*Updated Review: Tower Adventurer 9'10 Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board (iSUP)

 2014-08-22
The day has come to test out the Tower Adventurer 9'10" Inflatable Standup Paddle Board (also known as an iSUP).  This board is made (and sold directly) by Tower Paddle Boards

After you've checked out this review, if you're interested in buying a Tower board, you can get a $25 discount by using this link (click here)!

I've got plenty of photos and video to accompany this review, so you can get the best possible concept of this board, second only to trying it yourself!  And without cutting to the end just yet, I do suggest you get your hands on this board package for yourself!  You'll be glad you did.

So, on with the review:

The Board has arrived!




These boards are made and sold directly by the manufacturer.  This means you get a better customer-service experience because there are literally NO middlemen.  And when I say "no middlemen", you already know the next part... Better price!  When you cut out unnecessary parts of the chain, nobody is taking an unnecessary cut of the pie.  That equates to you getting a board that could reasonably go for $1000 or more, and you get it for $699 (price at time of review).  And that's all you'll have to spend, because the kit includes everything: the board, the pump, 2-piece collapsible paddle, and even a patch kit in case you ever need it.



Check out the unboxing video:




The board has a "2+1" fin system, meaning that the 2 small fins are permanently attached to the board, and the 1 central fin is removable.  I show in the third video how this attaches.
The fin attaches and detaches really easily and quickly, but only when you want it to.  I have seen cheaper brands that use very poor quality fin attachments, meaning your fin will end up living at the bottom of a lake very quickly, as they fall off without much effort.  This fin, on the other hand, attaches very firmly by sliding into place, being held by two tooth/grooves and locked into place with a plastic pinch bolt.  This means you just slide the pinch bolt through the inserted fin, and it isn't going anywhere!  When you are done and want to deflate and roll up, just pinch the protruding end of the bolt, remove it, and slide the fin right off.  The best part is that the bolt is attached by a thick string to the fin, so you'll never lose it in your gear.


Inflating The Board

Photo inflating


Built-in Gauge lets you know your exact psi



Check out the video below: Unrolled for the first time, and checking out the valve




The pump goes together with the pressure gauge attaching to the pump on one side, and the hose on the other.  The hose simply twists into place in the board's valve (an "H3 valve").  It only takes a fraction of a turn until it is locked into place, then it is time to pump it up.
The pump is really easy to use for all but the very last bit when you are getting the board up to full pressure.  I like this because it makes the process really painless, and you know the board is at your desired pressure by the built-in gauge.

When you're pumping it up, the board will inflate fairly quickly and will actually be quite firm even before you get to 8psi or so.  I was able to stand on it without it budging, but I knew I wanted to get to the 11-12psi range.  The gauge won't register until you hit about 8psi, so there's no need to worry if you aren't seeing anything yet.  But as soon as you hit about 8psi, the gauge will register and then the pumping action gets a little tougher, but I didn't feel like it was an arm workout until the last few pumps between 11-12psi.

This will depend on your weight, but you'll want at least 10psi in the board.  I weigh about 130lb, so I stopped at 11-12psi which was rock-solid and floated me no problem!  You can go up to 15psi if you weigh more than I do and want some extra pressure in there.


Check out the inflation video:




There are electric pumps out there, but at this point, I don't see myself getting one because the hand pump is easy and quick enough.  I timed it, and I had it to full pressure in just under 3 minutes.  If you do want an electric pump, you can definitely find them out there.  And if you get this one, you have the added benefit of it automatically shutting off once it reaches your desired psi, so you can literally start it up and walk away!



Hitting the Water!




So, once you've inflated the board, you'll just need to attach the fin (as discussed above) and get the paddle ready.  I show how to do both in the video here:




As you can see in the video, the board is super buoyant and stiff.  I've SUPed on a handful of different hard boards, and this iSUP honestly felt as stiff as any of the hard boards!  I know some less expensive boards (typically those are also thinner boards) may sag of squish under your feet, but none of that was present in the Adventurer.  This is due to a few things.  First, the board is pumped to high pressure (10-15psi as discussed above).  Second, the board is 6" thick when inflated, so the issues commonly seen in 4" thick boards are not an issue here.  Third, and obviously most important, the board is constructed of some really tough stuff (same stuff the military uses for their inflatables), so it can hold that high pressure no problem!  
If you need further proof, check out these examples from Tower.  As a reviewer, I didn't exactly have the license to run over this board (nor did I want to!), so check out their photos!


This guy is 200lb, and the board is held up only by 2 chairs on each side.



This one kind of speaks for itself!



So, its got strength and bouyancy to match the hard boards... What else?

Straight line performance.  Thanks to the fin system, especially that long and beefy central fin, this board wants to go in a straight line when left alone. If you've ever had a broken fin or a cheaper board without good ones, you know how annoying it is to fight the board just to go straight.  No such problems here!

Turning.  It goes straight when you want to, but is also really easy to turn.  Again, just as easy to turn as any of the hard boards I've used in the past.

