A mega versatile, all round SUP with excellent responsiveness and good stability
The newly improved Bluefin Cruise 10.8 SUP is one of the most versatile SUP packages on the market. With enough storage for overnight camping, superb tracking and stability in even the most tricky conditions, and the ability to turn on a dime, it’s an ideal option for a variety of paddling adventures. Beginner and advanced paddlers alike will love how easy it is to set up and use. Plus, the added bonus of having a kayak conversion kit makes it even more appealing for years of paddle-powered fun.
Bluefin Cruise 10.8 SUP: The stats
|Best for:||All round use on calm or choppy water|
|Dimensions:||325 x 83.5 x 16cm / 128 x 33 x 6″|
|Weight:||11.3kg / 25lbs|
|Rider weight:||130kg / 287lbs|
|Bag size:||100 x 51 x 33cm / 38 x 20 x 13″|
Features of the Bluefin Cruise SUP 10.8
Gear storageThere is a set of bungees stretched between D-rings at the front of the SUP to store gear. This is sufficient to hold gear, food and water for an overnight camping trip. Additional D-rings (to attach the kayak seat) can be used with your own bungees to store / secure extra gear, if needed.
Internally, the board is constructed with a dense drop stitch pattern which makes for a very rigid board when inflated optimally. The outside material is PVC with reinforced sidewalls and treated with a UV resistant coating.
The grip deck covers a large area on top of the board and is mega grippy. It’s also comfortable to kneel on, as well as stand on. At the rear of the board is a kickpad – a nice feature for advanced riders and SUP surfers to enable quick and sharp turning and control.
The board features three carry handles: one in the middle of the board for carrying on your own, and one at each end for dragging or carrying with another person. They are all lightly padded and comfortable to hold. Additionally, the centre handle can be used as a paddle stay or holder; the velcro opens up and can be fixed around the paddle shaft.
To help with tracking and stability, the board features two small side fins and a larger, removable 8″ centre fin. This fin fits onto the bottom of the board with ease and speed. However, I’ve had some issues with it coming loose. It’s easy to not fit it in securely, especially if you’re in a rush to get on the water!
Kayak conversion kit
The kayak conversion kit is a very appealing addition to the package in terms of versatility. The seat stores flat and can be stored under the bungees when not in use. And when the time comes to set it up it’s simply a case of clipping it onto the D-rings that run along the sides of the SUP. The package also comes with an extra paddle end to convert the long SUP paddle instantly into a kayak paddle.
The backpack is large, easily fitting in the whole package as well as a buoyancy aid, water and a few bits of gear for a short outing on the water. It has a huge external zippered pocket, lateral compression straps, a mesh side pocket, padded back, shoulder strap and waist belt, and internal straps to hold the SUP in place. There’s also haul handles at the top and side of the backpack.
As well as the SUP, kayak conversion kit, backpack and paddles, the package also comes with a dual action pump with a pressure gauge, a coiled leash, and a repair kit. Additionally, there is a GoPro mount positioned at the front of the board.
Bluefin Cruise SUP 10.8 review
Updated and improved in 2019, Bluefin claims that the Cruise 10.8 Package is “the most stable, versatile, all-inclusive SUP package on the market”. And whilst I’ve not tested every SUP package on the market, I have taken the Cruise out in a variety of conditions. Together, the Cruise and I have battled for hours against strong headwinds. I’ve packed it up with camping gear for an overnight camping trip. We’ve cruised on calm, flat bays exploring inlets and caves. We’ve pushed through white water at the beach to get out to the rolling swell behind. And I’ve even attempted to ride some small waves on it – unsuccessfully, might I add!
As its name suggests, the Cruise does, indeed, cruise! Predictably, its ideal conditions are calm, flat waters on non-windy days in which the board glides through the water with ease and speed. It tracks excellently but is also very responsive, needing only subtle paddle adjustments to stay paddling on one side.
Of course, windy conditions prove to be a little more challenging. But I’ve been surprised at how well it stays on track. The pointed nose helps with this, especially when paddling straight into the wind. The nose cuts through the wind instead of battling against it. As a result, there is less resistance against the wind compared with a round nosed SUP that I paddle on the same day in the same conditions.
