We spend a season testing the Red Paddle Voyager 12'6" paddleboard to find out how practical it is as an alternative tender, and look at other paddleboards on the market
Where windsurf boards once festooned cruising yachts, now an inflatable stand-up paddleboard (SUP) is de rigeur.
And with good reason; being able to step off the boat and explore, escaping any hint of cabin fever, adds a brilliant extra dimension to cruising.
Inflatable SUP design has come a long way and there’s now a lot of choice, but Red Paddle is still one of the top brands for quality and their products command a higher price as a result
Testing the Red Paddle Voyager 12’6″ paddleboard
We tested their 12ft 6in Voyager throughout this season.
The board is designed for heading off and exploring as well as just being a water toy for the boat.
With 370 litres of volume and 32in wide, it is buoyant and stable enough for a large adult plus a couple of kit bags, or an adult with a child on the front, without losing its long, efficient shape.
The board is flat and is made stiffer in the mid section by battens inserted along the edges.
A large single skeg fin makes straight line paddling easy, though to turn quickly you’ll need to take a step or two aft to lift the nose.
While it is one of the heavier boards at 11kg, it’s still light enough to carry under one arm.
You can choose the paddle to go with your board.
We had the three-piece carbon 50 paddle, which is £205 (the alloy version is £95) that packs down to fit inside the bag.
Other accessories that made the board more useful were the Red Paddle dry bag that clips neatly on deck, the cable lock so you can leave the board safely ashore, and the Titan twin-chamber pump for faster inflation.
Our verdict on the Red Paddle Voyager 12’6″ paddleboard
We used this paddleboard more than our inflatable tender over the summer.
We even used it a few times getting to and from our home mooring with two adults and four waterproof kit bags without any mishaps, so it’s pretty stable.
The convenience of picking your ‘tender’ up under one arm and walking back to the car is a revelation.
This paddleboard is on the longer side for storing on deck when inflated, at least on a small boat, but packing it down was easy enough.
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The only real downside is the high cost.
There are cheaper boards on the market, but you sacrifice longevity and stiffness.
If you’re happy to spend the money, you’ll certainly have fun with this onboard.
There is little doubt that a paddleboard adds a new dimension to yacht cruising without taking much space, and this is one of the best boards we’ve tried for going on longer paddles.
Red Paddle Voyager 12’6″ paddleboard: Specifications
PRICE: From £1,069
LENGTH: 12ft 6in
WIDTH: 83cm / 32in
THICKNESS: 15cm / 5.9in
VOLUME: 370 litres
RIDER WEIGHT: <150kgs / 330lbs
BOARD WEIGHT: 11kg / 24.2lb
96cm x 39cm x 36 cm
FIN: Removable FCS US Box Fins
Also on the market
RED PADDLE CO 10’6” RIDE MSL
Red Paddle Co’s 10’6” Ride is one of its most popular boards.
At 32in wide, it is stable enough for beginners, while still fun in the waves or on flat water.
An ideal beginner board.
Price: £849 (with alloy paddle);£999 (with carbon paddle)
DECATHLON ITIWIT 500 12’6’’ TOURING
Designed to a similar concept as the Voyager, the 500 Touring includes luggage stowage on the bow and a sleek form for efficient paddling.
Suitable for paddlers up to 140kg.
TWO BARE FEET SPORT AIR 12’6” TOURING
The highest volume option from Two Bare Feet, this board is designed to float high in the water with 6in of thickness, and to track straight for longer paddles.
£425 (basic starter kit)