Glide 02 Retro 10’6” Inflatable SUP Review

Glide 02 Retro 10’6” Inflatable SUP Review

While paddle boarding continues to enjoy year-on-year exponential growth in popularity, few manufacturers pay attention to the environmental impact that their production processes create. At the forefront of remedying this challenge, Glide Paddle Sports have cemented themselves as a manufacturer of choice with their range of highly durable eco-friendly boards that are amongst the best in the market.

The 02 range of inflatable SUPs uses only the most advanced manufacturing processes and materials available. The Glide 02 Retro 10’6” iSUP is a great example of a classic all-round paddle board that offers versatile paddling in all waters which is ideally suited for recreational paddlers of all levels.

Lets take a closer look.

Specifications

Length: 10′6” (320 cm)
Width: 33.5″ (85 cm)
Thickness / Depth: 6″ (15 cm)
Construction: Fusion Technology PVC / Drop-stitch
Weight: 23 lbs (10.4 kg)
Volume: 290 Litres
User Weight: 400 lbs (181 kg)
Inflation PSI: Recommended at 12-15 psi
D-rings: 11 (including forward bungee)
Paddle: Adjustable Fibreglass Shaft
Fin: Single Centre Detachable / USA-Style Fin Box
Pump: Single Cylinder Dual Action High Capacity
Leash: 10’ Dual Swivel Coiled SUP Leash
Warranty: 24 Months

Glide 02 Retro 10’6” iSUP Package

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.

About Glide Paddle Sports

Established in 2008 and based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Glide Paddle Sports are the self-proclaimed Greenest SUP Company on the Planet. A big statement, but the deeper you delve, the more creditable this innovative companies argument becomes.

Foundered by Ken Driscoll shortly after he suffered a career ending injury as a professional kayaker, it was Ken’s innovative patent-pending Glide Surface Shield (GSS) coating technology that ultimately helped Glide grow into a respected outdoor brand known for producing highly durable and eco-friendly products.

One of a limited number of U.S. manufacturers that do not outsource any elements of the manufacturing and production cycle, each of Glide’s best in class performance oriented rigid and inflatable paddle boards are made to the highest of standards using the most environmentally friendly materials available. They even have a specifically designed range that is used by rental companies which is a testament to the quality, durability and ultimately longevity of their products.

<< Read our Paddle Board Size Guide to get yourself on the right ride >>

At a Glance

Pros

☑️ All inclusive iSUP board & accessories
☑️ Quality all-round paddling performance
☑️ Superior build quality
☑️ Lightweight at 23 lbs
☑️ Suitable for paddlers of all levels
☑️ Significant capacity at 400 lbs
☑️ Multiple neoprene grab handles
☑️ Great stability and buoyancy
☑️ Full length EVA deck traction padding
☑️ Includes kayak seat and carry strap
☑️ Light weight rigid fibreglass paddle
☑️ Easily transportable (backpack with wheels)
☑️ Pet friendly

Cons

? Tri-fin configuration for greater versatility
? 4-point forward bungee system only


The Board

Understanding how each of the manufacturers go about designing and building their boards can be quite telling. The old adage ‘you get what you pay for‘ most definitely applies when it comes to the quality of a paddle board. While Glide continue to strive in delivering upon their green agenda, their design and construction processes and materials quality is second to none when it comes to their board build.

Glide 02 Retro iSUP Construction Cross-Section

As is the case with the majority of mid to high end inflatable paddle boards, the Glide 02 Retro is built using a dense drop-stitch core. Drop-stitch technology has been used for many years within the aviation and marine industries. It is this method of construction that enables the board to maintain its shape whilst under extreme pressure once fully inflated.

Each Glide inflatable is built using no less than 33,000 reinforced drop stitches per board. These densely woven drop-stitches allow the core to reach a sufficient level of rigidity at lower pressures up to the recommended 12-15 psi (less time pumping and more time paddling). In fact, they can be inflated to as much as 25 psi which is a ridiculously high level and well beyond what the industry can achieve.

