In our series of posts on inflatable paddleboards we have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, and then examined some of the attributes separating quality inflatables from lesser quality inflatables. We have established that if you are looking for an inflatable paddleboard, it will be well worth your money to invest in a good one. It will perform much better and will be much more durable than inferior quality ones. And you have probably caught on to the fact that we favor red paddle co’s inflatables. We tried a number of different iSups at the Surf Expo demo and you truly get what you pay for when you purchase a red board. They are fully committed to the belief that “riding an inflatable shouldn’t be a sacrifice”.
In researching the previous two posts, I spoke with Scott and Andrew at red and got some insight into what they feel makes red paddle co so special.
From the start when I asked for the top 3 things that they feel set red boards apart from others. I got 8 answers. There is definitely a shared stoke amongst the red crew. They are very proud of the unique features that make red better than the competition and they are protective of some of the secrets that keep them in the lead. With their own dedicated factory, and several patents already, protecting these secrets is made a little bit easier.
Most of the technical stuff has been covered. But here are a few other nuggets that Scott and Andrew are excited about.
–The pump…the pump is what allows you to put a good amount of pressure into the board, quickly. There are currently two pump options, one that puts large amounts of air in the board quickly (the Ezee Pump), and the other that is great at topping off the board (the Ezee Pump HP). Once you get it to about 15 psi, it can be a little more challenging to get those extra few pounds of pressure in there. The Ezee Pump HP Makes this task much easier. The board you choose determines the pump that you get. But you can always purchase the second pump to make it easier to get the whole board up to pressure in a timely fashion. Red paddle co is constantly working to evolve their pumps to make it easier and quicker to get your board up to higher pressure. So stay tuned for new developments in the pump department.
-The new 11’ Sport model. This board has more shape than many all around inflatables, and in turn it feels smoother and more solid on the water. The pulled in nose reduces a lot of the bouncing and vibration that some wider nosed boards are subject to. And the length is a great balance of good glide but no extra length to create more bounce. There is no sacrifice of stability with the sleeker shape which make it an all around winner. It’s the type of shape that more people should be riding for the conditions that they paddle in.
The bags. We touched on the bags previously, but they are really an important feature and red paddle co has addressed every detail on them to make them as functional and durable as a piece of luggage
When asked about what they prefer to ride, Andrew and Scott both like the 9’6 Allwater for rivers. And rivers seem to be a great use of the board up in the Vancouver area. The river segment is an area where many people in the industry see a lot of potential for growth. Inflatables are going to be the boards to really open up that market because of their durability and flexibility in such conditions. From their puncture resistance, to small fixed, flexible fins, to easy to grab carry handles, many of the details are perfectly suited to whitewater.
Scott also enjoys cruising around on the 12’6 Explorer. This board is a go anywhere, carry anything touring board. It’s a great board to take with you on all of your adventures. And at 12’6 x 32” wide, it has so much volume and stability that anyone can ride it.
They recommend that people looking at inflatables do their research. Look at independent reviews…those are indicators of how the boards really work. You can get away with a cheaper epoxy board and still have a decent time out there, but if you get a cheap inflatable your experience will suck. If you get the chance to to attend a paddleboard demo, you should. You will certainly feel the difference.
There are many factors that will fuel the growth of iSups. In addition to their potential in the whitewater, their durability as a huge plus. A red paddle co board can be used by the whole family (including the kids) without fear of damaging it. You can beach it on rocks, whack the rails, blow it up and leave it inflated all summer and it will not be worse off for wear.
When it comes to inflating the board, view inflation as a warm up to your paddle.
The inflation time is not that much more than it will take for you to load the board and strap it down to your car. Deflation only takes about 30 seconds. And you don’t have to risk damaging the board by cranking down on straps too much
You will not mistake your inflatable for your epoxy board, but riding an inflatable shouldn’t be a sacrifice, and when your inflatable is a red paddle co board, it won’t be.