Boats/Boards Which_SUP_is_Right_For_Me

Published on August 14th, 2012 | by bobby@coloradokayak.com

84

Inflatable SUP Review – Which board do I want?

Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Review

Shopping for the right inflatable SUP can be a daunting task. New companies are literally popping up weekly, and major manufacturers are launching new models of boards(and redefining the sport) at a very fast rate. SUP has been coined “the fastest growing sport in the world“, and we have no reason to dispute that claim. Because of that fact (or urban myth), board builders are presented with the challenge of keeping up with consumer demands, and using new technologies to create boards that are ultimately more user friendly.The goal of this review is to present all of the major factors that one should look at when shopping for for an inflatable stand up paddle board (SUP).

Material

If you are reading this review, than you most likely have decided on buying a SUP with inflatable technology. In a nutshell, inflatables are far more durable than composite boards, lighter than plastic boards, and MUCH more portable than any hard board. The main drawbacks to inflatable SUP’s are lack of speed and stiffness. There have been tremendous advances over the past few years in material technology, allowing companies to offer boards that are approaching hard board stiffness. You have probably noticed a large price differential with various inflatables (ranging from about $300-$1300). Part of what you are paying for is a board that can be inflated from 15-18psi, which creates a solid, stiff platform to paddle on.

Inflatable_SUP_Reviews_construction

This is a cross section of a Boardworks ShuBu, and MCIT

Board Shape

The shape of a board is going to determine it’s stability, surf-ability, maneuverability and speed. In general, the wider a board, the more stable it is. Companies have also began building boards of various thicknesses. 3″ used to be standard for the original iSUP’s (C4 Waterman). Today, a 6″ drop stitch is not uncommon. A thicker board provides quite a bit of both primary and secondary stability. It also deflects river current, which enhances general stability and river performance…
Tail shape is  worth taking a look at too. Boards with tapered tails tend to turn easier, and often times surf a little bit better. Boards with block tails are usually more stable. The best thing to do is try a few different boards and determine which one works best for you.
Nose rocker is similar to tail design. Some boards have more of it, and some boards have less. Depending on what you plan on doing with the board, less or more rocker may be needed. Boards with more rocker tend to surf better and turn easier, but are also a little bit slower. Boards with less rocker, have better speed, but may perl when surfing on a wave. C4 Waterman is a great example of a company that builds a fair amount of rocker into many of their boards. Because of this, they are capable of high performance surfing. The same is true for many Starboard inflatables.

Inflatable_SUP_Reviews_block_tail_stability

The NRS Big Baron has a block tail design. This creates an EXTREMELY stable board. It’s a classic.

Inflatable_SUP_Reviews_tapered_tail_turn

This is an example of a tapered tail (Starboard Astro Whopper 10′). Because the tail is narrower in the back (and slightly rockered too), it turns easily, especially when surfing. You can carve much like you would on a hard board.

Inflatable_SUP_Reviews_width_in_center

The Starboard Astro Whopper has a wide waist, but tapered ends. The result is a stable platform with performance characteristics as well.

Inflatable_SUP_Reviews_thickness_GOOD_trends

A 6″ thick SUP does wonders for stability (on harder rapids) because it deflects river current and waves.

Inflatable_SUP_Reviews_nose_rocker

This is a good example of a board with a bit of kick rocker on the nose. This helps get the nose out of the water when surfing, and also helps it turn a little bit easier.

Inflatable_SUP_Reviews_deck_rigging2

The Boardworks Badfish MCIT has multiple chambers. It is thicker on the sidewalls, and lower in the deck. This creates better stability.

Fins

Fins are a very important part of inflatable SUP’s. Without them, you would just spin in circles. The biggest debate is whether you want removable or permanent fins (or a combo of both). The advantage of removable fins, is that you can adjust your set up (twins, tri’s or center fin set up) for different types of paddling (down river, surfing, touring). Here in CO, it is not uncommon to see a down river paddler with no fins at all. The water can be shallow, and sometimes it is better to have a slick bottom that does not catch on rocks. In technical rivers, you often want a board that turns easily, and SUP’ing sans fins is a good way to achieve that.
Inflatables with 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 possible with permanent fins. The main disadvantage to having removable fins, is that they can break or get lost. It’s no fun getting to the put in, and realizing that you only have one 4″ fin for your SUP, when you really need 3. This is the reason that brands like C4 offer boards with permanent fins. The XXL for example is only offered with a perma tri fin setup. It’s a burly board, can paddle some hard rapids, and is guaranteed not to pop a fin.

Inflatable_SUP_Reviews_Permanent_Tri2

C4 Waterman 8’1″. This board has 3 permanent fins. They are flexible and WILL NOT break. You can paddle this thing on the shallowest rivers for years on end, and never lose or break a fin.

Inflatable_SUP_Reviews_Quad_Removable

Removable quad fins. In general, quads are geared for performance surfing. This board can be switched out to twins as well.

Inflatable_SUP_Reviews_removable_combo

Starboard offers 2 permanent side fins, and then a removable center. The paddler can use an 8″ center for flat water paddling, or take it out and replace it with a 4″. It can also be paddled as a twin.

Inflatable_SUP_Reviews_fin_sizes_configs

Removable fins for inflatable sup’s – 8″ and 4″. You can also shave them down to 2″ if needed.

