By Dale Mears
For a number of years, I have fancied making the transition from kayaking to SUP for summer evening adventures. As a kayaker, I quickly realised that there isn’t a great deal of variation with regard to a board’s design, especially at entry-level. By this I mean the shape, size, etc is all pretty much a muchness, although I am sure the race, surf and touring boards do differ quite a lot.
However, when you start looking you realise there are now so many boards available – do you choose an inflatable board or a solid board? Ideally I wanted something to get the hang of SUP but also a board I could take transport easily, without any hassle – so for me it was always going to be an iSUP. I spent a lot of time looking and in the end listened to recommendations and bought the FatStick Blue Lagoon 10’6” iSUP.
The FatStick arrived late last summer in a cardboard box, which was nicely presented with, “From FatStick with love,” which I thought was a nice touch. Inside the deflated board itself was far smaller than I expected. Everything I needed was supplied in the package I chose including the pump, fin, leash, paddle and bag and all good quality. I bought the board in FatStick’s sale for an amazing £462, half the price of a Red Paddle board I had looked at. Question is – was it only half as good?
I haven’t paddled the Red Paddle 10’6” but have SUP’ed my friend’s 10’8” many times for comparison. The board itself has a recommended rating of 15-22psi but at 15psi there was quite a bit of flex but then that was with 13st in the centre! Speaking to a few friends, they advised inflating to around 22psi, from where I found it a completely different animal – very strong with no flex compared to some cheaper boards. I found the Blue Lagoon to be stable and quickly picked up moving around the surface to change position and manoeuvre the board. Though not as fast as a solid board, it did move well and tracked neatly, for a general purpose iSUP, it is perfect for my needs.
Build quality is very good, featuring three very strong carry handles front and back and one in the centre making transportation easy. They are comfortable to grip and make lifting onto the roof a cinch, particularly when inflated. The only real set up needed is to attach the fin, which is fastened with a small threaded screw and takes a few seconds, with the two outer fins fixed to the board.
The board itself has a double-skinned drop stitch construction that makes it very durable. Some of cheaper boards are only single skinned construction, which means they don’t hold their shape as well. The paddle provided is an adjustable, good quality fibreglass model that felt quite strong. I only used it once as I purchased one of the new VE SUP paddles, which was far superior.
However, if I take the board abroad, which I plan to do, the adjustable paddle fits in the bag provided, so I would use that to prevent paying for extra travel arrangements.
The package does come with the option of a seat if you have kids or fancy sitting on the board. However, if you’re reading this, you’re most likely a paddler anyway and not interested but it does allow you to use it with the family.
When packed away in the bag, it is easy to carry and throw in the car and I can’t wait to take it aboard and go on some clear water adventures. The bag has good strong adjustable rear and chest straps, wheels and a comfortable handle for lugging about.
I haven’t taken it out into the surf or whitewater as yet but Andy Campbell, the FatStick team rider, has great footage and photos of the Blue Lagoon performing at the Cardiff White Water course, which the board handles with aplomb.
I’ve loved every trip out on this board so far and look forward to getting out and about in the new year. FatStick offer a great range of boards, from a cheaper ISUP to more dedicated hard boards.