THURSO SURF Max Review (2019)

THURSO SURF Max Review (2019)

THURSO SURF Max Review (2019)



The THURSO Max is one of the biggest boards out there, measuring at 11’6” x 34” x 6” and weighs in at 33 pounds. Because of its large size, the Max is great for beginners who need the extra stability and for those who are using their SUP to get them somewhere to do something other than just paddle, such as fishing or fitness.

What’s so great about the THURSO Max is that you can tell a lot of care went into the design of this board. THURSO SURF has a reputation for listening to their customers and by either creating new or modifying existing products, showing that this is a company for paddlers.

We’ll talk about the accessories in greater detail below, but just know that the quality is outstanding and a great value considering the price. Their carbon fiber paddle and premium backpack are just the icing on the cake for this SUP.

  • Warranty
One of the two new models in the 2019 THURSO SURF iSUP line, the Max is a big fella that offers an extraordinary amount of stability utility.


LengthWidthThicknessWeight Max Weight
11’6″34″6″33 pounds370 pounds

THURSO has shown us for just a few short years that you don’t have to be a long-term producer to manufacture some of the best SUPs[i] on the market. In the 2019 model year, THURSO has put out 6 different models and every one of them has been one of the best in their class.

For our review of the 2019 THURSO Max, we’re going to talk about the SUP’s features, construction and performance as well as what comes out of the box. With this information, we hope you can decide if you’ll be hitting the water with the THURSO Max this year!


With such a big board, THURSO assumes that you are going to be taking out for multiple purposes, which is why they included so many premium features.

The entire top deck is covered with high-quality EVA traction pads. This is a must if you’re going to be paddling with riders, such as children or pets.

On the center middle of the deck is a reinforced carrying handle and there are D-rings on both rails for attaching gear or additional equipment such as THURSO’s own kayak seat or SUP cooler.

On the righthand side of the board, you’ll find two Velcro straps that are set up as a paddle holder — a new feature on all of THURSO’s iSUPs in the 2019 model year. It’s surprising how many boards have a paddle holder in an awkward spot or don’t have one at all. With it’s positioning, you can safely put the paddle in an out-of-the-way spot so you can take a dip in the water, do some yoga or even take a nap without having to worry about literally being up the creek without a paddle!

The nose of the board boasts a large amount of storage in the form of bungees and D-ring mounting points. As a quick note, if you’re comparing THURSO boards just by looking at pictures, it looks like the Max has less bungee space than the other boards. What you have to remember that for the 2019 model year, most of the boards have the same amount of bungee space, but since this board is so big, it gives the impression that they skimped out when they actually didn’t.

Another feature on the nose is a handy grab handle. When you move this board in and out of the water, you’ll be glad they included such high-quality handles.

Back on the tail, they included an additional bungee storage area with 4 more D-ring attachment points plus one more for attaching your included leash and a high-quality BRAVO inflation valve. Something else you’ll find is another grab handle which is great for if you want to drag the board on the ground without damaging the fins underneath.

Speaking of fins, the Max has the standard THURSO triple fin setup. All the fins are removable to make deflating and rolling up into the included backpack or stacking on top of the car a breeze. There is no hardware required as they slip into the fin box and click. To remove, you just press a button on the back on the fin box.

Design and Build

THURSO manufactures a solid product as the Max is made using a durable double layer PVC construction with a nylon drop-stitch core. In addition, there are reinforcements along the rails and UV coating to the exterior for protection from the sun — both for the strength of the material and for ascetics.

The Board in Action

The THURSO Max is probably as stable a board as you’re going to get. This makes it perfect for someone who may not have the skills to use a smaller SUP yet. So beyond the carrying capacity, this would be a great training SUP for people just getting their feet wet (pun intended) on paddleboarding.

A speed demon the Max is not. Tracking can be a bit of a challenge as well, especially if it’s windy. If you’re in the market for a larger board with the same features but want something that will give you a little more zoom, you would probably be interested in the THURSO Expedition.[i]

What’s Inside

Travel Backpack

THURSO really upped their game this year on their backpack. It’s solidly built and feels like something you can really take on the road with you.

The front area on the outside gives you a generous storage area for non-included items you want to take with you, like maps, electronics or anything else you might need to have organized and at-hand for your trip.

You’ll find grab handles on four sides of the backpack, making it super easy to put in and out of storage or even your car.

The bottom grab handle is the toughest and most durable which makes sense as it will be taking quite a few hits over time from where it’s located. Also, the whole bottom is reinforced with a heavy-duty resin to make sure this backpack will last for years without any notable damage.

Perhaps one of the most important features are the wheels. Not only are wheel not standard on many iSUP backpacks, but these wheels are also oversized and deeply grooved for maximum traction. These bad boys will make rolling the bag a breeze, whether on a sandy beach or an airport terminal.