Accessories

Within the past year or 2, boards have diversified themselves into various genres. Some are built for racing, some for touring, many for downriver paddling and surfing, and a few for fishing. Make sure to look at features that may make your life easier. For example, NRS and Badfish Stand Up Paddle offer boards built specifically for fishing. They typically are wider than usual (more stable), and have mounts for rods, tackle bags and fishing gear. One of my favorite features is a bungee cargo net on the front deck of the board. This is very useful for touring on flat water, and also for bringing a gear bag on a down river trip. Nothing is better than having a warm fleece layer, rescue kit and camera when you are on the river or lake for the day…

Inflatable_SUP_Reviews_deck_rigging

Deck rigging for a gear bag. Awesome feature.

Brands

Each brand has it’s own reputation and niche. Depending on what you are, or are not looking for, you may want to look at a particular brand. Here’s a rundown. Yep, we’re gonna stereotype manufacturers…

  • C4 Waterman - C4 Waterman is one of the most popular manufacturers of inflatable stand up paddle boards in the world. They are the ones who coined the term “iSUP“. C4 is known for building durable inflatables designed to take a beating. C4 is also based out of Hawaii, which is home to some pretty gnarly surfing. Because of that, many of their boards are incredible surfers…this goes for their inflatables too. Also, Charlie MacArthur (aka. CMAC) is one of the key members of the C4 team. He is largely responsible for bringing SUP inland. Charlie even has his own model of board (CMAC). It was one of the first SUP’s to experiment with thicker sidewalls for deflecting river current, and kick rocker in the nose to make river surfing easier.
  • Boardworks SUP / Badfish Stand Up Paddle – If I had to think of one key word to classify Badfish Stand Up Paddle, it would be innovation. Both Boardworks and Badfish are on the cutting edge of technology, with boards like the MCIT (and River Surfer for hard shell boards) available to the public. The MCIT has a patent pending on it’s unique multi chamber design. It is also rumored, that the MCIT is the most popular selling item in ALL of The Boardworks fleet. This is a HUGE statement, considering that they are one of the largest coastal SUP manufacturers on the planet.
  • NRS – Northwest River Supplies jumped into the game with the Big Earl and Big Baron. They have a background in building rafts and river gear like wetsuits and foot wear. In short, they know what they are doing, and build a high quality product at a very reasonable price. Their boards appeal to families, and ALL populations. They are also known for ease of use. If you are new to the sport of Stand Up Paddling, want a board to learn on, and carry you through the years, check out NRS. Also, it is to be noted that NRS has some BAD ASS new inflatable SUP’s in the lineup for 2013. They are diving head first into inflatable SUP’s and have some awesome new toys to show off. Keep an eye out!!
  • Starboard SUP – Starboard has a heritage in wind surfing, which on many levels is similar to SUP (and also very different). They also have an ace in the hole on their pro team, by the name of Dan Gavere. Dan’s one of the most prolific whitewater kayakers who ever lived, and is now killing it in all aspects of inland SUP. Their boards are SOLID. They just feel right. The Astro Whopper for example is a board that you feel like you have paddled for months after about 10 minutes on the river.

Tags: , ,


About the Author



84 Responses to Inflatable SUP Review – Which board do I want?

  1. Eric Princen says:

    If you could just pick one inflatable for Colorado, which would you pick?

    • The most recent fav around the shop has been the Starboard 10′ Astro Whopper. It is stable for running harder rapids, surfs like a champ for a 10 footer, and is built to last.

      I like the Badfish MCIT’t, but like to surf a lot on my way down river. The Astro Whopper has a more progressive rocker profile on the nose, and also a more tapered tail. It seems to be a natural on a glassy wave.

      They are perfect for downriver trips, park and surf, and overnighters (have bungees for a day bag)…

      Plus you can throw in a 8″ center fin and take it to the lake for the day, even though it is somewhat of a pig on flatwater…

      What boards are on your top 10 list?

      • NRS has some killer new designs for 2013. They are not avail to the public yet, but will be soon…

        They are basically superb CO boards…Short (9′ and 9’6″), super thick (4″ or 6″), wide (36″), square tails that still carve for surfing…and VERY light…I paddled the protos and loved them.

        My wife and I are in line for one when they come out. It is a true do it all board for CO.

    • Kelsey says:

      I just recently purchased my first board on Acopoco.com for a super good deal. This particular board is best for petites and children, but it’s really been a great starter board when I’m just out for a fun time with the family. Definitely check out this site to find the paddle board that best fits you. It’s the best deals that I’ve found by far.

  2. Matt Ivey says:

    No mention of Uli? They have some nice looking touring style inflatables I would love to try. Especially the 14
    racing/touring board. My favorite board so far has been the Badfish. I am 6’4″ and over 200lbs and the 11′ Badfish handles my size perfect. I can take it our on the lake or river and have a blast.

    • Yea, Uli has some neat boards. We used to sell them but no longer do because of fulfillment issues.

      I am your size, and agree, the Badfish 11’6″ is tops. The Starboard Astro Whopper is sick too. Great high performance board for big guys.

  3. cdunning says:

    What about length? I’m looking at buying and board and I have borrowed 10 footers. That seemed fine for me – but am wondering if 9 ft-ish might be better. I’m guessing longer = more stable. I’m 5’6″ and am planning on using this on flatwater and river, up to class III. Suggestions?

    • How much do you weigh? That plays a big role in determining board length.

      The longer the board, the faster it is, and it is usually more stable. But there are some awesome 9′ options if you do not weigh too much.

      The 9′ Badfish MCIT is awesome for lighter paddlers.

      • Brian says:

        165lbs- still great performance on 9′ MCIT?

        • Yea – you are right on the line. Is this for river running? Or surfing? Or flatwater? If you are going to run rivers, you may want to look at the 10’6″, the added length is faster and also the board is much more stable.

