Pathfinder is a company that’s well-known in the SUP community. Their boards offer a top of the line tracking performance, with a focus on durability and easy handling. Their latest model is shorter than the average board in this price range, but smaller riders will appreciate the compact design that helps to improve tracking and control in choppy waters.
This is a great budget-buy entry-level SUP that new boarders will appreciate, especially if durability is a priority. This model is much shorter than competing boards in this price bracket, measuring in at nine feet, nine inches long, and five inches thick. The board itself is easy and fast to inflate, so transporting and storing this lightweight model is easy and convenient. This model can handle a variety of water conditions, but it’s best-suited to calm rivers and lakes.
Our Verdict: This is a smaller, lightweight SUP that has a lower max capacity, which can prevent you from bringing along a lot of extra gear, however, it’s still a great entry-level model. It comes with some great extras that you’ll rely on, including a paddle, pump, and carry bag. The board is made out of durable PVC material and features a drop-stitch design that further enhances the board’s durability. This model is five inches thick, which helps to prevent the board from flexing in the water, but for the price, I was expecting a board that was at least six-inches thick. The shorter design combined with the wider deck makes this board a great choice for the beginner in search of a board that’s durable, easy to control, and one that offers excellent tracking and comfort.
Overview and Features
This board earned a high rating for its durable design, due to the thick PVC construction and the multi-layer drop stitches used to improve the board’s durability and performance. The board features a large deck pad and a bungee system that you can use to secure any extra gear such as a dry bag or a small cooler. This package includes a carry bag, detachable center fin, hand pump, and an adjustable paddle made out of aluminum.
This is a lightweight model that comes equipped with a center carry handle that makes it easier to pull the board out of the water or carry it to and from the car.
As I mentioned earlier, this board is nine feet, nine inches in length, which may be too short for some potential buyers. Shorter boards are often more durable, but much slower than longer, narrow board, which are designed to slice through the water at a faster speed. The board thickness comes in at five inches which is about average for the price. The board’s thickness is designed to prevent the board from flexing in the water.
The board is covered with a grippy material that’s made out of EVA, for improved traction and stability when you’re standing and paddling.
This set doesn’t come with a leash, but it does feature a D-ring attachment which you can use to secure a leash. The other end of the leash attaches to the rider’s ankle and works to prevent the board from getting away from you in the event you fall off the board.
You’ll use the included hand pump, complete with an air pressure gauge to inflate the board. The board should be inflated up to fifteen PSI, which is the standard for a board of this size.
The board’s large traction pad covers most of the surface, is comfortable, and works to improve the rider’s balance. This EVA pad features a non-slip design that will prevent you from losing your balance, even when you’re paddling over choppy water conditions.
The deck comes equipped with a total of five D-rings made out of stainless steel. Four rings are placed at the front of the board and feature a bungee cord system, so it can be used to store and secure any gear you bring along. The other remaining D-ring is located on the tail and is designed to secure a leash.
The large removable center fin is designed to improve the board’s speed and tracking ability. Since it’s detachable, storing the board will be easier. Additionally, the fin can be removed to allow you to paddle around in shallow waters.
Despite the board’s shorter design it weighs in at thirty-five pounds, which can make it difficult for smaller users to haul. The board’s max weight capacity is two hundred and forty-pounds, which can be very limiting in terms of how much gear you can bring with you. With a board’s max weight capacity, you need to take into consideration both your weight and the weight of the gear you bring along. If you go over the max weight capacity this will cause the board to sit lower in the water and it can have a negative impact on the board’s performance, making it difficult to make the board go faster. Tracking can also be a nightmare. So, if you weigh close to the board’s max weight capacity and you prefer to bring along gear, you may want to opt for a board that offers a more reasonable weight capacity.
This package comes with a valve wrench, carry bag, hand pump, removable center fin, and an aluminum three-piece paddle. Since the paddle is adjustable, it can be used by riders of all heights.
The board is made out of tough PVC material that’s reinforced with its drop stitch technology. The material itself is very durable, however, this package does come with a patch repair kit, which you can use in the event your board becomes damaged. While the board is designed for riders of all skill levels, considering the shorter length, this model is a better choice for beginners. This isn’t the most sluggish board, but the shorter length and wider design do impact the board’s ability to quickly slice through the water. The board is thirty-inches wide, which is perfect for beginners who are just learning how to paddle straight and balance as they travel over choppy waters. The width of the board will also allow you to sit, lie down, or stand, comfortably and with room to spare.
The included aluminum three-piece paddle is lightweight and allows you to slice through the water. It’s a great free accessory and one that you won’t have to worry about upgrading. The board’s thickness is designed to make it more buoyant and prevent it from sitting too low in the water or bending in the middle. However, the fact that it’s five inches thick is a disappointment considering other models in this price range are around six inches.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Wider deck
- Thick traction pad
- Includes free extra accessories
- Fast inflation
- Carry handle
- Low max weight
- Five-inches thick
Pathfinder Versus Fun Water Inflatable Ultra-Light SUP
The Pathfinder may not be the best inflatable paddle board, if speed is a priority, but its durable design combined with its wider deck makes it a suitable entry-level model for beginners. The competing model by Fun Water is lighter, weighing just a little over seventeen and a half pounds. But despite its lighter weight, it also offers a higher max user weight of three hundred pounds, which is pretty impressive. It’s also much bigger at ten feet, six inches, with a deck width of thirty-three inches. While the Pathfinder only comes equipped with one large removable fin, the competing board features a removable three-fin system. It’s also available at the same price and comes equipped with all of the free accessories that the Pathfinder does. For most potential buyers, the choice between these two will be a no-brainer. However, the competing model’s size and max weight capacity may be overkill for small users, since the shorter design gives the boarder more control over tracking, whereas longer boards can be difficult to control in choppy waters.
Conclusion and Rating
The Pathfinder is a suitable choice for the beginner looking for a shorter board that’s easier to control and track. It comes with some great extras including a paddle, pump, and carry bag, which also makes it a great buy for the beginner on a budget. But if you’re someone that needs a model with a high max weight capacity, then you may need to pass this model by. Overall, it does offer a durable design, a comfortable traction pad that improves balance and promotes longer use, and a board width that allows you to practice your favorite paddle board yoga moves while also allowing you to comfortably paddle through a variety of water conditions. I gave this model a rating of four and a half out of five stars.