THURSO SURF Waterwalker 11′ iSUP Review
As paddle boarders, we are certainly spoilt for choice these days when it comes to an availability of quality paddle board options. One of the more recent manufacturers looking to claim their share of the iSUP market is THURSO SURF who have introduced a nice range of inflatable all-round and purpose built boards and accessories with a predominant focus on the beginner to intermediate paddling market.
Today we will be taking a look at the THURSO SURF Waterwalker 11′ iSUP.
Length: 11′ (335 cm)
Width: 32″ (81 cm)
Thickness/Depth: 6″ (15 cm)
Construction: Military Grade PVC – dropstitch
Weight: 30 lbs (13.5 kg)
User Weight: 330 lbs (150 kg)
Inflation PSI: 12-15 psi (maximum 20 psi)
Volume: 300 litres
D-rings: 15 stainless steel + front action mount
Paddle: 3-piece carbon shaft / nylon blade
Fin: 2+1 detachable quick lock fin system
Pump: Chimera dual-chamber triple action
Leash: 10′ dual swivel coiled
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 say 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 Waterwalker is available in 3 different lengths 10′ / 10’6″ / 11′ each with its own distinct colour scheme. It is a quality all-round board best suited for recreational flat water paddling although it also exhibits certain touring board traits given its solid glide and tracking. It’s a beginner friendly board that strikes a nice balance between stability and manoeuvrability. While it is heavier than comparable boards, this additional weight, in part owing to its side rails, does further aid rigidity and buoyancy allowing it to handle moderate choppy waters or windier conditions with relative ease. With a passion for technology at the heart of their boards, the Waterwalker manages to stand true to its name.
Construction – like many iSUP’s these days, the materials used as well as the design and construction methods employed have come along way over recent years so much so that many inflatable boards now mimic the rigidity and stiffness of their epoxy cousins.
THURSO SURF boards are one of the most rigid and durable boards within all inflatable SUP categories. At the core of the board is a dense drop-stitch which uses thousands of polyester threads that are connected to a layer of high tenacity polyester fabric. This fabric is then laminated with a layer of military grade PVC to protect its core. This core is then coated with a further dual-layer of PVC on both sides. These PVC sheets are glued together with a strong composite adhesive before the side reinforcement seams and carbon reinforcement rails are attached. Finally, the board is further reinforced with two layers of PVC tarpaulin which in effect means that the board has a total of four PVC coats. A UV coating is then applied to its exterior surface to provide protection from direct sunlight.
It is this construction methodology that enables the board to maintain its shape once inflated. This method of construction makes the Waterwalker particularly rigid and durable so it can withstand impacts with rocks and other floating debris or if accidentally dropped. Yes the additional steps (and layers) used by THURSO SURF in their board construction do make these SUPs a little heavier but the resultant rock solid board more than rivals its competitors so in our view the trade off is well worth the additional steps.
External Board Features
Beyond its high quality construction, the Waterwalker is a sleek and aesthetically attractive board that offers all of the mod-cons that you would expect from a profile manufacturer.
Traction Pad – the EVA foam traction pad has a textured grooved pattern which provides extra grip and comfort in both wet and dry paddling conditions. Covering more than half of the boards surface, the padding drains water easily and acts as a soft and comfortable surface whether you’re standing, kneeling, sitting or even striking a yoga pose.
Attachments Points – with 15 well spaced stainless steel D-rings, the Waterwalker is more than able to cater for attaching all of your accessories and then some. The inclusion of the action mount at the front of the new 2020 board is another great feature enabling you to attach a GoPro, waterproof speaker or phone so you can capture the moments in real time.
Bungee System – a very generous 6-point forward bungee net at the nose of the board with a smaller 4-point version at the tail provides ample secure storage space for your dry bags, cooler and other accessories.
Grab Handles – the 3 carry handles are located at the front, centre and rear of the board. Covered in neoprene, they make the board easier and more comfortable to carry whether on your own or with two people on either end.
Paddle Holder – simply in design, the 2 paddle straps on the right-hand side of the board allow you to quickly and easily stow your paddle freeing your hands up for yoga, fishing or simply laying down or taking a swim.
Fins – the tri-fin configuration all 3 of which are fully detachable allows you to customise your boards set-up to suit your paddling style or the water conditions. Operated via a simple quick lock mechanism, the fins can be installed or removed within seconds. This enables you to adopt a single, dual or 2+1 setup providing you with various paddling options to better aid your tracking, stability and manoeuvring. The fins are easily replaced if lost or damaged so having a couple of spares is a nice little tip.
Suitability / Performance
While the Waterwalker makes for a great beginners board given its friendly design, rigidity and stability, seasoned paddlers will still find it responsive enough so they too can put the board through its paces be it on flat water or moderate swell. Coming in 3 separate sizes, the board offers greater all-round paddling for adults and children of most sizes. There are ample attachment points and stowage capacity for accessories for longer distance touring or even SUP camping.
