We first stumbled across the Red Air inflatable SUPs from Red Paddle Company earlier this spring.
Founded in 2007, Red Paddle Company is a UK-based business focused solely on the design and manufacture of inflatable paddle boards and accessories. While extremely popular in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, it wasn’t until recently that Red Paddle established a distributor for Canada and the US.
This past week, the newest 2013 models arrived in the States – three updated current models and four new ones – for surfing, touring and racing, ranging in size from 9’2″ to 12’6″.
Well-known for their ruggedness, each of the Red Air boards utilize high pressure dropstitch technology – allowing them to be inflated from 15-25PSI – and feature quadruple rail construction, double layering, thick traction pads and integrated fins. Each board comes with the Red Air EZee pump, allowing one to inflate a paddle board to 20PSI and higher in less than 10 minutes.
We reviewed the 2012 10′ 6 model in June, so it seemed appropos to update the blog to reflect the newest features. Now called the Red Air Ten Six – Ride and one of Red Paddle Company’s most popular models, the Ride is becoming an industry classic.
So, here is our (re) write-up on the 2013 Red Air Ten Six Ride from Red Paddle Company.
The box as received weighs 40 lbs, measuring 38 x 15 x 15 inches.
Inside the box is the SUP body, EZee pump, pressure gauge, backpack, cinch belt, fin guards, instructions and repair kit – and some nifty Red Paddle stickers. Once rolled up, the SUP board and paddle fit into the backpack, as well as breakdown paddles under 37 inches. Weight is 35 lbs for backpack, board and pump, which all easily fit in the back of a small car. The board alone is 28 lbs.
The 10’6 Ride inflatable SUP arrives rolled up around the high pressure EZee pump, inside the backpack.
For your first set up, remove the fin guards and unroll the SUP body. There are three integrated tracking fins at the rear of the board. Lay it out face up (fins down) so that you can access the military valve.
The Red Air Ride 10’6 utilizes one spring-loaded military valve for inflation. These are very simple to use and feature an inflate mode (spring plunger is UP) and a deflate mode (spring plunger is DOWN). By using your finger to gently push on the plunger, it can be moved to the inflate mode (air goes in and doesn’t come back out) and deflate mode (air goes in and comes back out). Before you go to all the effort of inflating the board, PLEASE make sure the plunger is in the inflate position.
The included single-action pump comes with a pressure gauge, so you can monitor the board’s PSI. The gauge screws onto the pump (nice touch!) – pull the pump handle up (so the pump body doesn’t get in the way) then start with the gauge face down and it will screw on to end face up. Tip #1: Make sure you screw the gauge on carefully – if it gets cross-threaded, air will leak out and you will have a difficult time pumping the board up to necessary pressure.
Next, attach the hose to the gauge. Take the military valve adaptor, and screw it onto the valve slightly to lock into position. You’re ready to pump!
Here is where we need to make a note about the new 2013 valve adaptor and gauge, which is not mentioned in the current manual. Most pressure gauges work on back pressure, so the previous valve adaptor had a small interior “lip” which – when screwed onto the valve – caused the valve to open, allowing the gauge to read in real time. While this is convenient, the amount of back pressure was so huge that sometimes the adaptor would pop off when removed, allowing air to swoosh out, and making it difficult to re-attach the hose to top off the SUP. The “new” adaptor does not have that interior lip, hence the gauge will ONLY read while you are pumping air on the downstroke, and it won’t start reading until about 8PSI. On the positive side, under high pressure, the adaptor screws on and off very easily.
The first couple of minutes will be a breeze with the single action so smooth you could almost do it with one finger. It took us about 70 seconds to get to 5 PSI (100 pumps, we were using the old gauge to check). At about 8 PSI (about two minutes), you will start noticing a change – at this point, it’s still not difficult but you need to change your pumping stance slightly. Put one foot behind and use your legs to move up and down, so as not to strain your back. Another 25 pumps (30 seconds) to 10 PSI.
