Pau Hana Endurance XL Review
Cons: Heavy, maneuvers like a boat
Manufacturer: Pau Hana
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Endurance XL immediately distinguished itself from the rest of the group simply by its shape, having a flat aft section that resembles a boat more than a board. It has a ton of threaded cargo mounts and through holes for attaching tons of different gear to this stand up paddle board and has the weight capacity to hold it. Pau Hana also makes various accessories that attach to these threaded "Sea Mounts", such as a fishing pole holder, paddle holder, or camera mounts.
We have spent the past few years buying and testing all the most promising SUPs on the market to help you find the perfect board. We conducted dozens of different tests to assess the performance of the Pau Hana, divided into five weighted testing metrics. The sections below detail exactly how the Endurance XL stood up against the rest of the pack in each metric.
To compare and rate the glide performance of each of these boards, we took each one out in a variety of different conditions, ranging from completely flat water to over 30 mph winds and waves. We then scored each board on how efficient it is to paddle, how fast it accelerates, and its overall top speeds. This accounts for 35% of the Pau Hana's total score, which earned a 7 out of 10 for its superior glide performance.
The Pau Hana Endurance XL is one of the best when it comes to glide performance, strongly helped by its longer length than many of the other boards in the review. This board cruises and glides a considerable distance with each paddle stroke, tracking extremely well. You can traverse fairly long stretches without feeling too fatigued at a comfortable pace or you can actually get the Endurance XL going surprisingly fast with a bit of effort — though you probably aren't going to be winning any races on this SUP due to its bulk.
Unfortunately, the Endurance XL is definitely lacking in acceleration. It takes a decent amount of effort to get it going from a stationary position and paddling can feel quite arduous until you get some momentum behind you. Overall, the Endurance XL simply feels a bit more like a boat than a board, offering plenty of glide performance and speed once you get it up to planing velocity but can feel quite sluggish before then.
After glide performance, our second series of assessments focused on the stability of each board and are next in terms of significance, accounting for 25% of the Endurance's final score. To rate and compare stability, we took each board out on the water in a ton of different conditions ranging from completely still to just shy of gale-force winds and scored each board on how easy it was to stay upright, both while moving and at a standstill. Unsurprisingly, the Pau Hana gigantic displacement and large size lend it exceptional stability, earning it an 8 out of 10 in this rating metric.
The Endurance XL handled rough and choppy water with relative ease, crashing through considerable waves without slowing down or rocking too much if you hit them head-on. It can get a little wobbly if you get hit broadside by a wave or wake but most intermediate and up paddlers should still be able to remain standing unless the wave is absolutely giant.
This makes this board a blast for a novice paddler — even if it is their absolute first time on a SUP — as the Endurace XL's supreme stability really instills confidence if you don't quite have your SUP legs and balance down yet.
The Endurance XL is designed with fishing in mind and has the payload capacity to carry plenty of gear. It's super stable even when loaded to the max, easily making this board one of our favorites for SUP camping, fishing, or carrying a cooler.
This payload capacity also applies to the paddler, so this board is also a great choice if you are on the big and tall side, as it can carry a substantially heavier person while still remaining stable than almost any other board we have seen to date. Unfortunately, we wouldn't really recommend this board if you are hoping to go SUPing with your pup. The nose of the board is a little on the convex side, leaving your furry friend struggling to find traction and their claws will most likely scratch up the board quite badly unless you add additional padding or other modifications.
The Endurance XL struggled a little in our next metric, earning a 5 out of 10 for its mediocre maneuverability. This metric accounts for 15% of the Pau Hana's final score and is primarily based on how easy it is to steer the board around obstacles and how quickly it could complete a U-turn.
While this board's boat-like stature benefitted its performance in our first two metrics, it solidly hurt it in this group of tests. This SUP doesn't respond to leaning and shifting your weight to turn faster like the vast majority of other boards, requiring a much larger area and more paddle strokes to effectively execute a U-turn. In fact, we found ourselves forced into doing a three-point turn on more than one occasion in narrower channels.
It remains fairly flat the entire time you are turning and is much slower to maneuver out of the way of something, so you will definitely want to stay vigilant and keep an eye out for any obstacles ahead to allow plenty of time to correct your course.
Ease of Transport
Next, we looked at how these boards handled out of the water, which also accounts for 15% of the Endurance XL's total score. For being such a large SUP, it didn't do all that bad in this metric, earning a 4 out of 10 overall. This score is based on how hard it is to carry on land, its weight, the location and ergonomics of the handle, and how difficult it is to load on a car's roof racks.
This board can be quite a pain if you have to haul it for long distances, especially if there is any wind. The handle for carrying it solo is fairly well placed and keeps the board balanced but the Pau Hana's length can easily act like a sail if the breeze picks up.
The internal handle is decently comfortable and isn't too bad to hold but we found we much preferred using the padded fore and aft handles with a second person to lug this SUP around. This is also true when it came to loading it on a car, as we found we almost always added a scuff or a scrape to the Endurance XL if we were loading it solo.
This board is a little heavier than average, tipping the scales at about 31.5 lbs.
Our last metric focused on the durability of each board, which is responsible for the remaining 10% of its final score. While we can't comment on the overall durability for the Endurance XL as we only tested a single board for a few months, we did notice a difference in the amount of wear and tear each board sustained throughout our review process and awarded points proportionally. The Pau Hana didn't come out perfect but didn't have any major injuries, earning it a 5 out of 10.
This board did have the standard scrapes and scuffs on the top deck and the base just from scraping obstacles or loading it on and off roof racks but also had a non-trivial amount of surface damage on the side. This came from relatively normal use, as we never dropped or crashed this SUP too hard in our testing process.
If you are looking for a SUP that can carry a ton of weight, then the Endurance XL is the clear choice. This board is designed for fishing and is jam-packed with cargo-carrying features, like through holes and threaded mounts, to make it easier to do so. However, this board isn't just for anglers, as its impressive load capacity make it a great option for anyone doing endurance tours, SUP camping, or paddlers who are on the big & tall side.
Regrettably, the Endurance XL by Pau Hana is a terrible value, having one of the highest price tags of the entire group and designed for a relatively niche paddling audience.
If you are angling for a new angling stand up paddle board, then we highly recommend the Endurance XL. It has a ton of capacity to haul all your gear and glides well enough to carry it for long distances, all while being stable enough to keep you and your stuff dry — most of the time, at least. The integrated tie-down system is quite handy, though this board can be a bit unwieldy for the solo paddler and you will definitely be thankful for a buddy to help you load or carry this behemoth of a board around.
— Marissa Fox