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Hands-on Gear Review
PEAK Inflatable Review
Cons: Lacks rear handle, no dual cargo system
Bottom line: The Inflatable from PEAK is a flashy SUP that has admirable stability and glide for beginner users.
The PEAK Inflatable is the cheapest board in our test and also the flashiest board we reviewed, two features that set it apart from the pack and earned it our Best Buy award. This board is wide enough to be stable in windy and choppy conditions, and its materials are burly enough for shallow creek trips. With a well-designed backpack and included paddle, this model is ready to go out of the box. Plus, the flashy color and top sheet design are serious attention grabbers—we received multiple compliments when out on this model.
Most inflatables will run you a bit more than this board, but if you're willing to spend more and looking for a faster ride, it might be worth it. For a sleeker silhouette and materials that are a bit more durable, consider looking at the higher-scoring Isle Explorer. If you're dedicated to speed but want the versatility of an inflatable board, we recommend the Top Pick Red Paddle Explorer Co Plus, which will give you the highest glide performance of any board we tested.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The PEAK Inflatable was the cheapest board in our review, and for the price, this board packs a serious punch. It's got it all, with a well-designed, no-frills backpack, three-piece paddle, and a middle-of-the-road pump. Although this model lacked the three-fin design that boards with higher stability ratings sported, its profile helped it maintain stability. Plus, it was significantly cheaper than many other boards in our review. If you're looking for a craft for your family or just getting into the sport, this model may be a great option for you.
While not on top of the heap in overall performance, the PEAK model stacked up well against the competition, beating out many more expensive boards.
At 10' 6" x 31" x 6" this contender is slightly shorter and narrower than other boards, like the Isle Explorer, that scored well in stability.
However, because of a wider nose and a lightweight construction, this model performed well in this category. Most beginning testers felt plenty comfortable on this board once they got used to the shorter length and slightly narrower width. Plus, this model features a 6-inch thickness, which had all of our testers feeling comfortable and steady when piloting it. This model performed well despite choppy conditions, largely because its wider nose allowed it to absorb the flow.
However, if you're looking for a super fast board, the wider nose of this model seriously cuts down on its speediness. For a board with less stability and a lot more performance, look at the Red Paddle Co Explorer.
Because of its blunt nose and fin design, the PEAK model was out-performed by several other models in the glide metric. With a rounded nose, this model did not slice through the water as well as contenders like the iRocker Inflatable or the Red Paddle Co Explorer.
Its wider silhouette definitely makes it feel a bit bulky when going for distance across the lake, but beginning testers did not feel that it was a deal-breaker and most were happy to cruise around at a more mellow pace. If you aren't going for speed, then this may still be a grat board for you.
This model features just one, long removable fin, while other models, like the Isle Explorer, features a removable fin and two hard fins. This configuration means that the PEAK does not perform as well in choppy water, as it is more likely to have a wider tracking range across the water. However, if you're not worried about your speed and you're just out to have a good time, this model will perform well enough.
Ease of Transport
The PEAK scored well in the transport category, mostly because of its lightweight construction and well-designed backpack. While not the burliest of bags in this test, the backpack is comfortable to carry and lacks extra-thick, bulky material, so you don't have to lug extra weight when hauling the bag around.
Plus, this pack features a waistbelt that is comfortable and helps spread the board's weight. It also features a full zip, making loading and unloading the bag easier.
A study middle strap on this board makes carrying with one person easy, but a missing rear handle makes carrying with two people more difficult. We found that when boards lack a front or rear strap, it is more likely that users will end up dragging them when entering or exiting the water, which can have an impact on the board's longevity. For other options that are equal to or better than this model in transport, look at the Isle Explorer or iRocker Inflatable.
Ease of Inflation
As with many of the crafts in this review, the PEAK model did not stand out for inflation (which is both a good and a bad thing). This model was not as quick to inflate as the Red Paddle Co Explorer, but it was not as slow as the lower scoring models, like the Airis HardTop. This board had an average inflation time. This model does feature a universal nozzle port, so if you want to use another board's pump or purchase an after-market pump, you can.
The PEAK featured good construction and thoughtful features. However, the materials seemed just slightly more prone to wear than other more expensive like the iRocker Inflatable or Isle Explorer. Also lacking a rear handle, this model is set up for abuse when carrying it to and from the water, as some users resorted to dragging it by the front handle. With that said, for the price, this model is sure to last several seasons.
This board is recommended for beginning users who are looking to spend time on the water and are not expecting to get into any races with their friends. With a rounded nose, this model was definitely one of the slowest boards, but it remained versatile and stable for most applications. At a low price and with an included, three-piece paddle, this model is good for families.
As the cheapest model in our review at $595, this model has an incredible value. If you're new to the sport and looking for a good way to get started, this is a good option for you. However, if you're interested in higher performance and need a board that is a bit more speedy, we recommend the Isle Explorer or iRocker Inflatable. These boards are more expensive, but they also have a more competitive silhouette.
The PEAK blew away our expectations and turned heads on the beach. Plus, if we would have had a style metric, this model certainly would have won the category. An excellent model for beginners who don't plan on speeding around the water, the PEAK won't break the bank either.
— Shey Kiester
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