Only best products in a given category receive “A” grade.
Paddle Board Highlights
Who is it for?
If you’re looking for a very stable, non-inflatable, all-around paddle board to paddle short distances then the Universal by Surftech is worth a look. Due to its 32 inch width the board is very stable. The board weighs 28.13lbs and carrying the board is not difficult. Its shape makes the Universal an all-around board that can be used by everyone and is designed primarily for recreation. Its construction and shape combined best fit this board for short-distance paddling, around the beach and dock. Offered in two sizes, a 10’6” or 11’6”, the board retails between $879-$910 and is in the popular mid-tier market in terms of affordability.
The Surftech Universal 2021 SUP is a great all around / touring paddle board best for someone looking for a starter board. The board is fully decked from the nose to the tail making it great for traction for your feet and also if you want to add a kid or pup to the front. The board is nice and stable, great for beginners, but the carrying was slightly uncomfortable with the inability to have a full grip. On the water, the board had an average glide which was expected with the all around shape of the board and is best used for paddling short distances, close to shore. The colorway of the board features a blue and grey combo making it perfectly gender neutral that both men and women alike would enjoy. The bungee included on the nose of the board is great for holding down any gear you want to take with you. Overall, the Universal continues to be a great board for beginners or someone that enjoys all around style paddling. It’s affordable, durable, and looks good. What’s not to love?!
Paddle Boards fall into two broad categories, All-Around and Specialty boards, with all-around designed primarily for recreation while speciality boards for top performance in specific disciplines
Durability is largely a result of the board construction and shape, with more durable boards typically carrying more materials (added layers, PVC, etc) and as such adding to the weight.
Stability is a product of construction and shape, where boards w/ 30”+ wide and 200+ liters in volume offer plenty of stability for your AVG adult while a board under 26” wide is a challenge.
Glide is a result of board shape and construction, w/ boards weighing under 30lbs and designed for racing offering best glide while recreational boards normally being on the slow side
Dimensions10'6" x 32" x 5"
Industry standard in board dimensions reads: L (length, from nose to tail) x W (width, from rail to rail at midpoint length), and H (height, from top to bottom of board at midpoint length).
Standup paddle boards tend to fall into 4 different weight classes: extremely lightweight (under 20 lbs), lightweight (20-28 lbs), average weight (28-35 lbs), heavy (above 35 lbs).
Volume is a key metric to determine how much weight a board can carry. Boards w/ 200+ liters offer most floatation with boards under 150 liters typically for high-performance surf
Capacity is the max cargo weight a stand up paddle board can carry, considering not only the paddler’s weight but whatever else the paddler may choose to carry alongside him/her.
Add On'sBungee Nose, Full Deck Pad
Add-on’s include bungee cords, a minimalist way to haul things; Connexsup, which allows for all sorts of attachments, even fishing rods; and FCS II/Connect, for easy fin instal.
Handles directly affect carrying ease, with external grip handles (Liftsup & EZgrab) offering most comfort, Internal Ergo Grip the mid-tier comfort, and box handles as least comfortable.
Fishing rod holders and/or paddle holders can make paddling that much more pleasant, esp. when needing holders for the rod or having a safe place for the paddle during yoga.
|10 Feet 6 Inches||32 Inches||5 Inches||208 L|
|11 Feet 6 Inches||32.5 Inches||5 Inches||238 L|
Previous Versions: 2017
On first impressions, the graphics and color are good, the shape design is quite average, and the construction strikes as rugged. The Universal has some nice looks, coming with a nice and bold play of color and graphics. The shape design is typical of boards in these categories, offering features tailored primarily for recreation and the construction does appear strong as something that can survive heavy use. This paddle board is difficult to carry because of it being over 30 lbs and the glide feels slow, which is to be expected since lightweight construction and speed-centric design are not at focus. A perk is that the board has a full deck pad from the tail to the nose which is great for traction, especially if you want to bring your pup along for the ride. And once you put it all together, the Universal is a very stable board that everyone who can walk should be able to easily stand on it and paddle away.
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