Reviews You Can Rely On

Isle Versa Rigid Review

If you are shopping on a budget for an all-around SUP, we think the Versa is a very good choice
Isle Versa Rigid
Photo: Isle
Best Buy Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $995 List
Pros:  Relatively inexpensive, lightweight, paddle included
Cons:  So-so maneuverability, could glide better
Manufacturer:   Isle
By Marissa Fox ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 29, 2021
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 8
  • Glide Performance - 35% 6
  • Stability - 25% 8
  • Maneuverability - 15% 6
  • Ease of Transport - 15% 6
  • Durability - 10% 6

Our Verdict

Overall, we are quite fond of the Isle Versa Rigid. This board performed above-average overall, offering great all-around results in the bulk of our tests. It's a good value option that does a respectable job of being decently stable and maneuverable in most water conditions. The Versa also has good glide performance — perfect if you want to take it on longer tours. All in all, we highly recommend this SUP to anyone shopping on a budget and looking for a great bargain.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Isle Versa Rigid
This Product
Isle Versa Rigid
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award   Best Buy Award 
Price $995 List$1,430 List
Check Price at REI
$1,349 List
Check Price at REI
$949 List$437 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
65
70
64
60
52
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Relatively inexpensive, lightweight, paddle includedFast, stylish, stableGood glide performance, very stable, reasonably pricedLooks cool, good for flat waterInexpensive, durable, stable
Cons So-so maneuverability, could glide betterPricey, felt a little more fragile than other modelscumbersome to turn, not the most durableStruggles with waves, no bungees includedMediocre glide performance, extremely slow in choppy water
Bottom Line If you are shopping on a budget for an all-around SUP, we think the Versa is a very good choiceIf you are looking for the best of the best when it comes to stand up paddle boards, it’s hard to go wrong with the CatalystThe smooth-gliding Kraken blends speed and stability and is the best of the best for most peopleIf you want a flatwater board with classic lines and looks, this is a solid SUPIf you are searching for a soild SUP on a skinny budget, then this board is a good choice
Rating Categories Isle Versa Rigid Surftech/prAna Cata... Boardworks Kraken Pau Hana Malibu Cla... Sun Dolphin Seaques...
Glide Performance (35%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
2.0
Stability (25%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
10.0
Maneuverability (15%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
Ease Of Transport (15%)
6.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
2.0
Durability (10%)
6.0
5.0
5.0
7.0
9.0
Specs Isle Versa Rigid Surftech/prAna Cata... Boardworks Kraken Pau Hana Malibu Cla... Sun Dolphin Seaques...
Measured Weight (pounds) 26 lbs 27 lbs 26.6 lbs 31 lbs 46 lbs
Board Volume (liters) 175 L 203 L 326 L 234 L Not listed
Weight Capacity 215 lbs 215 lbs 290 lbs 249 lbs 250 lbs
Width (inches) 32 in 32.5 in 32 in 34 in 33 in
Length (feet) 10 ft, 5 in 11 ft, 2 in 11 ft 10 ft, 6 in 10 ft
Thickness (inches) 4.5 in 4.8 in 4.8 in 4.0 in 6.0 in
Fin Configuration Single Single Single, 11" center fin Single Single
Bungee Cargo System Yes Yes No Inserts Only Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Versa Rigid is a great option for beginners just getting into paddling. Not only does this board have a much lower price point than the premium products, but it also includes a dry bag, leash, and paddle — everything you need to hit the water right from the start.

Performance Comparison


The Isle is a great all-around SUP that won't break the bank.
The Isle is a great all-around SUP that won't break the bank.
Photo: David Wise

Glide Performance


First and foremost, we rated and ranked the glide performance of the Versa and the rest of the stand up paddleboards in our review. Performance in this metric is largely predicated not only on the shape of each SUP but also on its length. We took each of these boards out in both choppy and calm conditions, comparing the glide per paddle stroke and the effort necessary to get each SUP up to speed. Overall, the Versa did very well, meriting a score well above average.


While this board definitely has far from the pointiest profile we have seen, we were pleasantly surprised with how it performed, particularly in choppier water. This board is on the shorter side, so it won’t glide as far per stroke and probably isn’t your best bet for winning any races. However, it gets up to speed fairly well and glides far enough per stroke that we would be alright taking it on some longer tours — though you will be getting considerably more of a workout than with a race or touring-specific SUP.

