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Hydrus Paradise X iSUP Review – 2023

Hydrus Paradise X iSUP

9.6

Overall Rating:

9.6/10

Pros

  • Very fast indeed - this board is race capable!
  • Great fittings and fixtures for cargo carrying.
  • Extremely tough construction backed by a long warranty
  • Super stiff for a board of this size!
  • US finbox allows for multiple fin options, and the board comes with 3 different fins as standard.
  • Nice high-quality carrying bag

Cons

  • The front bungee area is slightly too far forward on the board. (Fortunately this is easily remedied - see our Features section)
  • Probably a little too racy and unstable for heavy cargo loading, particularly with heavier riders

Sitting right on the divide between touring and racing, this high performance Hydrus will go far – and fast!

Hydrus Paradise X iSUP Review  2023

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The Paradise X is the stretch version of the Hydrus Paradise touring board. Hydrus have pulled it out to be a foot longer and an inch or so thinner, to make a more racy version for the lighter or more ambitious paddler wanting more speed and less touring from their touring board. Indeed, this board isn’t a million miles from being a full-on race board – you certainly could race it if you wanted to, and indeed some of our team have. Yet you can still load it up with some cargo and take it down rivers or along the coast, and it comes with that trademark Hydrus tough construction and durability too.

We think the Hydrus Paradise X would be a great SUP for paddlers who:

  • Feel the need for speed
  • Want some touring / cargo carrying capability, but without sacrificing performance
  • Want a board that’s tough and durable

Hydrus Paradise X: Spec Sheet

Hydrus Paradise X iSUP Review  2023
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  • Board Category: Touring
  • Listed Board Dimensions: 13’3 x 28 x 6
  • Measured Board Dimensions: 13’2” x 28.75 x 6
  • Listed Board Weight: 26 lbs
  • Actual Board Weight (board only, not inflated):
  • Listed Max Capacity: 275 lbs
  • Recommended PSI: 12-20PSI
  • Fins: 9” Touring, 6.5” weed fin, 4.5” gummy fin
  • Paddle: optional upgrade
  • Board Shell Construction Materials: double layer fusion PVC
  • Drop-stitch type: woven X stitch
  • Price Range:
  • Warranty: limited lifetime warranty

Performance Review of the Hydrus Paradise X Stand Up Paddle Board

Hydrus Paradise X iSUP Review  2023
The Hydrus Paradise X is super-easy, smooth and fast through the water
Hydrus Paradise X iSUP Review  2023
The Hyrus Paradise X responds really well to stepping up the power, and has an astonishingly good sprint speed for a touring board.
Hydrus Paradise X iSUP Review  2023
The clever deck pad design makes it easy to get back to the tail for step back turns on the Hydrus Paradise X

Overall Score: [9.6/10]

  • Stability: 8.7
  • Speed: 9.7
  • Tracking: 9.5
  • Maneuverability: 8.5
  • Construction Quality: 9.7
  • Features/Accessories: 9.4

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Hydrus Paradise X iSUP Review  2023

Stability Rating: 8.7/10

Once we start getting below 30” of width, the intrinsic stability of a paddleboard becomes noticeably less. If you put significant weight any distance away from the longitudinal centreline, a narrower board will tilt easily and feel a whole lot more wobbly. The Paradise X definitely felt a bit less stable than the Paradise, but – credit where it’s due – the difference wasn’t as much as we’d have expected from the 1 ½ inches decrease in width, which is quite a significant difference. The Paradise X still retains reasonably good secondary stability, as it has a lot of width forward of the standing area, which creates a significant wide zone, and the extra length helps a bit too. Overall, the board has a pleasingly rigid feel to it and performs pretty well in this category – we’ve definitely encountered touring boards of similar dimensions offering much less stability than the Paradise X.

The taper towards the tail starts almost immediately behind the standing area, and the tail is relatively narrow, so although there are cargo carrying attachments in that rear area, it’s not designed to carry a whole lot of weight there. The design is focussed more on top speed (which is very impressive, as we’ll be elaborating on shortly), rather than the touring brief. A slightly wider tail and a little bit less taper on the width just behind the standing area, would significantly improve the secondary stability with minimal (if any) loss of speed, particularly when carrying cargo.

Likewise, the cargo-carrying area on the nose is a long way forward, in a fairly narrow area of the board, which again indicates to us that speed was the priority with this design rather than maximizing the cargo-carrying capabilities. We also found that because this cargo carrying area is in front of where the nose rocker starts, adding some heavy cargo pushes the nose down, and definitely reduces the stability. Moving the entire cargo area back to utilize the fixings from the single bungee definitely made a large improvement in this respect. However, if you’re just packing a single dry bag with some day gear it’ll be fine set up as it is.

