As the demand for inflatables had grown so has the technology improved behind making them. As a result, we are seeing some performance SUPs emerge in the inflatable world. Where once perhaps inflatables were thought best for just cruising, now you are just as likely to find someone punishing some class 4 rapids on an inflatable.
A few things come to mind when thinking of a sport/performance board. You want responsive turning and durability but also performance built into the shape of the SUP as far as the rocker/width/tail shape.
What You’ll Find Here
A rundown of each board and it’s worthwhile to mention features. Though if you require some more in-depth information you can find a link to a full review of each board at the end of the descriptions. You can also just save some time by going over the comparison table or briefing the conclusion. Though to make a safe and definitive decision I would urge you to read at least the paragraphs.
The winners of the top 3 performance boards are…Drum roll, please…
|BaySports Explore||ERS Skylake||Red Paddle Co Ride|
|Weight||17.4 lbs||22 lbs||22 lbs|
|Weight Capacity||330 lbs||240 lbs||220 lbs|
|🙂||REALLY GOOD value for what you get|
High quality accessories
|All fins removable |
High quality, durable materials
|Loads of performance|
Well renowned high quality product
Amazing Titan pump
|🙁||Not as much rocker in the nose as others so less give in harsh conditions||No extra handles makes it a little tricky to get in and out of the water||Not as versatile as the other boards |
No accessories included outside of bag and pump
BaySports 10’6 Explore
To set you on your grand adventure is the 10’6″ Explore. Built with Fusion Tec to keep the weight down but durability and stability high. One of the biggest selling points of the Explore is it’s FCS Connect II Fin and the other accessories. Especially since the introduction of the dual chamber, triple action pump that makes inflating your board 10 times easier.
If you would like to know about the performance side of this SUP more in-depth I would suggest reading my full review. Otherwise, you can just take my word for it that it’s a very fun board to ride, responsive and glides beautifully.
ERS 10’6 Skylake
The ERS Skylake SUP has got some really cool features like all its removable flexy fins as well as the raised heel and kick pad. The performance and sporty side of this SUP comes out in its versatility of having all 3 fins removable.
The fins are sometimes the most overlooked but also most influential part of a boards performance. If you are choosing to cut it up in the surf (which you can on this) a tri-fin thruster setup will take you far. Though if it’s cruisy small waves you can just have a large single center fin.
But of course, it’s also the board itself that allows you the tighter turns, the faster reaction in response to your movements and ability to pick up speed/hold speed. With a little bit of rocker and only being 5″, you will slice through the water like a salmon heading upstream.
Note: Use the code SUPBOARDGUIDE at checkout. You also get a free fiberglass paddle worth $169 as well as a free leash ($39)!
Red Paddle Co 10 ‘6 Ride
The reason this guy didn’t make it to my favorite all-around board earlier this year was that it performs too well. Yes, you read that right. All-Arounds for me need to be something easy to paddle in lots of areas and for different levels of expertise. What I found with the Ride is that it’s indeed one of the best performance inflatables on the market.
For someone who wants the performance that allows them to paddle in rapids, surf, and other challenging conditions but still the ease of an inflatable, you have your board! It’s mostly been left to the hardboard community to fulfill the role of being the makers of boards for people with more expertise. Though you’ll see with the Ride, that the times are a-changing!
The Final 3 Conclusion
Time to put this in a few lines so you can make a final decision!
If you are on this page, I’m going to assume you don’t mind spending a little extra $$ because you value the performance of what your board can give. If you are pretty much set on having something to really test yourself, the Ride is not going to let you down. Now if you are after something that is still going to offer you performance but you can also enjoy it in more chilled conditions, the ERS is slightly more versatile. If these guys are out of your price tag then I wouldn’t be too sad. Baysports Explore is nearly on par with both RPC Ride and ERS Skylake.
Now get off your screen and get out there! Viva la SUP!