GILI Paddle Board Review – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

Jan 1, 2023 | Reviews

Beyond the great quality and charitable conservation mission, GILI Sports is an all-around great brand to become familiar with. They aren’t a stranger to getting people involved in the watersport, but how do their products stand up against rigorous reviews of everyday paddle boarders? Lets find out...

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GILI paddle boards are considered one of the most well-known names in the sport, but do they stand up to the rigorous reviews of everyday paddle boarders?  

Is it worth shelling out the money, and do their paddle boards stand up to the test of time? Let’s find out…

Learn everything you need to know about GILI Sports paddle boards in this complete buyer’s guide from Paddle Outside.

Is GILI a Good SUP?

Yes, GILI Sports has high quality SUP boards and accessories. The quality stitching, product warranty, and willingness of the brand to stand behind their products has made it one of the top names in the paddle boarding community.

No matter if you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced paddle boarder, you’ll find that GILI Sports has something to offer you.

We’ll talk a bit more about it later in this article, but you’ll also notice the company is big about saving the oceans. Every purchase you make with GILI Sports goes directly to helping save oceans, marine life, and coral reefs.  

Beyond the great quality and rad conservation mission, GILI Sports is an all-around great brand to become familiar with. Not only are they dedicated to providing an excellent-quality product, but they provide you with a wealth of information.

They aren’t a stranger to getting people involved in the watersport, so if you have questions about a potential purchase, you can always contact their team at for more information.

Does SUP Brand Matter?

Compared to a bottom-of-the-barrel budget SUP that you can get on Amazon, their boards are a little ‘pricey’, but you get what you pay for. This is especially true for inflatable SUPs, where quality of stitching and material can impact the quality of your time on the water. (1) Fortunately, GILI does offer multiple financing options as well, so you can pay the board out over time.

While no-name brands will get you out on the water quickly, they don’t ride as smooth, and they won’t last you nearly as long. GILI Sports’ durable construction and reliable customer service means that you will have a great ride every time you get out on the water, and you won’t have to replace your board every year.

“Inflatable SUPs are ideal for those with limited storage space. They are easily carried — when deflated — in their storage bags, many of which have backpack straps for easy carrying.”


In the end, SUP brands do matter, and the type you choose will determine how easy it is to get on the water and what kind of ride you want to enjoy. If you’re looking for a smooth ride with no fuss or frustration, then shelling out few dollars more for a better brand is absolutely worth it.

Where Are GILI Paddle Boards Made?

While GILI Sports’ customer service center is in Phoenix, AZ, their boards are manufactured in China to keep costs low. They do, however, test boards through rigorous quality control before shipping, and the quality of materials is superior to most other brands on the market.

Image credit: GILI Sports.

The Story of GILI Sports

Paddle boarding is just now gaining popularity as a mainstream sport, and more people are beginning to enjoy the water and all the relaxation it offers. (2) In the history of paddle boarding, GILI Sports is relatively new to the market, though they’ve done their research and have come out with a superior quality product that has never disappointed.  

“You may have a little trepidation at first about learning how to paddle board standing up, but the truth is that it’s far easier to learn than other types of water sports.”


GILI Sports was created in 2018 by owner Jay Regan, who named the company after the GILI islands in Indonesia. These islands are situated between Lombok and Bali, and feature some of the most picturesque tropical island waters and greenery Indonesia has to offer.  

GILI Sports, Saving the World’s Oceans

GILI Sports has been pushing the envelope in paddle boarding since the company started in 2018.

One of their most popular boards was a ‘Save Our Turtles’ board which sold out in less than two months and caused a new wave of customer inquiries for the company. The ‘Save Our Turtles’ logo is still on the back of their 10’6 teal AIR boards, remaining one of their best sellers to date.

This isn’t the only board that supports marine conservation. The sale of this board launched an entire overhaul of the company’s business model, incorporating charitable conservation efforts into each purchase you make on the website. This means for every board they sell, they donate a portion of the order price to protecting oceans, coral reefs, and endangered marine species.

While they are always open to supporting other charities, currently in 2023, GILI Sports is supporting the Coral Reef Alliance. They take extra steps to ensure their environmental impact is minimized as much as possible, including creating their packaging from recycled materials.

What Activities Can GILI Boards be Used For?

GILI paddle boards can be used for whatever activities you choose to partake in on the water. Whether that’s a casual ride around the lake or whitewater paddling, GILI’s superior quality in materials makes this brand an all-around great choice. (3)

Currently, GILI has a full range of boards available that allows you to participate easily in the following activities:

  • SUP Yoga
  • Fishing
  • Expeditions and Touring
  • Fast Touring
  • Stable all-around paddle boarding
  • Multi-rider paddling
  • Whole-family paddle boarding
  • Paddle racing
  • Paddling with pets
  • Kids’ paddle boarding

All you have to do is find the perfect board for your needs, and you’ll be out on the water in no time. Below is a quick review of GILI’s different board brands to help you choose:

GILI Paddle Board Reviews by Series

GILI Sports is always releasing new products, which makes it one of the most innovative paddle boarding manufacturers on the market right now. Not only that, but they are the only paddle boarding company that is actively invested in conservation efforts through their Save Our Reefs charity initiative.

