Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ Review – The Most Smiles Per Dollar on the Water! | 2024

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' party board iSUP review
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Smiles for miles on the Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ party board..

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ iSUP Review – Overview

I’m going to make this review really short – If you like to paddleboard with your friends and family you should 100% have a party board.

These things are just ridiculous. They are big, stable, versatile, and believe it or not, they actually paddle pretty damn well. I guarantee that stepping onto a party board will instantly put a smile on your face.

The Retrospec Crew 12’ is all of these things. But the icing on the cake is the price. At under $500 it’s a party board for everyone. You can keep reading this review if you want, but the bottom line is you should get one.

The Crew 12’ is great for 2-3 people, and the 15’ Crew XL will fit up to 5 people at a time.

— Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ iSUP Review Summary and Ratings —

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ iSUP
  • Construction & Durability
  • Features and Versatility
  • Stability
  • Speed
  • Maneuverability
  • Tracking

Overall Score

The Weekender Crew 12’ is a fun tandem party board


  • Large size is just right for 2-3 people
  • Compatible with multiple kayak seats
  • Includes two paddles
  • Extremely stable
  • Lightweight construction
  • Durable dual-layer PVC hull and rails
  • Surprisingly easy to paddle by yourself
  • 2-year warranty


  • It would be nice to have one or two stringers to make the board more rigid.
  • The kit only comes with a single hand pump, so we do recommend getting an electric pump with the board.

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ iSUP Review – Construction and Durability

The Weekender Crew 12’ is made with Retrospec’s dual-layer AerGlide-Fusion dual-layer PVC construction for improved durability and rigidity.

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' rail construction
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The Crew 12’ uses dual-layer PVC construction for the hull and rails.

The Weekender Crew 12’ differs significantly from the Weekender Plus and Tour models by starting with an 8” thick drop stitch core.

The knitted fabric base layers are connected with thousands of 8” long drop stitch threads to give the board its flat shape and keep it rigid while inflated. A layer of PVC coats the fabric base layer to make the material waterproof and air tight, then a second layer of reinforced PVC is fused to the first layer with heat and pressure.

8” core paddle boards offer both more rigidity and more weight capacity than their 6” thick counterparts. Dual-layer PVC constructions likewise increase rigidity and durability compared to single-layer builds.

The top and bottom of the board are joined together with a glued inner rail layer made of reinforced PVC, and a second, wider, layer of PVC covers the first for additional protection.

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' rigid while standing
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There is no flex in the Crew 12 when standing, paddling, or walking on the board..

The final weight of this 12’ x 42” paddle board is surprisingly light at just 36 pounds.

I was able to put a fair amount of flex in the board when jumping up and down on it, but I didn’t notice any of it while paddling by myself.

With two adults standing and paddling together I could feel some flex in the board if we paddled out of sync with each other, but overall I was pleased with the board’s rigidity with two people.

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' flex while bouncing
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Jumping on the board produced some flex, but it wasn’t something I felt while paddling.

Overall, the dual-layer construction of the Crew 12’ is a great blend of rigidity and durability while still being a very portable party board.


Length 12’ 0”
Max Capacity500 pounds
Board Weight36 pounds
Kit Weight
(SUP & accessories)
46 pounds
Buying Info
List Price$499.99
Warranty2 years
Returns period50 days

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ iSUP Review – Features, Accessories and Versatility

The Weekender Crew 12’ is a party board – it’s large, stable, and ready to bring everything you need for a party on the water!