Speed.  The board got going quick and remained quick once you were paddling.  You still get the arm/shoulder and core workout you'd get from any SUP, so don't worry about that!  But you are not expending your energy just to make it do what a SUP should do in the first place.  I whipped it across and around the lake with no problem, and it did exactly what I wanted from quick starts, turns, and also stopping when I was ready for the dock.  Even though it is an inflatable, and is plenty light to carry outside the water, it never felt like it was bouncy or too-light on the water.  It was planted and stable... so much that I was able to jump up and down on it, and shake it right/left pretty hard without feeling like I was losing balance.

Ease of use.  Here is where I needed some help from a friend.  I've been on a number of SUPs before, so I wanted to see how the Adventurer felt to a complete novice.  My friend came along, and she was surprised by how well she could balance on it.  She had never been on any SUP, inflatable or otherwise.  She was pretty freaked out before she got on the board, but as soon as she did, she was able to stand up right away and paddle off!  




She said she was surprised by how strong it was and easy to ride. The real proof was that she was comfortable and excited to take it out for another ride later, and was already talking about going back out another day when we were ready to pack it up!


Deflating The Board and Rolling It Up

When you're done with the board for the day, deflating is even quicker and easier than inflating!  All you have to do is unscrew the valve cover and press the spring-loaded needle to release the pressure.  This will be proof of how much pressure this board holds!  You'll feel a strong gush of air coming out for a few seconds.  Once that is gone, you can lock the needle in the open position by pushing it all the way down and turning it (like the child-proof vitamin containers).  This will keep the needle open, so you can walk away and let it deflate, or you can just start to roll it up.  That way, as you roll, the air will release right away.  Then just wrap the strap around it and you're good to go!

Check out the deflation/rolling video:




The Bottom Line

So, the Tower Adventurer 9'10" Inflatable Standup Paddle Board Kit is:

> Priced right* (MUCH cheaper than a hard board, it is worth mentioning)

> Easy and quick to inflate and deflate

> Ready to go straight out of the box, with no need to buy a separate paddle, pump, etc.

> Strong, Buoyant, has ZERO sag, goes straight when you want, turns when you want, and is plenty quick

> Easy enough for the novice, AND has the performance to please the experienced paddlers too

and

> EEEEEEASY as pie to transport from place to place!  Have you ever seen a hard SUP fit in the trunk of a MINI?!

*You can even save $25 off their already low price ($595 at the time of writing this review) by using this link (click here)!



So you have a roof rack?  Ok, great.  That means you can take your hard SUP anywhere your own car goes... I, on the other hand, can take my iSUP ANYWHERE in ANYONE'S CAR, roof rack not required.  If they've got room for a duffel bag, the Adventurer is coming along!

And, if that's not enough, you can take it with you the next time you hop a plane.  At 12x33 inches rolled up, and somewhere around 30lbs (board, pump and paddle), this has checked-baggage written all over it!


For more info and to purchase directly from the manufacturer, check out  TowerPaddleBoards.com

You can also check out Tower on:
Twitter
Facebook
Pinterest
 Instagram
YouTube



To check out the YouTube playlist of my videos which were embedded in this review, click here




Click here for a $25 discount off a Tower Paddle Board!!


REVIEW UPDATE: Ocean Test

Today, I hit the ocean off Narragansett Pier (RI) to put the Adventurer through the paces in open ocean!







I put 12-13 psi into the board and it was, as before, very rigid.  The board continued to track well and turn well, though the waves did their best to control my path.  I went into the drink twice, which was convenient as it let me see how it was re-mounting the board.  First, the paddle.  In lakes/ponds the paddle does float decently for plenty long enough to retrieve it (not forever though).  In the ocean, because the paddle went swimming with me, it was already under water.  
But it is light enough to pull out easily.  To re-mount the board, I only had to grab the carrying handle and pull myself up.  I had someone a little taller/bigger than me try it out and he was able to re-mount it too without problem.

Speaking of taking the dive, I was happy to have added a leash which hooks onto the D ring attached to the rear of the Adventurer.  As you've probably noticed, there is also a front-mounted D ring, which I assume would come in handy if you wanted to add a SUP Yoga anchor.

So, how did it do in the ocean?  Suprisingly well!  All of the qualities that make for a quality iSUP, like the Adventurer, make it light and float extremely well.  This can sometimes work against you in the ocean.  Not that you want to sink, of course.  But a little more heft might make it less reactive to waves.  That said, the Adventurer was quite easy to balance and ride, even when I was riding parallel to waves!  No matter what board you're on (inflatable or hard), riding parallel to tide will challenge your balance a bit.

Because we're primarily board-riders, not videographers, I have to apologize about the video quality right out of the gate.  But I still think the videos do the trick in showing you how the Adventurer works.

