How to Choose The Best SUP Kayak Hybrid

Colette Goh | How To

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How to Choose The Best SUP Kayak Hybrid

How to Choose The Best SUP Kayak Hybrid

If you’re looking for a SUP kayak hybrid, you’ve come to the right place. Here at ISLE, we’ve been designing and building quality paddle boards and kayaks for 20 years, and have used our expertise to design some of the most user-friendly, versatile hybrids on the market today. Our mission is to inspire a life that’s better in balance through adventure on the water - and what better way to adventure than with a SUP-kayak hybrid?

We’re excited to share this guide on how to choose the best inflatable paddle board kayak hybrid for you. Our hybrids are a fantastic way to make the most of your time on the water as you can switch between stand up paddling, kayaking, fishing, yoga, and lounging, whether solo or with a friend, pet or child.

This detailed guide will help you choose the best paddle board kayak hybrid for your lifestyle and passions. It also covers the technical features and differences between our models, and recommendations for an optimized setup for your sit-on-top kayak.

ISLE’s SUP Kayak Hybrids

At ISLE we offer three inflatable stand-up paddle board kayak hybrids. We have the Switch, the Pioneer Pro, and the Explorer Pro.

The Switch is our most lightweight option, perfect for recreational paddlers looking for a portable, durable, and stable board that can serve multiple activities. It’s built with Airtech, ISLE’s original construction designed for maximum durability while maintaining the lightest weight possible. Because of its full-coverage soft and grippy traction pad, it’s great for solo or tandem kayaking and the entire deck can be used for yoga, pets, kids, and lounging. 

Our Pro Series hybrids, the Pioneer Pro, and Explorer Pro, are our newest SUP kayaks. They feature cutting-edge technology making them the most rigid inflatables available on the market. 

These boards are built with Airtech Pro construction which features InfinityFiber, a patented material used by the US Navy that allows us to create the most rigid inflatable boards on the planet. It increases rigidity up to 300% compared to typical inflatables and they’re up to 50% lighter than plastic kayaks. The Pro Series also features PowerFuse welded rails, which fuse the top, bottom, and rails, stopping the potential for air leakage and increasing the durability and board’s lifespan. They are fantastic all-purpose recreational and fitness boards, and the added rigidity allows them to support larger riders and more gear.

The Pioneer Pro is the best all-around inflatable hybrid optimized for rigid board glide and durability in a more lightweight package. It’s stable, easy to maneuver, and is a multi-purpose board for SUP, kayaking, yoga, and fishing. The 11’6 Pioneer Pro is our most stable, highest capacity model, which we recommend for anyone looking for added capacity and stability.

The Explorer Pro is for adventurous kayakers who want to go the distance with our award-winning touring and fitness board. It is the best for longer distances as its high weight capacity means it’s great for carrying gear while solo and tandem kayaking and SUP.


What do these 3 models have in common?


All of our inflatable SUP hybrid kayaks have our ISLE-LINK system so that you can customize and convert your stand-up paddleboard to a sit-on-top kayak. Our patent-pending system of custom-made webbing loops and stainless steel G hooks means you can attach your kayak seat and accessories just the way you want them. All three models are balanced and steady and made for various water sports and activities. They have a grippy traction pad and sturdy deck for kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, yoga, and lounging with pets and kids. Each of our SUP kayaks deflates, rolls up, and easily packs away thanks to a high-pressure valve that can rapidly inflate or deflate in under 5 minutes.


Each kayak comes in multiple sizes to optimize performance for every person and can be used solo or tandem. 


Check out these videos to see what it would be like to set up and use our hybrids: Switch Users Guide Video and our Pro Series User Guide Video.

The Switch: 2 in 1 Inflatable Kayak and Paddle Board

Now the Switch is for you if you want an ultra-lightweight and stable SUP kayak hybrid. It’s the most lightweight option we offer with a hull that weighs only 19 lbs. The Switch has a touring shape that is wider (35.5”) for increased stability, making it a great blend between an all-around and touring board. 