At this point most people find it nearly impossible to continue and you need to change to the “half pump” technique. With 25 easy half pumps (25 seconds), I jumped to 12 PSI, another 25 half pumps took me to 13.5 PSI. So keep plugging. I was able to bring it up to 18 PSI pretty rapidly and easily. All in all, it takes about 5 to 6 minutes, once you get the hang of it.
The higher the pressure, the stiffer the board. The Red Air recommended pressure is between 15 and 25 PSI; If you are a smaller person, you may be able to get away with the lower-end PSI. It’s a little tough to read the pressure gauge needle (which will be jumping up and down), so mentally make a note of where you want to get to.
Remove the adaptor, replace the valve cap and that’s it! Less than 10 minutes with an excellent upper arm workout, you’re ready for the water. And it’s surprisingly easy!
Features and Specifications
According to the manufacturer, what makes the Red Air inflatable paddle boards superior to others on the market, has to do with the internal construction.
First, the Red Airs are constructed using “dropstitch” technology. The top of the board is held together with the bottom via thousands of “stitches” – in the Red Airs, 10 stitches per inch. These threads are “double stitched” so if one were to break, another holds. This allows the boards to be pumped up to very high pressures of 15 to 25 PSI – and in some cases higher – and ensures that air doesn’t move around inside the board, creating a stable ride. The new 2013 Ride has an added feature, utilizing 120mm dropstitch technology, making the board 20% more rigid than the prior model yet still allowing the rider to keep a low center of gravity.
Second, the boards use a double layering technique which – in the simplest terms – means they construct a board, and put another board around it. It’s a board-within-a-board, which adds strength and durability.
The weakest link in an inflatable paddle board is the rail (side edge) area – where the top and bottom panels join together. Most ISUPS are constructed with one rail layer – Red Airs feature four layers of staggered taping to ensure minimal chance of air leakage due to punctures.
According to the manufacturer, Red Air inflatable SUPs are virtually indestructible. In one video, a Red Air is dragged through every knothole in the world – hurled repeatedly from the roof of a warehouse; run over with a truck; dashed against high surf and rocks; and the ultimate decimation – used as a snowboard. While it was tempting to devise some other devious test, I decided to take their word for it.
The board is incredibly simple.
There is one military valve, and one rear d-ring for an ankle leash.
A thick sculpted traction pad is 73 x 25.5 inches, beginning 40 inches from the snout. In the center is a low profile handle, positioned 59 inches from the back.
Forward of the traction pad are four flat, cloth “d-rings” or small loops, allowing one to add thin bungee cording or attach a gear bag. These are located 18-24 inches apart, by 21 inches deep, with the first set located about 32 inches from the snout.
Another d-ring – allowing one to tether the ISUP – is located on the underside of the nose.
Three integrated 6-inch wide by 4.25-inch deep fins – two are slightly v-angled and one is straight – provide control and tracking.
The newly-redesigned backpack features a padded back with adjustable padded shoulder straps, a padded top handle and two padded side carrying handles. The shoulder straps have d-rings and a front cinch strap. A waist strap can be adjusted from approx. 34 to 44 inches. A front zippering pouch measures 9 x 12 inches. Two-way zippers allow the pack to be open on three sides, making it much simpler to get the board in and out. Inside, two integrated cinch belts keep the board in position, while three inflatable fin guards make sure the fins don’t get bent. Outer measurements on the backpack are 37 x 16 x 11 inches, allowing the pump and an optional breakdown paddle to fit inside.
We did measurement tests. The Red Air Ten Six Ride inflated is approximately 125.5 inches long, 31.5 inches wide, and 4.5 inches deep – pretty much on target with the published specs.
New 2013 Red Air Ten Six Ride ISUP Features
So what’s new on the 2013 model versus the 2012 models?
- Thicker 120mm military-grade material, allowing 20% more stiffness than 100mm boards. This makes the Ten Six Ride slightly heavier (28 lbs vs. 24 lbs) and slightly thicker (+0.75 inches) than before, without sacrificing performance.
