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Thurso Surf Waterwalker 132 iSUP: Overview
The Thurso Surf Waterwalker 132 is the largest of the Waterwalker series at 11’ long and 32” wide. With a recommended rider weight capacity of up to 210lb for beginner paddlers and a max capacity of 330lb, the Waterwalker 132 is a value-packed iSUP kit with high-performance DNA. Also available in two smaller sizes (the Waterwalker 126 is 10’6” x 31” and the Waterwalker 120 is 10’ x 30”) the Waterwalker 132 is one of our top picks for best all-around iSUPs.
— Thurso Surf Waterwalker 132 Summary Ratings and Review – —
Thurso Surf Waterwalker 132
Construction & Durability
Features and Versatility
Warranty & Customer Support
The Waterwalker 132 is an excellently balanced iSUP with performance on the water at a mid-range price, and is a top choice for paddlers over 200lb.
- Woven drop stitch fabric
- Carbon fiber-reinforced rails
- Ideal for heavier paddlers
- Excellent deck pad traction
- Subtle design in multiple colors
- Ample storage space
- Kayak seat compatible
- High quality paddle
- Three removable fins
- Easy to use pump and bag
- Few accessory mounting points
- Deck pad is a little small for passengers or pets
Construction and Durability
One feature of the Thurso Surf Waterwalker 132 that has continued to impress me is the stiffness and overall construction quality of this board at such a great price.
The Waterwalker 132 starts with a 6” woven drop stitch fabric (stiffer and lighter than the standard knitted drop stitch material) and adds a dual-layer fusion PVC skin. Double layer PVC seems to be the standard in the iSUP industry today for balancing weight and stiffness, but the fusion material also helps eliminate any potential delamination problems by eliminating any glue between the layers. Around the outside of the board, the Waterwalker has additional PVC layers and an encapsulated carbon fiber rail reinforcement. The carbon fiber rail makes the board stiffer on the water and more resistant to abrasion and puncture damage along the sides of the board.
This all adds up to an inflatable paddleboard that is incredibly stiff with great longevity.
The build quality doesn’t stop with the board, either. The Waterwalker 132 is packed with high quality features and accessories at every level.
|Max Capacity||330 pounds|
|Board Weight||26 pounds|
(SUP & accessories)
|Returns period||30 days|
Features, Accessories and Versatility
At first glance, the Waterwalker 132 may appear to be a little bare when compared to other all-around iSUPs we’ve reviewed. While there may not be as many items glued onto the board, the Waterwalker 132 isn’t missing out on any opportunities.
Starting at the rear of the board we’ve got a padded grab handle, leash tab inflation valve and a small cargo area that’ well-sized for shoes and 5-10L dry bags. The logo-embossed deck pad starts under the cargo bungee and immediately fills the width of the deck. This deck pad is very soft and extremely grippy.
The rest of the back half of the board remains open and free from obstructions so you can maneuver and position yourself wherever is most comfortable for you, especially if you are moving back to make room for a passenger up front. This clean deck is also great for those who need room for yoga or like to use the back of their board (or want to learn how to use it) for pivot turns, surfing small waves, or even better foot position for mild, Class I-II whitewater. While there are no dedicated mounts in this area for a cooler, D-rings for the rear cargo area and kayak seat attachments can easily be used with some slightly longer straps (or for a slightly bigger cooler).
There are kayak-seat compatible d-rings in the middle of the board and an integrated paddle holder on the right side. Up front there is a large cargo area that can easily hold a full day’s worth of snacks, water, change of clothes (or more). Lastly there’s another grab handle and a GoPro-ready action mount that also includes an M8 threaded receiver for other accessories (like speakers, fishing rod holders, etc.).
I do think that the Waterwalker 132 would benefit from turning two more of the front cargo D-rings (the ones closest to the center of the board) into combination D-ring/threaded mounts for better access for cup holders and fishing rods. Extending the deck pad farther forward on the board would also increase overall utility by providing more space for passengers (especially dogs) and for exercising on the board.
I actually do prefer this more minimalist-inspired layout over having the deck crammed with accessory attachment points and dozens of D-rings, though. The clean layout is more useful for me for relaxing, exercising, and playing around on the water, but still has enough utility for multiple uses.
The Waterwalker 132 is sold as a complete kit, and includes some really nice accessories. The repair kit, leash, and fins are standard for boards in this price range, but the bag, pump, and paddle all bring an extra air of quality to the beach.
