The Isle Switch doubles as an iSUP and inflatable kayak hybrid. While many hybrids try to occupy the ‘best of both worlds’ I’ve noticed that they often don’t deliver on either – either being too much like a paddle board for kayak use, or too much like a kayak for paddle boarding.
This isn’t the case with the Isle Switch SUP hybrid. It’s fast and nimble as a SUP, and when used as a kayak paddles perfectly. It’s an extremely versatile board, and I could genuinely see myself using it in lots of different ways.
The Isle Switch offers a complete package here: an inflatable paddleboard with the usual features like a SUP paddle, velcro paddle holders, and a manual pump, but also boasts an innovative modular system for attaching other accessories like a kayak seat and foot brace (or multiple seats for two kayakers to ride tandem). Versatility really is at the forefront of the Isle Switch!
But this doesn’t come at the cost of the performance. I was very pleasantly surprised by how well the Isle Switch SUP hybrid paddles on the water. Its ingenious design caters to a wide range of paddling experiences, catering to beginners and experienced paddlers alike. Combining stability, speed, and adaptability, it glides through the water and feels agile to paddle. I’m an experienced paddler, but I could definitely see beginners being suited to this board as well as more advanced paddlers.
In this article, I share my thoughts from testing out the Isle Switch in different conditions, and give my thoughts on the included accessories, as well as a summary about other aspects of this SUP package like value, warranty and price. I even took the time to test the rigidity with a ‘bend test’ to get a true read on how rigid this board is.
Compare the Isle Switch to Similar Boards
|Isle Switch||Gili Meno 11’6||Blackfin XL||Bote HD Aero|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
|Sizes||11’6 x 35.5″ x 6″||11’6 x 35″ x 6″||11’6 x 34″ x 6″||11’6 x 34″ x 6″|
|Weight||19 lbs||24 lbs||28 lbs||30 lbs|
|Capacity||425 lbs||485 lbs||485 lbs||315 lbs|
|Construction and durability|
|Features and accessories|
|Isle Switch||Gili Meno 11’6||Blackfin XL||Bote HD Aero|
|Read review||Read review||Read review||Read review|
Ready for my detailed review of the Isle Switch paddle board?
Read on and discover the various aspects that make the Isle Switch a game-changer in the realm of paddle boarding. I’ll explore its unique features, its advantages over traditional paddle boards and kayaks, and versatile ways you can use this board.
Let’s dive in.
Stability of the Isle Switch (9.2 / 10)
When it comes to stability, the Isle Switch SUP and kayak hybrid is a game changer. I’ve had the pleasure of taking it out on the water, and it’s certainly a super stable board that feels solid to stand on.
The board’s dimensions (11’6 x 35.5″) and wide shape are specifically designed to provide excellent stability as both a SUP and an inflatable kayak. I’ve also tested the Blackfin XL and Gili Meno 11’6, and they were slightly more stable, but the Isle Switch was still a dream to ride.
What really impressed me was the fact that this board can support up to 425 lbs of weight and still feel safe and secure on the water. As someone who weighs around 220 lbs, I can personally vouch for the Isle Switch’s ability to remain steady and comfortable, with absolutely no wobbling, sagging, or sinking.
The Isle Switch SUP feels super stable in windy conditions too; I tested it in about 10 knots of wind, and it performed like a champ! When going into the wind, it was more stable and faster than the Bote HD Aero, which I’ve also paddled extensively. Even with the wind coming from the side and creating small waves, the Isle Switch still felt more stable and faster than its competitor.
Readers Agree: The Isle Switch is a Stable Board
But don’t just take my word for it. One of our readers, an avid fisherman, shared his experience with the Isle Switch: “I own an Isle Switch paddle board and I use it mostly for fishing. It’s great for that purpose because it has a lot of storage space and attachment points for my gear. It’s also very stable and can handle some waves and wind.”
If that’s not enough, another reader wrote in: “I borrowed an Isle Switch paddle board from a friend and I enjoyed using it. It was fun to try both SUP and kayak mode on the same board. It was also stable enough for me to do some yoga poses on it.”
So, if you’re a beginner paddle boarder looking for a stable and versatile option, the Isle Switch might just be the perfect board for you. With its impressive weight capacity and wide dimensions, it’s an incredibly stable paddle board and inflatable kayak hybrid.
