Words: Anne Egan
Photos: Peter Tranter
What are balmy summer evenings for, well many things come to mind, so many possibilities, but for me, it is the freedom and joy that comes from spending time on board a paddleboard and drifting happily and lazily along the River Great Ouse in my home town St Ives.
On this occasion, I had the pleasure of reviewing the Aqua Marina Fusion inflatable board. Inflating the board was straightforward using the pump supplied, and then I found it surprisingly light to lift onto the top of my Toyota and to secure it for the mile journey to the launch point. Top-notch construction
First and foremost, the Aqua Marina Fusion’s construction is top-notch. The board is made from high-quality materials that feel durable and sturdy. The board is a vibrant blood red-orange and bright orange design, 32” wide and 6 inches deep and 10’ 10” long. Having not been on a board in a while, I was a little nervous, so the first thing about this board, apart from being light, some 7 kg, was it looked and felt tremendously stable, aided by the redesigned broadened tail for more generous volume. Using the three-part paddle supplied as part of the package, I took off on my knees, quickly and easily transferred upright, and began to enjoy my paddling without any wobbling. The board comes with one central 9-inch removable fin, which was easy to slide into place and remove.
The river was glassily still and serene; a beautiful sunset descended, and I found myself with the entire river empty, apart from a few swans. As I reached the ancient town bridge, two fellow paddle boarders were coming my way. Its dimensions balance stability and speed, allowing for a smooth, effortless glide across the water. The board maintains its steadiness even in slightly choppy conditions created by motor boats, making it an ideal choice for various water conditions.
I’m not going to lie, but I found the included paddle to be a little heavy and clumsy after a while and after a short time, I changed to my Black Project Tempo paddle so I could get to grips with the feel of the board itself. The board glided effortlessly along the water and was easy to track and turn. The three-part paddle supplied was convenient for transport, and for average size hands, a little bigger than mine would have been fine.
This board would be an excellent choice for beginners to intermediate paddlers. It would also suit paddlers who were heavier or taller than me. I am 5’1 and 64kg.
Easy to manoeuvre
Once I started to gather speed, I found the board very easy to manoeuvre, although being relatively short; this board was possibly too wide once I felt confident. However, on a positive note, the board was so stable it was super easy to adjust the position of my feet without any concerns about losing my balance. The non-slip sand-ripple grooved surface instils confidence, providing excellent grip and allowing you to focus on your technique without worrying about slipping off the board. From a perspective of pure relaxation, for me, it was fine. As the session progressed towards the end, I needed to be mindful of my strokes not to catch the paddle on the rail.
An excellent all-rounder, and I am looking forward to using it again, perhaps seeing how it handles different environments and conditions. If you’re in the market for a reliable and performance-driven paddleboard, the Aqua Marina Fusion is worthy of consideration.
Price: around £450.00