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Newly updated for 2019, the THURSO SURF Expedition is a fast inflatable touring SUP that is affordable and packs a ton of value. If you’re looking for a tough, capable board that can handle longer distances and overnight SUP excursions, the Expedition deserves to be on your radar…
A young company that burst onto the SUP scene a few short seasons ago, THURSO SURF has quickly built a reputation for their beautiful board designs, durable construction, and outstanding overall value. Currently, the THURSO SUP line consists of 6 inflatable models which range in size from 7’6″ to 11’6″.
In this review of the 2019 THURSO SURF Expedition 11’6″ SUP, we’ll go over the board’s specs, features, paddling performance, included accessories, where to buy it, and more. We’ve also included a full video review as well as unboxing and setup videos.
In a Hurry? Here’s a Quick Summary…
THURSO SURF Expedition 11’6″ Review: SUP Overview
Measuring 11’6″ x 30″ x 6″ and weighing in at 28 pounds, THURSO’s 11’6″ Expedition filled a gap in the company’s board lineup last season. Up until that point, THURSO had been primarily focused on producing all-around models. This longer touring paddle board is exactly what many were waiting for — a faster, sleeker SUP that’s built with speed and paddling long distances in mind.
(*Drag slider below to compare the 2018 and 2019 Expedition)
In addition to its fresh new makeover, the 2019 Expedition also comes loaded with a host of upgraded features and an even better SUP accessory bundle. The company does a great job of listening to customer feedback, and the new Expedition is a much nicer board overall than last season’s. So without further ado, let’s take a look at what’s new…
The top deck of the 11’6″ Expedition features THURSO’s signature woodgrain graphic — a design that looks absolutely striking in the water and really causes these boards to stand out from the pack. Covering the deck is a super comfortable EVA foam traction pad that’s ribbed to provide outstanding grip.
(*Hover over hotspots for additional details)
Rear bungee area for additional storage, great for those times when you have a passenger or pup at the nose.1 of 7
Massive forward bungee area for securing your camping gear, dry bags, and more.2 of 7
Paddle handle at rail gives you a secure, out-of-the-way spot to stash your paddle.3 of 7
Convenient grab handle at nose for pulling the board in and out of the water.4 of 7
Center carrying handle makes it super easy to carry the board around.5 of 7
Four stainless steel D-rings along rails for tying down gear or attaching THURSO’s optional kayak seat.6 of 7
D-ring at tail for quick and easy attachment of the included ankle leash.7 of 7
Mid-board is a brand new carrying handle that makes it really easy to carry the Expedition around. Last season’s handle had a built-in velcro paddle holder, but THURSO introduced something better this year (more on that in a second).
Located along both sides of the traction pad at the rails are four stainless steel D-rings for securing THURSO’s optional kayak seat or tying down gear. There’s also a new paddle holder system on the board’s right rail which gives you a secure, out-of-the-way place to stash your paddle when you’re out on the water — this is ideal for those times when you want to take a swim, lay down, or shoot some photos while you’re out paddling.
At the board’s nose are six additional D-rings with a huge elastic bungee cord storage area. THURSO added two more D-rings this year to the nose and there’s plenty of available space for securing dry bags, camping gear, and other accessories. There’s also a redesigned grab handle at the nose of the Expedition which really comes in handy whenever you’re pulling this big board in and out of the water.
Another new addition to the 2019 Expedition is a second bungee storage area at the tail with four more D-ring attachment points. This gives you additional onboard storage space and is a great place to secure your SUP cooler. It’s also really nice to have this second bungee cargo area for those times when you want to secure a dry bag or backpack but happen to have a small child or dog riding along at the nose of the board.
Also located at the tail of the board is a high-quality Halkey-Roberts style air valve and a final D-ring for attaching the included SUP leash or tethering the board.
On the underside of the THURSO Expedition is a tri-fin setup which contributes nicely to the board’s excellent tracking capabilities. All three fins are removable which allows the board to be rolled up into a much smaller footprint — obviously a great feature if packability and space is a concern. Additionally, the removable fins make it much easier to stack multiple boards on the roof of your vehicle…
The fins attach securely to your board with a convenient locking lever system. To install the fins, you simply drop the front of the fin into the channel, seat the fin, then push down on the secure locking lever.
As with all THURSO inflatable paddle boards, the Expedition is built with military-grade materials and designed to be virtually indestructible. The inner drop stitch core is covered by a durable PVC layer, a composite adhesive, and then a second PVC layer. The rails of the board also feature a double layer of PVC which increases both the durability and rigidity of the board.
