Gili Cuda 8’ / 9’ Inflatable SUP for Kids Review | 2024

Gili Cuda 8’ / 9’ Inflatable SUP for Kids Review 2024
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The Gili Sports Cuda kid’s iSUP comes in an 8’ and 9’ version.

Gili Cuda 8’/9’ iSUP: Overview

The Gili Cuda kid’s iSUP is a feature-heavy, and wallet friendly, inflatable paddleboard that is available in two different sizes. The 8’ Cuda is better for smaller kids under 10 years old, and the 9’ Cuda is better for kids 9-14 years old. Both the versions of the Cuda have the same width, thickness and feature set that offers a great amount of versatility.

Construction and Durability

The Gili Cuda uses the same materials and construction as the budget-friendly Gili Air 10’6” and 11’6” iSUPs.

Gili Cuda 8’ / 9’ Inflatable SUP for Kids Review
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The Cuda has double-layer, reinforced, rails for additional stiffness and durability.

The Gili Cuda has a single-layer of PVC laminated to the internal drop stitch core for the deck and hull of the board. This single layer of PVC is still quite durable on its own while keeping the board very light weight. The rails, or sides, of the Cuda are wrapped in two layers of PVC to increase the overall and rigidity. The rails are the most vulnerable sections of any iSUP as they are most likely to be where a board is dropped, dragged, bumped, or impacted. The dual layer PVC holds up very well to regular use and the occasional drop or bump.

In addition to the double-layer rails, the Cuda also has two reinforcement strips on the top and bottom of the rail layers. This adds yet another layer of PVC material, but also protects the edges of the rail layers from getting snagged.

The overall smaller size of the Cuda and smaller paddler sizes greatly increases the perceived stiffness while on the water. This also increases the Cuda’s stability and performance.


Length8’ 0”
Max Capacity95 pounds
Board Weight17.5 pounds
Kit Weight
(SUP & accessories)
29 pounds
Buying Info
List Price$450.00
Warranty2 years
Returns period60 days

Features, Accessories and Versatility

The Gili Cuda is ready for adventure with a complete feature set of cargo areas, mounting points, and fin boxes.The two available sizes share the same features, but have different recommended height and weight limits.

Gili Cuda 8’ / 9’ Inflatable SUP for Kids Review
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The Gili Cuda is 8’ or 9’ long, 30” wide, and 4.0” thick. The weight capacities are 95 or 135 lbs.
Gili Cuda 8’ / 9’ Inflatable SUP for Kids Review
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The nose has a threaded mounting point, 6 D-ring cargo area with removable bungee, and front handle.
Gili Cuda 8’ / 9’ Inflatable SUP for Kids Review
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The tail has a small cargo area with removable bungee and handles, inflation valve, and rear carry handle.
Gili Cuda 8’ / 9’ Inflatable SUP for Kids Review
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The EVA deck pad is both grooved and logo-embossed for excellent traction
Gili Cuda 8’ / 9’ Inflatable SUP for Kids Review
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The front threaded mount also has an integrated towing D-ring.
Gili Cuda 8’ / 9’ Inflatable SUP for Kids Review
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The cargo bungees have clasps on each end for easy removal.
Gili Cuda 8’ / 9’ Inflatable SUP for Kids Review
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The Cuda has two more threaded mounting points on the front of the deck pad.
Gili Cuda 8’ / 9’ Inflatable SUP for Kids Review
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There is a velcro paddle holder on the right side of the board and four additional d-rings for a carrying strap or kayak seat.
Gili Cuda 8’ / 9’ Inflatable SUP for Kids Review
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The Cuda has three flip-lock fin boxes and includes 3 short fins.

The Gili Cuda is fully loaded to keep up with any full-size iSUP. On the nose of the Cuda there are three threaded accessory mounting points surrounding the large cargo area. These threaded mounting points are great for attaching action cameras, speakers, fishing rod holders, and more – all within easy reach. The front cargo area spans across six D-rings with plenty of room for medium size dry bags or small soft-sided coolers. The bungee cord has plastic clasps on each end to make it easily removable as well.

The middle of the board is covered in a high-traction EVA foam deck pad that has grooves running the length of the standing area and is logo-embossed for extra grip. The rear of the deck pad switches to an extra-high traction diamond-groove pattern for better control and stability when standing on the tail of the board. This is a great feature for the little shredders who like to play in the surf or want to work on more advanced paddling techniques like pivot turns.

The rear of the deck has another cargo storage area with removable bungee cord and two removable neoprene handles. While there isn’t much room on the back of the Cuda for an extra paddler, it is possible to move these handles to the front cargo area to use them as safety handles to help your child hold on to the board if the water gets a little extra choppy.

