Review: Body Glove Performer 11 iSUP
11′ x 34″; 24 lbs.
The Performer 11 is a newer model from Body Glove’s debut line of inflatable SUPs, and based on our experience testing it, the company is coming into the market strong.
It’s a flatwater touring SUP designed by veteran whitewater paddler and Body Glove ambassador Luke Hopkins to perform as well for pros on the river as it does for the whole family on lakes or bays, and it offers nuanced features that improve upon many of the weak points we’ve experienced with traditional iSUP designs.
The first thing we noticed about the Performer 11 is its thickly reinforced rubberized nose, included to protect against the wear and tear that comes with portaging, banging into shallow rocks or running aground on sand. We all know how hard kids can be on equipment, and for a SUP that’s going to be shared around the family or taken down river, this added bumper prolongs the life of the iSUP substantially.
The Performer 11 features a triple-layer stringer and heavy duty poly-vinyl fabric that also act as reinforcement to make the board a good option for families that’ll put its durability to the test. Beyond a tough-as-nails layup, those features are also included to enhance the board’s rigidity for a more stable, stiffer ride. We found—when fully inflated to 15PSI—this board is as stable as any iSUP we’ve tried with a similar frame.
The Performer 11 offers six lash points that can be strung with webbing to stow belongings for longer paddles and touring outings. Its deck pad is good quality that’s likely to hold up well over time, and it spans a healthy section of the board for secure footing with most maneuvers.
Another novel feature of the Performer 11 that’s unique to Body Glove inflatables is its carrying handle. The strap is a comfortable hold that carries the board’s 24 pounds of weight with ease, and features a Velcro holster that can be used to strap in a paddle for compact carrying to the beach and doubles as a water bottle holster for easy on-water access to hydration.
The fin setup on the Performer 11 employs the tried-and-true method for whitewater SUPs that applies well to a family-oriented inflatable: three built-in rubber fins that flex instead of breaking when ran aground and roll up intact with the board for quick and easy storage. The rubber fins do offer less tracking and stability than stiffer plastic or fiberglass fins, and they can sometimes wind up bent after storage. But for a board that’s intended to hold up through rough use by the kids or downriver touring, the durability benefits indisputably outweigh the performance costs of this fin setup.
At 34 inches wide, the board's extra volume provides welcome stability on the river that compensates for the shorter fins. One feature we’d add to the Performer 11 is a grab hold at the nose and tail to assist swimmers and make hauling the board out on steep banks an easier endeavor.
The Performer 11’s sharper nose profile can help cut through chop, but can also get caught and swung sideways by bigger waves in the ocean or on the river. It worked great in flat water for our testers, but it's really a matter of design preference. For an all-around family board or just a one-board quiver, this outline is an option that works well in a variety of water scenarios.
All in all, the Performer 11 is a versatile inflatable SUP. It’s a manageable entry-level design suitable for kids and beginners that’s still adequate for more veteran paddlers as well, an especially good board to keep at the lake house or take on recreational river floats with the family. The carry bag is big and roomy with nice straps for easy hauling when stowed, an oft overlooked feature of inflatables that makes a big difference in overall usability.
Performer 11 package includes:
- Adjustable aluminum 3pc. standup paddle (70-85 in)
- High-pressure hand pump w/ gauge
- Triple layer stringer rigidity
- Durable backpack
- Dry pouch
- Coil leash
- Repair kit
Coming 2018: The Body Glove Angler fishing iSUP