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The brand new 2018 Aqua Marina RAPID is a tough and extremely maneuverable board that is perfect for whitewater river SUP and surfing. The first Aqua Marina board that can be inflated all the way to 18 PSI, the durable RAPID is a more advanced model that was designed to withstand the heavy abuse that river SUP can dish out.
Aqua Marina has done a nice job with their expanded 2018 SUP lineup, introducing several exciting new models that we expect will be quite popular. The current Aqua Marina SUP line is quite diverse and features 18 models ranging in size from 8’7″ to 18’1″ in length (be sure to check out our Aqua Marina SUP review page for more info on their full lineup).
In this review of the new Aqua Marina RAPID river SUP board, we’ll look at this model’s features, build quality and construction, performance in various conditions, what’s included, warranty coverage, pros and cons, and more.
In a Hurry? Here’s a Quick Summary…
Aqua Marina RAPID Review: Whitewater/Surfing SUP Board Overview
Aqua Marina has really stepped things up for 2018 in the design department, and their new RAPID inflatable SUP is a great-looking board that has an eye-catching color scheme. The colors, branding, and graphics are tastefully executed and the design of this board looks much nicer in our opinion than many of the company’s previous models.
The RAPID measures 9’6″ x 33″ x 6″ and it weighs in at 22 pounds. Capable of supporting a max weight of 287 pounds, this board has a blunt nose design with a tapered swallow tail for maximum fun in surf and river conditions.
The Aqua Marina RAPID definitely features a more specialized design than most of the company’s other models. This board has been built from the ground up to perform in whitewater and moderate surf conditions, so if you’re looking for something that’s a bit more versatile, we’d recommend checking out the Aqua Marina BEAST.
The top deck of the Aqua Marina RAPID is covered by a nice EVA foam traction pad that is super comfortable and provides excellent grip. The deck pad features a grooved diamond pattern, and like several of the company’s other new models for 2018, it incorporates a nice raised kick tail at the rear for improved control. Another nice feature is the fact that the traction pad extends all the way to the edges of the board and wraps slightly over the top of the rails, giving you an enlarged area of traction on the deck’s surface.
Mid-board is a nylon webbed grab handle that is covered by durable rubber for additional grip. There are two more identical handles located along the rails at the front of the traction pad, giving you a great place to grab onto for when additional stability is needed.
At the board’s nose are four stainless steel D-rings with an elastic bungee cord storage area for stashing your dry bag and other gear. There’s also a handy GoPro action camera mount built right into the nose of the board, as well as another rubber covered grab handle which is convenient for pulling the board in and out of the water.
Located at the tail of the Aqua Marina RAPID is a Halkey Roberts-style inflation valve, a final grab handle, and a large D-ring for attaching a SUP leash.
On the flip side, the RAPID features two more D-rings at the nose and tail of the board for towing or tethering, as well as a non-removable, flexible 5-fin configuration. The four side fins are smaller in size, and there’s a larger center fin that is branded with the Aqua Marina logo.
As we mentioned, the Aqua Marina RAPID features a beefed-up build to meet the additional durability requirements that river SUP boards demand. This board consists of a durable drop stitch core with two layers of tough PVC. The rails are further reinforced with 1000 Denier for increased strength and rigidity, and there’s also a dual stringer running along the top deck of the board.
If you’re looking for an affordable board that is incredibly fun in whitewater and moderate surf, the RAPID won’t disappoint. The excellent stiffness of this board combined with the unique shape and 5-fin configuration contribute to the RAPID’s excellent ability to perform well in the conditions it was designed for.
As we mentioned, the Aqua Marina RAPID is a specialized board that’s been designed to do one thing very well. With that said, it’s still very possible to have fun with this model in flatwater conditions — just don’t expect it to perform as well as other boards in this area. While it won’t blow your hair back when it comes to speed, the 33″ width gives the board great stability and it can be really fun for cruising around a pet or small children.
Aqua Marina RAPID Rating
|Max Capacity||287 pounds|
Included with the Aqua Marina RAPID is a JOMBO SUP pump, pressure gauge, MAGIC SUP backpack, repair kit, air compressor valve adapter, and action camera mount. Being that Aqua Marina boards are priced so affordably, they understandably include a relatively basic bundle of SUP accessories.
The included MAGIC backpack features a design that is much different than most SUP backpacks in that it’s basically a cover vs. a carrying bag. After deflating and rolling up the RAPID, you essentially wrap the MAGIC backpack’s flaps around the board and secure with the included buckles. While this will get the job done if you’re looking for something simple to carry your board from point A to point B, it’s not a good solution for more serious travel. If you’re planning to fly with your board or need something more robust, we’d recommend checking out the new Aqua Marina premium wheely SUP backpack (available separately and pictured below with the RAPID)…
While it’s understandable that Aqua Marina doesn’t include a paddle and SUP leash with their accessory bundles, we’d really love to see that changed. Aqua Marina’s inflatable paddle boards are extremely popular with beginners due to their affordable price points, so including a paddle and leash would be really convenient for SUP newcomers who are just getting started. If you don’t already own a paddle, we’d recommend checking out the new Aqua Marina Carbon Guide.
Also, while we’re on the topic of SUP leashes, always remember that a regular SUP leash can actually be extremely dangerous when it comes to river SUP. For whitewater, we highly recommend the life-saving MTI Adventurewear SUP Leash Release Belt which will work in conjunction with your regular leash to keep you safe on the river.
Aqua Marina covers all of their inflatable SUPs with a 12-month warranty. Inflatables typically include warranty coverage that ranges from 1 to 3 years — 1 year is on the low end of that range, but that’s to be expected given the affordable prices that Aqua Marina sells their boards for.
If you’ve been looking for a durable, well-priced inflatable river SUP board, the new 2018 Aqua Marina RAPID is an excellent one to consider. While serious whitewater diehards probably won’t be replacing their higher-priced Hala SUPs with Aqua Marina’s RAPID anytime soon, this board is a much cheaper option for those who are just getting started or who simply don’t have the budget to afford an ultra high-end inflatable whitewater SUP.