Month: June 2022

Review: DAMA Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

DAMA Inflatable Paddleboard Inflated
The DAMA Inflatable Paddleboard is beautiful, full-featured, and a great value.

Stand up paddleboards (SUP’s) have been trending up for over decade.  The combination of a vehicle that gets you out on the water while providing a great workout has captivating a large audience of outdoor enthusiasts.  Stand up paddleboarding is loads of fun and with the growth of inflatables SUP’s on the market, paddleboarding became much more accessible to the masses. Over time, inflatable SUP’s have shown to be more portable (allowing people to get out on the water more easily), plenty durable (their robust design rarely punctures or leaks), and much less expensive than their rigid counterparts (often 25-30% of the cost of a rigid SUP). Inflatable SUP’s are here to stay.  They are getting better each year and they are getting less expensive as well – a good thing for those of us who wish we had a whole fleet of these babies.  We’ve recently purchased and reviewed the DAMA Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard and think it’s a great option for those in the market for a new iSUP.

The Verdict:

The DAMA Inflatable Paddleboard is a great looking SUP that comes with a boatload of extras. It’s a stable board thats works well for both adults and children. We especially like the woodgrain design, built-in GoPro mount and the paddle options.  At $299, this paddleboard is a great value that gives you a lot for your investment.  It should lead to some memorable experiences on the water.

Specs & Features:

Dimensions: 10’6″ long x 32″ wide x 6″ thick

Max Rider Weight: 330lbs

Features:

  • woodgrain top design
  • teak-look non-slip foot pad
  • sport camera mount
  • bungee cargo system
  • 4 Multi-Purpose D-rings
  • 3-fin design

Included Accessories:

  • carrying bag (backpack style)
  • hand pump
  • convertible aluminum paddle (2-sided kayak or standard SUP paddle)
  • shoulder strap
  • 5L Dry Bag
  • leash
  • cellphone dry bag
  • repair/patch kit

Packing:

As convenient as inflatable paddleboards are to deflate, roll up, and take to the next destination, there are still big and heavy. The Dama inflatable paddleboard comes with a packing bag with enough room to easily repack the paddleboard and all its accessories.  The bag is spacious with large zippers to open the bag fully.  It also has backpack straps if you prefer to carry the board to your desired destination that way.

Set Up:

The paddleboard is pretty simple to set up.  You pull it out of the bag and unroll it on a flat surface. The next step is to twist off the dust cap to access the inflation valve on the front of the board.  Like most iSUP’s, the DAMA inflatable has a Halkey Roberts valve to make inflation easy and to ensure a leakproof seal.  Connect the hand pump to the valve and lock it by turning clockwise.  Dama recommends inflating this board to 15psi, but claims that pressures in the range of 12psi to 20psi will be fine.  The recommended 15psi has been the perfect amount of pressure in our testing to give you a stiff and stable board, but getting to 15psi with the hand pump is a workout.  Many iSUPers view this as a part of their warmup – getting their heart rate pumping and taxing the upper body a bit.

If you use you paddleboard often and prefer to speed up the inflation process, we recommend picking up an electric SUP pump.  These pumps are typically 12v powered from your vehicle via a cigarette-lighter style plug.  Most have an LCD that shows the current psi and allow you to set to the desired inflation rate before starting it.  In the case of the DAMA SUP, you set the pump to inflate to 15psi, push the start button, and enjoy your cup of coffee for a few minutes while it does the work for you.

Once the board is inflated, the 3 included fins are slid into the fin slots on the bottom of the board and are secured in place by attached snap pins that hold them secure without needing any tools.  The leash that DAMA includes is pretty standard, but it’s blue color properly matches the blue of the board design.  It should be attached to the rear grab handle of the board, then velcro’ed around your ankle.  Finally, the aluminum paddle should be assembled to your liking.  DAMA includes paddle options to assemble the paddle as a two-sided kayak paddle or a standard SUP paddle with paddle on one end and handle on the other.  If you are planning on standing up on the paddleboard, the paddleboard paddle option in the way to go.  If sitting or kneeling, the kayak paddle setup is a great bonus to have in this package.

