The Wide Speed was new in the line up last year. We have been paddling it for about six months now. It is one of the models we were most excited about trying. It ticks a lot of boxes for many UK paddlers looking to get onto a shorter surf sup. The benefits of riding a shorter board are just how much more manoeuvrable they are. Turning becomes much faster and easier. Once up and riding a wave, you can get away with being on a much smaller board because it is planing.
The reason you need a bigger board, is to assist with paddling in. The Wide Speed as the name indicates is pretty wide in the middle especially in relation to its length. It takes a while to figure out exactly what you can get away with here. This shape is quite stable to stand on due to the width, but being relatively short means you will need to work on your paddle technique a little. A similar volume Infinity New Deal for example, being a longboard shape, will be much longer and easier to paddle in a straight line to get on waves. That being said, the stability allows you to focus on your paddling and get some powerful strokes down without worrying about falling in too much.
As anyone with a basic understanding of physics could tell you, something short and wide is not going to accelerate the fastest. It is the opposite shape to a race board. It felt sluggish to get going, but this is probably dependent on what you are used to paddling, and paddle fitness.
Once on the wave this board excels. It feels fast and nimble and a lot of fun. It seems to be this is the perfect board for someone looking to step down to a short length, more manouvreable surf sup from a 10'6 or tourer. The smaller sizes will really offer a pretty high performance surf feel with extra stability. The large sizes are really very forgiving and will work well for heavier riders. The mid sizes will be the most popular and provide a good balance of on wave performance with stability and ease of paddling.