          • Brian says:

            Mainly for smaller technical rapids (fast turning better than speed) and some surfing. How does the 9′ mcit river surf compared to other inflatables and hard boards? Could be some lake surfing too.

  4. Scott Kiesling says:

    Your review to totally incomplete with out ULI. I mean…come on. They invented the inflatable and revolutionize and worked out the rocker engineering. The ULI is hand made as a semi custom board with very high mfg standards and quality. It seems that all the others are copy cats and are made in China. Sk

    • Agreed!
      Uli’s are very high quality boards, made in the USA. I agree, that they should be in the review – solid option for people. The only down side to an Uli is price, some of them cost a bit more than the $1000 (or less) price point that many consumers have in mind.

  5. tania says:

    Looking for a family ISUP for lake use and possible gulf use but not much surf. weight for 140-230lb to so all family members can use but mostly mom and kids 150lb and less. which would you rec

    • You could look at the new NRS Boards. The Big Baron 4″ or 6″, or the CZAR would be a great choice. If you wanted a board that could handle a 230 lb paddler, but also be OK for kids, the CZAR may be a little easier to deal with (it is 9’6″ as opposed to the Big Baron 11″). It is also quite a bit lighter. I weigh about 205 and I barely can get the CZAR to sink when I paddle it. The CZAR is currently my new favorite SUP here.
      http://cksblog.com/2013/03/nrs-czar-inflatable-stand-up-paddleboard-review/
      Have you seen this review on it?

      The other cool part about NRS SUP’s is that they come with a high pressure pump that can top the board off at 15+ psi. They also come with 3 year warranties.

      Hope that helps.

  6. Penny says:

    Hi! I live in colorado, but travel a lot. So I need a ISUP that is versatile. I would use it in lakes in Colorado, oceans in Florida and Maui etc. I am a beginner and I am 5’4″ weighing 120 lbs. but also would like for my 185 lb boyfriend and some of my bigger friends to be able to use it too. Price would be an issue so it can’t be one of the top price ones. I’ve been trying to buy one for a year now but I’m so afraid of getting the wrong one.
    Any help would be so appreciated.

    • What is your price range? You may want to look at used boards.
      Because you are getting a board that is going to be used from the 120-185 pound weight range, you’d want to get a board that is good for the person on the higher end of the weight range. You will be fine on the board, and he will be good on it too…Check out the C4 Waterman 10’6″ CMAC, Starboard 10′ Whopper, NRS Big Earl 4″, NRS Tyrant…They are all about $1000 or more – maybe you could find one used or a demo at the end of the season.

      Hope that helps a bit.

  7. BillyD says:

    Umm, you’ve missed out some pretty important stuff here. Fins, tailshapes etc, yeah, all good. But what actually matters head and shoulders above all else in inflatable SUP is its rigidity and strength. Which largely comes down to how much air you can put in them. The boards from the top factory (in Korea) that can comfortably take 30psi or more are just waaaay ahead of the inflatables from China that can only take 12psi. And much of this is down to construction. Most inflatable boards are made up of a length of dropstitch, with a side panel taped on. Easily recognisable by the line of tape that runs right around the board, along the top and bottom of the rail (as is clearly seen on the starboards in your pictures, espec the one right below where you’ve got your hand on the rail). This is the cheap and easy way of doing it, but basically means the boards simply cannot go much above about 15psi without blowing out along these seams. Whereas the top inflatable brands like C4, Red Paddle Co, Fanatic are made with a vastly more sophisticated process where the top and bottom decks are brought down (and up) to overlay each other, and then extra layers of tape added to the outside of that, creating a massively more tough construction system, allowing much higher internal pressures to be used.
    Now factor in breakthroughs like Red Paddle Co’s RSS batten stiffening system and you’ve basically now got inflatables that are as rigid as solid boards in feel. There’s now a huge gulf between what the specialist inflatable brands are producing and the rest.

    • I was not aware that C4 boards can inflate to 30PSI. The ones that we stock are 15-18. We’ve had a lot of Starboard, C4, NRS and Boardworks boards in our demo fleet – all of them are inflated to 15-18 on a daily basis. So far after 4 years of renting out boards, we have not had any splitting seams on them.
      We’ve got a Red Paddle Company demo in stock too – it will be cool to paddle them all side by side this summer. They all look like great boards!

  8. GYang says:

    What do you think about the new Xterra board? It just went on sale in April.

  9. Elizabeth Londner says:

    What would you guys recommend for NYC oceans/rivers/bays? On the less expensive side but still durable. Thanks

    • What is your height and weight? Also, what is your price range?
      Overall, the best all around board for what you are talking about could be the NRS Big Earl 4″ or the Tyrant…They are both under $1000 and have a 3 year warranty…

  10. Lucia says:

    I’m looking for an inflatable board for cruising on lakes and oceans, and for some yoga. Does anyone have a recommendation? I’m 5’6″, 130lbs. My price range is around $600.
    Thanks

  11. Don McCormick says:

    I can’t figure out how something as obvious as slats/battens slid in a pocket on the side of a board got patented (RED RSS system) … Battens/slats have been used to stiffen up things like “forever”…
    Besides, putting composite slats on the deck would work a ton better to spread the paddler’s weight and stiffen up the board… or a rib system like in a back brace that was lashed to the deck…. duh… there are better solutions than those chunky, fiberglass logs that RED is using. Then why did it take so long for some one to come up with that? Seems like it should have been thought of on day one. I mean, you have decades and decades, thousands upon thousands of composite boards to borrow from… “something stiff added to an inflatable SUP board will make it stiffer”… oh really… Hummm, as a member of this species, some times I wonder about just how smart us human critters are. Well, at least smart enough to have fun getting into this great sport of SUP!

