Redwood Paddle may be based across the Channel in France but their connections with the UK remain. Devon transplant Rory Merry passed us the Funbox Pro 12.6ft to test for this issue and, having first laid eyes on the brand’s gear a few months ago, we couldn’t wait to take it for a spin.
Utilising Dyneematech manufacturing materials, the Funbox Pro is super light; in fact one of the lighter inflatables we’ve reviewed. Its 6” thickness also ensures there are no rigidity issues and the whole product is polished and refined. Over to SUPM’s test team member Richard Heathcote for more.
‘The first thing that struck me about the 12.6ft was how light it was. And as a result it’s very easy to put up on top of the van, already inflated if needed. The carry handle is well padded and also very comfortable, making the whole act of transporting a doddle.
Well made and looking like a more traditional longboard it’s pretty eye catching, the only difference between this and a Cali style longboard is the Redwood skull logo. The supplied fin is simple to insert and secure, using a thumb tightening screw mechanism. Paddling on my local stretch it delivered decent tracking – the rails and tail shedding water efficiently to increase glide.
At 29” wide the Funbox 12.6ft may feel a little lively for some paddlers, but you really feel the increase in performance when paddling hard. (After a few sessions progressing riders wouldn’t notice the 29” width). It’s super quick and would make an interesting first race board. To test its race pedigree further I tried to put a more performance orientated fin in the box but found it didn’t quite fit, which is something Redwood do acknowledge. Sanding a degree of material off the bottom does help though. If you do want to switch to a more performance orientated type then probably best to check this first. (The brand actually sell a more performance skeg optimized for the Funbox Pro, the Stinger, which you can find here – http://redwoodpaddle.com/gb/fins/108-aileron-race-uberworks-stinger-.html).
I’d be interested to see a skilled SUPer make it work at a race event. It’d be amusing to watch an iSUP smoke hard board riders – which I think you could easily do on Redwood’s Funbox Pro. It accelerates quickly and glides beautifully. Water flows beautifully around the board and makes cruising a pleasure, even in choppy water.
For those looking to use the Funbox Pro as a touring board the elastic storage straps on the front add this as an option. It won’t take loads of gear but still enough for day trips. On paper you’d think Redwood’s Funbox isn’t as versatile as it actually is. As such, I enjoyed testing it immensely.’
Redwood Paddle are a newer addition to the UK SUP market but if their 12.6ft Funbox Pro is anything to go by then paddlers will be spoilt. A fast inflatable that can also be used in touring mode, it’s a lively feeling machine which, in the right hands, could be used to great effect within SUP races. Super light, durable and cost effective, Redwood Paddle’s 12.6ft Funbox Pro iSUP is a good example of how inflatables can straddle multiple environments.
Price: 699 Euro