McConks SUP are another brand new stand up paddle board company in the UK who specialise in inflatables. The company sent us their prototype 10.8ft to put through its paces and we were intrigued to see how it fared.
It’s an unusual shape with such a tapered tail and we weren’t sure how this would affect stability. In the end it wasn’t an issue and the reduced width in the aft section helped with manoeuvrability – especially pivot turns. Beginners and early intermediates may struggle slightly as you need some paddle technique already in the bag to avoid dunkings. With a bit of practice, however, these will become fewer.
Inflating was easy enough – the pump is pretty efficient. The prototype we had stated 10 PSI was ample but, having checked with McConks, we pumped up to 15 PSI. It’s fine to push a bit more in as the board’s manufactured from doubled lined Dropstich and will take it – this adds further rigidity. In fact, McConks say the board is guaranteed to 25 PSI. Seams, gluing, stitching and deck pad (fittings etc) were all fine.
Fin boxes are solid – we doff our caps to real ones being used. The fins themselves weren’t as high spec as some but this has been addressed by McConks and the production model will be supplied with better quality foils.
There’s a lot of thickness in the board (volume). This is great for elevated views and a feeling of floating (literally) on flat water; particularly rivers, sheltered lakes and canals. We mentioned stability concerns at the start but there’s nothing to worry about when standing in the sweet spot – the 10.8ft is super stable in this position. It’s only when stepping back do things turn lively – a good thing for those looking for added performance.
We didn’t get chance to try the McConks in waves, although from experience we’re sure you’d have some fun on smaller swells. And if you fancy dabbling with a spot of mellow river paddling, the McConks would serve SUPers well. Glide was good (better than anticipated). As was tracking. Very few corrective strokes are needed to keep straight and true – the sintered base helps ‘stick’ it to the water.
All in, McConks’ 10ft is an affordable stand up paddle board that offers better quality than the majority of cheap iSUPs available. A rigid (when inflated to 15+ PSI) and versatile platform that a wide range of paddlers will appreciate. Stability up front is good and it’s a fun sled to throw in some nippy pivot turns from the tail – if skills allow. Families will get a lot out of the 10.8ft.
(Check out the web review of McConks’ three piece carbon paddle here – https://standuppaddlemag.co.uk/2016/04/15/travelling-companion-mcconks-adjustable-three-piece-carbon-paddle-review/)
£580 (as part of a package including a fibreglass paddle, leash and wheeled backpack)