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Drift Paddleboards: Unboxing and Test Run

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Starry Horizons is not overly burdened with toys.  A lot of our space seems to be taken up with spare parts and safety gear instead of toys, but we have been carrying an inflatable kayak around for the past three years.

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!  

Problems with iKayaks

I’ve enjoyed the freedom of having a kayak, having alone time, and a way to get more exercise. However, there are some things I haven’t liked about my kayak:

1. I can not get into the kayak from the water. The kayak just doesn’t have the stability necessary to enter the kayak from the water. If I were to ever fall out in deep water (4+ feet) I would have a real problem on my hands.

2. It doesn’t store well. I’ve been inflating the kayak every time I want to use it. When I’m done, I usually deflate it that night (allowing it to dry fully) and putting it away.  Sometimes I would lash it to the deck for a few days, or even if we were moving for a few hours.  It’s got a lot of windage though.  In good news, I was getting quite a bum workout from the foot pump.

3.  The kayak is really hard to clean.  Because the kayak is made of three main tubes, when it is deflated there are a bunch of folds and overlapping of material.  While inflated, the drain is not in the best possible position, and the tubes are pressed together, trapping sand and blocking water flow.  It’s incredibly hard to get all the water and sand out.  And there is always, despite my best efforts, a lot of sand in the kayak.

Why an iSUP?

We’ve made a lot of friends who have inflatable standup paddleboards, and in the last year I’ve borrowed a few and taken them out for a spin.  The iSUP solves all these problems:

  1.  Getting onto the iSUP from the water is incredibly easy.
  2. The iSUP will fit on top of our dinghy davits when inflated.  Several friends keep their inflated all season long and just properly secure on deck while on the move.
  3. Any paddleboard is just one solid piece of material or one tube.  This is much easier to clean, as there’s no crevices and folds for sand to get stuck in.

I did my research, talked to friends, and found two companies I was interested in buying paddleboards from.  I bought from Drift Paddleboards, and so far am very pleased.  Meet, the Gemini Twins:

Unboxing our New Drift Paddleboards

We’d been carrying the new paddleboards around on Starry Horizons for a while.  Unfortunately, the water here on the east coast of Australia (south of Moreton Bay) hasn’t been all that pretty, plus we were traveling away from the boat a lot. Finally, when our friend Madeline was visiting we’d just spent a few rainy days cooped inside playing games.   The wrecks of Tangalooma ended up being a fun place to get the paddleboards out for the first time.

It had been a while since I’d bought them, so I’d pretty much forgotten what was in the box.  Our Drift Paddleboards came with:

  • an actual backpack (the ikayak we had had a weird bag with a shoulder strap, which was very uncomfortable)
  • repair kit
  • iSUP body
  • cargo net
  • leash
  • paddles (we upgraded to the carbon fiber adjustable paddles)
  • manual pump

There were no instructions that I could find, so I was a bit on my own, but I was able to figure everything out.  The backpack is too big for the board, which is a bit akward.  We did find that the holes on the paddleboard to make it adjustable were not aligned properly and David pulled out his tools to do some quick drilling for me.

Unboxing our new Drift Paddleboards
The backpack with paddleboard in it is surprisingly light.
Feeling the fabric of the paddleboard. I’m no expert, but it feels good!
Too much pumping.
Attaching the fin.
Attaching the leash.
Carrying Lady Gemini all by myself!

Taking our New Drift Paddleboards for a Test Run

Madeline and I paddleboarding at Tangalooma Wrecks.
Pulling up behind Starry Horizons.
Paddleboarding in the Tangalooma Wrecks.
Testing out my new Drift Paddleboard at the Tangalooma Wrecks.
I’m very happy.

Lifting Sir Gemini up over my head to store him on the davits.
Sir Gemini on the davits.

My Thoughts on our new Paddleboards

So far, so good.  I am very happy with the ease of inflating the paddleboard and assembling it.  It is smaller than our old ikayak and lighter as well.  The stability is good, which Madeline can attest to.  Madeline had never paddleboarded before, but she very quickly caught on and was able to stabilize herself and paddle around.  I was impressed with how much speed I could pick up.  There is a pretty strong current near the wrecks, but both Madeline and I had no trouble paddling back to the boat up current.  The iSUP fits well on the davits, and hoses down easily.  I am so glad I got to take a test run at such a unique place, and I look forward to a lot more amazing paddles soon!

6 Comments

  1. I was pretty interested in how you guys were liking the Kayak. I know that you had already “deep sixed” it, so I’m glad I was able to see your info on the paddle boards. Personally I am afraid of the paddle boards, at least standing on them. Perhaps my balance isn’t all that great, but hey I do ride a motorcycle without toooooo much trouble. I think that pretty much any kayak would be difficult to get back into after falling out. There are some hard outrigger kayaks, but they would be more difficlut to store.

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