Summer has arrived and I’ve returned to the beach to take a closer look at the Bluefin Cruise Inflatable SUP. In addition to being a quality SUP, this Bluefin SUP converts to a SUP-Kayak hybrid (optionality is convenient).
Over the years I’ve done my fair share of paddle boarding so I was looking forward to trying out this board.
With many purchases in life, it’s common to expect a barebones product. The first paddle board I owned did not come with a paddle – I found this odd but I bought separately.
This was not the case with Bluefin. If anything, it arrived with too many accessories (and I’m pleased it did).
In the sections below I’ll share my experience getting started with this SUP-Kayak. I’ll share my expectations, what I like about it, and what I’d recommend to improve the board.
For others who are considering a paddle board, I’ll provide the details of my experience to make your purchasing decision easier. Let’s get started.
My New Inflatable Bluefin SUP – What’s Included?
Here’s a closer look at what arrived on my doorstep. If you’re looking at “package” options, make sure you review the accessories.
In some cases, you’ll want the accessories but if you’re using your board for specific reasons (e.g. workout) you may not require all the extras.
- Paddle Board 12’ + SUP Package
- Waterproof phone case
- Adjustable paddle with 2-piece conversion for kayaking
- Kayak seat (detachable)
- Center fin (removable)
- Permanent bungees on the deck for storage
- GoPro attachment (front of the board)
- Repair kit
- Carrying strap (fixed to the board)
- Waterproof can (small storage container)
I did my research before I received this paddle board. I knew what I was getting. What I didn’t realize was the amount of gear I’d actually receive.
For serious, minimalist paddle boarders there are a few key items, including the board, the paddle, and a pump (the straps on the deck are also helpful).
For more casual riders, the accessories are a bonus. Though not always used, the GoPro attachment, leash, waterproof phone case, backpack, and carrying strap, offer the optionality to satisfy most types of riders.
For example, someone using the board in the river might prefer a leash, while a paddle boarder at a lake may find it unnecessary.
Bluefin Paddle Board Package: Initial Observations and Thoughts
Opening the box, I had a lot to review. The instruction manual was easy to follow and straightforward.
The look of the board is sleek and stylish. The blue and white color scheme are gender-neutral colors so I believe it works well for men and women.
- I was dreading the 30-minute process to inflate the SUP, but I was pleasantly surprised to have it fully inflated in 5 minutes (I timed it). I believe it was easier to inflate because it has a double action pump (fills when pushing down and pulling up on the handle). In my prior experiences with hand pumps, it took a long time to fill a SUP – Bluefin made it an easy process, and thereby reducing the inconvenience.
- The PVC-made board was more solid than I expected. It has held air for the month that I’ve been using it. There has been no need to refill it.
- The built-in carrying strap was a genius idea. The strap is centered on the board and doesn’t affect the ride when you’re riding on the deck.
- The weight of the board was also surprising – fairly light for its size and strength.
- The GoPro attachment was a thoughtful idea and the waterproof phone case was a bonus that I would never buy, but something I used on my first day with the board.
- I read a few reviews about problems with the removable fin falling off. Some users mentioned that it came off and needed to be replaced. After a month of use, it has remained firmly attached to my board (I leave it on when it’s being stored).
- The D-rings are important. You never know when you’ll want to attach something to your board or add extra storage. There are plenty on this board.
Concerns: Getting To and From The Beach
I was astonished with the size of the board. It’s all of 12’ long, 3-4’ wide and not something I’d want to carry a long distance. Thankfully I live at the beach so I can keep it inflated and carry it to and from the water.
Indoor storage is tough to come by if you have a small place, however, if you’re willing to deflate the board, it will fit in a closet.
Windy days are not recommended for paddle boarding but if you decide to, know that the board can act as a sail if you’re walking with it inflated.
It’s relatively lightweight. I’m able to carry it with one hand. If you have to drive with the board, you’ll want to deflate the board or strap it to your car’s roof rack.
Given the fact that it only takes a few minutes to inflate, it’s likely easier to inflate it once you arrive at the beach.
Overall, getting to the beach with this board is easy enough. You always have the option to deflate the board though it adds a few minutes to the process.
If desired, there are portable electric pumps that can plug into the a/c adapter of a vehicle. They make filling the board more convenient, but you’ll need to do so at your vehicle.
The Bluefin Inflatable SUP: The Ride
Getting out on the water has been a blast with this board. The width provides a little extra stability, especially for taller riders (I’m 6’2”).
Wider boards can make the board slower, but as a casual rider I’m not as worried about speed. I prefer a smooth, enjoyable ride and I’ll sacrifice speed for more balance.
The grip on the deck is appreciated to reduce slippage with when riding.
The board sits high in the water, partly because it’s thick, and I’ve yet to see much water on the deck (calm ocean rides). Because of this, I’ve been able to keep my shirt dry on top of the board while riding it.
I’ve tried the kayak-style seat and I like the back support, but I’ve also found it easy to sit upright on the board and paddle without the attachment.
Obviously, you’ll want to use the back attachment if you’ll be sitting for a long time – most of my rides have been under 30 minutes.
Overall, I’ve enjoyed the ride on the Bluefin Cruise. Inflatable SUP technology has come a long way in the last few years and inflatables perform well. I can’t compare it with all modern inflatable SUPs, but I will say I’m impressed.
It stacks up well with all the other boards I’ve used and this will be my go-to board for the near future. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddle boarder, this board performs!
I wish I had some constructive criticism for this board but I can’t find anything I don’t like. I’ve looked at the seams for quality and it’s well-made. The board is strong and holds air.
The ride is smooth and firm. With the appropriate TLC (fresh water cleaning after being in the ocean and proper storage) I envision this board lasting a long time.
When a board comes with a waterproof phone case and a GoPro mount you know the company has considered everything. Though it came with many extras, there are a few things I will likely never use:
- GoPro mount
- Kayak seat
- Backpack (unless I move and need to put in storage)
Though I may not use many of the accessories, I know there are other who will appreciate them. For this reason, I don’t mind all the extra gear.
Bluefin has several sizes and options for the board so whether you’re tall, short, young or old, check out their boards and give them a try.