If you are looking for a solid all-around board that won't break the bank, the BIC Sport 11'0 Wing Air is precisely that. It's one of the least expensive boards we tested. You get it for half the cost of our Editor's Choice, the Hala Carbon Straight Up while maintaining more than half of the value. This board is easy to inflate and holds its rigidity well. The slight nose rocker improves glide, especially in choppy water. Its narrow sidecut and single fin design make it less stable and harder to turn than some other models, but its steady enough for beginners and fun for casual lake outings and lazy river floats. This model's above average performance combined with its low price earned it our respect.
BIC Sport 11 Wing AIR EVO Review
Cons: Hard to maneuver, poor stability is challenging in choppy water
Manufacturer: BIC Sport
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The BIC Sport 11'0 Wing Air has a typical profile for an all-around board with a few added features. It's 11 feet long, 32 inches wide, and 6 inches thick, making it a few inches longer than average. Its narrow side cut and gradual nose rocker provide agility while its flat tail helps to improve stability by increasing the surface area in contact with the water. Deck bungees near the front of the board are great for storing gear. It's perfect for an after-work paddle on the lake or exploring a quiet beach cove with the family.
People often associate paddle boarding with an abdominal workout and a need for good balance. While this board requires nothing extreme in those departments, it lives up to that reputation more than some of its competitors. The single center fin and narrow profile of the nose and tail offer limited stability compared to models with a wider profile and 3 to 5 fins.
While it may not be the best for yoga on the lake, this board provides enough lateral stability to learn on and is steadfast underfoot even for a first-time paddler.
This metric is all about the ability to move quickly while staying true to the course. The Wing Air provides about average performance in this arena. It nose rocker and narrow side-cut make it quicker than its larger, wider competitors, but it's no match for longer, narrower touring specific models.
If you are looking for a board that excels in this category, check out the Red Paddle Co Explorer Plus. Its ability to cover large distances with speed earned it a Top Pick for Touring. But such high performance comes at a steep price. The Wing Air is best suited for cruising at mellow speeds and for those who don't want to invest an arm and a leg in their board.
You can turn your board and negotiate obstacles by either backstroking or forward paddling. You can facilitate either by weighting the rear of the board. The Wing Air's reduced lateral stability makes moving towards the back of the board a slow and careful endeavor. This hinders the overall maneuverability of the board.
Back paddling is a fairly easy way to turn, but it requires you to sacrifice your forward momentum. Unfortunately, it's the best way to turn this board. Using forward paddling to change the Wing Air's direction is no easy feat, and it requires a fairly large radius turn.
Ease of Transport
Transporting this board is quick and easy. It comes with a backpack that fits the board and the included pump and repair kit. It also has a front pocket that fits the fin. Weighing in at 23 lbs, the board is comfortable to carry in the backpack. This method works great for transporting the board from the parking lot to the beach or other short distances.
The backpack is made of a fairly durable material and, even more importantly, closes with a burly zipper. We expect this backpack's lifespan to be similar to the other boards with proper care. Our main complaint with the backpack is that it lacks straps to cinch down the loose material, making it floppy while in use.
Ease of Inflation
This board is quick to inflate compared to some of its competitors. Its narrow side-cut reduces the overall volume, making it one of the easiest boards to hand pump to the desired 15 psi.
The included pump has comfortable grips, but like most other raft pumps, a narrow base that makes the process of pumping a little unbalanced. While the pressure gauge seemed to be accurate when compared with other brand's pumps, the hose is prone to leaking at its attachment points.
This product is for those on a budget who want a fun, all-around board and are willing to forgo certain performance-enhancing features found on more expensive specialty boards. It will serve the whole family, from beginners to intermediate and works great at the beach, the lake, and even for a lazy river float.
While this model is beginner and family friendly, the avid paddler will find the high-performance of the Editor's Choice, the Hala Carbon Straight Up, a better fit.
The Wing Air offers great bang for your buck. Its half the price of many of its competitors and boasts more than half the value. While it doesn't outperform in any particular metric, it's better than average scores in most categories make this a great all-around board that won't break the bank.
While not our absolute favorite product of the lot, we genuinely enjoyed using this board. Its above average scores and low price tag nicely compliment how fun it is to ride.
— Leslie Yedor