2021 Red Paddle 12’6″ and 13’2″ Voyager Review
A review of Red Paddle Co’s new 2021 Voyager series – 12’6″ and 13’2″
12’6 Voyager Review
It has been amazing to watch inflatable boards evolve. They are more durable, lighter, tougher and stiffer. The pump used to be the weak point of many standard boards. Red Paddle turned a lot of that around with great designs and manufacturing, however no one was able to create a board that paddled as nicely as a displacement hull on a rigid board. That is until now, drumroll…to introduce the new Voyager series from Red Paddle.
I got my first view of the boards in early September. The shape of the board from the mid section back is similar to the past. The familiar RSS stiffening rods are present though changed a bit which allows them to be inserted a bit easier. The great roomy rear deck that can give you a large platform for gear and a stable platform to deal with all kinds of water, still exists. Our local waters have wind driven ocean waves and a strong river that pushes out into the sound creating very choppy waters. Many people really appreciate a stable board to create strong paddle strokes from. The 12’6 with it’s 32 inch beam gives you that. That alone is a key component of a touring board, you want to be confident paddling it in tough waters. The tie downs on bow and stern are different this year with a wider flat stretchy webbing that reportedly hold gear very well. The handles all around are numerous which makes hauling a loaded board easier but they are also comfortable which can make the odd portage better as well.
Red Paddle did change the fin arrangement on the Voyager series. The single deep fin of the past is gone and dual fins allow the board to track just as well and have a slightly shallower draft. The fin boxes are both US fin box so if you want to change the fins to suit your paddling style and waters this is easy. The magic design sauce this year was primarily directed to the bow of this board.
The nose of the board is now shaped. Not just more pointed but rockered, a truly wave splitting shape. This allows the board to track very nicely and slice through the water cleanly and easily, whether that water is wave filled or calm glass like a morning lake. It is awesome. I found the board faster and easier to paddle than ever before. It came up to speed quickly as well which provides more stability. This shaping wizardry keeps the board super stable and allows it to easily slip through the water like it’s displacement brethren. Aside from the re worked strapping system the only thing I have a bit of concern with is the wet feet that this bow shaping delivers. There is a bit of a well on the front of the board, but if you are that worried about wet feet maybe paddle boarding isn’t the best sport for you.
So my favourite ocean touring board just got way better. You might be at the cottage with kids, a dog and a cooler or you might be on the ocean. This board stays light, tough and stable but is now significantly faster than in the past. Nice job Red.
A 13’2, 30 inch touring board should be a rocket. The old Red Paddle board was that, but I didn’t really love it. I was a wider 12’6 fan as I felt it gave you a better paddling platform which made up for any speed lost by it’s girth. This new 13’2 has changed my viewpoint and I just ordered one for myself!
Red’s new 2021 line is strong. They improved the Titan pump and the new Titan 2 moves just as much air as the last pump just as easily but now packs up 1/3 smaller which is great. The RSS stiffener systems are all slightly modified to make it easier to install. Other than that the great travel worthy bag stays the same and the product is awesome. What is really new are the fins and the nose on the Voyager series. I feel it really makes the 13’2 the rocket it needs to be and it does this while adding to the stability of this board which is awesome.
The twin fins on the rear seem to increase its stability. Of course it tracks very well but I feel the increased lateral resistance keeps the board on line and flatter. I didn’t expect that. The shaped nose is of course the other difference. This bow now splits the water and allows the 30 inch beam to easily flow through the water. In waves it now settles in and doesn’t get bounced around. Overall the board feels much more stable and slippery through the water than ever before. This board is a travelling machine. You can load it up and go places or just use it as a fast day tripper. I am really looking forward to doing long morning paddles on the Ottawa river and in the past wouldn’t have chosen it for ocean work. With the stability now offered with this new nose and fin system, I feel this board will do it all. I know I will be able to cover a lot of ground regardless of the waters.
Red continues to push the envelope with their designs which benefits all of the paddlers out there.