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Red Paddle Co is a company that’s well-known for their innovative designs and their new Compact 9’6″ inflatable SUP pushes the boundaries of iSUP portability further than they’ve ever been before. This ultra-compact all-around paddle board weighs in at only 16.3 pounds and packs down into an incredibly small footprint, making it the perfect accessory for serious exploring and adventure travel.
The latest edition to Red Paddle’s lineup of inflatable SUPs, the Compact 9’6″ is one of the shortest, lightest paddle boards in their entire range. Promising unparalleled convenience without sacrifices in terms of performance or durability, Red Paddle has launched an entirely new iSUP category that will undoubtedly have a big impact on the industry as a whole (see our NIXY Huntington review, for example).
Designing a super compact travel SUP required rethinking some things, and the Compact 9’6″ packs down a lot differently than traditional inflatable paddle boards. Instead of simply folding the board from one end to the other, the Compact 9’6″ folds in half right down the middle of the board before rolling up into an incredibly compact size.
Of course, in the process of designing an ultra-compact inflatable travel SUP, the company had to do far more than simply change the way the board packs down. Red Paddle introduced PACT technology this season — an entirely new construction method that is trademarked and only found on the Compact 9’6″. PACT construction consists of a core made from an ultra-dense, incredibly strong weave construction process which delivers impressive structure, rigidity, and overall toughness. Red Paddle paired this special technology with a strong yet pliable outer PVC layer and quad stringers for additional stiffness.
To fit everything into a much smaller iSUP carrying bag, Red Paddle Co also had to radically rework the typical 3-piece travel paddle design, breaking things down even further with a more packable 5-piece design. The new paddle weighs in at just 1.8 pounds and when fully assembled, is adjustable from 71″ to 83″.
Additionally, sections can be removed from the paddle, reducing it to an adjustable length of 53″ to 65″ — the perfect size for children and smaller paddlers.
The top deck of the Compact 9’6″ features a 6-point bungee cargo area at the nose for easy storage of your gear and there’s a leash D-ring and high-quality inflation valve at the tail.
Located on the bottom of the board is a twin fin setup which utilizes a convenient toolless click-in system.
Unlike Red Paddle’s other iSUPs, the company offset the traction pad, inflation valve, carry handle, and leash D-ring on this SUP in order to create a hinge-like effect, allowing the board to be folded right down the middle.
|Max Capacity||210 pounds|
While the Red Paddle Co Compact 9’6″ is an incredibly cool inflatable SUP that’s designed with versatility and all-around fun in mind, it’s important to recognize that this isn’t a board for everyone. This is a specialized iSUP that’s ideal for frequent travelers and minimalists who place a high premium on storage space and extreme portability. Larger paddlers and those in search of better performance should definitely be looking at other inflatable paddle boards for the time being, as the Compact 9’6″ will undoubtedly disappoint individuals in both of those camps.
Looking forward, we anticipate that this new ultra-portable SUP category will expand in the not-too-distant future to include boards of all shapes and sizes, so adventure travel junkies most likely have a lot more to look forward to in terms of options.
Reviews from our Readers
Just purchased the 2022 version of the 9’6 compact. Really great board. The paddle is basic but it does pack down to fit in the bag. Paddles just as well as the 10’6 Ride and maybe even better. It is not as stable being a foot shorter but this is marginal and should not put you off buying the compact board. It is quite fast across the water, I had to paddle harder to keep up with my wife who was on the 9’6 and I was on the 10’6 Ride, but she was using a better paddle and I was using the one that came with the 9’6. One criticism of the paddle is it is great for really short paddlers or really tall paddlers, but because of the limited adjustment offered by the top section of the paddle, can’t be shortened very much without removing the bottom section of the paddle entirely which may end up shortening the paddle too much. The board though, is first class!
This is a really well-made board…
This is a really well-made board that’s definitely easier to transport than a regular inflatable. The only one not thrilled with this purchase is my wallet as the board definitely isn’t cheap!
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