Badfish Flyweight Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Lightweight, includes Go-Pro mount and water bottle holder, eco-friendly packaging
Cons: Narrow, unstable, expensive, poor quality pump
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|Price||$1,199 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Lightweight, includes Go-Pro mount and water bottle holder, eco-friendly packaging||Stable and fast, carbon reinforced construction, kayak conversion kit, high-volume pump||Affordable, lightweight, stable, maneuverable, easy to transport||Lightweight, affordable, playful design, includes a capable paddle||Lightweight, good all-around performance, excellent value|
|Cons||Narrow, unstable, expensive, poor quality pump||Heavier, somewhat expensive||Attached side fins, leash sold separately, limited accessories||Not very fast, unstable in rougher water||Limited maneuverability, no dual cargo system|
|Bottom Line||A lightweight, streamlined board that is easy to haul or travel with to your adventures||This fast, stable board can be paddled like an SUP or a kayak with a convertible paddle and included seat||One of the best boards at a great price for paddlers who want to feel confident on flat water, chop or waves||A fun, lightweight board that provides an affordable way to get on the water||An affordable price tag and respectable performance highlight this fun and lightweight board|
|Rating Categories||Badfish Flyweight||Bluefin Cruise Carbon||Bote Breeze Aero||ROC Inflatable SUP||FunWater 11|
|Glide Performance (25%)|
|Ease of Transport (10%)|
|Ease of inflation (10%)|
|Specs||Badfish Flyweight||Bluefin Cruise Carbon||Bote Breeze Aero||ROC Inflatable SUP||FunWater 11|
|Inflated Dimensions||10'6" x 30" x 5"||12' x 32" x 6"||10'8" x 33" x 6"||10' x 32" x 6"||11' x 33" x 6"|
|Weight (lbs)||18 lbs||28 lbs||20 lbs||17.8 lbs||18.9 lbs|
|Fin Configuration||2+1 detachable||2+1 plastic fins, with large detachable center fin||2+1 plastic fins, with large detachable center fin||2+1 plastic fins, with large detachable center fin||2+1 plastic fins, with large detachable center fin|
|Folded Dimensions (inches)||32" x 15" x 8"||34" x 15" x 10"||38" 18" x 12"||34" x 12" x 14"||34" x 16" x 7"|
|Weight Capacity (lbs)||230 lbs||309 lbs||250 lbs||300 lbs||330 lbs|
|Bungee Cargo System||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Pump included?||Yes||Yes, high-pressure, dual chamber||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Adventure awaits experienced paddlers with the Badfish Flyweight. The board's seams are bound with AirLite drop stitch technology which is intended to increase rigidity and durability while still allowing for pliability while deflated. This board is a good option for paddlers who like to bring their board along just in case there might be the chance to get out for some exploration. It performs best on flat, calm water, gliding smoothly with good speed.
We found the Flyweight to feel fairly stable and rigid while paddling on calm, flat water. Experienced paddlers were able to find their balance and, with a steady paddle stroke, cruise along gracefully. The three quarter deck pad provides grip when standing in the center or at the back of the board. Paddlers smaller in stature and lighter in weight experienced more stability on the Flyweight.
At just 30 inches wide, though, the Flyweight it is one of the narrower boards we've tested. Less experienced paddlers were challenged to maintain their balance as easily with this board compared to most others. Also, the maximum listed weight capacity is 230 pounds. When we added gear or watched larger paddlers climb aboard, the board sank deeper into the water, decreasing the stability.
Overall, this board felt less stable than other boards in all conditions, particularly when in boat chop and wind. In 10 to 15 mph winds, with mixed waves, testers were concerned that the board might capsize. The ride also became less steady when we invited dogs on board. Beginner paddlers preferred to remain kneeling in choppy conditions.
This narrow and lightweight board certainly does fly across calm water. Touring ponds, calm lakes, estuaries or other flat waters are what the Badfish Flyweight is designed for. You can bring along your camera and snap shots as you adventure across the water. We took the board out on Lake Tahoe during the calm of the morning and a peaceful evening. Using buoys, and comparing paddling speeds among beginners as well as experienced paddlers, we raced it against other boards. With a steady paddle stroke we traveled about 100 feet in 30 to 40 seconds.
Boat chop and winds will challenge paddlers choosing the Flyweight. The front of the board curves upward, and we experienced it lifting over waves rather than pushing through them. In wind effected chop, this board became more difficult to manage. It tended to bounce between the waves rather than through them. We found that the shorter height (5 inches) combined with the weight of a paddler sank the board into the water, decreasing the glide.
The Flyweight comes with three 4-1/2-inch removeable fins. These shorter fins provide steady tracking and are useful when traveling in shallow water. Maneuverability can be adjusted by removing or adding fins, a useful adjustment for traveling paddlers who may find themselves in variable conditions. Smaller fins are lighter weight and easier to pack. Those seeking a better pivot point for more aggressive turning could replace the center fin with a longer one, which is available separately on the Badfish website.
We practiced turning around buoys while standing on the center of the board with a traditional stance and paddle stroke, as well as from the back of the board, and with a cross bow stroke. Experienced and beginner paddlers were able to make quick turns and redirect the board with ease. The carbon fiber paddle with aluminum shaft is another lightweight addition to the package that made maneuvering easy. This board allows paddlers to explore what lies beneath the water with little disturbance and to easily maneuver or change directions.
Ease of Transport
The Flyweight was designed with travel in mind. The AirLight drop stitch technology is a new system intended to reduce excess PVC material and reduce the ovearll weight. The streamlined shape of this board makes it easy to carry once inflated and with the fins attached. The board weighs 18 pounds and features handles on the front, back and center. Bungees on the front of the board provide cargo space for gear on your adventures. The handles on the front and back were easy to hold onto as we transported the board into and out of the water.
Everything in this package is lightweight and fits in the bag easily with extra room for additional gear. Features include a full zipper that allows the front to be opened all the way, top and side handles, padded straps and a chest strap. There is also a front pocket for additional items. This bag adjusts to be relatively comfortable for most paddlers while carrying it on their backs. Some sacrifices were made to decrease the weight, namely the pump, which we address in the ease of inflation metric.
The relatively smaller size of this board results in easier and quicker inflation compared to larger boards. We timed how long it took for us to fill the board using the included pump. It took our testers about 8 minutes to reach 15 psi. Like all manual, dual action pumps, you can adjust it when getting closer to full inflation to increase the power of your pump. We did experience a sound like the air was leaking out of the hose when we began inflation. Holding the hose in place on the board stopped this and it did not continue as we reached capacity. This pump does not have an option to switch the hose to the opposite side for deflation. The fins snapped in with ease and felt secure, and once we attached the leash, we were ready to paddle in just under 15 minutes.
Upon first unpacking the Badfish Flyweight, it was noticeably different from other boards. The box was smaller and everything inside was wrapped in paper, rather than plastic. The sleek and lightweight design are obvious. It features AirLight drop stitch technology to increase durability and rigidity without sacrificing weight and pliability. Included in the package is a lightweight paddle and fins as well as a pump. This "adventure board" is a good pick for anyone looking for a solid, lightweight set-up and streamlined inflatable that can travel to just about anywhere.
Flat water paddling and maneuvering is easy for experienced paddlers on the Badfish Flyweight. This thinner and lighter board is designed with travel in mind. If exploration of calm waters and shallow zones is what you seek, the Flyweight has all that you need. Beginners will struggle to get on and off this board and we don't recommend it for windy or choppy conditions. It is an inflatable board designed for you to take along on your back, in the belly of a plane, or packed on a boat.
— Jenay Aiksnoras
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