2023 starboard best inflatable touring stand up paddle boards

Review of the 2022 Starboard 14′ x 28″ All Star Airline inflatable racing paddle board

The 2021/2022 Starboard Inflatable 14′ x 28″ All Star Airline racing inflatable SUP has the widest All Star outline which provides added stability so the rider can reserve energy from balancing and instead use it to maximize paddle power. The wider outline gives extra control in choppy conditions, while the flat rocker maximizes glide for the fastest speed on flats. With the extra stiffness and rigidity from the Airline Technology coupled with the lightweight Deluxe Single Chamber Fusion Construction, this board will make you question a hard board.

This unique line of inflatable paddle boards shares the outline of the multi championship winning carbon All Star and combines it with the practicality of an inflatable SUP. What truly makes this board special though, is the all new award winning patented Airline stiffening system resulting in an extremely rigid inflatable paddle board. Since 2018, the Starboard inflatable All Star Airlines have set a new standard by which all other performance inflatable SUP’s are measured.

In this review we’ll take a closer look at the 2021/22 Starboard All Star 14’0″ x 28″ x 6″ inflatable racing SUP and see if the board has a place in the market, or if, as a serious racer, you should head straight to a hard board.

TL;DR: The 2021/22 Starboard All Star 14′ x 28″ inflatable racing paddle board is basically a hard board – bring a step ladder to your next race, you’re going to be on the top step of the podium! Starboard have thrown all their racing R&D behind this design, innovated new technologies and created one of, if not the fastest inflatable racing paddle board we’ve seen to date. Ease of setup, sleek but stable, super stiffness, paddling fast will be a given.

Starboard Inflatable SUPs in 2022

It’s all about combining Starboard’s best technologies to offer an inflatable paddle board with the feel and speed of a hard board. Starting with their super stiff and extra light woven fusion technology, then adding a free-flowing aramid cable locking the board in shape when inflated. Introducing a standing tray to be able to use the side parts of the rails, keeping full balance when paddling hard. The release edge, nose cone, streamlined hull shape and race handles are included for your flying start. All commercial airlines welcome a Starboard Airline in their luggage program, welcome on board!

Back in 2019, Starboard injected 25 years of board building innovation into their inflatable board program. Their main focus was to build their boards stiffer, lighter, more stable, safer and way more durable. One feature, one of many unique to Starboard, is their Welding Technology. The welding technology carries over into 2021 as a proven technology with industry leading quality and durability.

What’s new for 2021/22?

  • Updated composite board inspired outline, inflatable convenience
  • Carbon bottom stringer for extra stiffness and reflex sensation
  • Narrower tail for easier and faster buoy turning
  • Updated bag graphics

Starboard Re-Cover Airline Bag

Light, strong, Airline specific large bag shape

  • Made wider and shorter, so its easy and fast to pack, whilst preserving the shape of the Side Walls.
  • Due to the EVA Side walls, the All Star must be folded instead of rolling.
  • Bag is made from recycled plastic bottles. Approx. 30 bottles used to make 1 bag.
  • The ultra-light Re-cover bag is designed to minimise weight yet maximise comfort and strength, resulting in the very best backpack carrying experience.
  • Utilizing “Rip Stop” technology to further strengthen the solid 450D materials, we have an amazingly strong and light combo.
  • Thanks to our partner “Waste2Wear” for making this breakthrough possible with upcycled plastic bottles, showcasing futuristic thinking.
  • New spacious inside pockets for accessories.
  • The Re-Cover bags have a RPET 450D outer fabric layer made from upcycled plastic bottles, in partnership with Waste2Wear. About 30-150 bottles are used to make each bag
  • Square shape bag to accomodate new standing tray and efficient roll up/fold up
  • Twin roller wheels for easy transport
  • Padded cover
  • Ergonomically shaped hiking straps and back support, which can be packed away in the strap free system
  • Inside and outside compressions straps
  • Reinforced diamond PVC for increased durability around the base
  • Name tag window
  • Strong, non corrosive zipper
  • 34 x 26 x 12 inches

The Re-Cover board fits the Airline well, has an internal pocket for the fin and wheels to roll the bag. There is also plenty of room for the pump, and any other accessories you may want to include. The Airline boards need to be folded around the standing tray foam wedges. This does make the bag quite a bit bigger than most board bags, but the standing tray is worth it, so you take a hit with portability and compactness. One thing to watch out for is to not overload the bag with bit and pieces like paddle, towel, wetsuit etc, it’ll make the bag heavier and less manageable. More on the standing tray later.