Riding Experience:

DAMA Inflatable Paddleboard Promo
Promo Image from DAMA

In our experience, the DAMA inflatable paddleboard is a stable board.  We have the 10ft 6in model which is our recommendation for all around use.  Its 32in width in more than enough side-to-side room to move around a bit and the 10’6″ length gives you some room to adjust forward and backward on the board to match your preferences and water conditions.  The non-slip mat feels good under your feet and does it job giving you confidence that your feet will stay put and not slide around while paddling. The fins help the paddleboard track well and we had no trouble pointing it toward our destinations with ease.

Extras:

The bungee cargo straps on the front of the board are a nice addition allowing you to secure a waterproof bluetooth speaker (we love our JBL Flip 5) or carrying a change of clothes using the included dry bag.

The 4 D-rings, while not seemingly a huge addition, provide extra points to secure the paddleboard to a dock, to another paddloboard, and can even be used to lash down the paddleboard for storage while keeping it inflated. The hidden value of these d-rings is the ability to add a kayak seat to this board which can be secured to the board via these d-rings. For those who are unable to stand up on an SUP, the kayak seat and paddle setup in kayak-mode provide a great option to enjoy the water on this SUP.

Finally, the sport camera mount is a great little bonus.  We have previously installed a GoPro mount the the front of another inflatable SUP we own and it was a pleasant surprise to see the DAMA board comes with this feature right our of the bag. The factory installation looks a lot better than our crude adhesive-attached mount on our other SUP.

DAMA Inflatable Paddleboard Accessories
The features and included accessories make this an iSUP to consider

Deflation:

When you’re done enjoying the DAMA iSUP, packing it away is easy.  Pull it out of the water onto a flat surface.  Detach the leash and fins. Remove the dust cap on the inflation value and push the spring loaded pin down to deflate.  Pushing and twisting the valve pin will lock it in place to keep the value open.  Since the recommended pressure for this board is 15psi, when opening the valve initially, you’ll be greeted by a loud rush of air – so be prepared.  Once most of the air is out of the board, you’ll want to start rolling it – starting at the bottom – to push the remaining air out of the board. Make sure to keep the valve open during this stage.  We typically close the valve only when the board is fully rolled up to ensure that if it unrolls on us, we won’t have to go through the final stages of deflation again.  Once rolled up, the SUP and all accessories fit nicely in the included bag for transport.  This isn’t one of those bags that once opening you can never get everything back into it – it’s large and spacious for all the included gear.

Quality:

In our experience, the DAMA inflatable stand up paddleboard is built really well.  It always feels solid when riding and we’ve had zero problems with leaks in the seams or the valve.  As a budget-priced board, we expected some compromises in the SUP build, but have bene ecstatic so far to not have any issues with build quality.  The added elements, non-slip pad, GoPro mount, D-Rings, handles, etc all are adhered firmly to the board and look great.

With so many inflatable paddleboards on Amazon these days – all with similar features and accessories – we chose the DAMA board due to its design.  We love the wood-look top of the board along with the baby blue styling.  This board doesn’t look or feel like a $300 SUP.  It holds it own against much more expensive inflatable SUP’s on the market.  With over 2000 reviews on Amazon for this board, we aren’t the only ones that feel this way.

Our only complaint about the quality is in the paddle.  The paddle is thinner than we’d like and the connecting parts do feel a bit flimsy.  The tradeoff is that this paddle can be converted to a dual blade kayak-style paddle – so it’s worth it.  As a standup paddleboard paddle, the paddle does feel a bit loose in your hands – feeling at times that the lightweight paddle is bending.  If you are going to stand up paddle longs distances with this board, we may recommend picking up a sturdier 2-piece paddle like this one, but for the flexibility, the included paddle will be perfect for most users.

Value:

We purchased our first inflatable paddleboard almost a decade ago for around $500.  It did not come with a carrying bag and does not have most of the features this DAMA SUP comes with.  It’s been a great board and is still leak-free after hours and hours of use over the years. At $300, this DAMA board is an amazing value.  The board looks awesome with a design that resembles a much more expensive SUP.  The carrying case and extras provide additional value – even if you don’t use many of the accessories regularly.  With this package, you get a lot for your dollar, which leaves more in your pocket to pay for the travel or accommodations to get out on the water and enjoy this SUP.



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