Speed Test: 9.7/10

Hydrus Paradise X
Top Sprint Speed:6.1 MPH
Average Cruising Speed:5.0 MPH
SUP Board Guide’s Speed Testing:
To obtain our speed test results, we use a Speed Coach Sup 2. This gives us accurate readings on how fast we are paddling and our current stroke rates. For the top sprint speed, we paddle as hard as we can for approximately 10-15 seconds and then record our average speed. For the casual test, we paddle at 35-40 strokes per minute for approximately 30-60 seconds and record the average speed.

Another very impressive result here – this is one quick machine! A sprint speed above 6 mph is pretty much unheard of in our testing of touring inflatables. We’ve only encountered speeds like this on purpose-built raceboards which were considerably narrower. The cruising speed is really good too, this board just likes to go fast.

Our design nerds always get excited with a result like this – why is this board so damn quick? The extreme stiffness of the board is undoubtedly playing its part in producing the excellent speed performance, but the most important innovations are in the plan shape, which is undoubtedly quite unusual. The widest area in front of the standing position then transitions to a fairly narrow and very pointed ‘arrowhead’ nose – a clever way of adding ‘shoulders’ to the board while keeping the entry narrow and streamlined. It also allows for a long tapering tail, which is a fast design attribute too, although it does take a slight toll on the stability.

Compared to last year’s model it also appears that the nose rocker has been reduced – it still starts quite early but the overall rocker amount is less, which definitely produces a faster hull shape. Likewise the tail rocker has been reduced to the tiniest fraction, just enough to aid release in bumpy water but not enough to slow the board down.

So it all adds up to a very speedy design. As we discuss in the Stability section, the shape is definitely more optimized for speed than touring. Hydrus have chosen to sacrifice some of the cargo carrying capacity in order to really crank up the speed potential. To be quite honest, we’d love to have seen Hydrus just go the whole nine yards, (or in this case the extra 9 inches!), and make the Paradise X a 14’ board, so it could compete directly against other 14’ boards; the standard size for raceboards. There seems no obvious gain in making this board the rather quirky 13’3” length, and if you’re going to design a board to be very fast, then why not just make it fully fast!? (Boardspeed is proportional to board length, so ultimately a 14’ design will always be a bit quicker than an otherwise similar design that is 9” shorter).

Tracking: 9.5/10

Hydrus Paradise X component
The Hydrus Paradise X comes with three fin options, of which the 9” touring fin provides the best tracking.
Hydrus Joyride XL component
Long and narrow boards generally track extremely well and the Hydrus Paradise X is no exception

We were expecting the Hydrus Paradise X to deliver excellent tracking performance and we weren’t disappointed. Any board of this length and width should track well, but sometimes the designer still manages to mess it up. No problems here, though. It takes a nice line through chop and swell, and if you know how to put a bit of ‘steer’ into your stroke then this is a board that you can paddle without changing sides pretty much for as long as you want. Putting either of the smaller fins will reduce the tracking just slightly, but overall it’s still an excellent performer in this respect.

Maneuverability: 8.5/10

Hydrus Paradise X iSUP Review  2023
It takes quite a few reverse sweep strokes to make a long and narrow board like the Hydrus Paradise X turn, as its long length and excellent tracking are doing their best to keep the board moving in a straight line.
Hydrus Paradise X iSUP Review  2023
Getting the nose out of the water allows the Hydrus Paradise X to be pivoted easily – definitely the most efficient way of turning a longer board like this.

A board of this length is never going to be described as maneuverable, for all the reasons that make it so good at tracking. It wants to go in a straight line, period! This is why the best technique for turning longer boards like this is the step back turn, but these become a whole lot more perilous on narrower boards, where you really need to keep your weight balanced around the centreline. However, we actually found that the stringer strip running down the center of the board gives a very nice guide underfoot for this, you can feel where it is and walk back along it to get your back foot on the raised deck pad, which is positioned perfectly over the fin, in exactly the right position to make great turns from. The board pivots very nicely, and the tail is just wide enough to be supportive. If you’re new to narrower boards you will definitely find step back turns a lot more of a challenge on this board, but persevere, it does respond nicely and is actually pleasingly stable in this respect, considering its relatively narrow width.

With regard to more static turning techniques, the traditional forward sweep turn is a painfully slow way to turn a board of this length, it’ll probably take a dozen or more. Reverse sweeps, particularly if you stand just a little bit further back, are rather more productive, as are cross-bow/rudder strokes – if you don’t know how to do these then we’d strongly recommend learning.