Starboard Tiki Pump

Fast, easy and comfortable

  • The hose is attached to the pump’s body, so no flapping around when pumping the board up. And so is the pressure gauge, for an easy read of the pressure in the board.
  • 10% more efficient thanks to the redesigned handle, base, piston and outside tube for the air outlet.
  • By placing the airflow cylinder outside of the chamber, there is space for a more efficient flow inside the pump.
  • Double and single action pumping modes and wider removable foot base that increases stability when pumping.
  • Inflate your board with faster and easier continuous pumping, both in down and up actions. With the flip of a switch at about 7PSI, the double action pump can convert to single action for easy inflation up to 18PSI
  • Redesign allows effortless inflation due to the increased diameter of the intake and exhaust valves
  • Precise angled handle and palm grip for comfortable and easier pumping. The handles are wide and shaped perfectly to fit the palm, then rotated into the best angle for a sustained pumping action
  • The ergonomically designed extra wide detachable foot pad creates a stable, comfortable platform for sustained effort in getting your board up to 18PSI, in the shortest amount of time, yet packs down efficiently with the detachable base
  • The base and the handles are produced with upcycled fishing nets taken out of the Indian ocean.

The Tiki Pump from Starboard is a great double action pump. Easy switching mechanism, wide base and fixed hose position, it inflates the board quickly. The fixed hose position is my favourite part, an upgrade over the older V8 pump and many other pumps on the market. I like to get my pumping done quickly and that mean the hose would always flap about. With the fixed hose position, you can pump quickly without issue now.

The board

Fusion Woven Drop Stitch – Deluxe Single Chamber (DSC)

In development for 5 years, Starboard’s new Woven Drop Stitch technology process starts with a glue free PVC lamination on the top and bottom of the board. Inside the board they have their new weave on the top and base. This weave provides a structure for the polyester yarns – which gives the board its shape. The weave has less give than the traditional knitting method. Knitted fibres have soft and stretchy properties, whereas this new weaving is superior in stiffness, reflex and rigidity. Think dress shirt vs a polo shirt.

But it’s not just about adding on – they’ve also taken away, cutting weight by 3.3 lbs on average. The yarn threads are reduced per square inch for better reflex. Less plastic and a lighter paddle board. Less weight, faster acceleration, easier to carry. With Starboard’s new Woven Technology their paddle boards are not only lighter, but stronger and stiffer. Better in every way.

Extra stiff, strong and light. Feel it!

  • Woven fabrics reduce stretch, hold more tension and create a stiffer board.
  • The woven fabrics use less material than conventional drop stitch, creating a lighter board.
  • Fusion lamination of top and bottom layers is done in a glueless process,  increasing stiffness and creating a solid board, while reducing weight.
  • What does it mean for you? A stiffer and lighter, durable board, with a reflex sensation you can feel.
  • Galvanized 2000 D rails increase the strength of the board, together with the 3K compression bands.

Heat welded rail – Bonded for life

  • Welding technology turns 2 pieces of material into a single solid unit, resulting in an extra-strong mechanical bond.
  • A mechanical bond is stronger, lasts longer and is better for the environment.
  • Welding creates a complete airtight seam without the risk of glue weakening over time.

Cleanest Technology

The deck and bottom lamination process is free of glue and solvent using stricter rules in plasticizer. Packaging of the board is free of plastic.

starboard 2021 all star airline technology green water sports

Airline Technology

Starboard’s Airline Technology is a free-flowing aramid cable which locks the board in shape when inflated. It is an efficient, lightweight technology that has changed the landscape of inflatable performance boards.

The patented Airline Technology utilizes a pre-set free-floating cable. It is attached to the nose, goes under the bottom and ends at the fin box. The preset cable is slightly shorter than the board so when the board inflates, the cable comes under tension and stiffens the board significantly. We measured 1.8 cm less hull deflection in testing and 2016 World Champion Connor Baxter swears by it. For more on setting up and tuning your Airline board click here. The cable is attached to one of 4 hooks, which alters the cable tension and ultimately stiffness. Updates for 2021/22 include the carbon infused PVC stringer on the underside, housing the airline cable, further increasing stiffness of the board overall.

Setting up the Airline cable initially was a bit fiddly. The knot and excess string need to be tucked into the fin box and under the fin. Once the knot is stretched and slots into the fin box, installation is much easier. You can also cut the airline cable to minimise the excess cable needing to be stuffed in under the fin. Overall though, setting the cable loop on the center hook to start, and then inflating the board was very easy. You can then trim the cable by using the various hooks to increase tension (flatter rocker/faster board) or decrease tension (softer rocker, more give and comfort in chop). However, adjusting the the loop’s position requires deflating the board.

