Rob Casey is the owner of SUP school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle, co-founder for the PSUPA and is the author of two paddling guides.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Review - Imagine Recruit / Icon 11' SUP

Review - Imagine Recruit / Icon 11' SUP 

Rider Specs: 6'-5", 230lbs, Experienced paddler.

Board Specs: 11' x 34" x 4.5" / 206 LTR

A friend of mine loaned me his 2014 Imagine Recruit (now Icon) for a few months to try out.  For a big guy like me, I found the board to be super fun for surfing, river paddling and general paddling.

Surfing - The pointed nose helped slice through incoming waves and wind. The 34" width was great in dealing with rough water, chop and drops yet still was nimble enough to rip, as best as I can.  Students enjoyed the stable ride as well and felt it was still light enough to carry aways to the beach.  The ledge handle is super comfortable even with neoprene gloves on.  One of my carries in (on shoulders) is about 10 min down a gravel and beach path, no problem with this board.  While many are going for smaller surf boards, I prefer stability underfoot in between waves yet the looseness I need to play as well.

2014 Recruit/Icon
Fins - The board comes with a 3 fin set-up. I tried both and preferred the thrusters for surfing and rivers.  In teaching students or on flat water, a 9" single fin worked well.

River Surfing - I surfed the board for two days on the Spokane River last winter with a few locals who had Badfish boards.  They were surprised how I was able to keep it in the pocket and even ride some funky bumps behind the hole without being too unstable.  Unlike the Badfish boards, the extra length allowed me to paddle upstream in eddies and light current to drop back in, whereas they had to eddy out and go around to get back in.  Note Badfish are great boards but don't have more universal abilities as a longer all arounder like the Recruit/Icon.

Flat Water - I do a lot of flat water teaching and personal paddling, often in search of a wave or some sort whether it be freighter or a boat wake.  The board has great glide on flat water and was fun in tiny downwind bumps as well.  Students found the board stable with good tracking.

You can really feel the solid design underfoot and while carrying. I'm not known to treat my gear well so in those occasional drops to the ground or on the beach, the board holds up well to light impact.

The 2015 Icon has jazzier deck colors but is the same design and build.

2015 Product Link

2015 11' Icon
2015 Icon Construction


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