Best Touring Performance

The Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14’ is a performer. As Bluefin’s high-end touring board, we were excited to take it for a spin. It’s got the construction quality we’re used to seeing from Bluefin’s Carbon series, but makes some advances in performance capability while remaining on the fair end of the price range for race-caliber longboards.

The tracking and maneuverability were quite impressive despite windy conditions during our trials. Bluefin advertises the Sprint Carbon as “the gateway to touring” for less-experienced paddlers, but it still seems suited for an intermediate to advanced crowd. Maybe it’s more “the gateway to racing” for bored tourers.

As a racing-style board almost the length of a tandem, it’s near the sleek end of standard touring dimensions. But the weight and rigidity from its easy-to-use, dual-inflation system and the exclusive-to-Bluefin carbon-rail design add surprising stability and produce performance behaviors akin to a hardbody SUP with, of course, the portability bonus of an inflatable.

Transport can be tricky: the extra inflated length catches more wind when carrying on land, and the package, once fully loaded, is a bit heavy; but these are minor setbacks worth the performance advantages.

Whether you’re skilled enough to take full advantage of the Sprint Carbon’s capabilities or not, you’re at least going to look cool trying. The board is visually impressive for its shape, size, varying designs and colors, and includes quality accessories/features. It has the universal action camera mount, dual action pump, and kick-pad on the back of the deck common to many Bluefin boards, but includes the Carbon Series exclusive carbon paddle, rails, and versatile US box-fin system.

The Sprint Carbon 14’ is a solid addition to Bluefin’s SUP resume, and it’s worth diving deeper to examine exactly why.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.8

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Great speed and tracking
  • check-mark
    Dual inflation chambers and carbon rails give it rigidity
  • check-mark
    2+1 smart lock (2) and box-fin (1) system accommodates wide variety of fin types
  • check-mark
    A tree gets planted for every product sold from Bluefin’s site.
  • check-mark
    Quality accessories
  • check-mark
    Extra D-rings for seat or cooler attachments
  • check-mark
    Cool design and colors
  • check-mark
    At $800-$900, it’s a fair price for a touring/racing longboard.
  • check-mark
    Five-year warranty

Things we don't like:

  • check-markOn the heavier side for portability (34lbs in backpack)
  • check-markSmall backpack requires smart packing after use
  • check-markMore than is needed for just casual paddling

Where to buy:

Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14 Product Image

Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14’

Specs & Features

  • Material: 500 denier PVC + carbon rails
  • Board Height: 14’
  • Board Width: 30.3”
  • Thickness: 6.3”
  • Board Weight: 24 lbs
  • Full Package Weight: 34 lbs
  • Pump: Manual, Two-way inflation
  • Max Weight: 420 lbs
  • Recommended Inflation: 12 psi (in both chambers)
See the complete list of the best Best Touring Paddle Boards here!

Performance vs Portability

It meets iSUP standards for portability and storage though the fully packed carrying weight is on the heavier side, and the rigid rails also make the packing process a bit clumsier than usual. Its aesthetics and accessories gave us plenty to check out, too.

What we see in cheaper models, is high portability and low performance. While the Sprint Carbon hasn’t compromised on performance, that makes packing and carrying this 14-footer a little less ideal. Quite simply, a bigger and redesigned bag would have addressed these issues. Bluefin tends to develop, so we expect improvements on this in future.

Features

Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14 Features

Construction & Design

The Sprint Carbon is made of a high-density, 500 denier PVC with a UV-resistant coating. It has a touring board’s textbook pointed nose and square tail for increased glide and speed. It’s not the thinnest touring/racing SUP on the market, but combining its above average 14’ length with its 30-inch width makes it look like you’re cruising the lake on a badass toothpick.

Dual-Inflation Chambers: All the boards in Bluefin’s Carbon Series have two separate inflation chambers–a “central loop chamber” that inflates in the middle of the board, and the “main chamber” that fills up in the back and inflates the rest of the board like you would see on a standard inflatable.

This made inflation an easy process. Each chamber inflates to 12-15psi, and both are advertised as capable of keeping the board afloat individually, a nice safety feature if the board gets punctured.

bluefin-sprint-carbon-14-construction-and-design

Bluefin’s goal is that this would produce additional stiffness to enhance touring performance AND stability to entice new-to-touring paddlers. In general, they’ve succeeded. At 24 lbs, there is heft to the board that improves stability for intermediate and advanced users, and the added rigidity–as it partners with the carbon-rail system (below)–keeps the nose up and out of the water for impressive glide.