Woven drop-stitch technology as compared to knitted drop-stitch which is used by the majority of industry manufacturers, creates a more rigid and dense structure which has less air between the links. Less air = less spring and bounce meaning that Glide inflatables in essence perform near on the same as hard boards. This process also shaves roughly 3.5 lbs from the boards weight making it easier to carry as well as enhancing its performance and manoeuvrability while out on the water.

Graphic of Different Model Glide SUPs

While the core of a paddle board is a fundamental characteristic, the outer skin is also of equal importance. Glide have taken it up a notch yet again using their ground-breaking Fusion technology for their 02 series of SUPs which have 4 layers of military-grade PVC material that envelope the inner core. This is further enhanced by high-pressure heat-pressed seams to create an airtight seal. The industry standard employed by most manufactures is two layers of PVC making Glide boards far more durable which increases their usability and overall longevity.


External Board Features

While not packed with bells and whistles, the 02 Retro has all of the key features that you would expect to find on an all-round inflatable.

Deck Traction Pad – particularly important for novice and beginner paddlers, all Glide inflatables are covered with a brushed EVA deck traction padding that covers the entire upper deck. Soft under foot to reduce paddling fatigue, the padding is also die-cut to ensure that the colours stay true to form and not wear like many other screen printed surfaces.

Bungee System – a 4-point forward bungee cargo netting which is sufficient to carry your dry bag or other smaller accessories.

D-rings – there are a total of 11 well spaced D-rings around the perimeter of the Retro (includes the bungee system). The 4 centre board D-rings can be used to attach a Kayak seat which has been thrown in as a standard inclusion within this package. Kayak seats are particularly handy in rougher waters where a lower centre of gravity helps create more board stability whilst paddling. The Retro also has a D-ring on the underside at the nose of the board which can be used as an anchor or towing point.

Multi-Angle View of the Glide 02 Retro 10’6” iSUP
Glide iSUP 9” Centre Dolphin Fin

Fin – the single 9” dolphin centre fin on the board uses a standard USA-style fin box. Detachable and tool-less, the fin can be attached and removed within seconds. As the preferred fin box within the surfing and paddle board industry, you are able to buy any standard fin on the market making it easy to adapt or customise the board to suit your ride.

Grab Handles – all 3 carry handles are wrapped in a soft durable logo embossed neoprene making the board easy and comfortable to carry or transport.

<< Strapped for cash? Check out the Best Cheap Paddle Boards in 2021 >>
Outdoor Master Shark Electric SUP Pump

Performance / Suitability

All-round paddle boards are purpose built for their versatility. They can be used in varying water conditions and are suitable for paddlers of all levels. As such, they are by far the most popular board you will see on the waters today which is why all manufacturers have at least one all-rounder within their range.

For the vast majority of us, stability is the most important consideration we look for when working out what board best suits. While the build quality is a critical component to a boards stability, its dimensions are another key factor and in particular the boards width. In this regard, more width equals more stability.

Most all-round SUPs are typically between 32” – 34” wide so at 33.5”, the 02 Retro is a very stable board making it ideal for those newer to paddle boarding or for paddlers who are still finding their feet or working on technique. The Retro is also great for stationary board exercises or SUP Yoga given the larger surface area you have to work with.

Female doing SUP Yoga on Glide Inflatable SUP

At 6” thick and with a generous level of volume, the Retro rides nicely above the waters surface which helps eliminate drag through each paddling stroke. It also provides a sense of security for beginners and remains quite buoyant. Its got a pretty serious weight carrying capability as well so can handle multiple rides, or the kids, dog or bulkier accessories.

Female Paddling on the Glide 02 Retro 10’6” iSUP

As a moderately sized all-round SUP, the Retro is not overly dynamic in terms of picking up speed. This said and in appreciation that iSUPs are not as fast as rigid boards, the stiffness of Glide paddle boards near on mimic some of their rigid epoxy counterparts so its certainly no slouch. It is an all-rounder though so temper your expectations.

