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Want to get outside? Are you searching for an adventure on a budget? If so then we might just have the standup paddleboard for you. The Gili Sports Air 10’6″ brings together all the things we love from other brands in a budget package ready to hit the water.
Gili Sports is a rider-owned and operated business meaning that the same people writing the cheques are out riding the boards day in day out with full confidence in their product.
The Gili Sports Air 10’6 is the most popular all-around board in the Gili lineup and the one that really took our interest with so many great features we wanted to find out just how good it was.
Keep on reading to find out what we thought.
|Weight Capacity||280 lbs|
Gili Sports Air 10’6
The Gili Sports Air 10’6 inflatable standup paddle board is a great option if you’re looking for an affordable all-around SUP! The package includes everything: the board, paddle, dual action pump, leash, large backpack and a repair kit.
The Gili Sports Air 10’6 isn’t the highest quality of boards, but it has been built with all of the care and attention you would expect from any top-end manufacturer. Starting from the center you will find a drop-stitch core, this is the norm for all inflatable stand up paddle boards whereby thousands of tiny strands connect the top and bottom to help better hold its shape, even when under pressure.
On the outside, the PVC is a single layer military-grade fabric which is strong and well built. Being just a single layer does mean the board is a good bit lighter than double layered boards but this will lack some durability in the long term.
The finish of the board is really marvelous with a choice of three different colors to really match your style. The top deck two-tone design is both stylish and neat and the seams have been well constructed.
Overall for a budget all-around SUP board, the finish is truly outstanding.
Laying atop the board is a really exceptional deck pad, made of EVA foam the pad is both comfortable and offers a remarkable amount of traction.
One feature that we really like was that the deck pad actually went right out to the rails on each side to give a marvelous shape that is extremely comfortable. The oversized deck pad is ideal for yoga as well as extra room/traction for furry friends or your kids.
The light and dark grey contrast deck pad are the same across all three colored boards and actually looks great with any color!
D-rings + Bungee
The Gili Sports Air 10’6″ is ready to go with its simple 7 D ring set up. No thrills or extras just the basics of exactly what’s needed.
Upfront, Gili has included a huge cargo area encompassing 6 D rings. The storage space is large and offers plenty of room to stow any accessories or dry sacks. The last D ring can be found on the tail, this chap is especially for your board leash to attach to.
Over the past year, Gili sports has given the Air 10’6 a quick update switching from a single fin to a superb tri-fin setup. For us, an all-round board must have tri-fin capabilities. A single fin board is ideal for cruising but just doesn’t cut the mustard as far as an all-round board goes.
The team at Gili Sports has obviously taken this on board with the update. Moving to two small rubber fixed fins and a larger removable center fin on a snap-lock fixing system. It is these two outer fins that provide the grip and drive as you turn the board, aiding stability and allowing the board to move smoothly. The larger center fin is perfect for tracking and cruising and really helps the board to hold a line.
Gili Sports use the popular snap-lock fitting, this allows the large center fin to attach quickly and securely without the need for tools. This also means it can be removed easily before packing so it’s out of the way when rolling the board.
The center fin is made from a hard plastic which is stiff and sturdy, whereas the two outer fins are shorter and made from a flexible rubber designed to bend and bounce on obstacles.
Overall this is a great mix and provides the ideal platform for an all-round board setup.
The Gili Sports Air 10’6” is a single layer with a recommended pressure of 12-15PSI, this is ideal for small to medium riders but for larger riders, you probably want to be a little more generous to give you a much stiffer board.
Inflation is super easy with the included dual-action pump, simply connect the valve to the hose and start pumping. Be aware the needle on the pump usually will not move until you get to about 7PSI (about 4 minutes) after this you can easily follow your progress on the built-in pressure gauge. To reach 15 PSI will take you anywhere between 7 and 9 minutes depending on how athletic you are feeling. Of course, an electric pump can make this a lot easier.
For deflation simply open the valve on the tail and start rolling, if you have a friend at hand, get them to sit on the board as you roll to help expel the last of the air!
Another handy hint! Did you know you can always switch the air hose on your pump to help suck out the last of the air? Leave you with that out of the box feel once more.
When the Gili Sports Air 10’6” was first passed across our desk we thought we were in for just another basic board but as we unwrapped the carton our eyes lit up, packed full of features we were already impressed.
