GILI Adventure 11′ Inflatable Paddle Board – a Detailed Review
Named after a beautiful little island just off the coast of Lombok in Indonesia, GILI Sports set out with the simple intention of producing the highest quality paddle boards that represented genuine value for money. Side Note: I lived in Asia for several years and have traveled through Indonesia and to Gili many times so can attest to the beauty of this stunning little piece of tropical real estate.
With an absolute passion for travel, Jay Regan foundered the Phoenix, AZ based business in 2018 so they are still a relatively young company. Their youth aside, GILI now produce 4 different inflatable SUPs and quality accessories that cater for multi-discipline paddling ranging from touring, yoga, fishing, surfing and general all-round conditions. In-house designed and tested, for each GILI board sold, the company also contributes to several ocean charities with proceeds supporting the oceans, reefs and marine life.
One of these boards is the GILI Adventure Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board that, owing to its design, offers a nice balance between touring and general all-round paddling.
Let’s take a look:
Length: 11′ (335 cm)
Width: 32″ (81 cm)
Thickness/Depth: 6″ (15 cm)
Construction: Fusion Dual Layer Technology
Weight: 23 lbs (10.4 kg)
User Weight: 290 lbs (132 kg)
Inflation PSI: recommend up to 15 psi
Volume: 238 litres
Paddle: 3-Piece Adjustable Carbon Fibre
Fin: 2+1 Detachable 9″ Snap-In Centre Fin
Pump: Manual Single Chamber Dual-Stage High Pressure
Leash: 10′ Dual-Swivel Coiled Ankle Leash
Warranty: 2 Years
The Adventure is also available as a 12′ board with corresponding higher weight, volume and capacity as well as the same package inclusions.
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 and improving our cardiovascular health. Its an exciting way to unwind and decompress whilst at the same time engaging with nature. As one of the fastest growing water sports globally, if you have access to water then its definitely worth giving it a go.
A sizeable portion of inflatable paddle boards are categorised as ‘all-rounders’ and as such are designed with similar dimensions which enables them to cater for a broad range of paddling, both in terms of skill levels and paddling styles. The Adventure comes in both 11′ and 12′ lengths so whilst it to is a well-balanced all-round inflatable, its marginally tapered design and front rocker make the board well suited for touring and longer distance paddling as well.
Construction – at the core of the Adventure is a dense drop-stitch which uses thousands of polyester threads that are woven together and then connected to outer layers of fabric. Using Fusion Dual Layer Technology, this inner core is then enveloped by layers of military-grade PVC using a machine laminating process which reduces the margin of human error to produce a consistent light-weight and durable board.
It is this construction methodology that enables the board to maintain its shape once inflated. This method of construction makes the Adventure particularly rigid and durable so it can withstand impacts with rocks and other floating debris or if accidentally dropped. In fact many quality iSUPs these days, now rival their rigid epoxy counterparts in terms of durability, rigidity and stiffness. At 23 lbs, the Adventure is at the lighter end of the iSUP spectrum making for easy carrying and transportation as well as more responsive manoeuvring.
|<< Check out our Bluefin 12’ All Rounder Cruise iSUP Review >>|
External Board Features
Deck Traction Pad – covering approx. two-thirds of the boards surface, the brushed EVA foam deck padding provides a stable cushioned surface making it easier and more comfortable particularly if standing or paddling over longer distances. It is well suited for general recreational paddling, fishing, yoga or when paddling with the kids / dog. While it is durable, comfortable and does the job, a number of manufacturers have moved to diamond grooved deck pads which have deeper grooves to aid water run off and provide better overall traction.
Grab Handles – with forward, centre and rear colour coded grab handles, the Adventure can be easily carried by a single paddler or by 2 people carrying the board in tandem on either end making it very easy to transport. They also act as great towing points or for when you want to connect multiple boards together.
Bungee Cargo Nets – while other SUPs may viral it, no other board comes with a larger cargo area than the Adventure. Removable if desired, the 6-point forward and 4-point rear bungee cords attach to the existing D-rings and provide substantial room for storage of coolers or other larger items. Perfect for when you need to carry a lot of kit so always a welcome inclusion.
D-rings – well spaced around the entire perimeter of the board, the 17 D-rings (includes SUP leash point at tail) provide more than enough ability to fully accessorise your board. Be it the inclusion of the optional GILI kayak seat, water bottles, coolers or your fishing gear, if you can attach it, job done.
Fins – the fully detachable 2+1 tri-fin configuration makes it easy to adapt the board to different paddling styles and water conditions. The large 9″ centre fin nicely aids straight line tracking and uses a snap-in fin box making it quick and easy to install or remove. Used in tandem with the detachable side fins, the board offers great stability and manoeuvres well through both flat and choppy water conditions.
Inflation Valve – located in front of the rear grab handle, the high pressure valve can be locked in both an open or closed position enabling rapid inflation and deflation. Maximum inflation to 15 psi.
Performance / Suitability
With specifications of 11′ – 32″ – 6″, the Adventure is a classic all-round inflatable that is well suited for a variety of paddling styles and waterways. This said, it’s design (tapered nose and front rocker) make light work of straight line paddling so its also well suited for touring or longer expeditions and camping trips. The board offers a nice compromise between overall paddling performance and stability and as such is well suited for paddlers of all levels.
Stability – one of the key metrics at the top of the list for those new to paddle boarding is how stable the board is. Stability is governed by a number of factors including the boards rigidity (stiffness), surface area and volume.
While we have referenced the quality of the construction above, the width and depth of the board also play a key role. At 32″ wide, the Adventure offers plenty of room to find your feet without being too ‘tippy’. It also has ample buoyancy so will comfortably ride nicely above the water line given its 6″ thickness. The 290 lbs weight carrying capacity also comfortably covers the base for a typical size adult including any kit or your kids and the dog.