  12. Holly says:

    I’m looking for an inflatable board for cruising on flatwater lakes in Ohio. Does anyone have a recommendation? I’m 5’4″, 150lbs. I’ve read reviews about Boardworks Shubu 9’2″, Naish Mana Air, Sea Eagle Longboard 11, Starboard Astro Whopper, among others. My price range is around $1100 max for the board. Do you have any suggestions? Also, my husband is 6′ and 210 lbs and he’d like a board that is extremely stable. I was thinking maybe the Airis 11′ or one of the NRS models. Max of $1100 on that board too. Thanks so much for the help!

    • The Starboard 9′ Astro Converse would be a really fun board for you. It is 9′ long, and pretty narrow, which makes it fast on flatwater. The NRS Tyrant is also a really fun board. It is pretty short (9′), so it is not the fastest board out there, but the price is right and it has a 3 year warranty, which is unheard of for a SUP.
      For your husband, the NRS Big Earl, Czar or Big Baron would all be fun, depending on what he wants to do with the board. Also, he may like the Starboard Astro Whopper Deluxe 10′ or Starboard 11’2″ Astro Blend.

  13. Sunshine says:

    I am looking for an inflatable SUP. I am 5’6″ and approx 200 lbs. I would be using this mainly in an Ocean Bay and I am a beginner. What would you recommend.

    • The NRS Big Baron or Starboard Astro Whopper could be good options. Either of those boards will float you well, and are good for what you are looking for.
      Also check out the Boardworks ShuBu 10′ – that is a great board for the value. Same goes for the Badfish MCIT 10’6″.

  14. Pamela says:

    Have you reviewed any boards from Isle or Tower? I am in the market for an intermediate user who is 170 pounds and likes to ride the surf. We have a beginner board Sevylor which I got a Costco (less than $500) a few years ago and it has fit our needs for both lakes, rivers and oceans, but want to invest in another inflatable board. Our budget is about $700, but would spend more if I knew the quality was worth it.

  15. Carey says:

    I live in Fla and am a beginner, but very agile. I weigh 120 and am 5 feet. I’d primarily use the board for the ocean in Ft Lauderdale (can be totally flat or very choppy but not big waves usually) and also the Intracoastal (flat until a speed boat comes). I had been thinking of a Sea Eagle but now reading your review thinking I need to do a lot more research. I have a weak shoulder so I need something easy to manipulate in and out if the car and down to the ocean solo. Thank you so much. Wish I’d jumped on this sooner!

    • Are you thinking about getting an inflatable? If so, check out the Starboard 9′ Astro Converse Deluxe model. It is a 9′ board, that is pretty fast (because it is relatively narrow), surfs incredibly well (if you ever have a nice swell down there), and in super stiff (because of the thick drop stitch material and 10″ wide stinger that runs down the middle of the board).
      http://www.coloradokayak.com/Astro-Converse-Deluxe-90-Starboard-SUP-Paddleboard.html
      It sounds like the right board for someone that is very athletic, looking to do quite a few different things on the board.
      It also has a lot of fin options – you can run a long center fin for flat water touring, or use a thruster setup for surfing and choppy days…You can remove all of the fins for rolling the board up and storing it in the provided bag.

  16. Pman says:

    Which ISUP do you suppose would surf well/ best on 3-4ft waves? I don’t want a monster longboard or a thick 6″ log. I weigh 80kg. My local choices are between Naish and NRS. I figure the Naish Nalu Air 10.2 and the NRS Earl 4 seem suitable for my needs. The Naish website does not refer to their NRS Earl 4 as a surfer. What do you think? Thanks a million.

    • If you want to surf ocean waves that are waist to head high, you may want to look at Starboard SUP’s or C4 Waterman. The reason for this is because they are very stiff, and have shapes that excel in the surf. The C4 waterman 10’6″ iSUP or even the Starboard 11’2″ Astro Converse could be great boards. The NRS is a good board, but is not quite as stiff, and is a little bit wider than the C4 and Starboard. That means that it will turn a little bit slower.

  17. Jim says:

    Hi
    Thanks for your website and expertise. Would appreciate help selecting a isup. Would use the isup for flats fishing in Florida. It would be my secondary fishing vehicle… A kayak is my first. Inflatable may make more sense as I would be bringing it along on camping trips . I am 5’10 160 pounds. Looking for something that is durable but am thinking that because it would be secondary fishing platform not super high end.
    All the best and thanks
    Jim

  18. Pamela says:

    We recently purchased at NRS Tyrant at a great price at Costco $750 and tested it on a river with some rapids. Although the board was easy to inflate with the K1000 pump that is included, the board seemed sluggish and it may be because it is wide. A bit disappointing but we primarily purchased it for surfing waves and we will be testing that out in a couple of weeks at the beach.

    • Wow – that is a great price. Yes, the Tyrant is a bit slow due to it’s width. The same thing that makes it very stable also makes it slower than other boards. If you wanted a board that has higher performance for surfing, etc – you would have to spend a bit more money. For example, the Starboard 9′ Astro Converse Deluxe (or even the regular version) is in a league of it’s own as far as surfing and performance (especially edge to edge). The board is 3″ more narrow, and also much stiffer. Beyond that, it has more rocker in the nose and tail, which helps in river waves.
      The Tyrant’s a fun board, but is definitely more on the recreational end of things, vs. a true high performance surfer / SUP.