The Paradise X can be made a little easier to turn by utilizing one of the smaller fins, but essentially the resistance to turning is coming more from the torpedo-like plan shape than the fin, so ultimately your best bet is to master the more advanced turning techniques described above.

Construction Quality: 9.7/10

Hydrus Paradise X component
The heavily reinforced rails of the Hydrus also feature welded seams for maximum longevity.
Hydrus Paradise X component
A central carbon fiber fabric stringer runs the full length of the underside and deck, for extra rigidity

Hydrus have a reputation for making tough and durable boards, as befitting their white water paddling background; a particularly challenging environment that quickly establishes whether your construction process is up to the job! Hydrus have made quite a few tweaks to their construction process this year to raise their game yet further. Their boards now feature an X woven dropstitch core, which is lighter and stiffer than knitted dropstitch. The seams are welded and significant extra reinforcement is added along the rails.

The outer skin consists of two layers of PVC laminated together using the ‘fusion’ construction process. The outer PVC layer appears to be extra thick fabric, it feels different to what we encounter on other iSUPs. The board also has carbon fiber fabric stringers along the top and bottom center of the board, to further increase the rigidity.

The end result is a very durable board with excellent stiffness. There is a slight penalty in terms of extra weight from the extra material, but this is partially offset by the weight savings from the fusion construction and X weave dropstitch, so overall it’s still quite an acceptable weight for a board of this size.

Hydrus back their construction process with a lifetime warranty against manufacturing failure. Check the website for the full explanation of what this is about, but essentially it equates to at least a 10 year warranty, which is the longest warranty that we’re aware of in the industry. Obviously there can be no guarantee that the company will still be in business in 10+ years time, but they’ve been going 10 years so far, so let’s hope that they’re still producing quality boards in 2033 – who knows what the sport will look like then!

Board Stiffness:

Hydrus Paradise X iSUP bendtest
Before placing 150 lbs of sandbags on the top middle of the Hydrus Paradise X
Hydrus Paradise X iSUP bendtest
After placing 150 lbs of sandbags on the top middle of the Hydrus Paradise X – a flex of 0.875” which is a very impressive result for a board of this width

Stiffness Test: 0.875” Bend

SUP Board Guide’s Bend Testing:
In order to attest to the rigidity of each board, we use a bend test curated by Supboardguide. In order to obtain the results, we inflate the board to its maximum recommended PSI and then place it across two sawhorses that are 7 feet apart. We then take a measurement in the middle of the board. Then, we place 150 lbs worth of sandbags on the middle top of the SUP. Last, we record its displacement (the movement from its original position). We use this method for every board we test as a way to mathematically compare boards across a common denominator.

Hydrus boards consistently score very highly on our stiffness test, which is a testament to their excellent construction. The Paradise X is very slightly less stiff than the Paradise (a recorded bend difference of just ⅛”), which is to be expected seeing as it’s that bit narrower, and reducing the width always takes a toll on the rigidity. Nevertheless, this is still an extremely impressive score; one of the very best we’ve seen on a board of this width. The board certainly feels very stiff and rigid on the water.

Hydrus Paradise X iSUP Review  2023
On the water, the Hydrus Paradise X feels reassuringly rigid

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Features/Accessory Review: 9.4/10

Features:

Hydrus Paradise X iSUP Review  2023
12 cargo D rings and 5 carrying handles ensure that the Hydrus Paradise X offers plenty of cargo carrying options, although as can be seen, the D rings are all relatively inboard and not in the widest parts of the board.
Hydrus Paradise X iSUP Review  2023
The central stringer running along the underside of the Hydrus Paradise X is clearly visible in this pic
Hydrus Paradise X component
The raised and grooved section leading to the ‘stomp pad’ at the very end of the deckpad on the Hydrus Paradise X is really helpful for knowing when you’ve got your foot back far enough for a cranking step-back turn, and gives excellent grip too.
Hydrus Paradise X component
The side handles and the single bungee are a useful feature on all the Hydrus inflatable SUPs

As befitting a good touring board, the Hydrus Paradise X has a comprehensive set of fittings. There are comfortable carrying handles in the middle, and on the nose and tail. There’s also an extra handle on either side just in front of the standing area. These side handles can be useful when you’re trying to control or move the board around while in the water, or for your passenger to hold on to when you’re paddling through the bumps.

The bungee fixings are stainless steel D rings throughout, which we always like as they also make it easy to attach ropes, carabiners or other cargo clips.

