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Thurso Surf Waterwalker 132
$649.00 at Amazon
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$229.95 at Amazon
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|Bottom Line||This board is our pick as the best travel board due to the generously sized bag and electric pump||A beginner-to-intermediate board that keeps paddling fun in mixed conditions||A lightweight, easy to use, and affordable board with solid all-around performance||This lightweight and affordable board provides versatile fun for splashing around||A smaller, inexpensive board that is a great way to get out on the water, but there are better options|
|Rating Categories||Thurso Surf Waterwa...||Bote Breeze Aero||FunWater 11||ROC Inflatable SUP||SereneLife Inflatable|
|Glide Performance (25%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Construction Quality (10%)|
|Specs||Thurso Surf Waterwa...||Bote Breeze Aero||FunWater 11||ROC Inflatable SUP||SereneLife Inflatable|
|Inflated Dimensions||11' x 32" x 6"||10'8" x 33" x 6"||11' x 33" x 6"||10' x 33" x 6"||10' x 30" x 6"|
|Weight (board only)||23.7 lbs||20 lbs||18.9 lbs||18 lbs||25 lbs|
|Fin Configuration||2+1 removable quick-lock fin set||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||32" x 14" x 8"||38" 18" x 12"||34" x 16" x 7"||34" x 12" x 14"||33" x 12" x 12"|
|Weight Capacity||210 lbs||250 lbs||330 lbs||350 lbs||275 lbs|
|Bungee Cargo System?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Pump Included?||Yes, rechargeable electric air pump||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Thurso Surf Waterwalker is designed for travel. The 23.7-pound board inflates and packs up easily using the included electric pump. The 11-foot-long board features three carrying handles, multiple D-rings, and velcro loops for holding your paddle. The huge storage bag easily holds all of the included accessories with room to spare for additional gear. This is a great board for SUP enthusiasts who want to travel to paddle and stash all their gear in one place.
Adding to the quiver of 11-foot-long boards we've tested, the Waterwalker proves, once again, that length and width are integral parts of stability. The 32-inch wide board is 6 inches tall and feels stable in wind chop, rollers, and with additional passengers. Even when broadside to rolling waves, this board did not rock significantly. Experienced paddlers had no problem remaining standing in mixed conditions, and beginners felt comfortable on their knees.
Thurso has added PVC layers and an encapsulated carbon fiber rail reinforcement to this board. The rail helps stiffen the board, improving stability and weight load. The recommended weight capacity of the Waterwalker is 210 pounds, though we feel it can go beyond that. If inflated to full capacity, this board should be able to support most taller and heavier paddlers with little compression or bend.
We appreciate that the three detachable fins don't require any tools and are easy to add and remove. In combination with the gentle taper of the nose and tail, they help to provide secondary stability to keep this board on the water and reduce rock in waves. As with many fins, there are small, round pieces that click into the portion that goes into a slot. These pieces can be removed or added to adjust the location of the fin forward or backward depending upon the performance you are seeking and to lock the fin in place.
All longer boards sacrifice a bit of glide. The larger size of this board increases the amount of surface on the water and, thus, the amount of drag while decreasing how quickly it can move. This board isn't going to win any races, but it does glide along smoothly and fairly quickly for a board of its girth and length. On calm waters, the Waterwalker easily keeps up with other boards of similar size. It also has a slightly rounded, raised rocker that decreases drag, making for a smoother glide on the water.
This all-around board is well-designed for cruising. Because it glides well for its size, it's the board to choose if your goal is to get out for a day of paddling and not feel burnt out after a few hours. We took it out for a casual day on calm water as well as a choppy day on the lake. Beginners used it for a mid-day cruise with friends, and experienced paddlers tested it out in mixed conditions. Everyone was impressed at how stable and supportive it felt and how comfortably it cruised.
When attempting to round buoys or spin quickly, the Waterwalker takes a bit more time than smaller boards to come about. When standing at the center, turning this board can take up to four paddle strokes across the nose. The squared-off tail and continuous deck pad provide grip and stability when in a step-back turn, allowing the nose to lift off the water. In this position, it's much easier to pivot around and make sharper turns.
