We first got our hands on Neptune’s 12.6ft pointy nose SUP a few years ago. Since then the brand has introduced their Mach #2 11ft Cruiser touring SUP to the range. Keen to get our grubbies on one, we finally had chance to test it for this issue. Since the original incarnation of Neptune’s shapes, the brand has tweaked a few things such as the fins, which are now high quality honeycomb glass skegs.
Manufactured in EPS foam core, fibreglass wrap, bamboo veneer top layer and carbon rails, the Cruiser certainly looks the business on the beach. Interestingly there’s a decent amount of rocker built in and the nose differs to other touring SUPs in that it protrudes up. This translates to efficient knifing through the water and copes especially well with flotsam and chop.
There’s a defined sweet spot to paddle from, however, and locating this will be wise. Too far back and the nose rises far too much whereas overegging forward reaching stance results in no bite from the fin or tail – loss of tracking being the result. In the sweet spot, however, it’s nippy (for an 11ft) and rewarding to ride. There’s no reason why paddlers couldn’t use the 11ft for racing and touring combined – it’s therefore more of a hybrid than anything else and super versatile.
Stability is good and the Cruiser’s flat deck is confidence inspiring. Even in the most confused water states you’d be hard pushed to fall. We’ve said it plenty of times in the past but it’s worth mentioning once more; touring boards offer plenty of properties that early intermediates, and some beginners, would find beneficial. And if waves are your thing then, again, a touring board could be a worthy buy – especially if regularly ripping ankle slappers or weak rollers.
With skill it’s possible to bottom and top turn the Neptune. As odd as it first appeared, the kick block tail pad was most welcome when hitting a few mellow liquid walls. It’s a fairly easy shape to set a rail and there’s enough manoeuvrability to keep wave heads happy – especially those looking to be on the water whatever the conditions.
If you’re planning excursions and adventure paddles, the bungee cord on the nose gives a way of lashing belongings down. And as a kit carrier the 11ft Cruiser works fine. It’s worth not overloading it with paraphernalia if you do venture off the beaten track, but essentials are no hassle.
Neptune’s Cruiser 11ft is a good example of how touring boards are more than applicable for progressing paddlers. With oodles of stability, the 11ft offers a supremely composed and planted ride. And yet, if SUPers desire performance then the Neptune will deliver and satisfy all but upper echelon SUP athletes. With its top drawer construction, bang for buck and versatility, the Cruiser 11ft is a worthy choice for all round paddlers across a variety of SUP environments.
Price: £799 or £899 with Neptune adjustable carbon paddle
Note: honeycomb fins and carbon rails are only available on pro versions for an extra £100