Simon Bassett and Paul Burgess checked out the Surftech 12’6 Bark Competitor (12’6 x 29″) and Surftech Mitcho (12’6×27″). Here is what they thought:
The 12’6 Bark would be my preferred choice of the two boards as it sits closer to the bark 14 ft expedition that I use and did the channel crossing on earlier in the year. I think if you want a board to race in stock class events that is going to be competitive in flat, choppy and open ocean conditions its going to be hard to beat. Personally I not sure if want a collection of distance boards – I think I need a bigger garage! To have a flat water board, a down winder and sprint model is very expensive. The Bark 12’6 I think will fit well into all three categories and sit on a van or car without to much overhang.
I noticed straight away was it was very comfortable to ride and had real nice glidey feel when you paddled hard –stable in the turns and would cut through chop with its vee shaped nose. Although we didn’t get chance to use it in rough water, I am certain it would handle some waves well if you had to come in through surf as it still has a surf board feel about it and flatter hull section at the tail .I think this will make a perfect choice for for all weather distance board and still be very fast in competition.
As you would expect from surftech the boards and made extremely well and feel very light with a price tag of £999.00
Surftech 12-6 Mitcho
A specialist 12 ft 6” race machine (250 L volume) for dedicated racers in most conditions or light-weight riders in flat water. Light and good-looking, with a comfortable and grippy deck pad. Accelerates fast for sprinting, very easy to turn, yet good tracking. Fairly narrow width (27”) makes for easy strokes and a good technical style for the proficient. A proven race design in the States, it has been used to devastating effect by some of the best SUP sprinters in the world. Probably not the first choice for a beginner, unless you have good balance and intend to paddle on flat or protected waters (e.g. rivers, canals, estuaries etc). But if you are a competent racer looking for that edge, this board may give it to you, in a practical, durable, and good-looking package. Light-weight and/or smaller casual riders may also find the sleek design more easy to handle – although it is 250 litres in volume, this is “hidden” within the design, and to look at, and when carrying and moving the board around it feels like less.
Surftech Bark Competitor 12 ft 6”
Originally designed for sprint racing in and out of the surf, this board has turned out to be much more versatile than just that. It is wider than many race/distance boards (29”) and, combined with the squared-off tail and generous volume of the rails, this gives it good stability. This is a race-proven design, but one which may also suit the more casual user who wants a board with better distance capability than a surf-oriented SUP, but doesn’t want the hassle of a longer and heavier board. Light for a non-carbon board of this volume (233 L), and built to a high standard of finish. It also has an extremely comfortable flat deck pad for standing, which will be very handy over longer distances (although of course there may be a slight compromise on grip in extreme conditions and extreme racing moves). Very manoeuvrable, and surprisingly user-friendly for a design with this race pedigree, the looks and finish are excellent too. An extremely popular choice for those seeking a 12-6 (stock class) distance or race board with more everyday-usability than some. As soon as I tried it was obvious why it has been so popular – it makes speedy sprinting easy, but will be comfortable for longer trips around the coast or inland waters as well.