Carbon Rails: Another innovation for rigidity and durability that is exclusive to Bluefin’s Carbon Series are carbon-reinforced rails. Essentially, a dense layer of stiff (but collapsible) carbon fiber heat-welded atop the standard PVC underlayment along each rail.

This does give the Sprint Carbon a unique rigidity for an iSUP, and the combination of these two features makes for sharper, hardboard-like tracking and maneuvering.

The crocodile design of the deck pad is, probably, our favorite. The kick pad on the Sprint Carbon is pretty good, but it's very far back toward the aft of the board. There's a long way to go to slide down to it, and we found we didn't have to walk back so far to get the nose up and achieve sharper turns.
The crocodile design of the deck pad is, probably, our favorite. The kick pad on the Sprint Carbon is pretty good, but it's very far back toward the aft of the board. There's a long way to go to slide down to it, and we found we didn't have to walk back so far to get the nose up and achieve sharper turns.

Deckpad + Kickpad: The diamond-pattern deck pad is high quality and provides good traction and comfort. More advanced paddlers have the raised “kick pad” at the back of the deck to help pop the nose for quicker, sharper turns. It requires skill to take advantage of, but is a nice tool if you can use it.

Handles

Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14 Handles

Plenty. There are three handles across the middle, one on both the front and back, and multiple built into the bungee cargo systems. The center one has the “paddle-stay” feature that allows you to velcro the paddle parallel atop the board if you decide to take a swim.  There are also handles in the middle on each side for partner or overhead carrying.

D-Rings

There are 18 d-rings, total. Twelve of which secure the bungee cargos in the front and back, and another six lining deck in parallel for trekker/kayak seat, coolers, or other attachments.

Universal Action Camera Mount

The nose strap runs parallel to the board, ideal for the wrist--as opposed to running across the width of the SUP. An action mount for action cams or a cup holder or a fishing rod mount is nice.
The nose strap runs parallel to the board, ideal for the wrist--as opposed to running across the width of the SUP. An action mount for action cams or a cup holder or a fishing rod mount is nice.

An SUP tour and a good camera go hand-in-hand. With an action cam on this mount you can capture everything you explore on the water. We could also see it coming in handy for racers who want to film and assess their technique. Regardless, the universal action camera mount is a handy feature.

The growing list of mountables–like drink holders, rod holders and bluetooth speakers–make the placement of these mounts versatile and useful too.

Bungees

Two sets of Bungees secured in the front and back by 12 D-rings should accommodate ample cargo.

Performance

This board is near the top of the iSUP class in race-caliber performance. We were enthusiastic when we first tried the smaller, Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12’, and the extra two feet of the Sprint Carbon 14’ added a new dimension with improved performance.

Tracking: Beautiful, for a multitude of factors. The hardboard characteristics produced by the dual-inflation chambers and carbon rails keep the nose of the board up and reduce drag. It manages to do this while paired with the extra-long, pointed shape–increasing displacement and keeping the board from drifting. When we attached the Bixby Jet J-2 SUP motor for testing, the board tracked straight without any manual steering.

Stability: Despite its skinny shape, the Sprint Carbon 14’ is stable enough for any intermediate user. Its firmness and weight (24 lbs) maintained a strong base, even against wind and some choppy currents. The weight also kept the nose down when walking back and forth, which was important for maneuvering its extra length.

Maneuvering: Good maneuverability–especially for a longboard. Some step-back turning proved helpful–even necessary in some cases to avoid too much back-paddling–but all considered this board had a surprisingly tight turn-radius. The kickpad is available for carving, too, but not necessary. It’s a long way back to the pad and we don’t see intermediate tourers using it too much, but it’s there and it works.

Portability and Storage

Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14 Portable

The Sprint Carbon 14’ transports easily enough. Once the board is inflated, the included shoulder strap and ample handles make individual or partner hauls a breeze.

Mind the extra board length when carrying it in windy conditions, however. Longboards are prone to catch harder wind resistance that can literally push you into a spin. We fought this during trials.

Deflated and packed, the whole package is on the heavier side at 34lbs. The backpack has a back pad and extra-wide, padded shoulder straps, which make it comfortable, and tow wheels which avoid the need to carry as often.

The handle for pulling the bag is located in such a way that the edge of the bag drags over the rolling wheels. Not an issue on concrete, but on other surfaces, it irks a bit.

Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14 Backpack

The bag–which is the same one used for Bluefin’s smaller carbon iSUPs–is a bit small, however, for this bigger version. It holds the accessories without a problem, but the board goes in tighter than necessary.

Once the board and accessories are in the backpack, its dimensions make it possible to tuck away in a trunk, closet, basement, or corner of the garage until you’re ready to get back on the water.

