Bert Burger has been shaping boards for over 30 years – first surfboards (which he continues to do) and now SUP. He’s also had a hand in the Firewire brand which is arguably one of the most recognisable surfboard companies in existence. With this evidence his design skills speak for themselves.
Sunova stand up paddle boards have been getting a lot of attention across the pond in Australia and the States. We were gagging to get our grubbies on one of their sleds to see what the fuss is about. With such a surf pedigree you’d be hard pushed to find a true all round board in the Sunova range – race and waves pretty sum up the line. As such we test drove the Soul 9.5ft which is billed as all round wave machine that should still retain enough flat water performance to satisfy.
Out of the bag the Soul looks pucka. With its classic wave outline the 9.5ft’s construction is A1. Bamboo shows through a resin top coat while rails are wrapped internally with a carbon strip and finished with brush effect silver paint work. This is actually a stroke of genius as it makes the rails super tough without weight gain, and while all SUPs pick up scuffs eventually the boiard’s livery helps them blend in.
A set of top notch thruster FCS fins protrude from the tail while the carry system Sunova utilise is unique. A robust plastic handle pops up out of the deck and is super solid (even though we initially thought it mightn’t be). It’s probably the best carry handle available in SUP…
Afloat you can feel the Soul crying out for swell. It’s certainly fine to paddle on the flat, for medium to lightweight riders. The 9.5ft, however, really wants a liquid wall to carve up. Unfortunately Mother Nature wasn’t playing ball and we only managed a few soupy sessions. That said the Soul proves adept in junky conditions and those with prior paddle surfing skill will be able to milk any type of wave for all it’s worth with the Sunova.
Concentration will be needed for the Soul to keep tracking correctly but glide can’t be faulted. It’s a board that picks up even the merest sniff of a bump and quickly redlines to top speed. If you’re a larger paddler looking for a one SUP wave board then you can’t go far wrong with the Soul.
Super light and beautifully finished, with innovative carry handle and high spec FCS fins, Burt Berger’s Sunova Soul 9.5ft is a thoroughbred wave SUP with added usability/versatility for those looking at some flat water performance. While not a specific all round SUP it does paddle OK away from waves but surf is where it feels most at home. A great choice for UK paddle surfers who want a one board quiver for whatever Neptune can throw at us, Sunova’s Soul 9.5ft is a high end premium slider that all rippers will love. And if wave windSUP is your thing then you’ll also be well served with a mini mastrack embedded forwards of the handle. All in, a great concept with Bert’s signature adorning the bottom to make it feel almost custom esque.