Michael Bier is a local F-One SUP rider on the island of Oahu, in Hawai, and is a seasoned watermen. His SUP board of choice is the Anakao 8’10. Here is what he has to say about the board, a very instructive and comprehensive review
Anakao 8’10” x 29” x 109L
A couple of things I notice immediately when picking up the board: the lightness and the tucked under or bevel rails. The lightness is of course great for carrying which sometimes for me is a trek from the car to the beach, and also noticeable on the water in the board’s light feel. The tucked under rails brings back memories of early windsurfing days and I think adds to the boards overall lightness feeling and really being able to stick the rail in the water.
I am coming from SUPing sometimes on a 10.0 NSP and sometimes on a 7.3 Naish Hokua. Very different boards obviously! In terms of where the Anakao 8.10 sits, I would say definitely closer to the Hokua than the NSP.
First things first. Standing on the board is no problem in smooth water. The deck is very comfortable with good grip. The buoyancy of 107L for me at 160 lbs is fine with my feet being dry. It is not as stable as some other boards I have sampled but a far cry from that impossible feeling I would have on that tiny Naish board. I find the natural stance about 1-2 inches back from where I would normally stand in relation to the carrying handle. I do find that the board becomes difficult not so much in chop but rather when you have an underlying swell from another direction – the board really needs to point into the swells for the stability.
This is a slow board to paddle. It’s a high performance board with lots of rocker and a pointy front, so it’s not expected to go fast or have much glide. And it doesn’t. The arcing when paddling is not excessive and the power stroke is comfortable fore and aft. Kneeling and paddling when choppy / windy is comfortable due to the nice deck pad, and a full lie down arm paddling is a piece of cake. The pointy nose works really well to cut through any white water and should you tumble, the board is super easy to flip over and get back on.
Getting on the wave takes some practice to find the sweet spot in your stance (slightly back from middle of handle) and how much you can move (hardly at all). With a board of this length, I was expecting to be able to move forward a little more when I have to reach to catch a wave, but this is actually counterproductive as the board just plows more. So it becomes an exercise in positioning for catching a wave more than your power stroke.
The nice thing is that once you catch the wave, the board is immediately on a plane and takes off. And there does not appear to be a top speed for the board, which is very handy. The nose rocker is just right and has saved me on many occasions when I have had larger than expected drops. Best of all once you get going and can lay down that first bottom turn, then you realize, wow, this is nice!! It turns like a dream both on the bottom and at the top. This is where those tucked under rails come into play. Nice speed as well as sticking the rail in the water. It tracks super nice when you have to head down the line and handles chop on the wave without any problem.
On bottom turns I have to put the front foot a little more to the side than I expected, so another point of learning, but it’s hard to believe that I am riding a basically 9’ long board. This thing will turn just how you want it to turn. Maintaining speed is not an issue, once the board is planing, it likes to stay planing.
It does take a bit more horsepower in the wave to initially get it going. So if you are riding 1 foot surf then I don’t think this is the right board. I’m usually riding 4-10 foot faces on a mostly non-curling wave and the 8.10 really fits that profile nicely.
The board still looks new after a year of use. I have no dings or heavy marking on the rails or indentations in the deck. The deck pad is still great and the leash connection and fin boxes show zero sign of defect. This board is very well made.
The only area of improvement I can think of is that the nose of the board has no grip. I learned the hard way that having some grip up there is important. Obviously not for regular use but on the rare occasion when you slip or lose your balance and step forward you don’t want to do the painful splits, like I have twice. So I wax mine.
I’m super happy with the board and highly recommend it to any intermediate to advanced rider that has the luxury of 4-10 faces.