Abysup SUP123 Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board iSUP (North Shore)

$319.99
4.2

Features

4.0/5

Design

4.5/5

Performance

4.0/5

Ease of Use

4.0/5

Value

4.5/5

Pros

  • Attractive pricing
  • Durable, VERY lightweight
  • Excellent stability
  • Compact and portable
  • Great art design

Cons

  • Not as nimble and speedy as hard SUPs
  • No D-Rings to convert into a Kayak
  • Takes time to inflate, deflate
  • Must not be kept in hot storage
  • Single layer is not as durable as Dual
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Beginner/Intermediate Paddle Board

Standup paddle boarding had been such great fun while socially distancing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic last year. It also helped us bond with our children, and not long after, many friends joined in with boards of their own. Their favorite was the beginner-friendly Runwave Kohala inflatable stand up paddle board (iSUP) that also had proved quite popular around the harbor we paddled at.

In this review, I took a look at the Abysup SUP123 (Style: North Shore) iSUP whose dimensions put it right between the Runwave and my slightly-more advanced DvSport Sunshine. In other words, it should appeal to both beginners and those more experienced/transitioning to the intermediate level.

Why Not Rent?

The typical rental fee for a SUP in our area ran for $30/person for two hours. So, doing the math for an inflatable SUP at $300, that would equate to 10 rentals for up to 20 hours of use. It made sense for us to purchase one instead to save in the long run. I, personally, own and prefer the DvSport Sunshine over the Runwave Kohala, a great board for beginners and recreational use.

What makes the Abysup SUP123 a great beginner/intermediate paddle board? Are epoxy (solid) SUPs more durable than inflatable ones? As it turned out, no.

Read about iSUP vs SUP (and more) in our guide, Stand Up Paddle Boarding Basics & Tips: How to paddle, prepare, maintain, and choose Inflatable Boards (iSUP)

The Abysup SUP123 iSUP uses the dual layer construction technique.

What’s Good? What’s Bad?

Pros

North Shore, Shaka, Plam Wood /Abysup

North Shore, Shaka, Plam Wood /Abysup

  • Very lightweight: 21.5 lbs, dual-layered
    • DvSport: 24.5 lbs, dual-layered / Runwave Kohala: 25 lbs, single-layered
    • Light enough to be carried to remote wilderness locations
  • Pleasant, modern graphic design
    • Looks better than my DvSport Sunshine and Runwave Kohala
    • 3 variations: North Shore, Shaka, Plam Wood (My favorite look but was sold out)
  • Less expensive than hard boards
  • Fast to deploy/inflate
    • First time, an iSUP took me 20 minutes reading instructions and looking for the parts
    • Subsequent times took roughly 9-11 minutes to get paddle-ready
    • Consider using an electric pump for faster deployment. See TIPS section for more
  • Compact and portable
    • Folds away easily to the size of a sleeping bag
      • Simply deflate, remove specific parts, protect the fins, and roll away
    • Takes up less space than hard boards
    • Can fit in a smaller car, is easier to carry around, and can be checked in on an airplane (and helps save on rental fees)
  • Carry handle at center of board for one-handed transport
  • More durable than hard boards as they won’t scratch or ding when dropped, making them a bit more suitable for rocky, wild adventures
    • This did not initially make sense: why would an INFLATABLE be more durable than a HARD board?
      • Hard boards are more prone to cracking, scratches, and appearance of holes that require immediate fixing. Who knew?
  • Causes less injuries than hard boards
Package: SUP123 North Shore iSUP /Abysup

Package: SUP123 North Shore iSUP /Abysup

Inflatable SUPs are more durable than hard boards as they won’t scratch or ding when dropped, making them a bit more suitable for rocky, wild adventures

