When we first clapped eyes on Vandal’s inflatable 10.7ft Free we were smitten. Up close this is an extremely attractive sled – and well manufactured to boot. Fixtures and fittings are top drawer and the deck pad is very comfy underfoot.
The supplied pump is efficient during the inflation process and getting the 15psi rammed in is no problem. We would’ve liked to have seen a more rigid fin protruding from the hull, as it does tend to bend when packed up. a bit of teasing will have it standing proud again though.
The Vandal’s hull shape is a slightly unusual one. With a decent amount of width in key places (32”) it tapers down to a rounded pin tail that looks more like something you find on a surfboard. This was intriguing. It’s also a pretty rigid iSUP, considering there’s no added rail stiffener system in place. Out afloat that rigidity does make itself known, with only minimal ‘breaking’ across the centre point. Some give is always to be expected with inflatables, but it’s not significant to cause paddlers issue.
Cruising on the flat the Vandal is an enjoyable SUP to paddle. Some inflatables sit in the water while others ride on top. The Vandal sort of falls between the two, which is a tricky performance trait to achieve. Whether by accident or design it’s an enjoyable glide when simply pottering about and even when a bit of chop and flotsam enter the mix it doesn’t unsettle the ride as much as more elevated iSUPs.
As already mentioned there’s quite a surfy orientated tail stuck to the back of the Vandal Free 10.7ft. So we found a few peelers to play with and see how it faired.
Dropping in is easy enough – the Vandal rocketing forwards at a brisk rate. Turning needs deft footwork to not trip a rail. Once sliding along, however, it remains composed and can even be carved gently up and down. The fins do slip a little, but then this isn’t a board with wave pedigree. It’s a fun stick to test yourself in small waves and a board to learn fundamental paddle surfing technique on.
Vandal’s Free 10.7ft iSUP is a good looking piece of paddle boarding equipment. Easy to inflate with the included efficient pump the Vandal’s rigidity is very good and general paddling on flatter water is super fun. If you find a few waves to play with the 10.7ft handles them fine and the Free provides a good platform for learning basic skills in surf. Moulded fins aren’t high performance but they do give ease for anyone not wanting to faff with swapping out. All in it’s a nifty little iSUP that delivers versatile performance across a wide array of environments.