Ethan’s been paddling the 14′ x 26″ Starboard All Star Race Inflatable Paddle board for a little while no. Let’s hear his impressions of the board.
First off, let’s talk about the design. I really appreciate the overall style and design that Starboard has put into creating this race inflatable paddle board. You can tell they’ve invested a lot of time and effort into making it the highest quality stand-up inflatable race board possible. The board’s quality is evident right from the front, with the well-designed nose cone. I love how it cuts through choppy water effortlessly, allowing for better glide and increased speed. It really makes a difference when you’re out paddling.
Moving further back down the board, we come to the bungee straps. I’ve found these straps to be incredibly useful for everyday use. Whether I’m stashing my sandals or a day bag, the bungee straps come in handy. Surprisingly, many hard race boards don’t come with bungee straps, but having them on this inflatable board has proven to be incredibly versatile for various purposes.
Next up are the carry handles. Starboard has designed them strategically on the board, with one in the center and two up front. They are perfect for carrying the board on your side or for beach starts and handling the board with gear on the front. These handles are practical and well-placed.
The side rails that Starboard has incorporated into this race inflatable paddleboard. I absolutely love how convenient they are to use. When I press my feet against them, I feel significantly more stable, especially in side-to-side choppy conditions. Overall, it’s an incredible design feature for an inflatable paddleboard.
Moving towards the back of the board, we have the kick pad. This is incredibly useful for pivot turns and riding waves. It provides an additional point of stability and acts as a reference point for your foot without having to constantly look down.
Now, let’s take a look at the race fin on the underside of the board. The 23-inch race fin that comes with the board offers excellent stability and helps you paddle straight over longer distances. However, it can be a bit challenging to perform buoy turns or pivot turning due to its larger size. For shorter technical races, I recommend switching to a smaller fin for increased agility. But for longer distance paddles, this fin is perfect.
One drawback I have with this board is the stringer that runs down the center of the board. It provides rigidity but extends below the fin box. This makes it quite difficult to install the fin, particularly when you’re trying to position the anchor point while dealing with the rope. It’s not the most convenient setup, so I prefer to keep the fin in place whenever possible to avoid frequent changes. If you need to deflate and reinflate the board regularly, it can be quite inconvenient.
On the back of the board, we have a water release rail that helps water flow smoothly off the board, contributing to better speed and glide during paddling.
Lastly, let’s discuss the stringer that runs from the fin box all the way to the nose cone. This Airline feature significantly stiffens the board and provides noticeable rigidity, especially when encountering choppy water. It’s a great design element and adds to the overall performance of the paddleboard.
In conclusion, I genuinely love using this board and highly recommend it. It’s surprisingly fast for an inflatable board, remains stiff, and is incredibly convenient to use. Personally, I opted for the inflatable version of the race board for its travel-friendly aspect. Traveling with a hard 14-foot race board, especially by air, can be challenging. Being able to pack this inflatable board into a bag has made my life so much easier.
I recommend this board for intermediate to advanced riders. It’s not suitable for beginners due to its narrower design, which may cause some instability. However, if you have experience with paddleboarding and are looking to improve your skills or get involved in races with a better board, this is the perfect choice for you.