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2021 Starboard Pro 8'0 - Review

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Created by marco gribi 1 month ago, 18 Oct 2020
marco gribi
WA, 191 posts
18 Oct 2020 10:59AM
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Board Stats:
Length: 8'0
Width: 29"
Volume: 121 L
Thickness: 4.6"
Boards Weight: 6.4 kg
Construction: Carbon (Full Carbon & Full PVC wrap)

Rider Stats:
Age: 48
Weight: 78 kg
Level: Experienced

Having worked for Starboard Australia for the past 18 years, I have owned every model of Pro since their inception and had some input to the progression of the range. Now that I work for Surfland in Scarborough WA we have reintroduced Starboard into our local market and this gave me the opportunity to continue riding the Pro range.

Having been able to read the specs and blurb about the 2021 Pro before ordering I had my doubts that this version was going in the right direction for what I like in a board. To me it appeared that Starboard was making the Pro range a little more accessible for the average rider by increasing volume, widening the profile towards the nose and also making the board thicker.

When I first received the board and unpacked it I had a small tear when I saw the actual outline and profile, I really felt this was not the direction for me. I could totally understand that Starboard may have chosen to make the Pro range more user friendly as sales for Pro specific riders would now be a pretty small market segment.

WELL, did I get that totally wrong!!

I have just spent the past two weeks in Gnaraloo in a broad range of conditions from ankle slappers to a solid head and half fast moving waves. This gave me a good opportunity to ride the new model and also do a back to back comparison with the 2019/20 8'3 Pro.
Firstly, I was stoked with the return to a construction that used a full Carbon and PVC wrap. This is much like earlier constructions and with a weight of only 6.4 kg, so far she has held up well and seems nice and strong.

Now the reason I say I got this wrong is because this is not a board for the progressive rider looking for their first short board. At 121 L this board feels much smaller than the 8'3 Pro and almost similar in stability to the older 2018 8'0 x 28. Even though the 8'0 appears to be thicker along the length of the board it actually sits just as low in the water as the 8'3. The rails appear to be thicker but they have a low apex that has the rail already engaged in the water line, so it does not feel corky at all. There is some dome in the deck but it is deceptive as you do not see it or feel it when on the board.

In terms of performance this is where there are significant differences and what surprised me the most. The 8'0 is a Surfboard, it does not feel like an SUP. The 8'3 had good stability, speed and drive with a rail that required good pressure to engage the rail and lean through the turn, I really liked this coming from a windsurfing background. The 8'0 is completely different, it is far more agile / loose and the slightest of foot pressure has the board spinning on a dime and redirecting through the turns easily. When it gets bigger it generates ample speed and you can still lean on the rail and have a more drawn out turn to keep up with the wave if required.

All in all this is a surfing board that does sacrifice stability but no where near the likes of the 2012 Pro that had a really domed deck. It's baffles me but the bloody thing works so well even though the volume and outline suggest it should be more forgiving, I did find that I fatigued quicker but may also be a result of a lack of fitness.

PRO's
Return to older Carbon construction
Weight
Super loose feel, redirects easily
Speed / Drive
Pumps down the line really well
Reduced pricing

CON's
Stability
Still an expensive board
Look, still not convinced on colours / graphics

I will try to load up some comparison images when I get a chance

Cheers,
Marco

BigZ
77 posts
18 Oct 2020 12:20PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
marco gribi said..
Board Stats:
Length: 8'0
Width: 29"
Volume: 121 L
Thickness: 4.6"
Boards Weight: 6.4 kg
Construction: Carbon (Full Carbon & Full PVC wrap)

Rider Stats:
Age: 48
Weight: 78 kg
Level: Experienced

Having worked for Starboard Australia for the past 18 years, I have owned every model of Pro since their inception and had some input to the progression of the range. Now that I work for Surfland in Scarborough WA we have reintroduced Starboard into our local market and this gave me the opportunity to continue riding the Pro range.

Having been able to read the specs and blurb about the 2021 Pro before ordering I had my doubts that this version was going in the right direction for what I like in a board. To me it appeared that Starboard was making the Pro range a little more accessible for the average rider by increasing volume, widening the profile towards the nose and also making the board thicker.

When I first received the board and unpacked it I had a small tear when I saw the actual outline and profile, I really felt this was not the direction for me. I could totally understand that Starboard may have chosen to make the Pro range more user friendly as sales for Pro specific riders would now be a pretty small market segment.

WELL, did I get that totally wrong!!