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' size and shape
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The Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ is 12’ 0” long, 42” wide, and 8” thick. It has a maximum capacity of 500 pounds and weighs 36 pounds.
Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' nose shape
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The nose is very wide and round to maximize volume and size for stability and carrying capacity. The front cargo area is quite large and has a fixed bungee cord. There’s plenty of room for large dry bags under the bungee cord, but it can be a little harder to hold small items like water bottles because of how spread out the cargo area is. There is enough space between the D-rings to tie down a mid-size hard cooler as well.
Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' front handle
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The nose of the board has a carrying handle with integrated D-rings for a leash or as additional tie down points for large cargo.
Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' accessory mount
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There is a single accessory mount with a threaded insert and a GoPro-style foot mount for attaching cameras, phones, or other accessories.
Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' side handles
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In addition to the typical nose, center, and tail carrying handles, there are two more pairs of carrying handles on the middle of the board for other ways to carry the board and assistance in getting back on the board in deep water.
Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' paddle holder
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There are velcro paddle holders on each side of the board. They also work well as fishing rod holders.
Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' EasyLink tab
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There are 8 EasyLink tabs spaced around the board to quickly attach the Retrospec inflatable kayak seats (sold separately).
Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' deck pad
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The EVA deck pad is grooved and has an embossed texture of palm trees, waves, and suns. The deck pad covers most of the surface of the Crew 12 except for under the front cargo area.
Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' rear cargo area
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The rear cargo area uses 4 D-rings and can easily hold medium and large size dry bags. You can also use the D-rings to tie down smaller coolers or other bulky items.
Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' removable bungee cord
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The rear cargo bungee is easily removable with swivel clasps at each end.
Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' tail shape
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The tail of the board is very wide with a mostly-square shape for stability. There are two inflation valves for faster inflation/deflation, but remember to check that they are both closed when inflating, or you may be pumping the board for quite a while!
Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' nose d-ring
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There is a towing D-ring under the nose of the board..
Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' fin boxes
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The tail has five slide-in fin boxes.
Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' complete kit
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The Weekender Crew 12’ comes as a complete kit. All you need are PFDs for you and your friends.

The Weekender Crew 12’ is definitely decked out for a good time, and it comes with a full set of accessories. In the package you get:

  • Weekender Crew 12’ Party Board
  • Custom-size duffel-style carrying bag
  • Two aluminum paddles
  • One coiled ankle leash
  • One single-chamber hand pump
  • One 9” fin and four 4.5” fins
  • A waterproof phone case
  • Maintenance and repair kit

Overall this is a solid set of accessories for a 2-person paddle board. However, with only one single-chamber hand pump it will take a very long time to inflate. We highly recommend adding an electric SUP pump to your kit to make things easier and faster.

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ iSUP Review – Paddle

The Weekender Crew 12’ comes with two 3-piece aluminum paddles.

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' paddle
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The Retrospec Aluminum paddle is a basic kit paddle with a few extra nice touches.

The included aluminum paddles are fairly basic paddles, but they work well. The powder-coated aluminum shaft feels comfortable in your hand and has just a tiny amount of texture for improved grip. The light gray color also keeps the paddle from getting too hot in the sun.

While aluminum is a heavier material for a paddle, the midsize ABS plastic blade keeps the whole paddle feeling balanced. This helps reduce the perceived weight of the paddle, and I quickly forgot that I was using an aluminum paddle while on the Crew 12’.

With an 8” thick iSUP, you will need to use a longer paddle than what you normally would on a 6” (or thinner) board. The Retrospec paddle adjusts quickly and easily with a simple compression clamp, and the handle section has a printed scale on one side for easily adjusting the paddle length.

On the other side of the handle is an indexing groove. Now this is something we don’t frequently see on lower-priced kit paddles. The indexing groove ensures that the paddle handle and paddle blade are always oriented correctly to each other.

Overall the Retrospec aluminum paddle is actually quite good for a kit paddle, though care should be taken not to accidentally bend the paddle shaft by standing or sitting on it, as it can be near-impossible to bend it back into position.

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ iSUP Review – Stability

At 12’ long and 42” wide, it’s a surprise to nobody that the Weekender Crew 12’ is incredibly stable for a single individual. While tandem paddling, the Crew 12’ does have comfortable stability while paddling in sync with your partner, but can sometimes be a little twitchy if you have separate ideas on where you are going.

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' ultra stable size and shape
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Is over-stable a thing for SUPs? The Weekender Crew 12’ is incredibly stable, even when tilted far onto its rail.

This board is rock solid on the water. While paddling it by myself I could easily, confidently, and comfortably walk anywhere on the board from side-to-side and nose to tail.

The massive size and volume of this board makes it incredibly stable.

While paddling with a partner we did find things to change slightly. While paddling in sync with each other the Weekender Crew 12’ stayed very stable with both of us standing. However if we mis-timed our strokes, or one person began to turn the board without letting the other know, then we noticed that the board would wobble and twitch under the competing instructions.