- Built using Red Tec Air specification, with new valves, improved seals, cap and stronger threads.
- A shorter traction pad with 4 cargo low-profile cloth d-rings, allowing one to bring gear.
- Slightly wider tail profile, to increase stability
- Low profile center carrying handle, rather than the velcro strips that allowed one to turn the paddle into a carrying handle.
- Totally redesigned backpack, per details above.
- A d-ring on the underside allows one to tether the ISUP.
Smaller details include a central logo stiffening strip, some upper color modifications, an exclusive “Blue Marble” design on the underside with the board size printed on tail and nose for easy identification.
On the Water
I must preface this by the fact that I am a novice standup paddler. That said …. this is an incredibly easy board for beginners to use – it was surprisingly simple to stand up and gain one’s balance. The 32 inch width made it feel very stable, I rarely felt like I was going to fall over – and I never did. Turning was pretty easy. And either standing or kneeling, paddling and tracking was straight. In fact, the board feels substantial and rugged – yet nimble.
The closest thing we have to surf is from powerboat wakes, so I didn’t have a chance to test that out.
My only mild issue was the backpack, and it was certainly not a show-stopper. While I could easily carry it, some of the adjustments could not be made for my size.
Packing It Up
To deflate the board is pretty simple – push the plunger to the open (down) position and immediately the air will swoosh out.
Leaving the plunger in the deflate mode, move to the snout of the ISUP. Start tightly rolling up the board from the snout, top side up and fins down, with the bottom on the outside. As you roll it up, air will continuously be pushed out of the open valve. One can also place the EZee pump on the snout so the pump is rolled up inside – remove the hose and gauge first, so they don’t get crushed.
When fully rolled up, replace the valve cover and then take the attached strap and cinch it around the bundle, between the fins – this keeps the package tightly rolled and the fins keep the strap from slipping off. If you’ve rolled up tight enough, the board will easily slip back into the backpack. Put the fin guards onto the fins and use the interior cinch straps to position the load. As a tip, though (thank you Andrew!), make sure the fins are pointing away from your back, or the trip will be uncomfortable.
The Red Air 10’6 Ride inflatable SUP is a blast! It’s great for all-around paddle boarding – not too wide to make it boring and not too narrow to make it tippy. It is good for users up to 220 lbs (100kgs) for both novice through advanced.
They are simple to set up, surprisingly easy to pump up, paddle well and track/glide nicely. With a 32-inch beam, they are stable enough for beginners, incredibly rugged and are easy to inflate. At 15-25 PSI, they are also extremely rigid, yet they’ve been pumped up higher without skipping a beat.
The thicker 120mm material makes them even more rigid for paddlers on the higher end of the limits, while the low-profile cargo ring addition greatly enhances the board versatility without sacrificing performance.
The 10’6 Red Air Ride is good for standup, kneeling, diving and “lolling” around on shorelines, mild surf, slow-moving rivers, bays and inlets. It’s perfect for a workout session, and offers a great vantage point into shallow coastline water, allowing a paddler to quietly approach and observe sea life. And if the sun becomes too much – just slide off the board into the water to cool down.
It’s a great choice for families as the Red Air can be enjoyed by all ages, children to adults. And with its near-indestructible construction, parents can relax when the kids start tossing it around.
Best of all, it rolls up into the included backpack – which can house the pump and a breakdown paddle, making it a great inflatable for traveling or for heading into the back country.
The Red Air Ten Six Ride from Red Paddle Company is a winner, rapidly becoming an industry classic. And at $1199, it is quite competitive with other inflatable SUPs on the market.
For more details you can also watch our YouTube video (below) on the Red Air 10′ 6″ Ride Inflatable SUP. To purchase, visit the Red Paddle Ten Six Ride product page on AirKayaks.com. You can also read our blog on Guide to Choosing Your Red Air Inflatable Paddle Board.