The 404 V3
There are a number of SUP manufacturers laying claim to having a race board that performs well in all conditions. Most boards fall short of this lofty goal and are either optimized for one set of conditions or another, or don’t particularly excel in any. For paddlers fatigued by this common phenomenon, the new V3 from 404 is a welcome addition to the market.
The production version of the V3 is available in either a carbon or PVC construction in both 12’6” and 14’ class board lengths. SUP Examiner had the opportunity to take a 12’6” carbon model out for a test drive on a warm winter’s day in Redondo Beach, California earlier this week in some of the very same conditions which local paddler and 404 owner Danny Ching is regularly seen training.
Beginning at the bow, the V3 employs a rounded nose which is sufficiently sharp to punch through waves and chop while avoiding the pitfalls of self-steering when traveling downwind or through turbulent waters. The nose is designed with ample volume to quickly shed water and contribute to the board’s stability, while gliding over the surface above the water. On the bow’s underside, a graduated V gives way to a gently rounded planning hull which enables the board to track well and easily get up to speed in a variety of conditions from flatwater inside the harbor to small chop and rolling ocean swell in the South Bay’s proving grounds beneath the shadow of the mansion studded coastline of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Specifications for the Carbon Model
Length: 12’6” Length: 14’
Width: 27.5” Width: 27”
Thickness: 4” Thickness: 3.6”
Volume: 228.8 l Volume: 240.3 l
Weight: 21.5 lbs (9.8 kg) Weight: 22.5 lbs (10.2 kg)
Like other top of the line racing/touring SUPs, the V3 utilizes fairly square rails and has its volume evenly distributed throughout the board. This SUP has a beautifully designed standing area which is ever so slightly nestled in a gentle depression on the top of the board. Danny described the FCS deck pad as “amazing” in his promotional video and we cannot think of a better word to characterize the comfort and texture of the 404 V3’s standing area. I’ve tested a lot of boards and the combination of the V3’s stability and the sunken deck pad made it remarkably easy to walk from fore to aft and shift my weight from side to side.
The 404 V3’s square tail anchors the board’s stability whether you are paddling downwind, through chop, or executing a pivot turn. I took the board north from Redondo Beach’s King Harbor to the Hermosa Beach pier and surfed it in through the South Bay’s famous shore break. The waves were small, in the 1-2 ft. range, but sufficient enough to recognize the board’s potential.
The integrated handle from FCS works well and makes the board easy to hold or carry the board under your arm.
The 404 V3 will suit intermediate to advanced paddlers interested in a solid all-around SUP for racing, fitness training or touring [in style]. The colors are sharp and make the board stand out both on and off the water. It performs exceedingly well and was a lot of fun to paddle. I happened to spot a pair of gray whales when I was testing the board and ended up spending a good 1.5 – 2 hours longer on the water than I had anticipated. Throughout the board demo turned National Geographic expedition, the deck pad felt great and I didn’t experience any foot fatigue from standing for an extended period of time and the deck’s design kept the water off the board which in turn kept my feet warm and dry. Stable, fast, and easy to learn; the 404 V3 is a good option for a variety of conditions – a true all-rounder. Whales not included!