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Gili Sports Adventure 12’: Overview
All-around iSUPs are typically designed to be as versatile as possible, but don’t necessarily specialize in any category. The Adventure 12’ by Gili Sports is an extra-long all-around iSUP that wants to take you farther than any other all-around board can. The extra length might not be right for smaller paddlers, but for average-to-large paddlers looking for a paddleboard that can cruise the local lake as easily as they can load it up for a weekend paddleboard getaway, the Adventure 12’ is here for you.
— Gili Sports Adventure 12’ Summary Ratings and Review —
Gili Sports Adventure 12’
Construction & Durability
Features and Versatility
The Adventure 12’ is ideal for all-around paddlers who want something more efficient for long-distance trips.
- High capacity
- Very stable
- Paddles efficiently
- Extremely versatile
- 3 Scotty Mounts and 3 threaded mounts
- 20 D-rings
- Removable bungee cords
- Passenger handles
- Kayak seat compatible
- Improved deck pad and raised kick pad
- 12’ length is not ideal for smaller paddlers
- Paddle blade is larger than desired for longer trips
Construction and Durability
Starting off with the technical side of things, the Gili Adventure 12’ uses a dual layer fusion PVC material bonded to a 6” drop stitch core. There is another layer of PVC wrapped around the sides of the board and another layer of reinforcement applied to the top and bottom of the rail layer.
This machine-laminated construction is very durable and stiff without adding a ton of weight. For a 12’ board I feel that this type of construction is being pushed up to its limits while still being capable of performing as designed. Upping the ante to a stronger construction would allow the Adventure 12’ to be inflated to higher pressures and increase its overall stiffness. In our bend test, the Adventure 12’ performed just a bit less than our running average.
The longer length does amplify the flexibility of the board while on the water, but it’s only noticeable while testing. During regular paddling the Adventure 12’ has minimal flex, bounce, or bob. As I walked around on the board I could feel a little bit of flex and vibration, however it was a comfortable amount and I never felt like it was going to bounce me off balance.
In addition to the dual layer construction, the Adventure 12’ also has a great deck pad. The main section is brushed EVA foam that is soft on your feet and provides a solid grip, while the tail section is a diamond-groove traction pad with a raised kick pad. This gives you even more grip and control when standing at the rear of the board.This type of construction is also tried-and-true. With standard care and maintenance the Gili Sports Adventure 12’ will last well beyond its warranty. All iSUPs are vulnerable to punctures and abrasion, and both of those are most likely to happen while on land, launching or landing, so always keep an eye on your surroundings.
|Max Capacity||330 pounds|
|Board Weight||23 pounds|
(SUP & accessories)
|Returns period||60 days|
Features, Accessories and Versatility
Designed as a cross-over all-around and touring board, the Adventure 12’ could have easily been dubbed the Swiss army knife with how many features it has packed on board. Starting with the basics we’ve got 20 D-rings and two cargo areas with bungee cords. Between these two features alone I can’t think of anything I couldn’t attach to this board that I could use on a paddling trip. But wait, there’s more. To make keeping your things in place even easier, the Adventure 12’ also has three Scotty mounts for your fishing accessories and three threaded mounts for action cameras, speakers, or anything else that uses a standard M8 threaded bolt.
The layout for the Adventure 12’ is geared toward fishing but that’s not the only thing it’s built to do. The passenger handles in the front and back of the board are great add-ons if you paddle with kids and the extra volume from the 12’ length really does make this board easy to paddle and stable with a passenger.
That extra length also improves tracking and glide for longer distance paddle trips. While the glide is improved over other all-around iSUPs, it’s still not the same as a dedicated touring board. The wide, parallel shape keeps it very stable, but at the cost of even more efficiency and speed.
The diamond groove tail pad and raised kick pad are a nice touch, and one that I wish more boards incorporated. Gili Sports has done a great job of including a diamond-groove pad on all of its boards (even on their budget-level Air 10’6” and Air 11’6”). It’s a simple touch that increases control and grip as you step on the tail of the board to surf or pivot turn, and the raised kick pad helps even more.
The carry and storage bag for the Adventure 12’ is simple, but works well. There are no wheels, but there is a well-padded backpack harness and padded top and side handles. The exterior has pockets for your fins and other accessories and the interior has plenty of room to easily fit the Adventure 12’, paddle, and pump.
