South Bay Board Co. Hippocamp 11′6″ iSUP – a Detailed Review
When it comes to an all-inclusive inflatable paddle board package, the team at South Bay Board Co. have taken it to the next level with their Hippocamp 11′6″ Inflatable Paddle Board. As the name implies, its a big boy and comes packed with everything you’ll need for your next fishing, camping, river paddling, yoga or a relaxing recreational paddle.
Let’s take a closer look:
Length: 11′6″ (350 cm)
Width: 32″ (81 cm)
Thickness/Depth: 6″ (15 cm)
Construction: Dual Axis Drop-stitch Technology
Inflation PSI: 15 psi
Volume: 340 litres
Weight: 21 lbs (9.5 kg)
User Weight: 450 lbs (204 kg)
Paddle: 4-Piece Adjustable Carbon Fibre
Fin: 2+1 – 9″ Detachable Centre with FCS Fin Box
Pump: Double Cylinder Dual-Action Pump
Leash: Dual Swivel 11′ Coiled Ankle
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 South Bay Board Co.
Located in the South Bay of Los Angeles, California, South Bay Board Co. is a family owned and operated board, beach brands and accessories company.
SBBC origins initially focused on custom beginner surfboards and inflatable paddle boards and until this day pride themselves on materials quality, custom design and the delivery of unrivaled unique high-value products. With products that are influenced by nature and the ocean as well as a strong community following, South Bay Board Co. have grown into one of the premier surfboard, SUP and beach brands in the world.
Operating out of 2 large separate warehouse locations – HQ in Los Angeles, CA to service the West Coast and Greensboro, NC to service the East Coast, their boards and beach products are sold in most major global online marketplaces including USA, Canada, Mexico, UAE, Brazil, and other.
At a Glance
☑️ Dual Axis Drop-stitch / Military-Grade PVC
☑️ Beginner friendly multi-purpose board
☑️ Forward and rear bungee storage areas
☑️ Pre-installed kayak D-rings
☑️ Stable and very rigid
☑️ Paddle holder straps
☑️ Tappered nose and tail for better glide
☑️ Comfortable textured deck traction pad
☑️ 2 appealing colour schemes
☑️ Pre-installed fishing rod mounts
☑️ 4-piece adjustable carbon fibre paddle
☑️ Slight front rocker for more optimal tracking
☑️ Ample D-rings for accessorising
☑️ Tri-fin configuration – detachable 9″ FCS centre fin
☑️ Comprehensive all-inclusive accessories package
– single carry handle only – front and rear would be useful
– manual pump inflation can be taxing
With dimensions measuring 11′6″ – 32″ – 6″, the Hippocamp is a classic all round inflatable SUP that can be used on a multitude of waterways and conditions. Its accessories package is one of if not the most comprehensive in the iSUP market enabling an incredible amount of versatility whether you’re recreationally paddling, fishing, camping, tackling choppy waters or light surf conditions, doing SUP yoga or simply getting the kids or dog out for a ride.
Construction – structurally, the board is made using Dual Axis Drop-Stitch Technology which is a construction method that uses thousands of polyester threads that are connected together and then fixed to outer layers of fabric. It is this method of construction that enables the board to maintain its rigidity and shape once inflated. Enveloping the inner core are two layers of custom military-grade PVC plaster. The outer shell comprises woven carbon fibre wrapped rails and top and bottom decks from the nose to the tail of the board. This method of construction makes these boards particularly rigid and durable so they can withstand impacts with rocks and other floating debris or if accidentally dropped.
Performance / Suitability
As an all round inflatable SUP, the Hippocamp suits less experienced through to intermediate paddlers who are looking for a very stable board for multi-discipline use.
With significant weight carrying capacity and noting that one of its core design features is its fishing set-up, the board offers great stability and can comfortably accommodate larger paddlers and kit. This is in part due to its stiffness and rigidity achieved through construction as well as its dimensions, in this instance the 32″ width which provides a wide and stable platform through the centre of the board. With a thickness of 6″, the fully inflated board will comfortably sit well above the water line making it quite buoyant. This is typically a nice security blanket for those newer to paddling as stability and buoyancy are key to building confidence.
While inflatables are typically 10% slower than their epoxy / solid counterparts, the Hippocamp still holds a straight line well and tracks nicely through the water. This is heavily influenced by the 9″ centre fin and slight front rocker (upward turned nose) which helps keep the nose out of the water to assist glide and reduce drag.
The other key performance metric is how well the board manoeuvres through the water. By virtue of its design, the board tappers at the nose and tail which aids the paddlers ability to change direction and make turns. The 2 side fins also come into play here as they provide a greater level of bite in the water making it more responsive through turns. The better quality the paddle the better ability the paddler is able to make clean powerful strokes through the water which again influences manoeuvrability. With the inclusion of the light-weight carbon fibre paddle, SBBC have made that job a little easier so yet again a nice feature of this SUP package.
