Wow, what a year it’s been! Two things I never thought I’d say: I live in an RV and I own a Versa Board! A Versa Board is a cross between a stand up paddle board (SUP) and a kayak. Paddle boarding is now very popular. I’ve seen people gliding down the Potomac River but always thought this sport was for fitness models. It looked difficult to balance, propel yourself through the water, and stay standing up, on what looked like a surf board. I thought it was cool but probably not for me. After all, water sports weren’t my thing and I certainly didn’t like kayaking!
Then one day, while I was visiting Ocean City, MD, I signed up for a private lesson. Months later, I took a group lesson while on vacation in Costa Rica. Pretty soon, I was hooked. It didn’t take much. The feeling of freedom, the ability to go anywhere on the water, and the minimalism (it’s just you, a board, and a paddle) really appealed to me. It fits right into our “ultralight” philosophy.
I casually mentioned this new interest to Kayak Chris and in no time he was researching the brands and taking me to kayak shops to look through inventory. We explored cheaper foam boards, expensive bamboo models, inflatable models, and racing boards (yeah right!). We ultimately decided on the hybrid Versa Board, made by Native Watercraft / Liquid Logic, due to its versatility. With this board you can get on the water even when conditions aren’t ideal (nice and calm) for standing up. I could use it to paddle board, Chris could use it for kayak fishing, and it had a number of special features you don’t commonly see on a SUP.
Now we just had to figure out where to get one. I order things online all the time, but I didn’t really want to ship a SUP to a campground office! Then one day Kayak Chris came home with a surprise! He found one of two Versa Boards for sale in all of the Florida Keys. We immediately went down the street to buy a paddle and took it out for its maiden voyage. Over the next few days, Chris made me a paddle leash out of his spare parts collection, affixed a spare kayak seat, and made customizations for me.
My favorite features are:
- The “Tag Along Wheel” attachment. Just pick up one end of the SUP and wheel it straight to the water. At 55 lbs, this SUP is heavier than others, but with the wheel, it’s no problem.
- The spring-loaded skeg. A skeg is a trimming device under a boat used to track (move in a straight line) in variable conditions, such as wind. You raise or lower this feature with the easy to reach lever.
- A small hatch for storage and easy access to the skeg cable.
- Two deck rigging bungee cords to attach whatever you want to bring along.
- Four levels of built-in foot braces for seated paddling. (I use these more than expected.)
- A padded standing and sitting area with the ability to attach a kayak seat.
- Its strength and stability. I’ve tackled wakes from power boaters and haven’t fallen off yet!
- Endless accessories and modification abilities.
- Easy to fish, snorkel from, or just relax on the water.
|Versaboard||12′ 3″||33″||55 lbs||7″||600 lbs|
And best of all, now I can go out on the water with Kayak Chris in an ultralight, minimalist fashion. I love my half SUP / half kayak! It’s the very best of both options. See you on the water!