Using a single-chamber, double action pump to inflate an iSUP isn’t my favorite way to go about it, but it does get the job done. A larger board, like the Adventure 12’, does take longer to inflate, so expect to spend about 10-12 minutes unless you want to pump much faster for a pre-paddle workout.Lastly, the Adventure 12’ has a 1+2 fin setup with a touring-style 9” center fin and two 4.5” side fins. With a removable three fin setup you can pick and choose how to set up based on your needs for the day. Going a long distance and want less drag? Stick to just the center fin. Looking for maximum tracking and stability? Use all three. Paddling in some shallow areas and don’t want to get hung up (or thrown off)? Then just use the two side fins for a shallow draft without losing all tracking ability.
The nylon blade has a lot of surface area, which can get tiring over longer paddle trips.
Paddles come in all shapes, sizes and materials to make the perfect fit for your needs. When first starting out, beginners may not realize the benefits of different paddlers, but intermediate and advanced paddlers will certainly feel the effects of differences in size, shape and materials.
The fiberglass and nylon paddle that comes with the Adventure 12’ strikes a balance between weight, stiffness, and durability. While I find the paddle blade to be a little too large for my own personal liking, it does allow paddlers to put more energy into slower strokes. The fiberglass shaft offers a good amount of flex to keep things easy on your body and the nylon blade can take a beating without worry. The Adventure 12’ does have an option to upgrade at the time of purchase to the carbon fiber/nylon paddle or the full carbon paddle. If you are considering this upgrade, go for the full carbon paddle. I’ve found The carbon fiber/nylon paddle to be unbalanced and less comfortable to use over time than the fiberglass/nylon paddle. The lighter carbon shaft vs the heavier nylon blade and the stiffness of the carbon and large blade size wear me out faster.
Lots of different factors impact stability, and how those individual factors are combined also can magnify or detract from how stable a board feels on the water. While the Adventure 12’ is still 32” wide like the smaller Adventure 11’, and slightly narrower than the Komodo (33”) the Adventure 12’ is absolutely rock-solid stable on the water. The extra length and relatively wide and parallel shape offer lots of volume and predictability whether you are standing farther forward, backward, or even off to the side.
There is some flex and vibration when moving around on the board, but not during normal paddling. It’s very consistent and smooth feeling though, rather than bouncy and erratic. From side-to-side, the Adventure 12’ has great secondary stability, is easy to hold on its edge and remains more stable in choppier conditions than smaller boards.
The diamond groove tail pad and raised kick pad give the Adventure 12’ a ton of stability when weighting the back for a pivot turn, and they provide confident handling for paddlers who are working on learning these maneuvers and when in choppier conditions.
Like stability, speed is also impacted by a number of different design and construction choices. The Adventure 12’s length once again helps it by improving tracking and, at least on paper, increasing the maximum speed a paddler can attain.
During our speed testing I found the Adventure 12’ to have just a little bit of bob and bounce while sprinting, but it did maintain its course well and put up a respectable 100m sprint time of just over 42 seconds.
Besides trying to hit the fastest speed we can, we also checked out how well the Adventure 12’ glides and how efficiently it paddles longer distances. We found that on average the Adventure 12’, when using the included fiberglass/nylon paddle, glades about 1.77 board lengths with each stroke.
This puts its efficiency in line with other all-around boards we’ve tested, like the Adventure 11’, but not quite as good as a dedicated touring board. None of this came as a surprise considering the size and shape are more like an all-around board than a touring board. But, because it is a larger board, that means you do travel more distance with each stroke than on a shorter board, and our ¼ mile test showed that as well with the Adventure 12’ falling squarely between the Adventure 11’ and Gili Sports Meno 12’6” touring board.At the end of the day, the Adventure 12’ does offer more speed than its little sibling, the Adventure 11’ and does split the difference in efficiency on the water between all-arounds and dedicated touring iSUPs.
Maneuverability and Tracking
If you’ve sensed a pattern in the last two sections, you can probably guess what’s coming next. Once again, maneuverability and tracking are both highly dependent on design choices of the board, but are also extremely dependent on the ability of the paddler.
With high-quality turning strokes, the Adventure 12’ is actually quite maneuverable, especially when considering its size. Using forward sweep strokes from a standstill it takes fewer than six paddle strokes to turn a complete 360°, which keeps up very well with the Adventure 11’ and even some smaller all-around iSUPs.
While underway, though, the Adventure 12’ can be a little harder to make sudden turns, especially for smaller paddlers or beginners who may not have the best techniques dialed in yet.