  19. Hef says:

    Hi guys any more info on the xterra boards ? Has anyone tryed them out yet ?

  20. Nonor says:

    Hi there
    Thanks a lot for all the info
    How would you compare the Starboard Astro Whopper vs Converse vs Wide point for a 80kg bloke in Ocean surf ?
    Main question: do the Converse & Wide point really perform better in waves or because of the limitations of inflatables you can’t see the difference much ?
    At 80kg I feel the Whopper will be easier but wonder if it means a much more sluggish board :)
    Thanks for your time
    Cheers,

    • Hey-
      For someone your weight the 8’2″ Wide Point Deluxe or 9′ Astro Converse deluxe would be great. They are only 4″ think. and are really stiff. The stiffer version of the 10′ Whopper is 6″ thick, which makes turning and moving from edge to edge (carving) harder.
      The 9′ Astro Converse would prob be the best overall board because it is pretty narrow, can tour and paddle out past the lineup really well, and then surf like a dream. The 8’2″ is more surf specific, and harder to paddle in a straight line because it is a quad thruster and does not have a center fin option. Will you be touring at all?
      Neither board is going to perform like a super light epoxy board, but they come in a close second. If portability is important to you, they are the way to go.

  21. Nonor says:

    Thanks a lot for your message Bobby

    Touring is not on the agenda :)
    But small powerless waves are since the conditions are not always perfect

    Is the Whopper “fun” that less stiffer that it makes surfing complicated ? 6” is too much but the 4” version might be fine

    Is the Converse easy enough on smaller waves ? It seems a great board but just wonder if it does not need quite good surf conditions

    I guess I’ll end up with the Converse but the hesitation is with the Whopper which seems able to catch most waves

    :)

    • The 6″ boards are harder to transition from edge to edge because they are so thick. They do really well in rivers, but on the ocean are not so fun. the 4″ Whopper is quicker because it is thinner (like surf boards). Since you are not too heavy, the 4″ would be fine, even though the Deluxe board is stiffer.

      The 9′ would be very easy on smaller waves. It is a super fun board, and for someone your weight would be a blast all around.

      The Whopper is more stable, but may be a bit of a barge for you once you get used to it – whereas the Converse would be more of a performance board.

  22. James Biro says:

    I am also doing some research on iSUP’s and appreciate all of the reply’s and comments people have made. I understand the concept, you get what you pay for, so with that said Sea Eagle seems to be in the 900.00 price range which should mean it is in the upper end of iSUP’s. Can anyone give their 2 cents on how the Sea Eagle long board would compare to a Starboard or any other higher end Brand Name SUP?

    • We do not sell them, and I have never paddled one. I am however familiar with the brand. Sea Eagle make a wide range of inflatable products, and a few SUP’s. Their focus is on recreational level boards for entry level paddlers. The boards look to be a bit over priced to me. Their designs are pretty basic compared to what NRS or and especially to what Starboard is doing. We have searched high and low to look for the best bang for the buck in terms of durability, performance and price. The 10′ Astro Whopper for $1000 is one of the best deals out there. Same goes for the NRS Big Earl, Tyrant and Czar – they are great boards.
      Not to say the Sea Eagle is a bad board, it just seems to us here at CKS that there could be higher performing boards (better rocker profile, stiffer, etc) for the price.

  23. Andrea says:

    What inflatable board would you recommend for a petite but athletic female (105 lbs / 5’2″)? I am considering the Xterra?

    • The Starboard 9′ Astro Converse Fun is a beast of a board – you would love it if you are pretty athletic and want a very high end board that will be able to keep up with you. The rocker profile is good for surfing and touring, and it is stiffer than anything out there.
      We do not sell Xterra, but would be curious to know what you think of them if you paddle one.
      Lots of brands to keep up with these days!

  24. Sean says:

    What inflatable paddle board would be best for someone who is 300 lbs (136kg) and 6’4″. I live in Orange County California and want to surf at Bolsa with it. I have a non-inflatable board that I use for touring and flat water in the bay, but want an inflatable board that can hold my weight and surf 2-5 foot waves. Any suggestions?

  25. Lance Williamson says:

    Hi Bobby,
    My wife is looking for an in inflatable river board. No surfing, no whitewater, but a stable, comfortable down river paddle board. She currently has the Starboard 12-6 Astro Touring. Tough on the river. She’s 5’7″, 135 lbs, very athletic and in shape. I would also like to ride it occasionally, at 5’9″, 150 lbs, but this would be primarily for her. Thanks, Lance

    • Sounds like the 10′ Whopper or the 11’2″ Astro Blend could be right up your alley. You all are also right in the weight range for the 9′ Astro Converse – if you are looking for a smaller sportier board that would be fun to surf…

  26. Linda Pasquariello says:

    Hi there, lots of great info on your site. I’m a beginner and looking for isup board, that I can take on my boat. I’m 5.5 and weigh 115. Was looking at Isle 10, nrs mayra, starboard astro whopper. It will be used in anchorages, bay, ocean, exploring rivers, and the the future would love to be able to surf, any ideas for me! Thanks

  27. peter says:

    Looking for a board I can travel with. 5’6″, 165. Something mainly for flat water or easy rivers. Definitely a novice here. But I like the flexibility an isup gives me. And I am not rich. Any ideas?

