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.
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
- The board was damaged when I bought it, in which case it should be replaced under Warranty, or that
- 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.