2018 red paddle co - 2018 range of inflatable SUP paddle board

  • 2018 Red Paddle Co 10’6″ Ride

    From: $1299.00
  • 2018 Red Paddle Co 10’6″ Ride Special Edition

    From: $1299.00
The 2018 Red Paddle Co 10’6″ Ride inflatable stand up paddle board is an evolution of the 2017 model. A graphics refresh, refined features, attention to detail and upgraded bag round out the bigger changes over the 2017 version. After the huge step up in finish quality for the 2016 model year when MSL Fusion drop stitch construction was introduced, and now with a solid 2 years under their belt from this revolutionary change, the 2018 Red Paddle Co range updates focus on not only making the boards better looking but improves on the smaller details of the board, the bag and Titan Pump.

Along side the regular 10’6″ Ride for 2018, we have the 10’6″ Ride Special Edition. This eye catching purple trimmed board is to celebrate Red Paddle Co ‘s 10th anniversary. In 2008, Red Paddle Co started out as a pioneer in the industry focusing on just inflatable stand up paddle boards, and today, they are the market leaders in terms of technology, quality and performance. (The only difference with the 10’6″ Ride Special Edition is the color, the board has the same specifications and comes with the same things as the regular 10’6″ Ride.) With this color difference in mind, this review is valid for both boards.

Note: This article is a review of the 10’6″ Ride (and the 10’6″ Ride Special Edition), for more info on how to set up and use the board, please see our knowledge base area or view the Red Paddle Co User Manual.

So what exactly have they updated for 2018? What features have they changed, what details are refined, are the boards better? Should I get a 2018 10’6″ Ride or stick with a 2017 model? In an attempt to answer these questions, let’s begin with the 2018 Red Paddle Co 10’6″ Ride review and videos.

TL;DR: Red Paddle Co have yet again managed to improve on an already excellent board. With a larger 6-point cargo area, great deck pad and refined bag, this is the most complete all round inflatable SUP on the market. There’s a reason this board is our most popular seller and part of the world’s most popular family of boards, the Red Paddle Co Ride family, it simply is the best all round, all purpose board available.

Red Paddle Co in 2018

Red Paddle Co is at the forefront of inflatable SUP technology. From boards, to pumps, to bags and even the fixtures and fittings, they have always lead the way. Mainstreaming double layer boards with their first models, then introducing MSL Fusion in 2016, Red Paddle are never ones to sit still. Aside from MSL, we’ve seen Rocker Stiffening System (RSS) battens and the Forward Flex Control (FFC) rod, the double barrel Titan Pump, wheeled bag with stowable back pack straps, RAM mounts, tool-less fins and now a 2 year warranty.

Content to just improve the technical aspects of inflatable paddle boarding, Red Paddle Co’s line hasn’t seen much in the way of aesthetic changes since 2015. For 2018 however, Red Paddle Co has made range wide changes to the graphics, colors and names of models. Offering a more eye catching and eye pleasing range of boards, they have aligned their position of using market leading technology with some of the best looking boards available.

The bag

The 2018 inflatable sup bag is an updated version of the 2017 bag. Now in a charcoal color with red stitching. For 2018 they have moved the internal mesh pocket, used for a leash, fin, keys etc, to the inside of the front flap, making it more accessible than the 2017 version that had it hidden behind the paddle if a paddle was in the paddle pocket bungees. As mentioned the paddle bungee tie downs for a 3 piece paddle feature again, as does the foil lining on the bag material and upgraded zipper pulls.The foil lining improves the heat protection of the board if you leave it in your car or in a hot climate, and doubles as a waterproof lining so your wet gear won’t leak out of the bag after a session.

For your board, you have a strap to hold the board wrapped up but there is also a handy internal cinch strap which keeps your board positioned and secure in the bag during travel. The bag features an easy loading system where the bag zips all the way along 3 sides opening up wide so you can get your gear in and out very easily.

Bag dimensions remain the same at: 37″ high, 14″ wide and 12″ deep.

Space is aplenty for the Titan pump, a 3 piece paddle, leash and even wetsuit, PFD etc. The Titan Pump comes with the board wrapped around it which is a great space saving technique and something I continue to do. It also keeps the pump secure with the board when cinched down. With previous pumps, this wasn’t such an issue but as the Titan is a little bulkier it makes sense to use the space inside the rolled up board for something, keep it secure in the bag and have room for more. I’ll get into this more later in this review but thanks to the MSL Fusion construction process, the board also rolls tighter leaving you even more room in the bag for extras.

Carry handles on both sides, as well as the top and bottom give you, and baggage handlers, plenty of places to grab and carry the bag. The Sherpa backpack system is updated in 2018, the strap stash system has been updated to make it easier to access and stash the straps. The Sherpa system allows you to carry the bag on your back with comfortable shoulder and waist straps, or tuck them away out of sight and away from hungry baggage carousel gremlins and just roll the bag on the integrated wheels and be confident the bag will arrive safely. See more photos of the bag here.

