GLADIATOR PADDLE BOARD REVIEW | ELITE 10â€™6
The Gladiator SUP Elite announces itself in two ways, package and looks, and both demand attention when you factor in the sub Â£500 retail price. For families and people looking for their first inflatable sup on a budget, this is a â€˜your search stops hereâ€™ product. Pump, practical 10â€™6 all-rounder board, wheeled bag and three piece adjustable paddle, leash, phone case and free shipping. Midweek decide you want to start paddling, Saturday morning youâ€™re paddling.
Gladiator Boards come from a long established European RHIB manufacturer that have been supplyingâ€™ Gladiator boards to Eastern Europe for 7 years and entered the UK 2 years ago. This eye catching 10â€™6 is packed with all add-ons youâ€™d hope to find on an all-rounder: mid and aft carry handles, cargo bungee, front tow point, and underneath removable centre fin and two moulded parallel side bites. The paddle is a 3 piece carbon nylon paddle made by Bravo, logoâ€™d up as Gladiator to match the board. Itâ€™s packaged in a roomy wheeled backpack along with leash, phone case and you can even zip the shoulder straps away for flying.
The Eliteâ€™s double laminated high density drop stitch mirrors the premium brands qualities. Gladiator doesnâ€™t stop there with premium board expectations, the board shape is 32 wide through-out the mid-section with a well-designed nose and tail of the board. This gives the rider a stable shape that paddles though the water with exceptional ease, this is partly down to the 4â€™75 thick high density drop stitch meaning the board sits comfortably in the water.
A patch on the deck declares you can inflate the Elite to 22psi, the brand says 20psi is plenty and we actually found 18psi to be perfectly adequate for a stiff, light shell. This board pushes easily through the water and though itâ€™s not its remit, we ended up using it in small waves during a sup instructorâ€™s course â€“ it picked them up surprisingly well and rumbles in better than some more expensive inflatables weâ€™ve used. So whereâ€™s the catch? There isnâ€™t one, we could say that the nylon blade on the paddle could be stiffer but for the intended use itâ€™s not really an issue. The edges of the clamps on the paddle shaft, while not sharp or abrasive, arenâ€™t as comfortably rounded as others weâ€™ve tried. Gladiator have aggressively and decisively brought a fully functional product out that gives the intended market exactly what they want: a stable board that paddles just fine and comes with everything (except PFD) to immediately get you on the water. The European manufacturing and UK distribution should give confidence to commercial operators who would be attracted to stock this board for lakeside hire and lessons.
SUP International Magazine
Original Review can be found here