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A brand new addition to THURSO SURF’s inflatable paddle board lineup for 2019, the Max is a larger, all-around board that offers outstanding stability and versatility…
We’ve been fans of THURSO’s inflatable SUPs ever since they introduced their first model a few years ago, and the young startup has quickly established itself as a go-to brand for well-designed, durable iSUPs at super affordable price points. The company continues to add new boards to their range and the 2019 lineup consists of 6 models ranging in size from 7’6″ to 11’6″.
In this review of the 2019 THURSO Max, we’ll discuss all of this board’s features, build quality and construction, how it performs on the water, how to set it up, what we like and don’t like about it, what’s included, and more. We’ll also tell you where you can find the best price on the board as well as a special promotion that you can take advantage of to save yourself even more money.
Lastly, for those who enjoy video, all of our inflatable paddle board reviews feature detailed review, setup, and unboxing videos.
In a Hurry? Here’s a Quick Summary…
THURSO SURF Max Review: SUP Overview
Measuring 11’6″ x 34″ x 6″ and weighing in at 33 pounds, the THURSO Max is a big all-around iSUP that’s ideal for beginners, paddling around small children and dogs, SUP fishing, fitness, and more. This is the ultimate board for pet owners and families as the full-length traction pad provides outstanding comfort and grip from nose to tail.
In terms of features, THURSO didn’t hold anything back on this brand new model. The company loaded the Max with just about everything you could ever want on a SUP and we really appreciate all of the thought that went into the design of this board.
THURSO also did a great job with their updated SUP accessory bundle. While the company has always been known for packing a ton of value into their bundles, they’ve raised the bar this year with a massively upgraded backpack and carbon fiber paddle.
As mentioned, the THURSO SURF Max comes loaded with premium features that make this board much more functional and enjoyable to use…
(*Hover over hotspots for additional details)
Massive front bungee storage area for stashing your snorkeling gear, dry bag, backpack, etc.1 of 9
Rear bungee cargo area for added onboard storage capacity and an alternate place to stash your dry bag when there’s a pup or passenger at the nose.2 of 9
Center carry handle is well-positioned and makes it much easier to carry the Max around fully inflated.3 of 9
Grab handle at nose is super helpful for handing the board in and around the water.4 of 9
Rear grab handle allows you to pull the board along the beach, elevating the fins off the ground to prevent damage caused by rocks and other hard objects.5 of 9
D-ring at tail for quick and easy attachment of the included ankle leash.6 of 9
D-rings along both rails for attaching THURSO’s optional kayak seat kit.7 of 9
Paddle holder along right rail gives you a secure, out-of-the-way spot to stash your paddle.8 of 9
Full-length traction pad provides plenty of grip from nose to tail, perfect for paddling around dogs and small children.9 of 9
Covering the entire top deck of the board are comfortable EVA foam traction pads. Having traction pad coverage from nose to tail is perfect for those times when you’re paddling around small children or your dog.
Located at the middle of the board is a carrying handle and there are D-rings located along both rails for attaching the company’s optional kayak seat kit. These D-rings can also be used to secure additional gear such as a SUP cooler or camping equipment.
Also positioned along the right rail is THURSO’s new paddle holder — a brilliant system which gives you a secure, out-of-the-way spot to stash your paddle while you’re out on the water. This is perfect for those times when you want to go for a swim, enjoy a SUP fitness workout, or lay down on the deck of this big board.
At the nose of the Max is a massive bungee storage area which gives you a lot of space for dry bags, backpacks, snorkeling gear, etc. The bungee cargo area features 6 D-ring mounting points that are positioned along the outer edges of the board, giving you a generous amount of storage space.
Also located at the SUP’s nose is a convenient grab handle which comes in handy whenever you’re pulling the board in and out of the water…
Moving back to the tail of the THURSO Max, you’ll find a second bungee storage area with 4 additional attachment points, a high-quality BRAVO inflation valve, and another grab handle. This grab handle is ideal for pulling the board along the beach as it allows you to elevate the fins up off of the ground, avoiding any damage that might be caused by rocks and other hard objects.
