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Behind The Designs Of The New Adventure Board Range

Posted by Lydia Burdett

Meet two of the creative minds behind Red Paddle Co’s 2024 board range. Lewis Durant, Industrial Designer, first joined Red on placement in 2015 and is now also Design Lead for Red Rescue. Katie Eaton, Designer, has over six years of experience in Red product development, from ideation to production. Together, they take us through Red Paddle Co’s latest release, revealing how customer insights and cutting-edge materials have shaped the six new boards joining our 2024 line-up...

Can you give us a bit of background on designing boards for Red?

Lewis: In 2024 we mark 16 years of board development, as designers for Red Paddle Co we are excited to be at the forefront of the SUP market’s evolution. Red has played a pioneering role in shaping this industry and we approach this responsibility with genuine enthusiasm. Our most recent board projects reflect our commitment to define the next chapter in our constantly evolving journey.

How do you start projects like this?

Lewis: In summary, we explore and pinpoint opportunities.

Launching into every project, we set out to discover opportunities for enhancement and overcoming potential challenges. This is done by delving into a breadth of sources, ranging from personal experiences to insights shared by fellow riders. With these nuggets of wisdom, we meticulously define the core objective and craft a brief. This phase also involves incorporating various considerations to establish clear project parameters, ensuring our efforts result in a solution that is not just innovative but also user-friendly and viable.

In the context of our latest endeavour – the 2024 range – we didn’t stumble upon these ideas randomly. Rather, we invested time in thoroughly examining the market landscape, tapping into the perspectives of board owners, retailers, schools, tour guides, distributors, and other industry experts. What emerged from this comprehensive exploration was a demand among enthusiasts to elevate their paddling experience and upgrade their adventures.

From here, we embarked on our design process which led to the development of the new boards for 2024.

What are the new 2024 boards?

Katie: The new boards featuring within the 2024 board range are:

What’s new about these boards?

Katie: We have developed a more specialised board range with a growing number of people wanting to improve their paddling ability or take on a new challenge. These boards allow paddlers to enhance their experience, going further, faster depending on their specific adventure. As a quick overview, it is easier to break it up into parts: 

Sport+ and Elite: The new MSL®800 material, 12'6" Sport+ is thinner, a longer 14'0" touring board, new board shapes, new handle placements. 

Ride: The 10'2" Ride has increased length and volume.

Wild: Introducing a smaller size at 9'6", increased rocker, stability, deckpad shaping. 

Why did you make these changes?

Katie: We looked at current board owners, how they used their boards and what they were using them for. What issues or pains they were facing and what we could potentially do to solve some of these issues. 

For example, adding the whole Sport+ range. We found there was a gap between the average Sport board user and the average Elite board user. The Sport+ range bridges that gap. If you are looking to paddle a bit further, go a bit faster or get into racing / doing longer races, this is the range for you. This specific board range didn’t come from nowhere; we have worked with customers who we thought would fit perfectly into this range, to gain feedback and develop this board with.

Another example: we spoke to people in the white-water industry, from people who go white-water paddling a lot to instructors. We listened to their feedback, got them to test out sample boards. 

Lewis: We’re fortunate to have a fantastic global network of contacts with valuable insights and feedback. Shout-out to Bill, our dedicated Red distributor in New Zealand. His collaboration during the development of the 2024 Elite 12'6" was instrumental, his feedback and testing alongside other athletes played a crucial role in shaping this new model.

How did you know these were the right changes to make?

Katie: As mentioned in the last answer, by listening to and observing issues people are facing. It gives us a good understanding of the requirements that are needed to create boards that act and perform in a way specific to that type of paddling. Creating changes that meet the requirements and solve issues people are having, gives us a good idea that these are the changes that are needed.

For example, the slightly longer length of the 10'2" Ride adds more volume to the board, which means it covers a larger number of people that can use this board, making it more of an all-round board. This adds value to a family: it means to crosses over to more members of the family. Also, it helps with SUP schools that use our boards – working for more people who come to try paddleboarding.

Another example is the 9'6" Wild. As mentioned, we spoke to lots of people to make this board work for the conditions. We have a couple of people here at HQ that are white-water paddlers, and they have connections of people in the community, which really helps when testing. The shorter length of board allows the user to be more agile in flowing water and rapids, where a quick responding board is important. The more pronounced nose rocker is because this board will hit water at different angles to other boards in the range. Helping in drops and navigating through different parts of the river. The raised areas of the deckpad help the user know where they are on the board and put their feet where they need to be. These are just a couple of points, but these things enhance the user’s experience, whether it’s making it easier to paddle / navigate the board or their general interaction with the board itself. 

This is the same with all of the boards, whether it is making a board go faster, be lighter, be more durable or paddle straighter (this isn’t needed for the Wild, it needs to be agile and hence has smaller fins. This is an example of listening to our customers and identifying what is needed or what is important for that specific user or board owner.) And knowing our customer base and how people are using the boards, creates the requirements we need for boards. Also our bags, paddles and pumps too, leading to an enhanced user experience or added value. 

What’s MSL®800?

Lewis: Back in 2018, we unveiled the Compact 9'6", a brilliant board that redefined industry standards by folding in half before rolling up. This design set a new benchmark as the most compact SUP package available to date. The success of this venture led to the development of a family of patented boards within the Red range, made possible by the bespoke drop-stitch material MSL®1000.

With the Compact projects, we were on a mission to boost our core principles – make inflatable paddleboards that pack down without compromising on performance. These projects also provided us with invaluable insights into the behaviour of materials under various conditions, expanding our knowledge in this subject area.

This knowledge has now come to light with the unveiling of MSL®800, a refinement of our industry-leading MSL® drop-stitch that has been carefully crafted over time. This advanced iteration boasts a combination of reduced weight and enhanced rigidity. Within our board range, we now feature three distinct materials, each defined for specific purposes. For those inclined to delve deeper into the intricacies of our materials, we have dedicated an entire page to this subject at

What do you see as a big win from this project?

Lewis: Just imagine, a paddleboard stretching 14 feet, neatly fitting into the boot of a small hatchback. It’s shed over 2 kilograms, getting leaner and more refined. And when inflated, it’s rigid and responsive, outperforming the critics’ expectations. Just think of the possibilities and adventures that are now possible!

Katie: My win from the project is seeing how people interact with the boards, and the feedback we hear. Looking at the videos that have been put together by our marketing team of people using these boards in real situations, races and challenges such as the Trent100, people experiencing and achieving new things and pushing themselves for new adventures with product we have designed.