When it comes to stability, the Cruise performs as expected, though nothing out of the ordinary. It’s a little tippy when paddling on unpredictable swell in the sea. But in general, the 33 inches of width provides a good and stable platform to stand and paddle with confidence.
In most conditions, when inflated to around 15 PSI the rigidity of the board is very good. However, when tackling whitewater at the beach or paddling in unpredictable and bobbly swell, a little extra inflation will pay off.
Probably my favourite thing when it comes to performance, is how well the Cruise turns. You can turn in on a dime with minimal effort; it’s super responsive. This, coupled with its cruising capacity, is especially useful when attempting to surf the SUP on small waves. As soon as a bigger set comes through I am able to turn the board 180º in a couple of strokes and be powering out towards the incoming waves with what feels like efficiency and skill. Panic and desperation are usually also present! But either way, the result is the same: I am able to quickly get to where I want to be behind the breaking waves.
Ease of use
The Cruise takes around 7 minutes to inflate using the dual action pump that is included in the package. This gets it to just over 15 PSI, which is the minimum recommended inflation level. To get it up to 18 PSI (max), takes a few more minutes and a lot more muscle power! But, as mentioned, that extra few minutes of effort are worth it for a little bit more rigidity.
I’m 5’5” tall and though I’m moderately strong, I’ve not found the need to up my muscle power in order to comfortably carry the Cruise. It is, in fact, remarkably lightweight and easy to carry once inflated. It’s a five minute walk from my house to the beach via some very steep and awkward ‘steps’ that turn into rocks. Even with the paddle attached into the centre handle, I can easily deal with the board both down and back up again! The central handle is key for any type of carrying and without the paddle stay, I would have to go back up the steps to get the paddle.
The board is also quick and easy to deflate and rolls up easily. I very much enjoy how roomy the bag is. Even if you don’t manage to roll the board up super tightly, there’s still loads of room for the paddle, pump and kayak seat without having to cram it all in.
The Cruise couldn’t actually be more versatile if it tried. It has plenty of gear storage for overnight camping trips without being long and heavy. Plus, there are D-rings along the sides that can be used to rig up bungees for more storage if needed. It also has the capacity to be paddled like a kayak. This is a big plus for me, especially in challenging conditions. The day when the head wind was getting just a little too much for my fatiguing shoulders to handle, I was able to quickly and easily set up the seat and convert the paddle into a kayak paddle. This not only gave my muscles a break and shared the load between more muscle groups, but it also made for more efficient paddling. The wind was so relentless that even switching the paddle from one hand to the other lost me ground. In the kayaking setup, however, I was able to keep my momentum going without the need to rest or switch sides.
The board is also suitable for paddling in a variety of conditions and I hope to make some more SUP surfing attempts (on small waves) in the future!
What I love the most about the Bluefin Cruise SUP 10.8
I love how responsive the board is. It’s super quick to turn and in the right conditions it zooms along! I also like how versatile it is. AND, how easy it is to carry, either once inflated or packed up in the backpack, to hard to reach locations.
What I don’t love so much about the Bluefin Cruise SUP 10.8
Though still very good, I was expecting the rigidity to be a little better when paddling in more challenging conditions. But, as mentioned, extra inflation helps with this.
I’ve also had two occasions where the fin has come loose! Once, it got caught in some seaweed and another time it came off when playing in the surf. Miraculously, I noticed it both times and was able to dive down and get it (it doesn’t float!). I think there may be a degree of user error in this, as I’ve not had any issues with my other Bluefin board. However, it seems very easy to not fit the fin in correctly, which in part is a bit of a design fault, I think.
Whether you’re new to paddle boarding or are looking to upgrade to something more high performing than your first board, the Bluefin Cruise 10.8 SUP is a superb option to consider. With a kayak conversion kit to alter your paddling position, excellent tracking, responsive turning and good stability, the Cruise is one versatile package. From a quick blast on the river for fitness, to overnight camping trips, it will have almost all of your paddling needs and wants catered for.
Two big thumbs up from me!
Planning a SUP camping trip? Read our guide to paddle board touring for beginners.
Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.