Photo: Ric Burnley
Red Paddle SUP

I have 11 kayaks and four standup paddleboards in the Kayak Angler gear cave, but when I’m heading out for an after-work fishing trip I grab the inflatable Red Paddle Co 10’8” Activ. RPC sent a test boat last fall and I didn’t waste time getting on the water.

Red Paddle Co. Active

At 10-feet, eight-inches long and 34-inches wide, the Activ MSL is perfect for quick trips and skinny water. My favorite fishing hole is sheltered and pretty small, so it’s easier to launch the Activ than dragging around a kayak or hard board. The boat is short for quick moves and wide for rock-solid stability. The Activ is a reliable platform for fishing and paddling.

To load the board, I grabbed a single spinning combo, a small box of essential lures and a bottle of water. To make it easier to paddle the SUP, I use an inflatable belt PFD that frees my arms and shoulders. Since I paddle so many boards, I grab an adjustable SUP paddle. A carbon fiber shaft and fiberglass blade make it light and tough.

Fishing a SUP is a blast. It only takes a small fish to pull me around. Landing the fish is always an adventure. Step too close to the water and you’ll be in the water! The Activ excels at stability and manoeuvrability. It was easy to paddle one-handed while hooked up and I could turn around to grab my box or stow my rod. If I moved into the Activ fulltime, I’d add a rod holder and bungee in the stern with adhesive mounts.

Advanced construction and materials make inflatable kayaks stiffer and more responsive. The Activ MSR stands for Monocoque Structural Laminate. That means the outer layer and inner dropstitch core are joined using a process that saves almost five pounds of glue and provides a tougher and lighter board. It also allows the board to be inflated to 25 psi. That’s almost twice as much as a standard board. The result is a smaller, wider board that tracks and paddles as easy as a longer, narrower board.

A kayak angler standing on an Red Paddle Co. Activ SUP

The worst part of owning an inflatable is blowing up the board. Red Paddle included a double chamber pump that provided the power and efficiency to reach the higher psi without working harder.

The best part of inflatables is transport and storage. The Activ folds into a sturdy travel case that can go from a backpack to rolling luggage. The bag has a large, front-open zipper that fits the board, pump and a three-piece paddle.

The Activ is comfortable to fish. The entire deck is covered with EVA foam padding so I could stand barefoot without fatigue. Handles in the bow, stern and each rail make the board easy to carry. Red Paddle Co installed a RAM Mount to the bow so it’s easy to add a rod holder or selfie stick. The boat doesn’t offer any bungees or D-rings, so I didn’t attach a crate or cooler. But the Activ’s beauty is in the light and small package, loading the board with too much gear would take away the advantage.

Red Paddle Co. Activ MSL Specs:


Length: 10’8”

Width: 34”

Volume: 320 L

Rider weight: 250 lbs

Price: $1425



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