Last September, the Teulade brothers, Jeremy and Ludovic, went to explore the magnificence of the Crystal Coast in North Carolina. With more than 135km of wild, varied coast including the Outer Banks islands, and Cape Hatteras, it seemed like the perfect place to test the latest developments in Oxbow’s SUP board range. The boys found time to put them all through their paces, the new versions of the “Oxbow Peak” surf SUP and “Racer” race boards, the freeride “Glide Bamboo”, and the other new bamboo boards, “Play” and “Search”, all in a combination of waves, flat, and everything in-between.
We went to do some filming in North Carolina, on the Crystal Coast near New Bern, on the east coast of America. It was the middle of September and the weather and water conditions were really good. Actually, the weather was fantastic during our stay, which meant we could take full advantage of everything the Crystal Coast had to offer. We paddled the open ocean, plenty of the numerous rivers and bays, and some unbelievably good surf spots.
We were made incredibly welcome by the BIC USA team, and by the film crew. The locals were extremely friendly, we had a great time with them, and with the other BIC ambassadors who were there for the week-long visit.
I’d say it was one of the best trips of our short lives so far, we discovered so many things in one short week. The “shooting” days can be quite tiring (starting at 7.00am and often not finishing ‘til 8.00pm or later), but the variety of filming locations meant that we travelled all over the area to shoot at some of the most beautiful spots on the Crystal Coast.
The meals were very often based around fresh fish, the local cooking is great, an important element of any successful trip abroad.
We explored a lot of the “oxbows” (also known as meanders). They have quite an Amazonian aspect and feeling, but we also paddled along some of the other inland waterways that are extremely beautiful. It’s worth remembering that this is a place where everything revolves around fishing and other water activities, because the geography of the Crystal Coast means there is water everywhere you look or go. It’s easy to find perfect flat water and spots where you can be totally alone, in peace and harmony with mother nature. In fact, one of our ambassador friends who’s into the yoga side adored these kind of spots, which lend themselves perfectly to quiet calm and concentration on the self.
As for surf spots, what can we say ? We caught the swell from the three devastating hurricanes that had swept through the Caribbean. Some of the spots that “never” worked were transformed and were incredibly good, and there’s a great variety of wave spots all along the Crystal Coast. The potential is vast and surfing is clearly a big and important element of local culture.
I really enjoyed riding the 12’6 Glide Bamboo, which is quite simply magnificent. I can honestly say that up to now I’d never seen an SUP board that you could equally well imagine hung on your living room wall as a decoration. But this one definitely yes, it’s a beautiful board and a total pleasure to paddle. It’s stable, easy, and contrary to expectation, actually pretty rapid ! It’s an ideal board for having fun on any kind of water, still or “busy”, and for complete beginners. But it’s got plenty to offer more experienced riders for exploring different, varied spots and conditions.
The main things about the Racer board are its versatility and the easy ride. It’s manoeuvrable, stable, has great handling in surf, and is easy to turn and position. It’s got great speed on the flat. You can see on the video exactly how much fun Ludovic had paddling this board. You might find it a bit more limited on water that’s really broken up.
We tested the Peak on a surf spot out on one of the islands…a slice of paradise. We were taken out on a boat and had an amazing 3 hour session there.
The 2018 SUP Surf boards are as stable and easy to ride as the rest of the range, even more stable and easier than the 2017 Peak boards. They’re quickly up to speed and easy to handle in all kinds of surf. It’s the perfect weapon for endless wave riding, you actually have to hold yourself back to let the surfers have a go now and then (laughs).
The only limit is when you find yourself in fast, deep waves over 2 metres high.
We really appreciated the Search’s incredible versatility, we were able to do almost everything, paddling on flat glassy, chop, rivers and creeks, exploration trips, and surfing “longboard-style”. A genuine 4x4 board.
The Play is incredibly stable, perfect for beginners, for families and for duo-paddling. We even tried a bit of yoga which is very easy on this board. Actually, we really enjoyed our SUP yoga sessions, total escapism whilst improving your muscle tone. Angling fans might well end up swapping their boats and canoes for the Play Fishing model. It’s so stable that two people can fish at the same time and carry all the kit they need.
Unfortunately we can’t be there for the Carolina Cup, but you can be sure we’ll be going back there sometime ! We would strongly recommend this as a fantastic destination, tailor made for SUP.