Bay Sports Original 10’6” (WOOD-LOOK)
It’s no secret that both paddleboarding and surfing as we know them have a shared history in Hawaii. And when you think of a classic Hawaiian style board of either kind, what image pops into your mind? How ever it looks, it probably involves a long, sleek board with a rich wood look.
- Gorgeous design
- Extra wide for more stability
- High weight capacity
- Premium accessories included
- Slower than other boards of the same length
- Less traction than other Bay Sports iSUPs
[ez-toc]With that mind, Bay Sports designed a limited-edition Original line of iSUPs that have the appearance of a bygone era but made from pure modern science. While there are similarities between this and the other Bay Sports 10’6” model — the Explore — there are enough differences to warrant a detailed look at this board on its own.
This is an exceptionally wide board for its length and that means one thing: stability. Even in choppy water, this SUP is designed to keep you upright and it does that well. It does come with a price as your board has more drag and therefore slows you down a bit. With that being said, it’s not a horribly significant difference and the board still has a nice glide to it.
Of the 2 Original series boards, if you wanted to go out surfing, this would be the one to use since it’s shorter and has a better nose for waves. Also, you’ll find that this iSUP is surprisingly maneuverable with the way the fins are set up underneath.
While it’s true that this iSUP has above average performance for a board of its specs, the fact of the matter is that if you’re interested in this board, it’s probably for the reasons that we’ll cover in the design section.
This is not much of a feature iSUP but it has everything that you’d need to get up and going. For instance, there is a standard center carrying handle that assists for carrying the board over land and a rear handle for moving in and out of the water.
The EVA foam pad is extra plush and even appears to come off the deck a little. It uses channels in the pad to make sure that if water gets on deck, it will easily roll off. The only issue we have here is that there isn’t as much traction like with the diamond grooved anti-slip pads on most other Bay Sports iSUPS.
Most Bay Sport boards give you a choice of 3 color schemes: Pink/Blue, Blue/Yellow or Navy/Orange. Obviously, this board only gives you 1 option, but that option is something else! This isn’t the only faux-wood board on the market, though it is one of the most realistic looking. For example, you’ll find a few iSUPS that have wood accents but the rest of the board looks like PVC. Here the entire board is covered in this design scheme
The board is perfectly balanced so that you have a good mix of speed and stability. Up front, the nose is slightly lifted to give the SUP better handling in choppy water but we wouldn’t really recommend it for waves since it has such a wide profile.
Toward the nose there is a storage area that’s standard on most boards of this brand: a 4-point bungee area with D-rings on each point for tying down extra gear. We have very mixed feelings about this since they could have been forgiven for not having any storage as this emulated a classic board. But since they did end up including it, it really would have been nice to have storage in the back as well. There’s 1 additional D-ring attached to the grab handle in the back for use with the included ankle leash
Underneath, we see a 3-fin thruster setup to help to provide as much speed as possible as the side fins cut down the drag from the large center fin.
As we’ve come to expect from other Bay Sports iSUPs, this board is also is incredibly light for its size, which comes with a whole list of benefits that we’ve already mentioned. This is in large part due to the Fusion-Tech construction that get its strength from a focusing on creating an internally reinforced board versus relying on 3 or even 4 layers of the outer PVC like other boards do.
However, there are areas that do have multiple layers of reinforcement. For example, the rails have 3 layers of PVC material since they tend to be one of the more vulnerable parts of an iSUP.
We’re very happy with what Bay Sports included here. Out of the box you can expect a fiberglass 3-piece adjustable paddle, 9″ FCS SUP Touring center fin, US air fin box, ankle leash, ballistic-weave nylon backpack, repair kit and a Helios triple action dual-chamber hand pump. Let us just say that this pump is one of the best we’ve seen included with an iSUP and makes inflating the board a whole lot faster and easier.
It would’ve been nice to include a carbon fiber paddle with the board instead of the fiberglass since it’s stronger and lighter weight. After all, a number of competing boards in the same price range include these types of paddles.
Even if we didn’t consider anything else, this is a gorgeous board. While it’s obviously not wood, it can still fool someone from a distance plus it looks great even if you know what it actually is. It’s also great that they didn’t just make a board that looks good without something to back it up. We highly recommend this iSUP for beginners, people who use their boards for SUP yoga or fitness, and for heavier paddlers or those who might want to bring friends along.
There are a number of custom features on this iSUP, so if you’re looking for a more standard board of this length, Bay Sports has a great option in the Explore model. Also, if you like the overall feel and look of this board but want something bigger, Bay Sports an 11’6” model in their Original line.