The tough outer skin of the Expedition is extremely resistant to cuts, scrapes, and other damage, making this a board that you can really depend on — even in harsh conditions. The bombproof outer layer also makes this board a good choice for anyone who wants to paddle with their pup, as the board won’t get damaged by your dog’s nails.
Also, this year THURSO incorporated two additional reinforcement seams on the side of the board to cover the joining area between the top and the rail. This additional step takes a lot of man-hours and further increases the overall durability of the 2019 model.
We appreciate the 30″ width of this board as it offers a nice blend of performance and stability. A board that really excels in flat water conditions, the Expedition feels solid under the feet and is also stable enough for choppier ocean paddles. For those who want a larger board with a bit more stability, we highly recommend checking out the new 2019 THURSO Max.
Whether you’re in the market for a rugged inflatable paddle board for overnight SUP excursions or simply want a faster board for cruising and paddling longer distances, the 11’6″ THURSO Expedition is definitely up to the task.
Likes and Dislikes
There’s not much to complain about with THURSO’s new Expedition. This is a much better board than last year’s model and the company always does a fantastic job of listening to customer feedback.
We love all of the additional onboard storage the company has added to the board this season — if you need to bring along a ton of gear for your next SUP adventure, this board is now much more equipped for the job.
The new design looks stunning in the water and this board really has a racy, aggressive appearance. THURSO spends a lot of time designing the graphics of their boards and we’ve always thought that they are some of the nicest looking iSUPs on the market.
We also love the newly added paddle holder along the right rail. As mentioned, the previous solution was a velcro carrying handle mid-board that could be used to secure the paddle, but this new system gets the paddle out of the way which is much better for those times when you just want to sit (or lay down) on your board.
In terms of dislikes, there are really only two minor changes we’d make to this board. First of all, we’d add a second grab handle to the tail as this allows you to elevate the fins when handling the board, avoiding potential damage caused by rocky ground or rough beaches.
Secondly, it’d be nice to see an additional D-ring added to the underside of the board’s nose for towing and tethering.
THURSO SURF Expedition
|Max Capacity||330 pounds|
THURSO SURF is very well-known for their great SUP accessory bundles, and the accessories that they include with the new Expedition touring board give you everything you need to start paddling (except a PFD of course, which we highly recommend).
In the box, you’ll find THURSO’s brand new premium wheeled SUP backpack, improved 3-piece carbon shaft travel paddle, iSUP repair kit, dual-action hand pump, and 10′ coiled leash.
THURSO SURF Travel Backpack
The brand new roller iSUP backpack is top-shelf and a massive improvement over THURSO’s original bag. This new backpack is really well-built and much more suited to serious travel.
The front exterior of the bag now features a massive zippered storage pocket which also has a clear velcro storage pouch on the front. THURSO has given you lots of options in terms of bag organization with this pack and this is a great place to stash accessories and small gear.
There are three convenient grab handles located on the top and both sides of the bag, making it extremely easy to pull this backpack in and out of the car.
There’s a fourth grab handle made of durable, heavy duty plastic on the very bottom of the bag. The bottom of this pack is well reinforced with a heavy duty dimpled rubber material and it should prove to be incredibly durable over time.
Also located on the bottom of the bag are two massive roller wheels with deeply grooved traction. The oversized wheels allow the bag to roll smoothly over grass and dirt — rolling this big bag is so much easier than carrying it on your shoulders and the wheels are also great for cruising lengthy airport terminals if you’re planning to bring your board along on your next trip.
On the back of the bag is a fifth grab handle as well as a set of heavily padded, fully adjustable backpack straps. The straps feature nylon webbed loops and plastic D-rings for clipping on small accessories and there’s also an adjustable sternum strap and well-cushioned waist belt for securing the bag once it’s packed and on your shoulders.
Also located on the rear of the bag is a comfortable oversized back cushion covered in a breathable mesh material.
Carbon Shaft Paddle
THURSO’s lightweight carbon shaft paddle is a huge upgrade over the aluminum or fiberglass paddles that typically come bundled in SUP accessory packs. This year, the company has made some great changes to the design of their paddle and it’s easily one of the nicest paddles we’ve seen in any iSUP kit.
While the shaft of the paddle is made from carbon fiber, the blade is constructed out of a rigid nylon material that is branded with the THURSO SURF logo on one side. We really like the blade on THURSO’s paddle and it offers outstanding durability.
Last season, we experienced some issues with THURSO’s previous carbon fiber paddle — the bottom portion of the paddle had a design flaw which actually caused it to come apart on us a few different times while we were out on the water. This season, the company has completely addressed that issue and we’re happy to report that the new design is much more reliable and secure.
Another difference this season is the design of the middle portion of the paddle’s shaft. This middle section is the same on both ends, allowing you to attach a blade to both ends if you want to do some seated paddling with THURSO’s optional kayak seat add-on.