After I (unintentionally) went into the drink, and (intentionally) tested the ease of mount/re-mount.
Video here:


I also wanted to see how it paddled the old fashioned way (i.e. laying down, surf-style).  This was actually some of the most fun I had in my ocean test!  Laying down, I paddled into/against the tide so quickly, I could hardly believe it.  Way to go, Adventurer!
Video here:



After it was all said and done, it was time to bring it in.  This video is a longer one, but shows how stable the board acted.  The tide wasn't crazy strong, but it was definitely more pronounced than the video reveals.
Video here:




Bottom lines for the ocean part
1) Super rigid and competent even in the tide
2) very easy to climb back on, and 
3) easy to lay-down paddle if you so choose.

If you're interested in buying the Adventurer, or one of Tower's other boards, check this out:
Click here for a $25 discount off a Tower Paddle Board!!


Tower Paddle Boards

Tower Paddle Boards

Link to reference: Tower Paddle Boards (use this link fro a $25 discount!)


Coming Soon: Full review of the Adventurer 9'10

 2014-08-15
Hey everyone, this is just a heads up for an upcoming review.
I'm super excited to be reviewing an inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard (or "iSUP").  It is the 9 foot 10 inch "Adventurer" made by Tower Paddle Boards.  For anyone who hasn't tried SUP yet, it is a super fun way to enjoy the water... ANY body of water!  Glassy pond or lake, flowing river, even the ocean... SUP has what you want.   If you've only done kayaking, you're missing out on the core workout and stability/balance exercise of SUP while also giving you the back/shoulder/arm workout you've been enjoying.

It can be super chill, full-out race, paddling into (and catching) waves, or even SUP Yoga (yes, that's a real thing!).  So as you can see, I'm already into SUP and soon I'll be taking the Tower Adventurer out for a full demo and review.

Stay Tuned!  

(in the meantime, to learn more about the company and their products - which include both "Hard" and Inflatable SUPs - check out their website at the link below).


Tower Paddle Boards



Link to reference: Tower Paddle Boards website


Washington Jefferson Skateboard Park, Eugene, Oregon

 2014-06-26
The new Washington Jefferson Skateboard Park in Eugene Oregon is finally up and running after nearly a decade of waiting. For those of us who live in Oregon where it rains for almost nine months of the year, the covered park is a welcome addition to the already diverse array of skate parks throughout the city. Seeing how it is the only covered park, underneath the expressway, it will get a lot of action. The park is well designed fro all types of skaters, from street to pool skating. There's even some cool unique features such as the rollercoaster ramp and brick China Banks section. My personal favorite was the snake run. The whole surrounding area including benches and curbs are also part of the design giving skaters a wide range of possibilities. This is one of the best parks I've see, and is worth the trip to check out.







CAT DIDGA 'DROPS IN' AT SKATEBOARD PARKS! GO DIDGA GO!

 2014-11-21


Didga now takes her skateboarding skills to the skateboard parks, yes!, she "drops In" First time ever attempted by a CAT (I'm pretty sure)
Only her years of skateboarding practice and natural ability allows her to handle such advanced skateboard moves, Okay, that along with some creative camera work ;-) #GoPro HERO3. For more Didga - SUBSCRIBE - http://tinyurl.com/kq2rj6x PLEASE ADOPT from animal shelters, there are many amazing cats, like Didga (and dogs) just waiting for a good home. 

Subscribing, clicking the "like" button, commenting and SHARING is highly encouraged ;-).

Other videos/tutorials - http://tinyurl.com/lnmb2h4

The video that started it all, now with 4.1 million views! http://youtu.be/YRbakPKgU5Y

Cat Barely Escapes Jaws - over 2.3 million views
http://tinyurl.com/8qgj4am

Teach your cat to walk on leash - http://tinyurl.com/lnmb2h4

Dog Training Tutorials, go - http://tinyurl.com/lnwhmxy

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/pages/CATMAN...

#1 QUESTION: IS MY CAT TOO OLD TO LEARN?
ANSWER: CATS ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN, JUST FOLLOW THE ADVICE AND YOU WILL SEE.



Link to reference: YouTube Video


Convoy Skateboards A-Frame Challenge Rd. 2

 2014-10-15
There will be a limited number of registration slots for ALL LEVELS at the contest. First come, first serve.

The A-Frame Challenge is a skateboarding contest that will test the skills of the best skaters that the Washington DC area has to offer. This jam format contest will pit 50 skaters against each other, for a 30 minute battle of grinds, gaps, flip tricks, rails and ledges. Anything goes, as long as it is done on the A-Frame obstacle. The top three tricks thrown down within the given time limit will win 1st, 2nd and 3rd places.

October 25, 2014 // 4-8 PM
 Registration check-in begins at 3:00 PM
Lake Fairfax Skatepark // Reston, VA
 Address: 1400 Lake Fairfax Drive - Map 
 Online: Lake Fairfax Skatepark Website
 Flier: Click for PDF // Facebook Event 

$10 Entry Fee - Due day of event 
$500 CASH PRIZE  - 1st Place Advanced
 Tons of product, prizes and good times...
ONLY 50 spots  in each category!



Link to reference: More Information


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Favorite Skate Spot: In Eugene my favorite place to skate is Churchhill
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How Long Skating: Since I was about 5 or 6?
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