The Godfather Test Center (GFTC) just got its’ hands on a new 2015 Bark Dominator D2. It is a very beautiful board and the quality is impeccable. The striking differences between the D2 and the original Dominator is the single piece deck pad and the depth of the nose. Both of these changes have a large impact on paddling the board which will be discussed later.
Below is the list of changes the GFTC have identified in this pre-test:
1 – Thinner nose
2 – Integrated handle is similar to Naish boards which is much better than the original Dominator. The D2 still has the carrying strap
3 – One piece deck pad
4 – Wider tail
5 – Narrower width – 26.5 inches versus 28 inches
We were all excited to try out the new Bark. The team is very familiar with the original and custom Dominators so taking out this new design got everyone’s interest. We noticed right away the board is faster than the original. A number of riders thought it was similar in speed to custom 25 inch wide Barks they have ridden and owned but not as quick. Doing a test on speeds it is running about 0.25 mph faster than the original Dominator on flat water.
The board definitely has a familiar Bark feel. It is stable for a 26 inch wide board and has excellent secondary stability and catches smoothly. The board is very quiet in flat water and is much stiffer than the original Dominator. Very little flex is present. In regards to comparing the two boards for stability, the original Dominator is more stable which is based primarily upon the wider platform of the original board.
During this short test, pivot turns were performed. Right away we noticed the different deck. Bark has incorporated a slight upward deck as you go past the handle. The first time you step back for a turn you notice this rise. See photo above. However, after doing a couple of pivots and turns you certainly notice an advantage in this design since it helps drive the tail down to assist in the turn. We did notice the board did not accelerate as quickly as expected. Further investigation found the reason. See section on weight.
We also did a quick test in windy, downwind conditions. Going into the waves, we were surprised how easily it pierces the waves yet doesn’t slow down. Completely different than the original Dominator. Very little slap with this design. Stability was average for a 26 inch board. We did notice some yaw effect from side waves. A short downwind run was made and we found the board to be marginal in this category. Stability wise is acceptable. Catching waves required more work and effort as well as maintaining a glide if compared to a true downwinding board like the SIC 14 Bullet V2. The new upward sloping deck feature does make it easy to keep the board from pearling.
We have become use to responsiveness of the new flat water race boards weighing 25 lbs or less. This feeling was not apparent with the D2. Surftech had advertised 25.5 lbs but when we paddled the board it just seemed heavier. So we weighed the board and found it to be 28.5 lbs. We looked into this further and found Surftech changed the advertised weight to 28.5 lbs. It was disappointing to find this increased weight which will hamper this board to be competitive with lighter boards on the market today.
The new 2015 Bark Dominator D2 is a very fun board to paddle. It performs well on flat water and has more refined racing profile and features from the original Dominator. We were pleased with the flat water and water chop performance. It is a fast and stable board for intermediate to expert racers but is does not have the quick feeling you get from a lighter board. If you are in the market for updating your Dominator and doing a couple of races a year, this board will be excellent.