I had briefly paddled on the 2011 Tahoe Bliss during the SUP Night Race at Surf World Cup in Podersdorf in really windy, choppy conditions but I felt I still the brand new board a proper Maiden Voyage and I had something special in mind.
There is a beautiful lake called Mondsee (which translates into moon lake) near Salzburg, right by the Autobahn A1. There is a rest area right off the A1 which overlooks this beautiful lake and I had stopped there and admired the view many times, always thinking I should one day paddle there. So on the way back from the Surf Worldcup in Austria I decided to take the exit Mondsee, it was past midnight anyway and I was tired of driving after 500km. I drove down to the lake and found a nice parking space right by the water. I carefully unloaded the brand new board from my Volkswagen Campervan (otherwise there is no place to sleep), wrapped it in a large blanket and placed it between the van and some bushes.
The weather forecast for the next day was great, sunrise was at 5:15 AM, so I set the alarm clock to 4:30 AM. The alarm went off, the light was great, but it was freezing, 8°C. I made coffee, ate some cereal and put on my 3/2 wetsuit, booties and a jacket and went down to the water. The light was gorgeous, the water was totally flat and I had a perfect paddle all alone on the lake. The sun slowly rose behind the mountains and it got really warm – that was one of those perfect paddles I will always treasure in my memory. Turns out the timing was really good, right after I finished paddling, the water got really choppy.
But now let’s talk about the board. First of all, it looks gorgeous. It has a beautiful bamboo finish and I just love the girly design with the flowers in a market which is dominated by sporty, male designs. The board is built of very high quality with high attention paid to every single detail. It comes with a deck rigging kit under which you can store clothes, substinance or a small backpack, either in the front, back or both. It is surprisingly lightweight, about 10.5 kg and comes with a handle in the middle which makes it very easy to carry.
I first paddled on it in Podersdorf on Lake Neusiedel in very choppy waters (4 Beaufort) and it was very stable. I had also first paddled the Fanatic Fly Race 12’6 in similar conditions on Lake Starnberg and fell off 3 times. Not so with the Tahoe Bliss. The nose has a V-Shape, but only in the very front, so it is not as sensitive to choppy waters as real race boards. Still it is amazingly fast for a touring board and could almost qualify as a race board. Slam turns are really easy, the back of the board is about 10cm higher than the middle and once you walked back there it is really easy to flip the nose up (also because the board is so light) and turn. The only downside is that there is no deck pad in the back, so you have to wax it otherwise it is too slippery.
All in all a great board, my preferred choice for touring (especially if you don’t know how conditions will be) and its amazing design perfectly fits in the beautiful scenery of Bavaria, Austria and Switzerland. Big thanks to Mike Schoch for letting me try the board and I am looking forward to more paddle adventures on it. The tech specs of the board can be found here. Oh, and the male version of the Bliss is the Zephyr. It is a bit wider and has more volume. It takes a bit more effort to accelerate, but once it is runnning, it runs and runs, fast. It is also available in 14′
More Information about Tahoe in Europe can be found here.
And here are the photos (click on rectangle for full screen view):