I have owned a Starboard POD 7.4 for over 3 years now and have surfed it probably well over a 100 times. In waves from literally just over knee high to double over head. The board is a quad fin set up which in my opinion is the best set up for a short sup. The volume of the board is a 105l and is 29.5 inches wide.
I weigh just under 75kg and stability wise the POD is fine. As you can imagine at only 7.4 long the glide you get from the board from each paddle stroke is very limited. Also if you are coming down in size from a much larger board you will have to concentrate much harder on your paddling technique. Once you have got it though you will be able to paddle the POD in pretty much a straight line. As far as the the shape of the board goes it is probably now classed as a bit old school for a short sup. There is plenty of volume up towards the nose of the board and the nose of the board is fairly wide. The tail of the board is pulled in and pretty narrow.
Now the main priority of any board what does it surf like. Where we live on the south east corner of England. The majority of the time we get short period wind driven swell. even in these far from unideal conditions the starboard POD will get up and perform in anything over waist high. It will accelerate really quickly on to a wave and the majority of the time you just need a couple of paddle strokes to make the take off. Even in these mushy waves that we get the POD .
will turn tightly in the bottom turn and get you back up to the lip with plenty of speed to get a top turn in. Also this great board from Starboard with its fairly wide nose is a doddle to nose ride.
I have also had 5 trips down to Devon with the starboard POD. In better quality surf from waist to double over head high. The pod takes it all in its stride. On the smaller stuff the acceleration is instant and you can really tighten up the turns. In the larger waves long drawn out turns are a real joy and the board never seems out of its comfort zone.
So as you can guess my over all opinion of the Starboard POD. Is that if you want a single SUP wave board that does everything pretty well. Then this is a board you should put on your short list. That is if you can find one. Starboard did not make this model for very long. Why i do not know and i have never seen a second hand one for sale.
The last time that we managed to get a decent wave at Camber on christmas eve was in 2011. The forecast was good and Rich and myself were starting to think that we could possibly get another christmas present from the weather gods. As we all know though what the weather forecast says will happen and what actually happens on the day can be very different things. Luckily the Christmas weather gods were spot on this time.
Hopefully the pictures i have added of one of the waves i caught on the Starboard pod will give you a glimpse of the great session we had on Christmas eve. Richard is really getting to grips with his waveski now and is now turning it a lot tighter and getting right in the critical section of the shoulder. He had the best wave he has ever had at Camber sands during this session and left the water feeling very happy with himself.
I know the chances of getting a barrel at Camber Sands are pretty remote. For a second though when riding the wave in the pictures. I just thought i might be able to get tucked up in one. As you can see by the last picture in the sequence i got a face full of waterfor my troubles. I have wanted to get in a barrel since i started supping and the time will come sooner or later, Just not yet.
We stayed on the water for about 3 hours on Christmas eve and the session seemed to go in half hour bursts. We got on the water just after high water. As the water dropped one sand bar would work well for about half an hour> then it would go off and be hard work for the next half hour. Then as the water dropped a bit further the next sand bar out would start working.
So over allRichard caught the best wave at Camber on his Waveski. I managed to get plenty of speed out of the Starboard POD and got as close as i have at Camber in getting tucked up in a wave.
The forecast was for a front to go through over night and then the wind to swing to the NW between 6 and 9 in the morning. I had spoken to Richard and we were hoping to wake up with the wind already in the NW and starting to clean Camber up for a good surf. So i went to bed in anticipation of some wave riding coming up the next day. The front though was a bit slow clearing the south east of the UK. The wind never clocked in to the NW until about 9.30 so it was a matter of waiting a couple of hours and then having a sup at Broomhill sands on the dropping tide.
When we arrived there was a fair breeze from the WNW. Which is just off shore at Camber. With hind sight i should of taken the starboard pod up to the harbour arm and not gone out at the stoney car park at Broomhill Sands. The problem was though there was a lovely looking head high shoulder running to the left. So i got sucked out by the great looking wave. Richard with his waveski decided to wait a while and see how i got on. Which proved to be the right decision. Once out the back the wind was blowing quite hard and because i was supping it was hard to just not get blown down wind. I stayed out about 45 min and only managed to get on one decent shoulder and managed to get 3 bottom turns in. Not the best day i have ever had at Camber on the sup. Ol well the forecast for tomorrow is for head high waves over the high water. So a sup up by the harbour arm is on the cards.
The wind had blown from the south for most of the night and then dropped right out about 4.30 am. So in theory there should of been a nice bit of ground swell left to have a surf on.
There were 4 surfers out when i arrived at just after high water. They had gone in from the centre of camber at the sandy car park. They were catching a few short rides on thigh to waist high waves. The weather was good and i hoped the waves would get a bit better as the tide dropped and the ebb came through. So i decided to keep optomistic and get wet.
I had about an hour and a half on the water and there was no problem catching waves on the starboard POD. They were only small however and had very little speed to them. There again i caught a few waves, The weather was warm and sunny for november and it was good exercise.
So all in all another non epic days sup surfing at Camber Sands but fun none the less