On the underside of the Max is a triple fin setup at the tail and all three fins are removable — a nice feature which allows you to roll the board up into a more compact footprint. Being able to remove all three fins is also handy if you rack boards on the roof of your vehicle as you can stack them neatly on top of one another.
The THURSO Max features durable double layer PVC construction and a nylon drop-stitch core. The company also adds reinforcement layers along the rails for added toughness and a UV coating is applied to the exterior of the board to prevent damage caused by sun exposure.
The Max is a lot of fun on the water and provides an unbelievably stable paddling platform that’s perfect for newcomers and anyone who needs the added stability provided by a board of this size.
In terms of glide and tracking performance, both are acceptable but obviously not record-breaking. The board can also be a bit challenging on windy days. For those who want a larger, faster board but don’t necessarily need the extreme stability offered by the Max, we’d highly recommend checking out THURSO’s Expedition.
Likes and Dislikes
The THURSO Max fills a gap in the company’s iSUP lineup this season, providing paddlers with a larger all-around board with even greater stability than the popular Waterwalker 11′ and Waterwalker 10’6″ models. The Max is a versatile and extremely functional board that you can do a lot with, and it’s perfect for dog owners and families.
We love the fact that THURSO has loaded this board with so many great features. Dual bungee storage areas, front and rear grab handles, side paddle holder, a full-length traction pad — the Max has it all.
As with all of THURSO’s other iSUPs, the Max is also extremely durable. The military-grade PVC construction means this isn’t a board that needs to be babied and the solid 2-year warranty is really nice to have for added peace of mind.
In terms of negatives, the only thing that we didn’t like about the board is the fact that it’s on the heavy side. At 33 pounds, it’s noticeably more difficult to carry around than other boards which is a downside if portability and ease-of-transport are primary concerns. Of course, this added weight is due to the beefy construction and number of extra features THURSO packed into this board, but it’s something that needs to be mentioned.
THURSO SURF Max Rating
|Max Capacity||370 pounds|
Since launching the first 11′ Waterwalker model a few years ago, THURSO has always been known for their high-value SUP accessory bundles. Things have gotten even better this year as the company has upgraded both their backpack and 3-piece travel paddle, making the 2019 THURSO accessory bundle their best yet.
Included with the 2019 Max is THURSO’s brand new wheeled iSUP backpack, a new and improved carbon fiber shaft travel paddle, dual-action pump, ankle leash, repair kit, and user guide…
THURSO’s previous backpack got the job done but was very basic in design. This season, the company has raised the bar with the release of their brand new roller iSUP bag. This is a premium level backpack that’s extremely well-made and loaded with useful features.
On the front of the bag is a large zippered storage pocket which is great for organizing your SUP accessories. The front of the pocket also features a clear plastic pocket with convenient Velcro closure — a perfect spot to stash any smaller items that you need quick access to.
Located on the top and both sides of the bag are heavy duty grab handles that make it really easy to pull the backpack in and out of the car.
There’s another durable plastic grab handle located on the bottom of the bag along with two oversized roller wheels. These wheels feature a deep, grooved traction pattern and they roll nicely across paved surfaces and off-road. If you’re planning to bring the Max along when you fly, having the ability to wheel the pack through sprawling airport terminals is incredibly convenient.
We also love the fact that the entire bottom of the bag is heavily reinforced with a dimpled rubber material. This will provide added longterm durability to this notoriously high-wear area.
There’s a fifth and final grab handle on the rear of the bag along with two heavily padded backpack straps. The straps are fully adjustable and feature nylon webbed loops and plastic D-rings which allow you to attach small accessories with a carabiner.
For added stabilization, THURSO added a sternum strap as well as a padded waist belt…
Lastly, the entire backside of the bag is well-padded with a soft back cushion that’s covered by a breathable mesh material.
THURSO has also made some really nice improvements to their carbon fiber SUP paddle for 2019. While they previously included a carbon fiber shaft paddle with their inflatable SUPs, it had a design flaw which could result in the lower portion of the paddle coming apart. We’re happy to report that this issue has been addressed with the latest version of THURSO’s paddle.
In addition to improving the reliability of the paddle’s design, the company also transitioned the shaft finish from glossy to matte. The new matte finish is much nicer in our opinion and in addition to having a more “premium” appearance, it also feels much better in the hand.
