McConks have come a long way since we first tested the brand’s initial demo SUP a few years ago. In that time Andy McConkey and his wife have established the brand and pushed things on now offering a range of products suitable for multiple purposes. The Go Wild 9’8 being a case in point is an interesting design that sceptics may not get at first.
Built predominantly for white water river running the Go Wild is a wide yet short SUP with a bunch of features making it stand out. Assorted fin boxes allow for all manner of configurations from standard single central skegs to super short quads best suited to white water. There’s then the addition of a hard rubber edge along two thirds of the underneath. This isn’t the first time we’ve since this trait utilised but it’s the most pronounced and hard version we’ve encountered. In theory it should aid tracking, deliver increased water release and therefore enhance speed.
On the water there’s no doubting the Go Wild’s composure. It’s a stable beast that’s for sure. What was most surprising is how well it paddles in a straight line. With its stubby outline you’d be forgiven for thinking it’d push water and be a dog when momentum’s discussed. Happily we can report this isn’t the case. Instead it buzzes along with purpose and therefore provides a fulfilling all round paddling experience you’d usually get with a 10’6.
Turns is another area of focus with the 9’6 being a great tutor for anyone learning the ropes. If you’re yet to stomp a decent pivot then this is the platform for you. Spinning on a dime, but with plenty of ‘get out of jail free’ performance, it’ll allow muscle memory to be developed and efficiency learned.
So what of its intended use? Unfortunately we only had access to tidal moving white water. This, however, still provided us with great feedback. Messing about on dribbly standing waves, as you sometimes get in rivers, is super fun aboard the Go Wild. So much so that we actually felt bona fide. Chucking it at a few small waves also allowed us to glean how the McConks performs. It’s not a bad iSUP for bouncing around in swells with all the test team enjoying having a sweep aboard.
Proving looks are only skin deep McConks’ Go Wild 9’6 white water river iSUP has more to it than meets the eye. Great versatility ensures paddlers owning this sled would be good to go across multiple water states rather than only sticking to rivers. Highly manoeuvrable but with plenty of progression paddler performance it’ll no doubt find favour with many, not just inland SUPers.