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Honu Fairlight 10’9 All-Rounder iSUP Review, 2022

Honu Fairlight 10’9 All-Rounder

9.5

Overall Rating:

9.5/10

Pros

  • VERY Lightweight at just 17.8lbs, which is even more impressive given the board’s high performance
  • Well placed raised kick pad makes step-back turns much easier
  • Stable for heavier paddlers
  • 4.7" thickness lowers your center of gravity = more stable feel and better performance
  • Triple layer rails adds stiffness and durability against scrapes and knocks
  • Priced competitively

Cons

  • Would appreciate if the cargo area is moved up to have more deck pad on the SUP.

Honu Fairlight 10'9 Review

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One of my personal favorite parts of writing Honu SUP board reviews has been learning more about the Australian beaches or references from which they’re named. When I looked up Fairlight Beach (the namesake for the Honu Fairlight 10’9 All-rounder) I was met with an image that’s a stark contrast to Australia’s usual wave-pounded coast.

Surrounded by rock pools and backed with a grassy shore, Fairlight Beach enjoys flat, calm waters and is loved by families and picnic-ers looking for a safe, mellow place to unwind. It’s described as a hidden gem and the perfect place to get away from the fast pace of heavy surf and packed beaches.

Aptly named, the Fairlight 10’9 All-rounder provides a more relaxing paddling experience. Though still just as performance focused as its little brother, the Byron 10’6, The Fairlight is an inch wider and 3 inches longer, adding volume and stability that is most appreciated by taller heavier paddlers or those bringing along gear/a passenger.

The Honu Fairlight 10’9 is a great choice for paddlers who find 10’6 by 32” all-arounds like the Honu Byron just a bit too small. The Fairlight 10’9 is that perfect balance between just enough added volume for paddlers in the 200+ lb range without compromising board weight or maneuverability. In short, the Fairlight adds slightly more stability while remaining a lightweight, rigid, 4.7” thick iSUP.

We think the Honu Fairlight 10’9 would be great for paddlers who are:

  • In the 180-240lb range
  • Are needing a performance oriented all-around that will have hardboard-like feel
  • Want a SUP that will do well in a variety of environments and last season after season
  • Need a SUP to handle a variety of conditions, from flat water to chop or ocean paddling

Honu Fairlight 10’9: Spec Sheet

  • Main Category: All Around, Inflatable
  • Board Dimensions: 10’9 X 33” X 4.72”
  • Listed Board Weight: 17.8 lbs
  • Listed Max Capacity: 286 lbs
  • Recommended PSI: 20
  • Fins: Single fin, FCS II
  • Paddle: not included
  • *Honu offers a variety of high quality paddles for additional purchase, and a discount is provided if you bundle it with your SUP.

  • Materials: X-woven fused drop stitch with triple layered rails
  • Price Range: high
  • Warranty: 2 years of manufacturer warranty + 4 years of free repairs from the date of purchase
  • *you must register your board for warranty to receive the 4 years of free repairs

Performance Review of the Honu Fairlight 10’9 Stand Up Paddle Board

Honu Fairlight SUP Review 2022
The Honu Fairlight 10’9 All-rounder is perfect for taller or heavier paddlers who find the Byron 10’6 just a bit too small.
Honu Fairlight SUP Review 2022
The Fairlight’s kick-pad makes for flawless step-back turns.
Honu Fairlight SUP Review 2022
The lightweight Fairlight easily changes direction for a casual turn.

Overall Score: 9.5/10

  • Stability: 8.9/10
  • Speed: 8.5/10
  • Tracking: 9.2/10
  • Maneuverability: 9.4/10
  • Construction Quality: 9.8/10
  • Features/Accessories: 8.5/10

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Stability Rating: 8.9/10

  • Listed weight capacity: 286 lbs
  • Tested weight capacity: 180 lbs

Compared to it’s smaller counterpart, the Honu Byron, Honu’s Fairlight 10’9 x 33” all-around SUP is just slightly more stable on the water. The added volume would be most appreciated for paddlers in the mid-upper 200lb range that find the Byron just a bit too small for them and any gear they plan to bring along. We also want to point out here that the Honu Fairlight is 4.72” thick, compared to the usual 6” for most iSUPs, meaning you’ll have a lower center of gravity and feel more stable in chop or small waves.

Honu claims a max weight capacity of 280 lbs for the Fairlight, and from our testing we would agree with that limit. We will be doing further testing with some taller, heavier, beginner paddlers later (when the water warms up a bit), but for now we feel very confident saying that the Fairlight is a stable SUP for both taller and larger paddlers in the 220-240 lb range. For more experienced paddlers, we think you could even push those limits, and we don’t see any problem with adding 20-30 lbs of gear on top of that range.

Speed Test: 8.5/10

Honu Bryon (Sprint)
The Fairlight did well in our Sprint test as an all-around SUP for a taller paddler.
Honu Byron (Casual)
Being just 17.8lbs, the Fairlight easily reaches a casual cruising pace.

