NRS Czar 6 Inflatable SUP: $1200
The Good: Portable and lightweight, throw it in the trunk and head out for an adventure. Ready to ride in minutes.
The Bad: Inflatable board isn’t as stiff as a comparable fiberglass board, but the portability really makes up for that.
The Awesome: Staying vertical on a slew of class II rapids. That’s a big hell yeah, right there.
The Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) is still a new concept in many areas of the country, but if there’s water it’s almost a guarantee there’s a SUP close by. This low-impact stress shedding sport thrives on bays, lakes, and lazy rivers. There are also a few daring souls willing to go a little more aggressive with the sport and boldly stand up through churning white waters. The traditional SUP board is wide and long, providing a stable platform to stand on while paddling across the flatwater. Many boards have stowage areas for gear making them ideal for overnighters on the coastal bays. An innovative design aspect is the introduction of inflatable boards. The real benefits of an inflatable board is the light weight design, and easy portability. Tucked into the included backpack, the board fits easily in a trunk or backseat, but is ready to use within a few minutes. NRS has spent decades designing inflatable boats, and that experience shows with the durable materials and solid construction.
The NRS Czar 6 Inflatable SUP is designed for a bit more aggressive paddler, with a less stable but much more maneuverable platform that can navigate complex rapids. It features a wide diamond pattern grip pad with a full width stomp pad for added controls. The removable skegs come in two different lengths for more versatility, the short skegs worked well for rapids where a longer draft would have caught in the riffles; but the longer skeg really improved tracking on flatwater. We tested this board on multiple rivers and lakes and it performed well in every situation. On flatwater, it was stable and tracked well without too much side-to-side wandering during paddling, and the low friction material allowed the board to skim well over the water. On rivers and whitewater, the Czar 6 was responsive and easy to navigate, after a few pitches into the water most of our testers were able to stand up on class II rapids. It even kept up while surfing the current on the Trinity River. The durable materials rebuffed sharp rocks and branches, with only minor scuffing and no holes.
Overall, the NRS Czar 6 is well suited to a variety of water paddling activities, and the lightweight portability really makes it a solid choice for those looking to break into the growing sport of SUP.
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Author: David Skinner