THURSO Waterwalker 120 Review | 2021

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Thurso Waterwalker 120 paddle board review - 2021 all-around SUP top pick

THURSO SURF has recently updated the Waterwalker 120 for 2021. The shortest member of their popular and value-packed all-around inflatable paddle board family, this 10 foot SUP received several important updates for the season. We’ll look at what’s changed and what’s stayed the same in this hands-on THURSO Waterwalker 120 review.

Since launching their first inflatable paddle board a few years back, THURSO has continued to expand their lineup with new models, giving paddlers plenty of options when it comes to selecting the best inflatable SUP for their size and interests. In addition the the three all-around Waterwalker boards, there is also the THURSO Expedition touring SUP, the Tranquility fitness SUP, the Prodigy SUP for kids, and the multi-purpose cruiser THURSO Max

In this review we’ll take a look at the Waterwalker 120’s many features, performance, and included SUP accessories, as well as the changes they made in 2021 to this board that was already one of our top picks for several seasons.

Specifications

Dimensions
Length10'
Width30“
Thickness6“
Weight
Max Capacity260 pounds
Board Weight22.5 pounds
Kit Weight
(SUP & accessories)
pounds
Buying Info
List Price$799
Warranty2 years
Returns period30 days

In a Hurry? Here’s a Quick Summary —

THURSO SURF Waterwalker 120
  • Durability
  • Features
  • Versatility
  • Stability
  • Speed
  • Portability
  • Warranty
  • Customer Support
  • Price
4.6

Summary

The THURSO Waterwalker 120 is a 2021 Top Pick for anyone looking for an value-packed, narrow all-around paddle board with top of the line accessories.

Pros

  • New lighter woven drop stitch construction
  • New lighter carbon fiber paddle
  • New 3-stage pump with removable handles and folding feet
  • Convenient paddle holder along right rail
  • Beautiful wood grain design
  • Good rigidity
  • Excellent build quality
  • High quality set of included accessories

Cons

  • No exterior paddle pockets on backpack
  • Narrow – not as stable as most 10′ all-around SUPs
  • Only one action mount
  • Not available in Australia

THURSO Waterwalker 120 Review: SUP Overview

Measuring 10′ x 30″ x 6″ and weighing only 22.5 pounds, the THURSO Waterwalker 120 is a more compact version of the company’s larger all-around SUP models, the Waterwalker 126 and Waterwalker 132.

The three boards in THURSO’s Waterwalker range are versatile and extremely fun in the water; the 10 foot long Waterwalker 120 is no exception. This board offers excellent versatility and is surprisingly quick and manuverable given its small size. The founder of THURSO SURF is a specialist in CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics), so all of the company’s boards are well-optimized for reduced drag and maximum performance.

Of particular note, unlike 10 foot long all-around paddle boards from other brands (for instance, the iROCKER All Around 10), the Waterwalker 120 is only 30 inches wide, instead of the more common 32 inches. This is a result of THURSO’s practice of scaling down both the width and the length of its shorter Waterwalker boards. This creates the advantage of a more responsive, maneuverable board for smaller paddlers, but taller paddlers will find this a less stable board than other 10 foot long all-around boards of the more standard 32 inch width.

Appearance

The classic woodgrain look has been part of the Waterwalker boards’ iconic appearance for a number of years, with the most recent major design update being introduced in 2020. We thought it was a winner and THURSO must have agreed because they’ve only slightly refined the look for 2021, removing the center stripe from the deck pad and adding more color to the bottom of the board. Of course, the signature woodgrain look continues to be the star of the show. While aesthetics are necessarily objective, we think the Waterwalker SUPs are some of the best looking boards on the market today and certainly instantly recognizable.

The Waterwalker 120 inflatable paddle board beneath palms at sunset.

More important for THURSO fans, is the introduction of a new color scheme. Until this year the board color indicated the length of the SUP so there was no choice of color. Due to popular demand, for 2021 THURSO has made all three Waterwalkers available in three colors: Tangerine, Crimson, and Turquoise. Our Waterwalker 120 review board is the Turquoise color.

Features

The board features remain largely the same for 2021 after several significant changes in 2020. We’ll go over them in detail, if you’re not already familiar with them.

Click on hotspots for additional details

Top overview of the 2021 Thurso Waterwalker 120 in aqua color option.
Rear Grab Handle
Rear Cargo Storage
D-Rings
Nose Grab Handle
Nose Bungee Storage
Carrying Handle
EVA Foam Traction Pad
Paddle Holder

At the nose of the board is an action mount. This M8 threaded mount can be used for attaching optional accessories like GoPro cameras or fishing rod holders and is currently the only action mount on the board. Directly behind it is a convenient grab handle which is useful for handling the Waterwalker 120 in and around the water.

A large part of the forward area of the board is covered by the large 6-point bungee storage area with six stainless steel D-ring attachment points. This provides a great deal of space for storing your dry bag, packpack, fishing gear, or cooler. The bungee is also tied with a simple knot and not sealed, so it can be removed if you prefer to have the area open.

