The Starboard PRO SUP line consists of 7 boards targeted, as its name suggests, towards advanced paddle surfers. We’ve tested the 7’7’’X27’’X3.8’’ 92 Lt. in the Brushed Carbon construction. Is the 7’7’’ PRO "The choice for riders who don’t want barriers to performance" as claimed by the producer? Read our full review and find out.
The 7’7’’ PRO features a rounded-point nose and a rounded square tail. The maximum width of 27’’ is located at around mid-length. The bottom contours feature a continuous single concave the entire length of the board. The deck is quite flat, especially in the standing area. The scoop-rocker line is characterized by a decent tail rocker and moderate nose kick but for the rest of the length it is quite flat. The board features moderate low apex rails.
• Construction & Features
The 7’7’’ PRO is built in ultra-light Biaxial carbon technology laminated onto water resistant high density foam sandwich and a Fused Cell core. Interestingly, the angles of the carbon weave are optimized in order to provide the right flex to the board. At just 5.9 Kg with fins, the 7’7’’ PRO is incredibly light, actually the lightest SUP board that we’ve tested to date. The board is equipped with a carry handle but comes without a deck pad as it features the “Startouch Finish” on the deck surface. The traction provided by the “Startouch Finish” is sufficient but we do recommend a good Tail Pad at the very least. The 7’7’’ can be configured in either a Thruster-Fin (recommended, based on team rider performance feedback) or Quad-Fin setup. The board is bundled with a good quality Thruster set (a US Box 140 and two FCS M4.5’’).
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We have tested the 7’7’’ PRO with waves ranging from mushy waist high to solid overheads.
Stability – Lateral stability is respectively good and sufficient for light and medium weight paddle surfers. The heavyweights might struggle in choppy and windy conditions.
Row – The row effect is not an issue with the 7’7’’ but adopting the shortboard paddling technique is recommended.
Takeoff – The board provides great acceleration and speed so it catches waves pretty easily.
Nose Sinking – Not an issue.
Carving – A PRO Stand Up Paddle surfboard shouldn’t leave anything to be desired as far as the wave riding potential is concerned and, put to the test, the SB 7’7’’ PRO surpassed even our wildest expectations. This is the fastest SUP surfboard tested to date, by far! Not only the board generates plenty of speed with the lift created by its single concave bottom, but it keeps it through the turns at the same time allowing for a great degree of maneuverability and drive. In fact, the board provides aggressive turns with an outstanding vertical projection and re-direction capabilities thanks to a fast rail to rail response. As a result the 7’7’’ shines even among fat and mushy waves but let’s not forget that clean, steep waves are the ideal playground of this shape. As we said before, the board is loose but in a fair way as it allows to lay into turns without worrying about sliding out. So it is not as snappy as a shortboard Fish Quad but still quite loose allowing tight arcs with lots of control. In all, the board is fast and extremely maneuverable even though only the expert paddle surfer can fully exploit its potential.
Making it out – Relatively easy for light to medium weight SUP surfers.
Nose riding – Buy another board!
Suitability – No amateurs! This is a board for progressive new school SUP geared towards advanced stand up paddle surfers only!
Ideal Conditions – Medium to big clean and steep waves. Still performs reasonably well among fat and mushy waves i.e. beachbreaks.
Tips – Keep a forward momentum while paddling, especially in choppy and windy conditions in order to improve stability. Always adopt the hybrid paddling stance. Don’t over-steer the board as it reacts instantly to foot pressure. Overall, this board works better as a Thruster.
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• Conclusions & Verdict
A stock SUP surfboard labeled as PRO might sound just as a marketing stunt but it’s not the case of the Starboard 7’7’’ and – we presume – its siblings of the Starnboard SUP PRO Line. In fact, after testing it extensively in a wide array of conditions we can confirm the producer’s claim. The board is extremely fast and responsive to foot pressure allowing razor sharp cutbacks and backsides even in the deepest sections giving a great degree of control. However, there is a price to pay in terms of lateral stability, most noticeably in choppy and windy condition but we would say that this shape successfully trades performance against stability. In all, the Starboard PRO 7’7’’ combines state of the art technology with an extremely functional shape aimed at providing the best performance on the water. As such it comes highly recommended to light and medium weight expert SUP surfers.
The Starboard PRO 7’7’’ Brushed Carbon is now our reference board in its class but, again, it must be pointed out that this shape commands skill and experience to be properly ridden. So, in the end, the only question you have to ask yourself is: do you really want that? If you are not skilled enough for this board you are going to spend in the water most of your sessions! Go wider and bigger in terms of volume then.
State of the art construction and top notch performance - Incredibly light - Good stock fins.
Intrinsically unstable in choppy and windy conditions - Startouch deck finish not functional.