The bag is very comfortable to carry and pull on its wheels. The large exterior pocket has room for the smaller accessories, plus a water bottle, lunch, and small bluetooth speaker. The interior is easily large enough to hold the board, pump and paddle, and exterior compression straps keep everything nice and tight for storage and transportation.The Thurso Surf pump has two chambers with three settings. High Volume/Low Pressure for quickly getting your board filled with air; Medium Volume/Medium Pressure for pressurizing the board; and Low Volume/High Pressure for getting the board to its final recommended 15psi. When you are done for the day the deflate option can pull excess air from the board and make it even easier to roll and store.
The carbon fiber hybrid paddle that is included with the Waterwalker 132 is well-matched to the board and quite comfortable to use. The blade is about 87 square inches according to Thurso Surf, which works well for most paddlers without being too large or too small. The power-face of the blade has a slight scoop to it and the entire blade is raked out 10° from the shaft. This makes it very intuitive to use and it works well in a variety of conditions.
The carbon fiber shaft and carbon fiber reinforced nylon blade are relatively light and balance stiffness (for power) and flexibility (for comfort) quite well.
The rubberized T-grip is a departure from the norm in all-around iSUP kits, but not in a bad way. The T-grip gives a more secure feeling in your hand compared to palm grips, and the rubber coating is grippy without being rough or causing irritation.
Thurso Surf also offers an upgrade option to their Carbon Elite paddle blade. The Carbon Elite blade shaves 4 ounces off the weight of the paddle (which, while that doesn’t sound like a lot, adds up significantly after a full day on the water) and is slightly slimmer and smaller (85 square inches) making it easier to increase your paddle stroke rate.
The Carbon Elite blade has the same 10° rake angle as the carbon-hybrid blade, but eliminates the scoop shape and adds a double-dihedral on the power face (The “V” shaped lines in the image above). This change gives the paddle a quieter catch in the water, braces easier, and the dihedrals both direct water off the outside of the blade and catch some between them for a clean, but powerful, stroke. It’s also stiffer than the carbon-hybrid blade for even more power transfer.
As an advanced paddler, I can feel and welcome all of these changes in the water, and it absolutely makes sense as an immediate upgrade for myself. On the other hand, beginners may not want, need, or really even benefit from these changes right away. One of the things I love about this paddle blade is it is sold separately by Thurso Surf, giving you the option to upgrade at a later time at a fraction of the cost of an entirely new paddle.
As a larger paddler, I tend to prefer inflatable boards that are rated to 18 or even 20psi in order to create a more stiff platform. The premium build quality and materials of the Waterwalker 132 help make it an incredibly stiff board, which translates directly to its great stability even at just 15psi. The recommended maximum rider weight for beginners is 210lb, but the Waterwalker 132’s capacity is actually 330lb. I feel that Thurso Surf is hamstringing themselves a little bit on their recommended rider weight, as I would have no problems recommending this board to beginners up to about 240lb.
When bounce testing the board on the water there was very little flex and only minor vibrations as the board settled to a stop. Rocking it back and forth was very smooth and it returned easily to a rest. Even putting the Waterwalker 132 on its edge was incredibly easy to do and just as easy to hold in that position.
Having good secondary stability like this means that if you do become unbalanced on the board it will behave predictably and give you time to correct before rolling over. Boards that lack this level of secondary stability tend to be either stable or completely unstable with nothing in between.
Even while stepping back to the tail for a pivot turn, the Waterwalker 132’s gentle tapering shape, medium-width tail, and stiff construction kept it stable and predictable.
Speed on a paddleboard is affected by many factors. After removing different paddlers from the equation, it really comes down to efficiency on the water and the paddle itself.
The Waterwalker 132’s premium construction and excellent stability give it great efficiency on the water. While sprinting, the stiff board doesn’t bend down into the water, and, because it is so stable, you can put more effort into paddling forward rather than staying balanced.
The included paddle is stiff enough for good power transfer, and the medium sized blade can take some quick paddle strokes without being too small to accelerate the board quickly.
While cruising the Waterwalker glides very well moving about 1.5 board-lengths with each paddle stroke before it begins to noticeably slow down.
While the Waterwalker 132 is not the fastest all-around iSUP we have tested for top speed, its efficiency on the water keeps it moving well with minimal effort while paddling normally.
Maneuverability and Tracking
There are almost as many ways to turn a paddleboard as there are directions in which you can paddle. Is it faster to turn using more advanced combination strokes and edging instead of using simple sweeps with a flat board? You betcha. But I like to see how SUPs perform at the extremes, so that’s how we test.