As they add new boards, we’ll update the list here so you can stay up-to-date with the latest board information and designs. As of right now, GILI has a range of 8 different boards that cater to a specific activity or style of paddle boarding:



Weight Capacity

Overall Score




10'6" x 31" x 6" /
11'6" x 32" x 6"

up to 300 lbs

All-Around SUP


8' x 30" x 4" /

9' x 30" x 4"

up to 130 lbs

Kids' First SUP


10' x 32" x 6"

up to 260 lbs

Short Rider All-Purpose


11' x 32" x 6" /

12' x 32" x 6"

up to 330 lbs

Versatile Touring


10'6" x 33" x 6"

up to 340 lbs

SUP Yoga


10'6" x 35" x 6" /

11.6" x 35" x 6"

up to 485 lbs

SUP Fishing


12'6" x 31" x 6"

up to 300 lbs

Distance Touring


12' x 45" x 8" /

15' x 56" x 8"

up to 1,150 lbs

Multi-Person SUP

All their boards are made from military-grade PVC, which means you’re less likely to puncture a GILI board than any other. While they do not manufacture hard boards (yet) these inflatable boards are arguably more durable than some hard boards out there.

Design: 5 / 5

Stability: 4.5 / 5

Performance: 5 / 5

 Versatility: 5 / 5

Overall: 5 / 5


This is by-far GILI’s most popular board that started their Save Our Reefs initiative. It’s a great all-around SUP for beginners and advanced paddlers alike.

This board comes with three different fins for different styles of paddle boarding, as well as a coil leash, backpack for storage, air pump, and three-piece paddle. You can choose between aluminum and fiberglass for the paddle.

While the AIR board used to only come as a 10’6 board, it now comes in the larger 11’6 size as well. Choose from six different colors: green, blue, teal, pink, camo, and yellow. With 9 D-rings, you can attach a range of accessories and make every paddle boarding trip unique. The board itself is lightweight, and the storage backpack is durable and comfortable.

Final take? The Air board is a great all-purpose board for beginners and advanced paddlers. This board provides you with a versatile range of options. Worth it!

Design: 1 / 5

Stability: 5 / 5

Performance: 3 / 5

Versatility: 1 / 5

Overall: 3 / 5

GILI Cuda for Kids

GILI finally has a board designed for kids, allowing you to get out on the water without taking the whole family on a single board. This gives you and your kids a little bit more freedom out on the water. This board comes with two options for length, 8’ and 9’. The 8’ board can support up to 95 lbs, while the 9’ board can support up to 130 lbs. Both are 30” wide and 4” thick, making it the perfect choice for your little one.

A little extra width towards the middle of the board means that your little one will have added stability on the water. This board comes with a slightly pointed planning hull, and snap-in center and side fins to keep the board stable but nimble. The storage bags are built for kids’ smaller frames so that they can carry their own board with ease.

While it’s a great start, there are a few downsides with this board. You’re limited to the stability-focused hull design and width, which means there will be increased drag and not much on the board if you’re trying to race the kiddos. You can only choose from blue, though there is a stunning manta ray and turtle design on the back of the board. While the paddle is kid-sized – which is rare to find – you are limited to fiberglass.

Final take? A good stable board for children under 95 to 130 lbs. It’s missing some customization options that could make it more versatile for the kiddos, but it’s a great start with a lot of kid-sized features.

Design: 3.5 / 5

Stability: 4.5 / 5

Performance: 4 / 5

Versatility: 3.5 / 5

Overall: 4 / 5


The Mako board is an answer to riders who prioritize stability in all water conditions. If you like to ride choppy waters, then you’re in luck, because GILI has made this board just for you. Three choices of paddle, from fiberglass to carbon and nylon, or full carbon; you can also choose from bright green or blue board colors.

It’s important to note that this board is 10’ in length and 32” in width, which means it’s a little short and stout compared to an all-around SUP. For its size, it’s still very maneuverable in the water, but you won’t be racing with it anytime soon. The Mako board was designed for riders under 5’10” in height, but this board is actually perfect for shorter riders in the 5’0” to 5’4” range.

The biggest selling point for this board is the short height, which is perfect for people who feel that the normal board sizes are a bit too long for them. This increases stability on the water; with a grooved traction pad, 5 action mounts, and a paddle holder, this is a surprisingly versatile board with a lot of options.

