Gili Sports Air 10'6 SUP
- Superb package including many accessories
- Lightweight board design
- Oversized deck pad provides a great amount of traction
- Really good pump for fast inflation
- Included leash essential for safety
- The bag has no internal cinch bands for securing the board
- The board can show some flex for heavier riders
- Single layer design will not be as durable as double layer constructions
Starting a new adventure is always the hardest part, whether it’s a new term in school or taking part in a new hobby. Luckily, we are here to help. We have already done the hard part to make your life easier.
Gili Sports is also a relatively new brand to the paddleboard industry, but have learned quickly, taking on board many of the best ideas and practices from other brands. Currently, they have two boards in their lineup.
Today we are checking out the Gili Sports Air 10’6“ all-around board, this is Gili’s most popular board and the one we were most eager to test. Check out our review of the Gili Sports Adventure 11’ tourer/cruiser here.
Read on to find out what we thought of the Gili Sports Air 10’6.
|Weight Capacity||280 lbs|
As with just about every inflatable stand up paddleboard on the market today Gili is using a drop stitch core covered in a military Grade PVC. The drop stitch core involves thousands of tiny threads linking the top and bottom surfaces of the board. These are all of the tiny dimples you see on the outside of the board. The PVC is then glued onto this core to provide a platform which is both strong and durable holding its rigidity.
To keep the weight and the price down Gili have opted to use a single layer of military-grade PVC. This will be less durable than other double and triple layered designs but means you get a much lighter weight board overall.
The Gili Sports Air 10’6 has been finished with a superb two-tone EVA deck pad matched in the same colorway as the board.
Gili Sports have really thought about comfort when they put this together by making it stretch as far as possible across the boards surface to give you the perfect platform for yoga or just taking a break.
The oversized deck pad provides plenty of grip and is super comfortable for all day use. Not to mention great for any extra passengers.
D-rings + Bungee
On many boards, we have seen a whole host of D rings for bungee cargo areas and an array of accessories, sometimes this can all be a little overwhelming. Lucky for us Gili Sports have decided to keep things simple, concentrating on just the essentials.
At the tail of the board, you will find the first of 7 D rings, as we said each one has a purpose and this chap’s job is to quickly and easily secure your board leash. Positioned on the tail out of the way the stainless-steel D Ring can also be used to secure your board to a pontoon or jetty to stop it floating away.
As you move to the front of the board you will spot the remaining 6 D Rings. Positioned in front of the deck pad to create a large cargo area with a strong bungee cord, for storing all and any of your possessions that you may need whilst out on the water.
The Gili Sports Air 10’6 has changed from a single fin set up to a tri fin set up. This is a huge improvement and goes to show that the companies really do listen to our feedback.
To be a capable all-rounder the tri fin set up is a must, Gili has worked hard to build a durable set up which is perfect for everyday use.
The two outside fins are smaller and made from a flexible rubber. This is much the same as found on mid-range boards. These fins are designed to bend and move in the event you touch them off a bank. In the center of the board, Gili has kept their proven center fin. This larger fin provides the tracking and glides that you need for exploring. The larger fin is made from a harder plastic and is not designed to bend.
Gili uses a snap-lock fitting system for its center fin. This is a system they have used before and is advantageous due to its tool-less operation. The snap lock makes removing the fin an absolute breeze which is ideal for storage to make rolling just that little bit easier.
Inflating the Gili Sports Air 10’6 shouldn’t be a chore. Simply locate the valve on the tail of the board and twist in your air hose. If you are lucky enough to own an inflatable boat/SUP pump then simply sit back and drink a coffee whilst the magic happens. If you are like the other 99.9% of the population you only have the supplied pump then it’s time to get down and dirty. We always find it easier to sing a tune and get into a rhythm.
Pumping up the Gili Sports Air 10’6 should take you about 7 – 9 minutes to reach the recommended pressure of 15 PSI. We do recommend for heavier riders to add a little extra, just to reduce the flexibility of the board.
Deflation is a breeze (quite literally) simply remove the valve cover and push in the valve and twist clockwise to lock the pin off. At this point, you need to be ready for a full Marilyn Monroe moment as the air flies past you. As you come back to reality and open your eyes the board will almost be deflated so simply start rolling to get rid of any extra air before safely stowing in your bag.
At first glance, it’s hard to believe quite how they get so much fun and happiness packed into such a small carton alongside an inflatable stand up paddleboard and all the accessories. As you open the box an instant smile passes across your face or maybe it is just the strange smells of PVC and plastic.
We took the Gili Sports Air 10’6 to our local lake to give it a good test covering a bit of distance and playing close to shore. Setting up the board was quick and easy the included pump is definitely one of the better we have come across reaching the 15PSI in under 10 minutes we quickly attached our leash and snapped together our paddle and we were away.
