Tahoe SUP was started in 2008 by founder Nate Brouwer. He wanted to go beyond the traditional surf inspired SUP shapes and create boards that could provide a more efficient glide while still being able to carry extra gear and of course his dog Stella. Tahoe currently designs and manufactures solid and inflatable SUP’s with about eight different varieties in their line-up to choose from. Their emphasis is on innovative design, quality, high-end materials and manufacturing, something that is evident in their Zephyr Touring Paddle Board which we’ll talk about in this review.
The Tahoe Zephyr SUP is the Porche of paddle boards, watch the video below and keep reading to find out why.
The Zephyr paddle board is Tahoe’s flagship touring SUP, it’s built for long adventures on the lake and is lighter, faster and stronger than the original Zephyr. It uses PINEWOODtech™ construction which is an epoxy lamination that includes real pinewood sheets fastened together and vacuumed over a lightweight EPS foam core. The natural grain of the Pinewood runs the length of the board creating a clean and contemporary style which is sophisticated, yet not over the top. The Pinewood helps keep the board lightweight while improving strength, rigidity and durability. On top of this, you’ll find a brushed EVA traction pad which helps keep your feet comfortable and on the board.
The Zephyr’s Piercing Displacement Hull is the reason why this board cuts through the water with ease. This advanced hull design is pretty unique. It provides easy acceleration and an efficient glide by smoothly introducing the nose of the Zephyr into the water and then gently displacing the water around the it. Behind the nose you’ll find the recessed standing area which lowers the centre of gravity of the board and creates a more stability platform on which to stand. It brings the paddler closer to the water and provides a larger surface area at the front of the board to increase float and provide a break if waves do cover the nose. Moving volume out of the board’s standing area also reduces the weight of the board which is always a good thing.
The Zephyr SUP sports a number of deck plugs located at the front and back of the board. These are ideal for using the included cargo net, tying in a leash for more turbulent waters or other add ons such as fishing rod holders, GoPro mounts, phone mounts or cup holders. There’s a waterproof Gore-Tex vent which allows air to move in and out of the board as temperature or elevation fluctuate. Under the board is where you’ll find the the single touring fin which has a foiled design to reduce drag while still having enough volume to maximize the boards stability and keep it tracking straight ahead.
The woman’s version of the Zephyr SUP is the 11’ 6” Bliss paddle board, same design as the Zephyr only a foot shorter and five pounds lighter.
With a long 12’6” length and narrow 30” width the Tahoe Zephyr paddle board cuts through the water like a knife. The Piercing Displacement Hull only magnifies this ability while the recessed standing area lowers the board’s centre of gravity making it surprisingly stable. So stable in fact that it can take on rolling waves with ease as I found out on a recent paddle on Kootenay Lake. The day began with calm waters and effortless paddle strokes but soon turned choppy as large waves built up, so much so that the board surfed as it was pushed along by the wind. Most other SUP’s wouldn’t have fared so well but the Zephyr was super solid and stable—proving that it was able to take on challenging water as well as calm. Where the Zephyr really shines however is on flat water when you have a lot of distance to cover. The sleek shape allows it to move effortlessly through the water and you can actually feel the Piercing Displacement Hull slice the water with every paddle stroke. It easily maintains momentum given its design profile and is a pleasure to paddle.
Tahoe calls the Zephyr a ‘Performance Touring SUP’ and I can see why, this is one fast SUP and it doesn’t paddle like any other SUP we’ve reviewed. It’s sleek, fast and still super stable—a great combination.
The only downside of the Zephyr paddle board is that you really have to baby it. Its finish chips easily if it comes in contact with anything hard as I’ve found out—I’ve already chipped the nose and the white finish is marred with stains from the car rack’s black plastic pads as well as other things its come in contact with. Aside from this, it’s an amazing board for those that want to go far and wide on the lake. It is a little pricey but the good stuff always costs more.
If you are looking for a less advanced and less expensive paddle board then read our review of the Tahoe Paddlecraft SUP here.
Price: $1,629CAN / $1,349US
Dimensions: 12’6” x 30"
Weight: 13.15kg / 29 pounds
Max Capacity: 127kg / 280 lbs
Quality / Price 1.5/2
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