Accessories

We aren’t quite as impressed by the Sprint Carbon’s accessory kit as we were by the generous Carbon Cruise 12’ package. (Which included everything below PLUS a kayaking seat and extra paddle blade.) We’re guessing Bluefin just had to make room for the extra two-feet of board.

There’s not really any additional room for a kayak seat.

Here’s what’s included:

Backpack: Sturdy, cool-looking bag with extra-wide, padded shoulder straps and a lower back pad for comfort. Tow wheels also make for improved portability. It is standard in size for inflatable packs (100cm [39”] x 37cm [14”] x 30cm [11.5”]) but could be a little larger to accommodate the bigger, more rigid board.

Pump: The double-chamber, triple-action hand pump inflates on upward and downward motion and makes manual inflation faster and easier. It comes standard with Bluefin’s Carbon Series boards, and it’s able to be adjusted to a traditional pump setting once more pressure is needed.

Fins: The 2 + 1 Smart-loc and US Box Fin system includes three Dolphin Fins. The two Smart-loc fins are smaller, but the larger fin in the center is a box fin that can accommodate the widest range of fin types depending on the conditions. We put the Bixby Jet J-2 Motor Fin in for trials and it worked perfectly.

Paddle: We’ve said it before, carbon paddles are the best. The included paddle is carbon as opposed to fiberglass or aluminum, making it comparably lighter. The blade is a sturdy polyurethane and provides strong thrust. It is a three-piece paddle, so you can interchange the top handle with an additional blade for kayaking.

Leash: A crucial safety feature, the included leash is well-crafted with a comfortable, neoprene band. It has both good reach and coiling retraction for moving up and down the board easily.

Waterproof Smartphone Case: If you haven’t sprung for the action camera but want to take pictures, or need your phone for whatever reason on the water, the included smartphone case saves you from having to make the separate purchase. A penny saved is a penny earned.

Others: Repair kit for fin pieces and PVC tears. Shoulder strap for carrying.

Value

At $899 retail, ($800 on Amazon), this is not cheap for an iSUP. But, compared to boards of its kind–specifically longboard touring and racing designs–it is actually one of the more affordable options out there. Considering the overall quality of its construction, features, accessories, and five-year warranty–the Bluefin Sprint Carbon is a surprisingly good deal. 

Do We Recommend It?

If you’re an intermediate or advanced paddleboarder looking to level-up with a high-performance iSUP–the Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14’ is all you.

Its tracking and reduced drag are ideal for the energy efficiency required on long distance trips. And–if you’re after a racer to transport easily–the lift, speed, and controlled maneuvering make this (and you) an arguable contender.

As a part of its Carbon Series, Bluefin’s same attention to high-quality construction (dual-inflation chambers, durable seams, carbon rails) and user-friendly features (deckpad, camera mount, quality accessories) is clear in the Sprint Carbon 14’.

Their availability is known to be tricky, however; so if you think it’s a good fit, maybe start your shopping sooner than later.

Related Reviews

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.8

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Great speed and tracking
  • check-mark
    Dual inflation chambers and carbon rails give it rigidity
  • check-mark
    2+1 smart lock (2) and box-fin (1) system accommodates wide variety of fin types
  • check-mark
    A tree gets planted for every product sold from Bluefin’s site.
  • check-mark
    Quality accessories
  • check-mark
    Extra D-rings for seat or cooler attachments
  • check-mark
    Cool design and colors
  • check-mark
    At $800-$900, it’s a fair price for a touring/racing longboard.
  • check-mark
    Five-year warranty

Things we don't like:

  • check-markOn the heavier side for portability (34lbs in backpack)
  • check-markSmall backpack requires smart packing after use
  • check-markMore than is needed for just casual paddling

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FAQ

Frequently asked questions

How much does the Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14’ weigh?

The Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14’ weighs 24 lbs on its own, and 34 lbs packed with accessories included.

What’s included with the Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14’?

The Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14’ comes with:

  • Backpack
  • Carbon paddle
  • Leash
  • Two-way air pump
  • Waterproof smartphone case
  • Three dolphin fins
  • Shoulder strap
  • Emergency repair kit.
What’s the maximum PSI for the Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14’?

The max PSI for the Bluefin Sprint Carbon is 12-15psi in each inflation chamber.

How much weight can the Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14’ stand?

The maximum weight for the Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14’ is 190kg, or 420lbs.

Is a shortboard or longboard better for SUP touring?

Longer boards are usually better for touring because their tracking increases efficiency with the additional speed. However, long and short SUPs are both good for touring depending on your skill-level and interests.

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