Launching from a bank we hopped aboard landing on both feet. A slight shudder as the large center fin gripped the water and stopped our sway. As we paddled away the board felt stable and nippy. The single layer PVC is a lighter weight option and meant we could accelerate and turn a little quicker than we were expecting.
As we paddled on the board, we felt comfortable, very stable and found the board easy to paddle. The large center fin really does its job to track straight and true. When we reached a shallower area, we tried to push the board on an imaginary slalom course initiating turns quickly and effectively. The Gili Sports Air 10’6 responded well, the outside thruster fins gripping the water and allowing us to spin and dance without a care in the world.
On the flat, we were able to easily sit and lie on the board comfortably and with great balance. For a beginner, the Air 10’6 is easy to paddle and responds well. A super stable platform for yoga or just relaxing, we would even be confident in bringing our dogs out for a ride. For an intermediate rider you will feel some flex especially if you are heavier but for a lightweight flatwater board, it would be ideal to add to your quiver.
The Gili Sports Air 10’6 is a great example of what can be possible from a budget SUP board looking to break into the midrange ranks.
One of our favorite accessories has to be the paddle, over the years we have seen huge developments in paddles even at a basic level.
The paddle included with the Gili Sports Air 10’6 is a simple 3-piece breakdown paddle which clicks together easily and when taken apart is small enough to stow in the bag.
The shaft is simple aluminum, this can sometimes be cold to touch so in the winter you may want some gloves or wrap a little tape on the shaft. The blade is made from a durable nylon almost indestructible which makes it ideal as a first paddle used for beating and bashing off rocks.
We did find the nylon to be very flexible so for an intermediate rider you may want to upgrade to a stiffer fiberglass material for reduced weight and extra stiffness.
All of the paddles have been nicely color-coded to the packages to make sure you know just which paddle is yours.
Gili Sports are a true rider owned and operated business we can tell this because they include a board leash as standard with their package.
So many board manufacturers pass this off and don’t include a safety leash, but for those brands that really care and understand the struggle of first setting out on a SUP adventure, they know just how often people end up swimming after a board as it floats away.
The included leash is coiled so it sits neatly on your boards and shouldn’t interfere or cause any drag. As ankle cuffs go this one is pretty standard, padded and comfortable Unfortunately it doesn’t include a key pocket but this isn’t a huge problem
Lastly, each leash is nicely color coded to your board so it looks great.
Inflating a board can be an absolute nightmare, with some of the cheaper boards the pump is fairly naff and the hose connector just never quite stays firm. Luckily for you, we have had no such problem with the Gili Sports Air 10’6. The team at Gili understand the mind-numbing boredom and have chosen to include a really smooth dual action pump to make pumping a breeze.
Start off in high volume mode pushing bags full of air into the board then when the going gets tough, pop in the plug and switch to the high-pressure mode. This makes getting that last few PSI into the board super easy and a lot less effort than many single action pumps.
The included pump is a really nice addition and much nicer than what’s usually found in this budget priced package.
Having a storage bag is an essential part of an inflatable stand up paddleboard and Gili Sports have delivered with a stunning white and blue design. This bag will look great both at the beach or cruising the streets, smart and stylish.
The bag is large enough to fit your board and accessories via the front opening zipper. Then on the outside, you will have 2 external cinch bands to hold things securely in place. The rucksack straps are strong and well padded to make carrying the board an absolute breeze. At just 19 lbs this is already one of the lightest boards around. It’s made for traveling!
Our ever-present friend stashed away in the little orange tube. Repair kits are pretty standard across all manufacturers including a couple of patches, some glue, and a valve wrench.
As always keep it with you as you never know when you or a friend may need it. For us, we like to add a pair of plastic gloves to the tube for applying glue as it can be messy. Luckily for us, boards are so durable its highly unlikely you will have any problems but you never know when that SUP eating goldfish is lurking nearby.
If you are a novice on a budget then this is one of the best value packages currently on the market, packed full of accessories, you would be hard done by to find anything as complete. But if you have a little more cash to spare, we would certainly nudge you in the direction of a mid-range double layered construction. It will be a little heavier but will have a big difference in the durability and stability.
If you want to explore a little more of Gili’s options, they also have an 11’ Adventure board which is sold with a carbon paddle. This board is a little longer and more streamlined so will glide a little easier for longer distance trips.
The Gili Sports Air 10’6” has certainly stood above the parapet of budget boards boasting lots of accessories, along with a full 12-month warranty and 60 day love it guarantee. The board is one of the best priced on the market and would be a perfect addition to anyone looking to hit the water cheaply and easily this summer.