Durability Testing the RedAir SUP

Durability Testing the RedAir SUP
Since our last article “A Beginners Account of SUP” we have been busy making the most of the hot and windless days on the RedAir Paddle Boards. Since grasping the basics and doing some up and down stream paddles we decided to make things a bit more interesting with some good old fashioned durability testing, hoping to dispel the myth of inflatable = weak. 

When it comes to SUP we are by far not the best riders, or the most knowledgeable but when it comes to games and destruction testing, that is something we are good at.

King of the SUPThe way we understand it, traditional surf boards and paddle boards are not the most durable pieces of sporting equipment on the planet. Accidental knocks and scraps on your new board can be heart breaking – so why take the risk.

I will be careful with the language in the next paragraph, using words you may not associate with handling a paddle/surf board but this is the exact reason for the article.

We arrived at our local spot, Buscot Wier which is near Leclade in Wiltshire. Chucking the boards out of the back of the van (that’s right kids, no roof rack here). Once out of the bags we quickly inflated the boards, assembled the paddles and headed to the river from the car park. I will add on this particular day it was pretty hot, so we dumped the boards on the ground and took a breather. This riding spot doesn’t have the easiest of access points to the water, it involves a steep 4 foot mud bank covered in nettles, small stones and the various other trip hazards. The best way in we found is to hurl the boards down the bank and meet them at the bottom. After a brief warm up it was time to start the “durability testing” otherwise known as “paddle jousting”.

The intention of this exercise is to knock your opponent from his or her board into the water in a last man standing, best of three rounds situation. To be fair, and non discriminatory we matched the pairs boy/girl and of completely different build. From this “research” we gathered the following information:

  • Head on collisions whilst both travelling at speed created the best crashes. This was also a great spectator sport from the sideline.
  • Girls generally tend to grab the oppositions paddle when jousting, turning the event into something out of gladiators.
  • Tipping over the boards or wedging them against the side of the river with the paddle often results in a lose/lose situation.
  • Its takes three adults to sink these particular paddle boards.
  • The boards can be used as a stable platform for one or two persons to perform flips and stunts from.
  • “Hot Starting” or running and jumping onto someones board without their prior knowledge from the side of the bank creates spectacular back roll falls and bails.
  • Not all dogs enjoy riding up front on SUP.

After a long afternoon conducting the above experiments it is safe to say, that these have to be the most fun, and certainly most durable boards on the market. They are ding proof, slap proof, dirt proof, abuse proof, dog proof, snap proof, crash proof and best of all… water proof!


A Beginners Account of SUP – Red Paddle Co.

A Beginners Account of SUP – Red Paddle Co.
A complete beginners account of SUP:
Paddle boarding is something that has been growing in popularity greatly, in particular during the last few years. Although SUP has been around for a long time it appears to be in the limelight, on the beaches and in the rivers more than ever before. Like many other kiters and surfers looking for something to do when the wind is to light or the waves to small paddle boarding I wanted to give it a go and see what the fuss was about, being landlocked I headed to the local weir and canal network where I discovered a new element to water based board sports that is somehow familiar and yet very different at the same time.


SUP with the Red Paddle Co. Ten Six

There is something unusual but refreshing about splashing around in the Uk water ways in April in just a shorty wetsuit and a pair of board shorts. The sun was shining so I rang around in search of another volunteer to test some boards with. I had recently taken delivery of a couple of Red Paddle Co. RedAir Ten Six boards so we chucked them in the van and headed off in search of water. Unlike other paddle boards on the market the Red Paddle Co. specialise in inflatable boards, now I know what you are thinking – I too was sceptical at first but we were instore for an awesome day out. With a special pump designed for easily gaining 15-20 Psi we unrolled and quickly inflated the boards, once completed these things were hard, seriously hard. There goes the immediate stigma of a jellyfish/holiday rubber dingy inflatables. After getting the boards ready we clambered along a gravel path until we reached the weir, great with bare feet!

Red Air SUP

Cautiously making our way down a slippery mud bank as close to the water line as possible we scrambled onto the boards and sat up on our knees. We both paddled out further into the weir. The boards are extremely stable when paddling in this position and practically no balance was required at this time. Standing up was initially a different ball game – I cannot think of another board sport I do where your feet are so close together and you travel forwards, no regular or goofy here so the feeling was quite unusal.

SUP in the Uk waterwaysAfter getting my feet standing up and feeling the influence of adding pressure to either my left or right foot we headed off down the canal. It was obviously not something many people had seen in this area as there were a lot of stares coming from the banks as we paddled by. On flat water and when the suns out, not a cloud in the sky and with no wind it was incredibly tranquil paddling along the river banks. There was not a sound other than the paddles gently slapping the water as we moved forwards.

A while into the day  I could feel that my body was receiving a workout, dispite the calm nature of the journey. My legs were continuously shacking to maintain balance whilst my back and shoulders could feel the extent of the paddle. The over vibe of paddling was to take it easy and not to excerpt yourself to much, it was generally exactly that later in the day which put me in the water with the weeds and fish (bottles/old cans/general litter) Once we had head up, and then back down stream to our starting point I decided to be a little bit more playful with the boards, cross stepping, switching sides and walking to the front and back of the boards. I even tried a running hotstart from the side of the river – after one attempt it was quite clear this is not the official way to get started on the board!

Hang Ten Paddle Boarding

In terms of attire on the first day we wore shorty 3/2mm wetsuits underneath a pair of shorts – knowing the people I was going with it was a dead cert that someone was going in! The following day I headed back to the same spot with my girlfriend. She does not partake in any other boardsports but took to paddle boarding right away, as the day got hotter and hotter she swapped her wetsuit for a bikini and shorts which I much preferred. At this point it was more obvious how versatile and accessible SUP really is. If you haven’t already given it a go -I highly suggest you do!

Although inexperienced with other brands and equipment the Ten Six RedAir board and collapsable/adjustable glass fibre paddle felt a great combination to get started with. The portability factor was fantastic, I think the size of a standard board is what has previously put me off trying the sport sooner, and now with these boards they can stay in the van amongst all of my other sporting equipment for days like these or at the beach. The boards are extremely easy to pump up and due to the specially designed pumps do not get tremendously difficult to inflate at the higher PSI. From a durability perspective they feel extremely solid and besides a small amount of flex you cannot feel you are on an inflatable. The sides are extremely hard and thick so should take endless hours of abuse without paddle dings from hitting the sides of the board. The deflation process is just as easy as the inflate and the board and paddle can be completely packed away from river to bag in under 5 minutes.

I cannot wait for the next outing and hope to be hitting the ocean and its wide variety of wavy terrain soon!

If your interested in SUP check out our SUP store.

Article and Photos: Marcus Woodbridge