Standup paddleboards have different shapes. It sounds simple and straightforward. A board’s shape give it its defining characteristics. The shape dictates how the board will perform and how it should be ridden to maximize the attributes built into the board by its shaper. When speaking of a board, shape = identity.
It is common for a manufacturer to list a SUP’s dimensions: length, width, thickness, and volume. Dimensions, however, are not a board’s shape. I could create a board with minimal effort that met a predetermined set of dimensions. Achieving a desired volume might be a little tricky without some arithmetic and knowledge of the material I was working with, but it could be done. Does that make me a shaper? Not even close.
Shaping is an art and listing the dimensions is only the beginning. They are a mere description of the size of the package. A quantitative metric that belies the qualitative attributes packed inside. Relying solely on a SUP’s dimensions as a measure of quality and performance is no more relevant than it would be to describe your favorite cake by saying it is 12” long, 7” wide, 4” thick and weighs 3 lbs. That’s great, but what’s it made of and who is the baker?
What went into designing your board and who is it’s shaper?
Who shaped your board? If you don’t know, well…
Dave Boehne, shaper of the Infinity SUP New Deal, provided an overview of the New Deal’s shape in Infinity SUP’s product release video on Vimeo. One word you’ll hear him repeat throughout the video is the word “performance”. I met up with Boehne earlier this spring for my first look at the New Deal after attending an event in Dana Point. “Look how heavy it is,” said Boehne with a smile as he removed the sharp looking surf SUP from a vertical rack and placed it on a display stand. “Wow!” I exclaimed. “That’s impressive!”
The New Deal is extraordinarily light. Carrying this board across the beach to the water’s edge is no longer a dreaded task. You arrived late and didn’t get the best parking spot? No worries. The Infinity SUP New Deal is a head turner. Custom or production, it does not matter. Easily recognizable by it’s distinctive longboard shape and unique three stripe insignia, there’s a good chance that someone is going to halt your forward momentum towards the beach and inquire about the board.
The New Deal’s carry handle, like the board itself, was designed by Boehne. Made of carbon to afford maximum strength and durability while not adding unwanted weight, the handle is elegantly recessed into the center of the deck. It isn’t the deepest or biggest handle on the market, but it doesn’t need to be. It has enough room to curl your fingers and firmly grab ahold. Sometimes good things come in small packages.
The shape of the New Deal is meticulously refined. This is particularly true of the production models. Boehne told me he went through numerous samples before affirming the quality worthy of the Infinity name. “My goal was to have a production model good enough for me to compete on,” he told me. “And I’d be comfortable competing on this board,” he said as he placed his hand on the sample laid out before us.
The longboard revolution
True to its longboard heritage, the Infinity SUP New Deal has a round nose and low rocker profile designed for long glides, and should you be up for it, riding the nose. For me, the later is one of the quintessential images of surfing culture. Sure, aerial maneuvers on a short board are fun to see, but they fall short when it comes to evoking the intense feeling of excitement which comes from riding a wave.
The rails on the Infinity SUP New Deal are thin and foiled to carve. Layers of carbon line the rails giving the New Deal’s edges stiffness and durability. I recently picked up a production model. So far I’ve only had the chance to get out on the crappy beach break in Hermosa Beach. Even so, the board’s performance and potential shined through amide the choppy waves.
The tail has a nice amount of kick and tapers near the tip with the incorporation of slight wings before finishing with a round tail. The slight wings help facilitate a clean release and are one of the New Deal’s unique features. Departing from the traditional longboard single fin configuration, the New Deal is shaped to be ridden with a progressive thruster set up and the production models come equipped with an excellent set of fins. Each fin is emblazoned with the Infinity logo and a bright orange horizontal stripe. A nice accent which denotes Infinity’s seal of approval.
The deck pad transitions from small dimples to squared grooves. Grippy throughout.
The same level of attention to detail was given to the deck pad of the New Deal as the rest of the board. Afterall, you don’t want to detract from an otherwise great shape by giving it bad upholstery. Top of the line, super premium, heat embossed closed cell foam is laid out across the primary standing area of the deck. The thin layer of closed cell foam is specially designed to minimize weight by shedding, rather than absorbing, water. Moving back towards the tail you’ll find a section of slightly thicker, grippier square textured foam and an arch bar to help guide your feet along the board’s center line. The rear of the deck pad contains a raised kick pad with the Infinity SUP logo stenciled on the side.
Equipped with Infinity SUP’s proprietary SUP Suspension technology, the New Deal’s unique carbon construction is intricately designed to promote flex in designated sections and stiffness in others. Just like inside your favorite cake, that’s where the magic truly lies.
This board has a personality of its own. It is alive and begs to be ridden.