Cali Paddler Retreat 1.0 Vendor Spotlight: Introducing the 404 GoGo – Surf racing and so much more
For the past few years, Team 404 racers have turned to the reliable V3, a venerable all-around workhorse of a stand up paddleboard, for a consistent string of top finishes in paddleboard races around the world. Late last season, however, the boys decided to add something a little different to the line up with the introduction of a prototype for what would become known as the “GoGo”. In contrast to the V3 which is designed to work well in all conditions, the aptly named 404 GoGo was specifically designed with in and out surf style racing in mind.
The board performed well at SUP racing’s renowned surf racing proving ground at Doheny State Beach during the 2016 Pacific Paddle Games and is in the pole position to make an entry in 404’s line up of production stand up paddleboards this spring.
Testing the new board is a rare opportunity due to the model’s availability currently limited to a handful of custom boards in and around Southern California, yet participants at the recent Cali Paddler Retreat 1.0 were treated with the chance to demo the board and receive insights on 404 & Hippostick’s product line from co-owner Danny Ching and Brett Simpson, the head of sales.
There was a small, yet consistent swell pulsating towards shore during the on the water demo portion of the retreat held at Refugio St. Beach and I took a custom 14’ x 24” 404 GoGo out for a test run. I’m 5’6”, around 150lbs, and a decent recreational SUP racer and 24 inches is as narrow as I go. Surf racing has never been my strong suit, I prefer open water, but I was confident I would be able to navigate paddling out on the narrow board through the small swell in the sheltered sandy cove.
Consistent with other paddleboards in 404’s range, the GoGo has hard rails and a squared off tail, albeit a narrower tail than what can be found on the V3. The key difference maker, however, is the nose rocker which gives the board a nice amount of lift and get up and go to catch and ride a wave. The latter attribute is significant. Many paddleboards can catch a wave, but become squirrely and uncontrollable once they are on a wave. Not so with the 404 GoGo.
You’d really have to go some to perl the nose on this board, and if you did, you may want to reconsider whether or not you should be out there in those conditions. The hard rails allow you a nice amount of control and stability once on a wave, it is after all a 14’ paddleboard, and it was a lot of fun to paddle. The GoGo is not a true downwind board – look to the 404 Joy Ride if downwinding is your thing – nevertheless, it’s ability to pick up the bumps lend it to being a good option for paddlers looking to add a bit of spice to their quiver.
The board works better than expected in flat water, so much so that I’m told 404 had an internal discussion on whether or not the GoGo made the V3 obsolete. Both models are included in the 2017 product range and if you are a paddler trying to decide between a V3 or the new 404 GoGo, I recommend weighing the types of conditions you typically paddle in to make the decision. If you are primarily an ocean paddler who likes to race in the surf, but wants to do an occasional flat water paddle, then I recommend the new GoGo. If the inverse is true and you spend the majority of your time in flat water, but venture out into the ocean and surf on say a 60:40 ratio then the tried and true V3 may still be the best option for you.
Here’s a breakdown of how I view the lineup from 404
Joy Ride: Downwind paddling
LTD: Open water paddling, works really well in choppy conditions; I paddled a LTD in an ocean race last fall and loved it’s ability to effortlessly skim over chop, particularly at the start in the mixing bowl of competitor chop.
GoGo: Surf racing, paddle the majority of time in the ocean or a large lake, good flat water capability
V3: Solid all-around paddleboard
Arrow: Flat water paddling