C4 Waterman's 8'1" SubVector iSUP
The SubVector iSUP. It has a name that belongs in James Bond, and rightfully so. The SubVector iSUP line will make you feel 007 cool when you take it out to your local wave.
Part of a line of five new inflatable SUPs debuted by C4 this year, this baby, the shortest in its inflatable line-up, was designed to shred, plain and simple. Based on the design of its most popular SUP short board, the iSUP SubVector has a progressive rocker for surfing and river riding, and that's what it excels at. And that's exactly why we took it to the Yampa River in flood, and the glassy wave at the 5th Street Bridge.
Admittedly, being so short makes it a tad wobbly. You don't want it as your go-to board for all-around touring - especially if you're on the heavy side of the scale. But for high-performance wave action, there's not a better inflatable board on the market. It's fast and responsive, its nose stayed out of trouble, and its fins dug in deep whenever needed. While some of us hacked it up more than others (i.e. yours truly), it was our rookie surfing fault rather than the board's.
What we noticed - and appreciated -- most: its Viagra-like stiffness that never waned. Most onlookers, in fact, were amazed that it was an inflatable; we had to show them the valve to prove it.
Here's why. C4's iSUPs are made of double-wall PVC with drop-stitch fibers woven in for rigidity, making the boards withstand even more pressure (they've increased the drop-stitch 30 percent over its initial inflatable debut). A special coating system also blocks air from leaking around the heavy-duty stitching. With the ideal 15 psi pressure load, all this also helps its rocker, which is based on C4's popular Sub Vector composite line.
What's this mean in layman's terms on the water? Let's put it this way: 16-year-old Noa Grinella won the Teva Games on one, against elder statesmen on composites.
If you have kids getting into the game, this is also the iSUP to choose. It's great for kids and other medium-size riders, and if you know what you're doing can handle the big dogs up to 180 lbs. As with all other iSUPs, the SubVector comes with hand pump with pressure gauge, flexible fins that still hold well in waves, deck pad and hand hold, and travel bag.
8'1" x 30" x 4"; $999. Custom orders are available with choice of deck, rail and bottom colors.
BoatstoGo's New Saturn Inflatable SUP
It's funny that BoatstoGo's new stand-up paddle board has the word "sat" in it, but that's the case with its new inflatable Saturn SUP, perhaps the most price-point-friendly addition to the SUP market. Its main selling point is that it retails for just $349, with hand pump, repair kit and carry bag, giving the average Everyman a cost-effective entry into the sport.
At that price it might not have the high-end performance capabilities of more expensive models, but the most important thing is it'll get you out on the water. We took it out on the local lake and flat-though-moving water portion of our local river and it held up fine, remaining rigid enough at its 10 psi recommended pressure to support a grown-up and three kids (all of whom wasted no time it using it as a diving platform). While not as responsive as composite boards or even higher-end inflatables, it was plenty for having fun and getting wet.
Now onto the beta. On the attachment front, it comes with rear D-rings for leash attachment, as well as eight D-rings for gear and even kayak seats. It comes with a non-skid PVC layer for grip when standing, that kept traction throughout the kid-induced turmoil. A rockered bow prevents pearling on the flats, and we even got it on a small wave or two, where it also held its nose high. For rigidity, it's made from 100-denier reinforced PVC, with a 1.5mm PVC backbone on its underside for added firmness. Additionally, three fins help with tracking (note: they might be bent a bit when you take it out its box; if so, heat them up with blow fan or hot water, ort simply leave in the sun, to bring back to their original position).
All in all, a good board for the buck - especially since you don't have to part with many greenbacks to get going.
Note: Also look for the company's new Transformer SUP Paddles, which transform from regular SUP Paddles to kayak paddles by adding additional blade.