The Best All Around Paddle Board

If you're looking for the best board of your life then we have good news for you. We'll break down our most popular inflatable paddle board to tell you why it should be your #1 pick.

Introduction

Why limit where you can go with your SUP board? The Retro has been the most popular board of all of our retail hard boards for the past 11 years.   It’s got that “go anywhere” shape of the boards that the Waikiki beach boys used to use to paddle out to their surf students before they surfed back in with them.

 

The Swiss knife of SUP boards 

board buyers guide

 

What do you want your stand up paddle board to do? Well, if you are new to the sport, you probably aren’t exactly certain yet. When most of us started out we were pretty happy just to be able to paddle in a straight line on very flat water. 

 

Progressing to the next level

paddle board reviews

 

As our balance improved, we typically looked for other fun aspects of the sport to conquer. Flat water paddling becomes the gateway drug for SUP enthusiasts that leads them to ocean surfing, whitewater SUP, SUP fitness and wake surfing. Well, fear not paddle boarding fans, we’ve got a SUP that will handle all of those and comes in a compact package that measures: 32"x18x12 and weighs about 30 lbs with the pump in the bag.

 

Versatile inflatable paddle board

maneuverable paddle board

 

As stand up paddle boards go, the Retro is extremely versatile and maneuverable. It is a board designed to be beginner friendly because it has more stability than a touring board. It's the perfect stand up paddle board for intermediate paddlers as well because it gives them access to all of the disciplines of yoga, surfing, touring, fishing as the board feels as stable as most solid boards.

 

All inflatable paddle boards are not created equal

quality paddle board

 

At Glide, we have a legacy of building quality paddle boards. Our inflatable boards are no exception as we fuse 4 layers of military grade PVC together and utilize a woven drop stitch construction as opposed to the knitted drop stitch that other boards for those on a tight budget brands use.

 

Quality matters in SUP boards

stand up paddle boards

 

The Retro is the right board at an affordable price for anyone looking for more maneuverability. The board thickness of 6 inches which makes it a nice beginner board.

The Retro uses the same technology that is in more expensive boards which makes it a great value in comparison. Don't be fooled by brands that try and sell you on carbon fiber that has been added to their inflatable SUP boards as the material does virtually nothing the board's stability or performance.

 

Touring board?

all around paddle board

 

How this board is used depends on the skill levels of the paddlers using it. For those new to stand up paddle boarding, this inflatable board can be used to cover the distance between two points at the local lake.

Typical touring boards are a narrower board with a pointed nose and are designed for a longer glide on flatwater. It also tends to have a longer board length than an all around board but is less maneuverable.

 

Namaste

sup yoga

 

The best board for SUP yoga is usually one that is incredibly stable and remains stable throughout the various poses. Glide does make a yoga specific paddle board for those with good balance called the Lotus.

The Retro inflatable SUP is almost the same length (it's actually 6 inches longer) as our Lotus SUP board but the width is reduced by 2 inches which still leaves ample room for yoga poses. The board volume of the Retro is higher than the Lotus SUP board which means it has a higher weight capacity.

 

Surfs up Brah

all around sup

 

Surfing isn't recommended for beginner paddlers as it takes a while to become proficient at. Once you are ready to surf, though, the Retro will become your go to board because the board performs so well in waves.

Because the Retro inflatable paddle board is an all around board, it has a round nose which makes maneuvering it spot on. It's a great board for ocean swells because it gets up to speed quickly to catch the wave and it's maneuverability is a dream once you are riding the wave.

The best boards for surfing offer a smooth ride but also have removable fins that can be adjusted to the surfer's style. Some inflatable SUPs have built in fins which are far less desirable.

 

The Lightweight SUP can handle heavy loads

all around paddle board

 

Keep in mind that one of the joys of paddle boarding isn't just paddling by yourself. Taking your kids and a dog or two can be quite enjoyable as well. When figuring out the weight capacity of your inflatable SUP, don't just factor in your body weight, take the average weight that you believe you will be taking on paddling trips.

 

So much flexibility

inflatable sup board

 

We’ve taken the versatility factor up a notch with the o2 Retro by throwing in a kayak seat and a carrying strap.  Judging by our competitors’ websites, that’s a value of over $100! So now, not only can SUP on all of the diverse water bodies that the Retro is geared to, but you can also transform your paddle board into a kayak.

 

All around board vs specific SUP

inflatable paddle boards

 

Some people think that buying an all around board will make them a "jack of all trades, master of none". We completely understand the concern here but if you don't begin with the most flexible paddle board out there, how are you going to be able to experiment with the various SUP disciplines out there?

You may get into SUP racing in which case it would make sense to purchase a long, narrow race hard board that is built for speed. The same rule of thumb would apply to a touring SUP as the longer paddle board gives you a longer glide per paddle stroke.

Maybe you decide that you really enjoy fishing on your board. It could make sense to purchase a fishing specific SUP at that point that has more d rings that will allow you to attach scotty mounts for your poles and depth finder.

The point is that you won't want to limit yourself to one type of SUP activity when you are starting out. The Retro is an excellent board for various skill levels that isn't going to break your budget.

 

The Retro Redesign

retro inflatable paddle board

We did a redesign of the Retro board in recent months. So, it’s now:

  •  More affordable
  •  A bit lighter
  •  Geared for better performance
  •  Dual chamber, high capacity pump
  •  More durable than ever
  •  Got the most impressive, wheeled travel bag/backpack on the market
  •  Utility straps for carrying the board to the water

 

Why Glide?

Since 2010, we’ve had a fanatical obsession with building the most durable SUPs on the planet. Our “Will it Break Wednesday” YouTube videos have a cult following and show the durability of our hard boards so when we came out with our inflatable line of paddle boards, our goal was to create an iSUP that could live up to this Glide legacy of durability.  That meant we need to figure out how to fuse together 4 layers of military grade PVC so that our board could have an inflated PSI of 25 – you read that correctly: 25 PSI!

Some of the other reasons the Retro has become the iSUP that other manufacturers aspire to offer are:

  • Fusion Technology lends stiffness and performance
  • Full-Length EVA Deck Pad
  • 25 PSI Rating
  • U.S. Style fin box
  • Comfortable neoprene handle
  • Weight Capacity  400 lbs

Each Purchase of a board also includes:

  • Adjustable Paddle
  • Leash
  • Fin
  • Repair Kit 

Conclusion

all around stand up paddle board

 

So, if you’re looking for a high performance inflatable board that will give you the flexibility to conquer every type of waterway imaginable, from a company with a heritage of ultra-durability, the o2 Retro is just the ticket for you. Should you have any questions, contact us here or reach out to us on Facebook.  See you on the water!

 

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