Covering the top deck of the board is a comfy textured traction pad made from EVA foam. The deck pad is comfortable to stand on and provides excellent grip while you’re paddling, even when wet. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the pad is embossed with little THURSO logos to provide the texturing – a nice touch!

Mid-board is a nylon webbed carrying handle with the THURSO SURF logo sewn into it. The back of the handle is padded with a neoprene lining for comfort. While not as cushy as some handles, it lies flatter than most, which we like.

Located along both rails are on either side of the center handle are four D-rings that can be used for securing the company’s optional kayak seat kit or for tying down gear. Also on the right rail are one of our favorite features — two Velcro loops that function as a paddle holder. This is a nice feature to have as it gives you a way to securely stash your paddle while you’re on the water working out, going for a swim, shooting photos, or having a snack.

Near the tail there’s a second much smaller 4-point bungee storage area which not only gives you room for additional gear – it’s also an ideal spot to secure your dry bag or cooler when a pup or paddler is riding along at the board’s nose.

Also by the cargo area is a durable D-ring for attaching a SUP leash and the inflation valve. Finally, at the tail is another grab handle which allows you to pull the board along the beach without damaging the fins.

On the SUP’s underside are three removable fins that use a convenient flip lock lever system. It’s great that all three fins on the board are removable as it allows you to roll the board up more compactly for storage and also makes it easier to stack boards on a roof rack. Advanced paddlers can also choose to paddle with a single center fin, two outer fins, or all three fins depending on the water conditions and their paddling preferences.

Construction

As with all of THURSO’s Waterwalker paddle boards, the Waterwalker 132 iSUP is built with ultra-tough double layer PVC construction.

Side of the board showing the carbon fiber enhanced strip, d-ring, and paddle strap.

New for 2021, however, the company has introduced woven drop stitch construction for its internal core. This new advanced form of creating the internal envelop that givens the board its shape and strength yields several specific benefits: a weight savings of 2.5 pounds, greater strength and rigidity when inflated, and easier rolling when deflated.

The company had previously introduced carbon fiber reinforced side rails in 2020. These provided additional longitudinal rigidity as well as abrasion resistance on the sides of the board. When combined together they make for a well constructed, strong, and durable board.

Paddling Performance

Like the other Waterwalker all-around SUPs, the smaller 10 foot version is a lot of fun to paddle. This board shines when it comes to maneuverability – it’s nimble and super responsive on the water.

At 30 inches wide, you won’t experience the same level of stability as you would on a wider 32 inch all-around SUP. Given THURSO’s unique scaling of its Waterwalkers mentioned previously, the Waterwalker 120 is going to be best suited for smaller paddlers, youth who have outgrown the Prodigy Jr., or experienced paddlers who prefer a narrower board. We would recommend most beginners opt for the Waterwalker 132.

Additionally, while it’s not designed for racing, the Waterwalker 10′ is surprisingly quick. The board doesn’t feel sluggish in the water and glides nicely, especially for a shorter SUP. We did note in testing that the tracking was not always quite as straight as other boards we tested.

Our Impressions: Likes and Dislikes

The Waterwalker 120 and its siblings have been on our all-around SUP Top Pick list for several years now, but its great to see that THURSO’s not resting on it’s laurels and continuing to finding ways to improve their boards.

For 2021, the big takeaways were the 2.5 pound savings from the change to woven drop stitch construction and the introduction of color choices. There are are also several noteworthy updates to accessories that we’ll get into below.

A group photo of the Waterwalker 120, 126, and 132 on a beach.

It’s also worth mentioning some of the details that aren’t new but that we still love:

  • the large front bungee cargo area
  • the stylist woodgrain look and iconic design
  • the top notch included accessories
  • our favorite paddle holders on the right side rail

As far as dislikes go, we only have a few. As mentioned, the tracking underperformed expectations at times. Also, the single action mount may not be an issue for many buyers, but for those who like to attach a lot of accessories it might not be enough. The last is more of a wish list item: it’d be great if THURSO could make the cargo bungee cords adjustable and removable like NIXY SPORT’s.

These are small details, though, and on the whole, THURSO took an already strong board and improved on it.

Paddling the 120 from above on open water.

Accesories: What’s Included

THURSO always includes a top-notch SUP accessory bundle with their boards and this season, they’ve made several improvements to their Waterwalker package. Included with the Waterwalker 120 is a premium wheeled roller backpack, matte finish carbon fiber paddle, triple-action hand pump, coiled safety leash, and repair kit.

Aqua-colored Thurso Waterwalker 120 with accessories, including bag, 3 fins, pump, paddle, leash, repair kit, manual, and compression strap.

Roller Backpack

The THURSO SURF branded bag is premium grade backpack made to look like a nice piece of soft-sided luggage. Its made out of a heavy duty material for long-term durability with a nice smooth finish.

On the front of the bag is a large zippered storage pocket for storing smaller items and a see-through pouch with a velcro closure.

There are heavy-duty grab handles on the top and both sides of the bag which are helpful when you’re pulling the bag in and out of your vehicle. There are also two compression straps on each side for cinching up the load when the bag is fully packed.

