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Gili Sports 11’6″ Meno Review | 2023
Gili Sports 11’6″ Meno: Overview
Sometimes you bring the kitchen sink. I get that, it happens to me every time I take a road trip. If you are the kitchen-sink kind of paddler, then a high-capacity iSUP like the Gili Sports 11’6″ Meno is exactly what you are looking for. Sure you can pile on all sorts of stuff onto just about any board out there, but is it going to handle well? The 11’6″ Meno is super stable, performs very well on the water in nearly all categories, and comes ready to rock out if you are fishing, camping, paddling with a kid or dog, or all of the above.
— Gili Sports 11’6″ Meno Summary Ratings and Review —
Gili Sports 11'6" Meno
Construction & Durability
Features and Versatility
Warranty & Customer Support
The 11’6″ Meno is super stable, high capacity, extremely versatile and fun to paddle.
- Dual layer fusion PVC
- Carbon fiber rail
- Ample storage
- Numerous attachment points
- Scotty mounts
- Very stable
- Diamond groove tail pad
- Paddles efficiently
- Includes a variety of fin choices
- Great pump
- Low maneuverability with the touring fin
- Paddle is unbalanced
Construction and Durability
The Gili Sports Meno 11’6” is a high-capacity inflatable paddleboard that is ready to do just about anything. The dual-layer fusion PVC body keeps the board light without sacrificing durability or stiffness.
Both in our static bend test (pictured above) and on the water (pictured below) the 11’6″ Meno showed very little flex, even while bouncing. In our bend test, the 11’6″ Meno was in the top quartile of boards we’ve tested at both 15psi and 18psi. What this really means is that as you load the board with more weight it will not flex or “taco”, which can drastically impact performance on the water.
In real-world paddling situations, the small amount of flex that we did find in testing was nearly absent and really only noticeable during a dead sprint – so not a typical real-world situation anyway!
Around the rails (sides) of the 11’6″ Meno there is a layer of carbon fiber fabric sandwiched between two layers of PVC. This carbon fiber fabric resists stretching and bending – hence the stiffness in this board – and it adds an additional layer of protection against abrasion and puncture on the side of the board – one of the most vulnerable areas of any SUP.With this durable and stiff construction, along with all of the on-board features, it’s pretty incredible that the 11’6″ Meno clocks in at only 24 pounds. While not an “ultralight” board, it is one of the lightest boards in its category.
|Max Capacity||485 pounds|
|Board Weight||24 pounds|
(SUP & accessories)
|Returns period||60 days|
Features, Accessories and Versatility
The Gili Sports 11’6″ Meno takes the idea of an all-around iSUP and super sizes it, starting with the board itself. At 11’6” long and 35” wide, it’s definitely a big board. Smaller paddlers (under 5’8”) may have some difficulty maneuvering it around, especially on land. While carrying it, the board does come most of the way up to my armpit. To help with that, there are additional carrying handles on the nose and tail of the board making buddy-carrying super easy.
On the front of the board there is a very large cargo area with widely-spaced D-rings. The included bungee cord is removable to help make loading the Meno easier and more customizable. The two D-rings closest to the standing area and the nose D-ring also have threaded mounts built into them. These are great spots for action cameras, speakers, fishing rod holders, or any number of accessories that can be attached with a standard M8 bolt. There are also two removable passenger handles with neoprene covers – great for kids kneeling at the front of the board.
The standing area itself has a brushed EVA foam deck pad that is soft under your feet and offers decent grip when wet. The very rear of the deck pad switches to a diamond groove texture which offers really nice grip and control when stepping back on the board. I do wish the whole deck pad had the same texture as it is a very noticeable difference between the two.
