The Red Paddle Explorer board is aimed at the paddler that wants to know what’s around the next corner. The clue is in the tittle! It is a 12’6” inflatable board that fits in the boot of your car. It looked and sounded like a great concept, so we decided to test it out by paddling 200 miles plus down the river Severn! Source2sea
The Explorer board is 12’6” long, with a width of 32”, a thickness of 150mm/5.90” and a volume of 370 litres. Put all of this together and you have a really buoyant board with the length needed for touring or exploring!
The board has a robust double layer construction for strength, stiffness and constant rocker shape. The EVA deck makes it non slip with abrasion. A special ‘Air Block’ membrane eliminates leakage, with no loss of air pressure. Internally it has a 10 stitch per inch structure giving the board good shape without the distortion. The board also has quadruple rail construction.
So in simple terms its very well made and pretty much bombproof! We dropped them, hit rocks and trees with them and all other manners of abuse, and they took it all very well. The quadruple rail construction is a particularly good idea as its one of the main areas for abuse.
The EVA deck makes for a nice soft feel on bare feet, and grippy with boots on. Because this board is inflatable, and with the materials used, falling on the board is a fairly soft experience, and the board is forgiving too!
The Ezee pump that is provided with the board will get the board up to around 15-20psi. You can get a higher pressured pump to top this up too. This tended to take us about 10-15 minutes to inflate, depending on how tired we were on the day. It’s a great way to warm up before your paddle though!
Beware though, always make sure you have the little nozzle on the board out ready for pumping up as hearing the hissing sound of all that air rushing out, that you have just put in can be soul destroying when your tired! Much to the amusement of your friends!
With a length of 12’6” a thickness of 150mm / 5.9 inches and board width of 32 inches and a volume of 370 litres, this board is on of most stable boards I have been on. Even when we took on Jackfield rapids, the stability allowed us to make it down them standing.
Fins and runners
The Explorer has a single fin included which utilises a low profile US box system. We really tested this system out on the Severn as we actually ripped a few out on shallow rocky sections and waterfalls. The fins came out without damaging the board! After losing a few fins we swapped to shorter fins for this type of water and they worked really well, swapping back to a big single fin in deeper water.
There are three runners on the bottom of the board, one at the front and two at the back. The runner at the front is designed to aid tracking in side winds and the two at the back to remove “tail drift” or the back of the board turning to quickly. Great for going straight!
To aid carrying the Explorer board when it is inflated, there are three straps in the middle of it. Using them is easy, and combine it with the weight of this board (mostly air!) it makes for easy passage around the bigger weirs and locks.
The Explorer has attachments in place for two cargo nets, one at either end of the board. These were priceless for storing water, spare layers and other kit that we needed day by day. Being elasticated made them very easy to use, and even flipping the boards over in whitewater, all the gear stayed pretty much in place.
The board bag is very comfortable to carry and sits well on your hips. We had to carry these boards whilst walking and cycling on our trip, the saddle on the bike gave me more hassle! Inside the bag there are straps to secure the board down, and the pocket on the front of the bag is ideal for the fin.
RRP The RRP for this board is £899
I absolutely love this board! It fits in the boot of your car, once inflated it is very stable, is usable and durable, and is very easy to paddle. We have tested these boards on flat water, whitewater, shallows, narrow rivers, wide rivers, tidal rivers and the sea, they have performed well every time! If you’re looking for a touring board for all waters thats easy to transport, then this board is the one for you! We have so many planned trips and adventures for this board that I’m struggling to find time to fit them all in, and its all down to having a board we trust and love using!