I have just spent the past two weeks in Gnaraloo in a broad range of conditions from ankle slappers to a solid head and half fast moving waves. This gave me a good opportunity to ride the new model and also do a back to back comparison with the 2019/20 8'3 Pro.
Firstly, I was stoked with the return to a construction that used a full Carbon and PVC wrap. This is much like earlier constructions and with a weight of only 6.4 kg, so far she has held up well and seems nice and strong.

Now the reason I say I got this wrong is because this is not a board for the progressive rider looking for their first short board. At 121 L this board feels much smaller than the 8'3 Pro and almost similar in stability to the older 2018 8'0 x 28. Even though the 8'0 appears to be thicker along the length of the board it actually sits just as low in the water as the 8'3. The rails appear to be thicker but they have a low apex that has the rail already engaged in the water line, so it does not feel corky at all. There is some dome in the deck but it is deceptive as you do not see it or feel it when on the board.

In terms of performance this is where there are significant differences and what surprised me the most. The 8'0 is a Surfboard, it does not feel like an SUP. The 8'3 had good stability, speed and drive with a rail that required good pressure to engage the rail and lean through the turn, I really liked this coming from a windsurfing background. The 8'0 is completely different, it is far more agile / loose and the slightest of foot pressure has the board spinning on a dime and redirecting through the turns easily. When it gets bigger it generates ample speed and you can still lean on the rail and have a more drawn out turn to keep up with the wave if required.

All in all this is a surfing board that does sacrifice stability but no where near the likes of the 2012 Pro that had a really domed deck. It's baffles me but the bloody thing works so well even though the volume and outline suggest it should be more forgiving, I did find that I fatigued quicker but may also be a result of a lack of fitness.

PRO's
Return to older Carbon construction
Weight
Super loose feel, redirects easily
Speed / Drive
Pumps down the line really well
Reduced pricing

CON's
Stability
Still an expensive board
Look, still not convinced on colours / graphics

I will try to load up some comparison images when I get a chance

Cheers,
Marco



Great review. Thanks.

Did you try the smaller pros? 121l seems on a large size for a 78kg rider.

I am 240 (~109KG) pounds and on 2019 8'10x131l. I was thinking about going to down to 8.0 in 2021 range? When picking 2021 should you go for a higher volume? I thought that 8'7 at 135l would be too much if I am comfortable on 131l in the previous range.

Gboots
NSW, 1014 posts
18 Oct 2020 6:42PM
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I'm a lightweight . I have the 2017 Pro in starlite construction 102L, 8.0 by 28.
I think the new direction is aimed at satisfying bigger riders . Would I see any benefit if going to a shorter length but similar volume ? I would lose some glide .
The version I have can be tippy as is quite voluminous for my weight. But in 2-3ft clean beach breaks it has been go to board before I got the 711 Sunova Speeed. Still my go to board when it is hollower or busy as the construction is really durable

marco gribi
WA, 191 posts
19 Oct 2020 3:40PM
Thumbs Up

Hi BigZ,
I haven't tried other sizes in the Pro, generally I just order the same size board irrespective of changes, the 8'0 is the replacement for the 8'3 and 8'5 Pro's.

The place that I mostly SUP has a fuller shape so I prefer to keep some length where possible, so the smaller sizes are not really an option.

As I said the volume had me pretty concerned when ordering as I would not normally ride a board this high. Certainly from my perspective it does not feel anywhere near 121L, so for your weight I would definitely look at the larger size unless your are super skilled.

I have also not seen the 8'7 but assume it has similar characteristics to the 8'0 and would feel smaller than volume suggests.

Cheers,
Marco

marco gribi
WA, 191 posts
19 Oct 2020 3:59PM
Thumbs Up

Hi Gboots,

I have the same 8'0 x 28 and the new 8'0 x 29 feels very similar in stability, maybe just a fraction more balanced.

I thought the new shapes where aimed at bigger riders or maybe more intermediate riders but I don't think this is the case when on the water. They feel much smaller than volume suggests so would not base my decision solely around volumes. It does seem a bit confusing but the performance of the shapes has me thinking they had a plan and seems to be working.

If your a lightweight then the 7'7 may be an option, I think the feel on the water would be more like an 90ish L board if the 8'0 is anything to go by.

To me the new shapes are just that, a different perspective that feel more surfing orientated than stability, glide etc....
The smaller shapes turn in a shorter radius / more pivotal, transition from rail to rail easier, foot steer easier, pump down the line to generate speed and simply feel more surfy.

