So, you've deciced to buy a paddle board? I don't blame you, there's nothing better than exploring the coastline with a paddle in hand. Well, there is one thing better, and that's being out on the water with a partner – enter the Red 15'0 Tandem MSL paddle board – designed to carry two people and cargo. After all, adventures are best shared with others.
The 15'0 Tandem MSL paddle board is part of Red's 'Touring' range, which means it's all about exploring, whether you're going out paddling for the day or planning a multi-day camping trip, this board is designed for high-speed cruising and load transportation. It's stable and designed to be accessible to beginners as well, making it the perfect board for two riders of any skill level (Red Paddle Co also makes boards for single paddlers too).
It's one of Red Paddle Co's most popular boards, and comes with everything you need to get out onto the water: the paddle board, backpack, pump, paddles, leash and repair kit.
The Red Paddle Co boards have had a 2022 redesign. There are a few tweaks to look out for compared to the previous iteration, including a new and improved cargo system which offers three adjustable bungee straps. A twin d-ring locking system allows easy adjustment and release and the small loop is ideal for water bottle storage, and a reinforced cargo point, which means you can strap on enough cargo for any adventure.
With an RRP of £1,899 for the pack – this is a clearly an investment – but it is one of the best paddle boards for beginners around, as well as for more advanced users, especially if you're after a tendem board, which are quite rare compared to their solo counterparts. Read on for our full Red Paddle Co 15'0 Tandem MSL Inflatable Paddle Board review.
Red 15'0 Tandem MSL Inflatable Paddle Board review: design
This is the only tandem paddle board in the Red Paddle Co Ride lineup, so it's a pretty special thing. Of course, as it's designed for two people, that means this board is also one of the largest in Red's lineup, measuring in at 15'0 / 4.572 metres.
That number refers to the length of the board, and it is long. Imagine two Shaquille O'Neals standing on top of each other and you're just about there.
For reference, Red recommends anything between 10ft and 11ft if you're after a beginner-friendly solo board with a good amount of versatility.
Typically, longer paddle boards are faster but less easy to manoeuvre than shorter boards, but as you have two people in control of the Tandem board, it's actually surprisingly agile, as one person can steer from the rear and the other can counter-steer from the front.
The extra length does have an advantage when going in a straight line, with the profiled noses making it perfect for high-speed cruising, and the 9" fin provides excellent tracking, which reduces the number of times you have to swap sides paddling.
You really can cover a lot of distance with this thing.
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This board is 34" / 864mm wide and 8" / 200mm thick, which, again, is on the upper end of Red's range. It provides an incredibly stable base for paddling on (a wider board means more stability). We used this in quite choppy water and didn't feel unsettled at any point.
The other metric you need to pay attention to is board volume (here, 723 litres). This, in relation to the rider's weight, affects how deep the board will sit in the water.
In terms of aesthetics, I really like the white/blue/green colourway of the Tandem board.
The 9" Red plastic touring fin is removable and ultra-durable. You get one fin on the 2021model, which is the model I reviewed, and two on the 2022 model. It's designed to allow any obstructions to slide off without any manual intervention required, meaning you can explore the shallowest of passages without the fear of getting stuck. It's slotted in easily by hand and tightened with a finger bolt, so no tools are required.
Red 15'0 Tandem MSL Inflatable Paddle Board review: accessories and features
The Red Paddle Co has added a number of features to make this board usable.
Five carry handles provide a comfortable and cushioned grip when manoeuvring the board into and out of the water, or carrying it overland. A comfy bungee cord attaches around your leg to stop your investment from floating away (should you lose your footing).
The leash features an interchangeable ankle or calf cuff with a quick release loop and integrated key pouch. It has a 7mm dual cord coiled leash which prevents the leash from dragging in the water (stopping drag) plus dual pivot points to reduce twist.
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). A twin D-ring locking system allows easy adjustment and release and the small loop is ideal for water bottle storage. A reinforced cargo point means you can strap on enough cargo for any adventure.
