This is a review of the Gili Air inflatable paddle board.
The Gili Air stand up paddle board is one of my favorite budget inflatable paddle boards. Portability, durability, and remarkable responsiveness–these are the words that best describe it. It’s the cheapest Gili paddle board and one of the best entry-level SUPs out there.
Now, I loved this inflatable board before, but it’s even better with the new 2022 upgrades (I’ll cover all of the changes in my review).
One thing that makes the Gili Air stand out is its design. It has six color options that are vibrant and attractive, but not annoyingly bright when the sun shines on them.
The boards have cool graphics and texts about saving our oceans and sea creatures. They are not only eye-catching but they raise awareness, which is awesome.
I was impressed by the deck features. The Gili Air SUP board comes with two bungee areas, extra D-rings, a paddle holder, and three action mounts.
You can bring all your gear and attach accessories such as a fishing rod holder, speaker, and action camera. Plus, I found that the paddle holder came in handy when I needed to free up my hands to capture some shots while out on the water.
You don’t get features like these from many of the SUPs in this price range.
I have so much to say about the Gili Air–its features, what I like, what I wish was different, thoughts from other paddlers, and more. So let’s get right into it.
Gili Air Inflatable Paddle Board – Pros and Cons
Gili Paddle Board Specs
- Length: 10’6/11’6
- Width: 32”
- Thickness: 6”
- Weight: 19 lbs/21 lbs
- Weight capacity: 280 lbs/295 lbs
Who Is the Gili Air SUP Board Best for?
This Gili inflatable paddle board is suitable for beginners, smaller paddlers, those on a tight budget, and anyone looking for a portable, responsive SUP.
The Gili Air inflatable SUP board is Gili Sports’ entry-level board. It is stable and comes as a complete paddle board package–everything that a beginner would need. It’s also pretty easy to paddle and if you’re a newbie you’ll have a great time learning.
The Gili Air 10’6 is shorter and only weighs 19 pounds. It’s easy for smaller paddlers to control and even carry around over long distances.
As I already mentioned, the Gili Air is one of my favorite cheap inflatable paddle boards. It’s a budget board but it looks good and the quality is remarkable–it even comes with a two-year warranty. Don’t forget you also get a complete SUP package so you won’t have to buy additional accessories. If your budget is tight but you want a nice board that will last, the Gili Air is great.
You might also love this inflatable SUP if you love traveling and exploring. It is lightweight, super easy to carry on your back over long distances or travel by plane. It’s responsive too and performs well in different conditions so you can be as adventurous as you like.
A Closer Look at the Gili Air: How Does it Perform?
The Gili Air is a stable board and doesn’t feel wobbly.
I was impressed by how stable the Gili 10’6 Air is, even for me. Usually, smaller paddle boards can be tricky when it comes to stability and they may feel a little tippy. But the two inflatable SUPs are great – although the larger 11’6 is definitely more suited to me.
I’m 6’1 and weigh around 192lbs, so it’s not surprising that the larger version of this board is more stable for me. After all, a larger board with a bigger surface usually equals more stability.
I’d definitely recommend the 11’6 to larger paddlers, who intend to paddle with a kid, dog, or a lot of gear.
I should also mention how stiff this Gili Air inflatable stand up paddle board is when fully inflated (this is the case no matter which size you opt for). There’s no flex and this contributes to its great stability.
Highly Responsive and Maneuverable
The Gili Air shines in this area. It’s super easy and fun to control, especially when maneuvering obstacles or making quick sharp turns. It also helps that the paddle board weighs 19/21 pounds.
If you’re an adventurous paddler, paddle boarding a calm lake one day, a slow-moving river the next, and other times surfing small waves, you’ll love how the Gili Air handles.
This Gili inflatable board tracks well. I love the new 2022 shape with a somewhat pointy nose, instead of a more rounded one.
Tracking is great so it won’t frustrate you by zigzagging all over the place. You’ll also not have to switch paddling sides too often–that can be frustrating.
The speed of the Gili Air is exactly what you would expect from an all-around paddle board. It’s obviously not as fast as a racing or touring SUP but it glides well with decent speed.
The Gili Air 10’6 felt a little sluggish when I was paddling. It’s a little too short for me (I’m 192 pounds at 6’1). The Gili 11’6, however, feels amazing and it glides so much better. I love how it performs.
If you are on the bigger side (above approx. 175 lbs), go for the Gili Air 11’6 as the 10’6 Air is best for smaller paddle boarders.
Tough, Solid Build Quality
The Gili Air inflatable paddle board is made using military-grade PVC and drop stitch construction.
This inflatable SUP looks and feels tough, so you don’t have to worry about dents like you would with a hard board. It doesn’t get easily punctured and, like other quality inflatables, it will bounce off obstacles instead of getting damaged.
The Gili Air comes with a two-year warranty which is not common at this price point. I love the fact that Gili Sports are committed to offering a budget entry-level board without compromising quality.
The paddle board feels super solid when fully inflated and there’s no flexing or bending. Even the smaller Gili Air supported my weight perfectly and even felt like an epoxy paddle board.
