When you’re in the market for a new inflatable stand up paddle board chances are you’re looking at dimensions closely. This is your guide, although quoted numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Confirming this once again we were contacted by one of McConks’ SUP friends who had some interesting info based on a side by side test that’d been done.
Having used the McConks 9’8 Go Free crossover inflatable SUP extensively the paddler in question went for a float with a popular, alternative brand’s, 12′ x 31″ wide touring SUP. (For reference the Go Free is much shorter and narrower at 9’8 x 30″). General theory suggests that a longer, wider board should be more stable. In fact, board B sports a squared off tail, much less rocker which all in should mean it ‘wins’ the stability test hands down.
After swapping about during an hour plus session, however, it quickly became apparent this isn’t the case. It’s, in fact, quite the opposite. (Note: having passengers clamber on and off both boards, before jumping off, and paddling with three kiddy guests, while the paddler aims to keep upright is a good test of stability if you ask us!).
Time and again McConk’s model was staying balanced and not tipping everyone in the drink. Which was totally opposite with the 12′. So why is this?
We hear it all the time that inflatable stand up paddle boards don’t really differ much, other than in dimensions, which isn’t true. Manufacturing techniques, type of Dropstitch used, thickness of and quality of PVC, plus length, width and volume of board along with any other design quirks all play their part to make every board ‘feel’ and perform differently. There’s also the user to pop into the equation. By this we mean has he/she put the recommended amount of air into the board as this will affect how your iSUP acts. Also, to a degree, skill level.
In terms of recommended air pressure both the 9’8 Go Free and 12′ tourer/cruiser were filled with their optimum, so that variable can be ruled out. There are some differences in design of both boards, however. The Dropstitch material McConks uses in all its SUPs is super high quality. We#re confident it’s the highest grade you can get. This alone, when the board is inflated correctly, will see superior rigidity when compared to other brand gear that doesn’t use the same spec Dropstitch. It’s exactly the case with PVC used in McConks’ SUPs as well. We don’t cut corners.
Add to the mix the hard release rubber edge that sits on the tail of the Go Free. This not only helps with tracking and glide it also helps with rigidity, minimises bend (deflection) and therefore aids stability. We appreciate not every McConks iSUP has this feature but in the case of the Go Free, which we’re focusing on here, it’s worth mentioning. Fins too; these can help with stability, serving to keep the board level and therefore balanced – IF they’re optimised and positioned correctly. Basically, a well designed inflatable, with all its component parts optimised will give you ‘more’ on the water – whichever aspect you shine a spotlight on – than something which hasn’t had quite the same level of attention.
You can give your brand a funky name, create a pleasingly visual logo, add some nice colours and utilise colourful language when describing your products. You may also drop the price point to as low as you dare go to entice and attract. But ultimately if your products haven’t had the input then they simply won’t fulfil the promise of what you say they’ll deliver on the water.
If you want some honest feedback about McConks SUP products in comparison to others then get in touch. We’re only too happy help. Regardless of which brand you’re looking at we’ll tell it straight.