Aquaplanet PACE SUP stand-up paddleboard review
Stand-up paddle boarding has gone from zero to hero in the past decade – apparently, almost a million Brits now practise the art to explore rivers, lake and the shore each year. If you fancy trying the coolest new water sport on the block, you’ll want to start with a comfortable, affordable and beginner-friendly board that’s easy to learn on. The leading paddle board brands offer some great starter boards to try – like Aquaplanet’s PACE SUP (from £275).
And who better to ask to review this sturdy stand-up paddleboard someone who’s definitely in the market for the perfect beginner SUP? My mate Charlie has tried out a few cheap-and-cheerful boards in the past and been let down by their lack of quality each time. So does she think Aquaplanet’s PACE delivers as a first stand-up paddleboard to progress on?
“Hands up if you’ve seen those deals on Instagram for a too-good-to-be-true bargain-price inflatable paddleboard set? Yup.
Hands up if you’ve gone ahead and ordered one? Yup.
Keep your hands up if you were utterly humiliated when an incredibly small parcel arrived, only for it to turn out to be a Chinese-imported rubber ring… Yup – that was me.
Lesson learned… paddleboards are a serious investment, and not something to be skimped on. You need to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth, and check that you’re buying from a reputable brand. That said, if it’s your first SUP you probably don’t want to spend a fortune. I was on the lookout for a sturdy but compact inflatable paddleboard to practise on, and was impressed on paper by how much bang you get for your buck with Aquaplanet’s PACE package, which includes a paddle, pump and carry bag for £329. And after trying out this blue beauty of a board, it doesn’t just tick the value-for-money box for me: there’s heaps of other great things about it that make it a good first investment.
Stability: For a relatively compact board, I feel confident and comfortable with the PACE balanced beneath my feet. It’s super buoyant and the padded, grippy deck pad makes sure you’re not getting that clenched toe ache for fear of falling in. Perfect for progressing your skills or heading out on the sea for the first time.
I’ve also come to realise that bigger isn’t always better. As a fairly entry-level paddle boarder, I was under the impression that you need to go big when shopping for a SUP, to give you as much help on the water as possible. This definitely isn’t the case here. At 10’6, this board is a good all-rounder that will suit paddlers of most heights, but isn’t too massive. Plus, the pointed nose of the PACE allows you to cut through the water with ease, helping keep up speed if you’re trying to cover a longer distance.
Pack down size and weight: When I’ve shopped for boards in the past I’ve always had a keen eye on the bag a SUP packs into, as you should always expect a bit of travel to get to the water’s edge, and it’s less than ideal to turn up all red in the face from carting along an unwieldy bag (or to have the dread of lugging excessive weight back to base after cruising down the river). The Aquaplanet PACE comes in at a nifty 13kg all in, which is comfortable to carry. Even better, the bag has good shoulder straps, is robust and is roomy enough that you can throw the board and it’s accompanying kit inside without having to arrange it all like a game of Tetris.
Easy set up: Whilst I write about how easy it was to put together the Aquaplanet Pace, I’m casting my mind back to the first time I used it. How much did I rely on the instructions? Not once – it’s that easy. Inside the PACE SUP package is a pump, an easy-to-assemble paddle, a leash and even a handy drybag you can pop your kit in. It’s perfect if you’re a newbie – everything is included, so you can get out on the water and get paddling. The PACE, I reckon, is pretty ace.
Buy the Aquaplanet PACE SUP Package for £275 from Aquaplanet. Aquaplanet also stock a range of other paddleboards to suit different SUP abilities.