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The GILI 10’6″ AIR inflatable paddle board is an incredibly affordable new model for 2018 that packs a ton of value and is a lot of fun to boot. This is a fantastic entry-level board with a versatile all-around design that is perfect for beginners through advanced paddlers…
GILI Sports is a new company on the SUP scene and the 10’6″ AIR is their very first model. While the company is just starting out, they’ve got a good track record as far as customer service goes and we’re looking forward to seeing the direction that this SUP startup takes going forward.
In this GILI 10’6″ AIR review, we’ll cover all the bases. We’ll discuss this board’s pros and cons, features and construction, paddling performance, specs, what accessories are included, warranty coverage, and more.
In a Hurry? Here’s a Quick Summary…
GILI 10’6″ AIR Review: SUP Overview
Currently available in three colors (blue, red, and teal), the 2018 GILI Sports 10’6″ AIR inflatable SUP measures 10’6″ x 31″ x 6″ and it weighs in at a lightweight 19 pounds. This board has a nice all-around design and it’s capable of supporting up to 300 pounds of weight.
We honestly weren’t sure what to expect with this board as it’s a new company and the board is priced so affordably, but overall we were really impressed with this iSUP package and think it’s a great option if you’re looking for a cheaper board that offers outstanding versatility and value.
The top deck of the GILI AIR 10’6″ iSUP features a diamond pattern EVA foam traction pad that provides excellent grip and coverage. The traction pad extends all the way to the edges of the board and wraps slightly over the top of the rails.
Located at the middle of the board is a nice carrying handle that features a neoprene cover with an embroidered GILI logo and velcro closure. The cover can be opened up and used to securely hold your paddle, a feature that really comes in handy when you’re out on the water and want to secure your paddle while you swim, take photos, etc. The only thing that we’d change about the carrying handle is adding the ability to remove it, as this would make it possible for the handle to lay almost completely flat for activities like SUP fitness.
At the nose of the board are 6 stainless steel D-rings and a bungee cord storage area for stashing gear while you’re out on the water. There’s also a convenient grab handle for pulling the board in and out of the water.
The tail of the GILI 10’6″ AIR features a Halkey Roberts-style inflation valve and another D-ring for attaching the included SUP leash.
The GILI AIR features an inner drop stitch core that is surrounded by two durable PVC layers. The board also has reinforced rails for added durability and stiffness.
Durability-wise, we expect this board to hold up pretty well — especially for an inflatable SUP in this price range. Overall rigidity is excellent, and we really like the fact that it weighs in at only 19 pounds.
GILI’s 10’6″ AIR inflatable SUP is a lot of fun on the water and we love the overall versatility that this board offers. From SUP fitness to flatwater cruising to ocean paddling, there’s a lot you can do with this board.
While not terrible, tracking performance could be improved by adding two small side fins to the current single fin setup. Stability-wise, the board is perfectly suitable for beginners and the board feels very rigid under the feet when fully inflated to the recommended pressure of 15 PSI.
In the speed department, the GILI AIR is obviously not the fastest board in the water. This board was designed for stability and all-around use, so it’s important to keep that in mind.
GILI 10'6" AIR Rating
|Max Capacity||300 pounds|
Included with the new GILI AIR inflatable paddle board is everything that you need to start paddling. In the box is a nice SUP backpack, dual-action pump, 3-piece aluminum shaft paddle, coiled leash, and repair kit.
GILI Inflatable SUP Travel Backpack
The included backpack is an attractive bag that’s much nicer than what you normally see in this price range. The outside of the bag features multiple compression straps for cinching the bag up after it’s packed, a see-through luggage ID window up top, and a mesh storage pocket on the side of the bag which can be used to hold the included paddle.
On the back of the bag are two comfortably padded shoulder straps. The shoulder straps are fully adjustable and feature plastic D-rings for attaching small accessories with a carabiner. Also sewn into the shoulder straps is an adjustable sternum strap which is helpful for stabilizing the bag when it’s packed and on your shoulders.
The back of the bag has a nicely padded cushion that improves overall comfort, and there’s also a padded waist belt that adds even more stability.
The interior of GILI’s SUP backpack is very basic, and there are no additional storage pockets or compression straps.
While we really like this iSUP travel backpack, there is one minor thing that we’d change about it. The compression straps lack plastic quick release buckles which means that you need to feed the straps through the adjusters whenever you want to use the compression straps. Not a huge deal — but it’s a slight inconvenience that could easily be improved upon with the addition of a few plastic buckles.
