Red Paddle Co's Ride 10'6'' is one of the best selling paddle boards in the world, and certainly the best selling board in their range, so it is more than understandable that it is THE reference board for the entire inflatable SUP industry, and 9 times out of 10 its the paddle-board people come into the boathouse asking for.
For sure it's a great all-rounder, and certainly a board that you're going to be more than happy with, but depending on your intended use, there may be a more suitable board within RED's range for you to look at...
Here in East Anglia the bulk of our paddling is inland waterways and coastal touring.
Sadly, the surf just doesn't appear all that often and even when it does it's usually small and weak, meaning manoeuvrability on the wave face is less important than speed to catch the wave in the first place.
With the above in mind, if you are looking for a board primarily for our region, there may be a better board than the Ride 10'6'' for you, and here are a few of the reasons why.....
RED Sport Family
The Sport family are all-round boards (much like the Ride family are) but with a lean more towards touring usage, whilst these tweaks appear subtle on the face of it, they make a huge difference in use, especially away from the surf zone.
Looking down on the boards from above shows you their outline shape or plan shape.
The plan shape of a board is surprisingly important to how it behaves on the water as it can dictate characteristics such as a board's glide through the water, it's maximum speed, and how easy it is to manoeuvre (or keep going straight).
1. Wide Point
The Sport family have a wide point slightly in front of the paddlers feet, compared to the Ride family, which has the wide point slightly behind the paddler.
The plan shape of the Sport will therefore want to track in a straight line better than the Ride; conversely the Ride will be more manoeuvrable.
2. Nose profile
If you imagine a nail being hammered into a piece of wood. The finer the nail, the easier it is to hammer into the wood.
The nose profile of a board is no different to the water than the nail is to the wood - a board with a finer point, and a more gentle change in width will take less effort to push through the water than a board with a wider nose or a more sudden change in width.
The Sport family utilise some of their additional length to make the most of this simple rule and to minimise the effort it takes to push them through the water.
3. Tail profile
Much like the nose profile effects how hard it is to push a board through the water, the tail profile effects how hard it is to pull the board through the water.
A squared off, wide tail creates lots of drag behind the board, where as a tail that runs to a fine point will create much less drag and be much more efficient.
The downside of a finer tail? Less manoeuvrability, especially when the hull is planning on a wave (the complete answer is far far more complex than this, but for another day / post entirely).
Again, for paddling on small inland waterways, lakes, and coastal exploration, we feel the Sport has the edge here.
Fin Set up
Side of Thruster fins create drive when planning on a wave, and drag when paddling on flat water.
Because of their all-round use intentions the Ride family have permanently fixed thruster fins, where as the Sport family just have a bolt in centre fin (much like a longboard surfboard).
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