Final take? Great all-around board for shorter riders. Plenty of options for the beginner, but you won’t be going very fast on this board with its hull type. Whether you plan on using it for yoga, fishing, or casual cruisin’ around, it’s a great board.

Design: 5 / 5

Stability: 5 / 5

Performance: 4.5 / 5

Versatility: 4.5 / 5

Overall: 5 / 5

GILI Adventure

It does what it says on the tin: this board is great for everyday adventures on the paddle board. It is highly maneuverable and designed for long-distance touring. The hybrid hull allows you to slice right through mild choppy waters without losing speed, and the grooved traction pad features a rear kick pad to help you bust out some seriously-cool moves out on the water.

With two rear Scotty mounts for fishing gear, or 18 D-rings and a 6-point oversized bungee, this board was meant to be out on the water. SUP camping, touring, fishing, yoga, and cruising are all perfect activities for this board.  

When purchasing your board, you get a wide range of customization options. Choose from a nylon and carbon mix, full carbon, or fiberglass paddle. Select from five colors: blue, teal, yellow, orange, or camo. You can also select from 11’ or 12’ board length.

Final take? It’s a great board for the intermediate or advanced paddler who wants to get out on the water and have an adventure. It’s outfitted with enough versatility that you can be ready for whatever the day throws at you.

Design: 4.5 / 5

Stability: 5 / 5

Performance: 4 / 5

Versatility: 2.5 / 5

Overall: 4 / 5

GILI Komodo

Extra-wide at 33” width, this board features a hybrid nose with extra point to it, allowing you to gain more stability without sacrificing speed. The Komodo comes with a paddle holder so you can relax without worrying about your paddle, and the bungee area is removable so you can use the full board space. This is one of the only boards we’ve seen with a full-length EVA deck pad for stabilizing traction.  

With three paddle options available, this board gives you the most package options. Choose from fiberglass, full carbon, or a carbon and nylon mix. This board also comes from four different colors, including a yoga lotus flower design to keep zen at the forefront of your mind. Otherwise, blue and teal are available as a standard. The coral color is unique among their board designs, and perfect for yoga; it’s a beautiful coral pink spliced with light blue.

Final take? The Komodo is a great choice for riding with your pets, multi-person sup, and a range of other calm activities. Above all else, however, it’s an excellent SUP yoga board for beginners and advanced alike.

Design: 2 / 5

Stability: 4 / 5

Performance: 3.5 / 5

Versatility: 4 / 5

Overall: 3.5 / 5


The Meno is an extra-wide board meant for paddle touring, featuring a carbon fiber rail and a rear traction pad to give you a little extra grip in choppy waters. The 35” width is perfect for stability, but it’s not going to be the perfect board if you’re looking to go racing. The hybridized shape of the board itself helps reduce drag in the water and assists in cutting through choppy areas for a smoother ride.

Keep in mind the specialized activity, however, and the Meno won’t disappoint. This board comes in five different colors: blue, teal, green, camo, and white. You can choose from 10’6 length or the extra-large 11’6. Paddle options range from carbon and nylon mix to full carbon.

One thing to note here is that the 11’6 Meno board features 3 Scotty Mounts, which can help you mount fishing rods, fish finders, bait trays, and other accessories perfect for SUP fishing.

Final take? This board is primarily geared towards the SUP fisher. If you’re looking for an expedition or touring board, check out the GILI Meno Touring board below.

Design: 1 / 5

Stability: 4.5 / 5

Performance:  4.5 / 5

Versatility: 3 / 5

Overall: 4 / 5

GILI Meno Touring

This board is designed for touring with a mix of stability and speed. At 12’6” in length and 31” wide, it’s one of the best touring SUPs on the market at this price range. The only downside is that you don’t have many color options outside of blue, but you do get to choose from a carbon and nylon paddle, or a full carbon paddle.

Like the original Meno, it has a rear traction pad for extra stability on the board, as well as a carbon fiber rail for board stiffness. The Meno Touring board comes with 4 action mounts and a paddle holder. The bungee grab handles on the board are removable, in case they get in the way. There is virtually no drag with this board because of the slightly smaller width and displacement hull.

Final take? This board is amazing if you’re touring or going on paddle expeditions. It’s not a great choice for an absolute beginner, but if you have some experience with SUP, you’ll glide right along the water. It’s well worth the purchase.

Design: 2.5 / 5

Stability: 4.5 / 5

Performance:  4 / 5

Versatility: 3 / 5

Overall: 4 / 5

GILI Manta Ray Multi-Person

This multi-person paddle board is a beast of a board, but it’s perfect if you’re looking to take four or five people on a cruise at the same time. Available in both blue and teal, you can choose from a 12’ or 15’ board. The 12’ board can support up to 725 lbs weight which is a comfortable 2-3 people.

