The NRS Big Baron Inflatable SUP Review

CKS Squad Favorites, Stand Up Boards
bobby@coloradokayak.com

The NRS Big Baron Inflatable SUP Review

The NRS Big Earl inflatable SUP is truly one of the most stable, forgiving, and intuitive stand up paddleboard’s ever built. In addition to it’s user friendly handling characteristics, it’s also very well constructed (NRS is known for having a high quality of workmanship), and comes with some great accessories, like a K-Pump 100 and Kwik Check  gauge instead of the industry standard Wonder Pump or similar model. The K -Pump is a $70+ value, instead of $36.95 for the entry level barrel pump.
When we got wind of a bigger, badder and more stable NRS SUP, we were very excited. At 210 lbs (on a good day) I was especially happy to hear rumors of “the most stable inflatable stand up paddle board ever built“. I can honestly say that after paddling The NRS Big Baron, ALL of the rumors and hype are true. This is THE MOST STABLE traditional inflatable stand up paddle board that I have ever had the chance to test drive. It also happens to be quite responsive; which is especially impressive for a 11+ foot long, 36 inch under foot SUP. Check out the details below:

Specs:



This NRS promotional video highlights the technical details of The Big Baron

Relax, turn up the volume, and listen to the sweet sounds of Barry While whilst watching the Big Baron slither it’s way down river.

Pros:

  • ULTIMATE STABILITY: The biggest and most noticeable feature of The NRS Big Baron is the insane amount of primary stability that it offers. Paddlers well over 200 lbs will be able to confidently paddle downriver without even thinking of getting wet. What’s also very impressive, is the turn-ability and and overall maneuverability that was preserved in the making of this Clydesdale sized inflatable SUP.
  • PERFORMANCE PADDLING:Because of the pin tail design and the rocker on the nose, the Big Baron turns VERY easily, and also surfs well. It in fact, turns even easier than it’s little brother, The Big Earl.
    The pin tail design markedly improves maneuverability, with no sacrifice in stability.

    Even at 36″ wide, the Big Baron has the hull speed necessary to make critical attainments.
  • MULTIPLE ATTACHMENT POINTS:It is always better to have a lot of attachment points, as opposed to not enough. The Big Baron has the right handles, in the right spots. There is a D ring and 2 grab loops up front, which serve multiple functions. It is very easy to rig a deck bag to the board, and is also to very easy to drag the board to shore in case of a swim, or when walking to the water (there is a grab carry handle in the middle of the board too).

    Multiple attachment points are key.
  • INTELLIGENT FIN CONFIGURATION:The Baron, as well as The Big Earl both come with a removable tri fin setup that allows the paddler to make adjustments relative to the conditions. This is a feature that is not available on the vast majority of inflatable SUP’s. It’s benefits include being able to use a twin fin (2) setup for low profile paddling and ease of turning; tri fin’s (3) for stability when paddling down river; or a single fin (1 in the center) for optimal tracking in deeper water like lakes and large rivers. One other BIG benefit of having removable fins is the ease of rolling the board up and inserting it into it’s bag.  At 11’+ long, and 36″ wide, the Big Baron needs all the help that it can get in regards to deflating and rolling it up (and inserting into the included travel pack) for travel.
    The removable tri fin design

    One more shot of the fins. You can see the longer center fin that is provided too. Nice touch.
  • SUPERB COMMERCIAL OUTFITTER BOARD: Because of the versatile nature of this SUP, The Big Baron will do extremely well as an outfitter board.  The learning curve is about as easy as it gets, it is portable and rolls up easily at the take out, will fit all populations ranging from children to 250 lb plus defensive tackles, and is built with consideration to durability and longevity.
  • THE ULTIMATE FAMILY SUP:As previously mentioned, The Big Baron can accommodate a wide variety of sizes ranging from small children, to large adults. It is always a good idea to have a stand up board that is more stable, rather than not enough. Since it tops off at 15PSI the heaviest of paddlers can hop on, and still feel like they are on a stable platform. Family pets, multiple children or even 2 grown adults can fit on this board.
    400 lbs of kid can’t even sink a NRS stand up board. The Big Baron’s Cousin ( The Reel ) is also 36″ thick. You can see how stable THIS BOARD IS!