    • Hi, thanks for reading the CKS Blog!
      The one board that comes to mind, is the Starboard 10′ Astro Whopper Fun Version:
      http://www.coloradokayak.com/Astro-Whopper-10-Starboard-SUP.html
      The reason this would be a good board for you is because it is extremely high quality, $1000, and does everything that you are describing very well. It is 35″ wide and is very stable for paddling on rivers and lakes. There is a removable fin in the middle, which can either accept a 9″ fin for touring on faltwater, or be removed for rivers. It will last a long time, and is also a very good surfer.

      This is by far the most popular “SUV” type board that we sell, that can do it all. In short, it’s sporty, but also stable and not too expensive.

      Where will you be paddling? Also, we are having a promo now for 15% off of any one item, so if you are looking for a board now, this is a good time to get one.

      Please feel free to email me @ bobby@coloradoakayak.com anytime if you have questions or need some more info.

      Thanks!
      Bobby

  28. Rick says:

    The feedback on this thread is awesome. Now I know why my buddy recommended CKS! I’d appreciate any guidance you can provide.

    Looking for ISUP that can do it all, but at an intermediate level. Tahoe, Truckee River, and November in Sayulita. I’d love to be able to get up to the high Sierra lakes with it in the summer. I’m 5’10, 160 and an adventurer on a budget. Recommendations?

    • The Starboard Astro Whopper 10″ Fun version would be perfect for you. It is a high performance river board that is wide enough (35″) to paddle anything that you can throw at it…It’s got a tapered tail that is great for surfing. It also has quite a bit of nose rocker, which makes if really fun on the ocean. These boards (Starboard in general) will actually carve turns in the ocean, rather than just surf straight down the line.

      The other board that is a BLAST on the ocean, but may be a little tougher on white water rivers, is the Starboard Astro Converse 9′ – it is also available in a Fun version (i.e $999) and is SUPER fun on an ocean wave – it is a true performance surfer.

      If you have any other questions, feel free to email me directly at bobby@coloradoakyak.com – I’d love to help out in any way that I can.
      Also, if you are in the market for a board, let me know, we always have specials going on, and can get you a great deal.

      Thanks for reading!
      Bobby

  29. Colt says:

    Bobby,

    How would you compare the 2014 Red Paddle 9’6″ Allwater, to the Starboard Astro Whopper 10″ Fun?

    I’m not asking for a blanket endorsement of one vs the other as they are different products. So lets qualify the question by how they would compare for my use.

    Two Users:
    5’10″ 145lbs
    5’4″ 130lbs

    Location:
    Flatwater, lakes, protected bays
    Rivers Class 1&2
    Ocean (ability to ride waves but not primary use)

    Travel:
    I’d like to be able to put this on my back and hike into a few of my favorite mountain lakes 2-3miles so weight and comfort of the included bag are very important. As an alternative if they roll up small enough I’d like to put it in my own hiking bag? Is that a reasonable expectation?

    Price:
    I’d rather pay more for quality, performance and durability.

    Final Thoughts:
    How much difference do the Red Paddles Battens make on mid board flex? Being a sailor that seems to make a lot of sense to me.

    Weight/ (deflated size/volume) of the boards with bag/pump? Can’t really find a number to compare the two.

    • Hey there-
      Great question. For what you plan on using the boards for, either one of them would be really good – and each one would perform a little bit differently. Here are some answers (based on our experiences) to the questions that you have asked:
      As far as a good board for paddling on flatwater, mellow rivers, and some ocean surf – both boards would do well. The Starboard is wider, and also has a more aggressive shape for surfing. It is more stable (it is longer too), and has a tapered tail and more nose rocker. For those reasons, it would surf better. The 9’6″ All Water would be really fun because it is SUPER stiff in proportion to only being 4′ thick. The one downside to the 10″ Whopper is that you have to purchase the Deluxe board, which is 6″ thick if you want it to be very stiff. At your weight, you may not want a 6″ board. For that reason, the 9’6″ All Water could be a good choice.
      As far as travel goes, the Red Paddle bags are more like luggage than back packs. They have rollers on them for air ports, etc. The Starboard comes with a pretty nice bag. The Deluxe Starboards come with very nice bags, and you could hike with them for sure.
      As far as the RSS battons, yes they work well. They are actually designed to keep the rocker profile on the board correct when it is loaded with weight – as opposed to keep the board stiff. Red Paddle uses a cross linear drop stitch pattern that is super stiff. ONLY the Deluxe starboards have this stitch pattern…

      All in all, the 10′ Whopper would be more stable, and higher performing, but you would have to get the Deluxe Version to compete with the Red Paddle’s stiffness. The Whopper Deluxe is $200 more than the Red Paddle. If you got the All Water, you could save some money – and have a great board that is really stiff. You would only notice the difference when you are performance surfing or paddling some harder rapids…then the Deluxe Starboard would be better.

      Both boards weigh about the same – the Red Paddle is probably a bit lighter due to it’s smaller size.

      The one other difference between the boards (Deluxe Starboard vs. Red Paddle) is that the Starboard has removable fins, and the Red Paddle has ones that are permanent. Not sure what you prefer. If you are going to be touring on flatwater, sometimes it is nice to have an optional long center fin.

      Hope that helps – feel free to email me anytime with questions. bobby@coloradokayak.com

  30. matt d says:

    I have a few questions about some boards I’m looking to buy.
    I’m 5’10 215 experienced paddeller and I want to get into paddle boarding with an is up. I live in northern Florida. I will mostly be paddling destin bays and open ocean as well as all the rivers in the region. Surfing unfortantly will be limiled to 1-3 rollers. I also want a board that I can ride when I’m back in WV on rivers class 2-3. I plan on doing some longer trips on rivers in the southeast with overnight gear.

