By Richard Harpham
The Aqua Marine Beast is a great all-round board and competes well in the market with a solid ride and well-designed board features. The paddle is stiff and light and is suitable for the price point. The board offers a stable iSUP format great for beginners, with a kick plate and tie-on points to suit more experienced paddlers for step-back turns and longer journeys. The colours and features make it easy on the eye and a good board to enter and progress in SUP.
The board arrived in a standard box with good graphics suggesting the potential for a good adventure. Once unpacked, the strong graphics were revealed along with a pump, simple rucksack bag, coiled leash, SUP pump, fin and a good strong paddle with a carbon fibreglass mix. It all seemed solid and of good quality. A quick pump later, the board was at pressure (15PSI), and it had the right blend of stiffness and rigidity and was not overly heavy.
Getting onto the water, we were excited to give it a go. Previously we had snuck it into our hire fleet to see how it fared with beginners and more novice paddlers for stability and performance. They all loved it. A key element of the Aqua Marina board that impressed us was the front deck fixing straps which held the kit, dry bags, shoes and other kit well without any risk of the kit going overboard. The immediate feeling was that the board construction was uncompromising with my heavy timber.
There was no flex, and immediately putting the power down through the paddle worked well. The paddle showed no flutter or bend, transferring max power from the board to the paddle. (important as there is higher flow than usual).
Once into the swing of things, we tried some step-back turns and ‘walking the board’, all of which felt comfortable on the board especially given its forgiving volume, shape and solid construction. Paddling upstream into higher flows, the board tracked well, maintained speed and had good glide for the round market that it was pitching at.
There is an option of a retrofit seat for the top of the board to convert it into a splash and dash kayak model, which can be clipped to the D rings around the board. The double skin construction does feel ready for big adventures and has drop stitch and compression stringers to provide core stability. The bag is functional (not waterproof), and the coiled leash should be used with a waist belt. The paddle provided was solid and worthy of the price point. New Aqua Marina boards are equipped with CIRCUPACK™ made from 100% waste plastic. Every year they aim to prevent over three million plastic bottles from ending up in our landfills.
Overall the Aqua Marina Advanced Series Beast is a fantastic board for ‘all-round paddling needs’, which would suit beginner to intermediate needs. It has the volume and rounded shape with a long deck pad and kicker plate to be fun in the waves and deliver on rivers and lakes. Paddle Boarding is all about the feel, and this board felt great to paddle. The deck features were well-spaced, placed and well-thought-out. We look forward to trying the board on the sea on future trips and in some white water.
- Kickpad for step-back turns.
- Front deck red strap Bungee system straps for kit.
- D loops for kit fixing for journeys.
- Swift attach fin.
- Coiled leash (recommend a waist belt).
- Carbon/fibreglass paddle.
- Value for money 5
- Fittings 5
- Ride 4
- Paddle 4
- Accessories 3
- Durability 5
- Pump 4
- Construction 4 (not long-term tested)
Volume: 312 litres
Net weight: 20.9lbs/9.5kg
Max. payload: 308lbs/140kg