As the sport evolves, river surfers are using a wider variety of river surfboards than ever before. Here, I’ll try to keep track of the ever-expanding list of boards I’ve seen on Colorado’s Front Range. Where I can, I’ll note some of the pros and cons even if I haven’t done a full review. And where I’ve written a full review, I’ll note that as well.
I have excluded from the list any SUPs besides those specifically designed for surfing. Though you certainly can surf something like an 8’6″ Hala Atcha without a paddle, it’s tough and it’s certainly not what the board was designed for.
I’ve also excluded any handbuilt boards from the fine folks at these companies, which all design and build river-specific surfboards. The all make great boards, but their changing catalogs and varying availability make direct comparisons pretty tough. So, for better or worse, we are just talking about mass-produced boards here.
If you’re regularly river surfing a board that isn’t on the list, email me and let me know how you like it.
|Boardworks Flying Pig||$300||Hard-board performance at approaching a soft-board price||Not enough volume for slow waves; somewhat fragile||Yes|
|Scott Burke 5'2" Fish||$160||Inexpensive way to get into high performance boards for high performance waves||Squishy fins, and you get what you pay for||Yes|
|Wavestorm Taquito||$250||Surfs nearly everything besides very fast, steep waves. Cheap.||Cheap. Has gotten hard to find, though Wavestorm has some similar replacements.||Yes|
|California Board Company 6'2" Fish||$70||Cheap entry level board; will surf a variety of river waves depending on rider weight. A favorite for Pueblo||Discontinued; replaced by a 6' board that is about the same quality and twice the price||Yes|
|Giantex 6' Surfboard||$65||Cheap. Not much else.||Basically a toy. Not enough stiffness to surf most river waves without turning into a taco.||No|
|O'Brien Alley Wakesurfer||$250||Inexpensive entry into the wakesurfer category of boards for steep, fast waves. Quick.||Soft for a wakesurfer.||No|
|Catch Surf Beater||$190||Fairly stiff for a soft board. Quick.||Not much nose rocker, which can be a liability for steeper waves. Not enough volume for slow waves for most surfers.||No|
|Bic Paint||$210||Quick from edge to edge, fun on fast waves.||Not enough volume for slower waves. Not much nose rocker.||No|
|Slingshot Alien Twister||$350||Very fast from edge to edge. Stiff. Loose.||Only suitable for steep, fast waves. Out of production.||No|
|Slingshot Ankle Biter||$315||Fairly quick though more mellow than the Twister. Fun on fast waves.||Only suitable for fast waves. Can be hard to find.||No|
|Sling Shot Gnarwhal||$650||Heir to the Alien Twister. Fast and fun.||Expensive, and only suitable for fast waves.||No|
|Sling Shot Space Pickle||$350||Heir to the Ankle Biter. Same pros apply.||Heir to the Ankle Biter. Same cons apply.||No
|Glide Sesh||$1,099||Park and play paddleboard surfable without a paddle. Durable, high volume.||Heavier than surfboards or wake surfers. Expensive.||Yes|
|Badfish IRS||$950||SUP surfable without a paddle. Rocker and volume let it surf more waves than most boards. Very stable.||Not particularly high performance once you're on the wave. Expensive.||Yes|
|Lost Puddle Jumper||$650||High performance board on either the ocean or the river. Quick. Durable for a hard board||Expensive. Only suitable for fast river waves.||No|
|Badfish SK8/I-SK8||$800||River-specific design, high volume, high performance||Expensive, somewhat hard to find||No|
|Softech Mystery Box||$350||Fairly quick and high volume. Can setup as a twin or quad. Some nose rocker.||Not a ton of volume, though higher than some of the other softies.||No|
|Softech Flash||$300||Quick on the wave with decent volume for its size. High performance for a soft top||Lower volume restricts it to fast waves for most surfers||No|
|Hala Peno||$1300||Surf-specific SUP short enough to surf without a paddle. High volume and will surf lots of things.||Expensive. Not particularly high-performance once you're on the wave without a paddle||No|
|Lib Tech Air'n and Yacht Sea||$700||New boards, TBA||New boards, TBA||No|
|Channel Islands Average Joe||$800||Similar to the Puddle Jumper; fast from edge to edge and high performance||Needs a fast wave to work given the relative lack of volume||No|
|Softech Rocket||$90||Removable fins, enough rocker for steeper waves||Small enough that only steep fast waves have enough speed for it||No|
|Softech Torpedo||$280||Removable fins, fair amount of volume||Pretty flat nose rocker, maybe out of production?||No|
|Hala Milligram||$1,000||Small for a paddleboard and inflatable. Fits on a variety of waves.||Big compared to shortboards and will be harder to turn/maneuver. Expensive||No|
|California Board Company 5'8" Fish||$170||Similar to the CBC 6'2" fish. But shorter. Maybe a better option for smaller riders.||Similar to the CBC 6'2" fish. But shorter. Maybe a worse option for larger riders. Getting expensive for the quality.||No|
|Formula Fun 5'3" Twin Fish||$250||Moderately priced fish, American Made||Unknown||No|
|California Board Company 6'2" Fish">CBC 6' Fish||$140||Decent size for a variety of waves, billed as a 6'2" Fish but really a 6' replacement for the old, cheap 6'2" Fish||Twice the price of the old 6'2" Fish, basically the same board||No|