2020 starboard inflatable stand up paddle boards best inflatable starboard sup

The 2019 Starboard Inflatable 10’8″ x 33″ iGO Zen Lite is advertised as a budget conscious, entry-level stand up paddle board, perfect for beginners and paddlers that want just one board that does it all. The 10’8″ iGO is ideal for riders up to 120kg. Thanks to the wide tail, the board is faster to turn than the longer sizes. It also has more glide than the shorter size and at an ultra stable width.

The 10’8″ iGO Zen Lite slots in underneath the Zen and Deluxe Double Chamber 10’8″ iGO boards, and when you compare the features and details of each board, you can see where Starboard has held back in order to cater for those who are just starting out or on a tighter budget. One mahor detail the Zen Lite board does not miss out on though, is Starboard’s new for 2019, Welded Seam Technology. Seams are typically the weakest point of an inflatable paddle board, and the Welded Seams on the new Starboards do away with any of those concerns.

In this review we’ll take a closer look at the 2019 Starboard iGO 10’8′ x 33′ x 5.5″ inflatable SUP and see if the board has a place in the market, or if you should skip it and go straight to the tried and true Zen and Deluxe models.

TL;DR: The 2019 Starboard iGO 10’8″ x 33″ inflatable paddle board is exceptional value. A MSRP of just $799, with bag and pump included, Starboard provides a high quality single-skin inflatable SUP that is a no nonsense board. Not everyone wants or needs the latest and greatest features and details, and paddle boarding is all about getting out on the water and having fun. This board doesn’t cut corners, but provides a simple, straight forward and quality platform to get you on the water at a price your wallet will like and from a quality brand you can trust. Two thumbs up for this board and for Starboard offering the Zen Lite range, and introducing more paddlers to quality iSUPs.

Starboard Inflatable SUPs in 2019

In 2019, Starboard folded the Blend, Whopper, Drive and Atlas boards into the GO range. On the inflatable side of things, they are known as the iGO. Some of the boards were tweaked for 2019 and the 10’8″ is a new model. The iGO is Starboard’s most popular inflatable paddle board range, “just jump on board and start paddling” says the marketing info.

It continues with: “The iGO boards are known to be stable, having good speed and being super easy to turn while stepping back onto the wide tail area. The board’s straight outline helps to paddle straight and you can paddle more strokes on one side before you need to swap over, which also helps comfort and even increases the overall speed.”

“This is the perfect paddle board range option for first-time paddlers, families with pets and anyone who wants less fuss and more enjoyable water time anywhere.”

For 2019 Starboard have 3 levels of inflatable paddle board. The top level Deluxe Double Chamber, the Zen and the new Zen Lite featured here.

Here’s a quick side by side of the three 10’8″ x 33″ iGO models.

What’s new for 2019?

  • The Zen Lite construction style is new for 2019, and the 10’8″ x 33″ iGO Zen Lite is a new model
  • Welding Technology. Mechanical bond = strength and durability

Starboard Zen Lite Bag

  • Simple and yet useful
  • This is the leanest and lightest board bag you can find, fitting together with Starboard’s Zen Lite’s trend
  • Back pack straps with waist band
  • Dual side cinch straps
  • Strong, non corrosive zipper

The bag is a no-nonsense carry bag with the essentials and no more. A three sided zipper allows for easy access, while the back pack and waist straps make it easy to carry. Two cinch straps on either side to keep it all bundled in nicely. Lack of side and top handles make it a bit harder to grab and handle but the back pack straps are always out and available to grab.

V8 Double Action Pump

  • Inflate your board with faster and easier continuous pumping cycle both in down and up actions
  • With a switch, the double action pump can convert to single action for easy inflation up to 18PSI
  • Allows effortless inflation due to the increased diameter of the intake and exhaust valves
  • The ergonomically designed foot pad creates a stable, comfortable platform for sustained effort in getting your board up to 18PSI, in the shortest amount of time

The tried and tested V8 double action pump from Starboard is a great pump. Easy switching mechanism and inflates the board quickly. Here it comes with the fixed base, the Deluxe boards come with a removable base, which doesn’t make much difference in using the pump, just with stowing it in the bag. The bag has plenty of space and I like to roll/fold my board around the pump so I have no problem with the fixed base.

The board

For 2019 Starboard have introduced not only the new 10’8″ x 33″ shape, but their Zen Lite construction. It is Starboard’s leanest, lightest and most budget oriented technology: Stripped down to the core essentials. Built with single layer knitted drop stitch, double rail band and heat welded rails. The lamination process uses minimal glue and solvent and packing of the board is free of plastic.