While it can't match the race boards, you get decent glide...
While it can't match the race boards, you get decent glide performance with this SUP.
Photo: Matt Bento

It tracks well enough that you don’t need to alternate sides of the board for every paddle stroke, as long as you make sure that you are doing a J-stroke. We even took this board on an exceptionally windy day and found that you could make decent progress upwind with substantial waves — something the completely round, flatwater boards couldn’t come close to doing.

The Isle is solidly stable in most conditions.
The Isle is solidly stable in most conditions.
Photo: Matt Bento

Stability


For our next round of tests, we looked at the stability of each board, particularly with an eye towards the novice paddler. In this set of tests, we not only looked at how stable each board is in inclement or wavy conditions but also how they handled with additional weight, like kids or cargo. The Versa Rigid again did very well, earning a solid score.


The size of the board we tested — 10 feet, 5 inches — has a moderate displacement of 175 liters, a width of 32 inches, and a recommended capacity of 215 pounds. This is a bit smaller than many of the other boards, so it can get a bit squirrely if you get close to that, either from kids, cargo, or just the weight of the paddler. However, this board is available in a longer length of 11 feet, 2 inches, which adds about an inch to the width and boosts the capacity to 275 pounds. This should add considerable stability and might be something to consider if you worry that you are going to be getting close — or exceeding — the capacity of the shorter SUP.

This board does have a lower maximum weight capacity than many...
This board does have a lower maximum weight capacity than many others, so it can limit the amount of gear you can carry.
Photo: David Wise

While the Versa isn’t the widest board in the review, it does handle wakes and waves surprisingly well. It also has enough of a surf profile to catch waves. True, you are probably going to be taking a swim if you let a significant wave hit you broadside, but it does cruise over most waves easily enough if you angle into them.

We like how this board balances maneuverability and stability.
We like how this board balances maneuverability and stability.
Photo: Matt Bento

Maneuverability


Next, we moved on to scoring and evaluating how nimble and agile each board is. We scored each SUP on how confident we were that we could avoid an unexpected obstacle at speed, how easy and the number of paddle strokes required to complete a U-turn, and how each board felt while slaloming and leaning into the turn. The Versa fared quite well in this metric, meriting an above-average score.


This shorter board has a definite edge in our U-turn test, taking considerably fewer paddle strokes and a much smaller area to turn around in — especially compared to the extra-long touring boards.

It also has a slower maximum speed, making it a bit easier to swerve to avoid an obstacle, like a sunken log, and is stable enough that you usually won’t fall off in the process. However, it isn’t the surfiest board around, so leaning heavily into turns can definitely dump you into the water, particularly when combined with transverse waves.

The pop-out handle is quite easy to hold.
The pop-out handle is quite easy to hold.
Photo: Matt Bento

Ease of Transport


When it comes to ease of transport, we found the Isle Versa to be fairly average. We based this on its weight, length, and ergonomics of the handle.


The Versa is actually one of the lighter boards of the bunch, tipping the scales at around 26 pounds.


This stand up paddleboard has a pop-up handle in the middle that is fairly comfortable to hold. This, combined with the lighter weight of the board, make it decently easy to carry for short to medium distances — perfect for when the parking situation isn’t that close to the water.

The pop-up part of the handle can be a bit annoying, especially if you store your board on overhead racks, as it sometimes won’t pop out immediately, and you can be left in an awkward position shaking the SUP to knock it loose. We definitely experienced this on a ladder when trying to take the SUP down from storage in the garage rafters.

This board is decently durable but will show scuffs and scrapes with...
This board is decently durable but will show scuffs and scrapes with normal use.
Photo: Matt Bento

Durability


For our final testing metric, we looked at the durability of each stand up paddleboard, basing it on any damage sustained throughout our comprehensive testing process. The Isle Versa did decently well, earning a middle-of-the-road score.


This SUP is as fragile as we would expect any rigid/composite/epoxy board to be. It has a foam pad to stand on, which also gives it some nice cushioning for transporting your board on roof racks. It did sustain some minor scrapes and scuffs but nothing too bad.

Value


If you are searching for a great entry-level SUP without spending a ton of cash, then this is a great option.

Conclusion


All in all, we think the Isle Versa is a great, all-around stand up paddleboard, particularly if you are shopping on a limited budget. It’s got good enough glide performance for longer tours but is still stable enough for windy or wavy conditions. It’s maneuverable and easy to carry. We highly recommend this board for most beginner or intermediate paddlers — or anyone who isn’t at the point where they want a quiver of specialized SUPs for different conditions. However, we would potentially recommend sizing up to the longer board, as the 10’5” does have a fairly low weight capacity, especially for larger adults.

Marissa Fox