If you are a larger guy or lady, however, you should go for the Gili Air 11’6. The Gili Air 10’6 is stiff and can support up to 280 pounds. But while it can hold your weight just fine, you’ll get extra stability and better performance with the Air 11’6. You’ll also be able to bring more gear and maybe even a child. It has a capacity of 295 pounds.
Despite being all tough and rugged, the Gili Air is surprisingly lightweight. The shorter Air weighs 19 pounds while the longer one weighs 21 pounds.
Add to this the fact that you can roll it up into a small package. It’s an ultra portable that you can travel with all over the world.
If you’re smaller, you’ll love how light the Gili Air is because carrying it around will be a breeze. This also makes it perfect for youth paddlers as they won’t have a problem transporting it.
I love the design of the Gili Air stand up paddle board and I think they did a fantastic job. Most budget paddle boards are usually pretty basic–you don’t even get color options, let alone exciting ones.
The Gili Air SUP board is available in six gorgeous colors: blue, green, coral, camo, orange, and teal. The colors are bright, but not blinding when the sun is shining on them. The camo inflatable board would be a great board for people who want a more muted color.
The SUPs come with color-matched accessories too which is awesome. There’s something really satisfying about having all of your SUP gear color-coordinated.
Gili Sports is actively involved in helping save the world’s oceans and sea creatures. Their boards come with cool graphics and text about saving the reefs, turtles, and oceans. This is great because not only do they look amazing, but they also help to spread awareness.
The shape of the Gili Air has changed. It now looks much better and performs better too.
Gili Air Paddle Board Features
Now that I’ve given you my thoughts on how the Gili Air looks, feels, and performs – let’s take a closer look at the features. This Gili paddle board has some fantastic features for a SUP board in its price range.
The Air has a tri-fin setup: a snap-in center fin and two smaller side fins. The center fin is large and it really helps with tracking, making the SUP go straight instead of veering off course.
The three fins are super easy to install and remove so they won’t give you any trouble. They do a great job of improving stability, maneuverability and general performance to give you an amazing experience.
Improved Traction Pad
The traction pad was nice and grippy before, but it’s even better now.
The Gili Air has a large deck pad that’s now even grippier, so you won’t slip when the board is wet. It also makes a great yoga mat for when you want to try SUP fitness.
There’s also a new traction area at the back that makes this paddle board even more fun to use. It’s pet-friendly too so you can bring your furry friend onboard
The inflatable stand up paddle board has seven handles: three grab handles and four safety handles.
Like most paddle boards’ center grab handles, the Air center handle is padded. It makes it easy for you to comfortably carry your inflated SUP to your paddle boarding spot. The rear and front handles aren’t padded, but they’re still great – perfectly positioned and really useful.
I also like the safety handles – they’re useful for when you have kids onboard, since they can hold onto the handles.
D-Rings and Action Mounts
The Gili Air has a dual bungee system; a front bungee and a rear removable bungee. It also has extra D-rings for you to attach a kayak seat and other accessories.
There are three action mounts–which is not something you get with cheap inflatable paddle boards. You can attach things like a fishing rod holder, an action camera, a speaker, and more.
On top of all this, the Gili Air paddle board also comes with a paddle holder. How amazing is that? You can free your hands for fishing, yoga, or just so you can relax and float around.
Inflatable SUP Package: What Comes with the Gili Air Paddle Board?
The Gili Air SUP board comes with all the accessories you need to get started with SUP. The package includes a bag, pump, leash, paddle, and a repair kit.
The travel bag looks and feels good–it’s definitely not cheaply made. It has lots of pockets which make organizing your stuff much easier. I love the new fin pocket–forgetting your fin is easier than you think!
The adjustable travel paddle is made of aluminum. I, however, recommend upgrading to a fiberglass paddle because it’s lighter and more efficient. An aluminum paddle may be okay when you’re just getting started but as you begin to paddle long distances you’ll need something lighter.
The dual-stage pump is nice and easy to use. But like every other manual pump, it’s an arm workout. After a while, you may want to upgrade to an electric pump, especially if you have multiple inflatable stand up paddle boards.
I love that the pump has a detachable foot – which is attached with a cord so you don’t lose it. Detaching the foot makes everything more compact for transport and storage – but it could be a nightmare if you lose the foot in the process, so I think the cord is a nice touch.
The leash is comfortable and feels nice against the skin. You can wear it all day long and even forget that you have it on.
Optional Gili Air Accessories
Other than what you get in the package, Gili has some great optional accessories that will make your experience safer and more fun.
- Electric paddle board pump
- Portable electric pump battery
- Waterproof Bluetooth speaker
- Deck cooler bag
- SUP anchor kit
- Kayak conversion kit
- Shoulder strap
- Fishing rod holder
- Cup holder
- Go Pro adapter
- Waterproof waist pack
- Dry bag
What Other Paddlers Are Saying About the Gili Air Inflatable SUP
The Gili Air inflatable board is one of the best budget iSUPs out there. But do other paddlers agree? Let’s see what they have to say based on their experiences.
