Gear Review: Starboard Astro Stream
I get asked quite often about the best whitewater SUP board and it is without a doubt Dan Gavere's signature Starboard Astro Stream. Dan is a whitewater kayaking and SUP pioneer who designed this stable, maneuverable, and very fun board. It's 9'6" by 36" and 6" thick. These 6" thick boards seem to be the future of the sport.
Normally I paddle the 11'6" Badfish MCIT because I really like the secondary stability and the length. I'm 6'2" and 220 lbs and like big, stable boards. When I got on the Astro Stream it took me a few miles to figure out the secondary stability, but it's definitely there. Even though this board is 2 feet shorter than the board I normally paddle, it gets extra stability from it's extra width and thickness.
The Astro Stream has several key features for whitewater. This board has more rocker than most other SUPs which helps it power through waves and holes. It also has easily removable hard fins. The best innovation is that it can be pumped up to 18 psi, keeping it extremely rigid for surfing.
This is the best board because it's just plain fun. I had a great time zipping around in rapids and catching surf waves on the fly. The Badfish MCIT is a great river runner, but terrible for surfing. I had a ridiculously good time paddling the Stream.
"This is the best board because it's just plain fun"
The downside for me was when we came to the bigger Class IV rapids on the Dee to Tucker stretch of the Hood River. The Stream comes in just one size and I weigh a bit too much to be stable in chaotic water. Tim and Dan did great on the Astro Stream, but with my extra 30 lbs I didn't feel comfortable in the big, long rapids.
Rumor has it that this board is coming out in multiple sizes next year. If so, I'll be buying the larger version and making it my only board. If you're less than 200 lbs you should buy this board right now!