Starboard Gen-R: The new generation of SUP racing starts here

Meet the Starboard Gen R!

Starboard Team launches the Gen-R, this highly anticipated board for 2024 is a new breed amongst Starboards already extensive and world class range of race SUPs. There have been a few boards circulating amongst the Starboard Dream Team riders, where they have already been exhibiting amazing performances on them. The Gen-R is ‘bridging the gap’ between the AllStar and the Sprint, taking on much requested feature changes such as reduced nose thickness and reduce rail height, which will be great for lighter, and youth riders. In this feature we get the full low down from Trevor Tunnington, Starboards product design manager, about how the GenR came to be. We also get some feedback on the board from Dream Team rider Espe Barreras, and England Team rider Holly Pye.

Hey Trevor, thank you for giving your time to TotalSUP, who or what inspired the creation of the GenR?

The inspiration behind the creation of the Gen-R race board series was a desire to develop a versatile racing SUP that excelled in technical racing, surf, and flat-water conditions, factoring in the key criteria: acceleration, balanced glide, stability during turns, and reduced splash from the bow. After rigorous testing and seven rounds of prototypes, the Gen-R was ready for the 2024 model production line, and we are really excited that we were able to meet all of our requirements for this new model. The Gen-R is the easy to use, semi recessed deck race board that will be a great option as a first race board, but is designed have the speed requirements that our World Championship Dream Team look for.

Trevor Tunnington, Product Design Manager at Starboard

What kind of racing is best for the Gen-R?

The GenR is tailored to excel in a variety of racing scenarios. The design is aimed specifically at: technical racing and surf racing, and works very well in small chop and flat-water competitions.

Can you tell us more about the design of the new Gen-R.

The board is well balanced, and features a wide tail for stability during turns, a low nose rocker for acceleration, semi recessed deck makes it easy to use in beach starts, punching through waves and recovery if you fall. The bottom shape is flat and predictable, with slightly rounded rails to give a great combination of speed, predictability and ease in various conditions.

Why the semi recessed deck?

The semi-recessed deck of the Gen-R is generally the opposite approach for race board design from what we have featured over the last few years. Dugout deck boards are fantastic at navigating large ocean swells, giving you the best stability and lowest center of gravity, and are very comfortable to use once you get the hang of them. Some downsides to this concept though is that technical racing can be difficult with beach starts, surfing and getting back on fast when you fall in. So the Gen-R was born to fill this gap in our lineup.

How many models are in the range?

14’0″ x 29″ / 356L
14’0” x 27” / 337L
14’0” x 25” / 317L
14’0” x 23” / 296L
14’0” x 21.5” / 282L

Who was involved in the design and development of the Gen-R?

At Starboard HQ, Thailand, we have a dedicated team of shapers working on various design concepts. For this project, SUP Brand Manager Ollie O’Reilly and Product Design Manager Trevor Tunnington led the design and development with this new range. Company Chief Innovator, Svein Rassmussen was also heavily involved in the R&D stages for the models. The development process was done over around 5 months, using seven unique prototypes for the first size, which were tested, reshaped and changed various times. And then the final prototype was scaled up to larger sizes, so we had over twelve+ prototype models in total through this development cycle.

We also have annual development blocks with our Dream Team riders where racers will come out to Bangkok and test with us – generally in the later stages when we are happy with the design progress. Daniel Hasulyo was involved in testing alongside the HQ team throughout multiple stages of design, and Noic Garioud also relayed valuable testing feedback that helped us to shape the final stages of design.

Our team of workshop shapers helped test and shape the Gen-R, including Thai National Champion: Tee Designed
As well as our long standing team of shapers with decades of experience: Pracha Naing Win, Singnil Pop.

Holly and Espe, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on the Gen-R, what size board are you using?

Espe: I’m using 14×21.5, is super easy to drive in all conditions. But 14×23,14×25 and wider are sizes for all riders to enjoy everyday. Definitely, it is a board both for racing and as the first race board for Amateurs.

Holly: I’ve tried both the 14 x 23” and the 14 x 21.5”. I’m now using the 14 x 21.5” and I love it!

How do you find the design of the board?

Espe: Gen-R design has touches of the old and so versatile Allstars from 2017-2019.
The main new is the FLATDECK design that gives more freedom on the board. The shaped nose makes higher speed on short choppy and the square tail gives more stability while surfing and turns. It has a well balanced rocker which allows extra safety on solid beach racing.

Holly: It’s strange going back to a flat deck board as I’ve just used dug outs for several years now! It took a bit of getting used to as the stability is so different, but now that I have got used to it I don’t feel so wobbly on the narrower one. I love the flat bottom design too, it’s super fast and the wide tail means step back turns are more stable than some of the other boards I’ve been paddling

What do you think of the speed and manoeuvrability?

Espe: Really surprised about sprints, fast gliding. Its a perfect board for technical races at the beach or flatwater with bouy turns. I feel the Gen-R stuck to my feet, like a skate. With its reduced volume each movement is transferred directly to the board.

Holly: It’s so fast! I think it’ll be a great board for sprints and for technical racing… and distance racing too come to think of it!! Nothing will ever replace the All Star in ocean swell and it’s also not a replacement for the Sprint over long, flat water races. But I think it’s speed and manoeuvrability mean it’ll be perfect for everything else!

 So…. Flat water Vs Choppy water?

Espe: This thicker slicing nose makes less drag and more speed on flatwater conditions. The semi-boxy rails gives more control and rolling reduced. “ Gen-R is my choice for days of pure fun “

Holly: I’ve tried it in both. I think the Gen-R is strong in all conditions to be honest. The nose shape doesn’t catch the water in the same was as the Sprint which means it excels really quickly if you’re doing sprints or technical racing with intense bursts where the board is moving around a lot with your power. It’s also great in choppy water and is super fast in the waves. Having said that, nothing replaces the All Star in big, rolling ocean swell and nothing replaces the Sprint if you’re doing an event like the 11 Cities Tour. I think the Gen-R will be my go-to for just about everything coming up!!

Well a massive thank you to Trevor and the team at Starboard HQ for putting this together, and a big shout out to Holly Pye, and Espe Barreras for their thoughts on the Gen-R, it sounds like this is the board of the season and a no brainer to have on your ‘try it’ list! 

Find out more about the Gen-R here on the Starboard website, and on their Facebook page where you will get regular updates. 

I’ll leave you with the most incredible photo of Starboard Dream Team rider Daniel Hasulyo surfing the GenR in Bali….. outstanding… 

About the Author

Emily Evans

Emily is a SUP Athlete hailing from Wales UK, she is a qualified SUP coach through British Canoeing and Waterskills Academy. When Emily isn’t training or pursuing her day job in construction she enjoys exploring the topics of SUP and sporting performance through the medium of writing.

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