With introduction of performance surf SUP, the War Bird reviewed March 2017, SBS signposted their intent. Already a good range of user friendly SUPs – many of which we’ve had a dig on (See SUPM website for write ups) – the brand’s Long Bow 12’6 is another addition to a steadily increasing high performance range.
Billed as an open ocean speed machine the Long Bow features a pronounced concave running along its hull to an equally pronounced V. On the deck the LB’s nose is designed for water shedding with comfortable carry handles, positioned in all the right places. In full carbon form it’s an easy SUP to carry – its light weight ensuring a swift entry and exit from the brine.
Venturing into tidal waters first we hopping aboard, the LB’s sharp boxy rails make for a stable ride. There’s a good deal of secondary stability also enabling it to be railed onto an edge and reduce drag. Even at 25” (narrow for some) there’s more usability than you’d imagine and prospective riders – experienced bigger boned paddlers shouldn’t be put off.
Moving feet about the deck yields best trim for conditions. Up front to engage the nose and enhance knifing capabilities – although be aware there’s a tad more roll here. Further back lifts the nose and allows efficient bump catching. While certainly not a specific downwind machine the Long Bow is an admirable lump runner. It also surfs proper waves without too much hassle.
Having checked out ocean water we headed to the flat for comparison. A complete revelation the Long Bow is quick on glassy water – much faster than we anticipated! Without chop and flotsam trimming the SBS results in efficient release through each stroke. Add in easy manoeuvring and you have a potentially lethal sprint racer with the right pilot.
Looking every bit the polished product it is the SBS Long Bow 12’6 is a full power carbon speed needle that handles open water environments and sheltered stretches with suitable aplomb. Versatile enough for both racing and touring (with experienced paddlers atop) it’s a smooth transition from bumps to glassy conditions. Eye catching, performance orientated and cost effective – what’s not to like?
Price: Normally £1200 currently on sale (Aug 2018) £999