Whitewater SUP can be tough to learn. The C 4 Opae addresses many of the issues beginners and intermediates struggle with their first few summers. Both Opae's will shorten the learning curve!
Opae's are super stable given their width and thanks to a very wide tail/stern they allow for more stand up paddling and less falling. Opae's are fun to paddle moving water boards that carve eddies, surf waves, and are just bomber for down river SUP.
The smaller 8 6 (5inches thick) is great for all around use up to 160 lbs, the 9 6 is 6 inches thick, and probably the best all around board for larger and extra large paddlers weighing over 185 lbs to over 225 lbs.
If you want more of a river surfer, go with the smaller 8 6, if you want more river running with less falling in rapids, go with the 9 6.
The rocker profile and shape of these inflatable boards makes surfing way easier. The rockered tip is easy to keep from pearling while surfing or ferrying (essential skills for whitewater). There are a lot of boards with no tip or tail rocker and that is a bummer on most waves! The width of the tail (Opae means shrimp in Hawaiian)is what gives you all the stability needed to progress from beginner to advanced in moving class 1 to 3 white water.
In whitewater, waves, holes, drops, contrary currents (eddies) will knock you back, and that is where the wide tail helps stabilize you, as you travel downstream through turbulent whitewater you can always step back into the stability of the wide tail (think lobster tail), even just for a moment to regain composure, and get back into balance. Opae's are fun, because they are forgiving. You actually get to stand up and paddle more, because you are falling in less.
These boards are impressive in how they can carve into and out of eddies, performing ferries, and hold lines through rapids, all while maintaining quite a bit of speed and smoothness. This is due to the combination of rocker and tapered shape.
Like all C 4 Waterman boards, the Opae's come with the cuttlefish fin box system. This allows you to take fins out/off the board for easier rolling up/packing/transporting your board to your next adventure. You can also swap fcs style fins quickly for what you want to paddle that day. Shorter or flexible fins for whitewater, ...for lakes add a longer fin to increase tracking. Standard fins or one 7' center for surfing in the ocean. This is a very convenient way to alter the boards performance suiting it for the day's mission.
Great board to learn how to paddle moving water to whitewater, just get the right size. Smaller and medium paddlers up to 160 lbs should get the 8 6, and larger and extra large paddlers should go for the 9 6. IF surfing is not your thing and you just want to run rivers, go with the larger and more buoyant 9 6.