THURSO SURF Prodigy Junior iSUP Review
Gone are the days when kids inflatables were simple plastic ‘toys’ that last a few outings and were for all intents and purposes; disposable. These days many of the well-known manufacturers offer a broad range of paddle boards which also includes at least one for the junior SUPers.
The THURSO SURF Prodigy Junior Inflatable Paddle Board offers a nice balance between all-round versatility and performance as well as the durability needed to withstand a bunch of energetic kids.
Lets take a look:
Length: 7′6″ (228 cm)
Width: 30″ (76 cm)
Thickness/Depth: 4″ (10 cm)
Construction: Military Grade PVC / Drop-Stitch
Volume: 150 litres
Pressure: Recommended 12-15 psi
Weight: 19 lbs (9 kg)
User Weight: 165 lbs (75 kg)
Paddle: 3-Piece Adjustable Carbon
Fin: Detachable Tri-Fin / Quick Lock
Pump: Not Included
Leash: 10′ Coiled Dual Swivel
Warranty: 24 Months
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. It’s 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 THURSO SURF
Founded in 2016 by Shenglong You and based in Buffalo New York, THURSO SURF pride themselves on stretching the boundaries and taking a ‘high-tech experiment-driven approach’ as they put it when it comes to creating their paddle boards. Their goal is to pair genuine value for money with high spec quality products which they wholeheartedly stand behind. They are not shy when it comes to boasting about their products either and have some of the best pre and post customer sales support which is very evident through customer reviews and blog traffic.
The Prodigy for all intents and purposes is a junior version of the core THURSO SURF range so there is by no means any corner cutting on materials and build quality just because its not a full size adult board. Offering versatility, stability and all-round paddling performance for even heavier teenagers the Prodigy is one of the best junior boards on the market.Construction: similar to their range of full size boards, the Prodigy is made from multiple layers of high quality materials. At the centre of the board is a dense drop-stitch core which comprises thousands of intertwined polyester threads that are connected to outer layers of fabric. Drop-stitch construction methods have been around for several years now and are used in a variety of inflatable vessels as well as lifting equipment, floating docks and even aircraft.
In this instance the drop-stitch core is coated with a single layer of military grade PVC to form its inner shell. Applied to this inner shell are a further 2 layers of PVC coated tarpaulin followed by a UV coating to protect against sun damage. As side seams on all inflatables are susceptible to leakage, the Prodigy has been heavily reinforced with 2 PVC coatings to form the inner wrap followed again by a further 2 coatings to form the outer wrap.
Drop-stitch construction methodology is what enables the board to maintain its shape once inflated under high pressure. Coupled with the outer layers of fabric, this method of construction makes the Prodigy very rigid and durable so it can withstand impacts with rocks and other floating debris or if accidentally dropped.
External Board Features
Deck Padding: covering in excess of half of the boards surface, the EVA foam traction pad is similar to what is used on many other quality SUPs. The grooved pattern helps aid grip and balance whilst the soft durable foam provides a more cushioned ride which really helps if paddling over longer distances.
Carry Handles: both the centre and forward carry handles are made from a durable nylon material with a neoprene sleeve making them easy and comfortable to carry. Owing to its weight, the board can easily be carrying by children using the centre handle or dragged (towed) using the front handle.
D-rings / Bungee System: the Prodigy is minimalistic in terms of its ability to accessorise the board with just the 5 only D-rings. The 4 forward rings form part of the bungee system which offers sufficient room to store small accessories like your dry bag, water bottle, towel etc. The rear D-ring is used for attaching the boards ankle leash.
Inflation Valve: situated to the rear of the board is the all important inflation valve.
Fins: its great to see that THURSO SURF have not gone cheap on the fins with the inclusion of a 3 x detachable quick lock fin system. They install using a simple lift, insert and click tab mechanism making them very easy to install and remove even for the young ones. Interestingly, all 3 fins are the same size (the centre fin would typically be between 6″ – 9″). While this does make the board more fun for the kids to manoeuvre and play around on, it also makes it harder for them to hold a straight line so will take a little more practice before they can gain a level of comfort.
