As an owner of the original Bluefin Sprint 14’, I’ve successfully used this board to make a 162 mile (255km) winter crossing of Northern England. As a result, the most eagerly awaited event of 2020 for me was always going to be the debut of Bluefin’s new Sprint Carbon. And it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Before getting my Sprint Carbon, I’d had the original Cruise Carbon 12’ for a couple of years. I’m well aware of the significant performance difference the Carbon upgrade brings – especially the dramatic increase in rigidity.
When my Sprint Carbon first arrived, I was super interested to see how it performed in comparison to the original Sprint. But despite it being called the Sprint, I’ve always felt these boards were designed as advanced tourers rather than racers.
It’s touring (whether on canals, rivers, lakes, estuaries or coastal waters) that Sprint boards really come into their own.
I first took my new Sprint Carbon to my local lake here in Southern Spain. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a very impressive fast board – the fastest in the whole Bluefin range. But it’s never going to beat the established racing crop of hard boards used in high-level competitions.
So provided your expectations are in check before trying this board, I can almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
The First Paddle
The wind was low and the water was like glass. The sun came up over the nearby mountain peaks, setting the scene for the maiden voyage! As soon as the Sprint Carbon slid into the water, it barely caused a ripple. At this point, I realised it was going to be something pretty special.
I’m an average-sized adult, at 1.82m and 93kg. I’d normally expect some degree of noticeable deflection in the middle of a board of this length – but it was remarkable how little there was! It really felt like being on a solid board.
The rigidity the Sprint Carbon provides on flat water instantly translates into speed. And this speed means less energy required as you paddle, so I had a really enjoyable few hours whipping up and down the lake.
But flat water isn’t the only place people paddle. So the next thing to do was try the Sprint Carbon on the ocean.
Out at Sea
The day I took it down to my local beach, there was a little wind and a bit of chop out on the water. As a result, I was expecting paddling to be quite difficult to handle – but the total opposite happened.
The Sprint Carbon’s central chamber offers premium rigidity, and the carbon rails really come into their own. The board sliced through the waves like a knife through butter, and I paddled just as easily as I did on my local lake.
Its 14ft length and relatively narrow width of 30 inches gives this board top stability when touring. It’s much more appropriate for paddling around an island or a trip along the coast – rather than just bobbing around the beach and being used as a diving platform. But this isn’t too surprising, as reliable speedy touring is exactly what the Sprint Carbon is designed for.
The cherry on top of this fantastic board has to be the cargo capacity. Its front section has a huge secure carrying area, able to keep whatever you’re transporting safely in position. Regardless of the conditions.
I’ve only used my single 20-litre dry bag with it, but you could easily carry 5 times that! Plus another 40 litres on the back.
But having impressive cargo capacity is just the tip of the iceberg. It all depends on how your carry load affects the use of the board. And due to the premium stiffness of the central air chamber and carbon rails, the Sprint Carbon has huge advantages over other boards.
You can pretty much load whatever you want on the board, and it’ll still take you where you want to go. Fast.
SUP Review: Final Thoughts
So, is this a board for everyone? Not really. Beginners are likely to feel a lot more comfortable with a wider board like the Cruise. And those who want a SUP for playing around in the surf or teaching their kids how to paddle.
But if you’re an intermediate/advanced paddler who enjoys getting to places quickly and efficiently, you won’t find a better iSUP on the market than the Sprint carbon. Whether you’re touring for a few days with camping gear or exploring an island, this really is the best board for the job.
The Sprint Carbon marks a real design “moment” for Bluefin, in aesthetics as well as performance. I feel certain it will appeal to everyone looking to take their paddleboarding adventures to the next level!
A big Bluefin thanks!
Huge thanks to Jason for this awesome blog and review and for supporting the Bluefin SUP Community since day 1. You can follow Jason’s SUP exploits on his Instagram Channel here. Jason is also one of the admins of the Bluefin SUP Owners Group, which you can join here.