    Did I say 400 lbs? I meant 800! The Reel Rules!
  • LOTS OF GREAT ACCESSORIES FOR THE VALUE: The Big Baron also comes with a K-Pump 100, Kwik Check gauge (to check PSI) and storage back pack. The value of a high pressure pump (such as the K Pump) is far greater than a wonder pump. A Wonder pump is a great pump, but often has trouble topping off the last few PSI. Using a K Pump takes a little bit longer to get the board to 15psi, but is much easier in the long run to get it inflated to optimal rigidity. 2 pumps are ideal. Use a barrel pump (Wonder Pump) to get the board inflated, and then top it off with the provided K-Pump.
    NOTE: Bravo has a SUPER COOL that attaches to you car battery. Set the gauge to the desired PSI, and crack open a cold beverage while it does the work for you! Be sure to check it out. It has the ability to pump to 15 PSI, which is very impressive.
You can see the overall size of The Big Baron compared to other boards out there.

Cons:

  • THIS BOARD IS BIG: The NRS Big Baron is one of the largest inflatable SUP’s on the market. Smaller and mid sized paddlers who do not share their board with larger people, may not need all of the additional volume. Fortunately, NRS also sells The Big Earl, which is essentially a smaller version of the Baron.

    The Big Earl is the smaller brother of The Big Baron.
  • DID WE MENTION THAT THIS BOARD IS PRETTY BIG? Do not purchase a Big Baron with aspirations of winning The Battle of The Paddle or The Badfish Expression Sessions. This SUP is a bad ass recreational, and mid performance level SUP, which in reality is the category that 80% of the stand up paddlers on the planet fall into. It is not a super high performance race or freestyle machine.

Conclusion:

The NRS Big Baron is a superb SUP for the majority of stand up paddlers; and more importantly for ones that weigh over 200 lbs, that do not want to worry about bobbling when paddling downriver and through boily eddylines. If you currently are able to paddle class II+ on your standard size SUP, count on being able to style class III- with The Baron.
While it’s size may be a little bit daunting for some, what is sacrificed in portability is certainly made up for in stability and overall confidence when paddling. Personally, I cannot wait to take The Baron up to Montana this summer, for our annual Yellowstone River family float trip; it’s just the board that I have been waiting for. The Yankee Jim Canyon rapids will be a blast!

 

CLICK HERE TO QUALIFY TO WIN A NRS BIG BARON SUP ANS ACCESSORY PACKAGE!!

11 thoughts on “The NRS Big Baron Inflatable SUP Review

  1. WhiteWaterGusher

    Great sup:) The Big Baron handles extremely well in class III whitewater. 

    http://www.inflatable-sups.com has a great selection of Inflatable SUP boards and the lowest prices you can find. There is a “recommend a product option” at the bottom of the home page if they don’t have what your looking for, just simply recommend a product and they’ll have it within a week. 

  2. Lhg96

    how much does it weight when inflated?
    easy to carry?

    1. ckspaddler

      33 lbs. Not the lightest SUP on the market, but pretty good considering how big it is.

  3. Inflatable SUP Review - Which board is right for me?

    […] removable fins also are smaller when deflated, because there are no fins to take up valuable space. The NRS Big Baron is a GREAT example of this. It’s a behemoth of a board, and shrinks to fit into a very small pack. This would not be […]

  4. CKS are never in on Saturdays

    This review is ignorant, it makes it sound like NRS has its own drop stitch factory when in fact all “high pressure” inflatable SUPs are made in the same factory in S. Korea. Also the K-pump while being a good pump has no built in pressure gauge, so when you take the pump off you lose a little pressure and then you have to put on the separate inflation gauge you also lose a little pressure so then you are back to putting the pump back on and so forth and so on rather than just using a good pump with a built in pressure gauge. While not a bad inflatable it is a distant competitor to the MCIT in stability as well as distant to some of the C4s in performance.

