Saturday, September 27, 2014

Evolve Hornett

Evolve Hornet
Corey Davis on Evolve

        I bought an Evolve stand up paddleboard a few weeks ago and its been a joy to ride with a easy learning curve. So far its way above my ability since its narrower than what I was riding but I'm working on it. I was riding a Ron House board that was 12' 6" long and 30" wide and a carbon fiber race board. The Evolve is also 12' 6" long, but 3" narrower, at 27" wide but also race style board and carbon fiber.

On the surface a person would think the narrower board would be a lot more unstable/tippy but those numbers can be deceiving. There is a lot more to the stability of a board than just the length/width measurements for stability. The design, shape, and the thickness can also play  a large role in the stability of the paddleboard.

DJ Kazmaier on Evolve

        The narrower width of the Evolve made it slightly little more tippy than what I'd been riding but made up for it elsewhere. The recovery of the side roll was much faster than the Ron House board even though it was a lot narrower. It became obvious that proper thought and planning went into the design of this board. The positioning and shape of the foam, inside the board, makes it a much better handling board then many. When I was ready to purchase a board the local SUP shop, Walk On Water was nice enough to let me demo several. I demoed three boards that included the Evolve Hornet,  Infinity Cut Throat and the Boga Tsunami. Of the three SUP race styles I found the Evolve to be the best overall because of the reasons I mentioned.

       There was a lot of race experience that went into this race style board by Ron Gossard which became obvious. Doing a buoy turn I only had to move a little distance to get the nose in the air so the board could turn quicker. This is when the shape and design came into play and helped with the narrower board. As I moved from the center, of board, to the rear it was surprisingly more stable than I expected. I think its because the rails close to the midpoint are a little beefier and provide a little more flotation than expected. I know 3" narrower doesn't sound like a lot but when you're talking from 30" to 27" that's a 10% reduction in width. That's a huge change but the loss in stability but can be made up in other areas of style and design.  The Evolve seemed to have thicker rails at the mid point which made the recovery roll much quicker. It seems the board didn't have some of the thickness towards the back which means its not excessively buoyant in the tail. This helps on turns because you don't have to move as far back and sink the tail and get nose in the air. If a person can achieve the same result by moving a short distance there is less chance of falling. They can also spend more time with the paddle in the water which will keep them going forward.

        Several of us made a trip down to the Chucktown Showdown in Charleston SC earlier on September 13. This was the first time I got to try the board under race conditions with a lot of other paddlers around. I finished the 4 mile race with no falls in slightly over an hour with Ron and DJ also on Evolve boards. They both had podium finishes with Ron in the 9 mile race on a 14' board finishing 2nd and DJ on a 12'6" in 3rd place for the 4 mile. The Evolve boards performed extremely well for all three of us and went through the currents well. This was only my third race but the best race I've had so far in several ways. I had no falls, even being a little tired from the long trip, but I feel the new Evolve played a big part in that too. It was the first race that I didn't have any falls even though it had a lot more people racing in it. This had much to do with the improved handling of the Evolve Hornet over my previous board. The conditions were good and my paddling has improved but the new board was probably the main reason for it. It was a good way to end my season and keep me excited for the new one in 2015 on the horizon.

14' and 12'6" Evolve Hornet's


Walk On Water

Infinity Cut Throat

Evolve Hornet