For intermediate and advanced paddlers, the Adventure 12’ does respond well to more complicated steering strokes and is a breeze to pivot turn thanks to its great stability and confidence-inspiring tail deck pad, letting you sink the tail farther down and spin the board even faster.
The Adventure 12’ is ready to track straight. The triple fin setup gives plenty of traction and the 9” center fin has a wider, touring shape to help hold its line rather than a more commonly seen “flex” fin shape that is made to be more maneuverable.
As with turning, proper paddling technique is going to make the biggest impact with tracking. When keeping your forward strokes nice and vertical, the Adventure 12’ tracks well, deviating less than 15° after 10 paddle strokes on the same side of the board. Better tracking while paddling on one side lets you paddle more efficiently, and helps counteract some amount of windblow as well. While the tracking isn’t as great as on a dedicated touring board, it was a bit better than shorter, 11’ long all-around boards of the same width and shape.
Warranty and Customer Support
Gili Sports offers a 2 year warranty for the Adventure 12’ iSUP against any material or manufacturing defects. Additionally, the bag itself is warrantied for one year, and all other accessories carry a 90 day warranty. If for whatever reason you don’t like the Adventure 12’, Gili Sports also offers a 60 day return period with a 20% restocking fee. You can contact the Gili customer support team via social media, email or by phone if you have any questions or need to initiate a warranty claim.
We assess the overall value of an iSUP package based on all of the items we’ve mentioned in this review. We also look at comparable boards and companies within the same category and price range. It falls directly between the Adventure 11’ and Meno 12’6” in size, performance and price. Overall the Adventure 12’ does offer a great amount of versatility and performance in a reasonably priced package.
Overall Impressions/Review Summary
The Adventure 12’ occupies a fairly niche space in the iSUP world as a longer all-around, or short touring board. Larger paddlers will find it very stable, even when loaded up, but smaller paddlers may find it too large to handle well on the water. My overall impression of this board is it is the embodiment of the “Jack of all trades” where it does everything well, but no single thing as well as a more specialized board. For a touring board, I would consider looking at the Gili Sports Meno 12’6” (31” wide) for more speed and efficiency. For a dedicated fishing board, the Meno 10’6” or 11’6” XL offer better stability and more capacity. But, if you are an average size or larger paddler who finds themselves on different bodies of water, in different conditions, paddling different length trips with different purposes frequently, then the Adventure 12’ may be the perfect board for you. It really is a Swiss army knife.
Gili Sports Adventure 11’ iSUP FAQ
What is the difference between the Mako 10’, Adventure 11’ and Adventure 12’?
All three are 32” wide and 6” thick. The Mako 10’ is a better option for paddlers 5’6” or shorter and swaps the rear Scotty Mounts for threaded multi-use mounts. The Adventure 12’ is better suited for those paddlers who are carrying lots of equipment or wanting to paddle farther more efficiently. The Adventure 12’ also gains an extra Scotty mount in the front of the board.
How does the Adventure 12’ compare to the Gili Sports Air 10’6” or Air 11’6”?
The Adventure 12’ is built with an extra layer of PVC for a stiffer, higher-performing ride. The Air 10’6” and 11’6” are lighter and lack a few of the on-board features of the Adventure 12’. The Adventure 12’ also has a higher weight capacity.
How long does it take to pump up the Adventure 12’?
The included hand pump takes about 10 minutes to inflate the Adventure 12’ depending on how quickly you pump. Gili Sports also makes a 12v electric pump and optional battery that can easily inflate the Adventure 12’ for you.
Can I take the Adventure 12’ SUP camping or SUP fishing?
Absolutely. The Adventure 12’ was made for this. The high weight capacity and multiple cargo areas and tie down points make it easy to pack everything you need for an overnight trip. The Scotty mounts and threaded mounts also make it super easy to bring all of your fishing equipment along.
Can I take passengers or pets on the Adventure 12’?
For sure! The Adventure 12’ is perfectly suitable to bring along small passengers or pets. There are removable passenger grab handles in the front and rear, and the dual-layer fusion PVC is more than capable of handling Fido’s nails.
Does the Adventure 12’ work with a kayak seat?
Yes. Gili Sports has an optional kayak seat and paddle attachment available. Simply connect the four buckles of the kayak seat to the indicated D-rings in the middle of the board, adjust the tension, and you’re ready to go!
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