Stand-up paddle boarding is a relatively new sport that gains more traction each summer – it was documented in a 2013 report that identified it as the outdoor sporting activity with the most first-time participants in the United States that year.
And there’s no surprise as to why it’s such a popular activity to get into in the warmer months – stand up paddle boards offer a fun, relaxing way to play in the water.
With minimal gear, you can paddle among the ocean waves, placid lakes and perhaps even river rapids.
With the full workout that paddleboarding gives, it’s become a popular training activity.
And when you add on the fact that you stand at full height – giving you a beautiful view of your surroundings – it makes it one of the more attractive water sports for leisure.
The paddleboard model we have here is the inflatable Vilano Voyager; featuring an 11-foot long board, 31 inches wide.
At this length, it’s 10% longer than the other Vilano models that come before it, like the Journey and Navigator which both clock in at 10 feet long.
That extra foot could make all the difference between paddling alone and with a friend (or pet!) coming along for the ride, which doubles the fun.
The Voyager is an all-round inflatable paddleboard that is Vilano’s attempt to mesh practicality and performance in a lightweight, portable package that still remains almost as durable as a hard board.
It’s a good first pick for beginner paddleboarders that wouldn’t want to invest so much into high-performance boards built for racing, but still have some spending power and can afford to buy something bigger and more solid than the Journey and Navigator.
Another key feature that we mentioned several times is that it’s inflatable – when not used, you can carry it around as a 38-inch long tube inside its Backpack Carry bag. It fits nicely in the trunk of your car with room to spare, unlike hard boards, which need to be secured on top of your car.
Because of its ultra-durable PVC material and the Korean Drop-Stitch technique, a fully inflated Voyager looks and feels like a hard board, all while keeping its weight to a feather-light 24.6 pounds.
- Inflated: 11’ (length) x 31” (width) x 6” (thickness)
- Deflated: 38” (length) x 1’ (diameter)
- Maximum Load Capacity: Holds up to a 300lb load
- Construction: Ultra-durable PVC with Korean Drop-stitch
- Complete Package: Board, Hand pump with Integrated pressure gauge, adjustable 3-Piece Aluminum paddle, Removable fin and Backpack Carry Bag
The package includes a hand pump that has a pressure gauge, which measures up to 18 psi, but 15-16psi will keep it sufficiently rigid for normal use. It’ll take under 300 pumps to fully inflate it from zero, but we recommend that you keep going until it hits 15.
Its thickness is somewhat on the high end, but it gives the board the ability to stay rigid even when heavily laden, and holds its rider above the water.
The board’s aesthetic is quite sexy, in our opinion; the red base and black motifs make for a very appealing color palette. You don’t really have any other color options with the Voyager, though, but it’s common to Vilano boards, which differentiate their models by their palette.
Overall the Vilano Voyager is an ideal board to start with if you’re a beginner, for its use extends well into your paddleboarding days when you begin to get more adept at it.
It glides through water gracefully for its size, and can take on bigger swells as you bring it out to the ocean.
Vilano Voyager at Amazon.com
Click below to see the Vilano Voyager on Amazon.com
Pro's & Con's
- Thick Board: Stable in the water, also makes for higher loads
- Stable, comfortable grip: Diamond-groove traction covers ⅔ of the board
- Ultra Portable: When fully deflated, the Vilano Voyager can be rolled up to a compact 38-inch long and 1ft in diameter tube.
- No Repair Kit
- Not the cheapest model
- Non-adjustable paddle length
Features & Accessories
- High Quality Deck Pad: The diamond groove traction pad (black on red – again, really sexy) covers almost ⅔ of the board’s top surface, giving the rider maximum comfort and grip as they stand on the board.
- Carry Handle:The Voyager comes with a hand grip conveniently placed in the center of the board, for when you want to carry your inflated board around, or when you need to get back on top after falling into the water.
- Stainless Steel D-Rings: There are seven stainless steel, rust-proof D-Rings attached to the top of the board – three in front and four behind. With a board of this size and carrying capacity, there are so many things you can bring along for the ride. We don’t recommend overloading your vessel because of how sluggy it gets in the water, but sometimes it’s necessary and the Voyager would be the best guy for the job.
- Bungee Cords: The four D-rings at the back of the board are connected with bungee cord to help you affix things that can’t be secured with the rings alone.
The Voyager comes complete with a handful of accessories that let you pump and go the moment you buy it – there’s no need to source for other pieces of equipment as Vilano’s got your back covered.
- Three-Piece Paddle: The three-piece, 75-inch aluminium paddle isn’t as easy to grip as most paddles we’d recommend you to get but it’s good to start with and we give props to Vilano for being nice enough to include one. The length isn’t adjustable either. At the very least, it floats in the water.
- Pump/Pressure Gauge: The pressure gauge goes up till 18psi but 15-16 psi is sufficient for most use unless your total load is toeing the maximum weight capacity of 300lbs. Do note that the gauge won’t show the reading at first until you get a certain amount of air inside the board. It’s can get pretty difficult to add in the last few pumps as the air pressure gets higher, so it’s easier to get the initial pumping done, do some other paddling prep, then return to finish it off a while later. The hand pump is very reliable, but if you don’t feel like getting an arm workout before you hit the water, consider investing in an electric pump.
- Removable Fin: An 8-inch long fin that could help provide extra tracking in more trying conditions, but removed when the need calls for it, like in shallow water.
- Carry Bag: And finally, a way to store all of this in one convenient package for easy carry. As you carry this bag around, with board, paddle, pump and everything else inside, you can think about how smart you were for not getting a hard paddleboard.
The Vilano Voyager is a great balance between a stable board that’s beginner friendly, a big and broad one that provides utility, and an ergonomic touring style for the speed demons among you. It’s mainly built for casual paddlers, and this board’s durable make will make sure that it lasts long enough to follow you from your beginner days till the day you can glide effortlessly through the waves and beyond.