Friday, August 22, 2014

Board Review - Glide Rockit 14

Board: Glide Rockit 
Specs: 14’ x 27” 290L
Type: Race
Days paddled: 12 (& 1 Tandem session with Coli)
Conditions: Glassy – to stormy choppy waters
Board Review:  by Joel Yang
*Note: The Glide Rockit name has been updated to the "Godspeed" for 2015

When you mention the brand Glide SUP – most people’s reactions are “Huh???” In fact most people don’t even know that Glide SUP is a brand based out of Salt Lake City – where they manufacture their product here…in the USA. Not only do they make the boards here – but their boards are also Eco-Considered.  What this means – is that Glide pays very close attention to their manufacturing processes and care about what they put into their product – To the point where they even test to make sure that there is no “leaching” of toxins into our waters from their product. After all – what we all love about paddling – is getting outside on the glide, enjoying beautiful clean water, and checking out the wildlife and surrounding environment that are all part of the experience.
For those that are into River Standup paddling – Glide is no stranger to that arena as they are known for their GSS *(Glide Surface Shield) composition to their boards. This makes them super tough, and resilient to rock knocks while paddling the rivers.

Though they are known for their GSS boards that have a very specific High-Vis look (this season’s being the bumblebee yellow) they had some boards made that looked very different … in fact there is something that is truly refreshing and beautiful about looking at a raw board. It is as you see it – all of it in it’s nakedness - you can see all of it’s guts, how it is made with all of the accents and flaws - nothing is hidden under layers of primer and paint. Keep in mind that it also takes quite a bit more care when a board is made like this – but what you get in the end is a board that is light, unpretentious, and deliberate.

Glide brought their arsenal of boards out to the Northwest Paddling Festival - a local event so we could all get a chance to demo their product. It’s always refreshing to see what a small brand like this knocks out that isn’t “just like everyone else’s”
Now onto the board:

At first glance:
-          The Rockit has a familiar race shape with a displacement style nose, slightly sunken cockpit, and a flat tail.
-          The rocker in the nose looks like it will work well in the PNW chop and the flat tail looks like it will help with stability and have enough kick to play well in the swells and downwinding.
-          There is no heavy paint, and the Raw look to the board gives it a crisp and visually light in appearance.
-          The Vector net on the rails and the bottom are a nice touch to break up the visual space
-          The highlight on this board would be the deck pad – that is visually bright and becomes most of the graphic to this board.
-          The texture of the deck pad is very cushy and Coli describes it as a “Couchy deck pad” and it is instantly comfortable when you step onto it.
-          I did know however notice that there were no tie down options.

The board specs are: 14’ X 27” x 6” -  285 Liters and weighs about 27lb-ish
The board came with an FCS 9" plastic fin which I immediately swapped out for my fave defaulted Larry Allison Ninja fin. Ninja fin is one of the most versatile fins for me that I have used flatwater paddling as well as Downwinding and it has yet to let me down. The Ninja aligned well with the placement of the fin box. The fin and board slapped High fives and it’s time to get this board on the water.

The paddle:
From a company that does not have the history of racing and producing race boards to the masses, this board felt light, accelerated quickly, and paddled unbelievably fast compared to many of the factory race boards out there that I have demoed. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the board is raw and very “AS-IS” there is no filler, no heavy paint with layers upon layers or makeup to hide the blems, this board had a very lively ride that made me feel very connected to the water.
The board tracked very straight and I was able to get an average of 14 paddle strokes per side - the Larry Allison Ninja fin felt right at home with this board. The rocker in the tail was perfect too with a super clean release and no wake-age going on behind me.

Coli and I tandem paddled this board!

The board construction is primarily glass with vector netting on the rails and bottom that gave it a flex pattern that felt very progressive and natural with my movements on the board and symbiotically with the water. It is not a bouncy pool toy type of flex, but more like a flex that works well in choppy & rough conditions that allows you to work with the hand you’re dealt and paddle through it, instead of getting knocked around and trying to hang on. I could clearly feel this when I felt a loading up, and acceleration upon the release of my paddle stroke that was a new and exciting feeling.