External Board Features
Bungee System: the board has 2 pre-installed bungee cargo nets. The 4-point at the rear and 6-point at the front come complete with the bungee cord which securely attaches to the boards D-rings. Whether you’re fishing or simply paddling, the bungee has ample room for storage of your dry bags, coolers and other accessories or personal items.
Deck Padding: the soft top foam deck padding covers in excess of half of the boards surface and comes with a wax-free ‘Fingerprint’ textured finish which allows for slip free traction whilst standing or paddling.
Carry Handle: made from a durable nylon, the board comes with a single only centre carry handle. Given how well the Hippocamp is accessorised, we would have expected to see forward and rear carry handles which would allow for greater utility not only for carrying but also towing, attaching boards together or even a SUP Anchor whilst fishing.
D-rings: there are a total of 15 well spaced D-rings on the Hippocamp. While they can be used to attach a variety of accessories, they will be primarily used to attach the 2-bungee cords, removable kayak seat, paddle holder and ankle leash.
Mounts: unique to the Hippocamp are the 3 pre-installed fishing rod plate mounts which are universal so can be used not only for fishing rods but also other accessories – cup or tray holders, GoPros etc.
Inflation Valve: the all important universal inflation valve sits at the very rear of the board and attaches to the included hand or electric pump making for easy inflation or deflation.
Fins: the board comes with a standard tri-fin configuration which is somewhat of a norm for quality all-round iSUPs these days. The 2 smaller rubber molded side fins (side bites) are pre-installed so not detachable. The large durable nylon 9″ detachable centre fin securely attaches to the FCS fin box via a small screw making it more durable when compared to some of the other clip-in type systems that you see in the market.
Kayak Seat: located in the centre of the board, the 4 pre-installed D-rings allow you to easily install the light-weight kayak seat enabling you to switch from a standing to a seated position when paddling. Particularly useful if you are paddling through choppy waters. It can easily be tucked away under one of the 2 bungee cargo nets when not in use.
Leash: to ensure that you and your board do not get separated in the event of a fall in the water, the 11′ 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.
Paddle: given that the board comes with a kayak conversion kit, South Bay have stepped it up a notch and included a quality light-weight 4-piece carbon fibre paddle as opposed to the standard 3-piece that the vast majority of SUP manufactures include. The pieces securely fasten together and are adjustable to suit paddlers of all heights. The 4th piece is the additional blade which is changed out with the handle for dual bladed kayak paddling whilst seated.
Paddle Clips: when using the cooler, 4 of the clips attach to the cooler bag and then securely clip on to the forward D-rings within the front bungee net. The other 2 clips attach to the side D-rings and are used for attaching your paddle when not in use. This is a great feature if you are fishing or doing Yoga as it keeps the paddle securely tucked away freeing up more of the boards surface area.
Carry Bag: the deluxe XXL backpack is accessed through a large single u-shaped zip. Its centre chamber is large enough to fit your deflated board and all accessories in one easy to carry unit. The bag comes complete with a front bungee to attach loose items or accessories as well as perforated side rails allowing your deflated board to breath and dry once stored. The shoulder, chest and waist straps are all adjustable for greater security and comfort with the bag also having additional side adjustment straps to further secure the bag contents. Another great feature is the recessed wheels which are great for rolling along flat surfaces.
Cooler: a nice little freebie, the compact iSUP cooler bag comes with 4 attachment clips that securely fit to your boards forward D-rings.
Fanny Pack: securely fitting around your waist, the fanny pack has a triple lined seal that is completely waterproof. With a clear front window, the pack is great for storing your cell phone or other small accessories that you may want quick and easy access to.
Pump: the double cylinder dual-action pump comes with a high pressure gauge and inflation hose that securely fits to the boards inflation valve. The Hippocamp is a fairly large board so will take between 10-15 minutes to fully inflate to the recommended 15 psi. If you can afford the additional spend and do plan on using the board more regularly, investing in an electric pump is always a great option. 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 universal so will nicely compliment the Hippocamp.
Fishing Rob Holders: attaching to the pre-installed plate mounts are the 2 included rob holders making for light work if fishing is your thing.
Repair Kit: similar to most iSUP packages, comes complete with colour coded patches and glue plus a wrench tool to tighten the boards inflation value in the event it becomes loose.
While its not the cheapest mid-range board on the market, the Hippocamp is a well-balanced inflatable SUP that offers great stability and overall performance that is well suited to paddlers of all levels. Beyond its construction, what makes it represent great value for money is the quality accessories package which in essence represents everything you’ll ever need irrespective of what paddling experience you’re looking for.
If you are in the market for one of the most versatile SUPs available where stability and performance are matched with a great all round paddling experience, then the Hippocamp may just be what you’re looking for.CHECK AVAILABILITY / BUY NOW
We hope you found this review helpful and as always would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave your comments below and we will get back to you.
Until then, stay safe and get wet.