Red Paddle Co specialises in premium inflatable SUP boards. The Red Paddle Co Ride MSL inflatable paddle board is part of its 'All round' range, which means it's suitable for use on everything from calm lakes to choppier seas, and designed to be accessible to beginners as well being perfect for general non-specialised use (Red Paddle Co also makes boards geared towards racing and touring).
We tested out the Ride MSL 10'6", which is is Red Paddle Co's most popular board, has multiple awards to its name, and comes in classic blue or a special edition purple. The package includes everything you need to get out onto the water: the paddle board, backpack, pump, paddle, bungee leash and repair kit.
The Red Paddle Co boards have had a 2021 redesign. There are a few tweaks to look out for compared to the previous iteration, including an extended deck pad that now reaches right down to the tail, and a diamond-cut rear for extra stability when performing step back turns, whatever they may be. With an RRP of £899 for the pack, this isn't a casual purchase – but it is one of the best paddle boards for beginners around (see how it compares to a much cheaper kit in our Red Paddle Co Ride MSL vs M.Y PointBreak inflatable paddle board faceoff). Read on for our full Red Paddle Co Ride MSL 10'6" inflatable paddle board package review.
Red Paddle Co Ride MSL inflatable paddle board review: design
There are a number of boards in the Red Paddle Co Ride range, all of which include similar features. They're all aimed at general use and are suitable for beginners, so the one you choose will depend primarily on the size and weight of the rider.
We tested the most popular 10'6" Ride MSL board. The numbers refer to the length of the board – typically, longer paddle boards are faster but less easy to manoeuvre than shorter boards, but Red recommends anything between 10ft and 11ft if you're after a beginner-friendly board with a good amount of versatility. If you're under 100kg, you might get on better with a board that's under 10'6".
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This board is 32" / 813mm wide and 4.7" / 120mm thick, which is on the upper end of the range Red recommends for beginners and provides a nice stable base for paddling on (a wider board means more stability). These boards are designed to be lightweight enough to be relatively easy to tote around, but, importantly, not so lightweight they'll blow away in the breeze.
The other metric you need to pay attention to is board volume (here, 245 litres). This, in relation to the rider's weight, affects how deep the board will sit in the water. 1kg of weight is roughly equal to 1 cubic litre of volume; Red recommends looking for a board that's around 165 litres of volume on top of your weight, which will mean your board sits deep enough in the water to be nice and stable to ride. There's plenty more information on the Red Paddle Co site to help you pick the right size and shape of board for you, and all the sizes in the range are the same price.
The 10'6" Ride MSL inflatable paddle board comes with twin mounded 'iFins', which are permanently attached to the board (they tuck into the corner of the backpack when not in use). This twin fin setup is designed to make the boards easier to paddle, and offer straighter travel, than a three-fin arrangement. Red Paddle Co says they're super durable and flexible, and while the do seem fairly robust the narrow end of ours got slightly bent on first use, so they're certainly not indestructible.
Red Paddle Co Ride MSL review: accessories and features
The Red Paddle Co has added a number of features to make this board nice and usable. Three carry handles provide a comfortable and cushioned grip when maneuvering of the board into and out of the water, or carrying it over land. The central one also gives you something to cling on to while you're finding your sea legs and working your way up to a standing position. A comfy bungee cord attaches round your leg to stop your investment drifting away if you do lose your balance.
A textured surface provides plenty of grip – even when wet – as well as a comfortable surface to stand on. Three flat, self-closing bungee straps on the board's nose offer an effective and reliable place to stash your belongings, probably in one of the best dry bags (these have been made larger on the 2021 version of the board, to deliver more tension). Finally, an action camera mount has been added at the front of the board, so you can capture your adventures.
The Ride package includes a Carbon 50 Nylon paddle as standard, or you can upgrade to the Carbon 100 paddle (which we tested, and were impressed with) for an extra £100.
Red Paddle Co Ride MSL review: setup and portability
A redesign means that all of Red Paddle Co boards are up to 2kg lighter than the previous double-layer version, which is welcome when it comes to lugging one of these around.
This board comes with Red's All-Terrain backpack, into which you can pack your deflated board and all requisite accessories. Given how big it is – and don't get us wrong, it's massive – this paddle board is relatively easy to carry about. Red has done everything it can do to make this beast as portable as possible, and to that end, there are multiple carrying options. If you're moving over smooth, flat ground, the base has wheels on one side and a hard bumper on the other. That means you can grab the handle on the top, which is stuffed with a rubber tube for comfort, tilt and pull it along by the wheels on its base, or stand it securely upright, like an oversized suitcase.
If you're moving along bumpy ground, you can unveil the backpack straps – which are neatly tucked away behind a velcroed cover – and pop it on your back. There's a proper, adjustable setup here, including waist strap, so if you fit the backpack straps properly, the weight is distributed well and it's comfortable enough to wear for longish periods. There's also a side handle for carrying it short distances over bumpy ground. And of course, it's a whole heap easier to handle than a non-inflatable paddle board would be.
The bag itself feels extremely sturdy and robust. It’s made using toughened materials and designed, Red says, to cope with 'sun, sea, sand and rough handling'. A silvery lining keeps the board cool in hot temperatures too. When you're not using the board, this is how you'd store it too.
Packing up the bag is pretty painless. It's plenty big enough to fit everything into it easily – including the pump and oars. The inner bag is helpfully printed with outlines to show you which bit of oar should be strapped where. All you need to do is dry off the board with a towel so you're not rolling it up wet.
If you want to take your paddle board on a plane with you, you'll want to go for the 9'6" Compact Inflatable Paddle Board package instead, which comes with a Compact backpack that can be checked in as hold luggage.
Unfurling and pumping up the board is straightforward, intuitive and simple, although it does take a bit of elbow grease to get it fully inflated. 2021s boards all come with a new Titan II pump, which claims to "take you from neatly-packed to fully-inflated in half the time, with half the effort", from which we can conclude the pre-2021 pumping up process was really quite arduous.
RED Ride MSL 10'6" review: specs
- Board length: 10'6"
- Board thickness: 4.7" / 120mm
- Board volume: 245 litres
- Board weight: 9.95kg / 21.89lb
- Board width: 32" / 813mm
- Bag size: 960 x 390 x 360mm (HxWxD) / 150 litre vol
- Paddle options: Carbon 50 Nylon, Carbon 100 (£100 extra)
Red Paddle Co Ride MSL review: quality and usability
From the point of view of an almost total beginner, we found the Red Paddle Co Ride MSL inflatable paddle board impressively easy to use. The board is stiff enough to offer plenty of stability and feel sturdy underfoot. We tried it out on a river, but it's wide enough and weighty enough that we'd also be confident using it on choppier waters – in the sea, for example. It's harder to change direction than a shorter board, but being very new to stand-up paddle boarding, it feels like this gives some room for improvement and a move towards middling ability (which is important given the pricing here).
Red Paddle Co Ride MSL paddle board review: price and verdict
All the Red Paddle Co Ride MSL paddle board packages have a sticker price of £899, which is to say, not cheap, but around what you'd expect to pay for a quality inflatable paddle board. For that price, you get a premium board that feels high quality, robust and reliable – and comes with a 5-year warranty if you do have any issues. The design is versatile enough to be used in a variety of ways, accessible to beginners yet also suitable for paddlers with some more experience. The price means that while it's beginner-friendly, it's not really for occasional paddlers – you'll want to be using it fairly regularly to make it worth the investment.
Some effort has gone into making this nice and usable, with features such as the action cam mount, comfy grip handles, well padded bungee cord, and very well-designed pack helping justify that price tag.