Speed of the Isle Switch (8.5 / 10)
I’ll preface this part of my review by saying that I wasn’t expecting the Isle Switch SUP to be a speed demon. After all, it’s a wide 2-in-1 SUP/kayak hybrid, and usually that means some compromises in performance. But let me tell you, I was pretty blown away with the speed and overall paddling performance.
So, what makes the Isle Switch so unexpectedly fast?
Well, I believe this all comes down to a few key factors: it’s super lightweight design (just 19 lbs!), tapered nose, and hatchet fin. These features work together to give the Switch a surprising amount of speed for a board that’s also incredibly stable and easy to handle. It’s kind of like having your cake and eating it too!
When I took the Isle Switch out on the water, I was genuinely surprised by how quickly it cut through the waves. I’ve tested a lot of paddle boards, but the Switch really stood out in terms of speed, especially considering its size. In fact, I even put it up against some similar boards like the Bote HD Aero, Blackfin XL, and Gili Meno 11’6 just to see how it would fare.
When testing the Switch against the Bote HD Aero, with 10 knots of wind, I found that the Isle Switch was noticeably faster. And when I compared it to the Blackfin XL and Gili Meno 11’6 in 12 knots of wind, the Switch continued to impress me with its speed. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not the fastest board out there, but for its size and versatility, it’s definitely one of the quickest I’ve tried.
Also, going into the wind on the Blackfin XL was a real struggle. It took way more effort and was noticeably slower than the Isle Switch. So I conclude that the Switch definitely has an edge when it comes to battling headwinds. Check the current price of the Isle Switch
It’s Still Speedy Even as a Kayak!
The Isle Switch is not just a speedy SUP, it’s also a pretty zippy inflatable kayak. I’ve tried a bunch of boards with kayak seats before, and to be honest, I was never that impressed. They were usually uncomfortable and not all that fun to paddle.
But that’s not the case with the Isle Switch. On windy days when stand-up paddling becomes too much of a challenge, switching to kayak mode is a breeze, and it’s both comfortable and surprisingly fast.
The best part about all of this? The Isle Switch manages to deliver this great speed without sacrificing stability, which is a rare find in the SUP world. It’s like having the perfect balance between speed and stability, making it a fantastic choice for beginners and experienced paddlers alike.
Tracking of the Isle Switch (8.5 / 10)
When it comes to paddle boarding, tracking is a big deal. You want a board that can hold its course and keep you moving in a straight line without too much fuss. So, how does the Isle Switch fare in this department? Well, let’s dive in and find out.
First off, let’s talk about the factors that contribute to a paddle board’s tracking. The length and shape of the board, as well as the fins, play a significant role in how well it can maintain a straight course.
With the Isle Switch, the unique shape of the board might take some getting used to, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you can definitely paddle it in a straight line. The 11’6 length certainly helps in this regard.
Now, about those fins. The large fin on the Isle Switch is a lifesaver when it comes to keeping the board on course. However, I have to say that the tracking on the Switch isn’t perfect. I found that I needed to switch sides more frequently than with some other boards I’ve tried. Comparatively speaking, the Blackfin XL and Gili Meno 11’6 track a little better than the Switch. But hey, nobody’s perfect, right?
Maneuverability of the Isle Switch (8 / 10)
Moving on to maneuverability, the Isle Switch is quite a large board at 11’6 long, which you might think would make it a bit unwieldy. Surprisingly, though, it’s still pretty easy to turn and move around in the water compared to other high-volume boards. Sure, it takes a few more sweep strokes to get the Switch to spin around completely, but that’s to be expected with a board of this size. Plus, the lightweight design (only 19 lbs!) makes those strokes feel like a breeze.
One of our readers shared their experience with the Isle Switch: “I rented an Isle Switch paddle board for a day, and I had a lot of fun with it. It was easy to switch between SUP and kayak mode, and it felt comfortable in both positions. It was also very stable and maneuverable on the water.”
Nice to know I’m not the only one who enjoyed paddling around on this bad boy!
It’s Surprisingly Nimble for a SUP/Inflatable Kayak Hybrid
Comparing the Switch to other 11’6 boards, it’s actually more maneuverable than the Blackfin XL and Gili Meno 11’6. While the Bote HD Aero is a bit more nimble than the latter two, the Switch still outdoes all three of them in terms of maneuverability.
