After three years on the same standup board, it was time for an upgrade. When it comes to my personal equipment, I need to know that the gear will make a difference before I make an investment in something more advanced. Still uncertain of my paddling skills and relative fitness, I’m never completely sure that I’m not the problem. Long, slow training days trading strokes on the water made me want some kind of change. But when I ventured out for the first time on the Cross-Fit SUP from Pau Hana Surf Supply I knew immediately that it wasn’t me. Beautifully stable and wickedly fast, this quality race/recreation board made all the difference in the world.

The Cross-Fit is an excellent next board for any paddler looking to up their game. A relatively new company, Pau Hana offers a rather small selection of products but they suit the needs of most board riders. Whether you’re paddling rivers, ocean currents or flat water, they’ve got the board for you. Along with traditionally shaped boards like the Pau Hana Malibu, the Oahu and the Big EZ, the Cross-Fit is one of company’s best selling products. The first in the series with a displacement hull, the board offers smooth tracking and a lot of speed.

“Shaper Todd Caranto has board design dialed in,” said SUP instructor and racer Shane Perrin of St. Louis Missouri. “The 14′ Cross-Fit by Pau Hana, it’s one of the fastest boards out there. It easily adapts from ocean racing to rivers, my specialty," said Perrin. "My races run from 63 up to 340 miles on rivers. I need to be fast, but still have good maneuverability to avoid hazards and obstacles.”

Weighing in at 28.5 pounds it’s easy to transport from the car to the water. Still very sturdy, the board features Halotex construction, which, according to manufacturer specs, “is a mix of carbon fiber, bamboo and fiberglass fused together under heat and pressure to form an extremely rigid and lightweight span along the length of the board and under the standing area.”

Really, the one downside to the Cross-Fit is its inability to take a serious beating. You have to be very careful while launching from coarse sand beaches and rocky shorelines or you’re going to scratch it. Unlike boards made with thermoformed polyurethane that are indestructible but weigh almost 50 pounds, these lighter weight SUP platforms have many of the same performance expectations of a high-end racing bike. You can paddle the hell out of it, just don’t drop it! —James Mills

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