Just as with fibreglass surfboards, to a casual glance or the inexperienced eye, inflatable boards can look much the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth: a traditional surfboard can be churned out with little thought & planning, using the lowest grade of blank and glass cloth imaginable. Alternatively, it can be crafted and sculpted by an expert shaper who has years of experience and uses premium materials and techniques to deliver specific performance and get the best out of their shape. What goes into a board is often unseen, yet significantly impacts its quality, performance and lifespan. The same is just as true for inflatable boards
Here at Red Rescue we pull on the expertise of our in-house product design team at Red Paddle Co – the world’s number one inflatable SUP brand. Red Paddle Co essentially created the Inflatable SUP market when they started back in 2007 and have been pioneering and innovating ever since. So, grab a cuppa’ and read on to discover 4 key areas that set Red Rescue apart from the pack.
1. Unbeatable Construction
MSL Tough & Durability
MSL is an industry leading, high-definition drop stitch technology exclusive to RED and it’s used in every Red Paddle Co SUP around the world. It is unbelievably durable – we even ran a board over with a 22 tonne digger to prove it. It’s one of the main reasons we have been able to sell boards in over 60 countries for over a decade, with less than a 0.5% warranty return rate.
Red Rescue boards take this material laminate one step further, using MSL Tough. This highly reinforced version of MSL means that the boards we produce are as durable as they possibly can be. Hitting rocks or leaving a board in a shore dump is a nightmare on a hardboard – they ding, get waterlogged and are often tricky to repair, so their performance plummets. A collision with rocks for a Red Rescue Board is going to give you a few scuffs and scratches, but the performance of the board will maintain. Plus, if you want to patch over the area, it is a far easier, quicker and less skilled job than drying out the foam, re-forming and re-glassing a hard board for repair – meaning your Red Rescue board is not out of action anywhere near as often or as long.
TEC AIR – Performance Engineering
On average, it takes us 72 hours to make each and every Red Rescue board, well over ten times the industry average. Using MSL Tough technology, our reinforced PVC decks are simultaneously laminated to the dropstitch under huge pressure, ensuring that there are no imperfections in their alignment. MSL Tough also ensures that there is no risk of pin-holes forming in the material, as can happen in a thin ‘Fusion’ or ‘Single Layer’ coating – roughly the thickness of a deflated balloon.
How we then apply and tailor this material is the all-important part, which pulls on well over a decade of experience and dedication to our craft. All inflatable boards are hand glued, so When it comes to adhesive, you need only the very best, to bond the surfaces and make an airtight seal that won’t fail – even under extreme pressure (both inside and out). Not only that, but it also has to be supple enough to withstand regular inflation, deflation and packing, as well as life under the midday sun. After years of extensive research into the best glues in the world, we settled on our very own, winning combination of glues. Some of which are trusted by the best sports shoe brands in the world and have won countless awards, which for a glue is saying something! This glue combination was integrated into our Industry leading Tec Air design process to make an absolutely solid product.
As with all watercraft, rocker is obviously important – otherwise we would all be out there on planks! When it comes to Inflatables, you can cheat your way to rocker, or you can craft it into the board at raw material stage. The quick and easy way to generate rocker is to cut the top layer of the board to a smaller size, pulling the nose of the board up. Yes, this may look like the desired upwards curve, but it creates stresses and weak points in the board which mean it will not maintain that shape for long and can decrease its lifespan.
Alternatively, you can breathe rocker into your board the Red Rescue way: When we are first cutting the raw materials of our board during our 72 hour construction process, we tailor the cutting of the dropstitch so that the two decks mirror each other and meet at a central point. The result is that the rocker is an integral part of your board and starts as far back as the rear third of the board, to ensure a gradual rocker that aids glide and control. It will therefore endure the countless inflations and deflations without losing its shape or increasing the likelihood of damage – as well as helping you avoid unnecessary nose dives!
2. Patented Stiffness
The dropstitch threads are what create the characteristic dimples on the deck of an inflatable. The dimple pattern of cheaper alternatives creates a perfect grid of dots. Ours however is a high definition, off-centred, grid, which distributes the pressure inside the board more evenly and strengthens the board considerably: To better understand this benefit, imagine standing on soft dry sand vs hard compacted sand – the soft sand doesn’t distribute your weight and you immediately sink in to it. On the other hand, the increased strength of the wet sand means that your weight is spread out more evenly over the surface and it supports you as you walk across.
Now, as a manufacturer you can typically buy dropstitch in either 4 inch, or 6 inch varieties. This defines the thickness of your board. Through our research, we know for certain that a board under 12-foot is too thick at 6 inches. Yes, the board is stiff, but its centre of gravity is far too high. The rails become too rounded, making the board tippy and hard to balance. At four inches thick the opposite occurs and the board will live up to the greatest fear you may have of inflatables – it will bend like a banana.
Through years of research we found the sweet spot between the two: for a 10’4” board, you need 4.7 inches to give you the optimum blend between stiffness, control and balance.
Rocker Stiffening System
Getting the thickness right wasn’t enough for us. We wanted more stiffness, to deliver unrivalled performance.
Introducing the patented Rocker Stiffening System (RSS) – another feature which is exclusive to Red and won’t be found on other Inflatables. The middle third of the board takes the most weight and is the area most prone to bending. We added pockets to both rails of the board, which receive a glass fibre stiffening rod. Whilst inflating the board, at around 1psi, the rods are inserted. Once fully inflated (we recommend 20psi), the RSS can increase the stiffness of your board by up to 40%, in comparison to one without it. It’s hidden away when paddling, adds durability and delivers stiffness like never before.
At 9.5kg, our 10’4″ Inflatable Prone Rescue Board weighs 1-2kg less than a traditional hard board. It could be more than that if we’re talking about the typically dinged and waterlogged boards found in use all over the world.
This weight saving improves your Lifesavers response times on land and increases their board control on the water. On top of this, if your Lifesaver does lose the board in the surf, it also decreases the severity of any potential injuries that the board could inflict upon impact with your lifesaver, casualties or other water users. In comparison, single layer or fusion boards often weigh less – whilst this sounds good on paper they have a tendency to simply blow away when on the beach, don’t track as well when paddling and are far more susceptible to side winds.
4. Pumped to Perfection
An inflatable board without a pump is like a BBQ without charcoal…. Not much use at all! As with everything at Red, we’ve ensured that our pump is the absolute best. Getting air and pressure into your board is what keeps it stiff and allows it to perform at its peak.
We found that there wasn’t a good enough pump on the market, so we developed our own. Our Titan Pump is the best in the world and is also exclusive to Red. It is a Double-Chamber pump that allows you to pump the majority of the air into your board with two chambers. When the resistance gets too high and it gets too tough, you can switch down to one chamber to squeeze in those integral last few psi. In short it reduces the amount of time and effort to inflate your board by half.
As I said previously, we recommend our boards are used at 20psi for peak performance. We do not put an upper pressure limit on the board, but when you hit 25 psi, you’re simply adding pressure without increasing the stiffness.
All of this comes together to create the most advanced and high-performing Inflatable Board Technology available on the planet.
Red Rescue: designed and engineered to deliver unrivalled stiffness and performance for you to Save Any Body, Anywhere.