2021 Red Paddle Co 13’2″ Voyager – First Paddle Review
We recently had the opportunity to give the new 2021 Red Paddle Co Voyager+ 13’2 touring paddleboard a try before our full demo fleet arrives. Featuring a number of upgrades, we were keen to get it out on the water and see what improvements Red Paddle Co have made to one of our favourite models in the range. As a quick and capable tourer with the ability to carry plenty of equipment the 13’2 Voyager is the ideal choice for paddling on the canal, or out on our local coastline. Over the last couple of years I have used the previous iterations a fair amount, from flat water overnighters to day trips on the sea. The most notable update to the Voyager models is the addition of the V-shape hull at the front of the board; using specialised techniques in the construction of the drop-stitch material Red have created a deeper section to break the surface tension and cut through the water, similar to the hull of a solid kayak, on an inflatable SUP!
After the first few paddle strokes you can feel the difference the V-Hull is making. When picking a point in the distance and paddling towards it, you notice the lack of correctional strokes needed to keep it in a straight line. There is a very satisfying “bow wave” as the hull cuts through the water, rather than just pushing it out of the way, with the very tip sitting slightly higher from the surface. Putting in a wide sweep stroke to turn the board, you can feel the extra resistance at the front, but subtle enough to overcome easily when you need to. I haven’t yet paddled it on the sea, but I have no doubt that the shaping will help it slice through the chop and allow a smoother, dryer ride. If you want to read more about the design process behind the displacement hull, Red have written a V-Hull blog post with lots of details.
On the top of the board, the most visible change is the new horizontal cargo system. Due to the hull shape, both the 12’6 & 13’2 Voyagers have a shallow dip in the deck, this allows drybags and equipment to sit neatly under the flat bungee system. Using the same d-rings as before, the Red Original Deck bag can be clipped on easier than ever. For 2021 the whole Red Paddle Co inflatable paddleboard range has an updated deck pad design, with the grip section now reaching all the way to the rear and further across the width of the boards, ending with a smart diagonal finish. Added to the range in 2020, all the boards include the tubular centre handle, important on the 13’2 Voyager to keep it comfortable to carry while loaded with gear, as well as both front and rear handles to carry with another person.
The 6 point rear cargo section is easy to add a length of bungee to, and is plenty of space for a 30L Red Original Dry Bag, or bigger if needed. I’ve used the pictured set up for overnight trips, with the tent and sleeping equipment on the rear and cooking and camera equipment in the deck bag up front. The Red Original Waterproof Pouch is perfect for those little items you want to stay 100% dry, and might need to grab if you leave your board by the water (car keys, wallet, power bank etc.). Even loaded up the Voyager paddles flawlessly, still leaving lots of space to move around.
Underneath the 13’2 Voyager shows the second biggest change to the 2021 Red Paddle Co Voyager range, the new twin fin system. Using 2 fins allows each one to be slightly shorter, decreasing the depth of water needed to explore those shallower creeks and streams. Another plus is that you can sit the board on its fins and load it up, without the risk of a single unbalanced fin taking all of the weight and falling or breaking. The twin fins feel great on the water, adding to the “locked in” feel when heading in a straight line.
The RSS battens are now a nice and visible bright orange and made from a more durable polycarbonate material with laser printing allowing them to be recycled. It’s nice to see Red Paddle Co taking steps towards protecting our planet, with their board production facility now 100% waste-free and the cardboard packaging is 100% recyclable. Using pure materials, designing for disassembly and creating products that are engineered to last, reduces the impact on the environment.
The 13’2 Voyager also comes with the new Titan 2 pump, featuring a more ergonomic design and smaller footprint when packed into the bag, we will have a new post shortly with more info…
The updated 2021 Red Paddle Co 13’2 Voyager+ features multiple improvements to an already great board, I can’t wait to get our demo board in the shop and test it in a range of different conditions – I have a few paddles planned already! From November onwards we will have our complete Red Paddle Co Demo Fleet in the shop, give us a call and book your demo now!