Stability – one of the key buying considerations for all beginner paddlers in particular should be the boards stability. Through not only its dimensions and in this instance the boards sufficient width at 32″, the Waterwalker is constructed to a very high standard and with quality materials that include carbon reinforcement rails. This makes the board very rigid and stable catering for rider weights of up to 330 lbs (150 kg). The boards added weight also aids its stability further again meaning that even beginner paddlers should feel at home out on the water.
Manoeuvrability – as an all-round board and a particularly rigid one at that, the Waterwalker is quite easy to manoeuvre without a great deal of effort. Yes it is a little heavier, but it moves nicely through the water so performing a step back turn or making sharper or sweeping turns with your paddle in both flat and choppy water conditions is reasonably easy once you and your board become familiar with each other.
Tracking – some all-round boards can become clumsy and sluggish in the water although this is definitely not the case in this instance. There is little difference when it comes to tracking (going in a straight line) between each of the Waterwalker boards. With a combination of the reinforced nyoln tri-fins, the boards rigidity and stability plus the enhanced paddling that a carbon shaft paddle offers, getting up speed and gliding through the water on this board takes little time and is a load of fun. A really nice compliment that rounds out the performance of the Waterwalker.CHECK AVAILABILITY / BUY NOW
>> Paddle – one of the down sides with some of the middle market SUP packages is that they often come with heavy aluminium paddles. This is not the case here as THURSO SURF have nicely complemented the Waterwalker with their floating 3-piece carbon fibre / nylon blade paddle. While light-weight at only 33 ounces, the stiffer shaft enables the paddler to dig in for more powerful strokes making for a faster ride. Like most adjustable paddles, it can be adjusted to suit paddlers of all heights and with the inclusion of the optional kayak blade, there is further versatility again if you are paddling in a seated position. Its portability enables it to be comfortably assembled and taken apart for quick and easy storage within the carry bag.
>> Leash – the 10′ coiled leash securely fits around the paddlers ankle or calf and attaches to the rear D-ring. Its thick neoprene and multi-layered Velcro cuff attaches securely and comfortable to the rider and with a coiled cord, the leash will remain sufficiently out of the water reducing drag whilst paddling.
>> Pump – manual pumps can be quite challenging and while it still takes some effort to inflate (approx. inflation time 10+ mins), the Chimera dual-chamber triple action pump is one of the more durable pumps on the market. It also has a neat deflation option which again comes in handy for your post ride pack away.
If you can afford the additional spend and do plan on using the board more regularly, then investing in an electric pump is always a great option. Takes away all of the pre-paddling exertion so you’re nice and fresh when it does come time to hitting the water. 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. Some greats options and all universal so will nicely compliment the Waterwalker.
>> Backpack – we really like the 2020 updated version of THURSO SURF’s backpack. Made from a durable nylon, the backpack has three well-placed padded carry handles and a heavy-duty u-shaped zip which opens around the full front for quick and easy access. The backpack over the shoulder straps are fully adjustable as is the waist band. They are also positioned so the centre of gravity is elevated making the bag easier to carry placing less strain on your lower back muscles. Rounding out the bag is a smaller front accessories storage compartment as well as two recessed wheels on the bottom for pulling along on flat surfaces. Definitely one of the best iSUP bags out there so kudos to THURSO SURF on getting this one right.
>> Repair Kit – similar to other iSUPs, the board comes complete with colour coded patches and glue for smaller puncher holes as well as a wrench tool in the event that you need to tighten up the Halkey-Roberts inflation valve. As we have already suggested, THURSO SURF offer second to none customer service and support so if you do have maintenance or warranty issues don’t be shy in getting in contact with them.
>> Optional Accessories – with ample D-rings, accessorising the Waterwalker is quite easy. Choose from THURSO SURF’s branded electric pump, kayak seat, deck cooler bag or SUP strap carrier or simply build out your own accessories over time with the many universal items that are out there.’As an Amazon Associate I may earn from Qualifying Purchases’
> quality construction including carbon rails for a more rigid and stable ride
> great buoyancy and stable beginner friendly board
> available in 3 sizes to suit different user weights / heights
> classic wood grain appearance and colour / design schemes
> detachable tri-fin configuration
> good weight carrying capacity at 330 lbs
> front and rear bungee systems
> high spec 3-piece carbon fibre paddle
> durable carry / backpack with adjustable straps and wheels
> ample D-rings for accessorising + front action mount
> quality all-inclusive accessories package
> optional accessories available – electric pump – carry strap – kayak seat and other
> high praise for Thurso Surf’s pre and post sales customer service and support
> 24 month warranty
> heavy at 30 lbs although stiffing rails and multi-layer construction is the prime contributor
For what you get and at this price point, THURSO SURF’s Waterwalker represents great value for those that are looking for a highly durable quality all round product. The manufactures are steadfast is their desire to test the boundaries of design with a view to providing an affordable high quality paddling experience and from where we are sitting, they are comfortably meeting that goal.
We hope you found this review helpful and as always we 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.