I recently purchased a new touring paddleboard to do the SUP the Thames challenge.
This paddle board was the McConks 14′ Go further 2019
I ordered this with the V91 touring carbon paddle, the standard HP2 double pump, standard coiled leash, no seat and added the touring flexi fin.
Unfortunately due to Covid19, there has been a recent increase in people using stand up paddle boards as a great form of social distanced exercise, so the demand is high and McConks like a lot of retailers had a bit of a backlog. Thankfully Andy at McConks was able to get me my board in time to try it the weekend before the trip and have it for the trip, but I am yet to receive my touring paddle just yet (this is being worked on, and wasn’t an issue as I had recently purchased an OBrien 3 piece carbon paddle)
The board itself is 14 foot long, 31 inches wide, and 6 inches deep/tall and weighs in at 11kg. It has a 6 point bungee cord/luggage strap at the front of the board, and a 4 point luggage strap at the back of the board and the maximum recommend carrying capacity is 200KG. With me weighing 100KG, this gave plenty of room to play with my camping gear for the trip.
I used a 15L dry bag at the back of the board to keep my electronic gear in, including power banks, cameras, spare batteries, etc and at the front of the board was an aquapac 90L leightweight waterproof duffle bag (upano range)
As for the board. I found it great. I didn’t try out the basic, plastic fin that it came with, but with the flexi touring fin, I found it went very straight and I was able to get it up to some good speeds, even when loaded with my gear on.
I used the board for a week, whilst paddling the length of the Thames, and what I noticed on the third day it was starting to get a little bit “laggy”. I found that it was a bit bouncy/choppy over the water, and it felt like something was caught on my fin/fin box. What I realised, was that I needed to top it up. I had initially pumped it up on Saturday to around 19PSI, and by the Monday, with 2 full days of use, and me sleeping on it for 2 nights (so basically having weight on it 24/7 for 2 days) it had lost a bit of pressure. Not enough for you to notice by looking, or if you just wanted a little splash about. But enough that when you’re trying to go fast, in a straight line, with the best energy consumption, you will notice. After a quick top up, it was fine and smooth paddling.
The only board I have to compare this to, is my 2016 Red 10’6 Ride. The Red is a generic, all round board really. First thing I noticed about the McConks compared to the Red, is the McConks takes a lot more effort to pump up (even if using the same pump). Logically this makes sense. The board is much longer, so it’s going to hold a higher volume of air.
Next is speed. This McConks is only an inch narrower than my Red board. However, with the longer, single fin, and the weight spread over a longer distance, I found this board to be much faster. One thing I haven’t done yet, which I would like to do sometime, is a side by side comparison, on the same day. Do a mile on both boards as hard as I can, to see the overall speed difference. But to be honest, the McConks will be faster. When I paddled as hard as I could, I managed to achieve a mile in around 12 minutes (I was dripping with sweat, it was a really warm day!) and Lisa in a 14′ touring kayak was struggling to keep up with me (although she just wasn’t putting in the grunt like I was).
Construction/build quality. Like previously mentioned, I used this board every day for 7 days and only had to top it up occasionally. I slept on the board for 5 nights and didn’t have an issue, and as you would expected, knocked and banged the board again. There was a few crashes into muddy river banks, wooden pontoons, concrete and all sorts. The board really did take a beating and was knocked into all sorts. There are a few scuffs on it, but the board will take a beating and still be fine.
Overall, I feel the McConks SUP is a great board. It was certainly capable of doing what I needed it to do for this trip, and I’m excited to give it a try when I am not touring to see if I can use it as a bit of a race board.
Update: the paddle I ordered has arrived, I am yet to test it out, but it seems like a good quality paddle.
Update: McConks issued a post about what happened during Covid and shipping out SUP’s: https://mcconks.com/honesty-is-always-the-best-policy