Surftech Joe Bark Expedition 14’0 ReviewApril 8, 2012
- Sleek shape creates maximum glide with less paddling effort.
- Accessory deckpad, handholds and deck inserts provide for future expandability.
- Tuflite construction makes a durable tool for long term use.
- This flat-water design is not well suited for surf.
- At 14-feet, this board can be cumbersome to handle out of the water and difficult to store in your garage.
In the realm of flat-water standup paddleboards, this board sets a standard for speed and durability. While large (at 14’), the upshot is perfect glide with ample stability. The extra-tough construction makes this board a good long-term investment.
The Surftech / Joe Bark Expedition Stand Up Paddleboard is a 14-foot craft that puts its size to good use. My initial stokes on the Bark machine made me feel like the board came with an onboard motor, and it felt good in flat to semi-choppy conditions. Bark has tapped his expertise in race paddleboards in building the Expedition: the flat bottom, pointed nose and narrow profile make for a board that wants to drive in a straight line. This makes for a board that is great for cross training, coastal touring and could be used in a SUP race.
While you could surf the Expedition in small conditions, its length and profile make it hard to turn well on a wave. If you were looking for a more surf-ready board, a wider board in the 9’6 to 10’6 range would be a better choice.
The flipped nose on the Expedition allows the board to ride above light chop, but larger swells may give you the “shakes,” as the nose and tail compete to center the board. While wider craft in the 10’ to 12’6 size will handle wind and chop better, time spent learning to navigate the Bark will quickly cure stability issues and lead to both fast and quick maneuvering in most situations.
The Surftech Tuflite construction of the Expedition, which combines a standard EPS foam base with a fiberglass and foam outer layer, makes for a durable board that will take any bumps and nicks you’ll encounter moving the board in and out of the water.
Big means big
Beyond the usual challenge of getting on and off your car and to the water, the Expedition will also command a large portion of your garage or basement. But the same extra length (most boards run from 10’ to 12’6) that makes the board awkward on land gets put to perfect use when wet.
The big picture
After using the Expedition for a few days on the water, I began to favor its glide over the stability of shorter, wider boards. The board wants to be paddled faster than your arms can pull you. The advantage of the Bark is in its design—the board’s shaper specializes in race craft and it shows. While other boards allow for a good workout, the Expedition platform is ideal for prolonged treks, raising your fitness without making you struggle to achieve it.