As packaged from the factory the board is protected by a layer of plastic to separate the board from itself when rolled, small inflatable “water wings” which go around the fins to help them keep shape, the Titan pump in it’s own bag and a bag that bundles the whole lot. The water wings are the only things you’ll want to keep from all this packaging. They are handy to keep to protect the fins, though not vital as the iFins are very durable and can be straightened easily when heated. Read more here about straightening iFins.

The pump

The majority of the Red Paddle Co line now comes standard with the improved and more efficient Titan Pump. Overall the Titan makes pumping the board a much quicker process. The angled foot base and wide handle work well for me with my long legs and wide shoulders.

I always found the Ezee and Ezee HP a little small to get my frame around, sort of akin to an elephant trying to ride a bike. Anyway, Red have taken into account some of the ergonomics for comfortable and efficient inflation as well as doubling the input volume of air with every stroke.

Pump up to about 8-10 PSI on the included gauge and then you pull the red plug out of the back of the handle, affix to the little nub so it doesn’t flap around, and continue on the HP side to go all the way to 25 PSI. The Titan still beats any electric pump I’ve come across in inflation time, but yes, you do have to do the work…

Inflating the 2018 10’6″ Red Air Ride took me only 3 minutes as compared to the time previously, which I managed an inflation time of 4 minutes 47 seconds with the older style Ezee pump.

The 2017 Titan Pump had been totally reworked internally and was even more efficient. The 2018 model continues with the improved handle design, beefier internal valves, hose adaptors for your favourite inflatable toys, it pumps even more smoothly and efficiently.

The board

Dimensionally, the board is the same as last year: 10’6″ long, 32″ wide and 4.72″ thick and construction wise it’s the same industry leading MSL Fusion. Visually, a big update with improved graphics, fitting in with the deck graphics change is a re-worked deck pad grip layout – the diamond cut groove pad extends in the center providing better awareness of footing. Another big change is the larger 6-point cargo area so you can carry more things, more easily. Continued relatively unchanged are the rail and shoulder graphics, Railblaza and RAM Mount on the nose integrated with a d-ring. The carry handles though, are now a softer material on the outside, but still padded EVA inside.

Once again for 2018, thanks to the MSL Fusion construction, the board finish is so good it looks like a regular hard board. MSL, or Monocoque Structural Laminate Fusion, basically eliminates a lot of excess glue and human error. In previous years, the “board within a board” Red Paddle Co is famous for was primarily glued together, making a super durable board but adding extra weight and the potential for hand gluing or human errors.

This process consists of industrially fusing and machine pressing the inner layer of polymer to the high density drop stitch core at the raw material stage. Same “board with a board” construction but with material that is now structurally more sound, even more rigid, as well as lighter. More details about MSL over here. For 2018, Red Paddle Co have refined the MSL construction, tweaking materials, thickness and bond strength which means they’ve all but stopped batch inconsistencies and it allows them to make boards from the most advanced drop stitch available, without any unnecessary excess or errors.

MSL tech talk aside, what does this mean for the paddler? Well, the cosmetic finish is drastically improved over standard inflatables, the boards are about 20% lighter over the standard double layer boards, and since they are fused and machine pressed together, they are essentially one piece instead of 2 layers, and are structurally stiffer at lower pressure. Red Paddle Co recommend a pumping pressure of 16-22 PSI for most applications to make the most of these benefits and improve overall performance.

I’m 190lbs and I usually pump my 10’6″ Ride to 20 PSI. I find this is a good balance between time pumping and on water performance.

For a direct comparison of the 2017 and 2018 10’6″ Rides, move the slider to see the changes.


Red Paddle Co have famously tested the durability and toughness of their boards over the years. Most recently you can watch a series of unbelievable durability tests performed on a poor 2017 10’6″ Ride model. Also, take a look at a 2014 board taking a beating. Knowing that the Red Paddle Co MSL construction boards are this strong, should put your mind at ease!

So, the board is exceedingly tough and durable, but at what cost? I put the 2018 Red Paddle Co 10’6″ Ride on the scales and it weighed in at 22lbs. For reference, the 2015 board and other double layer boards on the market, weigh in at 27lbs or more. That’s a 20% weight saving. This is a significant weight saving and is immediately apparent when you lift the board out of the box. Then when you have it inflated and carry to the water, much easier. On the water too, more responsive and easier to paddle. However, Red Paddle Co are careful not to make the boards too light. Yes, there is such a thing. Obviously the weight is there for rigidity and performance reasons, but we also need some weight in the board to control it in rougher waters or wind. A board with some weight is predictable and stable making it better suited to all paddlers.

Up a little closer we can once again see the edges of the material are cleanly cut, the glue lines that often wander on inferior brands are all perfectly straight thanks to the robots. To continue the attention to detail, the 6 tie-down d-rings are stainless steel with heavy duty bungee cord. The center carry handle is padded but no longer features the outer decal to improove the comfort and softness. There is also an updated carry handle integrated into the leash d-ring on the tail which is excellent for pulling the board through waves, up the beach or generally just holding on etc.

