Perceptions can be a funny thing. For instance: you may consider Cotswolds based McConks to be just another run of the mill inflatable stand up paddle board brand. Yet there’s more to them than that. Enter the McConks Freedom hard SUP – yep, we said ‘hard’ board…
Review & pics: Tez Plavenieks
To be fair this isn’t the first time McConks have offered up a hard shell stand up paddle board. Over the last few years there have been options to get hold of designs more akin to race SUPs – something that’s still the case for 2021. In this instance, however, it’s the Freedom 10’6 I’m spotlighting here.
Conceived as a hard shell windSUP initially the Freedom turns out to be an adept surfing sled – albeit with windSUP performance still intact. During testing I enjoyed some particularly solid swell days which delivered the perfect opportunity to check out the Freedom’s wave performance.
Hopping aboard and the Freedom feels nimble and lively, mostly attributed to its tucked rails. That said the board’s secondary stability is exemplary. With current and strong tides in the mix, Neptune’s Revenge was doing his best to throw me off balance but the Freedom held its own and allowed accurate positioning whilst waiting for jacked up peaks.
Being a 10’6 the additional glide (when compared to shorter surf SUPs for instance) is tangible. Revving up to speed quick smart McConks’ Freedom can be rolled in to waves early, right out back, or take off more critically, comforted by the fact you’ll be able to outrun thick pitching lips.
Once on a face, the 10’6 rockets down to the trough and as long as you’re positioned towards the board’s rear it carves efficiently, squirting spray as it goes. Fin tuning certainly plays its part and I spent a while tinkering to enable maximum performance. Mimicking a longboard style wave personality, the Freedom errs on the carvier side of the surf SUP spectrum and would compliment a traditional style of riding with perhaps a new school slant.
Additional versatility’s locked in with McConks’ Freedom 10’6 having option to attach a windsurf rig. A bigger central fin helps here when chasing breeze but it’s an equally adept performer when a blow’s in effect. And, to top it off, flat water cruising is definitely still applicable should waves and wind disappear.
If you’re surprised McConks offer hard stand up paddle boards, that fit wave and breeze scenarios, then don’t be. McConks owners – Andy and Jen – come from a surf and windsurf background so it’s understandable. The Freedom 10’6 is a lightweight sled that’s at home in small to larger swells for those who fancy carving some turns. If you want windy day performance then you’ll also be accommodated. Available as pre-order the McConks Freedom 10’6 is a welcome toy from a brand more associated with inflatables.