Because the bungee area on the nose of the Paradise X is quite a long way forward, it’s actually quite narrow, and it’s also in the area of the board where the nose rocker is starting to lift. So you’re not going to be putting too much heavy or bulky cargo up there. Likewise, the rear cargo area is also relatively narrow as it’s quite a long way back towards the tail and the fixings are mounted quite a way inboard rather than out closer to the rail, so again, we’re talking about a relatively limited cargo carrying capability compared to a wider board. It’ll still be fine for an overnight trip but if you’re wanting to carry more weight or size then you’d definitely be better off with the regular Paradise.

There’s also a single bungee across the board just in front of the standing area. This can be useful for sticking the paddle under when carrying the board and is the perfect location for attaching a water bottle to, although it would still make much more sense simply to bring the entire main bungee section back to this area, to make the most of the extra width and getting the cargo weight away from the nose. (The bungee would need to be cut to remove it, but any bungee can be used for this purpose)

Hydrus Paradise X component
The bungee set-up on the nose of the Paradise X is quite a long way forward in a relatively narrow part of the board.
Hydrus Paradise X component
Despite the cargo carrying capability and no less than 5 handles, the deck of the Paradise X still offers an open uncluttered feel.

The Hydrus boards all have a consistent blue/grey color scheme which we like a lot, as it looks very cool and classy. We’ve noticed on some of the other Hydrus boards we reviewed this year that the deckpad can get slippery if you’re paddling without footwear, but the deckpad on the Paradise boards has extra longitudinal grooves which give excellent grip and negate this issue entirely, so we’d definitely recommend that Hydrus switch to this style of deckpad for all their boards.

Hydrus Paradise X component
The Hydrus Paradise X is configured with a single US finbox, and a selection of 3 different fins.
Hydrus Paradise X component
The D Ring on the underside of the bow is an excellent inclusion for towing the board

Moving now to the underside of the Paradise X , and it’s pretty uncluttered too, just the D Ring on the nose, for towing the board behind another craft, and the single central US fin box. The board comes with a set of three fins; a standard 9” upright touring fin for maximum tracking, a 6.5” swept-back fin which will be good in weedy conditions or if you want to improve the maneuverability a bit, and a 4.5” gummy fin for shallow water conditions such as rivers. Plus of course, the great thing about the US fin box is it means that there are loads of other fin options available, which is very relevant for a speedy board like this – it would be well worth checking out some more race-orientated fin options.

Included Accessories:

Hydrus Paradise X iSUP Accessories
The Hydrus Paradise X comes with a pump, leash, repair kit and 3 different fin options, plus the spacious ‘Mothership’ bag.

So what else do you get in the package from Hydrus? A coiled leash is supplied as standard, which can be worn on your ankle or calf. A double action hand pump is included but the Paradise X doesn’t come as standard with a paddle, but a decent 3 piece carbon/glass paddle can be added at the checkout for an extra $169. The ‘Mothership’ bag has shoulder straps and a hip belt, and is extra large size so you can fold the board instead of rolling it, and has pockets for the paddle and fins. A stick-on action camera mount is also supplied, which you can put wherever you want on the board – a nice touch.

Summary Review of the Hydrus Paradise X – 2023

Hydrus Paradise X iSUP Review  2023
The way the widest section of the board is focussed in front of the main standing area on the Hydrus Paradise X is clearly visible in this picture, along with just how narrow and streamlined the nose is. It’s an unusual plan shape, but there’s no question it delivers when it comes to board speed.

This isn’t a beginner SUP, it’s a board for the paddler looking for performance of a very particular style. Hydrus have clearly thought long and hard about how and where to position their Paradise range, and we like their thinking. There are clear and unambiguous performance differences between the Paradise and the Paradise X. The former is definitely the board to choose if you want a cargo carrying board that is also a fast cruiser, but if your priorities are the other way around and you’re primarily interested in traveling at maximum speed, and the cargo carrying capability is less important, then the Paradise X is definitely the one to go for. It’s fast, it’s stiff, it’s tough and durable, and it’ll cope with a good range of water conditions. While it’s not a criticism as such, because Hydrus have so clearly targeted this board towards extra performance, we would love to see them add the extra 9” to the length of this board so that it could compete in the 14’ raceboard class too.

It’s important to restate one more time that the Paradise X is not stable like your average touring board. But that’s where you might just want to take advantage of the 30-Day Test Ride option that Hydrus offer: if you feel that you’ve gone for the wrong model you’ve got 30 days to swap it for another model from their range. Check out the small print on their website for the full story, but it’s definitely a great concept, and further evidence of how much Hydrus believes in their products!

Happy paddling! We hope you enjoyed this review of the Hydrus Paradise X. If you have any questions or comments please leave us a comment below!

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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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