Retrospec Weekender Plus Review – Is This The Best Value Hybrid iSUP for New Paddlers in 2024?

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP Review
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The Retrospec Weekender Plus is a beginner- and budget-friendly hybrid iSUP.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP Review: Overview

The Retrospec Weekender Plus offers a very interesting proposition for new paddle boarders. Why get one watercraft when you can have two for the same price? And to make the pot even sweeter, that price is very accessible.

I’ve written about the difference between cheap vs expensive paddle boards before. And, as with many things, it’s important to remember that cheap and inexpensive are not necessarily the same thing.

But at under $400, the Weekender Plus brings us into the psychological territory of thinking, “How good can this be at such a low cost?”

The answer will probably surprise you because it certainly surprised me.

The Weekender Plus is not a high-performance iSUP for experienced paddlers. But, it is an inexpensive way to get on the water as both an iSUP and a sit-on-top kayak with a quality piece of equipment for beginner paddlers.

If you are on a budget and want to try stand up paddle boarding and kayaking for the first time this summer, then I think it’s going to be hard to find a better option than the Weekender Plus.

— Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP Review Ratings and Summary —

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP Review
  • Construction & Durability
  • Features and Versatility
  • Stability
  • Speed
  • Maneuverability
  • Tracking

Overall Score

The Weekender Plus offers a great opportunity for both Stand Up Paddleboarding and kayaking at a fantastic value.


  • Double use as iSUP and Kayak with the included conversion kit
  • Good rigidity and stable shape for general use
  • Beginner-friendly touch points to make learning SUP easier
  • Clean, modern look
  • A great blend of maneuverability and tracking performance
  • The Kayak seat is comfortable and easy to use
  • Amazing value for a beginner paddler on a budget


  • I would like to see this model extended in length (11’-11’6”) for more capacity and easier paddling with a passenger or pet
  • Kayak paddle conversion works well but could use some design finesse for comfort
  • While the slide-in fins do work well on the Weekender Plus, we prefer single-fin configurations and more universal fin boxes

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP Review – Construction and Durability

The Weekender Plus uses Retrospec’s AerGlide-Fusion, dual-layer construction for a more rigid feel on the water.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP construction
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The Weekender Plus uses a dual-layer PVC shell and dual-layer glued rails.

The Weekender Plus has a classic design with standard, time-tested, materials and construction techniques for quality entry-level performance and value.

The board is made of essentially three layers on the top and bottom. First is the knitted drop base fabric material. This polyester fabric is joined to another layer with thousands of drop-stitched yarns to connect the top and bottom of the board keeping it flat and rigid when inflated.

That fabric is then coated with a layer of PVC material to make it airtight.

A second layer of reinforced PVC material is then fusion-laminated to the first using heat and pressure. This ensures a solid bond and eliminates manufacturing errors that can occur when hand-gluing multiple layers of material together. It also makes the board lighter than a hand-glued construction.

Once the board shape is cut out of the raw material, the top and bottom layers are glued together with a layer of reinforced PVC to finish the airtight chamber of the board. Another layer of reinforced PVC is then glued around the first to provide protection and help increase rigidity when inflated.

This dual-layer PVC construction has been in use for many years and is known for its reliability with standard use and basic iSUP care.

Once the main body of the board is built then the deck pad, valves, and other features are added. Altogether the Retrospec Weekender Plus weighs in at just 22 pounds for the board only. The full kit with all of the other accessories brings the total to 34.5 pounds.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP rigidity while standing
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On the water, I did not notice any significant flexing/bending while paddling normally.

The Weekender Plus has a maximum recommended inflation pressure of 15 PSI. With the board fully inflated, we put it through our standard bend test procedure and found that it bent just over 1.8” with 170 pounds of weight.

That is slightly more bend than our current running average of 1.62”, but is well within the typical range we see on dual-layer iSUPs without other stiffening elements.

On the water, the Weekender Plus continued to impress me with its rigidity.

I didn’t notice any real flexing or bending while standing on the board or paddling normally. I could generate a moderate amount of flex while jumping on the Plus, and I could feel a little bit of flex while paddling hard during a sprint. But none of this was out of the ordinary for a dual-layer board, nor for a board with this fairly average bend test result.

Which makes it all the more impressive given its price.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP flex while bouncing
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I can generate moderate flex when jumping on the Plus and some slight flex when sprinting.

Once I stop jumping around on the Plus it settles back down with a slightly springy rebound. However, when just walking around on the board I didn’t find it too aggressive or bouncy.

