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Gear Review: Bark Appleby Race Pro-Elite 12’6

by Wendy McDonald

The first time I saw the Bark Appleby Race board it was easily passing me on the East side of Ross Island during a SUP race. My initial thought was, “Wow, that’s a good looking board!” My second thought was, “Why is that woman going so much faster than me when I feel like I am working twice as hard?” It was that day I realized the impact a good board for the right conditions could make and that my 11′ all-around SUP was never going to out run a true race board regardless of how hard I paddled. Not long after, I added the Appleby to my quiver and have been thrilled with it since.

Bark Appleby 12 6 Wendy

The 12’6 Appleby, named for SoCal SUP super star Candice Appleby and shaped by Joe Bark, is one of the lightest race boards on the market weighing only 24 lbs. But with a fairly generous 27.9″ width it feels stealth in the flats but doesn’t sacrifice stability in rougher water.

Compared to the other boards I tested, the Bark Appleby Race was the fastest off the line. I find this to be a huge advantage when racing. Getting out quick on a start can mean the difference between enjoying the benefits of  a draft pack versus having to run the whole race on your own.

Because I do the majority of my training solo, I wanted a board that wasn’t difficult for  me to transport. The board’s minimal weight and ergonomic handle make getting this board to and from the water easier than any other board I have handled.

Since putting the Appleby on my car for the first time over a year ago, I can still say it is my favorite board out there today.  It always feels fast and it still gives me that “Wow, that’s a good looking board!” feeling every time I put it in the water.

Thinking about upgrading to a race or touring board? Come out this coming Wednesday, May 29th at 6pm for the Gorge Performance Women’s Race and Touring Board Demo Night at Willamette Park. We will have over a dozen boards on hand for you to compare side by side and take out for a test paddle.

PROS: Surftech’s Pro-Elite epoxy construction is light and strong, convenient carrying handle

CONS: Price, like all Barks it doesn’t stack well with other boards on the roof of a car

Length: 12’6
Width: 27.9″
Thickness: 7″
Volume:230 liters
Weight: 24 lbs.
MSRP: $2,295

About Wendy McDonald, Gorge SUP Team Rider & SUP Instructor
Wendy grew up in Minnesota, surrounded by 10,000 lakes and in the water every chance she could. Avid downwinder, waterskier and wakeboarder, Wendy is a recent convert to surfing and with Gorge Performance’s influence its only a matter of time before kite boarding is added to her list.

Wendy’s Specs
Size: 5’3″
Weight: 125lbs
Volume: 44 oz super big gulp or maybe a light beer
Capacity: Still to be determined
Age: 41.5
Quiver: Bark Appleby 12’6″, Naish Glide 12′, Tahoe SUP Grom (for the kiddos) 

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