Behind the standing area are two Scotty mounts and two more threaded action mounts. The Scotty mounts are specifically for fishing-related attachments like a fishing rack or rod holders, but the threaded mounts can be used with any M8 compatible accessory. Sometimes these types of hard mounts can be placed in less than ideal spots and get in the way if you are moving around on the board. With the 11’6″ Meno I didn’t notice them at all as I walked to/from the tail of the board.Off to the sides, there are extra D-rings that are set up to work with both a kayak seat conversion kit and a shoulder strap to make carrying the board a bit easier. There are also velcro paddle holders on the right side of the board to keep your paddle secure and close-by when not in use (fishing, yoga, carrying, etc.). Lastly, the tail of the board has another cargo area and another set of removable passenger handles. Again the bungee cord is removable for easy adjustment and customization.
The 11’6″ Meno comes in a wheeled carrying bag (along with a backpack harness). There is a large exterior pocket and two mesh pockets on the top and bottom. I’m not a huge fan of the mesh pockets as I find them to lack durability compared to the nylon bag. Several of the Gili Sports bags I have do have holes in the mesh pockets from traveling in the bed of my truck, rubbing on the truck bed liner or catching as I pull them out of the bed. Overall the bags are holding up quite well, but just not those mesh pockets.
The compression straps do help hold everything in place in a nice, relatively compact, package rather than an oversized bag that lets everything flop around while carrying it.All of the included accessories, including the paddle and pump, fit easily inside the bag. The pump itself is a double-chamber, triple-action hand pump that quickly and easily inflates the 11’6″ Meno in about 8-10 minutes depending on how quickly you pump. The Meno series boards also include a variety of center fins: 3”, 4.5”, and 9”, and two 4.5” side fins.
The 11’6″ Meno comes with a carbon fiber/nylon three piece paddle. This is essentially the same paddle as the fiberglass and aluminum versions that come with the other Gili Sports iSUPs, but with a carbon fiber shaft and handle. While the use of carbon fiber does make the paddle stiffer than the fiberglass version and lighter than either the aluminum or fiberglass version, because the blade is essentially the same I actually do not feel this is an upgrade.
The large plastic blade is designed for slow paddle strokes that generate a good amount of force with each paddle stroke. This is fine for casually paddling around. However the plastic blade is very heavy. With a lighter shaft and handle, the balance point of the paddle moves way down toward the blade, making it feel heavier in your hand, even though it is lighter on the scale.
Because of this imbalance, I actually prefer either the fiberglass version or the full carbon (carbon blade and carbon shaft) over the carbon/nylon hybrid paddle.
A high weight capacity iSUP without good stability just wouldn’t make much sense and it’s apparent the designers at Gili Sports agree. The 11’6″ Meno is an incredibly stable iSUP. With a wide point width of 35” and a relatively boxy shape, the 11’6″ Meno is very stable while flat. It doesn’t take any concerted effort to stay standing on the board, and when you tilt it onto its edge, the 11’6″ Meno remains stable and balances predictably on its rail without any bobbing or rolling.
As you step forward or backward on the board, the parallel sides keep it equally stable until you reach the nose or tail where it begins to noticeably taper inward. The medium-width square tail keeps the board balancing predictably while stepping back for a pivot turn, but still slides smoothly through the water. The diamond-groove pad on the tail gives noticeably better grip and control while the nose is up in the air.
Wide iSUPs like the 11’6″ Meno are typically not known for their speed. The large cross sections tend to create lots of drag and make them difficult to paddle quickly without lots of effort. While it wasn’t effortless, I was very impressed with the speeds I was able to achieve on the 11’6″ Meno.
While sprint testing, the 11’6″ Meno kept up with several other 11’-11’6” long all-around boards that were only 32” wide. Sprinting speed often comes down to the paddler’s ability, so seeing similar times with a wider board with the same paddler is pretty good. But the real impression came when I was evaluating how well it cruises.
Even though the per-paddle-stroke efficiency wasn’t overall impressive, the 11’6″ Meno had a high quality feel to it while paddling at a comfortable, but consistent pace. It once again kept up with narrower boards of about the same length, and it did paddle faster than several other boards in its own category (wide/high-capacity boards).
Maneuverability and Tracking
Maneuverability is the 11’6″ Meno’s weak spot. Not to say that it is not maneuverable, but it does take some effort. While keeping the board flat on the water, it takes an average of just under 11 paddle strokes to turn the 11’6″ Meno in a complete circle.
