Friday, September 5, 2014

Focus Cali 14' on tour

Last week I had the chance to tour on the Focus Cali 14' for five self-supported days on class 1 river.  To ready the board, all I did was fit a shorter, smaller flexi fin to deal with rocks (I never touched one) and add four tie-downs to the front deck.  I've put miles on this board on flatwater, bumpy water & downwinding but hadn't yet paddled it loaded.  Unloaded, it excels as a fast & stable all conditions board that is easy to maneuver and control.

The Cali 14' is extremely capable surfing, downwinding, holding speed and dealing with cross-chop.  It's stable from rail to rail and on the tail, it's lightweight, and the volume distribution is perfect for what I need.  The only unanswered question for me, until now, was how well it would handle with a load over 50lbs.

I definitely felt less stable, but only a bit.  Part of the stability loss was due to the small fin and some due to weight.  The sunken deck took on more water than usual, but shed it quickly enough.  Initial rail to rail stability was less than normal, but secondary remained high.  Speed was reduced on flat water, but felt the same on bumpy water.  It definitely wasn't as quick as unloaded, but that would be the same for any loaded board.

When touring I prefer all my gear front of center.  I don't like gear behind me out of sight and personally I need to keep the back deck clear for walking back and turning.  Since I was acting sherpa for friends, I was carrying much more weight than if I were alone, but even at 70+ pounds on the front deck, the Cali was really capable in flat water, current and chop up to 2'.  More later...

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