So, the verdict? The Isle Switch might not be the most maneuverable board on the market, but the Switch offers a good balance between stability and agility for its size and design. If you’re a beginner paddle boarder looking for a board that’s easy to handle and still offers plenty of room for growth, the Isle Switch could be a great choice for you.
Construction & Durability of the Isle Switch (9 / 10)
As someone who’s tested countless paddle boards, I can tell you that construction and durability are paramount, especially for newbies. So, let’s dive into how Isle designed the Switch as a high-volume, low weight paddle board that’s perfect for anyone looking to get into the sport.
First off, Isle uses their Air-Tech Fusion Lite™ technology to create a lightweight yet rigid paddle board. This technology entails a cross-woven drop stitch core, with the stitches not just going up and down but creating ‘X’ patterns. The result? Isle achieves the same stiffness as boards using linear drop stitch (up and down), while reducing the weight. Pretty impressive, right?
But Isle didn’t stop there. They added multiple PVC stringers to make the board even more durable. As someone who has seen their fair share of damaged paddle boards, I can’t stress enough how important durability is for beginners. Trust me, you don’t want to be dealing with repairs and replacements after only a few outings.
The “Bend Test”
Now, let’s talk rigidity. As a paddle board tester, I like to get an even more in-depth understanding of board specs beyond what’s on the box!
So, I like to put my inflatable paddle boards (or in this case an inflatable kayak hybrid) through something called the “bend test” to measure its rigidity. It’s not an exact replication of how the board would perform on the water, but it’s a quantifiable way to compare the rigidity of different boards. In this test, we rest the paddle board on two sawhorses a set distance apart and place 150 lbs of weight near the center of the board. Then, we measure how far the board bends.
So how did the Isle Switch fare in our infamous bend test?
The Isle Switch bent 1 3/16″, which is considerably more than boards of similar length like the Blackfin XL or the Gili Meno 11’6″, which both bent 13/16″. But hey, it’s also to be expected from such a lightweight paddle board.
You might be wondering, “Does the increased bend affect the performance?” Well, after spending some quality time with the Isle Switch, I can confidently say that it doesn’t compromise on stability or performance. In fact, the lightweight design makes it incredibly easy to maneuver, which is a huge plus for beginners.
Features and Accessories (9.5 / 10)
The first thing that stood out to me about Isle Switch in terms of features, is that it doesn’t have your typical D-ring setup. Instead, it’s got this cool ISLE-LINK connect system with fabric loops along both rails of the board. Instead of lashing down a dry bag with bungee cords, you can fit all the attachments onto the Isle link loops using the link system or G hooks.
Isle claims the system allows you to connect multiple boards together, which is kind of neat, but honestly, I don’t see myself using this feature too often. I mean, sure, it’s fun to float on two boards on a lake, but how often do you do that? I’ll leave that up to you.
What I do love about the ISLE-LINK system is how it lets you install the included kayak seat, footrest, and other accessories along the rails of the board. The adjustability is fantastic – you can position the inflatable kayak seat and footrest however you like, making it perfect for those long days on the water, and you could even kit it out with two kayak seats to turn it into a tandem kayak for even more versatility.
Now, let’s talk about the deck pad. The full-length grooved and brushed EVA deck pad is pretty comfortable and offers plenty of grip. But, if you’re looking for a fishing paddle board, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the Isle Switch due to the lack of scotty mounts or action mounts for rod holders and such.
The board comes with three padded carry handles and two velcro paddle holders along the rail for attaching your paddle – but most inflatable paddle boards come with these nowadays.
I love the US fin box, however; the large hatchet fin is great for tracking, and the US fin box allows you to easily swap it out for aftermarket fin options if needed.
Kayak Seat and SUP/Kayak Paddle
While the carry handles, fin box and paddle holder are welcome features of this Isle Switch SUP, the accessories and how they fit with the ISLE-LINK system are what makes it stand out.
I already mentioned that I love how the ISLE-LINK connection system allows for installation of the inflatable kayak seat in whatever configuration you want. But this high back, elevated kayak seat and footrest combo are the real game-changers for this SUP/kayak hybrid.
