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Gili Sports Komodo: Overview
The most common question asked by beginner paddleboarders looking for a first iSUP is, “What is the most stable board?” Well, “most stable” might be a little subjective, but I can objectively tell you that the Gili Komodo is an incredibly stable cruiser-style paddleboard that’s perfect for new users, SUP Yogis, and those that like to bring their four-legged friends out on the water. It’s a fantastic inflatable paddleboard for beginners and intermediate paddlers alike.
— Gili Komodo Summary Ratings and Review – —
Gili Komodo BOARD
Construction & Durability
Features and Versatility
Warranty & Customer Support
The Komodo is a stiff, stable, and easy to use paddleboard for cruising, yoga, and paddling with a passenger.
- Very stiff
- Excellent stability
- Full length deck pad
- Highly versatile
- Balances maneuverability and tracking
- Glides efficiently
- Great for pets and yoga
- Huge amount of cargo space
- High quality accessories
- Excellent warranty and support
- Relatively large turning radius
- The hand pump could be more efficient
Construction and Durability
The Gili Sports Komodo inflatable stand-up paddleboard is built incredibly well. The board starts with a 6” drop stitch core, similar to many other paddleboards, that is wrapped with a dual-layer fusion PVC material on the top and bottom. The fusion PVC uses heat and pressure to laminate the two layers together rather than glue, resulting in a stronger, simpler material. The rails (sides) of the board are then wrapped in an additional layer of PVC (for 3 total layers) and finished with seam-reinforcement strips on the top and bottom of the rails. Finally, the carry handles, D-rings, threaded multi-use mounts, paddle holders and full-length EVA foam deck pad are all adhered to the board.
The Fusion PVC creates an incredibly stiff board when inflated to the recommended 15psi. During our bend test, the Komodo only deflected 1.175” when weighted with our standard 170lb load over the standing area. This stiffness can be seen and felt on the water. When bounce testing the board I could hardly feel any flex, and there was very little reverberation as the board settled back down.
A stiff paddleboard not only makes it easier to paddle efficiently, but also increases the board’s stability while standing, sitting, or working on your Tree Pose (though I’m more of a Savasana kind of person myself).The extra layers of PVC on the rails and seam reinforcement strips add extra protection against damage and minor accidental over-inflation. With proper care the Komodo will last for years and years.
|Max Capacity||340 pounds|
|Board Weight||21 pounds|
(SUP & accessories)
|Returns period||60 days|
Features, Accessories and Versatility
The Komodo could easily have been called the Chameleon for how easily it can match your needs. Both cargo areas and passenger handles are removable so you can make the most use of the full-length deck pad for yoga, pets, or just relaxing while on the water. At the same time, three threaded multi-use mounts let you add accessories like fishing rod holders, cup holders, speakers, or cameras to record your adventures.
The Komodo’s 33” width and wide, square, tail make it very stable for fishing, exercise, and even just good, old-fashioned, paddling.
The three removable fins also adjust to match your needs. For maximum stability and tracking, use all three. For more speed and better maneuverability, take out the two side fins and just use the center touring-style center fin. For shallow water and maximum maneuverability, take out the center fin and put the side fins back in. With the snap-lock fins it’s as easy as 1, 2, done. Seriously, set the fin in the fin box, flip the lever and you’re ready to go!
The full-length deck pad is beautifully designed. It also integrates a diamond-groove tail section to indicate when you are near the back of the board and increase traction at the same time. The full-length, full-width pad is equally as good for fitness as it is to give Fido a comfortable surface to stand, sit or lay down (good boy!).
The Komodo comes as a complete kit including a fiberglass and nylon paddle. The only thing you’ll need to add is a PFD and water. While the hand pump is not our favorite that we’ve ever used, it is built well and the average person can inflate the komodo to 15 psi in about 8 minutes, give or take a few.
When you’re all done, the Komodo easily folds/rolls back up into the bag and the padded backpack harness and compression straps make it a comfortable carry back to your vehicle.
Gili Sports packages the Komodo with a fiberglass/nylon paddle. The Fiberglass shaft reduces weight and gives a comfortable amount of flex to the paddle, while the nylon blade and handle create durable contact points.
The three-piece paddle has a sizing scale printed on the handle for easy use. The clasp did need some minor adjustment to hold tight out of the box. This is easily done with a phillips-head screwdriver, turning the bolt heads a quarter-turn at a time until the clasp closes snugly and the handle does not twist.
You can also opt to upgrade the paddle to a carbon fiber/nylon mix or a fully carbon fiber blade and shaft for an additional cost when purchasing your board. The fiberglass paddle will suit most people well, but if you plan to paddle for long periods of time at once, the weight savings of a carbon fiber paddle can be quite welcome.
The large paddle blade encourages a more casual paddling cadence, especially for smaller paddlers. Larger paddlers, like myself, can utilize the larger blade for quick, powerful strokes over short periods of time. It would be nice to see a different blade size option especially on the fully carbon fiber paddle options.
The 33” width and very gently tapering shape of the Komodo is immediately noticeable when you stand on this board. Balancing is effortless, and the board resists tipping side to side extremely well. The wide tail has lots of volume to support paddlers as they move to the back of the board (or for passengers or a cooler).