The Fairlight left us pleasantly surprised in its speed test. Justin, who better fits the Fairlight 10’9 ideal paddler size, found it to be a bit faster than the Byron 10’6. Being a taller, heavier paddler than I, the 33” width and extra 3” in length gave Justin just a bit more volume and rigidity to be able to add power to his stroke in the Sprint test.

This SUP is just a bit too big of an all-around for someone my size (5’2 x 140lbs) to get it moving as fast as it is capable (the Byron 10’6 is the faster board for me), but it still felt very easy to paddle.

As for casual paddling, we both felt that the Fairlight was easy to get up to a cruising pace, especially at just 17.8lbs.

Tracking: 9.2/10

Honu Fairlight SUP Review 2022
The single center fin helps to mitigate side-to-side tail movement with each stroke.
Honu Fairlight SUP Review 2022
At 33” wide, the Fairlight tracks better for paddlers with a longer reach to keep their paddle vertical.

As we always say in this section of our reviews, tracking is majorly dependent on your technique as a paddler rather than on the board itself.

That being said, when my technique was on point, so was the Fairlight. As an all-around, this SUP will track exceptionally well for someone like Justin (5’11 x 180) that is a better fit for its size and can more easily maintain a better stroke on a 33” wide SUP.

The Fairlight is just a little wider for someone my size to paddle perfectly 100% of the time, but it’s a non-issue if I was keeping a more casual form.

Maneuverability: 9.4/10

Honu Fairlight SUP Review 2022
The kick-pad on the Fairlight allows you to securely place your foot to sink the tail.
Honu Fairlight SUP Review  2022
At just 17.8lbs, the Fairlight easily changes direction.

Being that the Fairlight 10’9 is notably stable and only 17.8lbs, it more than met my expectation when it came to maneuverability. Casual turns don’t take much effort at all since you’re not redirecting a heavy SUP and stepback turns feel much easier due to the solid feeling the Fairlight has when on the water, in terms of both its rigidity and stability.

Even further, Honu added a well-placed raised kick pad that enables you to put your foot in the perfect spot every time to sink your tail into the water and pivot in any direction.

Construction Quality: 9.8/10

Honu Fairlight 10'9 Review
The Fairlight is able to withstand up to 20 PSI, adding rigidity to your paddle experience.
Honu Fairlight 10'9 Review
Honu adds a quote at the bottom of each board; this one reads: “The sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has literal meaning: we are all in the same boat.” – Jacques Cousteau
Honu Fairlight 10'9 Review
Honu constructs their all-rounders with triple layered rails for added stiffness
Honu Fairlight 10'9 Review

Both the Fairlight 10’9 and the Byron 10’6 are constructed with a cross woven dropstitch core and 2 layers of fused PVC on the deck and bottom.

Honu’s choice to fuse PVC together and to the fabric layer with heat instead of glue avoids adding excess weight in adhesive, and is one of the reasons Honu is able to keep their boards so light.

Once the PVC has bonded, Honu then adds what they coin as ‘genesis construction’, which is triple layered rails. Mark Travers, Honu’s most recent head honcho, credits genesis construction for the characteristic rigidity of these boards.

Mark also explained how heavily Honu monitors their quality control, and joked that they must be driving their manufacturer insane. From what we see, the effort is well worth it, and shows in the fine details of these SUPS.

Unfortunately, construction is the one area that we struggle to verify. We love when brands are as responsive as Honu has been and we wish there was a way to verify or physically see the internal configurations of these boards to better understand what they describe (If your first thought there was to just cut it open, so was ours. We just simply can’t justify wasting a perfectly good board like that and sentencing it to a landfill). The one thing we can tell you with 100% certainty is that Honu iSUPs, the Fairlight included, feel very close to hard SUPs in the water and we’d credit that to the quality of their construction.

Board Stiffness:

Honu Fairlight 10'9 Review
The Fairlight 10’9 before adding 150lbs to the mid-point.
Honu Fairlight 10'9 Review
The Fairlight 10’9 when 150lbs is added to the mid-point.

Stiffness Test: 1.5” Bend

Our bend test is done by placing the SUP on top of two sawhorses that are 7’ apart. We then place 150lbs on the board’s midpoint (usually right around the handle) and measure how much it bends under the weight. We know this is not indicative or replicative of how the SUP behaves under weight in the water, but it helps us to verify the construction of each board and compare it against others that are similar in construction to better understand how certain processes and materials contribute to stiffness.

Compared to other 4.72″ thick iSUPs like the 11′ Red Paddle Co Compact, the Fairlight did extremely well in our bend test, and was on par with its smaller counterpart the Byron 10’6. This shows us that Honu is not only consistent in their construction, but also ahead of the pack when it comes to thin, lightweight, SUP construction.

