Back in April while I was out at Sea Otter, an Amazon package got delivered for me at home in Ontario. It was big. Peter sent me a photo of it, and I told him to mind his own business. It was the AquaPlus SUP, an 11-foot stand up paddle-board I’d finally ordered for myself after debating for a couple years as to whether or not I could justify it. We’d rented SUPs from the marina near us a few years back and I’d had fun, but the 20-minute walk and $15 rental fee made it less compelling to do on the regular. When the AquaPlus came up as only $210 with a ton of positive reviews, I figured I could certainly get out the 13 or so times this summer to justify the spend. So, I hit BUY. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I have been wildly happy with the board—and so has DW!
The board has been so good for the last 2 months that I wanted to give it a little love on here. It’s become one of my favorite recovery tools, as it’s given me and DW a great opportunity to splash around and get in some really solid water time. We live a 2 minute walk from the water, and it’s a huge part of why I love living here, and to be able to enjoy it like this is SO nice. I’m not trying to get fit on the SUP, or do anything fast or far or even semi-adventurous. We just go out and have a chill little paddle, do some swimming, and repeat. I said it in my recent birthday post—I just love being able to have a sport that doesn’t feel even slightly competitive.
Now, I will say, when I got this board, I had only been on a SUP once before and it was years ago. I surfed a bit as well over the years, but it’s been a while. So, the inflatable SUP felt just fine to me—because I don’t have much basis for comparison. We did rent regular SUPs on my birthday in Colorado to go for a paddle, and I will say, after piloting a solid board around a reservoir for a couple of hours, I do notice that this inflatable board is a teensy bit less sturdy/fast feeling than the hard board.
HOWEVER. It still feels great and moves well for a recreational board. I don’t feel off-balance. And actually, the textured vinyl is easier for DW to balance on compared to the slick plastic of the rigid board, since he likes to stand waaaaay at the front.
We also live in a small condo, and we travel a lot. A rigid board simply won’t fit in our condo, as we’d have to store it inside most of the year. I would never be able to bring a rigid board on trips (unless we were doing a SUP-specific trip, but just for normal excursions like the couple weeks we’ll spend in Quebec and Nova Scotia). But the inflatable board? It can fit in the van. I can stash it in the closet when it’s not in use. I cannot stress enough how important this is.
If I was to upgrade anything, I think I would go for a nice paddle—the paddle it comes with is totally fine, but I think probably a chunk of the performance difference between this and a rigid board is more about the paddle than the board itself.
There are more than 4500 positive reviews of this board, FYI! It’s also available in a bunch of colors, which I realize isn’t super important, but it is nice. If you already have a SUP, this is a great addition for travel, or for a spouse/kid/if you have a lot of friends who would paddleboard with you but don’t have boards of their own. Not that anyone needs a spare paddleboard, but hey, if it floats your boat!
A few usage tips:
If you’re shorter than 5’6″, you’ll need a longer strap to carry this board easily. After struggling to get the board down to the water, I realized I needed a longer strap stretched further along the board. The strap it comes with only fits between two of the rings on the board, but you’ll want it to run from the top of the elastics to the last ring at the back so it’s balanced and not going nose down when you walk. I just pulled a spare duffel bag strap off a bag we weren’t using and connected it to the strap the board comes with, then added the extra velco-on protector to cover where the two straps were linked up so they wouldn’t rub my shoulder. This made a HUGE difference, the walk is super easy now!
It only takes 5-10 minutes of work to inflate the board with the pump it comes with. That said… that’s enough time that I wouldn’t use it if I deflated it every time. SO, while the board says to deflate when not in use, I leave it inflated when I’m using it regularly. I did deflate it when we were leaving for 2 weeks, but otherwise, I leave it ready to go. Like a bike tire though, it does need to be topped up every so often, so every few days, you’ll want to add a bit more air. (Especially if it’s stored somewhere where it’s cold at night and hot during the day.)
If you’re heading out on a windy day, walking with the board will be the hardest part of your day! Once you get in the water, it works almost as well as a haevier board, though you will have to compensate a teensy bit more since it’s both lighter and thicker than a regular board and will be buffeted more by the wind. (We skip the really windy days since we’re just putzing around!)
The obvious safety thing: If you’re going way out with this, wear a damn life jacket. Put your dog in a life jacket too. I haven’t had any issues and haven’t seen anyone spring a leak with it or anything, but safety first! (We tend to just go long in the shallow here, since the bay has a ton of very shallow spots, which allows me and DW to skip the life jacket most of the time since we’re rarely in water more than hip deep!)
Right now, the board is on sale on Amazon.ca for 25% off the $399.99 price tag… and there’s an added $90 off coupon, so it ends up being just over $200. This is a smokin‘ deal. I’m about *this close* to hitting purchase as I write this so that Peter has his own board!