Finishing in the middle of the group overall, the PEAK Escape didn't necessarily distinguish itself by its paddling performance. However, it does stand out by being an overall fantastic value, offering far more bang for the buck than practically any other board that we have tested to date. This stand up paddleboard is extremely easy to transport and highly maneuverable. It definitely isn't the best when it comes to glide performance or stability but it did a decent enough job in our tests. It can't compete with the top boards but costs about half as much, easily earning this board the Best Buy Award.
PEAK Escape Review
Cons: Can be a little wobbly, soft top shows damage easily
Our Analysis and Test Results
In addition to being a great value, the PEAK stands out from the other SUPs by being one of the only soft-top boards that we have tested, so the entire top of the board is covered in foam, rather than a hard top with just a foam deck pad. This can be quite a blessing, as it does make this board easier to load on a car and it provides a more forgiving surface if you plan on taking your pup on paddles with you. It can also be more durable than hard boards, as it won't really show scratches, but it can get punctured or torn in ways that other boards can't. This won't affect performance all that much unless it suffers a catastrophic amount of damage but it can hurt its aesthetics quite severely.
In our quest to find out which SUP rules them all, we have been buying and testing all the best boards over the past few years, updating our review as new models have been released. We split our various tests into a series of weighted rating metrics, with the PEAK's performance in each outlined in the sections below.
The PEAK Escape did a so-so job in our initial round of tests, earning a 5 out of 10 for its moderate glide performance. This rating metric is responsible for 35% of the PEAK's overall score, with scores based on how far each board glides per paddle stroke in both flat and wavy water, as well as how fast it is compared to the rest of the group.
Even on calm waters, the PEAK simply seems a little sluggish to paddle. Whenever we tested this board side-by-side against any of the top-tier SUPs, the person on the PEAK was always struggling to keep up. The paddler on one of the premium boards could paddle at a relatively leisurely pace and easily fly past someone on the PEAK, even when the person on the PEAK was exerting a ton of effort.
Even for being such a light stand up paddleboard, the PEAK Escape isn't one of the top boards when it comes to distance per paddle stroke. All of this was exacerbated when the water started to get rougher, as more and more of our energy went towards staying on the board, rather than propelling it forward — which also brings us to our second testing metric.
Our next round of testing dealt with how much work it was to stay upright when paddling around on the PEAK, as well as how stable it was when loaded up with cargo and how easy it is to paddle for a beginner. These three tests account for one-fourth of each board's final score, with the PEAK receiving a 6 out of 10 for its so-so stability.
While this board isn't the narrowest that we have seen and didn't immediately strike us as a board that would require some work to remain upright, we were thoroughly mistaken. The PEAK isn't quite as tippy as some of the ultra-skinny touring or race boards but you can definitely end up in the water if you aren't paying attention when a wave or wake comes by.
This might be due to the soft top but this board just feels a bit more wobbly than a comparably sized completely rigid SUP. It's not overly daunting for an intermediate paddler but a completely new paddler might take a few tumbles before they get the hang of it.
However, this board's stability didn't degrade a huge amount when loaded up with cargo — even when we brought some furry friends along for the ride!
The PEAK's performance improved considerably in this metric, with this SUP earning a 7 out of 10. This is based on how quickly you can turn the board and the amount of space that is required to complete a full U-turn without any back-paddling. Together, these two tests account for 15% of the Escape's final score.
This SUP feels very light and agile on the water. It has a single detachable fin and is quite responsive to inputs, usually allowing you to easily avoid an oncoming obstacle. This board also doesn't have a giant turning radius, allowing you to complete a full U-turn in a relatively small area without any backpaddling
Ease of Transport
Moving on to a series of out of water tests, our next rating metric specifically focused on how much work it took to move around the Escape, both when carrying it to the water and when transporting it on a vehicle. Combined, these assessments account for 15% of this SUP's overall score, with the Peak earning a 7 out of 10 for being one of the easiest boards to move of the bunch.
This stand up paddle board is one of the lightest boards of the entire group, giving it a huge advantage in this metric. The soft top PEAK weighs in at 23.5 lbs. which is less than half as much as some of the bulkier boards.
This makes it one of the easiest boards to load on a vehicle's roof racks or toss in a truck bed by yourself. Additionally, the soft top of the PEAK is much more forgiving than other boards, negating the need for a ton of caution when sliding it across roof racks and you usually can get away without additional padding when strapping it down. The board will dent if you strap it down too tightly but will usually relax as soon as tension is released.
Once you get to the water, the PEAK is super easy to carry compared to many of the other boards in the group. It has a recessed handle that is relatively ergonomic and holds the board at a fairly balanced point.
Our last metric dealt with how well resistant to wear and tear each board it, which is responsible for the residual 10% of each SUP's final score. We awarded points for this metric based on how much damage each board sustained throughout our review process and if there were any commonly mentioned issues in user reviews. The Peak scored quite well in this category, earning a 7 out of 10.
The PEAK Escape is a soft-top board, so it instantly is significantly more durable than a fiberglass board, as it is infinitely more forgiving when it comes to dents and dings. However, we could definitely see claw marks and other small punctures from just one excursion with a 30 lbs. dog aboard. These didn't really affect the board's performance but were noticeable cosmetic blemishes. Additionally, we didn't find any commonly encountered issues in user reviews. Overall, this makes the PEAK a great choice for anyone who doesn't want to worry too much about damaging their board through normal wear and tear and doesn't want to have to pay particular attention every time they move their board.
If you want a board that isn't going to blow your budget and can withstand a decent amount of abuse, then the PEAK Escape is the perfect choice. This soft-top board can take a beating and come out relatively unscathed, making it a great option for families with kids that might not always be super careful with their SUP. It's a great value, pairing reasonable performance with a great price and even including a paddle and leash with the cost of purchase. For the budget-conscious shopper that still wants to be able to paddle moderate distances, it's hard to go wrong with the PEAK.
The Escape is a great value if you are shopping for a solid SUP on a tight budget.
Overall, the PEAK Escape might not be the fastest or most stable board of a bunch but it is a great option if you want a decent board that can take a beating without blowing your budget
— Marissa Fox