Features/Accessory Review: 8.5/10


The Fairlight 10’9 has a shorter, less cluttered looking feature list than other versatility focused all-around options on the market. However, there’s still 3 carry handles and space to store a couple dry bags in the 4-point front cargo area as well as space to stow your paddle in the rear bungee.

Honu Fairlight 10'9 Review
The included FCS II click-fin does not require any tools and just ‘clicks’ into place.
Honu Fairlight 10'9 Review
Honu has switched from D-ring cargo tie-downs to soft nylon loops.
Honu Fairlight 10'9 Review
The kick-pad is well placed to make step-back turns much cleaner.
Honu Byron 10'6
The rear bungee serves as a paddle holder if you go for a swim.

We were stoked to see that Honu chose to forgo the hard metal D-rings on the cargo areas for soft nylon loops that you won’t have to worry about knocking into should you fall off your board or bump your SUP against your car or truck. I also appreciated Honu’s soft diamond patterned deck pad that helped my feet stay cushioned but also provided a decent bit of grip. Lastly, the raised kick pad is a great touch on this SUP, not only does it help tremendously when it comes to balance during a stepback turn but it also is so well placed that your foot will be right over top of the fin every time for a tight, stable turn.

Included Accessories:

Honu 10'6 Byron Review 2022
Honu SUPs come with a shorter accessory list, but each piece is high quality.

Listed below are the accessories that come included with the Honu Fairlight 10’9:

  • Roller backpack (with front zipper compartment)
  • Single chamber dual action pump
  • 10’ coiled leash
  • FCS II Center fin

I personally really like Honu’s backpack as I find everything the board fits really easily, even if not rolled up super tightly. I also love that there’s a front zipper compartment for your fins and leash. We were not super impressed with the single chamber hand pump, though we do advise anyone with a SUP to invest in any of the electric pumps listed on our Best Electric Pumps page to save yourself some time and a bit of sweat. As far as the FCS II fin goes, I love the convenience of not needing any tools, but would just recommend being careful not to knock your fin on anything as it’s somewhat easy to pop out.

As a final note here, you’ll notice that Honu does not provide an included paddle in their kit. This is typical of performance focused SUPS, as many paddlers searching in this market will already have a paddle of their own that best suits their paddling style and size. However, Honu does offer a selection of great paddles (reviews coming soon) that you can bundle with your board for a discounted additional purchase.

Summary Review of the Honu Fairlight 10’9

Long story short- the Fairlight 10’9 could be best described as the big brother of the Byron 10’6. At 33” wide and 10’9 long, it has just a bit of added volume and stability that larger paddlers will benefit from if the Byron 10’6 isn’t quite right.

I think at this price point, the Fairlight makes a great performance focused all-around for a paddler that wants a high quality board to take with them across multiple environments.

The Fairlight is stable, lightweight, rigid, maneuverable, exceptionally well constructed, and backed by a solid warranty program. It is already a fantastic SUP and I am super excited to see it develop even further in the future with Mark Travers now leading the company.

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SupBoardGuide

Heyo! At SupBoardGuide.com we are a team who love the water, the outdoors, and are more than grateful that our full-time job allows us to review stand up paddle boards. We paddle year round (it helps that we are just about 2 hours outside of Las Vegas), and we bring in a wide range of paddlers with the goal of providing our readers with the best, most in-depth, and accurate stand up paddle board reviews.

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5 thoughts on “Honu Fairlight 10’9 All-Rounder iSUP Review, 2022”

    • Patricia,

      The Honu Fairlight was slightly faster for us than the Skylla. We think it comes down to the fact that the Fairlight is a hair lighter at 17.8 lbs and it’s 4.7″ thickness lowers your center of gravity while minimizing the amount of board exposed to the wind. As for chop, both board handle it with no issues, though the Fairlight is more maneuverable than the Skylla, so you’ll be able to turn the nose of your board into the wake a little faster.

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for the helpful feedback! Because the Honu board is thinner I wasn’t sure if it can be used in colder climate of fall or if you’re probably going to be getting wet. Honu was my first choice until I thought about my dog and also wondered if it was enough space to put gear if we did a day tour. There are way too many options these days, it’s a worm hole. Hopefully I can pick something soon.

        Reply
        • Hi Patricia,

          The Honu will be fine in colder weather; you should stay just as dry as you would on a thicker SUP. Just as a side note, make sure to wear a PFD if you’re paddling on cold water, regardless of which board you choose, I’ve taken my fair share of spills into frigid water, and cold water shock is no joke (I’m sure you’re aware already, but just a word of caution in case). Also, I’ve taken my 50 lb dog on the Fairlight without any issues, along with a couple of drybags stuffed with a towel, a change of clothes, and extra snacks for both of us. If Honu is your first choice, it’s definitely worth it from a performance perspective, and that 4.7″ thickness does help it feel almost like a hard SUP on the water.

          Reply

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