Cheers,
Marco

supsean
94 posts
20 Oct 2020 2:06AM
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Hopefully you can save me some money. I ride a Sunova Steeze, an 8'10" 125 liter fun board. I love it, but really would love to try a smaller board to get tighter turns and maybe go more vertical. I think I could even go to the 8'6" 115 liter Steeze and be relatively stable. But seeing the volume on this board, it ticks off all of my needs for a new board. I am intermediate beach break surfer, been doing it for 3 years. The last year 1-2 times a week. 52 yo and 84 kg. Do you think it will work? (I will wait till the winter in the northern hemisphere is over either way so I can get used to the new board in shorts instead of a 5/4 wetsuit)

marco gribi
WA, 191 posts
20 Oct 2020 4:38PM
Thumbs Up

Hi supsean,

The volumes may be similar between the two but they would be very different boards. I have not ridden the Steeze but the outline would suggest it would be far more stable than the 8'0 Pro.

If you want a more progressive board for vertical turns, your weight on the 8'0 would still be fine for a short surf sup.

These Steeze is aimed at being a more performance all rounder, where the Pro is aimed at performance surfability.

I also have another board similar to the Steeze and the two boards actually make a pretty good quiver, so maybe keep the Steeze and get something surf progressive for the cleaner / bigger days.

Hope that helps?

Cheers,
Marco

supsean
94 posts
20 Oct 2020 10:52PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
marco gribi said..
Hi supsean,

The volumes may be similar between the two but they would be very different boards. I have not ridden the Steeze but the outline would suggest it would be far more stable than the 8'0 Pro.

If you want a more progressive board for vertical turns, your weight on the 8'0 would still be fine for a short surf sup.

These Steeze is aimed at being a more performance all rounder, where the Pro is aimed at performance surfability.

I also have another board similar to the Steeze and the two boards actually make a pretty good quiver, so maybe keep the Steeze and get something surf progressive for the cleaner / bigger days.

Hope that helps?

Cheers,
Marco



Thanks for the response. Actually for the volume, I have heard That the Steeze is a surprisingly tippy board for its dimensions (from others who have experienced a diversity of boards). In the beginning I found it tippy, but after being on it for a year, it is perfect, even in the chop. So yeah, in the spring If I can, I will spring for the starboard pro 8'0".... unless sunova comes up with a similar board.

Mcgruddy
2 posts
23 Oct 2020 2:38PM
Thumbs Up

Hey Marco -

Good work on the review mate. I was going to order the 7'7" but now I'm thinking about the 8'0 - Is any of the suppliers in perth doing Demos ?
Cheers

marco gribi
WA, 191 posts
25 Oct 2020 7:19AM
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Select to expand quote
Mcgruddy said..
Hey Marco -

Good work on the review mate. I was going to order the 7'7" but now I'm thinking about the 8'0 - Is any of the suppliers in perth doing Demos ?
Cheers


Hi Mcgruddy,

come in and see me at Surfland Warehouse in Scarborough and you can try my board out. Let me know when suits and will make sure it's in the car.

Cheers,
Marco

Nerdburger
NSW, 225 posts
26 Oct 2020 10:38AM
Thumbs Up

Would love to see pics of the new SB pro 2021 if you have any ?, cheers

BigZ
77 posts
26 Oct 2020 8:25AM
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Select to expand quote
Nerdburger said..
Would love to see pics of the new SB pro 2021 if you have any ?, cheers


Surprise, surprise

sup.star-board.com/hard-paddle-board/pro/

Mcgruddy
2 posts
26 Oct 2020 5:15PM
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Hi Marco - That would be awesome, thanks mate !

How about Thursday ?

Cheers

marco gribi
WA, 191 posts
26 Oct 2020 6:19PM
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Select to expand quote
Mcgruddy said..
Hi Marco - That would be awesome, thanks mate !

How about Thursday ?

Cheers


Hi Mcgruddy,

Thursday is cool by me, will have it ready for you to grab.

Cheers
Marco

marco gribi
WA, 191 posts
26 Oct 2020 6:21PM
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Select to expand quote
Nerdburger said..
Would love to see pics of the new SB pro 2021 if you have any ?, cheers


Hi Nerdburger,

I will take some comparison shots with the 8,3 tomorrow and post up.

Cheers,
Marco

jb1979
NSW, 53 posts
27 Oct 2020 6:59AM
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So I'm still trying to get my head around the new design....
If I look at my placid, which is 8'7 x 31.5 and 125L, it has a wide nose into stepped narrow tail and thin rails, where do they hide the extra 10 litres and have it perform as a pro model?

Kovert
78 posts
27 Oct 2020 5:40AM
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Very different foil and thickness flow, amazing what you can pack in!

