Red Paddle Co Ride ($1100)
The Good: Super stable, comfortable and durable.
The Bad: Pricey, and the fixed fins are not replaceable.
I’ve been a fan of inflatable boats for a while now. They used to be bulky and fragile, but over the years technology has advanced to the point that portable, high performance materials are the norm. This is all rounded out well in the Red Paddle Co Ride. The 10.6′ Ride is wide and stable with drop-stitch construction that allows for a rock-solid inflation that stays stiff in rough waters. The padded top is smooth and comfortable for long treks or yoga sessions, with a few anchor points and gear straps to hold a few things close at hand. On the underside, four fixed flexible fins keep the boat tracking well, but were short enough to stay out of the way in shallow waters.
We also took the River carbon fiber paddle ($250) out for the trips. The lightweight 3-piece paddle has a fast adjustment handle, clean lines, and a nylon paddle with a thoughtful strip of rubber on the edge to protect from dings on rocks. The benefit of the carbon shaft is it’s stiffness when paddling, delivering more power to the water. On the downside, the stiff shaft splintered at the joint when we took a hard fall and it wedged between a couple of rocks. It’s not a common issue, an aluminum paddle would have likely bent and cracked with the same type of fall. The three-part shaft makes replacing a piece pretty easy.
We rode the Red Paddle Co Ride on a few flatwater tours, then down some rougher river floats. The boat was stable, fast, and durable wherever we pointed it. The wide deck gave us plenty of room to stand on, lay down (even took a nap) while paddling. The paddleboard was stable for beginners, but still maneuvered well for more advanced paddling.
They also sent along their Titan Dual Pump ($140), which immediately became my favorite pump for getting boats ready for the water in a hurry. The dual chambers push high volume for a quick initial inflation, and a quick switch makes getting up to high pressure just as fast. The only thing I would change is the cheap plastic hose for something with a bit more kink resistance.
Overall, the Red Paddle Co Ride is a great product if you’re looking for something that’s really going to last. It’s a great boat that will keep up wherever the water might take you.
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