Last but not least, the company replaced the glossy carbon fiber finish of last season’s paddle with a much nicer looking matte finish. We definitely prefer the matte finish and this new paddle definitely has a more “premium” look to it.
Dual-Action SUP Pump
The pump that THURSO includes with the Expedition is high-quality and works well. It’s a dual-action pump with a built-in pressure gauge and it allows you to inflate your board on the up and downstrokes in the beginning of the inflation process…
Once the pressure increases, you can flip the switch to the other mode which will only add air on the downstrokes — making it much easier to finish pumping the board up to the recommended pressure of 15 PSI.
THURSO SUP Leash
The included SUP leash is THURSO-branded and 10′ in length…
THURSO included a straight cord leash with their first board, but after customer feedback they’re now shipping their boards with coiled leashes. The leash is sturdy, comfortable, and features a built-in pocket for stashing your keys.
Included in THURSO’s repair kit is a valve wrench, small brush for applying adhesive, two PVC repair patches, and three replacement levers for the included fins.
THURSO has expanded their SUP accessory line for 2019, so we wanted to give you a sneak peek at some of the optional add-ons available for this season…
THURSO’s kayak seat quickly attaches to the deck of your SUP by clipping the metal hooks to the D-rings along the board’s rails. Additionally, the company’s new carbon fiber shaft paddle allows you to replace the handle with a second blade, instantly transforming your single blade SUP paddle into a double blade kayak paddle.
SUP Deck Bag
Previously, THURSO included an insulated SUP deck bag with their included accessory bundle, but this season they decided to eliminate that bag and focus instead on improving the quality of their iSUP backpack.
For those who want a way to keep drinks and food cool while paddling, this brand new PVC SUP deck bag is a really nice option.
This bag is water resistant and features a handy carrying handle at the top along with two velcro mesh storage pockets for storing small items. On the bottom of the bag are attachment points for securing it to the deck of your SUP and THURSO includes nice S-clamp mounting hardware to make the job quick and easy.
On the sides of the bag are attachment points for the included shoulder strap, and the bag’s interior is fully insulated to keep items chilled. Also located on the inside of the bag is a large mesh storage pocket on the underside of the lid.
This bag is a great add-on to consider as it offers a ton of versatility. The lunchbox design with the top carrying handle and shoulder strap make it super easy to carry along on day trips or to work, making this a cooler bag that you’ll be able to use for much more than just paddling.
While THURSO’s included carbon fiber shaft paddle is fantastic, some may want to upgrade in the future to something even lighter and more performance-oriented. THURSO’s new full carbon paddle is very affordable and it’s a great option to consider.
This upgraded paddle features the same shaft as THURSO’s standard paddle, but the company replaced the nylon blade with a lighter weight carbon blade.
Electric iSUP Pump
THURSO has also introduced a new electric iSUP pump to their accessory lineup this season.
This electric paddle board pump features the smallest, most compact design of any pump we’ve tested to date, making it perfect for those who want the convenience of an electric pump without the added size and weight.
Last but not least, THURSO is launching a brand new apparel lineup this season with shades, t-shirts, and hats…
THURSO stands behind all of their inflatable paddle boards by offering a generous 2-year warranty which covers manufacturing defects. Additionally, we love the fact that this young company understands the importance of customer service and is intently focused on providing top-shelf support (even long after the sale is made). In all of our dealings with THURSO, they’ve proven to be an honest, hardworking company that truly listens to customer feedback, and it’s obvious to us that the satisfaction of their customers is something that is highly valued.
Where to Buy it + Promo Discount
The 2019 THURSO SURF Expedition can be ordered directly from the company’s official online store. In addition to the lowest price, THURSO also throws in free shipping and you won’t be charged sales tax on your order. For those who happen to live in Canada, the company recently set up another online store to handle all of their Canadian orders.
If you feel the need for speed and are looking to move up to a longer touring board, THURSO’s affordable 11’6″ Expedition is a fantastic choice. From the stunning woodgrain appearance of the board’s top deck to the impressive overall fun factor, the 2019 Expedition is a board that you’ll definitely get a ton of enjoyment out of.
We love the fact that THURSO prices their boards so affordably yet somehow manages to pack in such an incredible amount of additional value. The included SUP accessory bundle is very high-quality and gives you everything you need to start paddling (except for a SUP life jacket, that is). You’ll also get an upgraded carbon fiber shaft paddle, wheeled roller backpack, and rock-solid 2-year warranty to boot.
Overall, we were extremely impressed with this freshly updated version of THURSO’s Expedition touring iSUP and believe it’ll be a very popular choice with paddlers who are in the market for a fast and affordable touring model.
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