Recently, Stand Up Paddle Surfing Magazine had the opportunity to test out the 11' Big Easy by Pau Hana Surf Supply. From conception to production, this board has received nicknames such as The Fat Board and The Party Barge. It seems that The Big Easy is the name that stuck. SUPSURFMAG.COM editor, Nate Burgoyne and his wife, Heidi even took it out tandem stand up paddling. How did it work out? Read on...
Pau Hana Surf Supply has been a reputable blank and surf supply distributor for years and has recently started designing stand up paddleboards with the input of several shapers as well as stand up paddle surfers of varying abilities. The result is equipment designed by the stand up paddle community as a whole as opposed to the hand of a single shaper. The result has been some shapes and designs never before seen on the water...all 100% unique.
A prototype 11' Big Easy was sent to the North Shore for some testing, feedback, and review by supsurfmag.com and paddlers of varying abilities. Said editor, Nate, "As soon as it arrived, I told my wife, we've got to tandem paddle that board!"
The board checks in a 11' long, 32" wide, and 5" thick. The volume is full throughout most of the length of the board with some tapering toward the nose and tail. It's a fairly straight board with minimal rocker for fast paddling and stability. A full nose and round tail with a 2+1 fin set up complete the board.
We've never been on a more stable board. The concept behind the design was to design a versatile board that would 1) float a 300+ lb paddler no problem and allow him or her to get into the surf 2) be the biggest, baddest, most buoyant board on the water that the whole family can have fun on.
The maiden voyage of the board in Hawaiian waters was out in flat water with Nate on the board, his 4 year old on the nose and his baby on his chest in the baby carrier. "No problems, tons of fun," said Nate.
Nate's wife, Heidi runs a stand up paddle school on the North Shore of Oahu where the board was also demoed by students of varying abilities. It was definitely the most stable board in the stand up paddle school's quiver.
Then it was time to take the board out tandem. At a combined weight of approximately 300 lbs, the tandem experiment was a success. Twice we took the board out tandem in flat water, the first time in glassy river waters, and the second time out in the ocean on a day with the normal wind and bumps that come with mid-day sea breezes on island waters.
"Tandem paddling the board definitely takes some coordination between both paddlers. You won't just hop up and paddle off into the sunset, but once you get it together and you're both able to relax, it's a great time. After that first paddle out, if I had my choice between my own board and paddling tandem in flat water, I'll take tandem. You've got someone to talk with, play with, and share the same experience with. Next time, we're taking it into some small surf!" said Nate.
On one final note, the board was taken solo into waist to the occasional shoulder high surf, with a single paddler, and the board surfed better than expected. Paddling out through the whitewater was not a problem. The stability kept it level and the volume smashed through the chop. Given the volume of the board, in the surf, the board could turn smooth off the bottom and keep speed, which may be attributed to the round tail, and could turn off the top of the wave as well in swooping arcs. Who knew you could do small, slow motion, floaters on a big board like that. And, not to forget, the board noserides like a champ. Given the length and width of the board, for light to medium build paddlers, it takes some footwork to maneuver it around, however, given the volume and stability of the board, even if you trip over your own foot, the board is forgiving enough that you can make a recovery without wiping out.
Who do we recommend the board for? Anyone who wants the biggest tanker of tankers we've found, who wants a board to put the whole family on (at the same time), is up for trying their skills at tandem paddling, wants to put the tackle box on the front, a lawn chair in the middle and a hibachi on the back, or is 300+ lbs and wants a stable piece of equipment they can also take into the surf.
For more info and demos go to www.pauhanasurfco.com.
Pau Hana ships to all 50 states for just $99.