Some good footage of Benoit Carpentier ripping at the Wave Games in France over the last week on the 6'8 pro, really nice flow on it. There's a full 4hrs of comp on their FB page worth a look to see it in action.

My local shop has some on order but won't be in until a few months in to next year! Look forward to comparison pics with old 8'3

marco gribi
WA, 191 posts
27 Oct 2020 1:36PM
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Hi All,

Taken a few pics of the 8'0 with comparisons against the 8'5 & 8'3 Pro's

Line up from left 8'5, 8'3 & 8'0 all by 29"

Tail Profiles, the 8'0 is the widest as would be expected from a fish outline
8'0 - 30cm in from tail is 49cm
8'3 - 30cm in from tail is 47cm
8'5 - 30cm in from tail is 46cm


Rocker Lines, the 8'0 looks like is has quite a bit more tail rocker. Maybe why it spins / pivots of the tail pretty easily



Rail thickness comparison, the 8'0 is certainly a thicker profile but has a lower apex


8'0

8'5

8'3

Deck dome in standing area on 8'0

Deck dome in standing area on 8'3 is the flatter of all 3

Deck Dome in standing area 8'5

Nose profiles are real interesting, the wider nose on the 8'0 stops water from washing over the front when paddling onto the wave, but is probably the best for taking a late drop. The 8'3 was always wash affected making it sometime more difficult getting onto a wave if lots of water moving about.
8'0 - 30cm in from Nose 50cm
8'3 - 30cm in from Nose 47cm
8'5 - 30cm in from Nose 43cm




Cheers,
Marco

marco gribi
WA, 191 posts
27 Oct 2020 1:46PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
jb1979 said..
So I'm still trying to get my head around the new design....
If I look at my placid, which is 8'7 x 31.5 and 125L, it has a wide nose into stepped narrow tail and thin rails, where do they hide the extra 10 litres and have it perform as a pro model?


Hi jb1979,

As you can see from my pics above, there is no hiding the volume they have added.

To me they have aimed at making these boards much like a fish style surfboard, that has extra float / volume in a wider outline. Certainly riding this board in pretty small conditions it is super maneuverable and picks speed up quick. What confuses my about the design is that it still performs in some pretty big conditions with speed and enough rocker and nose profile to handle it.

Cheers,
Marco

jb1979
NSW, 53 posts
27 Oct 2020 7:42PM
Thumbs Up

Thanks Marco, that makes sense. I guess it's as much that it is their pro model more than anything and how much it differs from a traditional design.

The added tail and nose rocker on the placid certainly are a magic component in its ability to handle the bigger stuff, which appears to be the case here also.

I have some other questions on the shape, but I might send you a separate PM.

supsean
94 posts
28 Oct 2020 9:04PM
Thumbs Up

I have a question. What is the durability of pinetek versus blue carbon? Also what are the differences in how they surf.

Thanks

Surlygringo
19 posts
29 Oct 2020 12:24AM
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Marco,
Thanks for posting the review and the pics. A lot of shops are not able to carry a huge stock of boards and this kind of info is a real help when ordering sight unseen. The new pro looks great! I know that performance is determined by a lot of different factors but I have had similar experience with higher volume low apex rails. I have a custom 7'6" with a rail like that and it is the only sup I have ridden that really feels like a short board. I may also be the only person who likes the new graphics. They remind me of a Georges Braque painting. Very cool.

marco gribi
WA, 191 posts
29 Oct 2020 9:58AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
supsean said..
I have a question. What is the durability of pinetek versus blue carbon? Also what are the differences in how they surf.

Thanks


Hi Supsean,

In general the Pinetek / Starlite tends to be better from an impact point of view when being hit and the Carbon is a little more brittle in this respect. The long term durability comes down to how the board is looked after in my opinion, my Carbon boards have always lasted and near new after seasons of use.

They do differ on the water, I have been fortunate through work to always be able to use Carbon boards and I would never use another construction. Carbon boards being lighter and somewhat corkier sit higher in the water and when paddling for a wave the get up and release quicker. This means you can set up for your turns quicker and when you flow through turns you feel less swing weight from the front of the board.

Having ridden both constructions in the same board back to back you definitely feel that the Carbon is crisper. The downside to Carbon is if in off shore or lumpier conditions they tend to get affected more by the wind or water state. I know a few guys that ride waves several hundred meters off shore and they prefer the heavier constructions for this reason.

Is the Carbon worth the extra $$$$, not sure but as long as I can I will ride them.

