We received our new 2021 of Aquaglide inflatable paddle boards consisting of four models ranging in size from 10 to 12’6 feet. Our first review will focus on Aquaglide’s new Cascade 11 SUP – a 14-18 PSI inflatable SUP with a capacity load of 230 lbs.
Airkayaks was so impressed with this board when used as a Kayak/SUP Combo, we created a category of similar boards, and are including a bonus kayak seat and paddle with purchase.
Check out our blog post – Intro to Kayak / SUP Combos.
Back to the review –
For 2021, Aquaglide has redesigned the Cascade board range with a new printed graphic color scheme, updated pump and included paddles. These boards provide excellent value by maintaining low price points and bundling premium accessories. New for this year, the Cascade 11 SUP now includes a Wayfinder Carbon Paddle, which retails at $149 when sold separately. The Cascade 10’0″, 11’0″ and Roam 12’6″ are $699, and $899 respectively, making them great options for those getting into the sport, yet not ready to make a major commitment. All three Cascades are now 6 inches thick.
Aquaglide Cascade 11 SUP – Getting Started
The double-boxed board as-arrived is 39 x 17 x 15 inches weighing in at 44 lbs.
Unpacking the Cascade
Inside is the Cascade 11 SUP body, Wayfinder Paddle, River Crossing backpack, manual, repair kit, high pressure pump with gauge, removable fin.
Once rolled up, the SUP board, breakdown paddle and pump fit into the backpack, though the backpack is set up to also attach paddles to the outside. The board itself weighs 21 lbs, or 32 lbs inside the backpack with pump – these all easily fit in the back of a small car.
Unrolling the SUP body
For your first set up, uncinch the strap and unroll the SUP body and lay it out face up so that you can access the military valve.
Opening and closing the military valve
The Cascade 11 SUP utilizes one spring-loaded Harkey Roberts 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.
New Double Action High Pressure Pump
The 2021 Cascade paddle board systems includes a high-pressure, dual-action pump with a gauge. Simply screw on the handles to aid in inflation, or don’t if you want to shave a few ounces off your pack size. I found it simple enough to inflate without the included handles.
The double-action pumps feature both a single-action mode (air goes in on the down stroke) and double action mode (air goes in on both the up and down stroke.) You switch from one type to another by flipping the red plug located near the handle. The photo above shows it in “double action” mode.
First, attach the hose to the pump handle. Take the valve adaptor, and screw it onto the board valve slightly to lock into position. You’re ready to pump! (AirKayaks note: the first time may be difficult to attach due to the vacuum. If you open the valve and allow air to creep into the board, then close the valve to start pumping, it creates an air pocket, making it easier to attach.)
Pumping up the Cascade
Start off in double-action mode, which will put air in rapidly; do this by making sure the slim side of the lever is pointing to the right, marked “double action.”
At about 140 pumps the board filled out, and at 150 pumps the gauge started to register. With another 25 pumps we were at 5 PSI and it was getting tough, particularly if you are short as you must pull the handle up high. Take extra time to screw the pump hose completely into the pump as air will escape if you don’t and you will be spending extra effort inflating your SUP. The “whoosh” air sound is a dead giveaway that something is wrong.
Remove the hose adaptor and replace the valve cap.
US Fin box and deep water fin
Flip the board and lay out the fin, making sure it is pointing towards the rear of the board. The Cascade uses a US fin box, allowing one to use after-market fins for varying water conditions. A 9-inch deep water fin is included. Here is where we came to another issue – While the AquaGlide description touts the fin setup as “easy and tool-free mounting,” the fin pin uses a phillips head screw, and we did not have a screwdriver. We plugged on using our fingers but as a note, you must have a phillips head to remove the fin, so throw a small one in your repair kit.
Aquaglide includes a Honeycomb composite fin with the Cascade 11 SUP, and upgrade over the standard PVC fin included with the 10. As measured, the fin is approximately 11” – slightly larger than spec. Also the fin is surprisingly higher quality than the fin included with the Cascade 10, and the Blackfoot 11.
