WindSUP, as we’ve already discussed in our feature elsewhere in this issue, can mean many different things. For some, it’s the ability to catch waves and ride them in the lightest of airs. For others, it’s simply cruising in the sun, a family beach toy, a great tool for learning multi activities or a way of getting two disciplines for the price of one. Having the ability to paddle or sail is double bubble for ALL users, especially in times when green is scarce and a return on investment is crucial.
Starboard’s Waterman Package has its feet planted firmly in the recreational cruising camp – the type of windsurfing that caused the sport to explode in the 80s and the paddling we all still do. Comprised of the brand’s 12.2ft Freeride SUP, windSUP 5.5m sail and Enduro Tiki Tech adjustable paddle, it’s a whole bundle of multi discipline fun.
Anyone plumping for the Waterman Package will get all the bits ‘n’ bobs they need to get on the water, including fins and rig components – faffing around buying all the peripheral ‘stuff’ isn’t required. As usual, Starboard’s level of detailing, finishing and manufacturing prowess shines through in all areas of their product. It’s available in either Electric Blue (the one we tested) or ASAP (more cost effective and durable) constructions.
In the least amount of wind (6-8 knots), you can rig the sail, connect to the board and off you pop. Attach the central fin for improved upwind performance and cruise the coast. Swap out for the more swept back skeg and the board loosens up, displaying a livelier nature fine for small wave sliding. Had enough of pottering? Mix it up with some old school sail flicking or why not teach someone a new sport – all perfectly applicable with the Waterman Package. The rig itself is easy to assemble with minimal understanding of tuning needed to get wet. Simply sheath the sail, attach the boom, connect to the board and get gone.
The Starboard cuts through the brine with ease and is a stable and confidence inspiring platform with comfortable feet-friendly decking under foot. Switch from sail to paddle power and what was once a windy craft is now an efficient stand up paddling machine. Moving around the deck gives better trim – forwards is better heading into chop and towards the tail for a looser, more manoeuvrable experience. The Freeride hull is an efficient flat water design, taking elements from Starboard’s comp winning race line and is as great a paddler as you’d expect. The Tiki Tech paddle is versatile and great for SUP beginnings.
Starboard’s Waterman Package fits a niche that will appeal to water users looking for maximum time afloat. Of course there are those who want to eke out maximum performance in waves and purists never to be convinced by windSUP. But for sheer ‘just getting on the water and having fun’, the Waterman Package is hard to beat.
Affordable multi activity bit of kit manufactured by a premium brand at a competitive price. Effective light wind cruising in windSUP mode with the ability to get all the family having fun regardless of wind strength and water state. Teach beginners to windsurf or simply get them swinging a blade. Head off on coastal exploratory missions or meander across your local pond. Starboard’s Waterman package is a great toy for those who want maximum bang for their buck, time on the water and fun – whatever the conditions.
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Prices: Electric Blue – £1399 ASAP – £849