Our Review And Thoughts On The Bic Sport Ace-Tec Paddle Board
Time’s have changed. It was only a few years ago that you had a small choice of stand up paddle boards. You basically had 2 choices: A very surf-able, but narrow board, or a fully banana-rockered UltraGlide or something of that nature. That was about all there was. Yes, there were always local shapers that could make a custom paddle board if you really wanted, but just going down to the store and grabbing something off the rack to get into the water just wasn’t as feasible. Skip ahead to today and you can go walk through Costco and get a fully loaded stand up paddle board package, wrapped in plastic, with a paddle, board bag and leash to boot. Things have changed a lot and SUP boards are everywhere and easy to find. Now being “able to get” a board and “being able to surf” a board, are two very different tasks. This lead me to ask the question “is there a board that is easy to find and very surfable?”
This was the real question to be had and we got our hands on a couple of nice Bic Ace-Tech paddle boards to review. We were told to completely abuse them at our leisure (famous last words!). This is like driving a rental car with insurance on it, no holds bared! We loved the look and feel of the boards but still had our doubts about their performance and surf-ability. The boards are not made the same from other standard paddle boards on the market. The 10’6” Ace-Tech (Advanced Composite Engineered Technology) is amazingly light which catches you off guard due to the fact that it is completely wrapped in a plastic shell. Being a surfer, my intuition was that this would surf like a tank so what is the point. I had just assumed that the board would not react to anything even close to a fiberglass or epoxy board. Boy was I wrong about that. Good thing I do my best to keep an open mind.
First off, the board’s core is a super light, non absorbing polystyrene. Shocking right? I repeat, the foam does not absorb water and is lighter than conventional board foam. Here is a significant difference, the paddle board is coated in a final layer that is a thermoformed plastic coat. This acts as a suit of armor for the paddle board. In the process of their patented thermoforming, it sucks all of the boards layers down onto the base foam core and perfectly bonds them together. The end result is an insane board that is tougher than nails. With free reign to do whatever we wanted to test these, we actually threw a couple of baseball sized stones at the boards to see what would happen! What happened? They literally bounce off the boards leaving no dent whatsoever. Impossible right?
We surfed the 10’6 over the next few weeks, but the ultimate test was releasing them to a paddle board class of sixteen year old newbies. They surfed them on what would is normally to be considered a board death trap. The place was a bolder lined point break. I thought that the 10’6 was a nice, all-around great shape, that was more “lively” then I thought considering it’s size and width (31″). On a high tide, shore break, it was a smooth and predictable with a lot of stability in chop (mainly due to the width). Surprisingly, massive width didn’t take away from the boards action and surf-ability.
Bottom line, this board will add a smile to a lot of faces. Even to those who are new to paddle surfing and want to transition eventually into wave riding without the long process of learning on a standard surfboard and falling every couple seconds (must of us learned this way!). What I really liked about the board was the foam distribution from the tail to the tip. The 10’6 Ace-Tech was nicely bladed-out, pulling in towards the nose, which slightly lowers the weight and volume. Foiling the board like this allows you to swing it around easily on bottom turns and cutbacks. It’s like warming up for baseball and swinging a bat with a 5lb. doughnut on the tip, it slows your swing way down with. After that, try grabbing a light weight aluminum bat and see how fast you can swing. This example applies to paddle boards. Your “swing weight” is typically the weak point in many off the shelf production boards. They tend to seem to have excessive nose weight resulting in a board that turns like a sherman tank. The Ace-tec Bic 10’6 is so light and rigid that it really springs out of turns.
Who should buy this board? I absolutely would and most likely will buy this board personally. I’d also even consider the 11’6″ Ace-Tec to add to my quiver. They are so stable, light, and almost bomb proof boards. They are vestal and can be used for both paddle surfing and just plain flat water paddle boarding. With that durable plastic skin, I’d say that they’d hold up in any rental or lesson quiver. I would also think that a beginner or intermediate paddle boarder would really enjoy the 10’6 version of this board. This would especially go for someone possibly thinking of transitioning into standup surfing. You win either way really. The length gives you the board speed to get into slow rollers and the shape along with the weight allows you to whip the board around simply.
Another real awakening point was when fifteen of our students fought over the boards. They couldn’t get enough of the Ace-tec and just loved it. Remember, that these were kids were just learning to paddle board. Because of the width and easy of use, this model board is a winner when it comes to starting off learning to paddle board. Please be aware that the width of a board is more important for stability than the length of the board. This board really embraces both stability and performance as well as being light wight through its modern construction methods. It is an anomaly of boards really when you can have complete beginner cruising a point break and even paddling into a couple of small waves. That is unheard of in the standard surfing world. Another great part is that when the board did get away from the students and went into the rocks, there was no worry about the board getting torn up (I should mention that the board still looked new after a two days of complete abuse). The thermoformed plastic held it’s own against the jarring teeth of that rocky point.
If I had to try and pick out something bad about the board it would be tough. Being really picky, I would say that it doesn’t come in a lot of colors for every length and maybe it is more money than a lot of people would want to spend when they could just go to Costco and get a board for $350-400. That being said, the extra money is well worth it over a Costco board and there are decent colors to chose from.
If you have the opportunity to try one of Bic’s Ace-Tec boards, absolutely take one out for a spin. I think you’ll be surprised just how well this off the shelf production board can perform. This may be the chimera of the production boards. It is both readily available and surf-able, need I say more? Don’t just take my word on it, go see for yourself.
Bic Paddle Boards
BIC, yes BIC the pen & lighter manufacturer, makes a terrific paddle board. They have a wide range of products for every possible type of SUP’ing. Each line has a unique purpose, and as you might expect each comes in several sizes.
We have prices for this specific board on our paddle boards for sale page.
We would love to hear your comments!
Let us know your thoughts and personal reviews on the Ace-Tec or even other boards you might want to see reviewed.