Bluefin Stand Up Paddle Board – 12’ All Rounder Cruise Review
Bluefin offers a range of mid to high end Inflatable SUPs ranging from their Cruise Junior 8′, the All Round Cruise and Cruise Carbon 10′ through 15′ range, as well as a tandem board plus their 18′ Mammoth Group board. A mammoth indeed it is.
Today we will be looking at their 12′ All Rounder Cruise Board Package with the Kayak Conversion Kit although a lot of the design features and board specifications are consistent through the range of Blufin boards so it is worth looking at their other offerings if you are willing to increase your spend.
Length: 12′ (366cm)
Width: 33 inches (83cm)
Depth / Height: 6 inches (16cm)
Weight: 31 pounds (14kgs)
User Weight: up to 10 pounds (140kg)
Inflation PSI: recommended 15-18 PSI
Fin: Smart Lock Fin System
Warranty: 5 years
Dropstitch Density: 11200 / square metre
Why Paddle Board – as a recreational activity, paddle boarding offers some tremendous health and fitness benefits ranging from a full body workout engaging many of the core muscles albeit in a low impact way through to improved balance, improvements in endurance and stamina, injury rehabilitation, weight loss as well as improving our cardiovascular health. Its an exciting way to unwind and decompress whilst at the same time engaging with nature. As one of the faster growing water sports globally, if you have access to water then its definitely worth giving it a go.
About Blufin – a somewhat newer entrant to the market, Bluefin are a West Yorkshire (United Kingdom) based SUP manufacturer who were established in 2013. They remain a family run business with an ethos that focuses on producing a collection of boards that is targeted at the beginner through to seasoned paddler. They pride themselves on heavily investing their efforts into constant R&D with a view to enhancing the range of boards as newer editions come to market.
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So What’s In the Box:
12′ Board – seen as one of the more versatile boards on the market, the board is constructed from 1000 Denier Exo Surface Laminate PVC with a pro weave drop stitch. The dense drop stitch construction which uses thousands of polyester threads connecting to the layers of fabric enables the board to maintain its shape once inflated. Like other quality SUPs, this method of construction makes the boards particularly rigid and durable so they can withstand impacts with rocks and other floating debris or if accidentally dropped. Given its length, the 12′ board is well suited for taller and heavier paddlers given its greater surface area. At 31 pounds it is heavier than some of the other SUPs on the market sitting mid-range for a board within this category. The dimond shaped deck and kick pad are made from two layers of foam and offer ample support and cushioning under foot with an ability to manoeuver and turn quickly. The forward cargo net offers ample storage space with the multiple D-rings providing you with an ability to customise or add other inclusions.
Paddle – a two piece lightweight fibreglass shaft & polyurethane blade which weighs some 45% less than a standard aluminium SUP paddle. Lightweight paddles are far better suited for longer distances or beginner paddlers as you will not tire as easily.
Kayak Conversion Kit – seen as a great benefit particularly as it comes in this all-inclusive package. The lightweight seat is easily attached via the boards D-rings. A great idea for those that struggle with their balance or for children. It is best of course to change paddles so you have a two bladed option. I have personally always opted for boards with the kayak seat option as it provides greater versatility over longer distances where you are able to achieve greater speed given the twin blade.
Integrate Go-Pro Mount – whilst simple in nature, the integrated mount at the front of the board is a great addition if your looking to capture your adventure on video. A nice little supplement that is not common amongst other SUP manufacturers.
Travel Backpack – most inflatables come with some form of roll away or backpack the majority of which typically do not stand the test of time. While Blufin claim that theirs is at the upper end of the range offering durability, support and comfort, some reviews would claim otherwise. I have said it before and I will reiterate it again but manufactures can certainly do better in this area and would likely score themselves a couple more ticks if they produced a higher quality product. They could likely even mark up their prices marginally as there is certainly a buyer appetite for greater quality.
Pump – a lightweight single cylinder dual action pump with high pressure gauge. Pumps are easily upgradable to double cylinder dual action or electric that run off your car cigarette lighter or USB charger. There are many pumps on the market and are worth considering. I personally prefer the electric option as its quicker without the need to exert yourself prior to jumping on board and hitting the water.
For those looking to take to the water on a more regular basis, we would always recommend investing in an electric pump. If you would like to learn more about some of the key ‘need to know’ electric pump vital signs, take a read of our article on our Top 5 Electric Pump picks. Some great options and all with universal attachments that will nicely compliment the Bluefin inflatable range of boards.
Centre Fin – the board comes standard with two permanently fixed smaller side fins or ‘side-bites’ as they are commonly referred to. The 8′ centre fin uses the smart lock technology which is now an industry standard for the higher end boards – a simple click and you’re done. The rake (degree of curvature or angle of the fin away from the bottom of the board) is well suited for day to day paddling and good tracking.
Coiled Leash – connected to the rear D-ring and fixed to the ankle via a neoprene band, the dense coils will not trail behind the board and thus eliminate unnecessary drag.
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Suitability / Performance – a very well-rounded and versatile board that is suitable for beginners through to the more experienced paddlers. This 12′ board caters nicely for the larger rider although the Blufin range has a variety of options to suit varying rider styles, size and ability. Well priced for the quality and accessories the board is suited to both flat water paddling or light ocean swell.
Offering an unusually long 5 year warranty in case there is a need to sort out any teathing problems, Blufin are certainly standing by their commitment to delivery a quality all-inclusive product.
The Verdict – the Bluefin range certainly stacks up well relative to its competitors particularly within the mid to higher tier inflatables. As an all-inclusive product with relatively good accessories, I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
As always we would welcome your feedback so please feel free to leave your comments below and we will get back to you.
Stay safe and get wet…