping back onto the tail during steeper wave rides unlocks a degree more manoeuvrability. Ripping turns, though, isn’t the Snell’s forte. It’s a board designed more for swooping turns and arcing cutbacks with maybe the odd nose ride thrown in for good measure. For riders perfecting their technique it’s also a good platform as it forgives clumsy foot placement and allows the rider to concentrate on having fun rather than chucking you off.
If you’re after crossover flat water performance then the Navigator is also as happy punting about creeks, estuaries, lakes, canals and rivers as it in open water. As a one board wave rider does all for middle to heavy weights it’s a good choice and it would also suit lighter weights looking for a fun all round flat water SUP to improve on.
We’ve tested a number of Snell Brothers SUPs now and all are configured for those slacker wave environments – something that makes sense when you consider the brand’s south coast location. The 10.6ft Navigator would suit slightly heavier riders looking for a cruisy board to surf and will help develop a high level of technique for when it’s time to move down to the Snell Widow Maker – their high performance toy reviewed here: standuppaddlemag.co.uk/2015/06/11/solid-as-a-rock-snell-bros-8-3ft-widow-maker/
If you love drawn out style carves, getting those toes over or mucking about in small to medium waves then the Navigator would fit the bill.
Price: £749 for board only or £849 for board and paddle