While keeping the Waterwalker 132 flat on the water and using just forward sweep strokes, it takes on average 6.3 strokes to turn in a complete circle. This puts the Waterwalker 132 squarely in the middle of the pack of our maneuverability tests.
The reality, though, is that during normal use the Waterwalker 132 responds well to steering strokes while paddling and can quickly turn left or right with just one or two strokes.When stepping back for a pivot turn, the Waterwalker 132 remains stable and once the nose is out of the water it turns very smoothly with no perceptible bouncing or vibrating. While a raised kick pad would help with pivot turns (the same is true for every paddle board), the deck pad grips very well and the clean deck reduces the chance of catching, slipping, or tripping while walking on the board.
With average maneuverability, the Waterwalker 132 did surprise me with above-average tracking performance. During speed testing and while cruising and paddling around, the Waterwalker 132 needed very little course correction in order to get from one point to another.
The triple fin setup gives great hold while moving forward. Since all three fins are removable, paddlers can also fine-tune their tracking and maneuverability to better suit their own needs. Paddlers who want maximum tracking can leave all three in, while those who want good tracking but less drag can remove the side fins. For maximum maneuverability you can use the two side fins without the center fin (this is also a great setup for shallow water). I don’t recommend removing all of the fins, however, as this will reduce your tracking to near zero on any paddleboard.
Warranty and Customer Support
Thurso Surf not only makes high-quality inflatable SUPs, but also backs up that construction with a 2-year warranty against manufacturing defects. They also cover their bags and pumps with a 1-year warranty and paddles and leashes with a 60-day warranty. If you buy a board from Thurso Surf and decide it’s not the right one for you there is a 30-day return period for a full refund (however return shipping is at the cost of the customer). If you have any questions about choosing a board, or any questions or issues after you receive your board, Thurso Surf is there to help. You can reach them by email, social media, or through their website.
Thurso Surf has built a premium-quality iSUP with their Waterwalker 132 (and other Waterwalker iSUPs), and packaged them with premium-quality accessories and high quality customer service and warranty. Somehow they’ve managed to do all of this and keep the price incredibly competitive. The Waterwalker 132 is not only one of our top recommendations for all-around iSUPs, but it’s also an incredible value for mid-range iSUPs.
Overall Impressions/Review Summary
The Thurso Waterwalker 132 is at the top of my list of recommendations of all-around iSUPs for heavier paddlers (over 180lb), and is also highly recommended for paddlers of all sizes. The Waterwalker 132 is built with premium-quality materials and packaged with excellent accessories, all in a mid-budget price range. The stiff board provides a stable platform for beginners with enough performance capability for paddlers of all skill levels. The clean layout and subtle design maximizes space without minimizing utility and the included paddle is great for paddlers of all sizes and styles.
For smaller paddlers, Thurso Surf also makes the Waterwalker 126 (10’6” x 31”) and the Waterwalker 120 (10’0 x 30”) which is also a great option for older kids and tweens who want their own board that they can paddle well (and well into the future).
Thurso Surf Waterwalker 132 iSUP FAQ
Is the Thurso Surf Waterwalker 132 worth the price?
Absolutely. The Waterwalker 132 uses premium-grade materials and includes high quality accessories at an amazing price point.
What is the difference between the Waterwalker 132, 126, and 120?
The Waterwalker 132, 126, and 120 all share the same core design and construction, but in different sizes to best suit paddlers of different heights and weights. The 132 is the largest and is great for average-to-heavier paddlers up to 230lb. The 126 is slightly shorter and narrower and is better for average-to-smaller paddlers up to 160lb. The 120 is the smallest in length and width and is best for petite adults and kids up to 130lb.
How long does it take to pump up the Thurso Surf Waterwalker 132?
The included triple-action pump is fast and easy to use. Most people can inflate the Waterwalker 132 to its recommended 15psi in about 8 minutes, but it depends on how quickly you pump.
Can I leave the Waterwalker 132 inflated, or does it always need to be deflated?
You can leave the Waterwalker 132 fully inflated for short periods of time, however you should at least partially deflate it if the board will be out of the water for any extended length of time to avoid over-pressurization.
How do I clean and store the Waterwalker 132?
Always rinse your iSUP with fresh water after use. Before rolling it up, allow the board to dry completely. Store your board somewhere dry and out of the sun. If you keep it in an unheated space during the winter, always bring the board inside to warm completely prior to unrolling the board to prevent possible damage to the PVC.
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