Sun Dolphin Seaquest 10 Review
Cons: Mediocre glide performance, extremely slow in choppy water
Manufacturer: Sun Dolphin
Compare to Similar Products
Sun Dolphin Seaquest 10
|Price||$437 List||$1,430 List||$1,295 List|
$995.00 at Amazon
$1,450 at Amazon
$1,075 at REI
|Pros||Inexpensive, durable, stable||Fast, stylish, stable||Relatively inexpensive, lightweight, paddle included||Good glide performance, very stable, reasonably priced||Looks cool, good for flat water|
|Cons||Mediocre glide performance, extremely slow in choppy water||Pricey, felt a little more fragile than other models||So-so maneuverability, could glide better||cumbersome to turn, not the most durable||Struggles with waves, no bungees included|
|Bottom Line||If you are searching for a soild SUP on a skinny budget, then this board is a good choice||Sleek, stylish, speedy, and stable, this board is one of our all-time favorite SUPs||If you are shopping on a budget for an all-around SUP, we think the Versa is a very good choice||The smooth-gliding Kraken blends speed and stability and is the best of the best for most people||If you want a flatwater board with classic lines and looks, this is a solid SUP|
|Rating Categories||Sun Dolphin Seaques...||Surftech/prAna Cata...||Isle Versa Rigid||Boardworks Kraken||Pau Hana Malibu Cla...|
|Glide Performance (35%)|
|Ease of Transport (15%)|
|Specs||Sun Dolphin Seaques...||Surftech/prAna Cata...||Isle Versa Rigid||Boardworks Kraken||Pau Hana Malibu Cla...|
|Measured Weight (pounds)||46 lbs||27 lbs||26 lbs||26.6 lbs||31 lbs|
|Board Volume (liters)||Not listed||203 L||175 L||326 L||234 L|
|Weight Capacity||250 lbs||215 lbs||215 lbs||290 lbs||249 lbs|
|Width (inches)||33 in||32.5 in||32 in||32 in||34 in|
|Length (feet)||10 ft||11 ft, 2 in||10 ft, 5 in||11 ft||10 ft, 6 in|
|Thickness (inches)||6.0 in||4.8 in||4.5 in||4.8 in||4.0 in|
|Fin Configuration||Single||Single||Single||Single, 11" center fin||Single|
|Bungee Cargo System||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Inserts Only|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Seaquest 10 did finish towards the back of the group, but with a price tag of less than half of most of our test boards, it represents a tremendous value for beginner paddlers. Our testers almost never fell off the Sun Dolphin and appreciated its stability and durability.
To determine which SUPs truly reign supreme, we spent the past two summers buying the best boards available and comparing their performance side-by-side. We've divided up our testing procedure into five weighted rating metrics — Glide Performance, Stability, Maneuverability, Durability, and Ease of Transport.
The most important of our testing metrics is Glide Performance, which constitutes 35% of the total score for each stand up paddle board. We conducted two different tests, assessing how efficiently you could paddle each board in both ideal and windy conditions, scoring each SUP on the distance traveled per stroke and the average cruising speed of each board. Unfortunately, the Seaquest 10 got off to a bit of a rocky start with some overall poor glide performance compared to the higher-end boards.
Due to its boat-like nature — calling it a kayak in disguise wouldn't be a stretch — the Seaquest 10 is not fast compared to the sleeker SUPs tested. It has a much broader cross-section than many of the other boards, resulting in significantly more drag when paddling. It feels like you have to displace tons more water to move forward, and it covers much less distance per paddle stroke. There would be no contest in a race between this board and a more touring-centric board. Someone could be leisurely paddling a touring board, and you would have almost zero chance of overtaking them in the Seaquest, no matter how hard you tried.
The Seaquest also struggled a bit more than some of the other boards to hold speed in rougher waters. Its cruising speed and distance per paddle stroke both fell off as the waves increased. Additionally, there is a molded seam around the perimeter of the board that appears to catch a substantial bit of water from each wave, further inhibiting its already lackluster glide performance.
The Seaquest 10 dramatically improved its performance on our second metric, earning an impressive score in our stability metric, which accounts for 25% of the total score. We scored each board on its ability to transport cargo or multiple passengers, its handling in rough water conditions, and how comfortable novice users felt on the board. The Sun Dolphin did very well in all of these tests, putting it right at the top of the entire armada.
