The new Bluefin Cruise is a tidy update of its predecessor that we reviewed last year. With its award-winning design, the Cruise continues to be a perfect all-round beginner board and at £599, we think it’s a worthwhile investment.
Bluefin have worked hard to update the Cruise range, with the most notable change being the aesthetics of the new design. Bluefin have taken a huge leap in this department, launching 6 new colourways which are far more exciting than the previous model. We opted to try the Gecko Blue which looked great against the water and really popped. There’s a cool logo print across the board featuring a triangle and paddle, which we loved – kudos to the design team on this one!
Along with how the board looks, the new model is 10% lighter and although we didn’t get this SUP on our bathroom scales, we really felt the difference when it came to carrying and manoeuvring the board. It makes everything that little bit easier including packing up and storage.
The new Cruise again comes with all the accessories you need to get straight out onto the water, including your paddle, carry bag, pump and waterproof mobile phone case. The new range doesn’t come with the kayak seat and extra paddle blade conversion like previous models, but we don’t see this as a deal breaker and think the improvements in design and build offset the additional extras. We definitely prefer updates to build quality over free extras we might not use! There have been some great updates to those accessories included, so please read on below to get more information on these.
The 10’8 Cruise is available from £599.99 – View boards on Bluefin’s website >
Table of Contents
Who is the board for?
The Bluefin Cruise is for the keen beginner who wants a great all-rounder that will last them years. It’s more of an investment than other boards on the market, like the Wave Tourer, but you’re getting a far superior board in terms of quality.
If you just want to use a paddleboard for the odd summer weekend with friends, then you can probably get by with a cheaper brand. But if are serious about getting into the sport and plan to use the board regularly, then you need to buy one that can withstand constant inflation, deflation, getting dragged on stones and hot cars in the summer.
When you order the Bluefin, it comes with everything needed right out the box. It’s already packed neatly away in the carry bag, so you can literally take it out of the box and head straight to the beach.
So this board is the perfect first-time inflatable paddleboard purchase for beginners.
However, like most all-rounders, it’s ok at everything but great at nothing so you will outgrow this board at some point, this is when you decide if you want a tourer, race or wave SUP. If you’re already at a more experienced level, then I’d recommend looking at something a little more exciting, like the Bluefin Rouge Tourer.
Bluefin Cruise 10’8
I’m 85kg and 6’2ish and found the 10’8 easy to use. The 10’8, which is the length of the board, is the classic beginner size because it’s stable enough for most beginners, but manoeuvrable so you can practice turning with ease.
On Bluefin’s website, they say anyone under 6′ & below 85kg should be fine for the 10’8, and that’s probably about right.
Bluefin’s recommendation is not too far off the truth, and I’d say any beginner over 90kgs might want to consider the 12’, which has a lot more buoyancy.
- Length: 324cm
- Width: 82cm
- Thickness: 16cm
- Recommended rider weight: – 85kg
Bluefin Cruise 12’
Whilst the 10’8 is fairly manoeuvrable, the 12’ is better at tracking (going in a straight line), which makes it more enjoyable for longer distances. This is the inherent benefit of a longer paddleboard, the more rail (side of the board) in the water, the greater the resistance and the more likely the board is to glide in a straight line.
If you are a nervous beginner, weigh over 90kgs or want a board that glides nicely, then it’s probably worth getting the 12’.
The 12’ is the same width as the 10’8, so although the board can carry more weight, it feels very similar in terms of side-to-side wobbliness. Yes, that’s a non-technical term but hopefully that makes sense! So it’ll be wrong to think the 12’ is much more stable.
Another reason to buy the 12’ is if you are planning on using this as the family board. If you’re likely to have a little one sitting on the front or multiple children splashing around on the board at one time, you will have far more fun with the 12’.
- Length: 366 cm
- Width: 82cm
- Thickness: 16cm
- Recommended rider weight: + 85kg
You might like to read our article about the best inflatable paddle boards on the UK market.
Bluefin is a UK based company, with its HQ in West Yorkshire. They are a trading company who are doing very well at sourcing great products, from fitness equipment to hoverboards and paddleboards. They sell their products directly on various websites they run, which means they can sell for a lower cost as they don’t have to pass any margin onto the retailer middle man.
