Starboard’s Rapid SUP Prototyping Lab

Ever Wonder How Your Starboard SUP Is Made?

Scott McKercher Takes You To Starboard’s Rapid SUP Prototyping Lab

By Margareta Engstrom

For this episode in Starboard’s “Weekend In Stand Up Paddling” we pull back the curtain and show you what goes on behind the scenes in our stand up paddleboard rapid prototyping lab.

There is no better person to walk you through the process of board development than Scott McKercher.

Alright, so let me give you a little bit of a background on Scott McKercher he’s been in the board shaping business since Starboard International opened it’s doors in 1994. If you’ve owned a Starboard Stand Up Paddleboard in the past you’ve probably seen his name somewhere on your board. Scott McKercher, Brian Szymanski and Svein Rasmussen head up some of the most innovative board designs in the business and have created a line of over 40 sup boards for pretty much every occasion.

It’s amazing the amount of research that goes into the alpha version of every stand up paddleboard aka multiple test trips to Bali and Western Australia (It’s a tough job but someone has to do it) then back to Lake Dhago, Thailand for more adjustments. This process happens about 5 times per board and then goes into beta testing with a select team of riders and finally it goes into production for your paddling enjoyment.

Come for a walkthrough Starboard’s rapid prototyping lab with Scott McKercher.


Here’s a few pictures to take you behind the scenes of our rapid prototype factory at Lake Dhago in Bangkok.

Nimit and Scott checking rockers…

Sander as art…

Walk through the shop board cutaway…

What we’re showing you here is a state of the art factory that would rate in terms of production output to any other SUP factory in the world, except that everything that comes out is purely for Prototyping and then later on preparing for moulding.

The boys in the factory are the heart and soul of Starboard’s rapid prototyping lab, they maintain an un-paralleled work ethic that pumps out flawless boards to spec the first time. Unwavering in their dedication they’ve been known to work all the way through the night to meet a flight departure or moulding deadline and to hand craft prototypes to perfection

I was apologising to them the other morning because I heard they worked till 1am to get the boards ready in order to make a flight in order to catch a favourable swell forecast. And they all responded. “Scott, it’s ok. We’re happy to have a good job. No problem”

I can only imagine the response you’d get anywhere in the in the western world if asking someone to stay and work till 1am on a Friday night.

Nimit and Scott checking rockers…

The workshop crew in full force…

What Mr Nimit and the team can pull off, continually blows me away. Not only in meeting impossible deadlines, but modifications and problem solving. They’ll come up with ideas and solutions that have me scratching my head in disbelief.

I tried to board a plane the other day with a 17.5 race board to try and test in Hawaii. The airlines wouldn’t have a bar of anything that long, so Mr Nimit moved to cut the thing in two and create a way of joining it back together seamlessly. They extremely skilled craftsmen, bordering on magicians.

Currently we’re in the middle of refining shapes that aren’t even in the shops yet. Team riders just received out first samples (Sean pointer placing 2nd in Mexico on his new 9’1 pro) and the whole process starts again with further refinements of rocker, rail, volume and outlines.

Tonight I’m on the plane with 6 SUP prototypes and will back before I know it making to refinements to these. Boards closely following me out of the factory are more variations of the impossible 6’6 making their way with Svein to meet Peter Cox in Bali.

The pace of development with SUP hasn’t started to slow down yet, with performance and design improvements continuing to evolve, with Starboard making sure they’re very much leading the way.

This gallery has some great shots in it with picture titles and descriptions to understand the process.

WARDOGStarboard’s Rapid SUP Prototyping Lab