Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Imagine 9'9 Surfer Review

We have this board in stock for $579

Reviewed by Ian Berger

Okay, I've had some time to play with my new Bodyglove Wave, which is the same beast as the Imagine Surfer, so it's time for a review.

This is a very wide board. It's almost disconcertingly wide. I'm used to my NSP 11' which is about 5" narrower, and the NSP can also be considered a fairly wide board. because it's also about 10' long (9'9" to be exact), it's got a lot of surface area. I laid it out on my lawn and let my three gorillas got at it.

Because it's hollow it definitely has that slightly sunk-in feeling when you stand on it. This isn't really an issue when the board is on the water. The huge deck pad is great for moving around in. This is a great platform for kids to just play on.

The weight (45 lbs) is an issue. It's heavy on my head, and the recessed handle is exactly centered so its edges dig right into my cranium. The handles on the edges help relieve the pressure. It can be carried with one hand, of course, but it's a little heavy for that. I'm not a wimp, but my arm got pretty tired pretty quickly.

Yesterday I took the board out onto the Croton River. This is the overflow from the Croton Reservoir, which is where New York City gets drinking water. Paddling the board is a lot of fun. I guess because of its width and shorter length it doesn't seem to like the longer strokes I'd use on my NSP. I found 4-6 short strokes on one side best for paddling forwards, especially in a current. It doesn't like the lean motion that I would do with the NSP that would counter the push with the paddle; best to keep this baby flat while you paddle.

The Croton river has a point with some light rapids. I jury-rigged my camera on the front straps then ran the board. It didn't work so well because the board took up most of the frame, but here it is:

I like this board a lot. It's really easy to paddle. The plastic body means I don't have to be insanely cautious with it on the rocks. On the Hudson, this is a big deal. It also does a pivot turn really easily. I don't know if this is the shorter length or the extreme width, but I was able to do them without a problem or a fall. Considering the water was about 49ºF (and I was in a farmer john) wetsuit, this was a big deal.

I'm working on getting certified as an SUP instructor later this spring, and this will be a perfect teaching board. (It comes with a paddle too, but that needs a separate review.) I'm also going to rely on this board to help me improve my minuscule surfing skills. This is a beginner board, of course, but the plastic construction means it has a lot of advantages, especially absorbing all the abuse a beginner might give it.

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