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' stability anywhere you stand
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Stability is not a problem with the Weekender Crew 12’ – no matter where you are standing.

After a little bit of a partner communication exercise we were able to easily time our strokes and turn the board without any major tipping on the board (and everyone stayed dry).

With one partner sitting, there were no stability issues at all, and paddling with a dog or child will essentially feel like paddling by yourself.

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ iSUP Review – Performance

Testing a party board for paddling performance is a bit of a moot point. After all, we aren’t taking this board for long-distance fitness paddles. But I was impressed with how easy it is to paddle with a partner and even on your own.

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' solo paddling
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Standing to one side of the board makes it easier to reach over for a straight forward stroke.

By standing to one side of the board I was able to easily paddle the Weekender Crew 12’ at a fairly decent speed of just over 3 MPH. Things definitely got faster once my paddling partner and I were able to synchronize our paddling.

The Weekender Crew 12’ also tracks straight much more easily than you’d imagine (even standing on one side of the board) thanks to its five-fin setup.

Turning the board by myself was a little hard. I found it much easier to use bow-draw strokes (starting the paddle out wide in front of you and bringing it into the nose of the board) rather than a traditional forward sweep (paddling in an arc from nose to tail).

With a partner, you can have one person paddle in a forward sweep on the “outside” of the turn and the other take a reverse sweep on the “inside” of the turn and get the Weekender Crew 12’ turned around fairly quickly.

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' fins
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The five-fin setup of the Weekender Crew 12’ makes it easy to paddle straight, even at 42” wide.

An ultra-stable party board also has other uses besides cruising around the lake. It makes it easy to bring along all of your fishing equipment, use as a floating dock, practice some harder SUP yoga poses, and more.

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' yoga
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Advanced SUP yoga is easier, yet still challenging, on this ultra-stable party board.

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ iSUP Review – Warranty and Customer Support

Retrospec warranties all of their inflatable SUPs for 2 years from the date of purchase. This is a fairly typical warranty length and is actually more than most iSUPs in this price range. Additionally, they offer a 50-day return period, however, all returns are subject to shipping fees. There is no explicit warranty period for the included accessories. If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach the Retrospec customer service team via telephone, website form, website chat, and social media.

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ iSUP Review – Overall Impressions/Review Summary

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12' tandem paddling
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The Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ is a great tandem iSUP for 2 adults.

In writing this summary I feel a bit like the ending scene of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. “You’re still here? Go get one…” Okay, so I may be paraphrasing that a bit. But seriously, the Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ is just a really fun board at a fantastic price. If you’ve not used a party board before It’s a bit hard to describe how fun they really are – and I honestly didn’t believe it before I started using them myself.

With a time-tested construction, durable materials, a 2-year warranty, and an excellent price, there’s no question about it. If you’re thinking about getting a tandem party board, do yourself a favor and pick up a Weekender Crew 12.

Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ iSUP Review – FAQ

Is the Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ a good value?

Absolutely! It’s possibly one of the best deals available for a tandem party board, and it is a blast on the water. With kayak seat compatibility, two paddles, and great performance on the water the Weekender Crew 12’ is a fantastic value.

How long does it take to inflate the Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’?

If you are only using the single hand pump that comes with the board it is going to take a long time. Approximately 20 minutes of continuous pumping. That’s a lot, and I certainly don’t recommend it. Using a second hand pump (and person) will speed things up significantly, but really we recommend getting an electric pump to do all of the heavy lifting.

Is the Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ good for fishing?

Yes. This board is incredibly stable and has tons of cargo room. It’s a great option for fishing your local waters. If you plan to paddle a good distance to get to your favorite fishing hole, though, you may want to check out some of our other recommendations for fishing SUPs.

How many people can fit on the Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’?

If you plan to paddle the board more than a few hundred yards at a time, I would recommend no more than two adults (though a smaller pet or child could easily hitch a ride). For more casual fun-time floats you could fit 3-4 people on the Crew 12’, but balancing will be much more difficult with more than 2 people standing.

Can I use the Retrospec Weekender Crew 12’ with a kayak seat?

Yes. There are EasyLink attachment points on the Weekender Crew 12’ to use with the Retrospec inflatable kayak seat. However you will need a much longer paddle to effectively reach over the 42” wide board.

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