Sea Gods Skylla Cross Touring Review: Overview
The Skylla Cross Touring iSUP is brand new for Sea Gods and is a dual-purpose, all-terrain, performance inflatable board that fits neither in the all-around category, nor in the touring category. Instead it perfectly straddles the line between both. Combined with an ultra-high quality construction and lifetime warranty, the Sea Gods Skylla should be on every SUP shopper’s radar.
— Sea Gods Skylla Cross Touring 11′ Summary Ratings and Review – —
Sea Gods Skylla Cross Touring 11'
Construction & Durability
Features and Versatility
The Sea Gods Skylla Cross Touring straddles the line between all-around and touring iSUP and is an excellent choice for any skill level paddler that wants one board to do it all.
- Construction and durability
- Graphic design
- Ample cargo room
- Very stable
- Excellent glide
- Passenger grab handles
- Threaded action mounts
- Diamond-groove traction pad
- 20psi max pressure
- Outstanding warranty
- No raised kick pad in the rear
- Single fin box
Construction and Durability
The Sea Gods Skylla uses the same fusion PVC skin construction as the Diatom (and their other boards), but changes things up with a different drop stitch core. The cross-weave drop stitch material still supports a maximum 20psi internal pressure and still maintains the stiffness that Sea Gods iSUPs are known for, but does so while also keeping the Skylla incredibly light. At 19.5 lbs the Skylla may be one of the lightest boards per liter of volume we’ve come across. Typically boards in this ultralight weight group are thinner and/or smaller in length and width – all of which reduce stiffness and carrying capacity.
Cross-weave drop stitch takes the traditionally vertical space yarns of a drop stitch board, makes them longer, crosses them in an X-pattern (like the support structures seen in high voltage electrical towers and other large steel buildings). Doing this allows Sea Gods to increase the stiffness of the Skylla while simultaneously reducing the number of space yarns, and thus weight.
The difference in weight is readily apparent when carrying the Skylla, but does not make any sacrifices to the overall durability or performance.
The heat-welding process used to fuse the PVC to the drop stitch core, seal the seams, and apply the rail protection layers mechanically bonds the multiple layers into one single piece. This means there is less opportunity for errors in construction during a glue curing process, fewer potential failure points, and the removal of volatile chemicals from the manufacturing process is both cleaner and safer.
The artwork on the Skylla, like with the rest of the Sea Gods lineup, is absolutely stunning. While the top features the multi-colored chevron pattern deck pad and wood grain deck, the bottom boasts a beautifully designed Hippocampus – a half horse, half fish creature from Greek mythology.
The designs are UV-printed directly onto the PVC and the board is coated with their Apollo UV protectant. Much like paint with a clear-coat, this will hold up to general UV and water exposure when kept clean and cared for, however it will (also like paint) be susceptible to physical damage. Like with all iSUPs you’ll want to take care to never drag your board on the ground, and avoid placing it on rough surfaces (like asphalt or concrete) when setting it down, inflating, or deflating your board. Sea Gods has instructions for how to clean and care for your board on their website, along with a set of ocean-friendly board cleaners.
|Max Capacity||350 pounds|
|Board Weight||19.5 pounds|
(SUP & accessories)
|Returns period||30 days|
Features, Accessories and Versatility
When we evaluate and review paddleboards we start by categorizing them based on their use. An all-around iSUP does a lot of things well, but doesn’t necessarily specialize in anything. They are stable, beginner friendly, and offer enough versatility in features to let you try out many aspects of the sport. Touring boards, on the other hand, move away from versatility and focus on efficiency. They may give up some stability for speed and glide, and often drop features like extra accessory mounts and other deck add-ons.
So how do we classify an iSUP like the Skylla that maintains the stability of a wider all-around board, increases glide and paddling efficiency to the realm of touring boards, adds versatility through additional deck features like accessory mounts and handles, and somehow still reduces weight compared to a touring SUP?
The best category I can think of for something like that is: Quiver Killer.
If you like to do a little bit of everything on your SUP, but don’t want to have a different board for each activity, the Skylla is your answer.
Like an all-around iSUP, though, the Skylla still doesn’t quite specialize in anything. If you really like touring, the Sea Gods Carta Marina or even the Ketos (depending on your situation) will offer even more efficiency and speed. If you love to do Yoga you should look at the Infinite Mantra iSUP. Or if you enjoy cruising with the occasional wave at your tail, the Diatom or Elemental Wave might suit you better for those specific needs. But you can easily do all of these with the Skylla to some degree or another.
