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First look at the Red Paddle Co 9’6″ Compact Inflatable Paddle Board

While we are still preparing out extensive review and video features of the new Red Paddle Co Compact 9’6″ inflatable stand up paddle board, Reuben of SUPBoarder has graced us with a first look video. It’s a great view into how the board arrives, a few of the new features, and mentions what excites us most. Red Paddle Co is the market leader in inflatable paddle boards and has that title from relentless research and development. Constantly seeking out better ways to make products, design features and introduce technology, Red Paddle Co is at the forefront and as we all know, trickle down of these features and technology is inevitable. Soon the popular class leading 10’6″ Ride all round paddle board will be decked out with even better features and even stiffer technology resulting in better performance.

Anyway, before we get ahead of ourselves with what the future holds, let’s have a look at the hear and now. Introducing a first look of the 9’6″ Compact by Red Paddle Co.

For more detailed information on the new Red Paddle Co Compact 9’6″, head over to our the future is now article which goes more into detail about the new PACT Technology, fins, paddle and bag.  For further questions, call us on 1-888-252-4983 or email us.

Red Paddle Co Compact 9’6″ First Look

Hi everybody, welcome back to another SUPboarder review. I hope you had a good Christmas, ate far too much and the new year has gone well so far. We thought we would start the new year with the brand new Red Paddle Co Compact first look video. This board arrived two days ago, and we’re going to unpack it and see what we think of it. There is a lot to talk about with this board and we’re not going to cover it all in this video for sure. Remember our first look video really are our first impressions. I have not seen this board in the flesh. I have looked at catalog pictures and I know pretty much what it’s about, and it’s basically about trying to give you the smallest, easiest transportable board on the planet from the world’s best or arguably, ok the world’s best iSUP brand at the moment. 10 years in the making there’s loads different technology, loads of new stuff which we haven’t seen.

Fins, 5 piece paddles, so let’s unpack this board and see what we think and remember to look out for the full review on SUPboarder where we’ll take you for a paddle down a river, we’ll compare it to a 10’6″, we’ll give you our thoughts and impressions and you’ll have a really good idea if you think this board is right for you.

Unboxing the Red Compact 9’6″ Inflatable Paddle Board

So let’s get this one unpacked. So the first thing to know actually before I unpack it, let’s get an old, here we go, that is a well, it’s still current actually, that’s a current 10’6″, 10’8″, 9’8″ box you would get all your other Red Paddle Cos in and that is the size of the Compact. So there you go, gives you an idea the size difference, it’s quite a lot larger, so straightaway there’s the size difference and I said we’re going to be doing full size differences of it compared to a 10’6″ in a backpack later are on.

So, it should all be undone, “Explore your world” “Red Paddle Co” “Register your board online,” all nicely finished. So it comes completely ready, out of the box. That one goes away. So it’s nice when it all comes in the bag, ready to go on the plane, ready to go wherever you’re going to go.

So let’s have look at the bag first. So it’s still got its heavy-duty sort of ripstop fabric, the backpack is totally different from the other Red Paddle Cos. Very nicely padded, it’s quite a bit narrower, obviously been well thought out, thick at the top, narrow at the bottom. Nice webbing straps, easy pull-downs, pads at the here, big thick pads and I think I saw something on the catalog, oh yes you can change lumbar support, is that called lumbar support, can’t remember, with your waist straps you can if you’re taller or you want it higher up you can move that further up. Nicely padded, nice clips and buckles, all seems pretty solid. The buckles are solid, the buckles are very solid and the canvas is nice, that’s good. It’s funny I don’t sound that shocked because it is an amazing backpack, but this is what I’d expect for Red Paddle Co, that’s what they’ve been doing for the last 10 years really.

Nice well secured handles on there. You know what, it’s light, that is a light board, it is a light board in a bag already. Yeah okay I like it.

So this board retails in the UK at £1299, in the US it’s $1899 I think, and in Euros I think it’s like 1500€ or 1600€.

