Words: Tez Plavenieks
Pics: James Dunstone and Mike Pringuer
Inflatable foil boards hold quite a lot of interest for many. There’s intrigue surrounding how well these compact air boards cope when foiling. It’ll do a great job when an inflatable foil board is manufactured to a high spec with top-quality materials. Air foil boards aren’t quite as performance-oriented as hard boards. But they’re still pretty fun.
Enter Indiana’s 5’8 x 129L iFoil sled. Manufactured from top-quality woven Dropstitch and featuring a double outer skin, it’s a bomb-proof board. But there’s more. The foil plate underneath is super rigid and features a well-paced handle for carrying once your foil’s attached. A forward-placed stiffening stringer adds additional rigidity, whilst, on the tail, there’s a hard-release rubber edge to aid release and lift. On deck, a webbing strap handle makes a great secondary carrying option – particularly when not coupled to a foil. And the integrated foot strap inserts are significant. All this adds up to one of the best inflatable foil boards I’ve had the opportunity of testing.
Once inflated, there’s no question about the Indiana’s rigidity. Granted, compact iFOil boards will always have less deflection than their longer SUP brethren. But the Indiana is especially stiff. Once coupled up, there’s minimal movement with the foil, and it’s super easy to manoeuvre into the water. Also, being inflatable means it’s not as susceptible to dings as a hard board.
The 129L reacts to gusts quickly. And its release isn’t too shabby. Inflatable do ‘stick’ to water more than hard boards, but the Indiana does everything it can to fly early. Once up, it’s a dependable and familiar ride for anyone with prior foiling experience. Nimble and reactive, it’s fulfilling for seasoned riders but is excellent for those learning. Beginners will benefit from not bouncing off a hard surface should they take a dunking. But equally, will be able to learn everything needed to progress. And the easy storage and transport of the 129L only add to its appeal.
Indiana has done a sterling job with the 129L inflatable foil board. It has all the bells and whistles, but bells and whistles are functional rather than merely decorative – a good option for beginners and riders wanting a bigger, easier to transport and store foil board. I didn’t have the conditions, but it’d also make a great SUP foil sled. Out of all the inflatable foil boards I’ve tested, the Indiana 129L is right up there. Thanks to Tom and Mike Pringuer for the additional help with this test.
Also available in 101L and 149L