Located on the bottom of the bag are two smooth roller wheels that make it really easy to pull this bag around on hard surfaces like sidewalks. Also, the bottom of the bag is heavily reinforced for maximum durability.

At the top of the rear of the bag is a transparant luggage ID window. On the back of the bag are two lightly padded backpack straps and a padded waist belt for stabilizing the bag when it’s on your shoulders. Both the backpack straps and the waist belt are fully adjustable, although there is no sternum strap. There’s also a back cushion covering the rear of the pack which is covered in breathable mesh material for added comfort.

There are two zippers which zip all the way open down both sides of the bag for full ease of access when loading and unloading your gear. The interior of the bag is fully lined to prevent snagging and there are two more built in compression straps and a large mesh organization pocket.

By and large, this is one of the nicest bags we’ve seen this season both in looks and functionality. We do wish the wheels were bigger with more tread to better handle soft terrain like sand, and wouldn’t mind if there were more padding in the shoulder and waist straps for longer hikes. It would also be nice to have some external paddle pockets on the sides of the bag. But this is an extremely well made bag that will outlast most of the other bags we see.

Paddle

Similarly, THURSO’s included paddle was already one of the best out there prior to this season. It’s a three-piece floating paddle with a carbon fiber shaft in matte finish. Our favorite feature previously has been their unique t-grip handle that has a wonderful rubberized grip that’s both comfortable yet extremely grippy even when wet.

New for 2021 is the carbon/nylon blend blade that replaces the previous nylon blade. This change makes an unexpectedly big reduction in the weight of the blade, making the paddle even more of a pleasure to paddle with for extended periods of time.

While the blade’s area is slightly smaller than previously, we didn’t notice any appreciable loss of power and the blade was just as stiff.

Dual Chamber Pump

The included pump is similar to the dual-chamber, three-stage pump that was included last year, but with several nice refinements.

For convenience, the feet now fold up and the pump handles can be screwed off and stowed on the back of the pump body. This streamlines the pump’s shape making it easier to fit in the backpack or other small spaces.

The pump features an easy-to-read pressure gauge on top of the body and there’s two toggle switches that allow you to easily change the pump’s setting between the three pumping stages. When you first begin to pump the board up, you’ll enable stage #1 mode which adds air to your SUP on both the upstrokes and the downstrokes from both chambers. Once the inflation process begins to become more difficult, just flip the switch to stage #2 to make pumping easier by only adding air on the downstroke. Once pressure is high enough, even this will be too difficult and you’ll switch to stage #3 which will use only a single chamber until you reach the recommended pressure. There are easy-to-follow instructions on the back of the pump for the entire process and it typically takes 5-8 minutes.

Less well known is that this pump also includes a deflation port to help remove air from your board as well. At the end of the day once you rolled most of the air out of your SUP, attach the hose to the deflation port on the pump and to the valve on your board. Then using the same pumping motion you will extract the last remaining air from the board giving you a factor-like vacuumed-flat board. It will be easier than you ever thought possible to roll up your board and fit it in your bag!

Leash

We love the fact that THURSO has always promoted safe paddling by including a SUP leash with their boards. The included leash has a durable coiled cord and a soft neoprene covered ankle cuff.

There are dual metal swivels at both ends to prevent tangles. This year the leashes are color matched to the new board colors.

Repair Kit

Last but not least, the board comes with a repair kit that includes a few PVC repair patches, an adhesive brush, valve wrench, and three replacement fin clips.

Warranty & Returns Info

THURSO is a company that stands behind all of the gear they make and the Waterwalker 120 comes with a 2-year warranty. In addition to their excellent warranty coverage, THURSO’s customer service is well rated. In our experience, they’re a company that truly cares about their customers and they’ve always gone out of their way to make sure customers are satisfied.

Where to Buy it

Carrying the Waterwalker 120 into the ocean.

We recommend buying the new THURSO Waterwalker 132 direct from the company through their official online store. In addition to the best price, they’ll also ship the board to you for free and no sales tax is charged unless required by your state (or country).

THURSO sells and supports their paddle boards in the Unites States, Canada, the UK, and Europe.

Sales and Discount Codes

THURSO will periodically have sales throughout the year. The best way to stay current on the latest deals is to check out our SUP sales and paddle board discounts page.

Carrying the Waterwalker 120 on a dock, with 126 and 132 in background.

Final Thoughts

The 2021 Waterwalker 132 is an fun, responsive all-around paddle board that offers the value and top-notch accessories that you’d expect from THURSO. It is rare among 10 foot all-around SUPs for being only 30 inches wide. This makes it an intriguing choice for smaller paddlers looking for a more nimble all-around option or experienced taller paddlers who prefer a narrower boarder.

After major feature and design updates in 2020, THURSO has refined the Waterwalker family in 2021 with updates including woven drop stitch construction, new color options, a great new paddle, and updated pump.

If you are in the market for a 10 foot all-around SUP, but want narrower-than-average width for higher-than-average performance, the THURSO Waterwalker 120 should be on your short list. This Top Pick checks a lot of boxes when it comes to looks, maneuverability, value, and top-class accessories.

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