The shape of the Skylla is another great design choice that amplifies its versatility. When looking at the deck of the board straight on you can see that the pointed noise sweeps out to the full 33” width just in front of the standing area before gently coming back to meet at the wide, 14.5”, tail. This does a couple of great things for the Skylla. The wide-point-forward shape allows you to easily add a passenger or a weekend’s worth of camping gear to the cargo area without destabilizing the board. The curved shape increases the effective waterline of the board to aid in tracking and matches the rocker (how far the nose of the board is lifted out of the water) to reduce resistance in the front of the board. The wider, square tail gives the board more stability than a narrower round or pin tail, and also gives a cleaner release at the back for more efficient glide.
What this all boils down to is that the Skylla is stable under foot, has efficient glide, a stiff and durable construction, and looks good while doing it all.
The Skylla comes packaged (lightly and with as many recyclable and biodegradable packing materials as possible) in a wheeled carry bag with enough room for all of your accessories – including a PFD and the optional kayak conversion kit. With the reduced weight of the Skylla, the whole kit is lightweight and easy to carry.
The included hand pump is dual action with a single chamber. When first inflating the Skylla, insert the red “key” to push air into the board as you pull up and push down on the pump. As pressure increases, take the key out to switch the pump to only push air as you push down. Inflating to the recommended maximum 18psi does take a little time and effort because of the single chamber design. However the pump is built well and features a deflate setting to help roll your board back up when you are done paddling for the day.
For 2022, Sea Gods updated their paddle blade with a solid blue color scheme and updated logo. Also new for this year is the addition of a clasp on the lower portion of the paddle to eliminate any wobble that might be present in the connection between the blade and shaft sections of the 3-piece paddle.
The nylon blade is durable, but a little heavy. Over half of the weight of the entire paddle is in the lower section (mostly the blade). While the whole paddle is overall a medium weight for iSUP kit paddles, it has the illusion of feeling heavy compared to the rest of the paddle’s carbon fiber construction. While in use I didn’t notice the weight as much as I expected, and the medium-large blade lends itself to taking fewer, slower strokes per minute rather than encouraging a faster cadence.
The shaft and handle are made of carbon fiber, and the handle section has a sizing scale printed on it and an anti-twist groove to make sure the handle stays correctly oriented to the blade.
When using the Sea Gods paddle, remember to keep the logo facing forward (away from you) so that the paddle blade’s rake angle also keeps it pointed forward. There’s also a slight scoop shape and spine on the “power face” of the paddle to help orient you, “catch” water, and prevent fluttering as you paddle.
As a cross over iSUP it’s important that the Skylla remains a stable board for all-around use, carrying passengers and equipment, and handling rougher waters.
At 33” wide just in front of the standing area, and just shy of 32” wide behind the standing area, the Skylla’s shape and size is on par, or even a little wider, than other all-around boards. The cross-woven drop stitch keeps the Skylla’s stiffness very high for such a lightweight board. These two components together make the Skylla very stable when on the water. When standing with the board flat on the water, I had no issues maintaining stability. I didn’t even need to think about it even when the wind began to pick up and the water became a little choppy.
When balancing on the Skylla’s edge, the rounded shape did require some effort to maintain my balance while keeping one edge up out of the water.
This “secondary” stability test tells us how stable a board will be when it is not flat on the water, and roughly equates to how much time a paddler will have to correct their position before falling off. The Skylla’s secondary stability is more similar to some of the other touring boards we’ve tested rather than the over-stable all-around boards like the Sea Gods Diatom Ten6.
Overall the Skylla’s stability is excellent while standing still and while paddling. Even when walking to the back of the board the Skylla remains stable and easy to control thanks to the wide square tail.
As a touring cross-over, the Skylla is designed with more efficient distance paddling in mind. When testing the top speed of the Skylla, I found that it accelerated very quickly and was noticeably faster than a typical all-around iSUP.
While paddling with a cruising speed (going for distance rather than top speed), the Skylla displayed excellent glide. Each paddle stroke smoothly propelled the Skylla forward and that momentum carried through better than most all-around SUPs before gently slowing back down. I actually heard one of our testers from across the water say “Wow, that is smooth as butter!” and I definitely agree.
If the fastest possible top speed is your goal, we recommend you check out the Sea Gods Ketos (14’x28”), but if you are looking for a faster and more efficient iSUP that can do it all, the Skylla is just the ticket.
Touring boards tend to focus more on straight-line paddling rather than maneuverability. The tapered shape and single fin box on the skylla keeps straight-line efficiency while still letting the paddler easily turn the board when needed.
In our flat-turning test, the Skylla performed similarly to other 11’ long all-around boards with a single fin. Taking forward sweep strokes from a standstill will turn the Skylla a full 360° in about 8 strokes on average. Longer boards tend to take more effort to turn as they have more resistance moving through the water and are better at converting any forward energy into forward movement. When using a reverse sweep stroke, the Skylla quickly snapped around taking an average of only 3.5 strokes to turn a full circle.When stepping back on the tail of the Skylla for a pivot turn, the wide tail and diamond-groove deck pad give paddlers of any skill level a confident feel whether they are trying their first pivot turn or their thousandth. The tail of the board sliced easily through the water and resurfaced quickly and smoothly when stepping back up to the standing area.