Going into my testing I was skeptical of how well-built this paddle board would be at such a low cost, but overall I’m quite impressed with the build quality and rigidity of the Retrospec Weekender Plus. With basic care and maintenance, the Weekender Plus should easily last several seasons for regular users.


Length10’ 6”
Max Capacity300 pounds
Board Weight22 pounds
Kit Weight
(SUP & accessories)
34.2 pounds
Buying Info
List Price$379.99
Warranty2 years
Returns period50 days

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP Review – Features, Accessories and Versatility

Retrospec really takes the “Plus” in the Weekender Plus seriously. There are a ton of great features built into this board and several great included accessories that truly make a versatile hybrid iSUP.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP size and shape
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The Weekender Plus is 10’6” long, 33” wide, and 6” thick. It has a recommended capacity of 300 pounds and comes with a complete kit of accessories.
Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP nose
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The nose has a traditional rounded shape found on many all-around iSUPs to help increase capacity and stability. There’s a moderate amount of nose rocker to lift the board up and over mild chop and small boat wake.
Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP accessory mount
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There is a built-in accessory mount on the nose that has both a threaded insert and a GoPro-style foot attachment. This is compatible with many available accessories like camera, phone, and fishing rod holders.
Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP front cargo area
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There’s a large cargo bungee on the front of the board threaded between six stainless steel D-rings. This cargo bungee does not have clasps or connectors for removal.
Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP deck pad and handle
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The Weekender Plus has three carrying handles (nose, center, and tail). The deck pad is made with a brushed-texture EVA foam and has grooves for improved side-to-side traction.
Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP paddle holder
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There are two velcro tabs on the right side of the board that can be used as a paddle holder, or as a fishing rod holder.
Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP EasyLink tab
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Rather than adding more hard D-rings on the side of the board, Retrospec is using “EasyLink” tabs made of reinforced PVC as connection points for both the seat and shoulder strap. The link loops on the board also indicate where to attach the seat vs the carrying strap.
Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP carrying strap
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The included shoulder strap is padded and adjustable so you can dial in the right length for your height.
Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP kayak seat
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Retrospec’s kayak seat is not your run-of-the-mill cheap conversion. The seat bottom is inflatable – which elevates your hips for a more comfortable and ergonomic seating position, and the seat attaches securely and adjusts easily with the four adjustable connection straps. There is also a built-in water bottle holder on the front of the seat cushion.
Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP EasyLink hook
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Both the kayak seat and the shoulder strap use stainless steel G-hooks to connect to the EasyLink loops. The only downside is that the loops are specifically sized for one of these hooks at a time so you cannot have both the shoulder strap and kayak seat fully connected to the board at the same time.
Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP kayak seat pocket
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The kayak seat also has a large zippered pocket on the seat back. This is not a waterproof pocket, though, so you will still want to keep your phone and keys in a dry bag.
Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP tail
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The tail of the board is kept moderately wide with a square tail for improved stability. There is also a smaller cargo area on the tail threaded between four more D-rings.
etrospec Weekender Plus iSUP removable bungee
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The rear cargo bungee has clasps for easy removal.
Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP fin boxes
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Under the board, there are three slide-in fin boxes. Slide-in fin boxes are sometimes very difficult to use (requiring a mallet to install or remove the fins) however, I’ve not had any issues with the fin boxes on any of Retrospec’s boards (that’s 20 fin boxes in total!)
Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP complete kit
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The Weekender Plus comes with a complete kit of accessories including the full kayak conversion kit.

Retrospec has packed in quite a remarkable set of features and accessories with the Weekender Plus. In addition to the versatile onboard features, the inclusion of the complete kayak conversion kit, and even a waterproof phone bag, is essentially unheard of at this price point. When the Weekender Plus arrives on your doorstep, you get:

  • Weekender Plus iSUP
  • Custom-fit carrying backpack
  • Inflatable kayak seat
  • Padded shoulder strap
  • Waterproof phone bag
  • 3-piece paddle with additional paddle blade
  • Color-matched coiled ankle leash
  • Three fins
  • Single-chamber hand pump
  • Repair and maintenance kit

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP Review – Paddle

The Weekender Plus comes with a 3-piece aluminum and ABS plastic paddle as well as an additional paddle blade to convert to a kayak paddle.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP paddle
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The Retrospec aluminum paddle is well balanced and user-friendly.