Suitability / Performance
As the name would suggest and the dimensions imply, the Prodigy is best suited for young children through to teenagers who are looking for an all-purpose recreational paddle board. Its actually suitable for smaller / lighter adults who are looking to have a bit of fun in lighter surf or choppy waters owing to its light-weight and ease of manoeuvrability. For children or beginners, the Prodigy also offers the stability needed to help them find their feet.
While the Prodigy is only 4″ thick (full size quality adult iSUPs are typically 6″ thick), owing to its shorter length and durable construction, the board is very rigid and provides a lot of buoyancy once fully inflated. Only 2″ narrower than a typical full sized all-round adults iSUP, the board is very stable and provides a ton of surface area for the kids to find their feet. Children and beginners will quickly gain a greater level of comfort when on a rigid and stable surface. More stability = more confidence = proficient paddlers.
Purpose built for kids, at 7′6″ the board is really nimble through the water. While being light-weight and shorter in length will definitely help junior SUPers build up some momentum when they are paddling, shorter boards can be more challenging in terms of straight line paddling or tracking. With practice as well as developing a proper paddling techniques however, your kids will be zipping through the water in no time.
The overall design of the board coupled with its 3 fins also means that it is quite easy to manoeuvre and turn. Shorter tri-fin configured boards perform well in surf conditions for instance as the extra fins help the board bite into the water when turning. Again owing to its weight and length, kids will find the Prodigy quite responsive so should be able to turn and position the board where they want to.
Paddle: the 3-piece floating carbon paddle is made to the same standard and with the same materials as the THURSO SURF adult equivalent. Weighing only 2 lbs, the carbon shaft and toughened nylon blade paddle is lighter and more efficient when compared to the cheaper aluminium or fibreglass alternates that would normally be included within a kids SUP package. It has an adjustable range between 68″ to 84″ so will comfortably accommodate children of all heights.
Leash: outside of a PFD which we would recommend that all paddlers wear, children in particular, paddle board leashes are really a non-negotiable must have item as they ensure that the paddler and the board do not become separated in the event of a fall in the water. Attached to the ankle and the boards rear D-ring, the 10′ leash supplied with the Prodigy is coiled which helps it remain out of the water reducing drag. It also has swivels at both ends which ensures that it will not become tangled as well as a thick neoprene Velcro ankle cuff for added comfort and security.
Carry Bag: the carry or duffle bag is fairly basic but certainly does the job. Made from a weather proof nylon material, the large centre compartment opens via a single U-shaped zipper allowing for quick and easy access and has ample room to fit the deflated board, paddle, fins and leash. The single shoulder carry strap has a padded Velcro cuff for added comfort and grip.
Pump: the only real downside with this package is that it does not include a pump. This is quite unusual for an iSUP package although many standard pump attachments should fit with relative ease. For those looking to take to the water on a more regular basis, we would always recommend investing in an electric pump if you can stretch the budget. THURSO SURF have their own proprietary electric pump but if you would like to learn more about some of the key ‘need to know’ electric pump vital signs, then take a read of our recent article on our Top 5 Electric Pump picks.
☑️ Multi-layer PVC / drop-stitch construction
☑️ Versatile all-round performance
☑️ Dual neoprene grab handles
☑️ Very stable and buoyant board
☑️ 3-piece carbon shaft paddle
☑️ Appealing Boys & Girls graphics options
☑️ Light-weight and easily transportable
☑️ Comfortable grooved EVA foam traction pad
☑️ Detachable tri-fin configuration for added versatility
☑️ 24 months warranty
? No pump included within package
? No repair kit included
? Limited ability to accessorise (more D-rings would be useful albeit not really a deal breaker)
As we’ve highlighted above, the Prodigy is a really nice iSUP and covers all of the bases that we would want to see in a junior board. Well constructed and made from highly durable materials, this is not just a simple toy for the kids but rather a quality piece of water sports equipment that should definitely last for years if properly cared for.
A reasonably light-weight and rigid board, the Prodigy is by no means cumbersome and handles nicely in terms of stability and performance. With colour schemes suited to both boys and girls, this is a very well suited board for youngsters through to youths who are new to paddle boarding or otherwise simply looking to hit the water and have fun. A board that we happily endorse so definitely worth considering.
We hope the above review was of benefit and as always would love to get your thoughts. Please feel free to leave your comments below and we will get back to you.
Until then stay safe and get wet.