If you ride a stand-up paddleboard on flat water like rivers and bays, the “glide” will make or break you — Take a paddle stroke and see how far your board coasts across the surface before slowing to a stop. The amount of distance you get from that single push will tell you a lot about the quality of your board and the execution of its design.
The first stroke I took on Surfcore’s Hunter ATAC confirmed the hunch that drove me to purchase one off the internet without the usual test ride — it’s a pretty good glider for a $700 board, which is inexpensive as these things go.
I came across the Hunter ATAC because I needed to upgrade. I’ve been paddleboarding for three years, and recently decided to move up from my outdated inflatable board. I wanted something that would help me cover more distance, as well as a piece of gear that looked cool like those needle-nosed boards I’d seen the SUP racers use. But for a board I’ll primarily use to burn calories on the Magothy River and the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, I didn’t see the need to spend $1,500 on a high-end SUP.
A couple of chats with friends led me to Ebay to get a fix on prices. A few searches presented me with a Surfcore board. I hadn’t heard of the company before, but there’s quite a large gaggle of SUP brands popping up across the U.S. Like most of them, Surfcore sources its boards from Asia — the majority of SUPs are manufactured in factories in Thailand or China, with the higher-quality boards coming from Thailand.
The Carson, California-based Surfcore sells through scattered retailers, but also runs a direct sales business through Ebay, a distribution model the more expensive brands frown upon because it makes it more difficult to control pricing. But for a board that costs roughly half the cash of a fancy SUP, the Hunter is an attractive option.