I have had a lot of SUPs from different brands and have seen a lot of boards with friends. What always stands out for me is when looking at a board after a few months of it being on the water.
For me that board has to still look fresh. My own thing is a decent rail tape as it helps to maintain the integrity of the rails and ultimately the resale value of your board.
That said you can’t dismiss the need for a solid construction and finish from the outset.
Like anything in life you get what you pay for and that is well seen in paddleboards.
Other than reselling them I also ride the Jimmy Lewis brand of boards as do my friends. You might think this leads to a bias opinion but let me tell you why I know these boards are superior.
A friend of mine has the M14. He got caught in a rip and was dragged into a steel ocean buoy. Still attached to his leash and unable to detach he was pinned against it for a while until he freed himself. During this time the board was bashed and dragged around the buoy. When he got back to shore the only damage to the board was a few scratches. No physical dents.
For me personally I had the M14 for a year. When I came to resell it I polished the board and sold it for more than the original cost. I have used this board extensively for a lot of ocean paddling.
Let’s look at the construction
The materials used in your boards construction will ultimately dictate its weight and flexibility.
How the Jimmy Lewis construction works is by creating a multi-layered sandwich of different materials that all offer a different asset.
With most standard boards the construction is a wrap of glass or carbon/mix around a foam core.
- Jimmys construction lets the shaper wrap the foam core with thinner layers of glass and flexible sheets of high density PVC foam.
- The epoxy infused result was a lighter weight skin of PVC foam bridging a layer of glass on either side. Much stronger and lighter than fiberglass alone.
Fins and inserts
Many people don’t give a second thought to how strong the inserts are in the board. The fin boxes and leash plug are all important just in case you run into the beach or drop your board on the floor.
All of Jimmys boards are reinforced around these crucial areas with high density PVC foam. It may not seem as important to you as the overall look but a pretty board can’t be ridden without a fin.
Automotive Hand-Painted Finish
This is probably my biggest hate with a lot of brands. The paint finish looks great when it comes out of the bag for the first time but in a week it is fading, chipping or peeling.
These boards are finished with a hot coat of epoxy, primer, paint and then clear coats. The urethane paints and graphics are laid down in the same way that a car would be painted and we know how tough car paint is.
Each layer is masked and sprayed by hand. The finishing clear coat is hand-polished to a deep shine and this is certainly clear when you take delivery and unwrap it for the first time. Can I suggest that you spend money on a board bag as roofrack straps and sand along with sun ruin any paint finish over time.