The carton was a bit like Aladdin’s cave all we were missing was a genie to pop out. As we cleared the mountain of plastic wrap, we were left looking at just about everything we could need to hit the water straight away.
As we rolled up to the cove we set about pumping, setting into a rhythm for the long haul so we were very surprised that in just 8 minutes we were already fully inflated and ready for action.
We finished off snapping together the paddle and attaching the ankle leash before jumping aboard.
On the water, the board felt surprisingly stable and predictable. The large center fin really enabled the board to track well and cover some distance with ease. Due to the single-layer construction, the board felt light and nimble and was able to turn and accelerate quickly.
Overall the Gili Sports Air 10’6” definitely exceeded our expectations for a budget paddle board. As a beginner, the Gili will feel sturdy and stable allowing you to take your first steps onto the water in confidence. For a more advanced rider, you will certainly feel the flex in the board but will be surprised just how well it paddles, certainly holding its own against other similar boards.
Once off the water, we were extremely impressed by how well the board packed down quickly and easily, all slipping into its storage bag (oversized backpack) with ease ready to play another day.
Included with the Gili Sports Air 10’6 is a basic stand up paddleboard paddle. Built with an aluminum shaft and a nylon blade it isn’t the lightest of all paddles. Though it is virtually indestructible, making it perfect for a novice who just wants to get going or a child for bashing around. The aluminum is cold to touch and the nylon very flexible but ideal for punting around the sand. A nice touch is that the paddle is supplied in the matching color for your board package and packs down neatly into your board bag for easy storage.
It is always nice to receive a board leash as part of the package; the leash is certainly one of the most underrated accessories which can mean the difference for a beginner between a long swim and quickly remounting the board.
The color-coordinated leash sits comfortably around the ankle and attaches easily to the tail D ring of the board. In the past, we have tried a selection of leashes but for flatwater and cruising the coiled is certainly our favorite sitting up high on the board with no chance to snag in weeds.
One of the best accessories included with the Gili Sports Air 10’6 has to be the pump. This double action pump is smooth and comfortable to use. Starting in high volume mode you can quickly get the board up to about 8-10 PSI before inserting the plug and switching it to high-pressure mode to easily reach the desired 15 PSI of pressure.
The pump is the same as found with many higher-end boards so was a really nice addition to this budget package.
There is no point owning a portable piece of sports equipment unless you actually have a way of transporting it. Now that’s why the Gili Sports Air 10’6 is sold with a great looking bag included.
The stylish bag has a single front opening compartment which is large enough to store your board and all accessories. The zip is tough and will hold everything securely inside.
On the outside the oversized rucksack straps are large and padded, they are designed to be comfortable. Even though this is one of the lightest inflatable stand up paddleboards on the market, a bit of comfort while you carry your Gili will really make your day much more pleasurable.
One thing we felt was missing from the bag were cinching straps inside to hold the board secure. It is not essential but certainly a nice extra option.
Lastly the little orange tube of fun and happiness, the repair kit. This is the one item you hope never to need but is important you always have it nearby to get you back on the water as soon as possible.
Included in the repair kit you will find a couple of patches, a valve wrench, and a tube of adhesive. It is important to understand how it works as you can’t be sure youtube will connect whilst you are out adventuring!
- 3 Great color options to choose from
- Sold as a full package including everything you need to hit the water
- The bag is large and spacious for board and accessories
- Tri fin set up is the perfect addition
- The pump is one of the best we have seen for the price
- The leash is comfortable to wear
- Single-layer construction not as durable as a double layer
- No key pocket on the ankle leash
- Unfortunately, no cinch straps inside of the bag
- For the heavier rider, the Gili Sports Air does have some flex
Overall, we found the Gili Sports Air 10’6″ to be one of the best all-around boards we have come across for the price, it’s a full package which is perfect for any beginner wanting to have a go or for an intermediate rider looking for a spare board for friends or family. The colors are great and the package is awesome.
If you have a bit more cash to spend then certainly check out the Gili Sports Adventure 11′ or some of the mid-range boards from Nixy or Thurso Surf as both are double layers constructions that will be much more durable in the long run. But if you are on a budget you will be hard done to find anything as complete as the Gili package for the money.
All of the boards from Gili are covered by a 12-month warranty which is a real representation of the trust in their product!
So, what are you waiting for? Pick up, pump up, and enjoy paddling!