Last but not least, THURSO has retained the same paddle blade design. It’s a rigid, durable blade made of nylon material and it has always performed very well for us.
Also included with the THURSO Max is a dual-action hand pump that does a good job of inflating the board. The pump features a built-in pressure gauge on the handle and it includes a flexible inflation hose.
This pump is super easy to use — after assembling the pump and securing the inflation hose to the Max’s air valve, flip the red action mode lever to “Single Action” and begin pumping. Once you begin to encounter significant resistance, just flip the red lever to “Dual Action” to finish inflating the board to the recommended pressure of 15 PSI (the board is rated to 20 PSI if you want additional rigidity).
We love the fact that THURSO has always promoted SUP safety by including an ankle leash with their boards. The included leash is high-quality and features a comfortable neoprene ankle cuff, built-in hidden key storage pocket, durable coiled cord, and metal swivels at both ends to prevent tangles.
Last but not least, the THURSO Max comes with a user guide and an iSUP repair kit. The repair kit is housed in a high-visibility orange plastic container and includes two PVC patches, a valve wrench, and a small adhesive brush.
In addition to the company’s growing range of inflatable SUPs, THURSO also has a nice line of optional add-on accessories. While the following gear is not included with the Max, it’s available separately and definitely worth considering…
Electric iSUP Pump
THURSO has added an ultra-compact electric iSUP pump to their accessory lineup for 2019. This pump is by far the most compact we’ve reviewed to date and the digital readout and push-button controls makes it incredibly easy to use.
The pump plugs directly into the cigarette lighter adapter in your vehicle and the small size allows it to easily fit into the roller backpack that’s included with the Max. Overall, this is a super convenient accessory that we highly recommend and automatic inflation is something that’ll make your life a whole lot easier when the time comes to pump your board up.
SUP Deck Cooler Bag
Another new piece of gear for 2019 is THURSO’s premium SUP deck bag cooler. This bag features an ultra-versatile design that allows it to be used for a lot more than just paddling and the fully insulated interior does a great job of keeping food and snacks cool.
Located on the top lid are two mesh storage pockets for organizing small items as well as a convenient grab handle for easy transport. Also included is an adjustable shoulder strap which gives you additional carry options.
On the bottom of the bag are four attachment points complete with S-clamp mounting hardware — these make it quick and easy to secure the cooler to the deck of the Max.
Lastly, this cooler has a water-resistant design and there’s an additional open mesh storage pocket on the interior for more organization.
Kayak Seat Kit
Like most other inflatable SUP companies, THURSO SURF offers a kayak seat kit that easily attaches to the Max’s top deck, giving you another fun way to enjoy your board. This kayak seat features a compact, foldable design that allows it to be stored with the rest of your paddling accessories and it attaches quickly to the D-rings along the rails of the Max.
Additionally, the design of THURSO’s new paddle allows a second blade to be attached to the end of it, transforming the standard THURSO SUP paddle into a kayak paddle.
Full Carbon Paddle
While the included paddle is incredibly nice, THURSO also offers a full carbon paddle for those who want something even lighter and more performance-oriented. While the carbon blade is not as durable as the standard nylon blade, it offers a nice reduction in weight and is an affordable option if you’re looking to maximize paddling performance.
This season, THURSO also launched a brand new line of paddling apparel. Available in a variety of colors and styles, the company’s sunglasses, hats, and t-shirts pair up nicely with the Max’s eye-catching design.
THURSO includes a rock-solid 2-year warranty with the Max which covers any manufacturing defects. We also think it’s important to mention that their customer support is top-shelf and they’re always super quick to respond to inquiries.
Where to Buy it
The 2019 Max can be ordered directly from THURSO SURF’s official online store. In addition to guaranteeing you the lowest price, the company also throws in free shipping and no sales tax is charged on orders outside of Wyoming. If you happen to live in Canada, THURSO has recently set up a new online store to handle all Canadian orders.
If you’re in the market for a large and extremely stable all-around SUP, the THURSO’s feature-rich Max is a great option. As mentioned, this versatile board is fantastic for families and the full-length traction pad also makes it ideal for paddling around pets. THURSO has packed a lot of value into this package and the freshly upgraded accessory bundle is a nice added bonus.