Budget boards tend to not pay attention to these finer details. Brilliantly blue and bold, the colour scheme is a stand out. With a bit of black trimming around the grey deck pad it makes for a striking appearance. For a single fin budget board, the Gili Air does deliver. Stability is always a huge point for people starting out so it needs to be highlighted how ridiculously stable this board was to paddle.
The squared off tail is a huge agent in stability especially for a single fin. In our opinion we think All-Arounds should always have tri fin setups either fixed or more desirably removable. On this list only DDM and Ancheer have the tri fin setup. However, the overall value of the board in the Gili Air was so much higher that we excused its single fin setup.
Because of the stability throughout the tail and how light it is, doing back foot turns was incredibly easy. You really consider yourself lucky to receive this kind of equipment in this price range. You know the company is really considering the consumer by including it.
Are Cheap Inflatable Paddle Boards Worth Buying?
Pumping up your SUP is the most time consuming and finicky part of owning an inflatable. So a good quality pump makes a HUGE difference in the long run. We gave this paddle one better raing than Daves as we believe the blade is a better quality. Its shaft is aluminium as are all the other paddles here. It did move around a little which we suggest could impact your paddle performance.
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You would have had us more shocked than when Coyote finally caught the Road Runner. Has that actually ever happened? Though as a single fin it still performs well thanks to the complimenting shape of the tail. The design on the Gili Air backpack is super cool. We wanted to steal the bag for our own personal purposes! Including a repair kit is such a simple but much appreciated gesture. All repair kits are a standard couple of patches, glue and wrench. Much better than waiting for someone else to fix your SUP! The only board here that includes a leash! And a pretty color coded one too! Introducing the only SUP on this list that has mid-range quality materials.
All of the other boards are single layer PVC over a drop stitched core. However, unlike the other boards featured here, the materials used are very thick and durable 3-ply Korean PVC. The downside is that the thicker, higher quality materials make the board heavy compared to the other boards on this list. In a higher price range, this would be something to complain about.
While the color schemes and designs available blue, red and green are simple, they are done well. The result is a bit overwhelming and tacky. We much prefer this simple two-color design.
Cheap Paddle Boards That Will Do the Job
Its materials are strong and sturdy. The DDM is more stable and you will experience less flex than on any of the 4 other boards we reviewed in this price range. The paddle does play into performance, so for the sake of this board being a catch for price vs. Deciding to go with the tri-fin setup means this also the closest SUP to living into the title of an All-Arounder. The tri-fin setup helps with maneuverability and also stability! Both useful in those conditions.
We made the above comment about not tackling surf because of the shape.
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You need both those features to be able to cut through water easily. A Bravo 4 pump. We were amazed to see a pump like this included considering the price range of these SUPs. So this guy, is a dual action. Air is pushed into the SUP as you pull up and push down. Double whammy! Heavy much like all the paddles that come with less expensive SUPs 2.
It does have a few notches up on say the Vilano Navigator. Daves Motors and Ancheer are the only boards staring in our cheap SUPs article that have a tri fin setup. The center fin is removable, the other two side fins are fixed. The center fin is put in place by a screw. Toolless insertion is a win! Along with the center fin, you also get little inflatable floaties to protect the side fins. We thought that was a lovely gesture!
The only SUP on this page that gives you a repair kit! The backpack included is one the standard designs and the same one you get with the Ancheer. They easily carry your SUP and gear but not for long distances. Ancheer is the second board on this list that offers reasonable value for money. Though having a tri fin setup does help with the balance and stability of this board. While many of the others listed have been pumped out in a generic SUP matter, the Ancheer does have a little more performance throughout its body.
Talking about more small features is the storage area. That tiny bit of extra room can make a huge difference! Another part of this SUP as to why it made its way to 2 is the color! Look at that vibrancy! Relaxed blue or mottled green deck pads make you go fast! Getting out on the water with the Ancheer will be a better experience than most of the other boards though there is a big BUT with this one. The capacity is low and materials thin, so if you are a bigger rider, you definitely want to look at other options. We feel it necessary to include that you will have a hard time as a bigger rider shopping in the lower quality SUP range for the common flex problem they have.
Now if you are a light rider, the Ancheer will hold you and glide you through the water. The speed of that glide will be subject to your paddle and technique though. Which, you guessed it, means way less effort. It adjusts, breaks down and seems to be reasonable quality. Unlike some other paddles mentioned further down, this paddle appears to be sturdy.
The two side fins are fixed however the center fin is removable.
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The fin does a great job at tracking and is made of a durable plastic. We are also a little spoilt having the chance to test out higher quality boards often. By no means will you want to go hiking with it but it will transport your goods easily. Like we already mentioned before, we have seen this same bag before. Here we have the only SUP including an ankle leash. Zray is a step up one the Vilano Navigator with their materials. They have reinforced the side of their boards with an extra layer of PVC tape. The only issue is that there still seems to be only one layer of PVC on the outer core of the drop stitching.
Well not compared to the mid-range SUPs that are at least double layered.
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Which also adds to the Zray X2 not feeling as stable. We do like the color scheme though! Now, as long as you upgrade your paddle, paddling this guy around on flat water can be fun for a light paddler. Zray claims that it can hold more than the Navigator, the Fusion and Daves and the Ancheer. We doubt that. We tested it up to lbs and could already feel it flex, so we highly doubt that it will support anything close to the advertised lbs. Now, where there is also a bit of false advertising. Open water or even the surf you definitely want to stay away from. A little heavier than the Navigator even at 2.
We found the handle twisting significantly, which makes paddling pretty difficult! The paddle blade is also pretty soft and will bend. That means a lot of energy is lost paddling fast. The fin itself is 8. It fits in easily too. The only issue is that as this board is advertised as an All-Arounder, it should include side fins.
There are worse backpacks in the mix like the Aqua Marina Fusion. Since the board uses very thin materials, it also rolls up very small and is easy to transport. All rights reserved. England and Wales company registration number T3 Smarter Living.
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Specifications Best for: Families. Type: Inflatable. Weight limit: lb. Specifications Best for: Firm and grippy. Size: Weight limit: lbs. Reasons to avoid - Not quite as stable as some wider boards. Specifications Best for: Stability.
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Size: 11ft 6in. Specifications Best for: Soft deck. Reasons to avoid - Some found it a little twitchy. Thurso Surf Prodigy Light, thick and soft, this is part paddleboard part cloud.
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