Buoy Touring Paddleboard Review
Since moving to the east coast, my family has grown to love watersports. That’s saying a lot from someone who grew up on the Colorado Front Range with no real water recreation available nearby. One of our favorite activities is stand-up paddleboarding along the numerous rivers and bays in our area. I’ve learned to appreciate quality gear with well-thought-out features to make the experience that much more amazing.
When I came across Buoy Watersports, I was intrigued by this newer company that I had never heard of. For one thing, the gorgeous designs on their stand-up paddleboards drew my eye. It made me wonder if there was quality behind those board graphics. After speaking to the owners, I knew I wanted to test out their gear! I’m happy to report that there is definitely quality behind the incredible board graphics. Read on to find out more about the product and our experience testing it out.
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- Buoy Touring Paddleboard Review
- About the Bouy Touring Paddleboard
- Product Specifications
- Buoy Touring Paddleboard Performance and Experience
- Buoy Touring Paddleboard: Best for Multipurpose SUP Activities and Larger Loads
- What We Love About the Buoy Touring Paddleboard
- What We Aren’t So Crazy About
- Bottom Line
- Buoy Touring Stand-Up Paddleboard Review
About the Bouy Touring Paddleboard
History of Buoy Watersports
Buoy Watersports was started by Denny Hugo, the mastermind behind Rocky Mountain Rafts (RMR), which specializes in whitewater rafts and kayaks. He wanted to branch out to the recreational, flat-water market while using the same successful framework he uses with RMR. He has taken out the middleman/retailer and sells directly to the consumer, which means they can keep their products more affordable.
He rounded out his team with David Hesser, an experienced entrepreneur, and Katy Hesser, a graphic designer. I met both Denny and David at The Big Gear Show this past June, and their passion for getting people outdoors was obvious. This team is confident that they can provide quality, affordable inflatables so that more people can reap the benefits of an active, outdoor lifestyle.
Buoy Watersports sells two different types of stand-up paddleboards. They have a smaller 10’6” recreational paddleboard and a larger 11’ touring paddleboard. We had the pleasure of testing out their touring paddleboard, but we compare the specifications for both boards in the next section.
Generally speaking, recreational paddleboards are great for beginners who want an all-around board that can be used for various recreational activities (such as paddling, SUP yoga, fishing, etc.). Touring paddleboards are built for those that want a bit more speed or longer distances.
With Buoy SUPs, both options are remarkably stable and versatile in their potential uses. The attention to detail on the features of the touring paddleboard made for an awesome experience on the water. Below we will break down those features and why we love them.
Here is a comparison chart to show the specification differences between the touring and recreational paddleboards offered at Buoy Watersports:
Key Features on the Buoy Touring Paddleboard
The paddleboard has a rather large surface area of DiamondGrip textured EVA foam along the surface, which helps keep you in place even when the water turns rough. It allowed me to grip well while practicing yoga on the board and keep my footing when the wind and waves picked up.
Rather than a single, removable fin, there are two additional flex fins on either side of the removable main fin. This adds stability while standing and increases tracking while paddling.
D-Rings For Attachments
The touring paddleboard includes 10 D-rings strategically placed around the SUP to allow for ample attachment points. You can easily attach a seat, a cooler, or even an anchor depending on what your adventure has in store.
Bungee Gear Storage
The touring SUP has 2 bungee gear storage sections, one at the nose and one at the tail of the board. This is great for storing a dry bag or snorkeling gear. My youngest even used them as handholds to secure himself on the board when we were moving at faster speeds.
The 300-pound weight capacity makes the touring paddleboard a good fit for larger paddlers or families with kids along for the ride. It also allows you to take along more gear or a full cooler if you are visiting an inlet or landmass off the coast.
The storage bag fits everything you need (the board, paddle, pump, fin, leash, and patch kit) with plenty of room to spare. It has both backpack straps and wheels, providing multiple options for transporting the board. It also has a zippered pocket on the front to hold essentials and personal items.
Warranty and Customer Service
They offer a 3-year manufacturer warranty, and their customer service is phenomenal. When I had an issue with a fin on my board, it was remedied within hours, and I was back on the board in just a few days.
Buoy Touring Paddleboard Performance and Experience
We took the Buoy Touring Paddleboard to a nearby beach bay to test it out in various conditions and with multiple experience levels. Here is what we discovered.
Performance in Different Conditions
When the water was calm, the ride was smooth and easy as expected. The board was stable enough to do some SUP yoga, and I could cruise with both of my boys riding along. I was able to stabilize while all three of us were standing up on the board. Even with some mild waves, I was able to stay up on my feet and balance without an issue.
Once the wind and waves picked up, the board became less stable. However, I was still able to paddle from my knees without falling. The extra stability from the triple fins and DiamondGrip foam allowed for a fun surfing experience in moderate waves.
