Stand-up paddleboards don't need to be cumbersome, rigid boards and Red Paddle is at the forefront of innovation regarding inflatable variations
Stand-up paddleboarding — or SUP as it’s typically referred as — recently gained much more popularity than anyone expected due in large part to its accessibility to all kinds of people — regardless of their fitness or skill level. One such company leading the innovative charge in the industry is Red Paddle Co., a unique paddleboarding company who burst on the scene with one novel idea: Inflatable boards. Backed by the determination to make inflatable paddleboarding as authentic as traditional boarding, Red Paddled helped revolutionize the industry.
Much like surfboards, original SUP boards are typically large, bulky, and need plenty of storage space. Because of this, those who live in small apartments or own smaller cars don’t have many options for hauling or storing something as large as a stand-up paddleboard. After a while, businesses got smart to this and started making inflatable, versatile options. This is where Red Paddle (based out of Devon, England) started its journey in the industry — an industry it’s been wildly successful in.
“When we started back in 2008, you could buy an inflatable board,” said founder and managing director of Red Paddle Co., John Hibbard to Digital Trends. “We didn’t invent the concept but what was available was basically a beach toy. It was a board you could roll up and you could use it if you were really stuck. On the whole, the shapes weren’t great. There were a lot of big compromises, really.”
Red Paddle has been around for a decade but prior to making inflatables, it operated under the name Tushingham Sail — a sail manufacturer making windsurfing products for 30 years.“We used that expertise and applied it to the boards. We were pretty sure that we could make inflatables that don’t do things like
“We used [the Tushingham Sail] expertise and applied it to the boards,” Hibbard added. “We were pretty sure that we could make inflatables that don’t do things like bend in the middle or lose air all the time. Our focus is on the mass-market, the everyday customer. We want to improve that experience and make the boards pump up faster, pack out smaller, deflate quicker.”
To achieve stiffness, Red Paddle uses a proprietary system and utilize a material called MSL — monocoque structural laminate — which reduces the weight of a board up to 20 percent. Additionally, it makes them as strong and stiff as regular boards. The brand accomplishes this with a special machine which laminates both sides of the board simultaneously (think a rotisserie), only it cooks at very high pressure and heat — also, there’s no glue involved. This not only ensures a harder, even seal but it gives Red Paddle the benefit of efficiency.
Hibbard joked that Red Paddle’s main goal is to eliminate excuses for people not to paddle. On the other hand, Hibbard told Digital Trends that Red Paddle continues to receive outrageous SUP modification requests, mainly to accomplish things which shouldn’t happen on SUP boards. Despite the left-field requests, the brand’s durable and innovative product line is sure to appease any stand-up paddleboarder, novice, professional, or otherwise.