The 2014 Fanatic Flatwater Falcon Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) is built for speed and performance paddling. I recently had the opportunity to put a 14’ x 24” Carbon model through its paces in protected flat water conditions in Marina del Rey and small open water chop and swell in the Santa Monica Bay. Fanatic engaged in an extensive R&D process to produce the new model and the result is an impressive board which has been thoughtfully engineered to excel in flatwater and small chop conditions. The Falcon is a true racing board which would also double as a great fitness SUP for individuals interested in incorporating paddling into their workout regimen.
The first thing one will notice when looking at the Flatwater Falcon is the full volume through the rails from the fore to aft. As a 150 lbs (68 kg) paddler, the board’s volume of 287 liters may seem excessive at first. In contrast to other race shapes, however, the full volume of the Flatwater Falcon, combined with the attributes of the board's shape, result in a board that is faster, more stable, and more maneuverable than many other products currently on the market.
Beginning in the front, the board lacks the sharp cutting bow found on most other race boards. The absence of a sharp cutting bow combined with a flat bottom creates a board that skims over the surface of the water instead slicing through it. In tandem, these features produce a fast, stable board which does not experience any self steering or yawing in chop, swell and boat wakes. The nose remains fully above the waterline in small chop and quickly pops to the surface and continues moving in a straight, forward trajectory when thrust into rough conditions.
Moving back from the nose, the Flatwater Falcon maintains a full bodied volume through the rails all the way to the tail. The Falcon’s straight rails and rocker line give the 24 inch board a tremendous amount of primary stability and an impressive level of secondary stability – particularly in rough water. The wide, squared off tail complements the board’s outline by creating a firm and stable platform to step back on during pivot turns without sacrificing speed.
When paddling the Flatwater Falcon, the board’s glide is immediately noticeable and I felt there was less of a drop in speed when switching hands to paddle on the opposing side compared to other boards. The board’s flat deck may appear intimidating at first, but the stability created by the Falcon’s shape make the 24 inch model more stable than a number of 26 inch products currently on the market. Fanatic did a fantastic job of designing the standing area by incorporating different colors and textures into the deck pad. The flat deck allows paddlers to adjust their stance from wide to narrow depending on comfort and the conditions, while the slight differentiation in textures on the pad creates a set of touch points when moving around on the board – particularly when stepping back for pivot turns.
The integrated, recessed handle is designed to be accessed from either side and is easy to use. I did not weigh the Carbon Flatwater Falcon, but I found it to be light enough to carry both the board and a paddle with one hand for 100 m.
For additional details on the 2014 Fanatic Flatwater Falcon, see Fanatic-sup.com.
Special thanks to Fanatic and Quickblade Paddles Team Rider Belar Diaz for generously giving me the opportunity to paddle the 2014 Fanatic Flatwater Falcon.