So you get, oh you get a brand new quite a small coiled leash, you get your repair kit with your valve and your glue and stuff, and I’d say you very, very rarely use it. I spend more of the glue on my inflatable boat. Wooh, phone case, nice. Ooh, fin key, fin key on an inflatable. Fins!Have a look at that in a minute. Board out, cannot believe that’s a paddle in there! That is cool isn’t it. It doesn’t weigh anything. Ah, board, paddle, board, paddle, well do paddle. Look at the little handle. One piece, two piece, three piece, four-piece. Nicely stored away in the bag there. Really nice, easy to get in and out, and you can’t really go wrong as you’ve got all the parts. like my granddad’s workshop, look. How you want to put all your screwdrivers and everything back in the right place.

Nice small, nice small blade. Yeah, like the size of that. It’s got a rubber coating on the outside, plastic blade, carbon shaft. The end of the day, it’s pretty much all your traveling, you haven’t got to worry about it. You can still bang it on rocks and do those various sorts of things, it’s gonna stand up to it. Let’s see if I can idiots guide to work out and put it together. Are these all the same? Okay that’s neat. It says “Compact 5 piece” on the top section, so the other two are the same and you can’t get them wrong. I was wondering that if it was s all gonna be quite hard to get together if it was all different sort of bits. LeverLock system on here which is, I mean, the world’s best lever system if you ask me, it doesn’t let any water in very easy too, just maintenance-free. Yeah, it’s pretty stiff. I mean it’s got a bit of, a bit of flex there, but you mean that’s a five-piece paddle you know, you’re not going to be running, doing any races with this are you, just going to be cruising, exploring, maybe going some city breaks. LeverLocks, you can adjust all that. So good, I like that. Very quick to adjust, put that over there for now. The leash, let’s put the bag over there, more storage pockets there. Where’s the pump? Ahha, it’s in the board!

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So I’m just about to pull this board out of the bag. I know when I do this there’s a huge amount of new things and features and technology that Red Paddle Co have put into this Compact board and I haven’t fully learned all of them in the right order and definitely not in the right frame of words so don’t quote me to the catalogue, I might get stuff wrong, and remember, this is a first board back after having a break for Christmas, so let me off.

So let’s have a look, I do know it’s small, I do know it goes in half, and I do know it has a Titan pump with it and that is pretty impressive. Make sure the whole thing is in shot for you. So, Titan pump exactly the same as the standard, well it’s the standard Titan pump. Great pump, fantastic. I cannot believe that fits in the bag, it almost looks higher than it, out of it, but it does, so you’re gonna pump this board up nice and quick.

So here we go, straight away I know that’s a stringer and it’s going to give the board extra stiffness and so it is top and bottom, that stringer. Always nice to see the cardboard in the paper. Looks pretty cool. So I know that in here, this is their new threaded matrix drop stitch stuff inside. The new PACT Technology that this board is packed with. The really exciting thing about this now, even if you’re not looking at buying this board, the good thing about Red Paddle Co doing this type of board, is I can guarantee that some of the stuff you are seeing now, whether it be the fins, maybe the paddles, the technology in the board, the materials, will filter down into all of the other boards in time and they will be cheaper and guarantee that you will see good developments like this filtering down into the other range of boards. Now that’s a really big thing for the whole of the iSUP industry because, you know, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, Red Paddle Co are at the top, they’ve patented a huge amount of this stuff and it’s gonna be filtering down to other boards, so it’s really good that R and D at Red Paddle Co are putting that sort of stuff into boards like this so it’s really going to benefit the whole industry and all of us, so thanks Red Paddle Co for that.

So I think what we’ll do, we’ll pump it up. I like the way it folds up in half and it all seemed pretty easy to do so let’s pump it up. I’ll pump it up, and then let’s have a look at the board. I don’t think there’s anything else I need to look at on here and it needs to be really inflated to have a look at it.

Alright so that was inflated to 10 psi. Only pumped it up to 10 psi because yeh, you know, otherwise I’ll be a bit more out of breath. Very quick though with the Titan.

