Ultegra Surf 14000XSC Test

By John DurrantNZ Fishing World
Ultegra Surf 14000XSC Test

In some ways, Shimano reels are bloody difficult to review because it’s rare that you actually find anything bad enough that’s worthy of a moan. The new Ultegra falls into that category. First impressions count, as they say, and this reel delivers on that note.

The Ultegra looks great in striking silver and black. At first glance, the chassis looks quite compact. But don’t be deceived as this reel has an impressive capacity.

The standard spool is huge which makes for great casting ability.  Let’s be honest, distance is the name of the game for all surfcasters and the spool on this model allows the line to ping off with ease.

At 640g, it’s not particularly heavy and it has a robust feel to it that you would expect from a surfcasting reel that’s likely to have all of nature’s toughest elements thrown at it.

So, it looks pretty and it feels good in your hand. What about all the clever engineering stuff? Well, most importantly, it has a huge drag – 20kg.

No snapper, trevally or shark, for that matter, is going to throw anything at it that it cannot handle.

The Ultegra features a real box of tricks full of clever technology that’s designed to give you the ultimate performance.

There are new bearings that feature shields on both sides to eliminate the chance of salt and sand inhibiting the rotation.

- Super Stopper II anti-reverse uses a one-way bearing to stop backplay.

- Dyna-Balance eliminates wobble during the retrieve to make for a smoother performance.

- AeroWrap II helps to give uniform line lay and winding shape, among other things.

And those are just some of the features that this reel boasts.

Ironically, this technology is perhaps something that could put some regular surfcasters off.

Many hardened surfcasters believe that keeping it simple is the best option for gear that’s going to be regularly punished on windswept beaches.

That makes sense to this writer although it’s difficult not to be taken by the advancements in reel technology.

Despite this, all reels have to be judged on their individual merits and, most importantly, test performance.

The Ultegra 14000XSC performed admirably and was a joy to use during a full day’s testing on the wild West Coast.

With an RRP of $299, the Ultegra 14000XSC is likely to prove a hit with those venturing on to beaches and rock spots.


  • Shimano Ultegra Surf 14000XSC
  • Bearings: 4 + 1
  • Max drag: 20kg​
  • Retrieve per crank: 103cm
  • Line capacity (mono): 548m of 6kg
  • Weight: 640g
  • Ratio: 4.3:1
  • RRP: $299


  • Big spool helps cast
  • Huge drag
  • Robust feel

Not So Much

  • Some surfcasters might think it’s over-engineered
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