Its mild front rocker (upward turned nose) helps aid flat water paddling and glide while the large centre fin is the driver behind straight line tracking or directional paddling. Supported by a decent paddle, once you build up a bit of momentum, the Retro is a really comfortable board to ride.

Rounding out the performance metrics, we consider how well the board manoeuvres through the water. Again and as always, build quality is a big factor. Shorter and lighter boards (as is the case here) are more nimble and responsive so with practice, performing step back turns or sharper turning manoeuvres is easily achievable.

If we had one request for the next generation of the Retro iSUP, it would be to upgrade the board to a tri-fin or thruster configuration. While the board as it stands is agile enough, the versatility and responsiveness of a tri-fin set-up will always trump a single centre fin only board.


Accessories Package

Glide iSUP Accessories Package

The 02 Retro includes an all-inclusive accessories package as is typically the case with all inflatables.

Paddle – weighing only 29 oz and extending out to as much as 86” in length, the included SUP paddle operates using a leaver lock grip system enabling the paddle to be adjusted to suit paddlers of all heights. The ultra-tough composite paddle has a fibreglass shaft for extra rigidity with a reinforced nylon blade for more robust strokes. To enhance overall paddling performance further, consider upgrading to a carbon fibre paddle which is lighter in weight yet again providing greater paddling output and performance.

Kayak Seat – quickly and easily attaches to the centre D-rings and great for taking a break or for seated paddling when the wind is up or the water becomes choppier. Also handy for a spot of fishing!! The seat also contains a small zipper pouch at the back ideal for small accessories or personal items.

Carry Strap – attaches to the two side D-rings making the board easier to carry yet again.

Backpack – large enough to comfortably fit the deflated board and all accessories, Glide have produced a pretty good quality backpack here which is a bit of a challenge in itself relative to what you will find in the market.

The bag has a single large centre compartment that is accessed through a heavy-duty u-shaped front zip. Features include, adjustable padded shoulder and chest straps, a separate front pouch for additional accessories, side mesh pocket for wet items as well as durable wheels making it easier to carry across flat surfaces or when travelling.

Pump – the single cylinder dual-action manual SUP pump which includes a high-pressure gauge and inflation hose is fairly standard and somewhat on par with what other manufacturers produce.

If your one for a nice pre-paddling workout and don’t mind spending up to 10 minutes inflating your board then read no more. If however you’d like a little assistance, then we always recommend spending a few extra dollars and investing in a quality electric pump. Our Top 5 Electric Pump Picks has some handy tips on what to look out for as well as recommendations on some of the better brands on the market. Glide themselves do of course have their own electric pump which you will get at a discounted rate if you go direct via this reviews links.

Leash – beyond your Personal Flotation Device (PFD), the included leash which comfortably attaches to your ankle (or calf) is your most important safety item and should be worn at all times. Ensuring that you and your board do not become separated in the event you take a spill, the included 10’ leash contains a multi-layered neoprene cuff for more secure comfort once attached as well as dual-swivels and a coiled cord to reduce tangling and drag in the water.

Repair Kit – a standard SUP repair kit which includes colour coded patches and glue as well as a wrench tool to tighten the valve if necessary.


We always aim to provide accurate and well-balanced thoughts and opinions when it comes to each and every board that we review. On occasion though, and as is the case in this instance, it can be a struggle to tease out genuine product shortcomings.

If attention to detail in materials, design and build quality that culminates in a versatile high-end all round SUP that will stand the test of time is what you are after, then tick – goal achieved. If you’re after something that perhaps covers the aesthetics bases a little better or has a few more on board bells and whistles, then don’t be shy and check out some of our other product reviews.

We hope you found this review beneficial and as always would welcome your thoughts or feedback. Please feel free to leave a comment below and we will get back to you.

Until then, stay safe and get wet.

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