As paddleboards get longer there is more surface area on the rails (side) of the board to interact with the water and keep it from turning. As you add more and/or larger fins, there’s also more resistance to turning. The Skylla packs in extra surface area in both of these areas compared to some other 11’ iSUPs.
The torpedo-like outline of the board makes the rails longer than the total length of the board and the included touring fin has more surface area than a standard flex fin. Combined with the stiffness of the board, these elements keep the Skylla tracking incredibly straight for its relatively short length as a touring board (and relatively regular length as an all-around board).
Even when I was paddling as hard as I could (which generates a lot of “bouncing” movement) the Skylla kept tracking straight during my sprint speed testing. While cruising it took almost no effort to keep the Skylla on course.
Warranty and Customer Support
Part of getting a performance-level iSUP is getting performance-level customer support. Sea Gods warranties their inflatable paddleboards for the lifetime of the product. If there’s anything that goes wrong with your board they have you covered. Did you accidentally bump your iSUP into a sharp corner of a trailer while getting ready to go on the water? (I… might have done that before) Sea Gods also offers a repair service for issues not covered under the warranty. There’s also a 30-day return period. If you don’t like your Skylla (and I don’t think that will be the case) you can return it (there is a 10% restocking fee, though). If you have any questions you can reach out to Sea Gods directly via phone, email, online chat, social media, or even schedule a video call to get all the details you need.
Another aspect of getting a performance-level iSUP is that they do come at a performance level price. When we review the value of a board, we look at more than just the sticker price, though. With the Skylla’s advanced construction, excellent warranty and customer service, great accessories, and fantastic performance taken into consideration, the overall value of the Sea Gods Skylla Cross Touring iSUP is actually pretty good. That being said, it is an expensive board – normally in the middle-to-upper range of price for performance-level SUPs. When it is on sale, though, you can save up to about $300, bringing the cost down into the lower end of the performance board price range. If you are shopping for a quiver-killing iSUP and the Sea Gods is in your price range, it is absolutely worth it. Even if it’s just a touch out of budget, I recommend saving that last little bit – it’s that good.
Overall Impressions/Review Summary
If you’ve made it this far, I’m willing to bet you know how I feel about the Skylla. In a market full of all-around iSUPs, the Skylla stands out above the rest. As an advanced paddler I sometimes find myself a little “bored” on an all-around. Not so on the Skylla. I’d have no hesitation putting a first-time paddler on it, nor would I stop myself from recommending it to other advanced paddlers. It’s light enough to pack along for a trip, stiff enough to take into choppy waters, fast enough to go exploring, and stable enough to keep me dry – even when I’m goofing around.
Sea Gods Skylla Cross Touring SUP FAQ
How long does it take to inflate the Skylla Cross Touring?
Using the hand pump with the Skylla Cross Touring takes about 7-10 minutes to inflate to the 14-18psi depending on how fast you pump. Sea Gods also has an available 12v/battery-powered electric pump that will inflate your Skylla Cross Touring to 16psi.
Can I take my child or dog on the Skylla Cross Touring?
Yes you can! The Skylla Cross Touring is extremely stable and has a 350lb weight capacity. One of our testers has even been spending the last several weekends taking her dog SUP camping with the Skylla!
Can I kayak with the Skylla Cross Touring?
Yes! The Skylla Cross Touring is compatible with the Sea Gods kayak seat and kayak paddle conversion kit.
How do I clean the Skylla Cross Touring?
Like with all inflatable SUPs, clean your board with fresh water and dry it completely between each use. Never drag your board on the ground - this can damage both the printed artwork and the PVC itself. Sea Gods recommends cleaning your board only with special paddleboard cleaners to ensure the longevity of the Apollo UV protective coating.
Is the Skylla Cross Touring good for beginners?
The Skylla Cross Touring is a great board for beginners! It’s extremely stable, easily maneuverable, and is built for a variety of uses. At 11’ long and 33” wide, paddlers of all sizes and skill levels can enjoy paddling the Skylla
What’s the difference between the Skylla Cross Touring and the Carta Marina Touring?
The Carta Marina is longer and narrower (12’x32”). This makes the Carta Marina faster, but also less stable. It’s also less maneuverable than the Skylla. If you are looking for a touring-specific iSUP, the Carta Marina is a great option. If you are looking for an iSUP that can tour, and work well as an all-around board, the Skylla is the right choice.