Finally, an action camera mount has been added at the front of the board, so you can capture your adventures.
Once you add your chosen board to your basket, you'll be offered a choice of paddles to complete your package. The Hybrid Tough and Prime Tough paddles (carbon and glass fibre with nylon blades) are perfect for any paddlers looking for a lighter shaft to increase power output and save energy but still have a durable blade. Red's Prime paddles are the brand's lightest, stiffest and fastest paddles, and are available in two different colours.
Red 15'0 Tandem MSL Inflatable Paddle Board review: setup and portability
There's no getting around it – the 15'0 Tandem MSL paddle board is heavy. It weighs 18.85kg / 41.56lb and due to the size, it's awkward to carry around as well.
This board comes with Red's ATB Tandem backpack, into which you can pack your deflated board and all requisite accessories. Given how big it is – the bag does make it easier to carry around.
It has a roomy 160-litre internal capacity and features anthropomorphically designed adjustable ergonomic support for your back and shoulders. It also has wheels at the bottom, allowing you to drag it to the beach.
Despite the size, Red has done everything it can do to make this beast as portable as possible – 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 uneven ground, you can use the backpack straps, and there's also a side handle for carrying it short distances over bumpy ground.
Now, I wasn't able to test the bag myself, but Ruth, T3's outdoors editor tested a similar bag in her Red Paddle Co Ride MSL review.
Ruth claims the bag feels extremely sturdy and robust.
It’s made using toughened materials and designed, Red says, to cope with 'sun, sea, sand and rough handling'.
When you're not using the board, this is how you'd store it too.
Unfurling and pumping up the board is pretty straightforward, although it does take a lot of elbow grease to get it fully inflated.
The 15'0 Tandem comes with a new Titan II pump. I was seriously impressed with the dual cylinder pump and 'Hi-Flo' handle – it puts the volume into your board faster and reduces the effort required to reach a higher pressure. Don't get me wrong though – it's still a lot of work in order to get the board to the correct PSI. The Tandem board actually features two valves, so you can hook up two pumps for speedier pumping.
Red 15'0 Tandem MSL Inflatable Paddle Board review: specs
- Board length: 15'0"
- Board thickness: 8" / 200mm
- Board volume: 723 Litres
- Board weight: 18.85kg / 41.56lb
- Board width: 34" / 864mm
- Bag size: 1020mm (h) x 380mm (w) x 410mm (d) / 160 litres
- Paddle options: 2 x Cruiser Tough or Hybrid Tough
Red 15'0 Tandem MSL Inflatable Paddle Board review: quality and usability
Both my wife and I have used Red paddle boards before, but we'd never tried a tandem stand up paddle board. We found the 15'0 Tandem MSL board impressively easy to use. The board is rigid enough to offer plenty of stability and feel sturdy underfoot. We tried it off the coast of the Isle of Wight on several occasions, as well as down a tidal creek, experiencing a range of weather and wave conditions. It was wide enough to manoeuvre around safely and stable in choppy waters. We quickly got into a rhythm, and found both changing direction and staying straight was easy to do.
In terms of quality, Red seems right up there. The board feels well built and I could see it lasting a long time.
Red 15'0 Tandem MSL Inflatable Paddle Board review: price and verdict
The Red 15'0 Tandem MSL Inflatable Paddle Board has a sticker price of £1,899, which is to say, definitely not cheap. This is a premium product, though, so 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.
On a more general note, I love the tandem paddle board experience, it allows you to explore places with a partner, chat along the way, and take a break if you get tired. In my experience, it's much more fun than getting two boards, as, inevitably, one board will end up going faster or you'll get split up.
Now, there's no getting away from the fact that this board is large, awkward to manoeuvre out of the water, and heavy, but Red has put effort into making this as painless as possible. After all, there's only so much you can do with physics – Range Rover drivers don't complain their car isn't as easy to park as a Fiat 500.
Ultimately, if you want to paddle with a partner – the Red 15'0 Tandem MSL is the board for you.