Hornet Watersports have a number of years under their collective paddle sports belts – mainly within dragon boating. Recently the brand moved into SUP; producing a line of paddles (see review next issue) and now inflatable stand up paddle boards. We got hold of Hornet’s 10.6ft x 30” to put it through its paces.
It’s an interesting iSUP with some alternative features to what you usually find in this size. Although 10.6ft in length, it boasts quite a pointy nose and nearly 4” of rocker. It is 30” wide and yet nearly 6” thick in places with a relatively narrow square tail – it appears mini race board esque.
A well-constructed, double lined iSUP, it comes with a basic pump – effective but with maybe too narrow a base – and adequate draw string top bag. Its two small side fins and a larger basic central skeg are fine to use, although we’d rather see a higher end US box system allowing for fin swap outs. Bright orange deck grip – which is extremely non-slip – finishes off the Hornet’s look.
Sweeping from the put in is stable and the board easily slides over chop – its nose rocker helping deliver a smooth ride. The board’s thickness gives stability and it’s easy to play around on with confidence, although at elevation. Paddlers will feel this most predominantly sluicing off the back of chop
It’s a reasonably quick SUP and will reward proactive SUPers – spinning from the tail is particularly fun. Glide is efficient and the Hornet catches wind swell with ease – moderate breeze bump riding is therefore doable. The 10.6ft maintains stability and slices through chop when heading into wind, especially if railed to good effect. Tracking is also efficient without too much wandering, it’s narrower pointy nose proving its worth even though this is fairly unique for a board this length.
Rigidity wasn’t an issue, having inflated the Hornet to 15 PSI. We weren’t exactly sure how much to push in as there aren’t any specs to give guidance. That said, from experience and taking note of the Hornet’s manufacturing quality, we’re confident you can ram more in if needed.
Hornet’s 10.6ft inflatable is a new addition to the UK’s iSUP market. With its unique outline it’ll certainly prick the interest of paddlers. Its pronounced point nose makes for efficient straight line tracking in calm and breezy conditions. It’s also a nippy performer when seeking out bumps for downwinding – especially when you consider that the Hornet is only 10.6ft in length. In terms of who would benefit from the Hornet: any coastal paddler looking for an allround inflatable SUP, where breeze is a factor, would no doubt make good use of it with still the option of sweeping calmer waters when opportunities arise.