Soul Firestorm Whitewater Stand-Up Paddle Board: Safety Yellow
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Soul Firestorm Whitewater Stand-Up Paddle Board
The Firestorm is Corran Addison’s latest creation for avid whitewater SUP paddlers. This board takes river running to a whole new level. There are several key innovations and improvements over the previous designs that make this board really stand out. Firstly, and most significantly, an almost 20% reduction in weight compared to other plastic boards out there. This is critical to both performance on the water, and the simple task of loading boards, or portaging rapids. You mighty ask "why plastic". There are several reasons of course, but the most significant is that plastic is paraffin based, making it slippery. This means when hitting rocks on rivers (there are rocks on rivers?) the board slides over them, rather than gripping and stopping as inflatable boards do, which throws you over the front. The ability to use rocks like kayaks for boofing, and general maneuvering, increases performance and control. So we want plastic. The problem was getting it lighter.
Plastic also allows us to make complex refined shapes, as opposed to inflatable boards which the technology severely restricts design to what is essentially a rockered door. The Firestorm is also stiffer overall, increasing speed and maneuverability. The smooth gradual rockered bottom is better suited for both boofing drops, and surfing waves, and the removal of the directional channels also reduces catching on rocky slides. The drainage is also 2 or 3 times as fast as the past designs, meaning that delay from landing a drop, to regaining total control is significantly reduced.
That’s the design, but what about outfitting? This too has come forward a long way, taking the cue from modern whitewater kayak outfitting. SUP outfitting today is something close to what kayak outfitting was in the 1970's (where you were lucky to just have a seat and footrest). As we well know, if you're not securely connected to your kayak, it impedes your ability to paddle hard whitewater. The same goes for SUP. We're coming at this from the angle that while it is still a paddleboard, and there is a distinct advantage to be gained by being able to move about on the decks surface, you also cannot run any serious whitewater unless you have the ability to connect to the board properly. Foot straps have been tried, but the problem with them is you can;t get in and out of them quickly, and when you crash, the risk of ankle injury is real. So we came up with open ended hooks. The front foot hook allows you to lift the nose to boof drops, and stay connected to the board during the fall so that the landing is not hit and miss. However, we found that unless your landing is perfect and there is no submersion of the nose at all, at landing you tend to go flying over the front. The solution was right there - a rear hook. On landing this allows you to pull against reducing the tendency to go over the front. The result of these two is almost a 10x increase in success rate of running drops of any size. Like modern kayaks, these are both adjustable to suit paddler size and style.
Then, the flip up skeg is relocated under the back foot, increasing both tracking when paddling, and making turning faster when pivoting. The fin can be retracted and locked in the up position for running slides at an angle, tricky rock gardens, flat spins while surfing, or simply for easy transport. Finally, the hatch gives access to the entire inside of the board, so rescue gear, spare paddles and important things like camera’s can also be brought with you.
It’s time to paddle up a storm!