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An independent review of the Pelican Surge 10'4 Standup Paddle Board.
The 2012 Pelican Surge 10.4 SUP Board is finished in white and originally has a grey and black grip area. Nothing fancy but nothing wrong with it either. Without any of the crazy graphics or colors you find on many of today's SUP boards it might remind you of a windsurf or traditional surf board because it is so plain.
The board has a polyurethane inner shell covered by polyethylene (hard plastic) so it is virtually indestructible. I would say this is a very good board for SUP schools or SUP rentals as the board will be able to take the heavy, inexperienced and sometimes careless use - of first time paddlers. It might also be good if you plan on taking it on a river where water is shallow or there is danger of hitting some rocks.
The deckpad is very thin and completely integrated in the polyethylene of the board's shell. The thinness of the pad makes it very light and smooth to shed water off the deck, but it also means that it doesn't provide a lot of grip. If you like to get the board vertical for turns and tricks, it will be very difficult with this integrated deck pad. You would need to wear tacky shoes, use wax or monster paint or stick a new deck pad on the board. I settled for the new deck pad, and it's an enormous difference - feels like a whole different board. The downside of this DIY solution is that it doesn't look too great :)
The Surge has a single US fin box and comes with as FCS Dolphin 10" fin. This setup allowed for some nice smooth tracking during distance paddling with very infrequent side changes being necessary. Obviously it is not a board you would want to paddle for miles and miles on but it works quite nicely. For river paddling (risk of hitting rocks) a shorter fin would be better.
There is a leash ring at the back of the board but no deck lines or d-rings, so if you go touring and want to carry some gear or food, you're going to have to use a backpack.
Size and stability
With a width of 31" I found it to be very stable and yet you feel very connected to the water as it rides nice and low with a depth of 5". I found it a nice experience after paddling so many inflatable stand up paddle boards which all ride really high in the water. As per the manufacturer the board is for paddlers up to 100kg. I would put the max comfortable weight at 90kg in sweet water as I am below that and it felt like the tail was dragging somewhat.
The board clocked in at 15kg which I would call average for this type of board. The integrated grip seemed quite difficult to grip when wet and I found it quite strenuous to carry for anything further than a short distance.
It looks like a Surfboard, but does it surf?
This is probably not the best surfing board as the nose is pretty flat, so it might have a tendency to pearl. All I could test it on was some very small and slow, boat generated waves. The glide was really nice and the board was very stable. It performed much better than I expected. I'm sure it would work just fine in some mellow surf.
To be honest, I was not that impressed with this board in the beginning, but after paddling it for a couple of weeks I am really happy with it ,as it is a reliable and predictable board which I could pull out for all my paddling endeavors, knowing that it would work. I could also happily just let someone less experienced have a go on it without being afraid of them damaging it. The MSRP of around USD 900.- seems fair for what the board offers.
This board is aimed at the novice paddler who is looking for something that will work in most conditions - which it does. The design, fin-setup and attachments all point towards this board being a traditional surfboard for paddling. You could tour a bit with it but don't go too far. You can paddle easy rivers with it, but switch to a short fin. I'm sure it will surf but I wouldn't want to hit the big ones with it.
To summarize, the Surge will work fine in all conditions, but it won't excel in any of them. All in all, I would call it a good, solid and fun board - and I even got to like the plain no-nonsense design. :-)
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