Bay Sports Original 10’6”
There’s a reason that despite having 9 current models of iSUPs, the 10’6” Explore is always the best selling. This is the quintessential iSUP that you want as your go-to board. The length, width, thickness and features are all the baseline of what any paddleboarder should have on the water. Add the solid construction and reputation of the company and you’ve got a strong competitor for the one of your best options for the only board you may ever own.
- Dimensions are perfect for an all-around board
- High weight capacity
- Lightweight board
- Premium accessories included
- We’d like to see more storage
- Paddle could be better quality
- Amount of lettering and branding on board a little off putting
[ez-toc]That’s all what Bay Sports would like you to think. But how does the Explore really hold up and is it worth your attention and dollars?
In reality, this board is everything we like to see in an all-around iSUP. We can say that Bay Sports makes boards that are faster, others that are more maneuverable and others that are more stable. But what we like about this iSUP is how it’s great for just about anything. It’s a work of balance and we can appreciate that.
There are a few standout areas on this board, however. You’ll be able to move a lot faster on this SUP than you might imagine because of how light it is. A 10’6” board at 17 pounds is almost unheard of and means that with each paddle stroke, you’re able to get more force. Also, this board is incredibly stable — even for its size. This is due in large part to the 350 pound weight capacity.
Frankly, this is a somewhat barebones iSUP when it comes to its features, but you’ll find that it isn’t lacking in any major way, either. For starters, there are 2 handles carrying handles on the board — 1 in the center and the other in the back. The center handle helps you to move across land while the back handle allows you to easily move the board in and out of the water or drag it on the beach if you need to. We would have liked to have seen a front handle on this board as well since the front is wide enough for it, though we won’t complain too much since a lot of boards only have a carry handle in the front or none at all other than the center handle.
The other major feature to discuss is the EVA foam pad. While it doesn’t include the entire deck, we’re happy with the large amount that it does cover. Also, Bay Sports uses a diamond grooved traction on the entire pad. With this weight capacity, it’s possible that you might bring another person or a pet along with you, so having this cover a large area will make sure that everyone is comfortable.
Like most Bay Sport boards, you have your pick of 3 color schemes: Pink/Blue, Blue/Yellow or Navy/Orange. While the board itself is attractive enough, all of the writing and branding across the deck, rails and bottom are a bit much. We prefer the simple elegance of some of their other boards, though we wouldn’t consider this a deal breaker.
The board is perfectly balanced so that you have a good mix of speed and stability. In the front, the nose is slightly lifted to give the SUP better handling in choppy water and waves.
Toward the nose there is a storage area that’s standard on most boards of this brand: a 4-point bungee area with D-rings on each point for tying down extra gear. There’s 1 additional D-ring attached to the grab handle in the back for use with the included ankle leash. With the size of this board, we would have liked to have seen additional storage or at least additional D-rings since this is the type of board you would take out for a while on a trip.
Underneath, we see a 3-fin thruster setup to help to provide as much speed as possible as the side fins cut down the drag from the large center fin.
As we’ve come to expect from other Bay Sports iSUPs, the Explore is incredibly light for its size, which comes with a whole list of benefits that we’ve already mentioned. This is in large part due to the Fusion-Tech construction that get its strength from a focusing on creating an internally reinforced board versus relying on 3 or even 4 layers of the outer PVC like other boards do.
However, there are areas that do have multiple layers of reinforcement. For example, the rails have 3 layers of PVC material since they tend to be one of the more vulnerable parts of an iSUP.
We’re very happy with what Bay Sports included here. Out of the box you can expect a fiberglass 3-piece adjustable paddle, 9″ FCS SUP Touring center fin, US air fin box, ankle leash, ballistic-weave nylon backpack, repair kit and a Helios triple action dual-chamber hand pump. Let us just say that this pump is one of the best we’ve seen included with an iSUP and makes inflating the board a whole lot faster and easier.
It would’ve been nice to include a carbon fiber paddle with the board instead of the fiberglass since it’s stronger and lighter weight. After all, a number of competing boards in the same price range include these types of paddles.
If you’re already looking at the Bay Sports brand and are merely deciding which model to purchase, this would be one of the best choices you could make. This is in large part because as an all-around board, you can take it with you to whichever body of water you choose and just go out there without worrying if it will work out for you.
Obviously, if you want to do more specialized activities on a regular basis — such as racing or yoga — there are iSUPs that would serve you better in the Bay Sports lineup. Also, if you like this board but want something a bit more pretty, there is a 10’6” model in the Original series. These are iSUPs with the similar specs as their counterparts but with a faux wood design for a more distinguished look.