Installing the tracking fin
First, remove the screw and plate from the fin, then screw them back together. Use the screw to guide the fin plate to the front of the track. Put the “pin side” of the fin into the center track, and push toward the stern. Then lower the other end of the fin over the fin plate. Take the Philips head screw and tighten into the plate. Double check to make sure the fin is fully attached by pulling up on the fin.
Easy to carry
That’s it! Surprisingly simple and in roughly five minutes of great upper arm workout, you’re ready to go!
Aquaglide Cascade iSUP Construction
The Cascade 11’0″ uses 15 cm FSL drop-stitch construction, which stands for Fused Structural Laminate. Many boards offer their own version of a fused material such as the Red Paddle Co line, however AG offers their blend on this technology at an attractive pricepoint. In this case they use Duratex, Tritex woven polyester, and inner seam tape. What you will find in comparing this to Red’s MSL, is they offer a thicker structural side seam, which will aid in edging your board. All boards with similar construction are a noticeable step up from the lower price point boards in terms of construction quality. Aquaglide is now using aramid fiber dropstitch material, otherwise known as Kevlar in branded form.
Aquaglide Cascade iSUP Features and Specifications
The Cascade 11 SUP is very simple.
Integrated Universal Accessory Mount –The front accessory mount can be used with a variety of Scotty brand, Railblaza, or starmount adapters. Airkayaks offers the Aquaglide Cupholder, but a variety of phone or accessory holders can be mounted in this spot. We used it with both the Aquaglide cupholder, available at Airkayaks, and an aftermarket phone holder.
Bungee deck lacing – Front bungee deck lacing with six cloth d-rings.
6 EVA deck attachment points with carabiners
Micro Texture EVA Top Deck – An EVA traction pad is 74” long covering about 2/3 of the board.
Padded carry handle – In the center is a padded 7-inch carry handle.
HR valve and ankle leash d-ring – There is one HR valve and one rear d-ring for an ankle leash.
Deep water tracking fin – The included tracking fin utilizes a US fin box and measures roughly 11 inches deep. The fiber honeycomb material and blue color will be different than the fin included with the Cascade 10.
Aquaglide Carbon Leverlock Paddle – This was a big surprise when I learned about the new model. In terms of value, a $150 paddle included on a $899 SUP is a huge adder. This paddle is light with a 50% carbon shaft, and offers a nylon glass reinforced blade.
River Crossing backpack-style carrying bag – Made from a rugged, commercial-grade polyester, the Cascade’s oversized backpack measues 40 x 17 x 10 inches. There are two padded, adjustable backpack straps which can be hidden inside a large, zippering pocket when not in use. Two lower straps form an adjustable waist belt, which also can be stashed into two lower side compartments.
Thick, foam strips with breathable mesh, provide padded comfort across the back. Two side mesh pockets can be used to house gear or a breakdown paddle; two cinching side straps keep paddles in position as well as cinching down the load. The pack features a rubber-molded handle on top and rear carrying handle, two lower drain holes, and a zipper which runs 2/3rds of the pack perimeter. A 17 x 8 inch bungee deck lacing system tops off the list, for attaching gear. While the pump is too big to fit in the side mesh pocket system, it can be stashed inside the back. The bag itself weighs 3.5 lbs.
Easy to carry
We did measurement tests. At 14 PSI, the Cascade 11’0″ inflatable SUP ran 130 inches long, slightly under 32 inches wide and 6 inches thick, slightly under spec. Max payload is 230 lbs.
Aquaglide Cascade iSUP On the Water
I took the board out on a calm day for a first short jaunt.
I was immediately surprised at how well it handled for an entry-level price. It tracked decently and had a smooth glide. During two test runs, I inflated the SUP to 14 & 16 PSI respectively, the SUP was noticeably more tippy at 14 PSI. At 6’3, 210, I am pushing the manufacturer weight spec for the board at 230. The EVA deck pad was comfortable and provided good grip. Turning was fairly maneuverable, but as a recreational board, not quite as necessary.
The board was put thru the paces standing 1/3, ½ and ¾ into the board. The best ride position was ½ (dead center), and the best position for handling was ¾ at the rear of the board. The board was incredibly stable and firm.
There is a slight rise in the nose which helps cut thru the chop, as well as with speed as compared to the AG Cascade 10.
