The past month has been crazy. Got kicked out of our house 18 months early, found another, had that taken off us, got it back, Easter, ANZAC Day, completed my Certificate IV Personal Trainer (woohoo), signed up some clients (double WOOHOO), designed a trailer, packed lots of stuff that should have been discarded moves ago, had lots of ideas and lastly received some awesome gear to review from Ross Lefrank of Stic-It Composite Soft Pad Eyes.
Like most people that will read this you probably became aware of the Stic-It line of products a little while ago when DJ shared his rigging installation on his board. I thought that they looked great and allowed those that didn't have any tie down points another, more structurally sound option instead of the suction cap options out there.
I was very happy to hear from Ross Lefrank of Stic-It Composite Soft Pad Eyes when he asked if I would be interested in reviewing his product. My answer was of course, so here we go.
These look awesome. I did not really know what to expect based on the photos that DJ provided and that are on the Stic-It website. In the flesh they really are a thing of beauty. I received the 25mm low profile and the 40mm Handle Mount soft pad eyes (these include screws and the pad is threaded also) In addition to the pads that you order you get some application stickers to ensure that you don't stuff up the application process and mess with the visual beauty of the pads as well as directions for application.
This can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be or need it to be. If you are not one for accuracy then get the application stcikers, throw them onto the location you want the dots glued to and get glueing. If you are like me and require the dots to be positioned in just the right place, distributed evenly etc, etc.. then this will take a little bit. If your helper is also a bit anal and is talking about pythagorus and other mathematical calculations to ensure that they are in the right place, add another 30 mins (thanks Scotty). Ross has a great step by step guide not he website outlining the best way to apply the pads. See it here.
For securing the pads you can use whatever type of glue that suits the required outcome. Ross outlines some specific glues on the the Stic-It website and gives you guidelines depending on whether you will be using the pads in a high load application or medium to low load applications. The guide can be found here. For our application we used Techniglue CA by ATL Composites PTY LTD, a high load epoxy that had a recommended curing time of 12 hours (in 20 degrees temperatures which was a bit more than what we had in Canberra).
Again Ross has helped out here and his instructions for application are pretty straight forward and not unusual for those that have glued things together before. After placing down your application stickers, roughen up both the pad and the board with 60-120 wet and dry then clean it up with some alcohol. Apply glue to both surfaces, set the pad where it is intended and push together so that some glue is forced out. Clean up excess glue and then move on. Once all of the pads are fixed in place, tidy up any excess glue one last time and then carefully remove the application stickers. Allow the glue to dry the recommended time and you are done.
After a little more than 12 hours the rigging was put into place and the board was ready to go. It's looks exactly as you would hope it would. The end result is a professional, straight out of the factory look. On a board that is brushed carbon you hardly even notice the dots. It is just a great, functional look that in the end is quite easy to complete. Some that I have spoken to lament that there is not 3M tape on the back for an even easier application but personally I don't think the finish would be nearly as good.
I am not going to make a list here as I think that this could be an exhaustive list depending upon your imagination. The 40mm pads can be used for adding a carry handle to those boards that don't have one or require another up front. Ross has already shared a couple of applications over on the seabreeze SUP forums which really show the versatility of the pads. Additional leggie mount, water bottle cage mount, GPS mount, immovable Go-Pro tether to name a few. If you have a look at the Stic-It webpage, Ross even has some photos showing the pads in various constructions even including small pulley assemblies (can't think of a SUP application but definitely for a boat). I am sure that the very clever amongst us would be able to come up with a plethora of options.
My plan for the time being is to use the bungees and a bit of foam to sit my Lifeproof iPhone on so that while I am training I can keep an eye on my stats. You need sharp eyes though but it works a treat. I also have something else in mind using the 40mm threaded pads as well but that will be a job for later.
Personally I think that Ross is onto a winner here. The only issue I have with the product is that the 40mm threaded pad has no back plate on it, meaning that once you start securing whatever with the screw if you get a bit overzealous you could put a hole in the board, EEEEK. Ross does obviously recommend that you measure the required length prior to assembling and if required cut the screw shorter. I guess I am looking at the potential overzealous punter placing extra speed holes where they are not required. This is a major nit pick though in my mind.
The ability to modify the layout of ones board is a fantastic innovation. To be able to do it in such a pain free (no drilling) and professional looking way makes it that much better. Better yet it is an Australian company. If you have an idea for an application then why not send Ross an email or call him and enquire.
Big thanks again to Scott Hunter and Aidan Lewis of Wetspot Water Sports in Fyshwick for helping out with this project and providing further evidence as to why I am not an engineer.