If you’re on a budget but desperate to get paddleboarding this summer, then you won’t go far wrong with investing in a Wave paddleboard. Wave has done a remarkable job of producing a complete package that has the finish and quality of something way above its price range, so in terms of value, we haven’t found anything this good that costs just £269.99.
We tested the 11ft Wave Tourer paddleboard, which is the most popular board in their range. It’s a board that’ll feel most at home on lakes, canals and calm, flat water. The single-layer construction means this board is lightweight and packs away nice and small which is ideal for carrying on summer days at the beach.
One thing that seems common amongst ‘cheap’ paddleboards is the graphics. 90% of boards that cost below £500 just look awful and have colour schemes that don’t work, clip art logos and strange patterns that I just don’t like. I guess budget paddleboard manufacturers can’t afford a designer to make the board look good.
Along with the overall quality, the Wave Tourer has really impressed me in terms of how it looks. The colour options, subtle graphics and matching paddle design makes the Wave Tourer look classy. I feel proud walking to the water with this board under my arm – Even the bright orange one!
10ft/11ft Wave Tourer specs:
Dimensions: 305x76x15cm / 335x81x15cm
Board – Pump – Leash – Bag – Fin – Repair patches
Warranty: 12 months
Price: £249.99 / £269.99
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Who is the board for?
This board is perfect for beginners and anyone who wants to get on the water with minimum fuss.
It’ll probably be your first board purchase and it comes with everything you need to start paddleboarding, which makes it super simple to get going.
Along with beginners, this board makes for a great all-round family board. The 11ft is big and stable enough for an adult and small kid to play on.
Although this board is called the ‘Tourer’, I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who wants to do long-distance touring. Those who go paddleboarding often and with more experience will find this board a little basic.
It’s absolutely perfect for someone to get to grips with the basics, but if you’re trying to do step back turns, heading out in less than ideal conditions or want to play in small waves, you’ll want a board that can hold higher pressures and feel more rigid.
Wave is a UK based company, with its HQ up in Newcastle. Founded in 2016, Wave has been producing a number of inflatable products for a while now, including Hot Tubs.
Wave seems to have a real understanding of how a professional business should operate and clearly put the customer first. Unlike some other budget brands, they have a helpdesk available 9am-6pm Monday to Sunday and if you scroll through their many positive reviews, one regular comment is about their great customer service.
They are direct to consumer brand, which means you buy their products straight from their website. It’s this type of business plan that allows them to sell paddleboards for an unbelievable price, which is great for consumers looking to get on the water without breaking the bank.
Wave Sup Tourer paddleboard review
The Wave Tourer was tested in March in Chichester Harbour. The wind was around 10 – 12 knots cross-onshore, so it was relatively choppy but we found some flat spots too.
What mostly gives a board stability is its width. The wider the board, the more stable it is. Beginners want a board that feels secure underfoot, which helps with confidence in the early stages of starting this sport. However, a board that is too wide will stunt progression, feel sluggish and be less manoeuvrable.
The 11ft Wave Tourer is 81 cms, this is around average for your all-round beginner board.
In smooth, flat water, I found the board to be super stable. However once I hit some oncoming and side chop, the board felt a little bit unsure of itself and this is where the single-layer construction and relatively low pressure meant the board did wobble a bit like a bouncy castle, even with the max recommended 15 PSI.
However, don’t let this put you off, there are plenty of boards that cost double what the Wave Tourer does that would perform in the same way.
The ideal conditions for this board are probably under 10 knots of wind and flat water.
Once we found some flat water, I thought the board actually felt not too sluggish. Even with more aggressive paddle strokes, the Wave Tourer kept going in a straight line and kept its course pretty well. It doesn’t track like a touring board that costs 4x as much, but it’s not fair to compare the two.
The single-layer PVC is to be expected for a board in this price bracket. It just wouldn’t be possible for Wave to produce a doubled lined or reinforced board for £269.99.
Single-layer isn’t all bad, it means the board is really lightweight and rolls up to a compact size, making it super portable and easy to carry. However, a single layer is of course not as durable as a doubled lined or reinforced board. It also means the board can’t inflate to a high PSI, which does affect its overall stiffness and performance on the water.
I’ve inflated and used the Wave Tourer a few times now without any issues, but it’s very different using it a handful of times compared to a few seasons. With the construction and overall price, you wouldn’t expect it to last as long as more expensive brands, but I could be wrong. I’d love to hear from anyone who has used the board for a few years because if it does last, this board becomes almost unbeatable for value.
Overall, I’m really impressed with the way the board is put together.
The pump was really easy to use and is plug and play straight out the box. The pump is a single-cylinder but duel action, so it inflates the board as you pull up on the pump, as well as when pushing it down.
The gauge worked well, which helped me make sure I get to the recommended 15 PSI.
Well done to Wave for designing the board with a single, central fin.
Why on Earth beginner inflatable paddleboards have a thruster type tri-fin setup is beyond me. This is a surf-style fin configuration for conditions these paddleboards will never go in. Plus it probably costs more money to manufacture and is more likely to go wrong.
The fin was really easy to install in the box and it clips in securely.
When I was talking to Wave about their equipment, they were really proud of how portable the board was with the carry rucksack. The rucksack is comfortable and there is plenty of room for the paddleboard and accessories. It’s also made very well.
I thought the paddle looks great and I like the matching colour schemes.
The height adjusting clip was a little loose on mine, which meant the handle would spin around by itself. So before you head out, make sure this is tightened up.
No faults with the leash, it’s coiled which is perfect for flat water cruising and it’s comfortable enough.
So are Wave Sups good? Absolutely, especially if you’re a beginner on a budget who is eager to get paddleboarding. It’s also a perfect budget choice for families who want a board everyone can have fun on at the beach.
From the pump, to paddle and installing the fin, everything was super simple to use, even if you have never paddle boarded before.
You could go from in the box to the first time on the water in 15 minutes.
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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.