While not reviewed here, the Cascade 10 was noticeably more challenging to pilot at my height and weight.
Cascade 11 SUP is stable
This board will work for 1+. If you are on the smaller side and using it as a kayak (a teaser for our favorite feature below), you can easily fit 2 small adults, or 1 adult + one kid or furry friend. The boards are quite rugged – dog claws are not an issue. In fact, the board bounces off protruding branches and submerged rocks without a blip, and it’s stable enough that sudden movements are not catastrophic.
The one thing to note is that the removable fin is long. This is great for deep water, but one might want to invest in a shorter, aftermarket fin if paddling in shallow or rocky areas.
Aquaglide Cascade iSUP: 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. But, when drawing off the high pressure, you should do this slowly, so as not to “pop” or unseat the o-ring that completes the valve seal. So, slowly tap the valve to “bleed” off the high pressure several times for a few seconds, increasing the release time as you go.
Leaving the plunger in the deflate mode, move to the nose of the iSUP. Start folding up the board from the nose, top side down. As you roll it up, air will continuously be pushed out of the open valve. As arrived the board was rolled 8x. I found it easier to roll up 5 from the back, then fold the opposite direction to manage the front half.
When fully rolled up, replace the valve cover and drop the board into the backpack. As a tip, you might want to find a cloth belt to cinch around the board, keeping it folded up.
Protip: use the AG Frame Seat to convert this SUP into a highly capable 1+ person kayak.
We used the AG Frame seat and Cannon Cascade Paddle and this SUP is a high spec convertible kayak.
The frame seat will sit up about 11” off the board. In the “high” position as pictured.
The extra height made the board “tippy” as you will see in the final pictures a wet wear tester, it put me in the lake!
We recommend using the frame seat in the “low” position, especially if you are not inflating to max PSI. In “low” position, this board turned into somewhat of a Cadillac. It had excellent ride and makes a stylish and affordable capable kayak / SUP crossover.
Our “Kayak / SUP Combo Package” comes with a kayak paddle and low profile kayak seat.
Aquaglide Cascade 11 SUP – Bottom Line
At $899, the Aquaglide Cascade 11 SUP is a great board for a paddler wanting to get into the sport without breaking their budget; it glides nicely, tracks decently and is rugged. It’s stable enough for beginners and is actually quite easy to pump up.
It’s a great choice for a family board – even kid-sized paddlers will have fun … yet easily provides on-the-water enjoyment and exercise for adults up to 230 lbs. And it’s roomy enough for an adult to bring a small child (or a furry friend) for a cruise along the shoreline.
The Cascade 11 SUP is great for lakes, calm rivers and coastal inlets. For those headed out for a few hours of paddling, the bungee deck lacing and d-rings provide ample space to attach extra gear.
Best of all, it’s highly portable. The backpack is roomy enough to easily fit your board, has multiple attachment points, padded back, hidden pockets for loose-hanging straps. It can easily be stored in a closet, or stashed in a car for spur of the moment fun. Traveling? Take your Cascade on your next vacation or for a jaunt to a secluded beach.
Airkayaks Cascade 11 SUP Bonus Kayak/SUP Combo Kit
The Aquaglide Cascade 11 SUP inflatable paddle board with backpack and pump is a great buy at $899.
Airkayaks Cascade 11 Kayak / SUP Combo Kit at $899 is an AMAZING buy – we are including a kayak seat and breakdown kayak paddle with purchase. We had such a good time with this board used as a Kayak – we figured we would help get them out there for more to enjoy as a Hybrid Kayak / SUP Combo.
Because most people will be comparing different boards before making a purchase of this price, Airkayaks has curated a selection of boards in the Kayak/SUP Category. Priced at $899, the AG Cascade 11 SUP is a high end board priced like a mid-tier board. For more stability, we recommend the $999 Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler 11 SUP. For a more budget friendly board in the 11 foot range, we recommend either the $499 Tahe Beach Wing 11 or the $559 Tahe SUP-YAK 11’6 SUP Only, and at $739 in Kayak/SUP Combo version. All boards are in stock now at Airkayaks.