Also included with the GILI 10’6″ AIR is a dual-action BRAVO iSUP pump. This is a solid pump that features two inflation modes:
- Dual-Action: This setting will rapidly add air to your board on both the up and down strokes and it’s the mode that you’ll initially use as you begin to inflate your board. To enable the dual-action mode, simply screw in the red plastic plug.
- Single-Action: Once you find that the inflation process is beginning to get difficult in dual-action mode, just remove the red plug from the pump to activate single-action mode. In this setting, the pump will only add air to your board on the down strokes, making it much easier to pump the board up to the recommended pressure of 15 PSI.
The included pump comes with a flexible inflation hose as well as a built-in pressure gauge. The easy-to-read pressure gauge is integrated into the top of the pump handle and it lets you know exactly how much air is in your board at all times during the inflation process.
3-Piece Aluminum Travel Paddle
In the box, you’ll also find a black aluminum SUP paddle. This 3-piece travel paddle has a solid design with locking pins at both the top and bottom sections of the shaft.
The tough nylon blade is color-coded with the board and branded with the GILI logo.
Coiled SUP Leash
We love the fact that GILI Sports promotes paddling safety by throwing in a 7mm color-coded 10′ coiled SUP leash. This is a nice leash that has a comfortable neoprene ankle cuff, secure velcro closures, and a hidden key storage pocket. The leash also has stainless steel swivels at each end to prevent tangles.
We did notice that the hidden key storage pocket on our leash was actually sewn shut by the factory, so that’s a minor manufacturing issue that GILI needs to address.
The included iSUP repair kit is housed in a plastic high-visibility orange container and includes two generously-sized PVC patches, a valve wrench, and some adhesive. The glue was a nice surprise as it’s something which isn’t typically included.
GILI Sports backs their 10’6″ AIR with a
1-year warranty (now includes an extended 2-year warranty) which covers manufacturing defects. They also throw in a 60-day money back guarantee, but returns are subject to a 20% restocking fee. All items included in the SUP accessory bundle are covered for 90 days.
Where to Buy it
You can buy the 2019 GILI 10’6″ AIR directly from GILI through their official online store. In addition to being guaranteed the lowest price, you’ll also enjoy free shipping and no sales tax on your purchase (unless you happen to be in Wyoming).
Likes and Dislikes
Overall, we were really impressed by the first model from this new company. The 10’6″ GILI AIR offers a tremendous amount of value and is a perfect board for beginners and anyone who has a tight budget.
While totally subjective, we really like the looks of this board. The blue color scheme is very attractive, and the branding is all tastefully done. For 2019, the company has also released their brand new 11′ GILI Adventure model which looks even better.
We also like the fact that a grab handle has been added to the board’s nose as this really comes in handy whenever you’re pulling the board in and out of the water.
As far as performance goes, this board is a lot of fun. It paddles well and feels very stiff under the feet. Tracking performance is acceptable, but we’d love to see two small side fins added in the future.
Lastly, we really love the fact that the company includes everything you need to start paddling (with the exception of a PFD, of course). Additionally, the quality of the accessories is good — especially considering the fact that this board is priced so affordably.
As far as dislikes go, we really only have a few minor complaints. First of all,
it would be great if the warranty coverage were a bit longer (2 years would be great). Update 1/8/19: GILI contacted us and they are now including a free upgraded 2-year warranty on all of their inflatable SUPs.
Also, while it’s great that the company gives you a 60-day money back guarantee, it’s not so great that they charge a 20% restocking fee. We’d love to see these the terms of the warranty and money back guarantee tweaked in the future, but given the super low price point of this board, it’s understandable.
Secondly, while we really like the carrying handle mid-board, it would be nice if the neoprene cover could be completely removed for activities like SUP fitness where a lay-flat handle is ideal.
Another small improvement that could be made is increasing the size of the D-rings used at the nose for the bungee cord storage area. The current D-rings are a bit on the small size, and slightly larger ones would make it easier to secure gear with hooks and clips.
Last but not least, as we mentioned previously, we’d add quick release buckles to the backpack’s external compression straps. This would allow you to conveniently open the bag up without having to completely undo the compression straps. A very minor gripe, but something we wanted to mention.
SUP industry newcomer GILI Sports has done a great job of packing value into their fun new 10’6″ AIR package, making this a fantastic budget-priced board that’s ideal for first-time paddlers. Once again, we really like the fact that everything you need to start paddling is right there in the box, and the all-around design is well-suited to a variety of paddling activities and conditions.
Bottom line — if you’re a beginner or are simply looking for an inexpensive inflatable SUP that won’t break the bank, the new GILI 10’6″ AIR is a great option.