Paddleboarding is currently the fastest growing watersport, but storing and transporting a huge stand-up paddleboard (SUP) is out of the question for most city-dwellers. The solution: the 12-foot Adventure Paddleboarding Inflatable Explorer. This soft SUP packs down into a backpack-style mesh bag, and can be fully inflated within a few minutes. It fits into the trunk of a small car, and is useful for hiking to waterways normally inaccessible to hard SUPs. Though traditional SUPs offer better maneuverability, stability, and speed, this inflatable is more than serviceable for weekend cruising.
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We carried the thirty-one pound un-inflated package onto the Long Island Railroad, and tested it on a relatively flat day on the waters off of Montauk. We were surprised by its performance — solid buoyancy and decent torque. Though it lacked the rigidity of standard boards, it was not as squirrel-y as you might imagine. It even cut gently down the line of a few thigh-high waves.
With the use of an included bicycle-style hand pump, it inflated with minimal effort through a back-end valve in less than five minutes. After the session was over, it deflated and rolled up sleeping bag style in only three minutes. The ease-of-use to performance ratio is high enough to earn the consideration of any weekend warriors. And an added bonus is that it's also about $1,000 less than most hard SUPs on the market.