Tracking – paddling isn’t a lot of fun if you can’t paddle from one point to another. The 11′ Adventure (and more so again on the 12′) has a tapered design and front rocker (upward turned nose) which nicely assist its ability to build speed and glide through the water. Coupled with the tri-fin configuration and in particular the large 9″ centre fin, straight line paddling even through moderate choppy waters is easily achieved once you’ve settled into your stroke.
Manoeuvrability – 11′ inflatable SUPs are typically not that nimble or responsive, but the Adventure does have a very stable paddling platform with a nice tri-fin configuration. While the large centre fin is key to maintaining a straight line, the 2 smaller side fins (side bites) are what assist the board to make turns or change direction.
The stiff rigid surface also means that once you have your technique and form bedded down, you will be able to perform step-back or more acute turns so with practice, manoeuvring the Adventure isn’t too challenging. The accessories package also comes with a quality carbon fibre paddle which greatly aids your paddling stroke and subsequent board performance.
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Both the 11′ and 12′ Adventure come with a quality all-inclusive accessories package so unless you’re looking to further accessorise your board, you’ll have everything you need to get yourself out there on the water.
Paddle: up the creek without a paddle as they say. Pleasingly GILI have included a high strength, light-weight, 3-piece paddle that floats. It has an adjustment range of 67″ to 86″ so can be adjusted so suit paddles of all heights. Carbon fibre paddles are much more efficient than the entry level or middle market aluminium and fibreglass paddles that are included in other manufacturers inflatable SUP packages. Weighing only 29 ounces, and with an anti-raddle, anti-twist locking system, the lighter and stiffer shaft greatly optimises paddling performance which can be quite evident when paddling over longer distances.
Leash: to ensure that you and your board do not get separated in the event of a fall in the water, the 10′ ankle (or calf) leash comes with dual swivels which ensures that it will not get tangled around your ankle. Coiled in design to reduce drag in the water, the polyurethane cord attaches to your ankle by the multilayered logo embossed neoprene cuff for added comfort and security.
Pump: the single chamber dual-action pump comes with a high pressure gauge and 40″ inflation hose that securely fits to the boards inflation valve. With a bit of a pre-paddling pumping work-out, the board can be inflated to its recommended 12 – 15 psi in less than 10 minutes.
While GILI also produce a high-flow triple action hand pump which can be purchased as an optional accessory, 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 Adventure.
Backpack: measuring 36″ – 14″ – 12″, the heavy-duty nylon backpack features a rear I.D window, 2 well positioned grab handles, side mesh pockets for smaller accessories or wet items as well as an additional front zipper pocket. The bag opens through a single u-shaped front zipper that can comfortably fit your deflated board and all accessories. The 2 side and 2 front adjustment straps help securely lock down its contents while the padded backing and comfortable shoulder and waist straps securely fit and adjust as needed. GILI also produce their Meno Series rolling backpack with the added advantage of wheels making for easier transportation over flat surfaces. This is a great optional extra for those looking to jet off on a SUPing adventure given its ease of use.
Repair Kit: similar to most iSUP packages, comes complete with colour coded patches and glue plus a wrench tool to tighten the rear inflation value in the event it becomes loose.
Optional Accessories: while the Adventure can accommodate many third party branded accessories, GILI also offer a nice range of optional add-ons or replacement parts. These including:
– Electric iSUP Pump
– Kayak & Paddle Board Anchor
– Deck Cooler Bag
– Kayak Conversion Kit (includes additional paddle blade)
– Shoulder Carry Straps
– Action Mounts for GoPro, Phones or Fishing Rod Holders
– Range of Supplementary Fins
– High Flow Triple Action Manual Pump
– Cell Phone Case
– Waterproof Dry Bag
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☑️ High quality construction using Fusion Dual Layer Technology
☑️ Well balanced all-round board suitable for all skill levels
☑️ Option of 11′ or 12′ models catering for a broader range of paddlers
☑️ Design caters well for optimal tracking and glide
☑️ Ample storage capacity – dual bungee systems & multiple D-rings
☑️ Available in three colour schemes – teal, blue and yellow
☑️ Good weight carrying capacity at 290 lbs
☑️ Light-weight for ease of use and transportation
☑️ Snap-in detachable tri-fin configuration
☑️ Oversize brushed traction deck pad
☑️ Multiple grab handles for carrying / towing
☑️ All-inclusive quality accessories package
☑️ 2 year warranty
– The inclusion of the GILI high-flow triple action pump would be a nice bonus
– Neoprene wraps on the grab handles would be good in terms of comfort when in use
|<< Perhaps the NIXY Newport G3 All Around iSUP is more to your liking >>|
When it comes to highlighting the key features and stand out points on inflatable paddle boards these days, the gaps continue to narrow as manufacturers strive to gain competitive advantages over each other. The good thing for the paddling community of course is that we continue to be spoilt for choice particularly for middle market all-round boards such as the GILI Adventure.
Whether you’re new to paddling or if you’ve got a bunch of miles under your feet, the Adventure offers great rigidity and stability and is well suited for both recreational paddling and longer distance touring. While inflatable paddle boards are in the order of 10% slower than epoxy SUPs, the Adventure is designed to track and glide well through the water so it is definitely no slouch. It also offers plenty of buoyancy and stability so is nicely suited for fishing and yoga where you will typically be stationary in the water.
If you are looking for further validation, customer feedback and reviews are coming in very favourable which is yet another reason why we too would be putting the GILI Adventure on your short list.
We hope you found this review beneficial and as always would welcome your thoughts. Please feel free to leave your comments below and we will get back to you.
Until then, stay safe and get wet.