SUPCORNER – The inflatable SUP Guide 2016

 

The summer is here and I am getting a lot of questions on which inflatable board to buy. As you know, inflatable boards are easy to transport and store, versatile to use in the sea or rivers, don’t break like rigid boards and are easy to repair. They are definitely the right choice for storing in boats.

 

I divide the inflatable board brands in three categories:

  • The pioneers: These are the brands that started producing iSUPs first and still only develop only iSUPs. They have innovative solutions. ULI in USA and Red Paddle Co. are two companies who are still ahead of the other players.
  • The established brands: These companies spend significant money and attention developing their iSUPs in addition to their rigid SUP boards. Starboard and Mistral are on the top of this group. Starboard has innovations like double action pumps and inflatable windsurf boards. Mistral developed a patented lightweight material. Naish, Fanatic, SIC, BIC are also players in this group.
  • Less or unknown brands: This field is a jungle. There are so many brands that sell iSUPs, it is very difficult to judge the quality of the products. My recommendation would be to avoid them or investigate the products before buying. In other words, I do not recommend buying an inflatable board from Bauhaus or Carrefour.

 

Below are the well-known popular models in 2016 that I can recommend.

 

Red Paddle Co. – Ride Series

This is the best selling all-round model of Red Paddle Co. (redpaddleco.com) A traditional surfboard shape gives good stability, decent speed and tracking. There are 4 different sizes to pick from depending on the rider’s size. Red Paddle has a very well thought through backpack with easy access and small wheels to pull. The material and finishing are high-end. These boards can easily be pumped up to 20 psi. Picture 1 - Red Paddle Ride Series

 

Red Paddle Co. – Touring Series

These boards are more suited for longer paddle sessions. You will get more workout and distance because of their straighter shape. The Sport model is a good choice for daily use. The Explorer series is designed for longer paddling sessions and as the name suggest for exploring areas with additional gear on the board such as tents, food etc. I am currently testing a 13’2” Explorer thanks to the Red Paddle Co. distributor Windparadise and I love the board. It is fast and can carry bunch of gear and two kids at the same time. Picture 2 - Red Paddle Touring Series

 

Mistral (mistral.com/sup/2016-isup-range)

Mistral is a well-known brand among windsurfers and the brand made a big come back in the SUP field especially in iSUP division. The brand is very strong in Germany where the inflatable sales are more than the rigid boards. Mistral released many interesting models in 2016 and the models are designed for specific purposes. I will mention some of the interesting models here.

 

Mistral – Allround Models

Lombok, Sumatra and Java are the allround models. Depending on your weight you can choose different models. Good boards for initiation to the sport. Picture 3 - Mistral Allround Models

 

Mistral – Touring/Fitness/Race Models

Spirit and Emotion are the fitness/race versions for longer paddling session, training and you can participate in races too. Especially Emotion can be a fun in a downwind session as well. Picture 5 - Mistral Touring ModelsThe Equipe series especially the light version has a special technology and it weighs significantly less than the competition. If you don’t want to carry heavy gear and want a quality product, then these models can be an option.

 

Mistral – Specialized Models

The Nautique is a cool model designed for boat owners. It is aimed at the yacht and boat enthusiast, being both a ‘mooring toy’ to while-away the hours as a paddle craft, swimming or sunbathing platform and as a highly practical ship to shore tender, or grab and go secondary safety craft. Santa Anna is only designed for WindSUP purpose. It’s shape allows better windsurfing experience but it is possible to paddle as well. I look forward to test this model. Asana is a yoga specific board enabling enough stability for yoga moves. Picture 6 - Mistral Specialized Models

 

Starboard, Fanatic, BIC, SIC and some other leading brands have inflatable boards for sale as well. Most of them are produced in the same factory. So they can be good choices as well. I can also recommend the local Spanish brand SpS (spsurf.com) which has been developing interesting models lately. The brand works only with inflatables and put a lot of effort to improve their designs and quality. The adventurist Antonio de la Rosa paddled from Madrid to Lisbon on the rivers using SPS explorer board and now he is paddling from south to north of Greenland solo. Picture 7 - Antonio paddling on a SPS from Madrid to Lisbon

 

I recommend as always to try couple of boards before you buy. In Mallorca, the following shops/schools are my choices to test and buy a new inflatable SUP.

 

El Niño Surf Center (paddlesurfmallorca.com) – Ruben and Sandra have their shop in Can Pastilla under Hotel Cid. They have a large SUP collection. Mistral, SpS and Starboard are the brands they represent. Since they have a large collection of boards for rental, it is easy to test their products. Ruben can definitely find the right board for you. (Picture 9)

 

Mar Balear SUP Center (marbalear.com) – Mar Balear is the leading SUP training center in Spain. They also have a large collection of Red Paddle Co. and SIC inflatable boards. The center is located in Port Adriano. Manolo (a famous SUP trainer) and Laura (multiple times Spanish SUP Champion) can help you to select the right inflatable board.

 

Pipeline Surf Shop (mallorcapipeline.com) – This shop is located in Can Pastilla. It has following inflatable brands: Jobe, Fanatic, JP, Naish, Novenove, Red Paddle and Vandal. Since it is a shop and not a school, it has limited boards to rent or test.

 

As you can imagine there are many other brands and models of iSUPs. I shared with you some well-known models that I could test. Don’t forget to buy a proper paddle with it and if you get tired of pumping you can always buy an electric pump like this little one from Sevylor. It does the job! Picture 10 - Sevylor 12V Pump

 

Until the next article I wish you a lot of fun time on the water. If you have any questions about SUP surfing or real estate in Mallorca (which is my real job), you can reach me at ahmet@mallorcaresidencia.com. Information about SUP events in Mallorca can be found on our Club de SUP Mallorca Facebook page, www.facebook.com/groups/clubsupmallorca

Also read

Get your hard-copy now!

Your advert in The Islander Magazine?

Get your hard-copy now!

Your advert in The Islander Magazine?

JOIN OUR EVENT LIST
and receive your invitation to our events