Cascadia Board Co. builds surf and paddleboards on the west coast of Canada. Born in the surf off Vancouver Island, their woodgrain boards speak to the tall trees in Cascadia or the pacific northwest. Cascadia have recently branched out into inflatable SUPs, or iSUPs, as a convenient way to get out on the water and still have room to store a board at home. I spent a few weeks with one of their inflatables, the 10’6″ Chinook, this summer to take it for a test drive, err, paddle.
Cascadia Chinook Specs
The Chinook is a flexible all-rounder that can tour, glide over flat water or hit the white water. I was mostly on flat lake water and in-shore ocean chop for my testing.Specs:
- Length: 10’6″
- Removable standard centre fin, 2 fixed fins
- 234 litre volume
- 13 kg (28 pounds)
- Heavy duty dual layer lamination and 6 inch drop stitch.
- 14-18 psi for best performance
What do you get?
- Backpack bag
- Dual phase pump
- Repair kit
- 2 piece paddle
Inflating and set up
Set up is easy and takes about 10-15 minutes of pumping. The dual-action pump is great for filling up the Chinook quickly. A small switch on the pump switches from pumping air on the push and pull to only on the push. For the final 3-5 PSI it gets harder to push and switching to only pumping air on the push of the pump takes less effort.There’s a pin in the valve that has 2 positions, open and closed. Make sure it’s in the closed position before pumping much. I made the mistake of leaving it open and pumping for 10 minutes but then all the air comes out as soon as you remove the pump hose. You can test it by taking off the pump host when it’s about half way full and confirming the air stays in the board! It should be in the “up” position to stay closed.
I deflate my SUPs every time to take them home so they’re easier to store but if you have the space you can leave it inflated and take it straight to the beach. Using an extra valve attachment you can connect a car tire pump straight to the SUP and inflate that way. I will be getting one of those as soon as I can! I pump up the SUPs a few times for testing but after that it’s just tedious if you are going out a lot.The Chinook comes with 2 permanent hard rubber fins and 1 removable nylon fin. This makes for a good combo for doing anything you want. I usually pumped up the board at my car and then attached the fin at the water. The fin attaches easily with no tools.
The first thing I noticed with this board in the water was the stability. At 6 inches thick and a volume of 234 litres, the Chinook is very buoyant. It easily held me far out of the water at 185 pounds. My daughter would sit on it as well for another 30 pounds for a total of 215 pounds with no issue.I tested the Aluminum Adjustable Paddle from Cascadia with the board. It’s not a super lightweight option but it is very durable and certainly lightweight enough for paddling around. It adjusted for height with a little clip at the top. The clip pulls off and then the paddle slides out longer. It extends from 180mm up to 220mm. The paddle is quite rigid with little flex and has foam inside to float in case it goes in.
The deck is padded with a comfortable foam that’s easy on the feet and provides some grip. I found it comfortable to stand on with or without shoes. The white foam gets a bit dirty standing on it with dirty shoes but it washed off easily with the hose.
The Chinook comes with 3 fins, 2 permanent and one 9 inch removable. The 2 permanent fins are made of a hard rubber and are extremely hard to break. These work in a pinch too if you forget the large fin. They also work if you’re in a rocky area or stream and don’t have the depth for a larger fin.
The Cascadia inflatables come with their All Around Fin Flex but there’s also the reinforced version that’s a bit stiffer. I forgot the large fin once and was surprised with the difference it made. Both the tracking and stability are considerably better with the large fin. Like a keel on a sailboat the fin seems to reduce the rocking left to right.
2 permanent and one removable fin is a nice setup on an inflatable SUP. Though some boards are coming with 3 removable fins which could be nice for being able to change all your fins out or just for easier storage.
Storage on the board is one set of bungees on the front. Most SUPs I’ve seen right are coming with one set. Two sets would make it a little more versatile but this is more of a day-use and play board so it works well. The Cascadia Tender is a longer board, more suited to touring and would benefit from 2 sets of bungees for gear. 2 large d-rings on the bow and stern make it easy to lash down.
Packing up and storing
Packing up and storing the Chinook is easy. Deflate, roll, stuff into the bag. The Cascadia rep suggested using an electric pump in reverse with a valve adapter to deflate them faster and keep the air out. I didn’t have an adapter to try but will give this method a go when I get one.The bag is mostly mesh with a bit of padding on the bag. There’s a small pocket on the back with compression straps on the sides and a clip on the top for closing it. The SUP has to be rolled fairly tight to fit into the bag easily. I focused on rolling it up as tight as I could and it was easy to get into the bag.
A duffel style bag with a big zippered opening would make this process easier. The bag that comes with the Body Glove Performer 11 opens wide open and is a bit easier to place the SUP, pump and paddle into.Basic backpack straps with a hip belt make it easy to carry down to the water or along the trail a little ways. There’s not a lot of padding on the back panel. As long as the fins from the SUP are pointed out the side or the back then it was plenty comfortable.
The aluminum adjustable paddle that comes with the kit is a 2 piece and doesn’t shorten down much. It easily fit in my car but doesn’t fit inside the bag. A 3-piece paddle would be a nice upgrade to make the whole kit a little smaller. The nylon blade is very durable and there wasn’t any issues on rocks.
The Cascadia Chinook SUP is a great option for an buoyant all-round inflatable. It tracks very well with the large removable fin, is easy to inflate with the dual phase pump and is very durable. A 3 piece paddle and backpack with a larger opening would make this a stellar kit for any kind of water.Have you paddled a Cascadia SUP?
What did you think?
Do you have a different brand? What do you think about it?
I used a demo Chinook from Cascadia Board Co. for this review. Big thanks to Cascadia for setting up the demo.