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Kayak or Stand Up Paddleboard? Full Review of Tahe 11’6″ x 36″ Beach SUP-YAK

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If you’re interested in getting on the water recreationally then the question used to be, “would I prefer a sit on top kayak or a sit inside kayak?” Well, a new question has come around over the past 10 years and that is, “do I want to stand up paddle board or recreational kayak?” Tahe Sport thinks that they’ve solved that problem by creating the Tahe Sport 11’6″ Beach SUP-yak. It’s an inflatable watercraft that’s designed to be both a stand-up paddleboard and a recreational kayak, but the question is does it do both well and that’s what I’m going to test right now. We’re going to take a quick look at the whole board, I’m going to take it for a test drive and see if it holds up.

The Tahe Sport 11’6″” Beach SUP-yak and kayak kit retails for $799. The boat is 11 feet 6 inches long, 36 inches wide, weighs only 25 pounds (11.4 kilos), and has a capacity of 450 pounds (200 kilos). It’s primarily designed for protected water and slow moving rivers.

Now the features worth noting for the beach 11’6″ SUP-yak are the six inch drop stitch construction, and that’s what allows you to pump it up to 15 psi, that’s a lot of pressure so this thing is bound to be rigid. It has reinforced rail stringers for stiffness and durability, it has bow and stern bungees for stowing gear, a daisy chain attachment system for customizing where you put the seat(s) and foot rests, and it has carry handles at either end and at the middle. The package for $799 comes with the board, two hybrid paddles for kayaking or paddleboarding, two removable foot rests, two seats, a leash to stay connected to the board, a two-way pump with gauge, a backpack for carrying and a repair kit.

All right, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. I have pumped up a lot of inflatable kayaks and SUPs over the past few weeks testing, and I’ve learned my lesson, I’m not pumping this time and trying a new product! This is the Outdoor Master Shark SUP pump or inflatable kayak pump. I haven’t used this thing before but I’m excited to use it, as it’s actually quite a bit of work to hand pump these inflatable kayaks and SUPs. It’s okay if you do it every so often but when you’re doing it a lot, it becomes a bit of a pain. This thing just plugs right into your car connector and pumps up to 20 psi, which covers any inflatable SUP or kayak, so I am about to make life easy for myself. While this is pumping up, do me a favor and subscribe to Paddle TV if you haven’t already, because we have lots more gear reviews, paddling tips and paddling adventures coming your way.

Okay, so my first time using the Shark, all of a sudden it seemed to kick into another gear and started making a pretty loud sound. It made my heart jump a bit but it actually just kicked into another gear, as most of the SUP filled up. Now, it’s really driving the pressure home and actually on the display, you can see the pressure as it goes up. I set it to 15 psi, which is the pressure level that Tahe Sports recommends for this board. Now it is fully inflated, I think it’s going to feel very hard and rigid in the water.

Well it’s ready to go and I’m looking forward to trying this thing. I can tell you my first impression is maybe a little bit of awe, that for $799 dollars you get everything in this package. I mean not only do you get a really nice looking inflatable stand-up paddleboard, but one that converts into a kayak or if you want, a tandem kayak. I have it set up as a single kayak because I’m just going to try it myself, but it comes with two seats and and two foot rests so you can put two, I would think smaller, people in this one. I’m not convinced that I would be very comfortable paddling this as a tandem, except with someone very small up front. On top of that there’s all sorts of other goodies you get including two paddles. Now the paddles can be used as either stand-up or as kayak paddles. However, I’m not going to test it because I know it’s going to paddle like an entry level kayak paddle, but do the trick and of course any paddle is better than no paddle, so the fact that you get two of these with this board is awesome. If you do a lot of paddling, it won’t take you long to want your own specific kayak paddle or a higher end paddle and that’s what I’m going to use today. Let’s get this thing to the water and go paddling.

I’ve paddled this board long enough to get a good feel for it and here’s what I can tell you. Let’s start with performance. Does it feel like a stand-up paddleboard that you’re sitting down on and paddling? Yes it does. Does it perform as well as a similar class recreational kayak? Well no, it doesn’t paddle quite as well as one of those. First of all the bow doesn’t have that nice v that cuts through the water. A lot like an all-around stand-up paddleboard, which it very much is, the the bow is kind of free to move around while the skegs or the three fins in the stern hold it steady. So it’s a different feel from a recreational kayak or any kayak because the bow moves around a bit with each stroke you take, but then the stern stops it from swinging off course. So it still does track quite well but it’s just a different type of experience. It’s not the fastest boat as it’s not a b hull so it’s not designed for speed, and the big flat platform underneath this thing makes it fairly slow, but that’s what you expect with a 36 inch wide board. You don’t expect a speed machine at all. Any kayak that’s 36 inches wide is going to be relatively slow as you’re going to be giving up speed for stability. Performance wise, it’s what you’d expect but on the stability side, that’s what you gain. This thing is rock solid, I mean as a single person on this thing you would be hard-pressed to flip it, but I’m not going to test this right now. I think you would fall out of this thing before you could flip this board. So it has wonderful stability, the comfort is oh my gosh! I mean you can sit cross-legged or however you want in this thing, you could even lie down and that is another trade-off. By giving up some of its performance and speed, the comfort is a bonus. This nice thick seat cushion is great, not only for comfort, but it raises your butt higher than your feet when paddling. Anytime your butt is higher than the seat it’s a more natural and comfortable position. If you have any type of back problems or tight hamstrings, then having a raised butt is a great idea. It has great back support although it took some playing around with, but I’ve got locked into a great position right now. Comfort wise two thumbs up!

Now let’s talk durability. Obviously time will tell, if you take care of it, but the feel I get for this could last for years. I’ve known Tahe Sports products for a long time and they’re solid and do a great job, so I have no doubt that this thing will last. One of the best tests was actually when I was setting up the seat in the right spot. I sat in the boat with the fins in, as they’re permanent fins and they say are heavy duty and almost indestructible. There were three fins on the ground and when I sat in the boat there was no bending at all, which is a great sign that this thing is built rock solid.

All in all the only thing that I’ve noticed right off the bat is that sitting high with this thick comfortable seat, is my paddle’s too short. This is a 235cm paddle and I’m a tall dude. Being tall and in a wide boat, sitting up extra high I found I can’t get my blade fully planted up front before I take a stroke, meaning I need a longer paddle. Probably a 250cm paddle would be the ticket, but otherwise I’m going to keep paddling and I’ll let you know what else I discover about this boat board.

All right so to sum it all up, is it a great kayak? No. Is it a great inflatable SUP? No. Is it a good inflatable SUP and kayak? Absolutely. It’s a very solid kayak and SUP and, so for me the idea of being able to do both with the same board is amazing. I love kayaking but I also love stand-up paddling and canoeing and anything with paddle sports. Each one has its own challenges, own joys and you know it provides its own workout too. I love doing everything and the fact that you can do it all very well from this one boat/ board is amazing, especially for the price. I mean $799 for the board, seats, two paddles and everything you need. You really can’t beat that and the fact that it’s portable, only weighing 25 pounds, is incredible too making it a fantastic deal. If you’re looking for a killer kayak at this price point, well it’s probably not the right one, but as a dual purpose, it’s amazing.

If you have any questions about the Tahe Outdoors SUP-Yak in either the 11’6″ or 10’6″, let us know on 1-888-252-4983 or via email.

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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.