Lastly, the Cuda has three fliplock fin boxes on the bottom of the board. These are the same style of fin box used by the full-size Gili iSUPs, however the Cuda only comes with a short (5”) center fin. This shorter center fin is great for shallower water, surf play, and higher maneuverability, but it doesn’t track as straight or provide as much additional stability as a traditional 9” fin that comes with most all-around iSUPs.

At 30” wide, the Cuda has a good amount of primary stability, making it a great beginner iSUP for kids. Kids under 10 will be able to easily paddle the 8’ Cuda, however older kids and tweens (especially over 4’ 10”) will appreciate the additional stability and volume in the 9’ Cuda.

Gili Cuda 8’ / 9’ Inflatable SUP for Kids Review
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The Gili Cuda comes as a complete kit with everything you need except a PFD.

The Cuda 8’ and 9’ comes as a complete kit including a single-chamber/double-action hand pump, three fins, coiled leash, repair kit, kid-size paddle, and a specially designed bag.

The Cuda’s bag zips open on three sides, opening along its length, and has a large zipper pocket on each side. Rather than backpack straps, the Cuda’s bag has a large handle that lets you carry the board more like a briefcase. I do like this bag – it feels quite durable and the large zipper pockets are great – however I do believe it still needs backpack straps, or it needs wheels with a top handle (on the short side of the bag). While the Cuda itself is lightweight, the entire kit might be a bit much for some kids to carry on their own, and the handle straps are long enough that the bag is only about 6” off the ground when I carry it. This means kids under 5’3” will likely need to hold the bag higher by bending their arms or try carrying it over their shoulder in order to carry the bag without it dragging on the ground.


The Gili Cuda includes a kid-size paddle that is shorter and has a smaller blade to make paddling even easier for your kids.

Gili Cuda 8’ / 9’ Inflatable SUP for Kids Review
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The paddle included with the Cuda is sized specifically for smaller paddlers.

The Gili Kid’s paddle has a fiberglass shaft and nylon blade. This puts it roughly on par with the paddles provided with the Gili Adventure series iSUPs rather than the Gili Air series. The fiberglass shaft reduces weight compared to an aluminum shaft, has better flexing characteristics, and is also more durable.

The nylon blade is around half the size of the adult-size paddle blade and has a longer, more rectangular shape. This gives the paddle a very consistent feel in the water and allows it to be used closer to the side of the iSUP for better straight-line paddling.

The handle section is still easily adjustable and has height markings on it to help pick the right length. However, it does require the user to align the handle properly to the blade. It would be great to see some indexing method included in this paddle to help make sure kids keep the paddle handle in line with the paddle blade as they adjust the height.

Warranty and Customer Support

The Gili Cuda is covered by the same 2 year warranty as Gili’s other iSUPs. The bag has a 1 year warranty, and all accessories are covered for 90 days. Additionally, GIli has a 60-day return period where you can try the Cuda and make sure you have the right size. You can contact Gili’s customer service via their website, email, phone, or on social media.


The Gili Cuda offers a whole lot of features in one very well-priced package. Additionally, there are two sizes to choose from to best fit your kids’ needs! Gili’s excellent customer service and warranty, along with their great performance on the water make the Cuda an excellent value for any young paddler.

Overall Impressions/Review Summary

Gili Cuda 8’ / 9’ Inflatable SUP for Kids Review
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The Gili Cuda’s size options and built-in features make it extremely versatile.

Between the Gili Cuda’s litany of built-in features and its two different sizes, the Cuda offers some of the best versatility in a kid’s iSUP. The 8’ size is great for younger kids just getting started paddling their own iSUP, while the 9’ size will help them enjoy their time on the water all the way into their early teens.

Gili Sports Cuda 8’/9’ iSUP FAQ

Does the Gili Cuda come with a youth paddle?

Yes it does. Both the 8’ and 9’ versions come with a youth-size paddle that is appropriate for kids up to 5’6” in height.

How durable is the Gili Cuda?

The highest wear points on any iSUP are always the rails. Whether the board is being carried, set down, or even while paddling, the sides of the board take the brunt of the impact. The double layer rails and two rail reinforcement strips on the Cuda keep it well protected from this normal wear-and-tear.

Can I paddle on the Gili Cuda with my kids?

Not likely, unfortunately. At only 4” thick, the Gili Cuda, even the 9’ version, does not have a lot of volume and weight capacity to spare for both an adult and a child.

Should I get the 8’ or 9’ Cuda for my kids?

The 8’ Cuda will be great for younger, smaller kids under 4’10”. The 9’ Cuda is better for older, taller kids (up to about 5’6”) and offers more longevity as your kids grow. Both have the same width, so kids will be able to easily reach over the sides to paddle either one.

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