The Switch Overview:

  • Package includes everything you need for both kayaking and paddle boarding
  • ISLE’s proprietary Inflatable Airtech construction
  • Comes in 1 size 11’6”
  • For 1-2 riders
  • Capacity up to 425 lbs
  • 2 colorways 

Features include:

  • ISLE-LINK management system: patent pending system running the length of the board for adding accessories and converting from SUP to kayak. 
  • Brushed traction pad: grooves for extra traction and maximum comfort on the feet. Its soft, non-abrasive texture means knee paddling or lounging is smooth and comfortable
  • Nose & tail grab handles: two reinforced handles for easy transporting with loaded gear. Can also be used as tie-up points for docks or for a leash
  • 6 point front bungee and 4 point rear bungee: expandable bungee system for grab-and-go gear access (snacks, camera, and mandated life vest)
  • Rounded carry handle: cushioned neoprene handle for easy-to-hold carrying even when wet or cold
  • Paddle holder: two velcro straps along the rail for secure paddle attachment

Price-wise, it’s $995 for the Switch Complete Package. This package gives you everything you need to convert your paddle board to a kayak. It includes:

  • 11’6” paddle board kayak hybrid
  • Remix Alloy 4 PIece SUP-Kayak paddle
  • High Back elevated kayak seat
  • Ergonomic kayak foot brace
  • 8’ Coil leash
  • Flex Touring fin
  • Switch ISUP Travel Bag
  • Slim Hand Pump

The Pioneer Pro: SUP-Kayak Hybrid for All-Around Use

The Pioneer Pro takes our best-selling paddle board model of all time, known for its all-around shape, stability, and versatility. The Pioneer Pro is the perfect marriage of portability and rigidity. It can easily flex between SUP, kayaking, yoga, and fishing. It is sold on its own so you can customize your Kayak accessories and a Complete Package that has everything you need to SUP and Kayak (paddle, pump, seat, foot brace, etc.). 

The Pioneer Pro overview:

  • Paddle, pump, seat, and foot rest are sold separately to let you customize your ideal package
  • ISLE’s proprietary Inflatable Airtech Pro
  • Comes in 3 sizes: 9’6”, 10’6”, 11’6”
  • For 1 rider (9’6” and 10’6” size) or 1-2 riders (11’6” size)
  • 195-300 lbs capacity (9’6” and 10’6” size), 350 lbs capacity (11’6” size)
  • 3 colorways

The Pioneer Pro features include:

  • ISLE-LINK management system: patent pending system running the length of the board for adding accessories and converting from SUP to kayak. 
  • Nose-to-tail brushed deck pad: means it’s great for yoga, fishing, paddle boarding and kayaking. It has grooves for extra traction and maximum comfort on the feet. Its soft, non-abrasive texture means knee paddling or lounging is smooth and comfortable
  • Lay flat front grab handle with accessory mount: perfect for sports camera, speaker, fishing rod holder, etc. Shop the Ram Mount accessory package here.
  • Isle Gear storage system: flat lay bungee that can be easily repositioned or removed for customized setup
  • Tail grab handle: reinforced handle for easy transporting with loaded gear. Can also be used as tie-up points for docks or for a leash. 
  • 6 point front bungee and 4 point rear bungee: expandable bungee system for grab-and-go gear access (snacks, camera, and mandated life vest)
  • Rounded carry handle: cushioned neoprene handle for easy-to-hold carrying even when wet or cold
  • Paddle holder: two velcro straps along the rail for secure paddle attachment

Price-wise, it is $895-$1095 for Pioneer Pro depending on the size. The Pioneer Pro allows you to customize the equipment and accessories that fit your needs and price point.

