First a little bit of education on board thickness and why its important - what 4”, 4.75" and 6” actually mean to your paddling experience
When Inflatable paddleboards were 1st invented, the paddleboard companies went to factories that were using drop stitch for other products like temporary cinema screens and outdoor advertising signs, this meant they had to choose from 4” or 6” thick drop stitch material, 4” is too thin really for a 10’6 board and it doesn’t allow for enough stiffness, 6” is a bit too thick detracting from the paddleboarding experience when a side wind or wave hits the side of the board. The other problem is this kind of drop stitch was never design to be stood on so there isn’t enough drop stitch at the right quality inside the board so even a 6 inch board still bends a bit if a heavier rider stands on it.
Red Paddle Co, The inventors of the Paddleboard, worked with factories to build a 4.75 / 5” thick drop stitch, This drop stitch was not only thicker but also increased the quailty and numbers of drop stitch threads within the board, which meant they had invented a material with perfect qualities to make THE PERFECT stand up paddle board. From here, other paddleboard companies that wanted to offer a high end board had to agree with Red Paddle Co’s logic and also found factories to work with them to provide 4.75 / 5" high quality drop stitch. This newer drop stitch is only available is select factories. Here at SUP Inflatables we bench mark the quality of a brand on which material they use on the 9’8 to 10’6 all-round boards, you will notice that the brands we choose to stock use 4’75” in these size range’s.
Generally when you go longer that 11ft then most brands will use 6” to get the stiffness required on a longer board, although with this 6" they are still be made from the increased quality drop stitch threads to keep the quality through the range, RED is an exception to this and can continue to use 4.75" in some of the Sport range because they have the patiented stiffing battens down the side to allow extra stiffness.
There are many different all-round inflatable paddleboards to choose between, our favourites being those from Red Paddle co, Anomy, Gladiator, Fanatic, and Starboard. (and Naish to come in 2019) There are lots of reasons why these SUPs are great so read on for our handy run-through to help you get to grips with the pros and cons of each of the boards..
The Red Paddle Co 10’6 Ride inflatable paddleboard has long been our favourite that we recommend for most of our family customers. Why? Because it has been tried and tested for 10 years as the most durable SUP on the market, with MSL laminated construction, incredible drop-stitch tech, 20 PSI rigidity which gives incredible stability, heat resistant glue and a glued on fin system. This board really is incredibly durable with no compromise. The bag's fantastic too, with travel wheels and rucksack, designed to fit all the kit inside including paddle and pump which means when you go on holiday this board can come too - even on budget airlines as the whole thing weighs under 20 Kilo’s inside the bag.
Any bad bits about this board?? One major drawback of this board for the more budget conscious is it's one of the most expensive at £849 for the full SUP package. BUT have no fear as this board also has an amazing resale value, with most 2nd hand Red 10'6 SUP boards selling for about £600.
The GLADIATOR LITE and Gladiator ELITE- It’s been a long time coming but we have found a budget board brand that we are happy to put our name too! The name Gladiator gives vision of some kind of Marvel movie character and maybe they're not too far off! Gladiator come in too technolegies LITE & Elite and for a budget board the graphics are pretty decent,The Gladiator comes in Single skin Stringer tech from £369 or a very strong, double laminated construction firm £489 Both boards boast high density, high quality drop stitch and boasts with a maximum 25psi and 4.75 inch thickness which is the same as Premium SUP Boards like Red Paddle Co and Anomy boards the Gladiator brand is showing off its premium board talents at this budget price. The SUP paddle that comes with the package is a good quality Alloy/Nylon with the LITE and a high quality Carbon Nylon with the Elite. To be honest we are hard stretched to find anything wrong with this board… in fact we have fallen a little in love with it! It tracks well, allows all the family to SUP and at a starter package price of £389 means that the more budget-conscious can now have a SUP that’s pretty awesome!
Any bad bits with this board? Not really! The board has great, graphics that have been tweeked for 2019, The bags awesome, over sized and fits every thing in easily, the LITE come with a rucksack and the Elite comes with wheels and rucksack, the pump is a double action bravo pump and for 2019 the board now comes with 3 years warranty.
The range of Anomy 10’6 SUP inflatable boards are OMG gorgeous, dreamt up by some crazy and amazing Catalans in Barcelona. These boards will make you stand out from any crowd. And why do I say these rather than this board? That's because Anomy bring out new limited edition boards every year with graphics designed by different artists to give every SUP rider a choice of stunning individuality.
It’s not all about the looks though! Like the Red Paddle Co 10’6 these guys really have gone all out on high quality manufacturing, with laminated construction, great drop stitch and a board that pumps to 20 ps. This board is as rigid, premium high quality paddle board, with 2 glued on side fins and 1 FCS fin this board has amazing tracking ability too! The bag is well designed premium paddle board bag, with wheels and rucksack, . Anomy have decided not to bring out an alloy paddle as part of their basic package, instead including an Anomy branded fibre glass paddle, which is a pretty cool thing to offer so not only do you get even more SUP pleasure with a lovely upgraded paddle as standard you get to look even more amazing on the water with matching kit.
