AIRIS HardTop Paddleboards from Walker Bay || $999.00
Walker Bay is a popular brand synonymous with inflatable sport boats and tenders as well as rigid-hull dinghies that are complemented by sail kits — but paddleboards? As it turns out, yes. The AIRIS inflatable paddleboard (iSUP) line from Walker Bay has been circulating successfully for the last few years and we finally got to check one out, the AIRIS HardTop SUV 11. The verdict? These are some rugged, versatile boards with many features that boaters on the go will appreciate.
One instantly notable feature is that all AIRIS boards fold comfortably into a backpack, and at 26.5 pounds of weight, transport of the SUV 11 is quite manageable. The collapsible paddle not only is easy to travel with, but is also compatible with interchangeable blades, depending on the paddler’s preferences. Once out of the bag, the ruggedness of the board really comes through, especially on the HardTop SUV 11 version that we tested. Walker Bay clearly utilized some of their tested building techniques for their paddleboards, and the patented AirWeb six-inch construction is meant to achieve greater stiffness by accommodating higher air pressures. What’s more, the surface of the board is rigid with EVA foam steps where one’s feet usually are planted, which is good for performance. A detachable skeg also helps give this iSUP rigid-board-like tracking performance.
Pragmatic features like storage bungees, a surf leash attachment ring, carrying handles, and more abound on the SUV 11. The material also feels tough, and is assuredly less prone to damage than the average foam board. The SUV 11 can even be converted into a sort of kayak with a backseat accessory sold separately. All in all, the SUV 11 left us with a very positive impression and spoke well for the AIRIS line as a whole. The ease of transport plus rugged, stiff design may just make the HardTop SUV 11 iSUP a boater’s go to for trips to the San Juans and beyond. What’s more, they are designed and built in North America. More information is available at walkerbay.com. The Hardtop SUV 11 is listed at $999.