San O 14

Posted by George K on Mar 2, 2006

You might have noticed CLC has a new 14' paddleboard. Kurt once asked me why anybody would want to paddle one of those things and I really don't have an answer. However I have friends who race these things and were interested in trying one out. I met Ed Wigglesworth at the MASCF last year and I agreed to build a BETA version and get it in the hands of paddleboarders for feedback. Here's what they (and I) found:

First of all the board handles well, tracking is excellent, it knee paddles easily for such a narrow boat. That's all well and good but these guys are looking for speed. So here's the scenerio. One guy has his Bark's 17' professional kevlar/glass board. Another guy on the San O 14. Me in my West River 18. One guy says let's race. The other guy says okay, go. I figured I'd have a nice leisurely paddle along side these guys in my fast WR 18. (Aside from the Pax's this is the fastest kayak CLC makes. I'm rarely beat) The only way I can describe what happened next is these guys took off like bats out of hell and my nice leisurely paddle turned into a gotta-give-110%-to-catch-up paddle. I eventually did but had to maintain about 95% just to stay even and they're using their hands! We raced for about a mile and were dead even at the end. Theoretically the 17' paddleboard should have beat the 14' by a long shot. So it's fast.

The board is a low profile which is for paddlers less than 160 lbs. In the pics John, in the spring suit, is about 190 and you can see the tail is nearly under when he's just sitting on it. It still paddled well and he liked the feel of it compared to the Bark's kevlar/glass hull. Sean, in the full suit kneepaddling, is about 155 and loved the thing. Kim is about 115 and the only problem she had was turning it around bouys. She's used to a 10'6" lifeguard board that turns on a dime. The production models have a bit more rocker than this board so they'll turn easier for lighter people. I'm currently building a full height production 14 for our surf museum to be used in a raffle at the East Coast Paddleboard Championship in April in Cocoa Beach. All are invited.

By the way, the kits are a blast to build. No scarf joints. CNC cut finger joints align the panels. The deck is concave, unlike a kayak, and is much easier to put on. No need for the second person or lots of straps. Just put it in place and set a bunch of weights down the middle till the epoxy cures.

And I still can't answer Kurt's question. But I might just take it to the TBB and let him try it!

San O 14 pics