    I really like the stride air lite HD because of the kayak option.

    Aaron koch recommended the earl 6 or czar 6. I’d buy the czar but I think it may be too sluggish for what I will mostly be doing .

    After reading your review and researching the mcit 10’6 that looks like a good option too.

    I really like the red ride as its seems to be a great all around board

    And lastly the naish nalu 11. Its seems to be a good touring board and everyone I talk to love their naish.

    Any ad use on these boards. Would?d be awesome. I ready to get out on the water.

    • Hey-

      We are the same weight, so I can relate to the boards and your dilemma. What % would you paddle on rivers vs on the ocean?
      This matters a lot because the Czar and MCIT are river boards primarily and would not be that fun on the ocean. The would not surf so well, and would be slow when touring.

      If you were going to do a 50/50 split, I would get the Starboard 10’ Astro Whopper Deluxe, or the Red Paddle Mega 10’8” .

      Both of those boards have shapes that would be fun on the ocean, but also would be good on the river. They are more traditional long boards, as opposed to progressive shapes for being stable on whitewater…

      Let me know how often you plan on going to the river, and I can send some links to reviews and recommendations on boards.

      Thanks!
      Bobby

  31. Jim says:

    Still agonizing and perhaps over anaylizing selecting an inflatable for fishing. Will fish mainly in saltwater- prefer flats and calm water but will facing tide, current and wind will be part of the game.Two boards that are appealing are the Starboard Fisher and the Badfisher. Like all the securing d rings on the Badfisher but guess additional rings could be glued to the Starboard. Probably would paddle with a cooler to use as a standing platform. Like the. Portability of inflatable boards.
    Is am 160lb and have only been on a board once. Would appreciate a pro/con on these two boards.
    Best and thanks

    • I think that they are both great boards. The Starboard is large, stable, and has 2 rod mounts. It sounds like it would fit the bill for what you are looking for. Depending on the features that you are looking for, the Badfish could actually be a better board however. The reason that you may like it more is because it has some huge side tubes (additional stability) – an anchor mount on the front, bungees for a cooler or milk crate in the back. So overall, the Badfisher could have more primary stability, more features, and has a better bag (it is T shaped and folds over the board, rather than trying to shove a huge fishing SUP in the board).
      Here is a link to a review on the Badfisher.
      http://cksblog.com/2013/05/the-badfish-stand-up-paddle-badfisher-review/

  32. Chris says:

    Hi Bobby,

    I am ready to purchase an ISUP, and am currently looking at 2 boards, the Badfisher 11′, and the NRS Baron 6. I am a large paddler at 5’9″, and 280lbs, and to make matters worse, I have a bad hip that makes getting up on the board from a kneeling position quite difficult. Because of this I need a board that is very stable since I have to get up slowly, and awkwardly. Once up, I generally do not have issue with the stability. I am mostly paddling in a lake for exercise, and in a river with minimal rapids. Which of these boards would you recommend, or is there another that you think would be even better?

    Thanks,
    Chris

  33. Chris says:

    Hi Bobby,

    I apologize if this is a repeat, but my original post seems to have disappeared.

    I am ready to purchase an ISUP, and am trying to decide between 2 boards, the Badfisher 11′, and the NRS Baron 6. I am 5′ 9″, and 280 lbs, and have a bad hip which makes getting up from kneeling to standing a challenge. Because of this, I need a board that has as much stability as possible. I am primarily paddling in lakes, and a slow moving river (some small rapids). which of these boards would you recommend, or is there another that you think I should consider?

    Thanks,
    Chris

  34. Sharon says:

    Hi Bobby

    You have offered some great advice here, so hope I can pick your brain a little too!

    I am 5’5″ and 52KGS and looking for an iSUP board for basically paddle-picnics with a group of friends up our local river. It isn’t dead flat like a lake as there are always yachts and RIBS motoring up and down, but there’s certainly no surf.

    After demoing a few boards i think I like the longer ones, as they go in a straight line with far less effort! I have been looking at the Starboard Air Touring 2014 or maybe Naish Nalu Air 11′.

    Seem to read conflicting reviews about whether the Naish is a touring or surfing board? It has a lot less volume than the starboard one.

    Do you have an opinion on which of these (Nalu Air 2013 or Starboard Air touring 2014) might suit me better?

    Thank very much
    Sharon

  35. Christine says:

    Wow glad I found this site. I hope you are willing to help me out and I appreciate all of the information you have provided to other people.
    I would like to buy a SUP but am wondering about regular vs inflatable. I live across the street from the ocean and for now would likely be taking it out for leisurely paddles there or on the couple lakes that are close by. What is the benefit of getting a regular one vs inf? Like others I saw the xterra on sale and was wondering about it or if you have tried it out yet.
    I’m 5’10 and 156 and athletic. Recovering from car accident, and looking to find alternative forms of exercise and I miss surfing and being out on the water!
    Thanks so much.

    • Sorry for the delayed reply! Yes, the inflatable boards are getting popular. If you live on the ocean, and do not care about storage, you may not really need an inflatable..the hard boards are faster, and stiffer….if you want to cover lots of distance, get an epoxy one.
      If you are concerned with storage, and would like a board that can fit in your closet in the off season, go for the inflatable. If you travel – and want to bring a board with you – get the inflatable.

      Overall, the inflatables are getting stiffer and stiffer as time goes by. You are not very heavy so may not need all of the stiffness that goes with a hard board – maybe the iSUP is the way to go.