    1. Bobby Kuepper

      Hey-
      You raise some great points. Some of which I agree with, and some I disagree. At the time of writing this review, we had not had the chance to paddle the MCIT. The Big Baron was the first of the 6″ drop stitch over size, XXL boards….The C4 Waterman XXL is not as wide.
      Since then however, I did have the chance to paddle the MCIT, C4 XXL and Big Baron side by side on class II, III, III+ and IV- whitewater. I still think that the Big Baron is the most stable. I am 6’2″ and 210 lbs so it is not as hard for me to control than lighter paddlers.
      I LOVE the MCIT, and think that it is MUCH more maneuverable, but on manky low volume III+ and IV- it was the Big Baron that was giving me the most confidence. I felt like I was J turning a 16 foot NRS Otter, and not a SUP down Brown’s Canyon.
      Overall, I would probably choose the MCIT because it is higher performing, but as far as stability for a beginning paddler, I think that the Big Baron takes top honors. So I agree with you there.
      Also – The Big Baron is being completely redesigned fort 2013 – I have paddled the proto board, and it is even more stable, but at the same time is still not as nimble as the MCIT…
      It will be good to have another head to head shoot out when we have both boards and some good water…

      As far as NRS having their own factory, you are correct – they do not own a factory (sorry if you inferred that from the review – that was not the intention). And yes, you are correct in saying that a large factory is Korea (Zebec) is producing boards for many brands (NRS, Starboard, Boardworks, Mistral, etc) – but you are incorrect in assuming that all high pressure inflatable SUP’s are built there. C4 Waterman are built elsewhere (in house), and Uli’s are actually built stateside in California. There are quite a few other brands built in China, and some in Australia…

      As far as pumps go, the K Pump blows the wonder pump out of the water – no pun intended…It also costs more…As far as losing pressure when the pump releases, and also when you check the pressure, we see that as a small price to pay for a pump that is capable of pumping the board to 15 psi.

      ONE IMPORTANT NOTE – The K-Pump 100 is not the ideal pump for iSUP’s. Since the review was written, K Pump has introduced the 200 and 220 which are better for the “one pump for all” world. They are low volume as well as high pressure. No, they do not come with a gauge integrated….On the other hand, that is one less thing to break (if you strap a k pump to your board and run some hard shit – there is no gauge to step on by accident), and it keeps costs down.
      Uli builds one with a gauge, but it retails for $200….That is twice the price of a K Pump…It is a BAD ASS PUMP, but costs more than most CKS customers are willing to pay for a SUP pump.

      Enjoy Montana – hope it dumps snow for u all soon!

      Thanks,
      Bobby

      1. Maja

        Hello! I’m a first-timer and I have no idea what I should buy….all the info is a little overwhelming. I need an inflatable sup. many people will use it, all sizes I’m sure. I’m currently in eastern Europe and no one knows that sup exists. I will bring it here and will use it on a man-made lake and rivers ( that are not to harsh). Family and friends/ daughter’s friends will flock to it. I expect it will be used all day, everyday over this summer. I need something stable, easy for beginners-intermediate, very durable( will be used most of the day),can carry a dog or an extra person, inflatable and least expensive. I will probably have to buy 2 or 3 of them. I need help! Checking out eBay and Amazon and I am sooo overwhelmed! Would appreciate and advice….mltigar@hotmail.com

        1. bobby@coloradokayak.com

          Hi! Sorry for the delay getting back to you! Did you find a board yet? If not, we would love to help – you are right, lots of options out there.

          1. Maja

            Hi
            I’m narrowing it down but I have not made a decision. I would appreciate any advice.
            I’m leaning towards a board that can double up as a kayak. It would get a ton of use out if it! If also like to know the weight of the deflated board in a backpack. What is the weight id be carrying on my back? I need something that is very budget friendly ( I need 4 of them and on single mom budget!) and stable/ durable. Need to ship to Austria. Paddle included would be best ( it needs to float!).
            Help
            Thanks,
            Maya

  5. wayne rothermel

    I AM LOOKING FOR SOME FINS FOR A BOARD I HAVE . CAN YOU HELP.
    I NEED THE ONES THAT YOU CAN TAKE ON AND OFF. NOT LARGE ONES
    ABOUT 4″ HIGH. I USE THE INFLATABLE BOARD ON THE SLOW MOVING RIVER
    HERE IN CANADA. WHAT PRICE ARE THEY AND CAN YOU SHIP TO CANADA .

    1. bobby@coloradokayak.com

      Give me an email, I can send you some – we sell all of them – bobby@coloradokayak.com

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