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All Other Gear Tanks, BCDs, Regs, Fins, Stringers, and all other gear we use in Spearfishing.

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Old 11-08-2017, 10:11 PM   #1
brandon cadalzo
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Banks board advice needed

Iím looking into getting one of these and was wondering what the pros/cons are from people who have experience with this float. The type of diving I️ do consists of inlets/jetties/reef. It is not always feasible for me to use my kayak and sometimes if Iím fishing the reefs, I️ may have to swim out a half mile or so. Does this float system work well in current while the gun is attatched to it via floatline? Thank you for your help.


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Old 11-08-2017, 10:37 PM   #2
andrew37
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Re: Banks board advice needed

I have one of the first generation boards that I use mostly for abalone diving (but also occasionally for spearfishing) in NorCal. I honestly flop back and forth on whether it's worth it to me to hang onto it, but until I scrounge up kayak money I think it's my best bet. My general thoughts are that I love this thing when I want to carry extra gear (an extra gun, GoPro, etc.) or when I'm going for abalone, urchins, or other inverts. Since the sharks around here don't care whether you're carrying fish, I prefer to just loop a stringer through my weight belt and leave the board at home if I'm just spearfishing and don't need any extra gear.

Pros:

- It makes carrying gear up and down cliffs a lot easier. (But see first con below)
- There's a hatch for "dry" storage. I tied a small Nalgene inside mine, and it's watertight enough for an electronic key fob, pens, licenses, and my glasses. (I should clarify this only applies for the Gen 1 and Gen 2 boards. The newest version doesn't have dry storage, but a small pelican case is a pretty good substitute).
- It glides over kelp like nobody's business when you kick it out like a body board. When you tow it with a float line, though, it gets hung up pretty easily.
- It's damn near indestructible. I've surfed mine into rocks and thoroughly abused it, and it's only really showed surface scratches so far.
- It's invaluable for carrying spare gear. Guns, fins, GoPro, etc. all go on the board.

Cons:

- It's heavy, especially fully loaded with gear and fish. Also, the way the underside is designed, it's really easy to conk your head if you're not paying attention while you're hiking with it on your back.
- If it's surgey, it'll fill up with water. Not enough to be a problem, but enough that you'll have to leave it open for a few days to dry out. This wouldn't be a problem if you get the newest generation, since they don't have dry storage.
- If it's surgey and you're rigged inline to the board, you'll feel it. This is a big, heavy float and it will tug on you. I prefer to either anchor it with a small kayak anchor or clip it off with a kelp clip. On a flat day, I generally don't notice it, but I still tend to clip it off out of habit.

Pro/Con:

- You can surf it in for shore entries when the swell picks up. But if you wipe out and / or bail, it's more of a weapon than a tool. Very easy way to knock yourself out or impale yourself if you're not careful.

Those are my main thoughts for now, but I'm sure I'll think of more later. The long and the short of it is I think these are really invaluable tools for very specific circumstances, but outside of those circumstances they can be more of a pain than they're worth.

Last edited by andrew37; 11-08-2017 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:22 AM   #3
brandon cadalzo
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Re: Banks board advice needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew37 View Post
I have one of the first generation boards that I use mostly for abalone diving (but also occasionally for spearfishing) in NorCal. I honestly flop back and forth on whether it's worth it to me to hang onto it, but until I scrounge up kayak money I think it's my best bet. My general thoughts are that I love this thing when I want to carry extra gear (an extra gun, GoPro, etc.) or when I'm going for abalone, urchins, or other inverts. Since the sharks around here don't care whether you're carrying fish, I prefer to just loop a stringer through my weight belt and leave the board at home if I'm just spearfishing and don't need any extra gear.

Pros:

- It makes carrying gear up and down cliffs a lot easier. (But see first con below)
- There's a hatch for "dry" storage. I tied a small Nalgene inside mine, and it's watertight enough for an electronic key fob, pens, licenses, and my glasses. (I should clarify this only applies for the Gen 1 and Gen 2 boards. The newest version doesn't have dry storage, but a small pelican case is a pretty good substitute).
- It glides over kelp like nobody's business when you kick it out like a body board. When you tow it with a float line, though, it gets hung up pretty easily.
- It's damn near indestructible. I've surfed mine into rocks and thoroughly abused it, and it's only really showed surface scratches so far.
- It's invaluable for carrying spare gear. Guns, fins, GoPro, etc. all go on the board.

Cons:

- It's heavy, especially fully loaded with gear and fish. Also, the way the underside is designed, it's really easy to conk your head if you're not paying attention while you're hiking with it on your back.
- If it's surgey, it'll fill up with water. Not enough to be a problem, but enough that you'll have to leave it open for a few days to dry out. This wouldn't be a problem if you get the newest generation, since they don't have dry storage.
- If it's surgey and you're rigged inline to the board, you'll feel it. This is a big, heavy float and it will tug on you. I prefer to either anchor it with a small kayak anchor or clip it off with a kelp clip. On a flat day, I generally don't notice it, but I still tend to clip it off out of habit.

Pro/Con:

- You can surf it in for shore entries when the swell picks up. But if you wipe out and / or bail, it's more of a weapon than a tool. Very easy way to knock yourself out or impale yourself if you're not careful.

Those are my main thoughts for now, but I'm sure I'll think of more later. The long and the short of it is I think these are really invaluable tools for very specific circumstances, but outside of those circumstances they can be more of a pain than they're worth.


Thank you so much for this write up! Iím really just looking for something that I️ can swim out to the reef with using my gps. I️ would also like to carry water and maybe a snack or 2 along with my phone so maybe this would be a good tool to have. Iím just like you in that I️ almost always use a belt stringer.


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Old Yesterday, 12:12 PM   #4
Ron S
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Re: Banks board advice needed

I have the largest model and I'd say Andrew's evaluation is absolutely spot on! Everything he said is magnified on the larger board. I'm 6'1" and find the large board a real nightmare to carry any distance or up and down steep trails. Load it with three abalone, a spear gun or two, fish, and other gear, and it darn near needs wheels. Once on the water though, it's a real joy.

I lost the nylon straps it came with a couple years ago and have been jury rigging stuff since. Tried, (unsuccessfully), to get a set of the moly straps Banks used to sell as an option. Ordered a set off Amazon and I'm trying to come up with a way to attach them to the board so it's comfortable to carry. Got so frustrated last summer at the coast I went and bought another abalone float that uses a car innertube. (My sons both use those and have it much easier than I do with the Banks board.)
I'll probably go back to a boogie board eventually.
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Old Yesterday, 10:59 PM   #5
andrew37
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Re: Banks board advice needed

Brandon -- Ron's post just got me thinking about the weight issue a little more. I'm the same size as Ron, and even with the smaller board, today's half-mile trek across sand dunes left me pretty wasted. That's honestly a big reason why I'm jonesing for a kayak--I figure if I have to lug something heavy around with me everywhere, I may as well be able to paddle it.

Depending on how much you're looking to spend, though, it might be worth it checking out the Gannet shore dive float. It's crazy expensive (I think close to $500 last time I checked), but if money weren't a concern, I'd get one of those things in a heartbeat. It's super heavy duty and really overbuilt, just like their blue water floats, and it's a hell of a lot lighter than the yellow peril that is my Banks Board. It seems like it would take a beating just as well as the Banks, and since it's inflatable, it'd be easy to travel with, too.
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