This journey to pick out the right board started about 3 months ago as I first had to convince myself that it was time to make a change from my current race board and start the research into the right board. Who knew what was involved, the many brands to choice from and making sure it was a good fit. I started to head in the direction of Bote because my husband owns one and raved about the craftsmanship, quality, and durability of the board and he was drawn to the fact that the boards were made in the USA, Ft. Walton Beach, FL to be specific and that we could purchase it locally through our favorite SUP Shop, MOCEAN.
Once the decision was made, Brett and I took a trip to Ft. Walton Beach, FL to demo some boards. After two days of trying different boards, I decided I was hooked on the DarkRoom. From there I worked with Pete Buzzelli, Bote’s Darkroom Guru, on specs for the board. Fast forward 4 weeks… she has arrived.
Ryan Hewson from MOCEAN reached out me as soon as she arrived and yes, I wanted to fake a sickness at work in order to leave and see what I have been anxiously waiting for. However, I knew I had to share this with my husband so I patiently waited (ok, maybe not so patiently) and we met with Ryan at MOCEAN Saturday just as the store was opening. Ryan was good enough to keep it in the box so that I could get the joy of unwrapping this beauty. The unveiling was a challenge in itself, as Bote had done an excellent job in packaging the board to ensure it arrived damage free. Once the box was removed, this is what I uncovered:
It was like Christmas morning for me as I could not cut the packaging quick enough off to reveal what was so well protected. With the help of Ryan and Brett I was finally able to get to what I was so excited to finally see. The work done to complete this board is amazing and truly worth the wait as it was hand crafted and built by Peter Buzzelli and the DarkRoom team. We just admired for awhile at the MOCEAN shop until it was time to get her on the Jeep for her first paddle.
Brett and I drove to our favorite spot, Monk’s Cove in Monument Beach. I had fun with the dramatics about her first launch and just as I put her in the water and stepped onto her for the first time, I had made a connection with her and knew I made the right choice. The way she glides across the water even into a choppy current with a head wind and minimal effort it takes to make her go. I kept catching myself just watching the nose cut through the water effortlessly. Yes… this is the start of a great relationship with my board.
It may sound like a lot to do in order to purchase a board, but I highly recommend doing your research before purchasing a board for racing or touring. It is a big purchase, an investment, and something that you really need to be comfortable with from a personal fit. Going to a local shop like MOCEAN is a good start as the staff there can help fit you with the right board by allowing you to demo various boards and providing you with the information needed to make sure you are comfortable a board and that it fits with what your paddling needs are. Take your time and do your homework! It is an investment into a healthy lifestyle.
Spring is officially here, I’ve got my new board and am ready to get out there, are you?
See you on the water!by