Body Glove Inflatable SUP and Water Shoes: Product Review

Body Glove’s newest model of iSUP, the Performer 11 Blue Ocean Edition is easy to store and transport, but built to take a beating and keep on paddling. Paired with the 3T Barefoot Requiem Water Shoes, there’s no shoreline that is too rough or muddy launch your board.

The 3T Barefoot Requiem Water Shoes are priced at $59.99.

The Shoes: 3T Barefoot Requiem Water Shoes

Our test day was a searing hot afternoon in South Florida. We chose a launch point popular with kite surfers in Biscayne Bay that has a really rocky shore. The water shoes are extremely easy to slip on. They have a bungee that you loosen to slip on and make sure your toes fit into their three assigned slots. As someone who hasn’t worn water shoes since the age of 11 and has never owned a pair of barefoot-style running shoes, it took a few minutes to get accustomed to having additional toe dexterity.

First thing I noticed when I slipped them on was how they felt like no water shoe I have ever worn before. These are a true hybrid shoe that were durable and strong on land like a sneaker, but remained form-fitting while in the water. I took a couple of wide-receiver style shuffles and cuts with my feet on top of the rocks to see if I could feel them through the shoes. The rubber soles held firm.

Body Glove’s patented Integrated Drainage System (IDS) is a metallic mesh in the arch of the foot helps push the water out once you’re stepping around on dry land or on top of the board. Taking them off when wet or dry was just as easy as slipping them on. I’ll be using my shoes whenever I paddle somewhere new from now on.

The Performer 11 Blue Ocean Edition iSUP is priced at $949.

The Board: Performer 11 Blue Ocean Edition

The Performer 11 Blue Ocean Edition, like every other Body Glove board is ready to go right out of the box with a pump, an adjustable paddle that is in three pieces, a dry bag for storing things like a cell phone or keys, and a repair kit should you actually puncture the board.

All the components store comfortably inside the backpack but is still extremely light to carry around in comparison to a solid fiberglass board. The board itself when fully inflated weighs just 22 pounds. I was able to do bicep curls with the board by lifting it from the center handle, which also doubles as a place to hold your paddle while carrying the board. Inflating the board takes about 5 minutes with the hand pump, but the mission is to inflate it right, not inflate it fast. The 2-stage pump setting is best to start with to get air flowing quickly without rapidly pumping the handle. Once the PSI gauge starts to register, switch the the 1-stage setting to finish inflation. Ideal inflation is between 13-15 PSI.

All the valuable belongings you’d want to carry with you (car keys, cell phone, wallet, etc.) can all fit inside the dry pouch provided. Instead of hanging all of that from around your neck with the lanyard, my favorite spot to store it was by wrapping it inside the velcro carry handle. It’s conveniently right between your feet while standing on the board, which makes it easy to access should you need it.

In the water, the three rigid plastic fins keep the board running straight in the water. For not having the same surface as a solid board such as fiberglass, it moves pretty quickly. I was easily able to keep up with my colleagues who were using fiberglass and plastic boards. The only drawback that I could find is something common with all inflatable boards: stability in rougher conditions. When taking an aggressive stance that would be needed for rolling waves (such as boat wakes) the extra weight causes both the nose and tail to flex upward which can affect your balance. Given the rigidity of the Performer 11 compared with other inflatables, the flex isn’t as noticeable.

Final thoughts?

The pros and cons of regular boards versus inflatable hasn’t changed. Inflatables are easier to store, transport and are more durable than their traditional counterparts. Solid boards handle better in open water where rolling waves are unavoidable and also move through the water quicker. If you’re in the market for an inflatable stand-up paddle board, this is one the best on the market.

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Editor’s Note: This review was originally compiled and published by the boats.com staff following an in-water performance test in Miami, FL. Republished with permission.

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