An Inflatable Revolution
I am not usually prone to hyperbole, but readers of SUPBoardGuide.com would know that there is something of a chemistry between the Solstice Bali and me. I have talked about the board in a couple of my previous posts. One thing I can definitely say is that this board is leading the inflatable revolution in the SUP world. It is changing perceptions and enabling more and more people to try out the sport because of its economical price point. If you’re looking for a cheap beginner SUP that’s inflatable this one is for you.
I am quite excited about reviewing the Solstice Bali. So, let’s get started without any further ado.
The Real Review
Many boarders now view the Bali as the go-to board if you want to try the inflatable variety; and not without reason. The board is created from 1000 Denier 3-ply PVC-reinforced fabric material. What this translates into is a super-stable SUP that feels just as good as a hardwood board on the water. When inflated to the appropriate PSI, it can even outperform some of the more premium boards available. Reviewers have been impressed with the board’s hard, slick feel and so have I.
Continuing on the quality of its make, the Bali’s high-pressure drop stitch construction makes the board almost indestructible on the water. The inflatable SUP may only be 10 feet 8 inches, but it can tackle rough waters and unruly waves like the pro boards. I wish to caution that it is not a miracle worker, and rookies must be aware of risky conditions. The Bali, however, will maximize your skill sets as a paddler, enhancing balance and comfort like no other board in that price range.
Lightweight And Easy To Handle
Now this is something that any paddle boarder would love to hear…the Solstice Bali is perhaps one of the easiest boards to handle and maintain.
It is easy to forget that the SUP experience extends beyond the waters as well. You need to care and look after your board to get the best out of it. I had done an earlier piece on storage, which you can check out. The point I want to get across is that transporting and maintaining a SUP is an important part of the experience. It is also something that could drive away potential SUP enthusiasts. That’s why the Solstice Bali can be an ideal board if you are looking for something that is easy to handle.
The maintenance and care of the board are limited to two things: inflating it to the proper pressure, and then drying and deflating it. Once you pull the air out of the board, simply roll, then slide it into the backpack. That’s about it. Even seasoned pros like myself find it hard to resist this simplicity. The Bali provides an easy alternative to fixing rails on your car and finding a dry, cool spot in your home for storage.
A Beauty To Look At
They say don’t judge a book by its over, but the Solstice Bali makes it really hard not to. You will probably fall in love with the board at first sight, as many have. The color templates used are a stylish grey and vibrant orange, which gives the board a cheerful, happy look. The board’s name is embossed in a bright yellow, instantly grabbing your attention and setting the mood. The board’s bottom portion is covered in orange, providing a stark contrast to the mellow colors on top.
The look and design of the board will tempt you to take it out every single day. And why shouldn’t you…When you have a SUP looking this gorgeous, you probably want to show it off every chance you get.
The stunning looks of the Bali may distract you from the multiple features the board offers. This is one case where beauty is matched with brains.
A Born Multitasker
One board that can perform multiple tasks. The Solstice Bali can sometimes feel that it has been put together after listening to the many wishes and prayers of the SUP community. I have already talked about its sturdy construction, lightweight nature, and easy handling. This bestows the board with a range of benefits.
First, it can be used by anyone: right from first timers to seasoned paddle-boarders. The rookies will find it strong and sturdy enough to find their balance while the experts will love how the board tackles challenging conditions.
Second, the Bali can be used for all kinds of SUP activity. If you are in the mood for some gentle touring, the board will more than oblige. If you are in the mood for some adventure, the Bali will take the waves head-on. If you prefer some yoga and fitness on the lake, the inflatable SUP provides a firm deck for practice. And there’s more…
You could also spend many hours on the board, taking in the warm sunshine with minimal foot fatigue. The board is fitted with four stainless steel tie downs that can secure your gear, or you could use them to carry some food, snacks, and drinks. Your dog could join you on the board as well without any worries of turning over. The Bali can take a maximum load of 250 pounds.
Perhaps the most prominent benefit is that you can take the board to different SUP locations without having to worry about transportation.
Where It Can Get Better
The Solstice Bali offers great value for money; however, there are areas where it can improve. The accessories provided is certainly one of them.
The hand pump that comes with the board does just about an average job of filling the board up. This is the most crucial aspect of an inflatable SUP, and the results are a bit disappointing. It could take a while, and even then, the pressure may be a bit off the mark. You are way better off investing in a separate hand pump that will make the task an easy one. This is one of the drawbacks you have to deal with in this price range. More expensive boards like the iRocker or Ride by Red Paddle Co offer way better pumps but are more pricey as well.
The Solstice Bali is probably the best inflatable board available for under $500. It can be the perfect first board that will allow you to get a feel for SUP. It’s perfect if you want to try out SUP without breaking the bank or if you’re looking for a cheap board next to your hardboard to take with you when you travel. At this price, you really can’t go wrong with the Bali, but if you’re looking to spend a little more, there is always the iRocker to check out.
Justin Taylor, Head Paddler
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