Touring boards these days give such a wide range of user appeal that it’s possible to take out beginner paddlers, who’ve no prior experience, surf moderate waves and cruise your local flat water spot. Having tested the Snell Brothers Widow Maker 8.3ft last issue, we wanted to check out their non-bump offering – The Don 12.6ft.
The Don comes with typical Snell Bros livery – bamboo finishing with black rails make the board look super sexy. With individual Mafioso styling, it sets itself apart from the get go. At 29” wide it’s not the widest of sticks on paper yet even our beginner paddler found it to be incredibly stable – despite a bit of breeze blowing and chop running. The hull contours, wide tail and stable nose play a big part in this and our newbie was up and riding in no time.
For paddlers with experience, The Don cuts through flotsam with ease and tracks well. A few corrective strokes are needed here and there to keep the 12.6ft on point, but by and large it glides with ease and will get SUPers to their destination efficiently.
Where The Don really excelled – in fact much more so than anticipated – was when heading downwind. Of course, there isn’t enough rocker in touring boards for full on roller running, but in small swells and breeze The Don glides efficiently and it’s a great intro board for this type of SUPing. Paddlers will need to be proactive around the deck to stop the nose pearling but it’s a fun and rewarding board that’s great for those looking at getting into open ocean sweeping.
The Snell Brothers Don 12.6ft is a good all terrain SUP vehicle that delivers on many fronts. It’s not the quickest, so perhaps entry level racers should look elsewhere. For the majority of paddlers, and the conditions they find themselves in, however, The Don is a worthy consideration. And beginners shouldn’t be put off by the pointy nose. The Don is a perfectly applicable learning platform with oodles of performance to grow into.
Looking great in a bamboo finish, the supplied FCS fin is pretty good as well – it’s nice to see a higher tech skeg being supplied as standard.
Further info: http://www.sbsboards.com/product/the-don
Price: £799 for board only or £899 with Snell Bros paddle