Bay Sports Original 11’6” (WOOD-LOOK)
Enter the Bay Sports Original series. These are limited edition iSUPs that hark back to the time of the surfboards of the Beach Boys and earlier. Although they are obviously made with the most modern paddleboard materials and processes, they have a beautiful faux wood look that will be sure to turn a few heads. We’ve already covered the 10’6” version but today we’ll be discussing its big brother, the Bay Sports Original 11’6”.
- Gorgeous board
- Exceptionally fast
- Very lightweight considering size
- Premium accessories included
- Limited edition — availability may be limited
- Not much storage space
- Less traction than other Bay Sports boards
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In all honesty, this is probably one of the best performing iSUPs Bay Sports makes. The trick behind that is the balance of this board. For instance, it’s long enough that it just glides on the water and when it gets up to speed, it’s easy to keep it there. This board is also balanced enough for all but the greenest of beginners to use with ease.
The only real complain in this department is with choppy water and significant waves. It’s obvious that this is made for speed or touring on calmer waters. Even so, it does what it set out to do with shinning colors.
As with most other Bay Sports iSUPs, this certainly not we would call a feature board. While others might have attachments for GoPros or fishing rods, the Original 11’6” is simple yet elegant and functional for the serious paddleboarder.
For instance, the center handle is there to help you move the board along land, but that’s pretty much on every board. The back handle is there to help you move the iSUP in the water and if you find yourself needing to drag it across the beach. Since it’s on the back, you won’t have to worry about damaging the fins.
The EVA foam pad is extra plush and even appears to come off the deck a little. It uses grooved 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, though we understand it was probably done for aesthetics.
This is a bit of a departure from most Bay Sport boards that give you a choice of 3 color schemes. Obviously, this board only gives you 1 option, but that option is stunning! 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 was clearly made for touring since the dimensions are perfect for long term travel — and possibly even taking a friend along — while still having a v-shaped nose for cutting right through water quickly.
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’re not all that happy about this being the only storage space since this is a touring board. In general, these are types of boards that people take out all day or even multiple days, so having a more space and attachment points for gear are usually a given. 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.
Despite being on the larger end for most common boards, it’s incredibly light 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. This is super important because the last thing you want to do in the middle of a multi-day trip is have to make repairs on your board.
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. On a touring board this can be crucial since you may be paddling for days on end.
The Original line from Bay Sports are all-around excellent boards. In fact, even though they are supposed to just be prettier versions of their counterparts (in this case the Tour), we would say that they surpass the in other ways besides just the look. They’re better balanced, more comfortable and even seem to perform better.
This makes sense considering that this line is more expensive than their Signature Series equivalents. However, this brand is known for going on sale quite a bit and they end up being the same price. In our opinion, the biggest drawback is that this is a limited-edition board and can be pulled at any minute. So, if you have the chance, grab it up while you still can!