I wasn’t expecting to like the Retrospec aluminum paddle as much as I did. Most aluminum kit paddles are heavy, unbalanced, and uncomfortable to use. While I wouldn’t go as far as to say this paddle is lightweight, I was impressed with its balance and feel in my hand.

The paddle blade is not overly large, nor is it a confusing shape for beginner paddlers. In fact, Retrospec even prints “Front” and “Back” on the blade itself to help remind new paddlers which way the paddle should be oriented. It felt good in the water for forward strokes without any wandering or fluttering. However, I did notice significant wandering and fluttering when making reverse strokes (using the back side of the blade). While reverse strokes aren’t incredibly common for new paddlers, it does make learning and using them a little harder as the paddle blade is more difficult to control in the water.

The powder-coated aluminum shaft is comfortable to hold, and the light gray color helps keep it from becoming dangerously hot in the sun. The handle section not only has a printed scale to easily adjust the length of the paddle, but it also has an indexing groove to keep the handle aligned with the blade.

I’ve never seen an indexing groove on an aluminum kit paddle until now. This is such an awesome feature for new paddlers. Between the markings on the blade and the indexing groove, it is incredibly easy for new paddlers to make sure they are using the paddle properly.

The adjustment collar uses a rather small compression clamp to hold the handle section in place, and every copy of the paddle I was sent (one with each board) needed to be tightened to hold the handle in place. However, the clamp can be tightened without tools by simply opening the lever and turning it (righty-tighty, lefty-loosey).

The palm grip is a comfortable size and has some texturing on the back and front, but not on the top of the handle. This is great, as too much texturing can be uncomfortable, but I found it was just enough to feel very secure in my hand without rubbing my palms.

While it is still a bit on the heavy side, the Retrospec aluminum paddle is quite nice for a low-cost kit paddle. It fits together well, and the inclusion of the indexing groove for the handle is a step above the competition for sure.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP Review – Stability

With some extra width and a wide outline, the Weekender Plus offers great stability for beginner and larger paddlers.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP stability on edge
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The shape of the board gives it a comfortable feeling even when held on its edge instead of flat.

Right away I noticed that the Weekender Plus is a stable paddle board. Really, even before stepping on the board for the first time, I was already expecting this kind of result.

For starters, the general size of the board – 10’6 x 33” – is slightly wider than your typical all-around iSUP. But what really helps make the Plus noticeably more stable is its shape. Both the nose and the tail of the board are fairly wide – and indeed measure nearly the same at around 22.5” wide each.

These wider ends allow the midsection of the board to stay closer to parallel, and all of this helps maximize the volume of the board and the area of the board in contact with the water. The result is a very stable feel on the water.

I did notice some very light twitching sensations when I first got on the Plus, but I’ve found this to be a common element with lighter boards. There’s simply less mass to resist tipping when you slightly shift your weight from foot to foot.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP rocking side to side
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The Weekender Plus rocks smoothly from side to side.

But overall the shape and the rigidity of the board do win out here. I found it very comfortable to paddle – even in choppy conditions – and easy to hold on its edge, and it was easy to remain stable while rocking from side to side.

I likewise found it easy to step back to the tail for a pivot turn. There was some flex in the board as the nose lifted, but the change in stability as I worked toward the narrower tail was consistent rather than drastically changing with each step.

Once I had the nose of the board in the air, the square tail provided plenty of volume and support for quick and comfortable pivot turns.

The deck pad on the Weekender Plus is made with a soft, brushed EVA foam and it has grooves running the length of the pad for additional traction.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP Review – Speed

The Retrospec Weekender Plus isn’t designed for racing, but it does paddle efficiently at cruising speeds. While there are some drawbacks when trying to go as fast as possible, the Plus is easy to paddle as a cruiser.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP speed
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Paddling at high speeds on the Weekender Plus does take some effort, but cruises along comfortably at a slower pace.

For our speed testing, we evaluate performance at the top speed of the board, but we also look at how it performs at more realistic cruising speeds.

In our sprint test, the Retrospec Weekender Plus performed right around the average mark for cruiser-style iSUPs. At a sustained sprint, the Plus kept up a 4.7 MPH pace, and I was able to rev up to a maximum of 5.0 MPH for very short distances.

Both results are respectable for a shorter, wider cruiser iSUP, and while I did notice some flex and pushing feeling on the water it was certainly not the worst I’ve experienced in either case.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP cruising speed
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Low-cadence paddling is smooth and relatively efficient.