When used together, the seat and foot brace combine for comfort and an optimal paddling position. Inflating between 3 – 6 psi, the seat is an inflatable pillow to sit on and a high back trekking chair, and a smaller pillow used as the inflatable foot brace.
This provides a comfortable, elevated paddling experience. As a 6’2″ guy, I was stoked about the high back support and the adjustability of the kayak seat and footrest positions, which helped me engage my core while paddling.
Next up is the Remix Alloy 4-piece Hybrid SUP-Kayak paddle. The paddle shaft has an oval shape, and is made from aluminum.
I’m a fan of the oval shape of the shaft, which prevents the handle from twisting, but I’m not generally a fan of aluminum paddles, as they can be on the heavy side. This is the case with the Isle SUP paddle – so I’d love it if Isle moved away from aluminum paddles in the future; a carbon upgrade would be fantastic!
The SUP paddle is suitable for people up to 6’2″, but if you’re taller, you will find it too short. Also, I wouldn’t mind a slightly larger blade for more powerful strokes.
The paddle also comes with a second blade for converting it into a kayak paddle, which is a nice touch. However, I would have appreciated the ability to adjust the length and rotation of the blades.
Lastly, the Isle Switch package is rounded off with a quality backpack, manual iSUP hand pump, repair kit, and an 8′ coiled leash. Typical, but appreciated accessories, although you may wish to switch the manual pump with an electric pump at some point to make life a little easier.
Cost, Value and Versatility
To really test the versatility of the Isle Switch, I took it out on the water in various conditions, from flatwater to choppy waves, and even some slow-moving rivers. The board handled these diverse conditions with ease, making it suitable for a wide range of paddling needs and preferences. In 10 knots of wind, I found the Switch to be more stable and faster than the Bote HD Aero, both when paddling into the wind and with side winds.
The Switch can also accommodate different activities – which I believe makes it great value for money, as you’re technically getting multiple paddling experiences from one purchase.
The eva deck pad has a soft rubberized grip, perfect for SUP yoga, and the surface area is large enough to stash a dry bag or camping and fishing gear. You can bring along pets, kids, or add on an additional seat and bring a buddy. It’s great for lounging, camping, or even some casual fishing (the kayak seat and foot brace make it comfortable enough to take long trips for this purpose, but mounting fishing rod holders will be more challenging).
I believe the versatility adds to the value of this board, so I’d definitely recommend it to anyone seeking a quality SUP/kayak hybrid for personal use. As my findings show, the Isle Switch is a highly capable and versatile hybrid board that can handle various water conditions and environments.
How Much Does the Isle Switch SUP-Kayak Hybrid Cost?
Let’s talk money, shall we? The MRSP of $995 places the Isle Switch at the higher end of the market. This might make your wallet wince a little, but I can tell you from personal experience, the board’s design and performance both as a SUP and a kayak make it totally worth the investment. Check the current price of the Isle Switch
Warranty and Customer Service
As a fellow paddle boarder, I know that warranty and customer service are crucial when it comes to making a purchase. So, what’s the deal with Isle? They offer a solid 2-year warranty against defects in workmanship and materials for the Switch paddle board. Sounds good, right? But, of course, there are some limitations.
The warranty doesn’t cover damage or defects caused by normal wear and tear, impact, misuse, improper storage, or modifications. That seems fair enough, and it’s pretty comparable to the warranties offered by other brands like Bote, iRocker, and Gili.
Now, let me share a little story from one of our readers. They bought a paddle board from Isle Surf and SUP, and when it arrived, the paddle was damaged. Not good!
But here’s the good part – our reader reached out to Isle’s customer service, and they were super helpful. They apologized for the damage and sent a new paddle right away, no questions asked. Now that’s some top-notch customer service!
So, what’s the verdict on the Isle Switch paddle board? In my honest opinion, it’s a fantastic choice for beginner or more advanced paddle boarders looking for a versatile and high-quality board with a high weight capacity, that doesn’t skimp on performance. The innovative ISLE-LINK system provides fun customization options, and the included accessories make switching from SUP to kayak mode a breeze.
One way to think of it is this: investing in the Isle Switch means you’re essentially getting two water vessels in one, and without compromizing on performance. And if you do take the plunge, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well the Switch performs as both a SUP and an inflatable kayak. I know I was!
What do you think, fellow paddlers? Ready to dive in and invest in an Isle Switch paddle board? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!