Bluefin launched their first paddleboard in 2018 (This surprised me a little because it feels like they’ve been around for longer). You can see on their website that even within the first year their Cruise model went through 3 different versions, which shows their commitment to continual improvement of their products. They are currently at version 7 of the Cruise.
What I admire about Bluefin is their drive to make the best equipment possible that will last, all for a reasonable price. They have not cut corners on materials and their 5-year warranty is just outstanding.
The warranty shows that Bluefin is really confident its product is well made and can last. I love this mentality because it shows Bluefin care about the customers’ experience, plus it’s better for the planet not to have plastic paddleboards thrown in the bin because they aren’t well made.
Detailed UK Bluefin Cruise review
We tested the Bluefin Cruise on a stunning July morning in Emsworth, Chichester Harbour. The wind was very light and perfect for paddleboarding.
A design feature of any board that helps with stability is the width, especially across the midpoint of the board where you stand. A wider board will feel more stable than a narrower board.
The payoff for a board that is very wide is that it won’t ‘cut’ through the water and will feel like a barge, slow and unresponsive. On top of that something that is too easy to use means that you won’t progress your technique which helps with balance and board control.
Both the 10’8 and 12ft Bluefin Cruise are 82cm wide, which is pretty normal for an all-round beginner board. I like that Bluefin didn’t make the 12ft wider, because it would really affect its performance on the water and wouldn’t be fun to use.
The only downside of the Bluefin Cruise, which is the same for all 6-inch thick rail boards, is any wind or chop that hits the side can unsettle it very quickly. The sheer surface area of the rail means a strong gust can push the board off course, or a bit of awkward side chop can make it feel rather wobbly for a second or 2.
By ‘glide’ we mean how does the board feel cruising in a straight line. Some boards will feel sluggish, whilst others effortlessly fly through the water. With a few hard paddle strokes, some boards will veer off course but others will be able to track well and stay going in a straight line.
I think glide is important to know when choosing a paddleboard, especially if it’s your first purchase. You’ll want a board that does a good job paddling in a straight line because probably your goal as a beginner is to try to get from A to B without any issues.
This of course changes if you want to get into SUP surfing, then you’ll want a board that is small and very manoeuvrable, which means it won’t glide at all well.
I found the Bluefin Cruise, especially the 12ft, tracks nicely through the water. I could put in some aggressive paddle strokes but the board kept its course well. Being able to put a huge amount of PSI into the board helps with glide, this extra rigidity allows the board to cut through the water and doesn’t flop and wobble around at all.
Bluefin continues to stand out with the construction and development of their iSUPs.
They use ESL (Exo Surface Laminate) technology, which gives the board its rigidity and durability and is key to the Bluefin design. As a quick overview, ESL PVC is the layering of materials that forms the board. Bluefin build boards with layers of PVC to provide strength, unlike cheaper boards which only have one layer. Although this makes the Bluefin boards slightly heavier than your average beginner iSUP, you get a more resilient construction and are less likely to suffer from a bendy banana board! The top layer of PVC is UV resistant too, protecting the board from degradation through sun damage.
The board is also reinforced with a 1000 denier drop stitch, which are the internal threads holding the top and bottom of the sup together. This reinforced stitch is the densest on the market, giving the bluefin more credentials on the build design of their boards.
I’ve seen a fair few posts on Facebook groups with people saying ‘the Bluefin Cruise is heavy’. Although they’ve made it lighter, you know why it’s heavier than other similarly priced boards. Bluefin has used double the amount of materials to build their boards, so it’s no surprise they weigh a little more.
Along with the super solid construction, Bluefin has added some nice features to its board that makes it stand out from similarly priced competitors.
The kickpad is the raised piece of foam on the deck near the tail (back) of the board. You can wedge your foot against it when trying the more advanced step back turns, which Bluefin say on the website is a quicker way to turn around.
There are a few reasons the kickpad is a useful addition. Having this raised gives you more confidence that you aren’t going to slip off the back of the board when doing the step back down. It also help give you a point of reference for where your foot should go, so instead of having to look back and down at where your feet are, which can make you unbalanced, you can just feel it instead.