Any bad bits with this board? Not really! The board is again top budget for a 10’6 at £799, this is again for the full package including, paddle, pump, phoncase and leash and of course board and bag , For 2019 the board will have a paddle holding handle on the back and the paddle board bag will have a rolling change over to a bag made from recycled bottles. The Anomy is an all round SUP board with an FCS fin which tracks beautifully but is not as durable as the Red; you won't appreciate it been rammed up the beach by clumsy kids so you might want to keep the stunning graphics of this board too yourself.. SHAME! :)
Fanatic have come up with 3 options for the family all round SUP board, all 10'4 in length. The Fanatic Pure Air 10’4 single skin construction allows for a budget conscious option at £599, it’s a great option budget board with Fanatic quality and brand attached. This board comes with the Fanatic Pure paddle, fanatic bag and pump etc. The bag is just a rucksack with no wheels though! After that Fanatic offers the Fanatic Fly Air 10’4, which is their middle price range board, at £769 with Fanatic Pure paddle as standard. This board comes with stringer construction, which is a single skin with a stiffening 2nd skin band going round the board, nose to tail (like the Starboard iGO and Gladiator LITE). At 33’' wide it is slightly wider than the other choices giving a little more stability with great tracking as the centre US fin is quite long. Finally the Fanatic fly Air Premium 10'4 is all singing and dancing double laminated construction with Fanatic Pure paddle, wheeled bag and great quality paddle as standard. The Fanatic Premium range also has a windsurf attachment as standard so the Fanatic premium is one of my go-to choice's for an all round board for the families who want to learn to windsurf or play around on the board on slightly windy days too!
Any bad bits to these boards? Not really! The Fanatic have offered 3 technologies for different budget choices within their range; 3 all-round boards at different price points. The 10’4 being slightly shorter offers a nice difference in the market and the 33” width gives possibly a slightly more stable board. The Fanatic Pure paddle as standard with the Fly Air and Fly Air Premium is also a nice touch. The windsup option in all their premium range is great fun for the kids or any one wanting to try out windsurfing (you will either have to buy or borrow a sail) If you want a budget board with a brand name or really want to try out windsurfing the Fanatic board is for you!
If you are love the environment and try to do your bit where ever you can then Starboard is the board to buy, they strive to make great premium boards and their technology is up there with the best but they also strive to be the most eco-friendly, with 2019 bringing recycled eve deck bags, bags made out of recycled bottles, most packaging is paper instead of plastic and Starboard leashed made from recycled material, they even give a trash bag away with most of there boards, Starboard really is the board of choice for the eco warrior. Starboard have also bought out some big tech changes for 2019, With there Starboard Zen, Zen Lite and Tikhine boards been the forefront of there all round vision and the Double Chamber boards been the forefront of the touring board vision within there Starboard packages.
The starboard iGO Zen, Tikhine wave and sun all-round boards are all Single Skin and Stringer technology and Starboard iGO LITE is single skin making these boards super lite. For 2019 Starboard have also invented and patented the Welded rail, This new technology means it is now impossible for glue to come unstuck (as there is no glue) and for the side of the board to release air for any reason. Starboard have also changed the shape of there 2019 all round boards making them longer and thinner with wide tails, these boards are very stable and fun to use and more in keeping with the needs of an all round paddle board.
Any bad bits with this board? At £649 for the Starboard LITE and £799 for the iGO Zen and £899 for the Takhine Wave and Sun, they are a bit pricey in comparison to other premium boards with the same technology, But they are great boards to paddle and if your want a board that is doing its best to be Eco-Friendly, I suppose like going organic theres always a bit of a price tag attached.
O'Neill SUPs came to us in 2018, this well priced board hit the shelves in the hottest year since 1978 with a great price tag of £449 for board, paddle, pump and bag with leash and phone case it was a heck a lot of board for its buck. Its single skin construction and 5 inches thick means its a well built board and light. It is an all-round board for the family and at 10’4 and 33 inches wide is a stable board that lends itself to SUP Surfing... what more would you expect from O’Neill?! The bag has a suitcase style zip making it easy to get the board in and out with a comfortable rucksack making carrying the board to the beach easy. Any bad bits to this board? O’Neill have decided to put the Board up too £499 for 2019 but the alloy paddle and single action pump are staying the same so it will be a close call between a Gladiator LITE 10’ or 10’6 at £389 or £399 for single skin stringer tech with a great quality alloy paddle and double action pump, BUT if you want a budget board that looks gorgeous with the O’Neill brand name then this board is for you, it tracks well and is loads of fun and wether its a board just for you or the whole family! Customers last year absolutely loved it!
So all in all - if I was buying a board tomorrow....I'd go for the....
Red Paddle Co 10'6 Ride - For full on, no compromise, kid proof durability with Reds unfaltering warranty and high resell value.
Gladiator LITE or Elite - Are both Incredible boards with a budget price tag that do everything a branded board does.
Anomy - For stunning design to stand out from the crowd there's no doubt this is the board to get!
Fanatic - Have 3 great constuctiones to suit budget with stunning colour ways, with the added bonus that you can put a windsurf rig on the Premium and Diamond ranges
Starboard - For the Eco concseous who want a fantastic premium board
O’Neill - A beginner budget board for the whole family with the o’nell brand name
We hope that this has helped, but if you have any questions at all or would like some advice on which board would be the best for you, please don't hesitate to get in touch.