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.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

SUP Review - Imagine Surf 14' Connector (Inflatable) DLX

Tomorrow I'm selling the last of my 2016 Imagine Surf 14' Connector Inflatables. I'll be sorry to see the board go as I had a hoot on it during the past season or so.  Here's my 2 cents on the board..

I'm a fan of long fast boards. For an inflatable, this board is fast. Friends who race regularly have borrowed it and have either stayed with or passed other paddlers on 14' carbon boards.  Designed as the sister downwinder board of the Connector CC (carbon), I've found this board does well for flat and rough water racing, touring, downwind, and light surfing.

Imagine Surf 14' Connector (Inflatable) DLX
Product Link  Dimensions: 14’ x 30 x 6” 356 LTR

Basics..
Blown up to 15psi, the board is rock solid with minimal flex. The valve is on the tail and stops automatically at full psi.  I use the tail handle to attach my leash to, but the board also has a D-ring for leash attachment as well.  The diamond plate deck pad is great for traction.  The board comes with a double action pump, extra break down paddle, quick release plastic fin and repair kit.  The board is very light, I can lift it up with one hand with no problem. Imagine's LTE series is even lighter but not available for this model.

Cons..
For us big guys, the board is a bit nimble. Advanced big guy/gal paddlers will get used to it.  I think the board is best for small to tall (5'-9") paddlers, but not super tall (I'm 6'-5") or larger paddlers over 240lbs.

Fin Box..
The board has a regular long board style fin box where you can add any fin you want. It comes with a plastic quick release fin that is great for easy in/out. But I usually use a ProTeck Superflex rubber fin with a QFR quick release as I find myself in a lot of shallow water situations.  Sometimes I throw in a Larry Allison Ninja fin for tug surfing which requires stability on steep faces with long glides.


Surfing -
I've surfed it in up to 5' waves and got long glides. Like any long board, it won't rip but you will catch long glides with some maneuverability if standing on the tail.  The slightly raised nose rocker helps with surfing down wave faces. Like any 6" inflatable it doesn't have performance rails but any good surfer will make do.

Downwinding -
What it's made for, the board catches glides easily and has great acceleration.

Touring -
The board has 4 loops on the deck for attaching tie-downs. I use kayaking style deck bags to hold gear (or instruction first aid and rescue gear for lessons).  The board's speed would be great for long trips. At the campsite, the lightweight board would be easy to carry above the waterline, even with gear. I've found the exterior is pretty stout and haven't had any leaks in dealing with barnacles and rocky beaches.

Rivers -
Shane Donogh of Experience SUP in Duvall, WA has been using the board in Class 1 to Class 2 rivers and exploring backwaters, oxbows and small streams. I've taught a few classes on the board in tidal rapids near Seattle and have been impressed.  See pics of Shane on his Connector below.

Racing -
Unlike the 2015 version the nose rocker is lower thus with a longer waterline the board is pretty fast. I raced it a few times last summer and one of our local paddlers races it exclusively and comes in in the faster pack at larger races.

Shane exploring the backwaters of WA State

Shane exploring the backwaters of WA State


Bag Accessories - Extra paddle, pump, repair kit and quick release fin



Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Certification.











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