The new Body Glove Performer 11 Blue Ocean iSUP lives up to its name
Size: 11' x 34"
When it comes to inflatable standup paddleboards, the spectrum of quality varies more than most products. The cheapest options are liable to be lemons, while the most expensive iSUPs might be more than you need for your skill level and discipline. The good news is that there’s plenty of quality mid-range options out there that will suit your needs for flatwater and whitewater paddling. New in 2018, the Body Glove Performer 11 Blue Ocean iSUP is our pick of the litter.
Body Glove entered the iSUP market last year with the original Performer 11, which we tested and found to be one of the best iSUP options for the price. Improving on that design, the new 11-foot Blue Ocean edition incorporates a handful of new features that made a good board even better.
Chief among the upgrades is the reinforced, double-layer rails. The new model's rails are wrapped with an added strip of durable rubber that makes the board noticeably more durable and rigid than its predecessor, without adding too much extra weight. Fully inflated, it's an easy board to manage on land and can take a flogging without the worry of springing a leak.
In terms of performance, perhaps the most praiseworthy upgrade in the new Performer 11 is its triple-layer stringer. In effort to make the ride feel more like a traditional fiberglass standup paddleboard, Body Glove bulked up the Performer's stringer for increased end-to-end rigidity. The result is a markedly improved feel when paddling; even in choppy water and downriver, the Blue Ocean edition feels stiff and solid compared to many iSUP options in its price range. In other words, it doesn't feel flimsy or bendy on rougher waters, and while it is relatively light it still holds its own in rapids and when surfing standing waves.
The final upgrade on the new Performer 11 Blue Ocean is in the fin setup. It comes with a fixed thruster (three-fin) setup constructed with Body Glove's proprietary "Dura-Fin" rubberized plastic composite. The upside is a much more sturdy, durable fin that we tested in shallow class-two rapids on the Truckee River. After a few miles of scraping copious boulders and running aground in exceptionally shallow sections, both the bottom of the board and the fins finished the run unscathed. The flex that enables these fins to be so resilient also comes with a downside: they tend to lose their form and bend when the board is deflated and left in the carrying case. It's a common issue with fixed fins on iSUPs and can be avoided with careful packing, but still something to consider when thinking about your purchase.
For more info on the Body Glove Performer 11 Blue Ocean iSUP, check out the Body Glove website.