What intrigues me the most with the new Starboards for 2019 is the welded seams. WHile failures are not common, the seam is where they usually give out. Starboard have addressed that with their Welding Technology: Heated and bonded for life. Glue is never forever. Mechanical bond = Strength and Durability. Their new welding technique turns two into one – using heat to bond two separate pieces of PVC into a single solid unit. Heat-welded PVC creates a mechanical bond that’s stronger, lasts longer – and is better for the environment.

Since the beginning inflatable boards have been glued together at the seam, so the boards only last as long as the glue. Over the last few years Starboard have worked with welding machine manufacturers to develop better machinery for seam welding. Then they helped train their selected OEM assembler to utilize this unique technology in Starboard’s exclusive production lines, resulting in a long lasting mechanical bond.

A great looking board in Starboard’s current white, blue, red and grey finish. A large EVA deck pad with crocodile texture is a great fit for this do-it-all all rounder. The center carry is a nice a simple webbed handle, no padding, but that also means nothing lumpy to get in the way if you want to sit on the board, or do yoga etc. I do like a texture transition on the deck as you move towards the tail. Often a square cut groove or raised kick pad but since this board is just about getting on the water with a quality brand, but at a good price, I’m happy to accept some compromises to keep the price down. I don’t expect buyers of this board to be active in surf or practicing the race step back turns, it’s just about getting on the water and paddling.

At the tail of the board we have the standard Halkey-Roberts high pressure valve. Surrounded by some helpful inflation tips and safety warnings. Coupled with the valve is a stainless steel d-ring to attach a leash. Starboard’s are good to 18 PSI and the suggested range is 15-18 PSI. I’m 190lbs and I like to max out Starboard SUPs to 18 PSI, they can handle it fine, and you get a better performing board.

Tool-less Fin: An ergonomically designed screw that can easily be adjusted using the fingers, allows the fin setup to be done without any tool. This screw is connected to the fin so it cannot be lost.

On the water

This model of the Starboard iGO range is probably the best all rounder size and shape. At 10’8″ long it provides decent glide and tracking, while the 33″ width gives good stability and carrying capacity without being too wide. It compliments the range of iGO boards well. The main iGO inflatable paddle boards are the 10′ x 33″, 10’8″ x 33″, 11’2″ x 32″ and 12′ x 33″. Those looking for a bit more speed and glide can choose the 11’2″. Those looking for a bit more manoeuvrability can go for the 10′. And finally, those looking for an extra stable, larger capacity board can choose the 12′. While not all are available in the Zen Lite construction, Starboard chose the 10’8″ x 33″ as it’s the best do-everything board shape.

This is a comfortable and easy SUP for beginners to start on, or intermediates to advanced paddlers to use for fun or keep for friends and family to use. Cruising the coastline, SUP Yoga, paddling workouts, slow moving rivers, bays, inlets, intra-coastals, tropical islands, you name it! It is also a great choice for families as the 10’8″ iGO can be enjoyed by all ages, with enough space for a child or pet up front. Carrying capacity is good at up to 240lbs. Most people can paddle this board comfortably, or smaller paddlers can take a pet, child or friend with them. The deck pad is large, comfortable and grippy.

The large center fin provides decent tracking in most conditions. It’s an all round board with a rounded nose and tail so it won’t win any races but it will certainly get you on the water in most conditions and having a good time.

Vitals

  • Length: 10’8″
  • Width: 33″
  • Tail width: 19″
  • Thickness: 5.5″
  • Volume: 301 liters
  • Weight: 20 lbs board only
  • Max payload: 240 lbs/110 kg
  • Fin: 8″ US Box tool less fin
  • Warranty: 2 years

Likes

  • Everything you need and nothing you don’t – gets everyone on the water at a great price
  • Renowned Starboard quality construction and stiffness
  • 18 PSI max inflation pressure
  • Excellent all round stability and performance, with decent tracking
  • Large and grippy deck
  • Lightweight carry bag
  • Just the essentials with this board, bag and pump package

Dislikes

  • No kick pad at the tail for foot positioning assistance
  • No tail handle for easier board handling
  • No accessory mounts
  • No extra carry handles on bag

In conclusion

An extremely high quality yet budget conscious product from Starboard. The 10’8″ x 33″ iGO Zen Lite is a great all rounder that will suit many paddler sizes and their needs. Stable at 33″ wide, with decent glide at 10’8″, it provides stability and manoeuvrability. At just $799 with bag and pump included, it’s a compelling proposition for first time paddlers to get a premium level SUP right off the bat. The Zen Lite boards provide a simple and to the point experience – get people on the water and having a good time on a board that will perform well and last. Two thumbs up for this board and for Starboard offering the Zen Lite range, and introducing more paddlers to quality iSUPs.

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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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