The backside of the pack has two fully adjustable straps that sit very comfortably on the shoulders and chest, along with an adjustable sternum strap and waist belt. In concert, they make sure that you’ll be able to carry the bag and all the weight around for an extended period if needed. In addition, here you’ll also find webbed loops and D-rings for anything you may want to connect.

The area where your back would be touching is well-padded and ventilated, making sure you don’t turn into a sweaty mess on warm days.

Carbon Shaft Paddle

THURSO spared no effort to make sure that the Expedition came with more than the standard aluminum or fiberglass paddle that you might expect from many iSUPs. Not only is the 2019 paddle and improvement from the 2018, but it’s also probably one of the best paddles out there from any brand.

The carbon fiber part component of the paddle is only in the shaft itself. The blade is made out of a rigid nylon with the THURSO branding on it. While still maintaining an important amount of flexibility, it’s obvious that it can still take a beating over time. In addition to being made out of tougher material, the blade also appears to be attached better than the 2018 model as well.

Another important feature of the 2019 paddle is the ability to detach the handle and attach another blade if you feel like using the optional kayak seat add-on that you can also get from THURSO.

The last improvement is with the matte finish. While it probably doesn’t actually have any real utility, it does make it look like a higher-end product than the previous glossy paddle. While we probably shouldn’t care about something so minor, thought and effort went into the change, so it’s worth bringing up.

The included paddle with the Expedition is great on its own. However, if you’re going to be using the paddle for a while and feel that a slight drop in weight could make a difference or you need an even tougher blade, than this might be worth the extra expense.

Dual Action SUP Pump

Although THURSO’s pump isn’t the biggest on the market, it still holds its own due to its quality. This pump is dual action with a built-in gauge, allowing you to pump faster as you inflate the board with both the up and downstrokes while in the first mode.

As you start to get closer to the recommended PSI and it gets more difficult to pump in air, you can switch to the second mode where it only moves air on the downstroke.

SUP Leash

The Expedition comes with a standard but quality 10’ THURSO-branded leash[i]
to make sure your board doesn’t get away from you.

At first, THURSO used to include a straight cord, but customers made it clear
that the coiled leash was the way to go — and they listened. One neat feature is a pocket to hold your keys.

Repair Kit

Even with high-end materials, accidents can happen. This kit includes a valve wrench, a brush for adhesive two PVC repair patches and three replacement levels for the fins. Like with most other brands for some reason, note that the adhesive itself is not included and needs to be purchased separately.

Kayak Seat

Hands down one of the most popular accessories is a kayak seat. THURSO’s new model keeps a low profile but still provides extensive back support for long trips. It’s quickly and easily attached using the metal hooks that connect to four D-rings on the rails. This seat goes hand-in-hand with the paddle being able to have two blades.

Insulated Thurso SUP Cold Case

In previous models, an insulated SUP deck bag came standard with the purchase of the board but this year, THURSO decided to make an additional option that can be purchased separately

Although it would’ve been nice to have continued to include it standard, it’s still worth considering as a purchase since it’s a nice bag and fits perfectly on the deck.

The bag itself is water-resistant (as you might expect) and comes with two Velcro mesh pockets for smaller items on the outside. The biggest sell for this bag is that on the bottom are four attachment points and S-clamp mounting to make sure you can secure it to the board. You’ll never have to worry about losing your precious refreshments ever again!

Inside, the bag is fully insulated, which comes in handy when on the board in the sun all day. A mesh divider inside can be used to separate items or to hold ice packs.

Overall, this bag might be worth the investment since this board was designed to be used for long periods of time. This probably won’t have the capacity for a multi-day trip, it should be more than enough for the day or even overnight.

Thurso Electric Paddle Board Pump

New this year to the THURSO lineup is their new electric pump for those whose who really don’t want to have to do the job manually. It’s a cute design and is probably the smallest in its class. This makes it be a convenience without adding any noticeable weight.


If you want everyone to know you’re all about that THURSO life even when you’re not in the water, they’ve got you covered!


Even though THURSO[i] is a young company, they quickly understood the value of taking care of their customers. That’s why they include a two-year warranty that covers any and all manufacturing defects. While we personally haven’t needed to use it, from what we hear, they are quick to address and issues in the customer’s favor.

Where to Purchase

You can pick up the 2019 THURSO SURF Expedition directly from the official company store[i]. A benefit of this is not only getting the best price, but they throw in free shipping and no sales tax. If you are purchasing north of the boarder, there is a special online store[ii] for that.

Bottom Line

Overall, this is a fun SUP if you plan to use it as a tool versus simply a paddleboard. While it’s one of the heaviest and largest boards out there, if you’re lugging around a lot of gear and possibly another person, the tradeoff is more than worth it. Perfect for a family day on the lake, just be sure to use the THURSO Max on calmer waters without excessive winds to make sure you have an optimal experience.