Slowing down your stroke rate and cruising along on the Plus is definitely the way to go. At a casual pace of 25 strokes per minute, you have a little pause between each stroke but still maintain a consistent glide without slowing down. I found myself traveling around 3.2 MPH on average at this slower pace. This is typical for a cruiser-style paddle board, and maybe just a touch on the slower side for an all-around iSUP.

But it does paddle smoothly. Once I was at this cruising pace, I could take a single paddle stroke and move about 18 feet or 1.7 board lengths. That’s quite good for a 10’6 x 33” cruiser and is generally on par with many 32” all-around boards we’ve tested.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP Review – Maneuverability and Tracking

The Weekender Plus does a great job of balancing its maneuverability and tracking performance, and with a 2+1 fin setup, you can easily modify the board for improved agility and shallower water.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP maneuverability
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Turning the Plus is surprisingly fast, even with basic strokes like the forward sweep.

One thing I noticed quickly once I started paddling the Weekender Plus was just how easy it was to turn the board. Turning is one of the first things I teach new paddlers because if you can’t get your board pointed the right way, you’ll never get where you want to go no matter how great your forward stroke is!

With an average of just 5 forward sweep strokes – paddling in an arc from nose to tail – I was able to turn the Weekender Plus in a full 360° circle from a standstill.

That’s a much smaller turning radius than our overall average and is fairly typical for a cruiser iSUP.

Flipping things in reverse I was able to turn even faster with just under 4 reverse sweep strokes to complete the same stress test. However, I did feel that the paddle made the reverse sweep more difficult than needed as the blade shape caused the paddle to flutter and wander when used in reverse. That’s a pretty minor issue for most paddlers, but if you want to use the best technique in your paddle strokes it does become noticeable.

Of course, there are even faster and more efficient ways to turn your board with more advanced stroke techniques, but when a board turns around this quickly you almost don’t even need them!

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP tracking ability
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Tracking performance was typical for a wider cruiser-style paddle board.

The flip side of maneuverability performance is tracking performance – how easy is it to keep paddling in a straight line?

Normally, the better the maneuverability, the worse the tracking. The board design elements that improve one typically degrade tracking. There are other things that can be done to minimize that trade-off, and I think Retrospec has done well in handling the two sides of this coin.

In our straight-line tracking test, the Weekender Plus performed well for iSUPs of its size and shape. After 10 paddle strokes on a single side, I found that I was only off-course by an average of about 18°.

That’s quite a big deviation over the course of several miles, but at the same time, it’s also easy to correct the Weekender Plus with a small bow-draw and other steering strokes.

If you do plan to frequently paddle longer distances on a budget I would recommend looking at the Retrospec Weekender Tour as another option. The longer, and only slightly narrower Tour, has noticeably better tracking performance.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP fins
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The Weekender Plus comes with a center 9” fin and two 4.5” side fins.

Under the tail of the Weekender Plus, you’ll find three slide-in fin boxes, and the board comes with a 9” center fin and two 4.5” side fins.

We do all of our testing with all of the included fins installed. It’s the most common way that people use their paddle boards, so it’s the most important way to test.

You can moderately improve the maneuverability of the Weekender Plus by removing the side fins, or drastically improve it by removing the center fin, but it will conversely impact the tracking performance of the board.

Normally this is the point where I launch into a small rant about slide-in fin boxes and the problems they pose – primarily with installing and removing the fins. On the majority of iSUPs we’ve tested, this style of fin box is often very difficult to use and requires a plastic mallet or other means of coercion to get the fins to fully slide in and out.

But Retrospec has actually made slide-in fin boxes that work! I had zero issues getting the fins to install and remove on all 6 of the boards we were sent for testing (that’s 20 fin boxes!).

I will still mention, though, that these fin boxes are generally easier to damage when rolling/folding your board between uses compared to US fin boxes or even flip-lock fin boxes. So always make sure to store your board with the fin boxes flat.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP Review – Kayak Performance

The Weekender Plus falls into the relatively new category of hybrid iSUPs – boards that are designed and outfitted to be used as both a stand up paddle board and sit-on-top kayak.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP kayak conversion
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The Weekender Plus quickly and easily converts to a sit-on-top kayak.

The EasyRider 10’4 comes with a second paddle blade and an inflatable kayak seat for a quick conversion to a sit-on-top In just a few short minutes you can easily convert the Weekender Plus from a cruiser iSUP to a capable sit-on-top kayak. In fact, you don’t even have to buy any other accessories to make the switch. The Weekender Plus comes with a comfortable inflatable kayak seat and an extra paddle blade to convert the SUP paddle to a kayak paddle.

