It isn’t everyday that the first time you try paddleboarding, it’s on a gigantic fifteen-foot SUP. The size of the Red Paddle Co 15’0 Voyager Tandem SUP caught a lot of people’s attention.
We figured our resident waterman Aaron would be the ideal candidate to test the giant beast, given his background as a surfer. Despite having never ventured out before on a stand-up paddleboard, Aaron made it look easy paddling around on the tandem board!
Set up and break down
Set up was relatively easy in terms of rolling out the board and setting up the pump. It was impressive to see the Titan pump push air quickly.
Perhaps we should have read the instructions ahead of time as apparently removing the red stopper on the Titan Pump is key to getting that max PSI once it gets harder to pump. https://redpaddleco.com/en-us/paddle-boarding-know/pump-like-pro/. Expect to get at least 22, if not 25 PSI out of your Titan Pump for the tandem board.
It took under 7 minutes to inflate the board and a few more minutes to connect the paddles together and following safety procedures (i.e. putting on our personal floatation devices). From bag to water, I’d say 20 minutes is a good conservative estimate for being ready to push off.
As far as breaking down goes, the challenges comes down to having a plan in place for cleaning your board, whether on the road or at home, to avoid the standard lake smell from those oxygen-starved bodies of waters. With all the waterfowl, reservoir water can tend to be a bit foul.
It helped having an outdoor table (or two) to prop the board up while we cleaned it and put it away for storage. It was handy to have the backpack mode when traveling across the sand as well as the wheels for the flat surfaces.
Tandem paddling is relatively much more challenging than tandem bicycling in our opinion, and it takes some communication and practice to get into the swing of paddling as a unit, especially when we both were standing.
There were a few times where either of us were brought to our knees simply because the other person shifted their weight a few inches.
On calm waters, we could move around with ease. When the wind picked up – it took quite a bit of effort to be able to maintain headings due to the large profile of the board.
Paddling head on into the wind, the board would vibrate with every bounce from the choppy waters. Aaron couldn’t help but feel a little nostalgia for those jaw-bone jarring days of surfing choppy waves on classic Hawaiian style longboards.
It was much easier to operate as a team with one person standing and the other person kneeling or sitting down, or both kneeling.
With two parents and a young companion, Aaron didn’t feel cramped on the board, although we did wonder how we could carry food, water, and additional items for longer tours with the family of 3.
Information about the board and gear
The Voyager Tandem board comes with a Titan pump and a HP pump, a water-proof phone case, US box fins, and a repair kit as well as a two year warranty.
MSRP IS $1999 but we found it on sale for $1599 at Backcountry.com and REI!
Voyager Tandem Stand-Up Paddleboard regularly $1,999.00 on sale $1,599.99
[all pictures by Mary-Beth Rose]