BIC Ace-Tec Cross Adventure Review
Cons: Extremely heavy, hard to move
Manufacturer: Bic Sport
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Cross Adventure didn't do exceptionally well in our maneuverability tests, being somewhat clunky to steer, and was a little on the slow side. However, it handles rough waters and wakes without missing a beat and is astonishingly stable. Its durable plastic construction can be a little heavy to transport and load on a car but can take a beating. This board is awesome for carrying passengers or cargo, earning our Top Pick for Families award.
To compare stand up paddleboards, we bought the top boards on the market today and put them through a grueling series of side-by-side tests. We grouped these tests into five weighted metrics: Glide Performance, Stability, Maneuverability, Ease of Transport, and Durability. The final scores for each board ranged from 0-100, with the BIC Ace-Tec Cross Adventure's result detailed in the sections below.
If you've got an especially keen eye for detail, you may notice that the board we tested has slightly different color scheme than the photo above. When we inquired about this, BIC Sport shed light on the fact that they practice sustainable manufacturing and never waste any material. So, you may find that the colors on your board are inverted or slightly off from the main photo above, and that's because BIC Sport doesn't throw away foam just to have each of their boards look exactly alike. We applaud companies who strive for zero waste and responsible sustainability practices. Well done, BIC Sport! If you'd like to read more about their zero waste/zero emissions manufacturing processes, you may do so here.
The most important metric in our test — Glide Performance — merited 35% of the total score. To assess this, we compared the results of a time trial in both smooth and rough waters, as well as a glide per stroke test, also in varied water conditions. This pair of tests evaluates the speed and efficiency of each board. The Cross Adventure did about average, earning a 5 out of 10 for its efforts.
The performance of the BIC was mediocre in our flat water paddle test, Averaging the results of two trials, this board took 48.5 paddle strokes to cover the same distance that the top board — the Raven — covered in about 37. However, it was an entirely different story when it came to distance per paddle stroke in rough water. The Cross Adventure did exceptionally well in this test, performing the best of the entire group with an average of only 22.5 paddle strokes to traverse our course. This board's large size and heft meant that it wasn't bogged down by waves like the rest of the pack and its fantastic stability allowed us to take full advantage of each paddle in the choppy conditions, gliding more per paddle and requiring less energy expenditure.
Moving on to the time trials, this board did not impress. We averaged the results of two trials for each test, to account for any wind or current effects. The Cross Adventure is not a fast board. Period. This board finished poorly in both calm and rough water, finishing in the second to last spot for both tests. For calm water, the Cross Adventure had an average time of 78.18 seconds, only beating the California Board Company model. For rough water, the Cross Adventure clocked in an average time of 116.74 seconds — just barely beating the Pau Hana by a fraction of a second.
Our Stability metric — accounting for 25% of the total score — is where the BIC Ace-Tec truly impressed. We rated each board by testing how it withstood rough and windy conditions, transported additional passengers, canines, or cargo, and had novice paddlers give each board a try. The Cross Adventure took home the top score of 9 out of 10 for its awesome stability, high carrying capacity, and high level of confidence it inspired in beginning paddlers.
The Cross Adventure delivered the best performance out of the group in all three of our tests. It handled choppy conditions with ease, barely rocking for wakes and wave that would have knocked us off other boards in the test. This board was also plenty stable with extra weight, whether we were carrying a cooler full of sandwiches, paddling with a toddler, or bringing resident canine paddler Chewy with us.
This board was also the preferred choice of the beginning paddlers, much preferring the Cross Adventure to boards like the CBC or Raven. This board is even stable enough for Yoga.
For the Maneuverability metric — worth 15% of the overall score — we evaluated the agility of each board through a slalom course and a U-turn. The BIC was a bit of a disappointment, earning a 5 out of 10 for its mediocre showing. The graphic below shows where this falls in the rest of the group.
The Cross Adventure did quite poorly in our slalom course, taking the longest time out of any board to complete it at 104.7 seconds — substantially slower than the fastest time of 81.13 seconds, put up by the Raven. However, this board did redeem itself slightly in the 180° U-turn test, having a smaller turn radius than a few boards in the test, such as the CBC or the Raven.
Ease of Transport
The large size and heft of this board that proved to be so useful for stability severely hurt the Cross Adventure in the Ease of Transport metric. We compared the ease at carrying, the weight, ease of loading on a car, and the ergonomics of the handle to determine the score for this metric — accounting for 15% of the total score — with the Cross Adventure earning a 3 out of 10 for its subpar performance. The Cross Adventure compared poorly to the rest of the fleet when it came to transporting out of water.
The Cross Adventure is the heaviest board of the entire group, weighing in at 35 lbs, 7 oz. in our test. Consequently, this made it one of the most difficult to carry on land, being heavy, large, and unwieldy. The internal recessed handle was reasonably comfortable — on par with the majority of other boards, but this board's large size made it quite difficult to load on a car — a task that we didn't feel that comfortable attempting without two people.
For the final 10% of the score, we looked at the Durability of each board. To compare this, we gave each board a thorough examination at the conclusion of our testing to look for any damage, such as scuffs, scrapes, or scratches, rating boards that remained relatively unscathed higher. Also, we looked at user reviews and forums to look for recurring problems. The Cross Adventure did very well in this metric, its durable plastic construction earning it a 7 out of 10. You can see in the graphic below how this compares to the other boards in the test.
This model sustained practically zero damage in the course of our testing, with only some minor scratches in the paint to be found. However, the lackluster fin design prevented this board from getting a perfect score.
We found the fin prone to falling out, making it a question of when not if you would lose it. This board is well received in user reviews, with recurring problems noted.
We tested this board last year, and BIC Sport contacted us recently to notify us that they have redesigned some things to mitigate the issue of loose fins. There are three discs which create the friction that holds the fin in place, and those discs have been re-engineered to be thicker so they hold the fin tighter into the board. While we can't speak to this fix since we haven't tested the redesigned fins, BIC said they will gladly FedEx a replacement to anyone who has a faulty fin. The loose fins had orange discs (as seen in the photo above), while the newly designed ones are blue. If you have this board and have an issue with loose fins, contact BIC Sport directly and they will make it right.
The Cross Adventure is an absolute beast of a paddleboard. This large flat board is particularly stable, making it a great bet for a total first-timer or someone who might not have the best balance. On top of that, the plastic construction of this SUP is extremely resilient and it can take a fair bit of abuse, so families with children also should consider this SUP. It doesn't have the most glide for long-distance tours but paddles well enough to not feel overly sluggish or tiring to paddle.
This board is a decent value, retailing in the middle of the price range for comparable products, but being durable enough to ensure that it will last for years to come.
The Cross Adventure is a good all-around board and our top pick for families. It's stable and great for beginners, while durable enough to withstand any abuse you might throw at it. It's not terribly fast or agile but great for enjoying a day on the water — as long as you have a buddy to help you move it.
— Marissa Fox