Performance with Difference Experience Levels
We wrangled a few friends who had never been on a paddleboard to assess the learning curve. They were all able to stand fairly easily and paddle with very little instruction. The board tracked well and allowed for some movement and readjusting without causing the paddleboarder to fall too often. For more experienced paddlers, we found that while it wasn’t as swift as other boards, it was more stable and easier to balance in variable conditions.
Buoy Touring Paddleboard: Best for Multipurpose SUP Activities and Larger Loads
The 300-pound weight capacity and 11’ length make this a great board for larger paddlers. In addition, the larger weight capacity allows for more stability when you have children along for the ride or are hauling heavier gear on the board.
Multipurpose SUP Activities
The touring paddleboard has some great features that allow for versatility in your SUP activities. The 3-fin design allows for more stability for SUP yoga or hauling the kids with you. The 2-bungee storage system allows you to haul the gear needed for longer or farther adventures. The numerous D-rings allow for the attachment of a seat for fishing or an anchor for some relaxation. These features allow you to tailor your adventure to fit your needs on the water.
What We Love About the Buoy Touring Paddleboard
All-in-all, this was an awesome board to test out. Here are some of our favorite features that made for an excellent paddling experience.
This is the most stable board I have used so far. The 3-fin design allowed for steadiness and increased tracking while paddling. I was able to stay upright while my boys rocked the board back and forth (their attempt to “help me test it out”). This design also allowed me to continue paddling along even when mild-moderate waves rocked the board.
Lightweight and Easy to Carry
Whether it’s deflated in the carrying bag or inflated and ready for the water, this paddleboard is surprisingly lightweight and easy to carry at just under 20 pounds. The center handle allows for easy transport to and from the water, even if you have a longer distance to walk from the parking lot.
The wonderful thing about an inflatable paddleboard is that you can store it just about anywhere. It doesn’t require a special roof rack or a large SUV to transport. This is especially important if you happen to move around a lot like we do. It is less likely to get damaged in a move or during transport. It’s also remarkably easy to deflate and roll back into the bag. Simply push the pin down to release the air and roll up the board.
Everything You Need is Included
This is super convenient, especially if you are just getting into paddleboarding! Rather than buying everything separately, you get the board, a hand pump, a paddle, a patch kit, a leash, a detachable fin, and a carrying bag all in one box. Just add water, and you’re all set!
Spacious Carrying Backpack with Wheels
We really love that you can fit everything in the bag with room to spare. Even if you don’t roll up the board well (like if you get caught in a storm like we did and need to get out of there fast), you can still easily fit it into the bag with the pump, paddle, and everything else thrown in as well. It also has a convenient outer pocket to store your belongings or any extras you need for your adventure.
We appreciate that you can choose whether to carry the board on your back using the backpack straps or roll it along with the built-in wheels. This allowed me to transport two of the touring SUPs at the same time without killing my arm muscles or my back.
What We Aren’t So Crazy About
While this is a pretty great paddleboard overall, there were a few things we weren’t super crazy about:
No Instruction Manual Included
I was a little surprised when I opened the box for the touring paddleboard and didn’t find an instructional manual anywhere. There was a sheet with a few links to videos and information, but no actual manual for the board or the pump. While the links led to some great information, I prefer to have a physical manual to keep with me in case we are exploring outside of cellular service. This could lead to issues for paddleboarders who are just starting out and have less experience with setting up and breaking down the paddleboard.
Issues with the Detachable Fin
We had a difficult time attaching the removable fin at first. After seeking out further information on their website, I discovered that there was a slight sizing issue on some of the fins. It required shaving down a small portion of the plastic for the fin to fit into the mechanism correctly. I didn’t have a file or knife handy, but I was able to remedy the issue with a sharp rock found on the beach.
Hand Pump Takes Some Getting Used To
While I have used various hand pumps for SUP’s and kayaks, the included double-action hand pump had a bit of a learning curve. With no instructions included, it was difficult to figure out the knob setting to switch it between dual-action and single-action.
The hose was also a bit finicky when inserting it into the inflation valve, and we had to mess around with the rubber O-ring to get a better connection. However, once we figured out the mechanism, the pump worked well and inflated the board relatively quickly.
The gorgeously designed Buoy Touring Paddleboard is a great SUP for beginner and experienced paddleboarders. The craftsmanship is excellent, and it’s backed by a 3-year warranty and excellent customer service. This is the most stable paddleboard I have used thanks to the 3-fin design and the DiamondGrip textured EVA foam.
I also love how easily it breaks down and fits into the convenient storage bag with plenty of room to spare. With 10 D-rings and 2 bungee storage areas, this board is versatile enough to fit your adventure needs, whether it’s a quick paddle on the lake or an all-day excursion down the river.
Where to Buy
You can buy the Buoy Touring paddleboard directly from their website.
Buoy Touring Stand-Up Paddleboard Review
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