Messing about on the water has always been a favourite pastime of our family and Stand Up Paddleboards or SUPs looked great fun. We got the chance to try one when our friends brought their inflatable SUP on a camping trip. It was so much fun and it’s very easy to master on calm water, so a couple of years ago before a camping trip to Croatia we decided that we should buy one of our own.
It needed to be an inflatable SUP as a hard board wasn’t an option due to space. So the research began. There are many brands out there and for a beginner which option you select depends on how much money you want to spend. We wanted something that was a good all round option for rivers and lakes and also good value for money.
With superb reviews, the paddle board we really wanted was the 10′ 6″ Aqua planet Max board which is marketed as perfect for both beginners and intermediates and good on choppier water and very stable. Unfortunately that was out of stock and so we purchased our second choice the Aqua planet Pace, marketed as sleek and responsive, letting you cut into waves and its extra thickness gives added stability and buoyancy.
When it arrived we made sure that it was all in good working order before our trip. The SUP came with everything you need – a pump, paddle, carry case, water proof bag and leash for your ankle. It is hard work to pump it up and we took turns – you could purchase an electric pump which would make the job much easier. The only criticism we have is that when you have finished inflating the SUP and remove the pump from the valve, it is tricky to close it quickly and we’ve had a few times where we have had to pump the last bit again.
Apart from that, the paddle board has been a tremendous success and is used by all our family – from 9 upwards. We’ve did timed races, fished from it, dived off it, relaxed, picnicked… the list goes on.
We took it out for the second time in the UK last week and launched it on a local river. My daughter and I spent a really chilled afternoon paddling and it felt like we were on holiday. Previously we took it to North Norfolk and pottered about in the tidal creeks.
As we’re not going overseas this year, we’re thinking about buying a second one. For a family of four it means that you can have one adult and a child on each. As we are getting more adventurous, we want to stay safe and so we’ve taken the precaution of buying buoyancy aids. Remember the bag does take up quite bit of storage, so if you have all your camping gear as well you need to consider packing space.
So all in all we’re delighted with our purchase, it just makes a trip to the water more fun for everyone. The quality of the SUP we bought was great and we’re off out again on the next sunny weekend!