  • Excellent board for beginners and leisure paddling, though its shorter length and more narrow width makes it slightly more nimble and advanced than the Runwave Kohala
    • Good transition board for more skilled beginners
    • Inflatables cause less fatigue
  • Bungee tie down at front to hold gear (ie. water bottle, lunch, jacket, sunblock)
  • Excellent stability aided by its 6″ inflated thickness, 32″ width, 10.6′ length
    • Volume was not provided. To get an estimate, take about 24% off the dimensions to account for the irregular shape: 304L
      • Calculation: 6″ x 32″ x (10.6′ x 12) = 24,422 cubic inches = 400L x 0.76
    • Larger thickness, width, length makes it more stable than my DvSport (5″ D, 32″ W x 10′ L, 240L volume)
    • More narrow width, shorter length makes it more nimble than the Runwave (6″ D, 33″ W x 11′ L, 325L approx. volume)
    • Extra volume adds more stability and weight support over hard boards
      • Supports up to 300 lbs, according to the manufacturer (36 lbs more than DvSport, 52 lbs less than Runwave)
    • Its dimensions make the board perfect for recreational, beginner/intermediate paddling
  • Can be used for surfing on small waves, though it will not be very nimble because of its large size
  • Based on my research, inflatables can last 10 years or more, depending on maintenance, storage environment, and other factors
  • Multiple accessories included
    • Carry bag/Backpack with side mesh pocket
      • Front and side compression straps to reduce volume and carry additional gear
      • Large, internal pocket
    • Abysup-branded Pump with max pressure of 29 PSI (2 Bars)
      • Can pump air in or out. Connect the hose to the opening marked “OUT” to inflate
      • Single and Double Action pumping. I use Double to quickly inflate to about 8 PSI, after which I switch to the easier Single
    • 3 fins (1 removable 9″)
    • 3-part, floating, length-adjustable aluminum paddle
    • Safety leash with key compartment
    • Repair kit
  • Very well-written manual with step-by-step, visual and text instructions
  • Warranty: 12 months

Cons

  • D-Rings not already affixed to help turn it into a kayak with an optional seat
  • Takes time to inflate or deflate
    • Hard boards are ready to go and require little to no preparation
    • Took 12-16 minutes to deflate, clean up, roll up, and pack away
  • Slower to turn and paddle than my DvSport due to its larger thickness, width, and length, but felt slightly more nimble than the Runwave
  • Requires a pump
    • Inflating a paddleboard to 12-15 PSI (about 1 Bar) takes quite a workout
  • Does not perform as well or as fast as hard boards, making them not as good for racing competitions, though the performance gap between SUPs and iSUPs is narrowing
  • iSUP is puncture resistant, but not puncture-proof

Tips

Paddle Boarding Basics & Tips

Tandem Kayak Seats /Tahe

Tandem Kayak Seats /Tahe

We urge you to learn the basics to minimize injury, get more enjoyment out of your iSUP, and be familiar with how to choose and maintain your board so it will last longer.

Life Vests

Life Jackets are essential for your safety and can even be required by law. See our guide on Personal Flotation Devices (PFD): How To Choose A Life Vest For Kayaking, Paddle Boarding.

Conversion to Kayak

Kayak Seat Conversion Kit /South Bay Board

Kayak Seat Conversion Kit /South Bay Board

Adding a seat is a VERY nice way of converting a stand up paddle board (whether inflatable or not) into a relaxing, single or tandem-seated kayak. All you need are four (4) D-Rings affixed to the iSUP that you attach the seat onto.

A Kayak Conversion Kit can be purchased (like the South Bay Kayak Kit that includes 4 D-Rings and PVC glue). Molded, foam seats provide better comfort.

Kayak Accessories

Some kayak seats come with a storage zipper pocket attached to the back to store snacks, drinking water, windbreaker jacket, and other accessories. They usually can be removed and secured to the front bungee cords, too. The bag generally is water resistant but NOT waterproof — so, keep that in mind if you plan on bringing things that cannot get wet.

You may want to consider these accessories for your iSUP/Kayak adventures:

Son paddle boarding at Newport Beach, California

Final Thoughts

Paddling with my son /Dam Vu Nguyen

The awkwardly named Abysup SUP123 with its wide and long form factor makes for a very stable, beginner-friendly inflatable that is just advanced enough for the person looking to transition into intermediate level. Its approximate volume of 304L, 6″ thickness, and 300 lb maximum weight-capacity could accommodate two adults, but be sure the board is fully inflated so a flex or sink would not hinder paddling efficiency. Like all the other iSUPs and hard SUPs I had used last year, paddling around in the water had provided a great amount of joy, memories, and much-needed exercise in a socially-distanced World amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. My son went from someone being fearful of water to wanting to go out with me every time, even agreeing to learn how to jump into the ocean and flipping himself to safely float with a life vest.

Although my favorite still is the DvSport Sunshine iSUP for its slightly better, more streamlined performance, this Abysup makes for an excellent pick for its surprisingly light weight and pleasant board art, particularly the Plam Wood design.

Purchasing an inflatable stand up paddle board was an eye opener and money saver over rental fees. It very much was more stable, VERY lightweight, and easier to stand on for longer periods of time than hard boards, but I also felt more pride taking care of something that was mine. Inflatables not only take up less garage space, but they are also more compact to transport in a car’s trunk.

My best friend and I said to each other that we should have bought one long ago instead of wasting so much money on rentals, but in a way I am glad we waited: technology has improved and prices had gone down quite a bit. Happy paddle days ahead!

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