EVA standing tray on starbaord all star airline racing paddle board inflatables green water sports

EVA Standing Tray

The EVA Standing Tray helps to hold a wider stance for extra stability and helps recover balance with the high EVA sides to push against. The foam wedge high sides provide more control to lean on the rail to steer the board from the midpoint. Creates a dug out style standing area which makes it more versatile to paddle in choppy water. The sides are made from EVA foam so they are lightweight, soft to stand against and flexible when packing.

To be honest I was a bit skeptical of the standing tray design at first. I was mostly annoyed at the need to fold the board and the large bag it had to pack into. However, and a big however, after riding the board, I very quickly changed my mind. I’m more of a SUP surfer than a SUP racer and my local paddling area is a choppy bay with waves on the outside. Having the raised edges on the side of the board made a noticeable difference to my stability on this board and I felt like I could have comfortable gone down to a 26″ wide if I was more serious about speed. The standing tray gave me plenty of grip and leverage on the edge of the board, where most inflatables tend to drop away as the rail tucks around to the underside.

I also found a way to roll/fold the board in such a way that I could travel with a standard bag. This meant folding part of the board in half lengthwise (nose to tail) and then folding the board up so it basically had a more narrow foot print for the bag. Not something I did every day, but on the couple of airplane rides I took, I used a smaller bag and folded the board this way.

A great looking board in Starboard’s current blue, red and grey finish. A large EVA deck pad with square cut and crocodile texture EVA foam is very comfortable and a great fit for this racing board. The pad continues rearward with a raised kick pad area which indicates how close you are to the rear of the board during any step back or mark rounding turns.

The center and two forward handles provide several carrying options, if you’ve got a beach start or beach mark rounding in your race.

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. Starboards 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. Using the brass plate dropped into the fin box gives the airline knot plenty of space to sit up front in the box.

On the water

This board is fast, fast, fast! Excellent glide and tracking with decent stability from the 28″ width for me. I paddle on open ocean and in a small bay where it is never really glassy flat, but early morning sessions before the wind picked up had me excited to paddle this board. I’m more of a surf SUPer and go for the occasional all round and touring paddle, but having paddled all sorts of SUPs, I looked forward to paddling and really enjoyed this one for the speed. I have a cruisey loop in the bay that takes around 30-40 mins to paddle and on the All Star Airline, I could paddle the loop twice in about the same time as my 10’6″ Ride. The loop took me out downwind around a mark, then upwind around the reef and back. Catching little wind chop and swells on the way back was by far the most fun. Anyway, I found the board quick through the water and more stable than expected thanks to the standing tray.

More experience racers and/or paddlers on flat water may consider the 26″ All Star Airline. However, with the updated 2021/22 tail shape on 26″ model, it is much more narrow in the tail, and therefore looses a bit of stability in rougher conditions or for bigger paddlers. I think it was the right choice as the 26″ and 28″ were very similar and always created a headache for customers choosing, but now they are different enough and the choice is more clear.

The new Race 23 fin provide excellent tracking. Deep and swept back, it’s exactly what this race board needs. I do like the cargo net up front for shoes or a water bottle, although some more serious racers may think it an excess. The STAR mounts are perfect for a GoPro or GPS unit.


  • Length: 14′
  • Width: 28″
  • Tail width: 17.9″
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Volume: 367 liters
  • Weight: 24.9 lbs board only
  • Max payload: 340 lbs/155 kg
  • Fin: Race 23
  • Warranty: 2 years


  • Very fast board with great tracking
  • Airline system is easy to setup and tune
  • Standing tray gives you a sense of security and balance of a wider board
  • Renowned Starboard quality construction and stiffness
  • 18 PSI max inflation pressure
  • Large and grippy deck
  • Tiki Pump works efficiently
  • Included STAR mounts are great for camera or GPS


  • Standing tray make rolling/folding a bit clunky, as well as requiring a larger bag
  • Fin installation is a bit fiddly with airline string
  • Not much nose rocker, but flat is fast…

In conclusion

If you’re a hard board racer looking for more portability, the 2022 Starboard All Star Airline 14′ x 28″ is an excellent board to choose. I always mention to racers coming from hard boards to inflatables, to go 1-2″ wider than a hard board you are comfortable on, and this board fits perfectly in that slot for many. Likewise it works for paddlers looking to upgrade from a Touring model. Perhaps a 12’6″ x 30″ or 14′ x 30″ Touring board just doesn’t quench the thirst for speed anymore. Again, this is a great board for that case. A good stable 28″ platform, with standing tray for extra stability if you hit any rough patches. Cargo net, multiple handles and accessory mounts. All those features on top of Starboard’s renowned build quality, you’ve got yourself a winner!

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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.