      One last thing – if you think that you will ever go on rivers, get an inflatable. They are 100 times more durable…

  36. Peter says:

    Hey there! Glad i found your site – it’s been a great resource!

    I am just getting into SUP and thinking of buying my first board. I live in NYC so it has to be inflatable as I have no room to store a hard board. I’ll mainly be going in the Hudson Valley (river with slightly choppy current and boat/jet ski wakes), lakes, ocean bays, etc.

    I am 5’11″, 170lbs, and plan to take my 30lb dog with me. I have tried 10’4″ and 11’4″ rental boards; naturally the longer board felt more stable but I could see getting comfortable on either with more experience (but those were without the dog). What board(s), size(s) and thickness would you recommend? I am a little confused whether to go with a smaller (~10′) or longer (~11′) board and there are so many options out there…

    Cost is less of an issue than weight of the complete package including pump, pack, etc, since I will sometimes be carrying this thing on my back for several miles to reach the spots I want to SUP.

    Any input is appreciated!

    Cheers,
    Peter

    • Hey Peter-
      In general, the longer board will go faster, and be better suited to paddling for longer distances. They will also go in a straight line better. If you are on a large water way such as the Hudson River, you may want a bigger (longer, and even wider) board so you do not feel too small out there in a huge place like that.
      Other factors to think of are the width of the board, and fin configuration. The wider boards will do better in the chop (about 35″ or so would be ideal). They will be a little bit slower overall (as compared to as 30″ or 32″ board), but what you gain in stability may be much better for you, especially with a dog on board.

      I would look at the “Deluxe” Star-boards. The 10′ Whopper Deluxe, and 11’2″ Astro Blend Deluxe are the first to that come to mind. They are 6″ thick and EXTREMELY stiff. They also have a full EVA foam deck pad on 100% of the board (as opposed to just under your feet). This is particularly useful for dogs…their claws will not penetrate the board (we paddle with dogs quite frequently, and love the deluxe starboards).

      Overall, the 11’2″ Astro Blend Deluxe is going to be faster, able to paddle in a straight line better, and better for long distance cruising. It is only 32″ wide, but 6″ thick. It achieves it speed from the narrowness. I think that you would be OK with your dog as long as he/she does not jump around on the board.
      http://www.coloradokayak.com/Astro-blend-Deluxe-112-Starboard-SUP

      The 10′ Astro Whopper Deluxe is the second board to look at. It is 10′ long, and 35″ wide at the waist. It is pretty wide, and VERY stable in chop with a dog on board. The tail is tapered, and is has some good rocker in the nose, so it will turn very easily, which could be nice if it was very choppy out.
      The Whopper will be slower than the 11’2″. It will not be slower by too much, but there is a difference. You will only really notice on longer paddles…
      http://www.coloradokayak.com/Astro-Whopper-Deluxe-Starboard-SUP

      Out of all of the boards that we sell, and even the brands that we do not sell, I think that these 2 boards are the best suited for your needs. The Starboard storage bags are great, they can hold the board, pump and paddle (3 piece breakdown). The pumps will work well for about a year, and then you may want to upgrade to a K Pump or something like that.

      Feel free to email bobby@coloradokayak.com with any questions….we always have deals going on these boards, so get in touch if you are in the market for one.

      Bobby

  37. Matthew says:

    Hello Bobby,

    I recently picked up an NRS Earl 6 for myself and an NRS Mayra for my wife. After one session the top pads are already coming unglued from the main body of the board. I’m guessing I should just glue it down, but should I be concerned that this happened after just one use? For me it was a lot of money to spend, so I’m scared it might be indicative of more serious problems to come. Have you heard anything bad about these boards? Should I take them back to my local Mountain Equipment Co-op here in Vancouver?

    Thanks for your time, it is much appreciated!
    Matt

  38. Jamie says:

    Hey, been surfing now for a while I surf a 7`2 Nine plus magic carpet which I love!!, went away recently for a weeks surf there was only 2 decent days but whilst sitting on the calmer days we see loads of people missioning off on these SUP`s instantly thought gotta get one of those for the quitter days. im 5`4 and 9stone bang on in weight, what kind of board would you think would be a good board to start with also the misses will be using It too inflatable or hard also we live woth a river either end of the road so if we get bored would probs go for a paddle in the evenings in summer? ive seen some inflatables going for like 350-400 would they be cheap and nasty?… any feedback would be muchly appreciated. cheers dude.

    • Have you checked out the Starboard Astro Wide Point 8’2″? The 9′ Astro Converse is a great one too. They would both be really fun for surfing on the coast, as well as paddling and surfing on rivers.
      In general, I would steer clear of the boards in that price because they flex so much. If you are used to a composite board, you are not going to be happy with a cheaper SUP like that. Maybe try one first? See what you think?

  39. Shawna Alexander says:

    Needing some advice. Getting ready to purchase a SUP, which is becoming confusing. Use will be lakes and river use. I’m 5’2″ 120 . I have been told that the Tyrant would be best, and also that it isn’t the right board for me. I don’t have access to try different brands. I have been looking at the NRS and the Red boards. Would appreciate any advice. Thanks.

    • The Tyrant would be a good board if you thought that you would be doing a bit of river paddling. It is great on a river, but slower on the flats. It’s wide, which is what makes it slow on flatwater – but more stable on moving water. It is a very light board, which is appreciated by a lot of female paddlers; super easy to carry to and from the water. The Red Paddle boards are great. They are extremely high quality. I would take a look at the 10’6″ Venus, as well as the 9’6″ All Water. They would both be really fun for both rivers and flat water. Hope that helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Back to Top ↑