2018 red paddle co racing paddle boards - 2018 range of inflatable race SUP paddle board

SUPBoarder’s Reuben is back with his video review of the 2016 Red Paddle Co 14′ Elite inflatable paddle board.

This SUP is an out and out speed machine. Built to race against hard boards with unprecedented ease of travel. Never again will you miss an away race due to board damage or freight costs. It’s also a great cruising board for those who like to cruise with speed or someone wanting to go paddle boarding for fitness.

Check it out, Reuben gives is a run in all conditions and doesn’t miss a trick. View the video or read the transcription below:

2016 Red Paddle Co 14′ Elite review

Hi guys and welcome back to another SUPBoarder independent review and this week we’ll be looking at the Red Paddle Co 2016 14′ Elite.

As you’re probably aware Red Paddle Co started making inflatable stand up paddle boards or iSUPs back in 2008 and they very much are up there with the top brands making iSUPS right now.

This is the only 14′ race board available from Red Paddle Co this year. It’s 14′ long, it’s 26″, it’s 150mm (5.9″) thick, the volume is 340l, it has a recommended PSI pressure of 15 – 25. The weight of it is 14kg (30lbs) and it retails at £999 ($1799).

As with all the Reds for 2016 range it comes in their new MSL Fusion technology, watch some of the other videos if you want a bit more information about that. And it also comes with the super duper Red Paddle Co back pack and Titan Pump as well.

Who’s this board aimed for? Basically it’s pretty much out and out racers. You could use it as a cruising but because of the width at 26″ wide it is a bit narrower. It really does lend itself to getting on the race circuit, charging out with the other 14′ classes, hard and inflatable, and mixing it up with the best of them.

Impressions of the 14′ Elite by Red Paddle Co

The SUPBoarder impressions for the 14′ Elite from Red Paddle Co for 2016. The template shape is very similar to last year’s board, nothing that we’ve noticed massively in the outline has changed with that. There’s a few things you can notice straight away, like with a few of the boards that we’ve spoken about with the 2016 range, the fittings and the features, as the deck pads, a bit nicer under feet, all in one, with the different, two tone, checkered pad to the smooth at the tail. The handles and the fittings are much, much better, more well refined let’s say. Nice and deep, easy to carry. There’s a lot more fixing points this year, so even if you are using a center leashing fixing point which is great for sort of BOP style racing, down winding, that sort of stuff, and having the versatility to put your leash in the mid section or at the tail like the more old school way, let’s say.

The front handles, let’s say the race handles at the front are generally for running in and out of the surf, getting out of the waves really quickly. Last year the were offset, diagonally, and now they’ve put them parallel on the board, obviously they’ve had feedback from riders suggesting that might be better. So they’ve done that. They’ve still kept the bow runner at the top and the bottom of the board and it comes with a nice swept back race fin with a really low profile smart box.

For the deflection test the board only dropped 11mm. So just to remind you that’s with a weight of 75kg (165lbs) in the center of the board and of a gap of 1.5m (5ft) apart. So this board is incredibly stiff due to the thickness of the board and the materials they’ve put into the board but also with the RSS batten that makes the board incredibly stiff and probably, I think, one of the stiffest 14′ on the market.

Ok, that’s gone over the features and fittings of the board for 2016.

What is the Red Paddle Co Elite 14′ like to paddle?

What is it like to paddle? On flat water, what would you expect, it feels very smooth and very glidey. At 26″ wide and 14′ long, it is going to have a lot of glide to it. Really nice and flat right through to the tail with slight bit of nose kick so it gives you the ultimate glide length for a 14′ board which is what you want. So flat water it’s really nice, really smooth and really glidey. You can still manage to step back and do your step back turns. It is nice that they’ve got the deck pad right the way to the tail because you do need to get right far back to get that board to turn as you would do on any 14′ board.

Here is the UK, it’s been really super windy for the last 2 or 3 weeks this board paddles really well on flat water and we sort of guessed  it would, but what we thought, we’ll take it out down winding and give it a real test and see how an iSUP performs in a proper down wind situation. Now when we took it out down winding it was about 25 to 30 knots of wind, the sea state started off small and then went to moderate to rough. Straight away within the first 5 minutes you are also reminded how much glide this board has. It was picking up the tiniest of bumps alongside the other 2 boards we were paddling with. It had no trouble with the other 2 boards. Ok they weren’t top end, full on 17′ downwind boards but they were easily keeping up with the 12’6″, 14′ we were paddling with. The nose could get slightly buried and as long as you trim the board back with your feet the nose would come out at the end. Spent quite a lot of time looking at the nose runner to see how the nose runner was affecting the water that came over board. Didn’t seem to notice any sort of displacement side of it, from either side but that doesn’t mean it’s not working, it’s a very hard thing to judge. As far as the stiffest of the board was concerned in choppy conditions, didn’t really notice it was an inflatable at all. The only thing you could sense that it was an inflatable, because the lack of the rail and the back of the tail, you did find you did have to walk a bit further back and obviously because of the nose you did have to concentrate on the nose a bit more to getting it back out of the water. So generally a lot of fun, get you on the water and you can do a lot of swell paddling with it. The only downside is, I wouldn’t go down winding in anything of a big swell, anything over head high it might start to get a little bit sketchy because you haven’t go the rail shape at the back.

Glide, speed, stiffness, absolutely fantastic, really happy with the board.

Any negatives or things that we’ve noticed when using this board? There is only one thing that we’ve noticed and I noticed it by pure accident and I stumbled across it literally. In a downwind situation, I nose dived, I went into a trough, I glide down the front of the board and I caught my thigh on the back of the nose runner and actually ripped my wetsuit and did a little knick in the side of my thigh. It’s something that you easily mend, just take the top off it, just shimmy the back off it, make it a little bit rounded and it’s job down. Or it’s something that Red Paddle Co can just look at in future.

Is it value for money?

The value for money question. £999 ($1799). A thousand pounds. It is Red Paddle Co’s most expensive board in their range and I can see why it is. It’s obviously got the most material in it, and it’s got quite a lot of tech, RSS battens, nice fins, nice handles, and all that sort of stuff. It’s very good value for money considering if you were going to buy a hard 14′ board because you’re not going to find pretty much anything under a thousand pounds. It does still go in your back pack, you have still got that amazing transportability of an iSUP, So yes, it’s value for money and you do get what you pay for in a good quality iSUP.

The SUPBoarder verdict for the 2016 Red Paddle Co 14′ Elite. A super fast board on flat water, but also a pretty controllable board that you can go down winding too. Gives you enough versatility to get a lot out of your 14′ board and use it in a lot of different conditions. If you’re looking for a 14′ hard or inflatable board then it has definitely got to be on your list to try. If you’re looking at a 14′ inflatable board it’s definitely going to be up there, if not the one to try.

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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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