In 2016, Red Paddle Co introduced Monocoque Structural Laminate, or MSL, which set them apart from all the other inflatable paddle board manufacturers. While many of them are playing catch up with fusion style constructions of their own, Red Paddle Co is already a few years ahead and improving on the industry leading MSL Technology with each model. MSL is a patented technology and construction process, much like Gore-Tex, so you won’t find it on any other paddle boards.
With so many fitness style boards on offer, who might be interested in the 10’8″ Activ? Let’s find out how this board fits into the 2019 Red Paddle inflatable SUP range, and is a clear winner overall.
Red Paddle Co in 2019
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 2018/2019 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 Red Paddle Co Original inflatable sup bag features an internal mesh pocket, bungee tie downs for a 3 piece paddle, foil lining on the bag material and upgraded zipper pulls. It 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, fins, 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 featured on the Original Bag so you can carry the bag on your back with comfortable shoulder and waist straps, or tuck them away out of sight and away from baggage belt monsters and just roll the bag on the integrated wheels and be confident the bag will arrive safely.
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 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 2019 10’8″ Red Air Activ took me only 4 minutes.
The latest Titan Pump has been totally reworked internally and was even more efficient. With the improved handle design, beefier internal valves, hose adaptors for your favourite inflatable toys, it pumps even more smoothly and efficiently.
Dimensionally, the board is the same as previous years: 10’8″ long, 34″ wide and 5.9″ thick and construction wise, it’s the same industry leading MSL Fusion. Visually, a small update with lighter and brighter graphics. The deck pad now is “red” embossed EVA foam creating a grippy but comfortable deck to paddle or perform poses on. Continued relatively unchanged are the rail and shoulder graphics, Railblaza and RAM Mount on the nose integrated with a d-ring. The side mount center carry handles though, are now a softer material on the outside, but still padded EVA inside.
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 2018/19, 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.
I’m 200lbs and I usually pump my Red Paddle Co boards 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 2018/2019 10’8″ Activs, 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 2018/2019 Red Paddle Co 10’8″ Activ on the scales and it weighed in at 23lbs. For reference, the 2015 board and other double layer boards on the market, weigh in at 28lbs or more. That’s about 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.
The built in, super durable fins, or iFins, for 2018/2019 are now embossed with the Red Paddle Co logo and remain largely in the same position which promotes great all round performance, good tracking for flat water paddling and general cruising. The fins are tightly bunched in their arrangement which allows for a tight 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 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
The 10’8″ Activ is a great all round board with a large deck area designed to suit paddlers who love to perform yoga, pilates or other exercises while on the water. It is extremely stable and forgiving meaning anyone can take advantage of this board’s active vibe. It’s also great for beginners to stand on this board and have a good time paddling. With the large deck area, the board is also well suited to families who want to carry a child or small passenger, a furry friend. Cruising and turning is pretty easy and the 10’8″ Activ has ok glide. Either standing or kneeling, paddling is comfortable and tracking from the iFin built in fins is straight. The 5.9″ thickness is a perfect for stability, rigidity, performance and manoeuvrability.
This is an extremely easy and exceptionally stable paddle board for beginners to start on, or larger intermediate to advanced paddlers to use. Cruising the coastline, SUP Yoga, paddling workouts, riding small surf, slow moving rivers, bays, inlets, intra-coastals, tropical islands, you name it! It is also a great choice for families as the 10’8″ Activ can be enjoyed by all ages, with acres of space for children or furry friends up front. The almost indestructible design is also paw friendly.
- Length: 10’8″
- Width: 34″
- Thickness: 150mm, 5.9 inches
- Volume: 320 liters
- Weight: 23 lbs board only, 32 lbs with backpack and pump
- Max payload: 265 lbs/120 kg
- Warranty: 1 year, 2 years with product registration
- New and brighter 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
- Accessories mount for things like GPS, camera or phone
- Full coverage, comfortable and improved, “red” embossed, EVA deck pad
- Exceptionally stable board, with plenty of float
- Bomb proof iFins
- Two year warranty with board registration
- Lack of center carry handle makes it a little awkward to carry the board. Although, a hand over shoulder technique works well.
- 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
An extremely high quality product from Red Paddle Co who are the outright leader in inflatable paddle board technologies and design – the 10’8″ Activ is a prime candidate for all round paddling, family fun and of course, being active with yoga, pilates or other exercises. Great value for money when you consider the excellent quality of the board, bag and pump.
Find all the details here: 2019 Red Paddle Co 10’8″ Activ inflatable stand up yoga paddle board SUP.
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