You want to buy a stand up paddleboard, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money. I get it. Paddleboards can definitely get expensive, not only to purchase but to transport around.
Pathfinder Inflatable SUP Package – $349
That’s one of the reasons that I started looking at inflatable SUPs originally: the cost factor. Plus, shipping is very inexpensive or free because you can deflate them, roll them up in a ball and stick them in a bag.
The Pathfinder Inflatable SUP caught my eye because it is exceptionally cheap. In fact, the $349 complete package also includes an adjustable paddle, which usually costs about $100 by itself.
So, I had to check out this “too-good-to-be-true” deal. Here’s what I found out:
1. SUP Size Matters
The length of the board is 9’9″, which is shorter than most models. It will support less weight than many boards, so you can’t expect to carry 2 people on it. Max weight capacity is 240 lbs.
On the other hand, I have found that shorter boards are much easier to carry around because they are smaller and less awkward. Generally, inflatable paddle boards are not heavy. They weigh about 15 – 20 lbs. However, it’s definitely easier to move around a 10′ SUP as compared to one that is 12’6′.
2. The Pathfinder Paddleboard is Easier to Balance On
The thickness of the Pathfinder is 5″. I prefer 6″ over 4″ models simply because they offer more stability and can be inflated to a greater PSI. If you are a beginner or find yourself paddling where there are waves or wind, you’ll appreciate this additional stability.
So, 5″ is better than 4″. For the size and price of this board, I am pretty impressed that the company added even an extra inch. You don’t usually find this feature in the cheaper versions.
3. This Cheap SUP is Not Cheaply Made
The Pathfinder is surprisingly durable. Similar to other higher-priced competitors, it’s made of a heavy-duty PVC materials and constructed using a multi-layer drop-stitch.
In my experience, inflatable paddleboards have held up exceptionally well over time. They don’t dent or ding like fiberglass or foam boards. Instead, they tend to bound off hard objects with a scuff mark at most.
The trade-off is that we need to watch out for leaks. This is where the construction factor comes in. Taping and stitching is important, and I always look for “Multi Layer”.
According to AirheadSUP, the multi-layer manufacturing technique combined with higher grades of drop stitching enables iSUPs to be inflated to extremely high levels. This is how they can become so stiff (and are often mistaken for hard boards).
4. Handy Features Make this Paddleboard an Even Better Deal
When it comes to paddling in the middle of the water, the little features matter too. The Pathfinder SUP comes with a bungee strap system for securing flip flops, water bottles and extra things to the top of your board. The sturdy D-ring in back allows you to attach a surfing leash to the board or easily tie up to a dock.
I actually notice that I use these features a lot more than I thought I would. Sometimes I am out paddling with someone else who doesn’t have any bungee straps, and they end up having to leave all of their gear on shore.
5. How an Inflatable SUP Saves You Money…
Of course, inflatables don’t require that you buy a roof rack. You don’t need to pay $100 in shipping when you buy the product. You don’t have to pay expensive baggage fees if you decide to travel with your SUP. These costs add up but with an iSUP, we don’t need to worry about that. =)
Package Includes: Adjustable aluminum paddle, high pressure pump with built-in gauge, detachable center tracking fin, large carrying bag (with shoulder straps) and valve wrench.
Get it here.