While my usual ride, a 12’6″ Tahoe Bliss, was in the shop for repair, I borrowed the Lakeshore Betty in powder blue. So to be fair, this review of the Betty is a comparison to the board I know and love.
Like my Bliss, the Betty is also a board built for flat-water paddling…and hails from a Tahoe-based SUP company. The 11’6″ Betty is somewhat unique with its hollow construction, making it an ultra light board at just 19 lbs. Oddly enough, even with the light weight, I found it harder to carry from the car to the water than either my own 24 lb board or a 14′ Bark. I’ll admit I’m used to carrying boards that have a handle that sits on top of the deck, not just an indented slot for your fingers. But I think it was the thickness of the Betty board as well that made it somewhat awkward for me to carry in spite of its light weight.
Another thing I noticed when carrying the board was that I had hooked my PFD and dry bag to the rope tie downs, but of course they were sliding down to the other side and almost dragging on the ground since they weren’t secure on an actual hook like the Bliss has. I really appreciate the larger hook areas on my Bliss, though I wish the Bliss had some kind of straps going from hook to hook that could also be used to tuck things under like you can on the Betty.
Once on the water, the first thing I noticed was the hollow sound – much like being on kayak or a boat. That was fine of course – just something that did catch my attention in the beginning. It definitely sounds different gliding along the water.
I quickly got comfortable on the board – it is very stable and easy to ride. Since I’m used to this board style, I had no trouble making it work, and I’m sure it would be a great board for beginners as well. Standing higher out of the water, both my feet and the top of the board stayed quite dry, which is a definite bonus as the Fall sets in and water temperatures drop here in Portland.
Overall, I’d say the Lakeshore Betty is a nice, stable, easy to ride board that could work for almost anyone wanting to paddle on mellower rivers or lakes like I do. Maybe with some practice I’d find it easier to carry and maneuver, and the lighter weight certainly makes it easier to lift on top of the car. It’s a fine board ~ but I’m looking forward to riding my Bliss again soon!! Thanks Gorge Performance for taking good care of it for me
(Lesson of the day: Don’t forget to strap your board to your car *before* you drive off, no matter what your pet is doing or who the hottie is that’s waiting for you at the river