The ability to pump up the Bluefin to high pressure and the rigidity that comes with it means the Kickpad is a welcomed feature that can actually be used. Many cheaper inflatable models add a kickpad, but you cant use the thing for step back turns because the board just isn’t rigid enough. So when you try to raise the nose out of the water the board just wobbles and flops around. This isn’t the case with the Bluefin Cruise.
Action camera mount
The new design now features 3 camera mounts, one at the nose and two on the cargo handles, making it easier for you to get the perfect shot when you’re out on the water. You could always use multiple cameras at once if you were really going for it!
If you attach the camera to face you, it becomes a great training tool that will record your technique and body position. We think filming yourself is one of the best ways to improve, because you can really break down what you’re doing and what’s going wrong. You’ll be surprised that most of the time you aren’t bending your knees as much as you thought you were or reaching as far forward as you could for that paddle stroke.
Kayak D rings
The kayak D ring adds another dimension to this package and will enable you and your family/friends to have even more fun on the water. Bluefin knows exactly who will be buying and using this board and fully know you aren’t a committed, professional paddleboarder… yet.
They also know you’re likely to take this board to the beach where others will want to play on it. If it’s slightly choppy and the sea breeze kicks in, add the kayak seat and you can still have a great time on the water.
On this Cruise version, Bluefin have added a bonus safety feature by making the D rings reflective. This is a small but fantastic addition, and we’d like to see more of this on future ranges, particularly as it’s not detrimental to the aesthetics of the board.
Two great updates to the pump for this model:
- Dual action – this time we were able to use the pump to deflate the board as well as inflate it. Hurrah for this Bluefin!
- Detachable handle and feet – one of the most difficult parts of using an inflatable paddleboard has to be putting everything back in the bag. Being able to remove the handle and feet make it that bit easier to put away.
Their electric pump was easy and simple to use, and helped get the board started whilst I was faffing around getting changed. It’s not the most powerful electric pump but did OK.
The carry bag is big and comfy to wear with plenty of space to pack everything away. It has some internal straps to support the SUP and a front pocket for smaller items like the fins which is really handy.
Only thing we’d like to add would be some wheels, so we had the option to pull as well as carry.
We were super impressed with the paddle in this package as it’s really developed from the previous range; the paddle is still fibreglass but is much lighter and more dynamic than before.
It feels high quality and is far from the thick, dense paddles you’d typically get in a beginner sup package and more like an expensive carbon model. It seemed to perform better too, with less bend than the previous version. The new black blue design also looks more expensive.
The three-piece paddle is easy to assemble and disassemble, with little logos to guide you along the way and a handy height guide for adjusting the length correctly. You can get an extra blade to convert to a kayak paddle, however this isn’t included in the package.
The coiled ankle leash is comfortable and perfect for the style of paddleboarding you’ll do on the Bluefin.
What I don’t like about the Cruise
In my last review, I commented on 2 things I disliked about the Bluefin, the way it looks and the fin mechanism. I’ll keep the fin mechanism in here, but I personally think the Bluefin Cruise range looks great now.
The fin mechanism
I asked my beginner friend about the fin mechanism and she loved it because it was so quick and simple to install. So maybe I’m being a bit harsh and this might be a little irrational but I don’t quite trust the fin box ‘Smart lock’ system.
I’m used to the screw in Powerbox, US or FCS fin systems that feel super secure and I have 100% confidence my fin isn’t going to fall out during the session.
So are Bluefin Paddleboards any good? For the price, the Bluefin Cruise is a great value beginner paddleboard package that comes with everything you need to have a lot of fun on the water. Also have we mentioned that for every board purchased, Bluefin plant a tree? Great environmental credentials from this UK based business – it’s a thumbs up from us.
Keep your eyes peeled for offers on Bluefin’s website, I’ve seen them give a free electric sup pump or a free action camera with a paddleboard purchase.
The 10’8 Cruise is available from £599.99 – View boards on Bluefin’s website >
About the author
Watersports Pro is managed by Ollie, who has been in the industry since 2007. A paddleboard and advanced windsurfing instructor, Ollie has travelled the world teaching these sports.
Now based on the South Coast of England, he shares his experience and knowledge on watersportspro.co.uk.