As we begin to think about the season ahead and the races that we will be doing I though that this blog post by Andy would be useful for some of the followers of Glasgow Paddleboarders Co when it comes to racing and race boards. SIC is a brand that we love and work closely with when it comes to retail around race kit, but also that we use ourselves for downwinding in the winter and for playing on when the summer season keeps us busy and we have less time to paddle for ourselves.
Obviously we would love to sell more SIC Atlantis boards. Given that the slightly cheaper Bullet models are off sale for the next year the Atlantis takes centre stage. A cool £4.2k for a new one. The market in Scotland and the race scene is still very young but with events like the Central Belter , Paddlefast's Great Glen Challenge and The Moray Firth Challenge by Nairn Kayak Club being entered by more SUP craft the sport is slowing growing and it is exciting watching it grow. Linking up with GBSUP to run some smaller scale races last year was great and we're looking forward to having more this season. Planning in progress! Given that Surf England are now working with British Canoeing and have National Governing Body status in England we are all eagerly waiting to see what will happen with this in Scotland too.
Many people are using inflatable boards for race events which is great. The inflatables are super affordable and give access to the sport for everyone. If racing is your thing, and you want to go fast, a hard race board is something you might want to consider. The price can be high, the boards of course are harder to transport because they don't fit into a bag, and if your not careful can be cracked or broken and need repaired... BUT, once you've been on one and had a shot, you'll will immediately see the difference when it comes to moving at pace.
Andy's blog post gives a great insight into why the SIC Atlantis is such a great and versatile piece of race kit.
SIC Atlantis long-term report by Andy Burrows @SUPtester.
I bought my SIC Atlantis just over a year ago. I already owned a SIC RS and was attracted to the idea
of a recessed deck and greater rough-sea capability. I bought it from a friend as an opportunist buy,
without much pre-test or negotiation. The Atlantis was long awaited, and new boards were hard to
When I first started using it, I was slightly disappointed. It felt heavier than my RS, slightly more tippy
and possibly slower. What's all the fuss about with this new board was my initial question.
I persevered and clocked up the hours in various sea conditions. I found that I had to adapt my
stroke to a more powerful one, which then made a discernible difference in my average speed.
I realised that I could put much greater faith in the secondary stability of the board. Lean over too far
and it will pop you back. This quality makes the board more reliable in the rougher seas than my
trusty RS, which has (for me), two mode: super stable or in the water!
The board comes alive in moderate downwind. It has more rocker than the RS, a bigger nose (which
sits higher) and is much stiffer. It also has a semi-dugout deck which slopes up to the tail. This clever
design means that as you step back, the nose immediately starts popping up – much quicker than
the flat-decked RS. This is really helpful for people who might be classified as less mobile (i.e. old
guys like me) as you can trim the board on bumps with much less footwork. You can also perform
step-back turns easier as well. The diamond-shaped tail is a halfway point between pintail and
square tail, and works nicely in most conditions.
The dugout allows me to gain more power in the stroke (by virtue of the paddle going deeper). The
ergonomics of standing at sea level definitely help here.
It took me a while to adapt to the dugout, but now I like this feature on this board. It is not as
profound as you might find on an NSP Carolina (which I find a bit intimidating and inhibiting) but is
sufficient to have a significant effect on how you paddle.
I was a bit anxious about using the Atlantis in flat water races, but my fears were unfounded as I
don't think I have suffered many disadvantages in this regard. I raced on the river at Seville on the
flat against a fleet of local Ninjas and found it easy to catch little bumps and tuck in comfortably to
the draft. I think the Atlantis works well in the draft because the rocker and nose enjoy attaching to
the small bumps created by the board in front. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it would reap many
rewards in a flat water 200m sprint, but anywhere else, the board will more than hold its own.
I took part in the 13k Gran Carrera De Mediterraneo in November. I was not making much progress
against my Kahuna rivals and was getting a bit frustrated. I was at the point of reconciling things to a
bad day when the final 4 Km introduced a change in conditions. Suddenly there were nice bumps to
catch to help us to the finishing line and the board came into its own. I found myself getting into a
zone and finished well ahead of the guys who had been ahead of me for the previous 9 k. It was the
board that made the difference on this occasion. In 2023 the race will be on Sunday the 12th of November.
I have three race boards: a SIC RS 24.5 (the 2018 original), a Fanatic Blitz 26 and the Atlantis 24. If I
was pressed into only having one board, it would be the Atlantis. It does everything well. The build
quality is far superior to the 2018 RS, and the shaping is far more complex than the Blitz.
The board can be used for racing, touring and downwinding. It's well-made, comfortable and much
more rigid than the original RS.
In short, it's a special piece of kit in short supply – so if you get the chance to buy one, I would
advocate a purchase.