I got a new board. Yeah, that's me up there ^^^^

(Also rocking out my Bluesmiths Kanaha shirt! I wear it almost every time I paddle in the spring, fall, and winter.)

Did I say I got a new board? 

That's me hugging it >>>>>

I wanted to fall asleep clutching the handle like a child holds onto her teddy bear for dear life but it wouldn't fit around the corner into my bedroom. 

The Question Everyone Asks

Is this board really worth the hype? Is it worth the price tag? ($4,400 at Carolina PaddleBoard Co.

In a word, yes. 

I am not sure how I'm paying for this thing yet. I'm going to have to sell my hair, my soul, possibly rent out my dog. (He's awfully cute. Name a price. He enjoys belly rubs, ice cubes, and long walks on the beach.)

I loved my other board. LOVED. But I've grown as a paddler and it was time to move on. (I haven't completely moved on. Both BARKs sleep nestled together in my garage. It's cozier with two.)

Alex asked me if I was giving up my "whitewater board." I said "I don't ha–EFF YOU ALEX." Those who have been following me for a while know what I'm talking about.  I punched him. Twice.

Ahem. A serious Gear Review

Not every gear review includes jokes and puppy dogs. 

For those of you wanting serious information, here goes. 

Specs:

L: 14′
 
W: 28.2”
 
TH: 7.5”
 
V: 277.85L
 
Fins: Single
 
Description:
The Bark Phantom in Quantum Carbon construction by Surftech is stable, confident and forgiving on stretches of rough water, yet fast; accelerating and maintaining speed well and making the most of every paddle stroke.
 
For the athlete demanding complete performance; the Phantom is lively, stiff and light weight with a hydrodynamic hull that could only have been designed by Joe Bark.

That description was written by marketing people.

And every word is true. 

I have taken this board on a maiden voyage paddle on flat glass with no wind. It kept moving even when I stopped to eat a snack. It glides like it knows where it is going and you're just along for the ride. It picks up any bump and takes off. 

I have taken this board on a fast and furious chase of Kim down the ICW, through Shinn Creek, behind Masonboro Island, Across the Inlet, and up Bank's Channel in the chop and boat wakes, against the wind and current, with the kind of horrible conditions that can only be replicated at dead low tide on the first 70 and sunny Sunday of the year. 

I never fell off. I never even thought I would fall off. The only time I got a little jolt is when the board, of its own volition, picked up a boat wake and went surfing, with me along for the ride. 

I squealed like a schoolgirl while riding the bumps north through Banks Channel. 

This board is LIGHT. When the nose gets buried it doesn't want to stay under for long and pops up like a cork. That means the tail swishes around a lot less and there's much less of a chance of being thrown off. 

It's quick to accelerate and easily maintains speed. 

You can whip it around in a turn without having to jump even all the way back. It's so light. DID I MENTION IT IS LIGHT? Easy to carry, easy to turn, easy to get up to speed, easy to keep at speed.

I also think that, based on this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4rN9j1usZU that this board can handle me. My size. My inattention to walls and driveways and docks and corners. My inclination to encourage my friends to hop on it. My erratic paddle strokes. 

Paddling is Fun Again

When you've outgrown something but you don't make a change because "it," whatever "it," is, is more comfortable, or it's all you've got, you get frustrated. At least I do. I was, quite frankly, exhausted from dragging my heavy board around and tired of feeling like I couldn't keep up. I also knew every way that my board would react in every situation. That's comforting when you're in a situation like the Chattajack Hell Fog (TM), but boring after a while. 

I am having all kinds of fun getting to know my new board. 

So, this is a post to say YES! The Phantom is worth the hype. Get one, if you can. 

And also to say, if you're holding on to an old board like it's your pacifier, grow a pair and get a new one. The only way you can get better is by challenging yourself. 

Next stop: The OCEAN!

I'll report back.

 

All that and a bag of tricks.

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