A beginner paddler wanted to buy his first paddleboard. He had a budget ($400) and ideal specs. So he asked Redditors on the SUP subreddit.
needanightlight said he has the Gili Air 10’6 and he loves it.
ZillaGonnaZilla posted on Reddit, showing off his new Gili paddleboard. He said that everything is so simple and in 15 minutes he was done inflating, adjusting the paddle, and snapping in the fin.
Further below, a user responds saying that he also got a blue Gili and it is awesome for the price. The original poster agrees, saying that it is comparable to his friend’s Isle—even though the Isle costs more.
Melissa and her partner love to kayak but they wanted something more portable and easier to use for their adventures. They decided to get an iSUP and after tons of research, they settled on the Gili Air 11’6.
She says that every negative thing she read on Gili Air paddle board reviews had been addressed in the new upgrade and that’s impressive. She loves that her Gili Air comes with everything she needs. Melissa can easily lift and carry the board–she says she’s petite. The Gili Air, according to her, gets 10/10.
Millie loved how responsive Gili Sports are. They communicated greatly all through the purchasing process and even followed up to see how she liked the board. She says the backpack looks amazing and so does the paddle board.
For Ronald, the best feature about the Gili Air is its weight. He travels a lot with his buddies and he has the lightest paddle board. He doesn’t struggle even when they have to walk over long distances. Inflation is easier than he imagined and the paddleboard quality has surpassed his expectations.
Gerald and his wife decided to get the Gili Air for their weekend getaway. He says that inflation was way too hard at first but it is because he didn’t read the instructions properly. The paddle board itself is sturdy and all the people that used it agree. He also appreciates the bag and says that it made transportation so easy.
Gili Air Stand Up Paddle Board Alternatives
There are two paddle boards that are also entry-level boards from reputable companies. Let’s see how they compare with the Gili Air inflatable stand up paddle board.
Gili Air Vs Bluefin Cruise 10’8
The Bluefin Cruise 10’8 is another budget inflatable paddleboard. It is made using 1000D laminate PVC and drop stitch construction.
The Bluefin comes as a complete SUP bundle and includes a kayak conversion kit. It measures 10’8 x 32” x 6”.
The Cruise 10’8 has a pointed nose that helps it cut through the water and enhances speed. It has extra D-rings for accessories such as a kayak seat as well as three grab handles and an action camera mount.
This iSUP features a kick pad for quick turns, making it super maneuverable. When fully inflated, the board can handle up to 330 pounds.
The size of the Gili Air varies slightly from that of the Bluefin Cruise 10’8. They have the same width and thickness but the Air 10’6 is slightly shorter while the Air 11’6 is longer than the Cruise. The two paddle boards have minimal differences when it comes to stability and performance.
I recently tested the Cruise, and while it’s more maneuverable than the Air (and a little faster), the Air is definitely more stable. This makes the Air the better choice for most paddlers, in my opinion.
The Bluefin Cruise 10’8 comes with a kayak conversion kit and a fiberglass paddle in the package. It has the better iSUP package. However, the Gili gives you six color options, two size options, a paddle holder, and three action mounts.
The Gili Air is also lighter, weighing 19 pounds and 21 pounds, while the Bluefin Cruise is 25 pounds.
These two paddle boards are awesome budget SUPs and it’s hard to pick a favorite. They are both well-made and popular among paddlers.
You may also like our review of the Freein SUP board.
Gili Air Vs iRocker Nautical
The iRocker Nautical and the Gili Air have more similarities than differences.
They’re both available in two sizes, 10’6 and 11’6 and they have the same width and thickness. Their shapes are similar too. I compared them on the water and, performance-wise, they felt the same to me.
The two inflatable boards have seven handles: three grab handles and four safety handles. They also have two bungee areas, at the front and rear, as well as extra D-rings for accessories.
You get three action mounts with the Gili Air while the Nautical only comes with one. The Air also has more color options than the Nautical which is available in four colors only.
The iRocker Nautical comes with a fiberglass paddle which is better than the aluminum paddle that you get with the Gili Air.
The two paddle boards have a two-year warranty. In fact, they’re so similar in many ways that you won’t go wrong with either of them.
However – if I was pressed to give an answer about which is the better buy overall – I’d say that the Nautical is the better option. This is because the Nautical comes with a fiberglass paddle, and the Gili comes with one made from aluminum. The Gili Air looks better though, in my opinion, and has better color options. So it’s very much down to personal preference and what you really want from your SUP package.
The Gili Air paddle board is a great SUP for beginners, intermediate paddlers, and even advanced riders.
The inflatable board is well-made using military-grade materials and it can take a beating. Despite that, it’s one of the lightest paddle boards you can find and it’s ideal for paddlers who like to travel with their boards.
The color options are amazing. You have six beautiful options which are vibrant but too bright.
The Gili Air is super responsive and it tracks well. I love that you can use it in pretty much any body of water so you’re free to be adventurous.
Lastly, every time you buy a Gili paddle board you contribute to an ocean charity and that’s awesome.
So check it out, it might be the perfect inflatable board for you.