Making the ultimate crossover board, one that straddles disciplines and performs in each area equally well, is the Holy Grail of design; it’s also something that’s unachievable. Instead we have compromises – good ones – but compromises nonetheless.
Great SUPs are usually hailed as such for being multi-faceted and suitable for a broad spectrum of users. Nah Skwell seem to have cracked this with their Fit model. Having tested a number of the brand’s sticks previously, it was a revelation to come across this shape.
At 11ft, 30.8” wide and looking like a standard flat water board, there’s a chance you might dismiss the Fit. Yet if you’re (in particular we feel) a coastal paddler who mixes up their SUP time between flat water, moderately choppy downwind runs, fitness paddling and small waves, then this is a board to jump on. My interest was really pricked when scoping out the tail rocker. The Fit looks like an oversized surfboard – would this theory be proved wrong?
On flat water the Fit is super composed with an easy going nature. Even in breezy conditions you have to run off it to fall off unless you’re a total newbie. It tracks well through the brine, setting a line with ease and rarely deviating – even if paddle strokes are less than efficient. Unsurprisingly, the glide isn’t quite as good as the 12.6ft Nah Skwell model I have been testing at the same time, (although common to the brand’s theme, it’s still remarkably good). This really is a minor point when compared to Fit’s other performance attributes.
Downwind runs were super fun – the Fit’s composure coming to the fore and forgiving inaccurate footwork. Superior stability allows you to focus on paddling for runners and not your balance. It’s also relatively easy, due to the tail rocker and nose shape, to keep the bow from burying during rides.
The real revelation was in waves. I had a feeling the Fit would perform, and on a few occasions the conditions allowed me to be proved right. Taking off on slower walls is a joy, the Fit’s rail setting easily and helping slingshot the rider into position. Chucking in a few arcing turns is doable as the board’s persona changes from obedient old faithful (on the flat) to hot dogging slider in juice. Obviously there’s a point where your standard surf SUP will have to take over, but for the majority of paddlers’ small surf exploits the Fit works well.
Nah Skwell’s Fit is a superb blend of all round recreational performance. Happy on flat water paddling missions or in small waves, it’s a super fun stick that stand up riders of all levels will love. Partner it with a more hardcore SUP and you’ll have yourself a toy box ready to take on all conditions.
Prices: £1049 for OSSE Full Wood Sandwich construction, supplied with well raked 27cm US box Glass Fin