Cheers,
Marco

colas
4029 posts
29 Oct 2020 5:01PM
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Select to expand quote
marco gribi said..
The long term durability comes down to how the board is looked after in my opinion



Very true, and especially with anything with wood in it: if water enter a ding you need to dry it thoroughly, otherwise it will expand and rot.

schor
1 posts
29 Oct 2020 10:29PM
Thumbs Up

Marco - thanks for an excellent review.
I just bought this two weeks ago, and had 3 sessions on it. You described my experience pretty well, to my surprise...
I'm an intermediate+ sup'er, with 8 years experience (and 85kgs), and have progressed through Starboard models gradually: Hero, Pocket Rocket, Airborn, and Widepoint 8'2''. As this one is just 2 liters less than my Widepoint, it seemed like a small step, but reading about it, I understood it will be a major change.
Indeed, it's nothing like the Widepoint - it feels almost like a shortboard on the wave; super easy to maneuver, yet easy to pick waves with (We only had small surf in Israel in the past two weeks). This thing feels sooooo light when riding a wave (it is light, actually, but its shape must contribute to the feeling).
On the other hand, I finish each session exhausted - it's so much less stable than the 8'2'' by 32''. I wouldn't recommend looking into the volume when picking one. Consulting with your local dealer, if they know you, is probably a good idea.
So far it's been super-fun, and I'm happy I went for the 8' model and did not get the smaller one, which I think would be too small for me.
I wouldn't recommend it to beginners - a few years back, I wouldn't be able to stand on it.

Uri

supsean
94 posts
30 Oct 2020 2:03AM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
marco gribi said..

supsean said..
I have a question. What is the durability of pinetek versus blue carbon? Also what are the differences in how they surf.

Thanks



Hi Supsean,

In general the Pinetek / Starlite tends to be better from an impact point of view when being hit and the Carbon is a little more brittle in this respect. The long term durability comes down to how the board is looked after in my opinion, my Carbon boards have always lasted and near new after seasons of use.

They do differ on the water, I have been fortunate through work to always be able to use Carbon boards and I would never use another construction. Carbon boards being lighter and somewhat corkier sit higher in the water and when paddling for a wave the get up and release quicker. This means you can set up for your turns quicker and when you flow through turns you feel less swing weight from the front of the board.

Having ridden both constructions in the same board back to back you definitely feel that the Carbon is crisper. The downside to Carbon is if in off shore or lumpier conditions they tend to get affected more by the wind or water state. I know a few guys that ride waves several hundred meters off shore and they prefer the heavier constructions for this reason.

Is the Carbon worth the extra $$$$, not sure but as long as I can I will ride them.

Cheers,
Marco


thanks!

Sean

t457118
107 posts
7 Nov 2020 6:20AM
Thumbs Up

Kia ora, thanks for the detailed review and pics Marco, which I must say I value and believe more than the SB marketing which is a bit out there, claiming that in fact "All Sizes are 3" shorter than 2020 yet have equal if not more stability due to thickness and distributed volume". I'm 75kgs and riding a SB Pro 7'10 x 28 2019 model with the channels. Stability is fine for me, SB say its fine for up to 80kgs. Now comparing that to what SB say I should be able to ride now...the 7'2 at 87L "it is suited for riders up to 80kg"! I've always found that vee and rocker have quite an influence on stability, and that the focus on outline and distribution of volume is a bit misleading regarding the new SBs.

Anyhoo, I actually love vee and rocker and always thought my current Pro could benefit from just a touch more (we are talking mms, as its not far off now) of both so these new boards sound great. And always thought the channels were a bit of a gimmick!

Dean25
7 posts
19 Nov 2020 5:29PM
Thumbs Up

Marco, thanks for the great review! one thing that you wrote and puzzles me is the fact that you described the board as less stable. in the starboard site they state that all the 2021 PRO models are "Shorter lengths, more stability, faster speed and more control". comparing it to the previous years' PRO, and based on the pictures in your review it has a wider nose and slightly less rocker which should improved stability. As I did not try the older PRO model (the 8'3") I cannot testify myself how it compares to them but I did surf on a JP 8'6" x 29" Pro model which has a significant rocker both front and rear, and little volume up front and for me it was hard work in less than ideal conditions (a great board by the way!!).

Jacksboards
VIC, 164 posts
Sunday , 22 Nov 2020 7:50PM
Thumbs Up

Thanks Marco for the info.

The 8' x 29" swallow tail at 121 liters !!!!!!!



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"2021 Starboard Pro 8'0 - Review" started by marco gribi