Once the seat is inflated, it’s very easy to use the stainless steel G-hooks and the EasyLink tabs to connect the seat to the board. Simply loop the hooks into the tabs and tighten the straps to secure the seat bottom and adjust the tension in the seat back.

Similarly, to change the paddle just remove the SUP handle and insert the spare blade. The indexing groove keeps the paddle blades aligned.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP kayak stability
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Sitting increases your primary stability, but does make it harder to adjust the tilt of the board.

Once you are out on the water with the Plus in kayak mode, the performance is very similar to how it feels to SUP. The board is still quite stable, and the overall primary stability (how it feels when the board is flat on the water) is actually improved as your center of gravity is much lower. However, it does make it harder to control the tilt of the board from side to side.

It is easier to paddle faster and straighter on the Weekender Plus when it is in kayak mode as you are able to paddle with both blades at the same time. However, you do lose a little bit of leverage in your turning strokes, so maneuverability becomes a little bit harder.

The paddle conversion does well, however, it is not a true kayak paddle. The blades are symmetrical and the standard paddle that comes with the Plus creates a fairly short kayak paddle. This means that you essentially have to use big, vertical, paddle strokes when kayaking rather than more casual low-angle strokes.

We also found that for most of our team, the connection points for the blades (the push-button and compression clamp) were right where we wanted to place our hands on the paddle.

Retrospec does offer an XL version of their convertible kayak paddle. If you plan on doing lots of seated paddling on the Weekender Plus, then I do recommend getting either a dedicated kayak paddle or at least the XL version of the Retrospec hybrid paddle.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP kayak maneuverability
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Turning becomes more challenging while seated, so advanced strokes like draws and C-strokes can make this easier.

The kayak seat is quite comfortable. By using an inflatable seat cushion your hips are slightly elevated and are in a much more ergonomic position compared to sitting flat on the board. This helps improve blood flow to your feet and reduce numbness and tingling. It also makes it a bit easier to engage your core and legs when paddling, though not as well as you can when using a bulkhead or foot brace.

The seat back has a large zippered pocket for small items like sunscreen, but it is not waterproof, so make sure to store your valuables in a dry bag. In the front of the seat, there is an elastic strap to hold a water bottle – a nice touch not commonly found on kayak seat conversions for paddle boards!

Retrospec Weekender Plus 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 Plus iSUP Review – Overall Impressions/Review Summary

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP pivot turn
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The Weekender Plus is a great, budget-friendly option for new and hybrid paddlers.

I almost feel that “Plus” is an understatement for this paddle board. The Weekender Plus definitely surpassed my expectations and is an easy recommendation for paddlers on a budget who want the option to paddle standing up or sitting down. The accessory kit is well above this paddle board’s price point, and the overall performance and quality are great for new paddlers. If you do want something a little bit faster and more efficient but are still on a budget, then I would recommend the Retrospec Weekender Tour. While you don’t get the full kayak conversion kit, the Tour does offer better glide and speed than the Plus.

Retrospec Weekender Plus iSUP Review – FAQ

Is the Retrospec Weekender Plus a good value?

Absolutely. The Weekender Plus offers a fantastic value for new paddlers. It is built well, performs well on the water, and comes with a great accessory kit at an extremely low price. Intermediate paddlers and beyond may not be as impressed with the performance on the water, but the Weekender Plus is a great board for learning to SUP.

Does the Retrospec Weekender Plus make a good kayak?

Yes. The kayak conversion kit that comes with the Weekender Plus is great. The seat is high quality, comfortable, and easy to install. The paddle may feel a little short if you are an experienced kayaker, however Retrospec does have an XL paddle available.

Can I take my child or pet on the Retrospec Weekender Plus?

Yes. The Weekender Plus is comfortably stable and has enough size and capacity for an adult and a small child or pet. If you want to paddle with two adults or an adult and large pet, then I would recommend the Weekender Crew 12’ instead.

Can I do yoga on the Retrospec Weekender Plus?

The Weekender Plus is 33” wide and has good stability. Smaller paddlers may find it to be a great option for yoga, but larger paddlers may want something a little wider and more stable.

How long does it take to inflate the Retrospec Weekender Plus?

It takes about 10 minutes to inflate the Retrospec Weekender Plus by hand using the included single-chamber hand pump. We recommend electric SUP pumps for pretty much everyone as they allow you to fully inflate your board hands-free.

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