Since 2017, almost all of the Red Paddle Co inflatable paddle boards feature a Railblaze/RAM Mount, or two. These mounts use a special screw thread to which there are many compatible Railblaza/RAM Mount products, two of the world’s leading accessory bracket manufacturers. This mount enables you to securely attach a range of accessories, from GPS devices and cameras to fishing rods and cup holders. On the 2018 10’6″ Ride, the mount is integrated into the nose mounted d-ring.

The built in, super durable fins, or iFins, for 2018 are now embossed with the Red Paddle Co logo and remain in the same position which promotes better all round performance. The toe-in style of the 2 forward fins in the tri-fin or thruster arrangement helps the board perform and make turns in the waves. The slightly further back position of these 2 fins (the change made for the 2017 model) also improves the tracking for flat water paddling and general cruising. The centre fin was moved slightly forward for the same reasons. An extra benefit of the new “closer together” positioning is a tighter roll up of the board.

The Red Paddle Co logos on the top and underside of the nose are screen printed on rather than a PVC layer in itself, further saving weight.

The rest

The package includes a repair kit with glue and patches, a waterproof phone case, and a general guide book with inflation instructions, pump tips and care tips inside the mesh pocket. Finally, a wrapping strap to keep the board rolled up.

On the water

A mostly unchanged experience for 2018 compared to the previous 2 years (since MSL was introduced). The updates in materials and deck pad improve the responsiveness and ease of handling, and adjusted fin position still helps to offer the improved tracking and manoeuvrability overall and in surf. Handles are now softer and more comfortable and a treat to use to and from the water and getting back on the board. Cargo area is now larger with 6 stainless steel d-rings, it’s very secure with thick bungee cord.

The 2018 Red Paddle Co 10’6″ Ride continues to be a great all round board for paddlers up to 220lbs. It’s the perfect width at 32″, meaning it is enough to be stable but still narrow enough to be manageable to carry on land and easy to paddle on the water. Cruising and turning is pretty easy and the 10’6″ Ride has nice glide. Either standing or kneeling, paddling is comfortable and tracking from the iFin built in fins is quite straight. The 4.72″ thickness is a perfect match between rigidity, performance and manoeuvrability. Thick enough to be rigid and keeping your feet out of the water but not so thick that it feels like you’re riding a cork or feel disconnected from the board or the water.

This is an incredibly easy paddle board for beginners to start on, or intermediates to advanced paddlers to use. Cruising the coastline, SUP Yoga, paddling workouts, riding small to medium surf, slow moving rivers, bays, inlets, intra-coastals, tropical islands, you name it! It is also a great choice for families as the 10’6″ Ride can be enjoyed by all ages, with enough space for a child or 4 legged friend up front. The almost indestructible MSL construction is also paw friendly.

The deck pad is large and comfortable. For 2018, it now has a “red” logo textured finish which is a nice touch yet still provides ample grip for general use and is very forgiving. Also new for 2018, the tail section of diamond cut textured EVA has a pointed front to it, meaning it extends further forward in the middle of the board, While this fits well with the new and improved deck graphics there is also a functional element here which provides better grip in the center and towards the tail for step back turns. The pointed front edge of the diamond groove deck pad helps locate your foot position when moving on the board. Much like an arch raise on a surf board tail pad. It helps you know where your foot is in relation to the tail and the center of the board without having to look down, in barefoot at least. The diamond texture also provide better grip for getting back on the board to ride waves.

Vitals

  • Length: 10’6″
  • Width: 32″
  • Thickness: 120mm, 4.72 inches
  • Volume: 240 liters
  • Weight: 21 lbs board only, 30 lbs with backpack and pump
  • Max payload: 220 lbs/100 kg
  • Warranty: 1 year, 2 years with product registration

Likes

  • Slick new and improved graphics with attention to visual details that now match the advanced construction and stiffness technologies
  • Top quality MSL Fusion construction with “hard-board-like” finish
  • Quick inflation with the  efficient Titan Pump
  • Clever internal packaging in the carry bag for secure transportation of paddle and other accessories
  • Accessories mount for things like GPS, camera or phone
  • Improved EVA deck pad with pointed diamond texture towards the tail for better feeling and grip
  • Stable board, decent glide
  • Larger and secure cargo area
  • Bomb proof iFins
  • Two year warranty with board registration

Dislikes

  • My only gripe so far, the Titan Pump is a bit bulky when packing the board and everything in the bag, but that is more than made up for by the unmatched efficiency and performance

In conclusion

An extremely high quality product from Red Paddle Co who are the outright leader in inflatable paddle board technologies and design – the 10’6″ Ride is still (after several years) my go to board for all round paddling and family fun. Excellent value for money when you consider the excellent quality of the board, bag and pump. I use one, my kids love it, it’s our number 1 selling board. To borrow Red Paddle Co’s own marketing speak, “If you had to choose just one board, this is the one we’d suggest.” I second that statement, you can’t go wrong with this board.

Find all the details here: 2018 Red Paddle Co 10’6″ Ride.

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a hockey fan, football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.

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