Or if you want everything included, you’ll be looking at $1395-1595 for our Pioneer Pro Complete Package. This includes the following:

  • 9’6”, 10’6”, or 11’6” paddle board kayak hybrid
  • Remix Carbon SUP Paddle
  • Remix Carbon Extra paddle blade
  • Cloud Kayak Seat
  • Cloud Kayak Foot Brace
  • Totora Hand Pump
  • Rigid Touring Fin
  • 6” Lightweight Straight Leash
  • Pro Series Wheelie Backpack

The Explorer Pro: SUP-Kayak Hybrid for Adventure, Fitness & Touring

The Explorer Pro is the fastest ISLE board ever made and is the best for longer distances as its high weight capacity means it’s great for carrying gear while solo and tandem kayaking and SUP. It is designed with a touring shape to cut through the water efficiently. It is sold on its own so you can customize accessories or you can get everything you need with the Explorer Pro Complete Package.

The Explorer Pro Overview:

  • Paddle, pump, seat, foot rest are sold separately to let you customize your ideal package
  • Inflatable Airtech Pro
  • Comes in 2 sizes: 12’, 14’
  • For 1-2 riders
  • 350 lbs capacity (12’), 375 lbs capacity (14’)
  • 2 colorways

The Explorer Pro features include:

  • ISLE-LINK management system: patent pending system running the length of the board for adding accessories and converting from SUP to kayak. 
  • Brushed traction pad: has grooves for extra traction and maximum comfort on the feet. Its soft, non-abrasive texture means knee paddling or lounging is smooth and comfortable
  • Lay flat front grab handle with accessory mount: perfect for sports camera, speaker, fishing rod holder, etc. Shop the Ram Mount accessory package here.
  • Isle Gear storage system: flat lay bungee that can be easily repositioned or removed for customized setup
  • Tail grab handle: reinforced handle for easy transporting with loaded gear. Can also be used as tie-up points for docks or for a leash. 
  • 6 point front bungee and 4 point rear bungee: expandable bungee system for grab-and-go gear access (snacks, camera, and mandated life vest)
  • Rounded carry handle: cushioned neoprene handle for easy-to-hold carrying even when wet or cold
  • Paddle holder: two velcro straps along the rail for secure paddle attachment

Price-wise, it is $995-$1095 for the Explorer Pro depending on the size. 

Or if you want everything included, you’ll be looking at $1495-$1595 for the Explorer Pro Complete Package. This includes the following:

  • 12’ or 14’ Paddle Board kayak hybrid
  • Remix Carbon SUP Paddle
  • Remix Carbon Extra paddle blade
  • Cloud Kayak Seat
  • Cloud Kayak Foot Brace
  • Totora Hand Pump
  • Rigid Touring Fin
  • 6” Lightweight Straight Leash
  • Pro Series Wheelie Backpack

For a comparison cart with all our models, check out our SUP Size and Weight Chart

Accessories to Customize Your Inflatable SUP Kayak Hybrid

If you’re planning to spend a lot of time on the water, we recommend investing in optimizing your setup. 

Our Custom Electric Pump makes inflation a breeze, plus it fits inside any ISLE backpack.

If you want to maximize your Pro Series Pioneer Pro or Explorer Pro capability, you’ll want to look at the Ram Mount accessory package here so that you can attach additional gear such as a camera or phone holder.

If you’re planning to tour long distances, our Dry Bags will protect your gear from the elements. 

For those who love to tandem kayak you’ll want an extra Seat and Foot Brace and Paddle

If you love to socialize on the water try our Linkup Board Connector straps which connect 2 boards for a side-by-side paddle or instant mobile dock.

If you need to keep the board in place for yoga or fishing, check out our Anchor Kit

Finally, for all our dedicated fishermen, our Harbor Fishing Kit is an innovative folding milk crate and bag with two rod holders, tool pockets, and a mesh storage pocket to carry all your gear.

Conclusion

If you’ve made it this far in the article - congratulations! You must be extremely excited and ready to get out on the water. Once you’ve decided which inflatable SUP kayak is for you, here’s a guide on how to set it up. And don’t forget that when you’re setting up your hybrid as a kayak, you need to ensure it’s properly trimmed for optimal efficiency.

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