I spent a season testing the Red Paddle Voyager 12'6" paddle board to find out how practical it is as an alternative tender and how it performs over a long period

Product Overview


Red Paddle Voyager 12’6″ paddle board review

The stand up paddle board market has grown at an incredible rate in recent years and now there are a great many companies on the market. One of the earliest inflatable paddle board manufacturers – and one which lays a strong claim to producing the best paddle boards out there – is Red paddle boards. I tested this Red Paddle Voyager 12’6″  for a full season while cruising on my yacht to see how well it performed.

Where windsurf boards once festooned cruising yachts, now an inflatable stand-up paddle board (SUP) is de rigeur and with good reason; being able to step off the boat and explore, escaping any hint of cabin fever, adds a brilliant extra dimension to cruising.

Inflatable SUP design has come a long way and there’s now a lot of choice, but Red Paddle is still one of the top brands for quality and their products command a higher price as a result.

Red Paddle Voyager 12’6″ paddle board

I tested their 12ft 6in Voyager throughout this season. The board is designed for heading off and exploring as well as just being a water toy for the boat.

With 370 litres of volume and 32in wide, it is buoyant and stable enough for a large adult plus a couple of kit bags, or an adult with a child on the front, without losing its long, efficient shape.

The board is flat and is made stiffer in the mid section by battens inserted along the edges. And a large single skeg fin makes straight line paddling easy, though to turn quickly you’ll need to take a step or two aft to lift the nose.

While it is one of the heavier boards at 11kg, it’s still light enough to carry under one arm.

You can choose the paddle to go with your board. We had the three-piece carbon 50 paddle, which is £205 (the alloy version is £95) that packs down to fit inside the bag.

Other accessories that made the board more useful were the Red Paddle dry bag that clips neatly on deck, the cable lock so you can leave the board safely ashore, and the Titan twin-chamber pump for faster inflation.

My verdict on the Red Paddle Voyager 12’6″ paddle board

We used this paddle board more than our inflatable tender over the summer. We even used it a few times getting to and from our home mooring with two adults and four waterproof kit bags without any mishaps, so it’s pretty stable.

The convenience of picking your ‘tender’ up under one arm and walking back to the car is a revelation.

This paddle board is on the longer side for storing on deck when inflated, at least on a small boat, but packing it down was easy enough. The only real downside is the high cost. There are cheaper boards on the market, but you sacrifice longevity and stiffness.

If you’re happy to spend the money, you’ll certainly have fun with this board.

There is little doubt that a paddle board adds a new dimension to yacht cruising without taking much space, and this is one of the best boards I’ve tried for going on longer paddles.

Red Paddle Voyager 12’6″ paddle board specifications

Pric: From £1,069
Length: 12ft 6in
Width: 83cm / 32in
Thickness: 15cm / 5.9in
Volume: 370 litres
Rider Weight: <150kgs / 330lbs
Board Dimensions: 11kg / 24.2lb
Bag Diumensions: 96cm x 39cm x 36 cm
Fin: Removable FCS US Box Fins

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