We rode the Starboard Pro and Jimmy Lewis Stun Gun on the same day, back to back to see how carbon would go against glass.
I’ve been longing to try a comparison with a pro level sup surf board and the chance recently came up to ride a Starboard Surf Pro 8’5 x 29 (112 litres) that is a good option to the Jimmy Lewis Stun Gun 8’7 x 29 (110 litres)
From what I ‘m aware you can only get the Starboard Pro models in carbon whereas the Jimmy Lewis boards come as glass or carbon options so this was a glass vs carbon test too.
Both boards are shaped with a similar outline and profile. Sharp, more refined rails than you’ll find on some like a Starboard Converse. In stripping out volume from the rails you reduce stability so these boards can feel a bit more tippy than you may be used to, but that is only when paddling about. Once on the wave the refined rails make a massive difference to the bite and control you get especially at speed.
Both sup boards come with a quad fin setup and optional centre fin to run in tri if you prefer.
Speed was really impressive and the carbon construction really felt tight on the Starboard whilst the glass construction on the Stun Gun gave a bit more softness and flex/feel. I don’t think this will detract from the ultimate performance unless you’re a young gun or serious competitor looking at every last minute detail to get air.
Both boards have a really nice handle and whilst that isn’t going to sway someone looking for performance, it can help when walking on beaches like Woolacombe or Saunton at low tide.
We’ve all seen pictures of both these boards being used in some amazing conditions like Tahiti, but it is how they ride in the UK that really matters.
Riding these boards in conditions of 4+ is great and they really light up, but to be honest they both performed well in 1-2ft clean winter swell. As long as you’re comfortable paddling about with a lower volume board they pose no real problem. I’m 93kg dry so for me they are both at the lowest point of my volume range and if it gets rough then I need to size up but for rider below say 85kg this size is all about performance and maneuverability.
The Stun Gun didn’t feel as loose as the Starboard in smaller conditions, but that may have been the added weight and length. Saying that a more nimble rider will always find a way.
Some of you will like wax whilst other like deckpads. Personally I don’t mind either but as we all know, wax can get messy especially if you keep the board in a hot van on your travels and I did forget to top up the wax so had to head back in and top it up.
One of the things that really surprised me is that Starboard only offer this range in carbon. Jimmy has really got it right here as carbon is not so much about being a pro material, but simply about costing a few hundred quid more. I can’t deny that carbon does feel nice and tight, but in the less than perfect conditions we often get I really couldn’t justify the extra cost unless money was no object.
And do you need to be a PRO to ride this kit, absolutely not. Yes, you can find easier boards if you haven’t go to grips yet, but if you got some skills and your local conditions suit it then these boards rock!