The biggest factor here is the fin setup. In order to keep tests as similar as possible from board-to-board, our testing is done using a fin setup for deep water. In this case we used the 9” touring fin that comes with the 11’6″ Meno in addition to the two 4.5” side fins. With that much surface area in the water, it’s no surprise that the 11’6″ Meno takes a bit of effort to turn.
The good news is that it does still respond well to steering input while paddling forward, it turns easily with reverse sweep strokes, and the extra grippy tail deck pad gives great control for snappy pivot turns.
The same fin setup that makes the 11’6″ Meno a little tricky to turn keeps the paddleboard tracking incredibly straight, though. No matter if we were cruising along the shore, sprinting to test its maximum speed, or paddling into the wind, the 11’6″ Meno kept going straight with very little need for corrective steering strokes.The 11’6″ Meno does come with a variety of fins, so changing your fin setup will absolutely impact its maneuverability and tracking performance. The 5” and 3” shallow-water center fins will reduce tracking but increase maneuverability (the 3” fin more so than the 5” fin). You can also include or remove the two 4.5” side fins to adjust those parameters as well. In all you have 8 different fin setup options (including no fins) with the 11’6″ Meno so you can fine-tune and adjust to get exactly what you want.
Warranty and Customer Support
Gili Sports provides a 2 year warranty on all of their iSUPs. If you have any issues with the 11’6″ Meno you can contact Gili Sports via email, phone, or social media. The bag is also covered by a 1 year warranty and the included accessories by a 90-day warranty. If you decide the 11’6″ Meno isn’t for you, Gili Sports has a 60-day return period, but refunds on returns are subject to shipping costs and a 20% restocking fee. Overall the Gili Sports warranty and customer support are above average for the industry.
When determining the value of a board, we look at more than just the price. We consider its performance, accessories, versatility, the company itself, price and sales, and we compare it with other alternatives on the market. With all of these factors combined, the Gili 11’6″ Meno iSUP kit is a good value for paddlers looking for a high-capacity all-around, fishing, or camping iSUP.
Overall Impressions/Review Summary
The 11’6″ Meno is a solid choice for anyone looking for a fishing, adventuring, or higher-capacity all-around iSUP. While it’s not as fast or efficient as a true touring board, the quality construction helps keep it moving through the water. The extra width makes this board very beginner friendly and offers plenty of space for dogs, kids, or a few nights worth of camping equipment. The biggest downside of the 11’6″ Meno is the awkwardly-balanced paddle. Upgrading to the full carbon fiber version is worth it for a more comfortable paddling experience.
Gili Sports 11’6″ Meno iSUP FAQ
What is the difference between the Meno 11’6” and 10’6”
Both boards are 35” wide and both have the same type and number of included features. The 10’6” version is more maneuverable, but doesn’t track quite as well. It is lighter and easier to handle, so the 10’6” version makes a better choice for paddlers under 5’8” in height.
How long does it take to inflate the Meno 11’6”?
Using the included High Flow triple-action hand pump it takes about 8-10 minutes to inflate the Meno 11’6” to 15psi and an extra couple of minutes to reach the maximum 18psi.
Is the Meno 11’6” good for kids or dogs?
Yes! The 35” width makes it super stable for kids and dogs alike. The dual layer PVC skin is also tough enough to hold up against dog claws.
Is the Meno 11’6” good for fishing and camping?
Absolutely. The Meno 11’6” was made for fishing and camping. It has plenty of cargo room and various attachment points for accessories like fishing racks, rod holders, coolers, and more.
Can I leave the Meno 11’6” inflated?
Yes, but with some caveats. You can leave the Meno 11’6” inflated, however if you will be taking the board out of the water it’s best to reduce the pressure of the board to around 10psi. This keeps it from over-pressurizing as it heats up. Also, keep the board stored in a cool, dry environment out of the sun. Excess UV radiation exposure can reduce the longevity of any iSUP.
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