This stand up paddle board made it a breeze to paddle in windy or rough conditions. Our testers never fell off this board inadvertently, except for one tester who crashed straight into a willow when she was looking at her phone to send a Snapchat. (Luckily, newer phones are quite water-resistant.) This board also has a convenient dry storage well, though we wouldn't necessarily trust it with sensitive electronics or other items that can't get wet.
This SUP is also quite stable when paddling with additional loads. Its glide performance is already so poor that it can't get much worse. So you don't notice any extra resistance when paddling with a bag or cooler on the back. Luckily there are plenty of convenient storage points and straps to secure your gear, as well as a built-in cup holder.
It would also do well at carrying a small child or dog, though it is a bit on the short side for multiple adult paddlers.
These traits combine to make this board one of our favorites for beginners, even those who have never been paddling before. It's relatively easy to step on and off the Sun Dolphin from the bank or shallows, and its unshakeable stability will soon inspire confidence in even the most hesitant newcomers.
Next, we moved on to assessing how agile and maneuverable each SUP is. This accounts for 15% of the total score. We judged our general impressions of navigating around obstacles as we tested them out in local rivers and lakes. We also tested turning radius. The Seaquest is about average.
Overall, we were pleasantly surprised by this board's maneuverability, expecting it to be much, much worse due to its hulking nature. It's a pretty big leap to call this board nimble, but we could usually avoid hitting obstacles without too much effort, though it might require a bit of frantic back-paddling. Its turning radius is quite large, but not unmanageable, with the Seaquest essentially feeling like it is about 1-2 feet longer than it is.
Ease of Transport
Moving on to evaluate the Sun Dolphin's performance out of the water, we graded the difficulty of moving this board around, which also accounts for 15% of its total score. We considered the weight of each board, the ergonomics of the handle, and the difficulty in loading it on a car when determining the scores. The Seaquest 10 did quite poorly. Its rating was mostly weighed down by its, well, weight.
In our tests, this board weighed in at 46-pounds and making it one of the heaviest boards in the group by far. It has 20+ pounds over the lightest models.
Luckily, the molded handle in the middle of the board is pretty comfortable and works well. Moving the board short distances isn't too bad if you can get past the bulk. It also has a soft handle at the back of the board so you can carry it with two people. This is our preferred method.
The board's bulk also makes it harder to load up on roof racks, especially if the car is tall. Hefting it overhead for anything taller than a mid-size SUV usually requires two people. However, this board's construction means that you can be a bit more relaxed about padding your crossbars, which brings us to our final metric.
For the final 10% of the score, we judged how well each stand up paddle board held up to the rigors of our testing process. We looked at any damage sustained in the course of our testing or for common issues mentioned in user reviews when deciding on scores, as well as the included warranty. While the Sun Dolphin did sustain some damage in our tests, it was all cosmetic. This board is borderline indestructible.
We took this board on trips that we wouldn't dream of taking a fiberglass board, such as down a somewhat rocky and obstacle-filled river. We also weren't exactly gentle when moving this board, tossing it in and out of trucks and strapping it down stacked on top of other boards or kayaks. The most noticeable injury the board sustained is a dent close to the bow of the boat, caused by hitting a rock straight on at a moderate speed.
This is cosmetic, aside from slightly weakening that area, which would only prove problematic if we hit that same spot again. However, some users have complained in reviews that the board would quickly fill up with water. The two-piece construction method for this board does leave this as a possibility, and there is a drain plug located at the back of the board to drain it, but we never had to.
The Seaquest 10 is a great value, offering decent performance at an unbeatable price. It's not particularly amazing compared to the best boards we have seen, but you could buy an entire fleet of Sun Dolphins for about the same price.
If you are looking for a solid family board that won't break the bank and isn't going to get easily broken, then the Sun Dolphin is a clear choice. This beast of a board excels in rivers and we routinely use it for that purpose. Its almost bulletproof construction can handle impacts with most submerged objects and it is plenty stable for moving water. It's great for taking out on the lake or river without worrying about damaging it, provided you have a friend to help you move it. You should look elsewhere if you want a touring board, but otherwise, the Seaquest 10 is a stellar choice if you are shopping on a tight budget.
— Marissa Fox
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