If you’re looking for a great inflatable stand up paddle board in 2021, you might have noticed that you’re spoiled for choice. There is a lot to choose from sub £500/$600. So, is the Aqua Marina Fusion a SUP that’s worth your attention?
In this review of the 2021 edition of the Aqua Marina Fusion, I’m going to focus more on the real world usage. How does it feel to ride on the water? Is it a fast SUP? And can it carry much equipment or extra passengers?
To start with, lets look at the technical specs before we get onto the review.
Aqua Marina Fusion Specifications
- Release date: 2021
- Length: 10′ 10″/ 330 cms
- Weight: 8.6 kgs / 19lbs
- Max payload: 150 kgs / 330lbs
- Max air pressure: 15 psi / 1 bar
In the bag:
- Inflatable Stand up paddle board (Aqua Marina Fusion)
- Double speed pump plus hose
- Paddle (collapsable and extendable)
- Centre fin/keel
- Velcro safety leash
- Puncture repair kit
- Valve release handle (for repairs)
- Carry bag (over shoulder and carry handle)
Price (June 2021): ~£400 / $500
Who is it for?
The Aqua Marina Fusion is a fairly standard sized SUP, and is ideally suited for beginners or hobbyist paddle boarders. If you’re looking to race, or use a paddleboard to surf, this might not be the board for you.
But, if you want to have some fun in the water and explore inshore waters, lakes, slow moving rivers or canals, Aqua Marina are pitching this SUP firmly at you.
The Fusion also has attachments for a seat, which is sold separately. So longer distance explorers and fishing enthusiasts might also be keen to review the Fusion themselves.
Aqua Marina Fusion Review
First impressions of the Fusion are, it’s very orange. But… I don’t find the colour overbearing at all. In fact, the orange isn’t day-glo, but definitely has a head turning factor – in a good way. Since I’ve taken the Fusion out several times since owning it I’ve had nothing but compliments.
Another crucial first impression, probably the most important, is the build quality. The whole thing looks and feels sturdy and well put together – from the actual material to the valve, the grips and the accessories, nothing feels ‘cheap’. So far so good.
As for the backpack and transporting the Fusion? I put the whole thing with all the equipment in the supplied backpack and walked the ten minutes or so to the waterfront from my home. Although very bulky, it’s actually a pretty light piece of kit at just over 8 kilos.
With the SUP on your back, you might not want to get on your local metro at rush hour. But you can easily walk a decent distance or even hop on a bike with the Fusion on your back and not feel the strain.
If you have a small car though, you might find that the Aqua Marina Fusion carry bag takes up most of the room in your boot. That’s pretty much a standard complaint for any SUP though, so this isn’t going to be a major issue.
Inflating and getting ready to go
From unpacking to being on the water has taken me probably under ten minutes. The double action pump means you inflate to 10psi and then add the extra 5psi with the lower impact setting – which is fine. Yes, it does get the blood pumping to inflate a SUP, but hey! That’s part of the fun.
With the board inflated, you simply put the paddle together, tie on the leash and you’re off.
The board is also well weighted and light to carry once inflated. The central carry handle makes it easy to pick up and go, and again, the build quality on the neoprene handle is solid.
There is also some mesh on the front of the board to keep your stuff safe. I have a fairly small dry bag (around 10 litres) and usually a pair of shoes strapped to the front of mine. On my first outing I did also take the backpack with the pump, which added a bit of clutter. But, maybe importantly, there is the space…
I feel like you could take a small-ish bag of supplies and a 10-20 litre day bag, making the Fusion ideal for day trips.
On the water
I took the Fusion out on the water in my hometown (Plymouth, UK), which sits on a large sea facing natural harbour. The conditions tend to be a combination of a little bit of sea chop and some strong tidal currents – although a good day can be nice and glassy.
My first trip out was a smooth water day, perfect to check out the stability and speed of the Aqua Marina Fusion.
Firstly, for stability, I found the size of the Aqua Marina gives it a nice solid feeling even in a little bit of chop. There is no bounce or bowing with this board, so you feel quite sturdy on the water which is nice.
And when it comes to speed, I find that the Fusion can pick up the pace if it needs to. I can definitely steam along with a paddle board, and I felt like the speed of the Fusion was on the top end of the boards I’ve tried before.
On a later trip I went out with a friend in a kayak and it’s true that this kind of iSUP doesn’t quite keep up the pace with boats and kayaks. However, the trip out with my kayaking buddy was a very choppy day, probably on the edge of what I would deem safe on a SUP – so I was mostly kneeling. The chop may also have contributed to the lower speed here too, but I’ll come back with an update as soon as I race another kayak.
My last point is manoeuvrability. I have seen that people often mention that inflatable paddle boards are not too responsive with steering or can be hard to control in some situations. So far, and I’ve been out more than a handful of times on the Fusion, I’ve found this board to be great.
I’ve steered through a craggy approach to a secluded beach, navigated under a pier, had to avoid other boarders at the beach and scooted around with my daughter on the front. And I’m gonna say that the Aqua Marina Fusion is a perfectly nimble board.
So, I mentioned my daughter there, who is nearly 4 years old. At the beach in the shallows, we’ve had lots of fun on this board. Of course, she wears a life jacket and I put the supplied leash onto her for safety.
But the point is that the Aqua Marina Fusion can take quite a bit of weight. In fact, me and another buddy (a guy, weighing probably the same as me), both got onto the board did a short hop from point to point. The Fusion remained perfectly buoyant and nimble on the water.
I might not want to get two adult men on this board for a long trip across open water though…. It does feel a little less speedy in the water. But with a young child, dog, or if you want to get your girlfriend on the front (assuming you’re a guy and you have a girlfriend who is quite light), then you could probably manage quite well.
Having ridden the Aqua Marina Fusion on several different occasions, in different waters I can verify that this is an excellent quality SUP. If you’re looking for an inflatable stand up paddleboard that feels hard wearing and durable, and has a premium build quality for a mid-range price, I think almost everyone would be happy with the Fusion at this price point.
Some of the downsides? To my taste I’d rather have a coiled leash, although the supplied version is perfectly adequate. I plan to buy an extra leash so that both my daughter and myself can ride the board, so I will most likely pick up a coiled leash for myself.
The paddle is decent quality, but I would say it’s more adequate than outstanding. The handle has slipped in it’s holding a few times, despite my tightening it up. I am considering purchasing a new paddle eventually, but again I don’t think this is a priority, just personal preference. That said, I think most people will find that the paddle is perfect for their needs.
Despite these two minor gripes, the Aqua Marina Fusion is an excellent stand up paddleboard and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for their first, or an additional iSUP.
A solid 4 out of 5 makes this a solid piece of kit. Even after riding the Aqua Marina Fusion for 2 years, this is still a great SUP and I’d definitely buy it again today.