nothing says summer Like a day on the water. Whether it’s sailing, kayaking, canoeing, rowing, inner tubes, or some other method of flotation, getting into liquids is a time-honored way to stay cool in the heat. Of all the ways you can get on the water, one of the easiest and most fun is the stand up paddle board (SUP).
I’ve been testing Bote’s Breeze Aero inflatable paddleboards in bays, swamps, and lakes for months, and I’m here to say that it’s been a long time since I’ve had so much fun on the water (like dozens of year). If you’re looking for a way to exercise, explore hidden corners of a swamp or lake, or keep your kids entertained and cool on long summer days, the Breeze Aero can do it all.
Paddle boards are versatile watercraft. They can be used to explore narrow, winding waterways, or as a floating platform for children to play. But traditional paddleboards aren’t great when it comes to easy storage and transport into the water: they’re big, heavy and unwieldy. That’s where an inflatable SUP like the Breeze Aero comes in. A sturdy paddle board has all the benefits, but it packs up for easy storage in an apartment or car trunk.
The extra buoyancy provided by the air makes them more stable, as well as being lighter and easier to carry. (Let’s face it, though, carrying an object that’s nearly 12 feet long and 25 pounds is always awkward, especially if it’s windy.) It’s also less likely to fall on an inflatable SUP than on a solid board Much more, it’s worth keeping in mind if you’re buying for the whole family.
The downside is that the inflatable SUP boards take time to set up because you need to inflate it and install the fins in the case of the Bote Breeze Aero, and they’re not as fast as the solid boards because they have to be thicker. Not bad for inflation time, using a manual inflator pump It takes about 10 minutes – less if you opt for an automatic inflator pump ($200). Of course, you have to carry the pump with you, which adds some weight. Inflatable SUPs are not as maneuverable as solid boards, but the slow speed and predictable turns are advantages for beginners.
I have used solid and inflatable paddle boards in the past and happen to prefer the stability of the inflatable ones. The Breeze Aero is my favorite of the inflatable boards I’ve tried. It strikes a good balance between weight, size and durability. It’s not as strong as some triple-layer boards, but it’s lighter.
The Breeze Aero comes in two lengths, the 10’8″ and the 11’6″ version I tested. For most people, I would recommend a larger size. The price includes 3 adjustable paddles, a 10″ removable fin (plus two permanently installed side fins), a repair kit, a hand pump and a backpack.
The Breeze Aero is made of heavy-duty PVC and stitched together with composite drop stitches, a method of weaving vertical fibers together so they hold in place when the threads reach their maximum length (when you’re fully inflated). The end result is a really good learning board that has withstood everything I threw at it – including rocky landings, tons of gnarly branches scratching at the bottom of it, and traffic on top of my car.