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I wrote a while back about unboxing my new Drift Paddleboards I got in Australia and taking them for a spin. Since then, I’ve had a blast paddleboarding with the Gemini Twins (or the singular, Lord and Lady Gemini) all over Southeast Asia.
However, after my first few paddles, I learned quite a bit about what I did wrong on the first inflation, and what could be improved.
Disclaimer: The products mentioned in this post were received at a discounted rate. We were psyched to have their support, but this post reflects our honest opinion on the product. We posted all the good and the bad!
The biggest problem was that one of our paddleboards leaked after only a few uses. While it did not noticeably deflate, we could hear the leak. I immediately contacted Drift and they sent a replacement paddleboard. Apparently, there was an issue with the glue on 10% of their boards in a batch from the factory. The leak was at the seam, so it was a lot less easy to deal with than if it had been elsewhere. Drift took a while to send the paddleboard – they tested it for us to make sure we didn’t have a second bad one – but we got it just before we left Australia.
The new paddleboard came with a slightly different backpack. The new design has some improvements (shoulder straps have much more cushioning) but also some disadvantages (there is no front pocket to store fin and screws). I provided feedback to Drift about the missing pocket on the backpack and they said that they have redesigned again to include the pockets!
Lack of Instructions
The lack of instructions led to me improperly deflating the paddleboard because I was unfamiliar with how to use the valve. I used the tool provided to remove the valve entirely instead of pressing on the center of the valve, which led to some issues with the way the valve fit on the board. But, I was able to fix it, and now I know what I’m doing!
I also provided the feedback regarding lack of instructions to Drift and they told me that their paddleboards now come with instructions! I haven’t reviewed the instructions personally, but I’m glad to hear that it’s been added to the package.
Lady Gemini, our pink paddleboard, has a white edge all the way around the sides, whereas the blue one, Lord Gemini, has a blue edge all the way around. That white edge bumps into our stern and while it doesn’t damage the paddleboard, we do occasionally get a bit of black bottom paint on the board. For this reason, I try to favor inflating Lord Gemini instead. Also, Drift Paddleboards sells rail tape, which is, I assume, designed to protect the sides of your paddleboards.
After the Teething Issues: Performance
Once I figured out how to properly inflate, deflate, and store, I got to really enjoy my Drift Paddleboard much more.
All of the reasons I wanted to switch from the ikayak to the iSUP came to fruition. The paddleboard is easier to inflate, easier to store, and easier to clean than the ikayak was. I can easily get back on the paddleboard from the water if I jump off (or fall off).
The stability of the Drift Paddleboards is VERY impressive. I have only fallen off once (because I was goofing off!). I’ve given eight inexperienced friends paddleboarding lessons and all except one (poor Niki!) caught on very quickly. Cruising friends have complimented the solidness of the paddleboard, some not even realizing it’s inflatable.
Rally friends in Indonesia commented that they see me out paddling every day! Not entirely true; I don’t keep the boards inflated all the time. I keep the board inflated for 5-10% of our cruising time. When conditions are right to use it (interesting place to paddleboard, fairly calm conditions) I inflate the board and use it as much as possible, sometimes twice a day, until it’s time to pack it up. When not in use, I do strap it to the davits, although I prefer to leave it in the water so it doesn’t get too hot. I only leave it on the davits while underway if we know it’s a short, light passage.
Paddleboard Eye Candy
Here are some of my favorite shots from paddleboarding over the last year:
It seems Drift Paddleboards is open to my suggestions and is actively improving the package that comes with the paddleboard. I’ve also encouraged them to make instructional videos because when I needed to know how to deflate the paddleboard, I turned to YouTube! Overall, I am very happy with the board and think it is an excellent entry-level inflatable paddleboard. I’m so glad to have it!