Mysterious Starboard SUP Damage

What was a lovely new Starboard SUP is now looking a little sad and in desperate need of repair.

The last time I used it was back in December for a nice mellow surf SUP session in small waves here at Ynyslas. As you can see from the video in the blog post about this session, it was a nice easy session in small waves and the board was looking and performing well. Prior to that the board had been used a small number of times mainly for flat water cruises exploring the estuary or fishing around the reefs in Borth and for one or two small surf sessions in super easy 1 foot waves off Ynyslas. The board was never intended for use in anything bigger than this as I have plenty of smaller boards for such conditions. It’s certainly never been used in anger, has always been treated well and I’ve barely fallen off of it let alone had any big wipe outs.

After that session, I put it away in the shed so it has been well protected over the past few months on some racking that was custom built for it. However, the other week I was showing my brother the shed and my new boards when I noticed a crease right across the front of the board.

I was puzzled as to how it had got there as it certainly wasn’t there when I put the board away after it’s last session on the water. Further investigation seemed to suggest that the board was cracked under the foam decking. Starboard were contacted, but they didn’t want to help. Without even looking at it they decided that I had damaged it through some sort of external force and therefore wouldn’t do anything to it under warranty.

ASAP Construction

ASAP Construction

There was nothing I could do but to cut away some of the foam decking and take a closer look. We did this over the weekend and discovered that under the foam, the board was indeed cracked right across the whole width from rail to rail. This board is supposed to be made from their ASAP construction which stands for ‘As Strong As Possible’. Clearly it doesn’t live up to its acronym. There is only one layer of glass it so it’s wafer thin. Starboard were contacted again to say how thin the glass was and to confirm that the board was indeed cracked right across its width. Their reply was that it was only supposed to have one layer of glass so that was how it was supposed to be. I’ve just looked at their website though and it states that the ASAP construction has:

  • Multiple layers of high grade fiberglass wetted out in epoxy resin.

Clearly that just isn’t true. They also said that they think I’ve been ‘unlucky’ and must have nose-dived the board into the sand without noticing. There is nothing they will do, so I’ll just have to repair it myself.

Somehow, that’s not really good enough. According to their own acronym, the board is supposed to be made from their ‘As Strong As Possible’ construction. However, that only has one super-thin layer of glass that clearly isn’t up to the task at hand. The board has only seen extremely light use in very mellow conditions, certainly hasn’t been nose-dived into the sand or mis-treated in anyway and yet it has essentially been snapped in half. The mellow, small waves at Ynyslas that it has been out in don’t have the power, the speed or the steepness to nose-dive a board such as this into the sand and even if they did it’s so called ‘As Strong As Possible’ construction should be able to cope with such light use. I’ve got super-lightweight, fragile boards that have taken much much more than this without any issues at all. Surely a heavy, strong, durable board such as this shouldn’t snap so easily and certainly shouldn’t do so without having had any abuse or any ‘unlucky’ incidents.

It’s still a mystery to me how it cracked, unless it was like that when I bought it. As far as I’m concerned The Starboard ASAP construction on this board is definitely far from strong and the starboard customer service has been as weak as their board clearly is. They haven’t even offered to look at the board to investigate the damage themselves and have basically told me that it’s tough. Very poor indeed. My only conclusions so far are that either

  1. The board was damaged when I bought it, in which case it should be replaced under Warranty, or that
  2. The board construction is extremely fragile and can’t withstand even the lightest of use, in which case it isn’t fit for purpose and I should be given a refund.

However, as usual the big corporate companies aren’t interested in the little guy who actually buys their products. As far as they are concerned, it’s not their problem and it’s up to me to take the hit. I now have a virtually brand new SUP with a crack right across it. It’s barely been used and now I can’t use it at all. The only thing I can do, other than moan about it here, is to attempt to repair it. Not good at all and I’m not at all impressed with Starboard on this occasion.

8 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Appalling service. Use your much read blog and social media and even the press.

  2. Justin says:

    28 March 2016. I have just taken my new 2014 or 2015 carbon 8’2 Widepoint to Scarborough Beach in Perth. The conditions were tiny but I caught a wave and heard a cracking noise. I now have a 6″ crack on the underneath and more distressingly a crack along the whole width of the board just forward of the foam matting. I will be taking the board back to the shop tomorrow and asking for an explanation. I have ridden the kids’ 8ft foam board and also my Naish Mana SUP at Scarborough for two years and wiped myself out in far more challenging conditions so judging by the ease at which the Widepoint broke there must be a design issue!

  3. Ed says:

    I have have been trying to contact starboard for some advise regarding hairline stress cracks all the way down one rail side, however with no response –
    Bought it new in 2013 for £1300 and treated it as my prised possession – no drops, no knocks, no tie down on roof rack and only used a few times.
    The cracks are really only ‘hairline’ and I cannot get a finger nail into them – should i get them repaired or live with them until a more major fracture occurs ? and what would be causing them as I thought this was supposed to be as strong as they come. Any advise would be welcome

    • Alan Cole says:

      I can’t really advise you – you’ll have to get in touch with your retailer or Starboard themselves, but if they are only ‘cracks’ in the gelcoat rather than the structure of the board it’s probably not too much to worry about. The gelcoat is really only cosmetic, and you’d expect a bit of cosmetic damage here and there on a 3 year old board.

      Cold be worth getting it checked out by someone in the know though just in case.


  4. Leeroy says:

    Contact consumer protection you definitely have a case.

  5. Peter D says:

    As an owner and unfortunately a snapper of multiple SUP’s (including a starboard), its a fact of life when taking these boards out in to the surf.

    The location and type of crack is 100% consistent with nose diving which can snap the strongest of boards in .5ft if unlucky.

    Unfortunately some people do not want to take responsibility for their actions and always want to blame others or look for a hand out. The flip side of this is everyone has to pay more for boards because the board makers will just put the costs of replacement in to the price of the board.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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