It took a little bit of effort to get the Komodo on its edge, but once there it was very easy to hold it in that position. This secondary stability is particularly important for fitness and yoga paddlers as they move through their routines. It gives more time to re-balance the board as you move around.
I was actually quite surprised with the Komodo during our speed testing. During our 50 yard dash test it kept up with the slightly longer, slightly narrower Adventure 11’. The Komodo’s stiffness allows paddlers more efficiently transfer power between the paddle blade and the board. Boards that are less-stiff will flex and push down into the water more during the power phase of the paddle stroke rather than more directly transferring it to forward momentum.
While the Komodo’s speed did surprise me, it’s still not a board that is particularly comfortable to paddle at top speed for long periods of time. The extra width does create more drag and take more energy to move. While cruising, the Komodo’s stiffness translates into better glide as well. The Komodo smoothly moved along the surface of the water, maintaining a reasonable cruising speed quite easily.
While many paddlers like to talk about the size and shape of their fins for optimal tracking and maneuverability, the position of the fins on the board is equally as important. The Komodo’s three fins are set nearly all the way to the tail of the board. This helps the Komodo track, but makes it a little harder to turn. It takes just over 8.5 high-quality forward-sweep strokes on average to make a full 360° turn. Now, this is something that we do in our testing, but is not particularly common while paddling normally. The Komodo does respond well to regular steering while paddling.
If you do need to turn around quickly, the Komodo does make the same full-circle turn in just 4 reverse-sweep paddle strokes. The fins do an excellent job of turning forward paddle strokes into forward momentum, but do not do as well when moving backward.
The Komodo also lends itself to easy pivot turning which is especially great for the beginner paddler who would like to develop their skills. The wide, square, tail is very stable as you step to the back of the board. While the tail does not sink as easily as it does on the Adventure 11’, it only takes a small amount of lift in the nose to pivot-turn, so fully submerging the tail is not always necessary.It’s definitely not necessary to pivot-turn to steer the Komodo, and while paddling normally from point-to-point, it’s very easy to steer and course correct with just a few basic paddle strokes. I found that in evaluating the Komodo holistically, the board does balance tracking and maneuverability quite well. If you do need more maneuverability, you can change the fin setup. Removing the side fins increases maneuverability without greatly affecting tracking. You can also leave the side fins in and remove the center fin for even faster turning, but you may sacrifice some stability.
The same fin setup that reduces maneuverability in the Komodo helps it easily track straight while paddling. The rearward position of the fins, and the touring-style center fin make it easy to stay on course.
During the speed testing, the extra stiffness in the Komodo prevented it from bobbing up and down in the water and helped keep it on course.
While cruising around, it took very little effort to keep the Komodo pointed in the right direction. I was able to easily paddle for long periods of time on either side of the board with only minor corrections.
Warranty and Customer Support
Gili Sports warranties their inflatable paddleboards for 2 years against any manufacturing defects. They also warranty their travel bags for one year, and all of their accessories for 90 days. If you decide that the Komodo is not the board for you, Gili Sports does have a 60-day no-questions asked return period, however the buyer must pay for shipping and a 20% restocking fee will be applied. If you have any questions about the Komodo, or any of Gili Sports’ other iSUPs, you can reach them by phone, email, social media or via a form on their website.
When evaluating the Komodo’s price and relative value we look at the category of board, how it’s built, how it performs, what kind of accessories are included, and how the Gili Sports backs their product up with warranty and support. In the case of the Komodo, we find it to be a great value, and even more so while it is on sale. If you are looking for a high-performance, budget-friendly cruiser, the Gili Sports Komodo should be top of your list.
Overall Impressions/Review Summary
While writing this review I found myself thinking very fondly of the Gili Komodo. It’s got amazing versatility and stability, surprising speed, and a great paddle. For beginners looking for a stable board to learn on, SUP yoga practitioners and fitness paddlers, or anyone that likes to cruise around with a passenger, dog, or cooler, the Gili Sports Komodo is a great choice.
Gili Sports Komodo iSUP FAQ
What is the difference between the Komodo, the Adventure series, and the Air series?
The Gili Sports Komodo is a wider cruising board with a full-length deck pad. It’s designed for fitness, but is great for beginners, anglers, and people paddling with passengers. The Air series boards are a budget-friendly range of all-around boards that reduce weight and cost by using a less-robust construction. The Adventure series are not quite as stable as the Komodo, but are slightly faster and more efficient on the water.
Can I bring my dog on the Gili Sports Komodo iSUP?
You sure can! The full-length deck pad is perfect for our four-legged friends. It gives them full-traction along the length of the board for greater confidence while standing, sitting, or laying down.
Can I do yoga on the Komodo?
Absolutely. The Komodo is built for yoga and exercise. The full-length deck pad let’s you reach out across the whole board and the integrated paddle holder keeps your paddle secure and close by when you are not using it.
How long does it take to pump up the Komodo?
It takes about 7-10 minutes to inflate the Gili Sports Komodo to the maximum recommended 15psi. Your actual time will vary depending on how fast you pump.
How long will the Gili Sports Komodo last?
With proper care, your Gili Sports Komodo will last for years and years. Avoid bumping into sharp objects on and off the water, don’t drag the board on the ground, and make sure to dry it completely prior to storing. While you are using it, make sure not to leave it fully inflated while in direct sunlight and out of the water for long periods of time to avoid over pressurization.
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