30 Apr Baysports 11’ Mandala
Baysports 11’ Mandala
One of the main things we expect to see from a yoga iSUP is size. While most boards are designed to have you stand up and paddle, a yoga board assumes that you’ll be spending a good deal of time sitting or lying on the deck. That’s why it should come as no surprise that the only yoga-specific board from Bay Sports is also their largest by volume.
- Big board with plenty of room for yoga poses
- Surprisingly light
- Deck completely clear for fitness routines
- Large padded area
- Premium accessories included
- High weight capacity
- Paddle on the lower end considering price
- Availability in the US can be an issue
- No color choices
- Paddle holder is awkward
While there are larger yoga iSUPs out there, there aren’t many. Bay Sports took the time to make what they think is the best yoga board on the market? But after taking the time to really take a look at the Mandala, what conclusion did we come to?
Although you probably wouldn’t purchase this SUP for the performance factor alone like you may with others, this is a surprisingly well-rounded board. For instance, we would normally expect a yoga board to be sluggish since they’re wider and generally care more about stability than speed. However, this SUP was designed to get you to your yoga spot fast. You won’t win any races with this board, but it’s on par with your average iSUP.
With this being such as wide board, you can expect to be pleasantly surprised with how stable it is. So much so that even a beginner could get up and going with no major issues. Because this board uses a 3-fin system, it’s also remarkably maneuverable as well — perfect for getting you to that exact spot you were aiming for.
While you would want to avoid rougher waters when looking for a place to do your poses, the rounded nose allows you to handle rough waters and the occasional wave without issue.
Part of the beauty of this board is how simple it is. However, that’s not to say that it doesn’t have a few tricks up its sleeve. For instance, while almost every board on the market has a center carrying handle on the deck of the board, here the padded area is completely free of anything that might get in the way. So, you may ask, how does one move the board around? There are 2 D-rings in the side of the board that connect to an included carrying strap. At first we were a little thrown off by not having a center handle but not only can we see the value of losing it, in reality a board more than 32” inches across is difficult for a lot of people to carry that way, anyway.
There are also carrying handles on both the front and back of the board, which we are huge fans of. Not only can you have 2 people carrying the board if need be, but if 1 person is carrying the board alone and wants to drag it on the shore, they can have a choice as to which end to use. Speaking of these handles, the back carry handle doubles as a paddle holder so that you don’t have the paddle in the way while doing your routine. While in theory it’s great, in reality it ends up being a bit awkward. Typically speaking, paddle holders are best on the side of the deck on the rail so that it’s completely out of the way and also use a Velcro strap. Here you’re really just kind of sticking the paddle in a hole and hoping for the best.
To end this section on a high note, the deck is big and extremely comfortable, which is really the star of the show if you use this for yoga. What we love about it is that Bay Sports found that balance of grippy yet comfortable — perfect for yoga poses while still realizing you’re on a floating on a body of water.
When we included a lack of color choices in our list of cons, that was more because we were looking for ways to be critical. Although you only have one choice for design, it’s gorgeous — simple yet elegant. The main board itself is the faux wood design that the Classic line of the Bay Sports iSUPs use and the deck pad is a large sky-blue surface with 3 large white lotus flowers and the Bay Sports logo beneath. It gives off an impression of peace and tranquility that pairs well with the intended activities of this board. As a side note, those flowers aren’t just there to look pretty. They are symmetrically designed so that you always know where your center is.
As would be expected on a board like this, there is a decent amount of storage on this board toward the far end of the front. To be exact, this is made of up of a 4-point bungee system with corresponding D-rings for holding down any additional gear like dry bags or coolers. Speaking of D-rings, there are 2 attached D-rings — 1 on the front grab handle and other on the back grab handle — though these aren’t for storage. The front D-ring is for docking or towing while the back one is for the included ankle leash. Rounding our the D-ring discussion, there are 4-rings in the center of the center on the board on the rails that serve double duty as attachment points for the before-mentioned carrying strap and for an optional kayak attachment.
Surprising for a yoga board, the Mandala has a 3-fin system that give it decent tracking with increased speed and maneuverability. Of the 3, only the center fin is removable.
You don’t usually hear of an iSUP of this size coming in at such a low weight. 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.
One way you can tell the true strength of a board is by the PSI limits. While this iSUP is recommended to be inflated to 15 PSI, it can handle up to 26, which is the near the upper limit of most premium boards.
We’re very happy with what Bay Sports included here. Out of the box you can expect the adjustable neoprene shoulder strap, fiberglass 3-piece adjustable paddle, 9” FCS II Connect GF 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.
We’ve searched high and low and have yet to find the perfect iSUP. While the Bay Sports Mandala still leaves us wanting, any criticisms are minor and don’t really matter that much. If we were out on a lake doing yoga ourselves, this would probably in our top 3 of all the boards we’ve reviewed.
Yoga board tend to run up in price and while this isn’t the cheapest we’ve seen, it’s certainly isn’t the most expensive either. Once all is said and done, we were quite impressed with this iSUP and would highly recommend it for serious consideration — especially when it’s on sale, which it often is.