Pretty impressive so far. Nice handle, slightly offset the handle, it’s gonna be great for obviously if you’ve got shorter arms that way or if you’ve got longer arms you can pull it at that side. Thick pads nice, nice and grippy. It’s the same style super indented Red Paddle Co one that you see on the other boards. I like the way it’s sort of split in half. I don’t see that as an issue at all, when you’re paddling normally you’re going to have two either side anyway. Nice big bungee cargo straps. It’s nice because they’ve actually set them in on the forward ones and out on the bigger one so obviously, maybe, they thought about that when you fold it but you can get a large area under there, so that’s neat.

The board finish is, well you know, it’s going to be perfect. It is perfect. It’s very light, it’s unbelievably light, it’s funny when you feel it in the bag, it felt alright but that is, that is really, really, really, really light, the lightest Red Paddle Co I’ve ever felt, there you go.

Underneath, it’s got a nice rocker line, flat to the tail. This is what they worked a lot on. I know they worked a lot on making it paddle as straight a line, and as nice or as close to it as a 10’6″. So it’s, you’re still going to be able to paddle it on flat water, you’re still going to be able to use it and you know, you should be the surf it in some waves as well.

So fin boxes. Proper fin boxes. So this is why you can roll it up so small because you can remove some of the fins, or one of the reasons why you can roll it up so small, because you can remove the fins.

Just like to say I found this. This is the Compact user manual in the phone case. Really nice little book, loads of information in there, just nicely finished. Obviously you should look at that before you unpack the board and use it at all, but you know as usual, man, I didn’t. Guide to how to put the fin in and all that sort of stuff. Nice little Compact manual.

So let’s have a look at these fins. So these are, now this is where it all happened really. You’re paddling in a straight line, you need a couple things. Ideally you need a nice, nice long board, the longer the board the easier it is to paddle in a straight line. If you haven’t got a long board, you need good fins and stability at the back to give you a slight amount of drag or make you get a straight line. So this is where, they would have put all of their working to make this board paddling straight line, as well as a longer board.

So this is it, the new Red Paddle Co Compact fin, nicely finished but it’s still got a bit of flex at the tip there, so you’re not going to break it, but really stiff at the base. Beautiful profile on it, really nicely finished, lovely Red logos. The system looks lovely actually, well finished.

Alright, so it says in the manual I need to slide the fins in like this, and then slide them back. Oh that’s easy. So it’s got some grubs here, slides in the holes and back and you get your Allen key, and you do it up.

Red Paddle Co, I’m telling you now, can you do this on your surf iSUPs? Because I love it. Look at how profiled that is, that is really nice. That’s it, it costs a lot of money to do but it looks really, really good. Yeah they’re in there. There, you’re not gonna lose your fins.

Okay so, so going on, the fins are all fixed in, they look really good, really well finished to the fin box. You’re not going to get hardly any drag there, that’s one point why it’s going to paddle as well as a 10’6″. The other thing, they’re nice and swept-back, the fins are quite near the tail of the board, so they’re gonna try and make the board paddle as easy as possible in a straight line because trying to put the fins at the back. Nice and wide.

I can see straight away this board will feel very, very close to a 10’6″, but we will have to see when we paddle it. Get this up to the camera for you.

It’s very light, honestly 8kg (17.5lbs), yeah okay 8kg is what it is, but it’s light.

So first impressions are yeah, it’s a very nice board from Red Paddle Co. I really like the way everything’s going, the fins are fantastic, the stringers feel incredibly stiff. I’m looking forward to getting this on the water and giving out a proper review and seeing what it compares like to a bit of a 10’6″ which I know most of you are going to be looking at getting if you’re not looking at getting this sort of thing.

This video is a little bit longer than normal, but I know a lot of you are out there and you might be doing pre-orders or you might be trying to get hold of one of these early, so I want to give you a little bit more information if we could. But look out for the full review on SUPboarder, we’re going to try and get this done pretty quick within the next three weeks, because I know a lot of you want to hear our thoughts about it, but first impressions are, it is a very nice, good-looking, well-made board from Red Paddle Co that a lot of other brands are going to have to try and follow.

For more on the technology behind the new Red Paddle Co Compact 9’6″, head over to our the future is now article which goes more into detail about the new PACT Technology, fins, paddle and bag.

Call us on 1-888-252-4983 or email us here with any questions about this, or any other item we sell.

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from a decade of 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 football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.