When I accelerated, the board moved with me, It felt swift, and unified rather than pushing a vessel through the water. If you get hit by side chop it is forgiving, and when the chop is behind you, the tail picks up the swell easily.

The standing area is slightly lowered and there is a micro rail to push your feet up against for added leverage. The wide square tail, tail rocker & kick were also huge factors that add to the wahoo factor of this board.
The board is 27” wide, it is not the narrowest, nor the widest board out there in the market. With the mostly rounded rails, the Rockit feels very loose at first but the wide tail gives it some good secondary stability. Round rails allowed me to work the side chop with ease rather than struggle to stay dry with a stiff legged stance.

Things we liked:
·         The board tracks very straight, glides smoothly, and you do not feel any friction while paddling. At one point in time my GPS read 9.8mph – I know for a fact that I am not capable for paddling at this speed, nor maintaining it, however seeing this number on my watch and not paddling downwind was actually really exciting for me – perhaps I regressed a little for a moment.
·         Feels like a custom board & matched up unbelievably well with the Larry Allison Ninja fin
·         This board is made in the USA and Glide’s constructions are eco-friendly – they use Super Sap Resin, carefully select materials that are non-toxic, and make sure that their end product does not leach chemicals into the water…. In short – they put in the effort into getting you a product that has more meat and less filling. Think custom burger with Kobe beef vs McDonalds
·         The wide tail adds lots of secondary stability, allows you to play in rough waters, and Downwind. Plus – Buoy turns all of a sudden got easier.
·         The natural flex and glide of this board just want to keep going on the water – it’s oooh sooo slippery!
·         The deck pad is super comfy (or Couchy as Coli calls it) and is highly visible

Things to consider:
·         Tie down options: It is nice to have a very clean looking board without excessive features and added weight – but I feel that nowadays with everyone using cameras and speed capturing devices like the NK Speedcoach – it is important to be able to tether the device to the board as most of them don’t float. Most of us are never 100% in race mode, and having tie downs is a necessary and functional feature of a board. Being able to bungee down a few items like your flip flops, your jacket, and some water is much nicer than to carry it all on your back. Deck plugs are low profile and countersunk – aka clean. You can remove the bungee if you were to find it an eyesore while racing. Stick ons are typically very temporary and most of the time…an eyesore.
·         Nose: the nose shape of this board is unique and has some volume to it – which I like as it does not purl easily, especially when paddling out in choppy water. However, there was a sprinkler effect at the nose where the water came up when I accelerated hard. It was not a dysfunctional effect more than it was slightly distracting.
·         Drainage: Not a major issue, but if you enjoy riding in choppy waters like me, drainage is huge. There was a slight puddle that stayed on the board that I feel could be a shape mod later on down the road to resolve this.
·         Handle: the handle was centered and needed to be slightly back – when you have a fin installed on the board and carry it – the tail immediately dips downwards and I can see quite a few tails playing demolition derby with concrete steps to and from the water
·         Fin: The stock fin that came with this board was a disappointing plastic FCS fin. For a USA made board that is of this caliber – I’d like to see it come with a glass performance fin better yet – Larry Allison’s Ninja!

Final thoughts:
“This board made me want to go out and paddle further & harass my friends at the local races!”
This is a board that was extremely surprising to me. It is refreshing to paddle a board that looks and feels like this. It is unpretentious, fast, light, can handle multiple water conditions, and will not burn holes in your pocket. It is Eco-mindedly made locally in SLC, USA, and the customer support you will get is awesome! The guys helping you out, not only ride the boards, but they are also the ones making the boards so you won’t get someone answering phones that is not really that sure of what it is you’re asking about.

This board will be right if you are seeking a race board that can handle a multitude of water conditions, are not looking to build a quiver, want a close, connected feel to the water, and not be afraid to look beyond “what everyone else is paddling” If you’re going to get hung up on popularity, then this will be a stretch to your comfort zone, but if you’re wanting to get on the glide and go without having to worry about what others think of you – then this is your ticket.
Go paddle, explore, charge, and surprise people as part of the process!

*** and YES – this board does really feel like a custom!

Hope you enjoyed the read and see you out on the water!
Joel & Coli

More info on the Glide Sup boards can be found here:

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