Starboard Drive Test in Thailand
Test Review 10'5" Drive SUP
The Starboard Drive 10'5" x 30" SUP, remains one our strongest selling boards.
Now 3 years after the articals below were written, Starbaord have only been able to improve on this shape just a little, even after countless prototypes and testing sessions. It will remain a classic board. We try to keep a few in stock year round at our shop and club in Thailand, please let us know if you would like a quote.
The video above was filmed in Rayong Thailand, shows the Drive providing nice comfortable rides in less than epic conditions. (blue board, with Siam Surf Dog once again).
Review: Starboard Drive SUP 10’5 x 30 (Classic AST) thank you to Siam Surf Dog for this review
Being a traditional surfer for over 16 years and having already dabbled with windsurfing and kiteboarding in the past, I’d found that I enjoyed the speed and movement of other water/wave riding craft but disliked all the technical equipment involved, sails, lines, rigs, harnesses, levers and such forth, as opposed to the purity of a surfer who just grabs his board and paddles out.
So when Amara Watersports invited me to try SUP for the first time I have to admit to being slightly skeptical. After my first go however, all doubts went out the window and I found myself immediately justifying buying one. A couple of weeks later I became the proud owner of a bright yellow Starboard Drive 10’5 in Classic AST construction, the big banana.
First impressions were that the board was solidly made and the Startouch wax-less finish offered good grip. The Drive 10’5 SUP was chosen as I wanted a single board I could use for flat water paddling as well as surfing. Without doubt the Drive is a great all-rounder, not only a stable platform allowing any first timer to get to their feet within minutes, it also performs well in the surf.
Cruising across the lagoon or out to sea on a calm day the Starboard Drive at 153 liters has sufficient length and volume to carry momentum between paddle strokes and its 30’ width offers plenty of stability even in choppy conditions.
On this note, taking the SUP out for a paddle is fast becoming a daily ritual, the benefits of which I can feel and see. A couple of fairly recent motorbike accidents left me with a shattered left clavicle and a rib cage resembling a box of broken biscuits, making paddling a surfboard in the prone position particularly painful. The SUP has been my one and only savior during this period and an awesome rehabilitation tool.
In surf the Drive SUP paddles into waves easily and early allowing the rider time to position themselves to turn onto the face. Once moving along the face of the wave, the board continually gathers speed, and by riding high on the wave can make sections that a traditional surfboard would find more difficult. In small waves the board turns a bit sluggishly (to be expected of a board over teen feet in length), however in bigger waves the board feels more alive, becomes more responsive and can be surfed much like a longboard.
One thing to note is, a Paddleboard is much heavier and more cumbersome than a traditional surfboard and when managing the board, leash and paddle in white water and shore break one must take more care regarding safety. I’ve found in the impact zone you want to be either standing on the board ready to absorb the force of the wave, or as far away from the board as possible. More than once the board has been caught by a wall of white water and almost ripped my leg off with it, a long strong leash with good padding is a must. Even more care has to be taken with regards fellow wave riders as a 10ft board flopping around on a 12ft leash equates to a 22ft radius of potential harm to others.
The only little complaint I have so far is the two outside fins seem to be made of a soft plastic and the lack of resistance makes it difficult to gauge how tight the FSC screws need to go. I have already threaded through both fins with the screws and will replace them with a glassed type fin.
To be honest I’m still playing around with the Drive and SUP in general, and have yet to realize its full potential. The Drive will remain as my flat water and surfing board however for a different wave riding option I would now like to add a shorter, thinner and lighter model to my quiver, purely for the improved surfing performance it allows.
This video shows Siam Surf Dog riding the Starboard Drive 10'5 Classic in Khoa Lak north of Phuket in Thailand.
Reviews from Starboard Forum
"Just to let you know, I have no connection to Starboard and this review is just my opinion.
My weight 180lbs/ height 5.10 /surfing skills average.
My first impression of the 10.5 drive was how small it looked compared to my 11.2 blend. I know its only 9 inches but it looked more like 18 inches and when I collected it I noticed the board was very light - so light I carried it down to the break which was about 3 feet and clean without changing arms, now that's a first.
Once in the water the deck has the startouch deck grip which was OK when standing but very slippy when kneeling or lying down paddling one thing i liked was the deck is flat .
Right, on to how it paddles. The first thing I noticed was how unbelievably straight it paddles with very little yaw, a joy to paddle. Glide was very impressive and being 30 inches wide it was as stable as my 11.2 .
Wave riding .
Turning for my first wave the board felt a bit stiff I put this down to the m5 side bite fins which are 5 inches high which I think are big when running a 8 inch + centre fin which i had moved to the middle of the fin box right here we go catching the first wave was so easy the board paddles so quick I was catching nearly every wave I paddled for on the wave the board felt good but was not as loose as i would of liked so the next day I had decided to change the side bite fins for GL side bites which are 2 inches smaller I was hoping this would make the board loosen up and boy did it the waves where about 5ft and clean and the board was flying catching waves so far out way before anyone else boy did I get some dirty looks from the local surf crew not to worry. Changing the side fins had done the trick and the board was turning on a sixpence 1 hour into the surf and the wind changed to on shore but the board still felt stable with no problems in the chop as the rocker line is good .
My Conclusion is the 10.5 Drive is a great allrounder perfect for a 1 board quiver its not as loose as the Extremist but it paddles so much straighter and catches waves much easier I think even easier than my Blend.
My only cons are the Startouch deck grip and the yellow paint seems to chip easy.
Its a pity I never got to try it in knee high surf maybe when mine comes (camo) I will update my review please remember this is only my opinion and i am far from an expert .
"i was in *exactly* the same spot as you, with a 9.8 and an 11.2 and wanting something halfway between the two without giving up a lot on either side. soo... i bought the 10.5 and couldn't be happier. near as i can tell it glides pretty much the same as the 11.2 and, in my instance, seems to catch waves easier and just as earlier. plus, it's much quicker to swing around. i guess it's not as zippy as the 9.8 but i didn't much care for its zippiness anyway.
anyway, i'm sold on the 10.5, fyiw, from this decidedly average surfer.