If you're seeking a more stable board, the trade-off is likely to be maneuverability. Testers of this board were impressed at how maneuverable this 11-foot-long board was compared to others. The lighter weight contributes to how easily an adjustment to the rider's location on the board affects turning speed. In addition, the fins can easily be moved backward in their seats to improve speed or forward to improve maneuverability. The carbon hybrid paddle is relatively lightweight and pairs nicely.
Ease of Use
We transported this board in its bag and on a vehicle, inflated. The bag is significantly larger than it needs to be to fit the board and accessories, and we're not upset about it. Once you've folded up the board, the provided strap binds it shut; then, it can be attached to the bag's interior using two cinch straps. The electric pump has its own carrying case, and there's an organized repair pouch with velcro pockets to store the fins. There's also a side cinch strap and wheels. Everything can be stashed away with room to spare.
The large and bulky bag is uncomfortable for shorter people because the straps can not be tightened enough, causing the solid bottom to hit the backs of the thighs. The wheels work just fine in parking lots and on boardwalks, though they fail to roll in deep sand (which is not atypical). These things aside, all of our testers agreed that this bag design is perfect for flying with. You can easily pack all you need for your trip in with your board and have the airline load it as checked luggage.
Once inflated, the Waterwalker can be carried using the center handle. This handle is not quite centered and a bit too taught. The tail end of the board drops during transport, making it harder to find a comfortable grasp while carrying it to the water. But once on the water, the front and rear handles make it easy to pull the board in and out and for two people to carry it longer distances. Attaching the carbon hybrid paddle to the side using the velcro paddle holders will keep one of your hands free for carrying additional items.
Most of the boards we test come with a manual pump, but the Waterwalker includes an electric one. The instruction manual provides simple instructions for using it — stored within, by access through a small panel on the bottom, is the adapter and charging cord. We found it quick and easy to attach the parts, set the pump, and wait for the board to be inflated. The pump automatically stops at the designated pressure of 15 PSI, which takes around 8 minutes. Although we did not get to "warm up" before paddling by engaging in the effort of manual pumping, we were happy to let the pump do the work. In addition, the pump features a deflation option. This setting on the pump empties the board completely, making it flatter and easier to fold.
If you choose to take this SUP board on a longer trek where there is not an electrical outlet, you can also use battery power. If you're bringing along other boards with the Thurso, the rechargeable pump has a built-in battery that can inflate up to 3 boards in under 15 minutes each. As with all inflatable boards, you can also use a manual pump to inflate it if needed.
Whether you choose to inflate your board and leave it all season, refilling it as needed, or you deflate it after each use, the lifetime of your board depends as much on the materials it's built with as on how you use it.
The Waterwalker has a dual-layer PVC shell, carbon fiber rails, and a woven drop-stitch construction. The carbon fiber rails reduce weight and increase stability, while the dual-layer PVC increases durability. This construction improves durability and rigidity, making the board more difficult to puncture and less prone to leakage. Not only has Thurso built a sturdy, lightweight, travel-friendly board, but they've also done so without sacrificing the quality of construction.
Should You Buy the Thurso Surf Waterwalker 132?
Overall, we're impressed with the Waterwalker. It's well built using carbon-reinforced rails, added PVC layers, and a woven drop stitch inner core. At 11 feet in length, it maneuvers well, glides smoothly on calm waters, and responds well to chop and rolling waves. The large travel bag easily holds the board and accessories with room for your own gear. You can quickly and easily inflate and deflate this board using the included electric pump, and the fins attach without needing tools. The included paddle is relatively lightweight and works just fine for beginner paddlers or a cruise. Thurso has provided everything needed to store the accessories neatly and safely in the bag. Carrying this board on your back could be more comfortable with extra padding and more strap adjustments, but we generally love everything about the Waterwalker.
What Other Inflatable SUPs Should You Consider?
The Thurso Waterwalker is a great choice if you're seeking a relatively lightweight and well-featured board package that will be fun to paddle in most conditions. That said, the Bote Breeze Aero performs even better and is a bit lighter weight. If weight isn't an issue and you want to feel like you're on a rigid board, the Bluefin Cruise Carbon is not to be missed. We also love the Isle Switch if you want a hybrid board.