Alternatively, if you need to fit 5 or more adults on the board, the 15’ Manta Ray board is the perfect choice. This board can support 1,150 lbs

There are two huge bungee systems on the board, allowing you to pack all the accessories you want into the space. There are ten separate handles as well, so your whole crew can help carry the Manta Ray out to the water’s edge. With four snap-in fins, 5 accessory action mounts, and additional D-rings to make sure you have enough space for accessories and leashes, you’ll be ready for a party. This board also comes with two paddle holders, and two paddles.

Final take? Get the whole crew to pitch in on this and a set of paddle board LED lights, and you’re ready for a party.

GILI Sports Warranty Information

GILI Sports offers outstanding warranty options for paddle boarders. There is a standard product warranty that you get with every purchase. This limited manufacturer warranty lasts for two years, and because GILI Sports is a manufacturer that sells their boards directly, it means all you have to do is contact them to make a claim. It helps that their team is incredibly responsive.

GILI has an incredible a 2-3 day lead time for providing warranty resolutions once they have photos of the claim in hand. This warranty covers abnormal defects of the board, and if a claim is approved, they may replace or professionally repair the board for you. If a replacement is needed but a board is no longer in production, they may also replace the board with an equivalent product.

Accessories also come with a 90-day warranty, and dry bags come with a 1-year warranty. Once you receive your board, you need to register it with them under the “warranty registration” page.

If you’d like an extension on your board’s warranty, you can also purchase an extension through GILI’s website.

GILI Paddle Board Accessories

GILI Sports is a great one-stop-shop for all your paddle boarding needs, from life jackets (at least, for your dog) and drybags to kayak-conversion seats and new paddles.

They even have GILI brand merch for all your casual paddle board clothing. From hoodies to tank tops, you can showcase your love of the brand while supporting reef conservation efforts.

Overall, GILI has a lot of options when it comes to accessories and we’re impressed with the quality of it all. Even the Save Our Reefs beach towel, which is made from a polyester-cotton blend to keep it sand- and water-resistant, is incredibly soft to the touch.

“Fun and affordable, paddle boarding is a skill that is enjoyed by young and old alike and is a great way of getting out on the water.”


In fact, one of their top-selling boards is the 10’6 and 11’6 AIR. This paddle board has five stars across 1,600 reviews on their website, and it’s “an excellent all around beginner paddle board for those on a tighter budget.”

GILI recognizes that paddle boarders just want to get out on the water, and sometimes you just need something reliable that you can use for years to come. If you’re looking for something a little more specialized, such as a kids’ board, a touring or racing board, or large, multi-person board – there’s something for you on their website.


How Do You Deflate a GILI SUP?

Deflating a GILI Sports brand paddle board is not much different from deflating any other type of paddle board. In this case, it helps to have the GILI e-pump handy.

Once you get your board out of the water, you can use the e-pump or deflate the board manually with the air valve. Using the air valve, you can deflate the pump by uncapping the valve cap and locking it into the open position, using your finger to press down on the valve pin.

Quick tip: never use the valve wrench to deflate your paddle board, as this can risk severe injury to the individual or damage to the paddle board.

As you press down on the valve pin and hold it down, you’ll hear a large hiss of air as the board begins to deflate. As your board begins to deflate, go to the opposite end of the board and begin rolling it up to get the remaining de-pressurized air out of the board, similar to how you would roll a tent or sleeping bag after camping.

See the video below for visual instruction.

If you are using an e-pump, you can instead remove the valve cap and lock the pump into place, mirroring what you did to inflate it. Instead of hooking the hose into the “inflate” side of the pump, however, you should lock the hose into the “deflate” side of the pump. This will use the pump to help pull air from the paddle board in a controlled fashion.

Once rolled up, you can fold your board into your SUP backpack, put all your accessories in the bag, and you’re good to go!

Where to Buy GILI Inflatable SUPs

GILI inflatable paddle boards are only available online. They are not available in retail stores on a regular basis. You can, however, purchase GILI Sports paddle boards on their official website, or through

When shopping, you’ll be surprised to note that the prices are comparable to each other. If you have Amazon Prime, many of the paddle boards are offered with free shipping, and financing is available through the Amazon Store Card application.

Through GILI, you pay a little more up front, but you have financing options directly through GILI without having to sign up for a store card. GILI also offers free shipping on orders over $50 and you will be able to register your paddle board for their product warranty quickly, as well as having access to their customer support if needed. Furthermore, ordering direct gives you access to a 60-day guarantee return policy, compared to Amazon’s 30-day return policy.

Does GILI Ever Have Sales or Discount Codes?

Yes, GILI Sports is well-known for having frequent sales to help paddle boarders who want to be out on the water anytime of year.

The most common times of year to get good deals are at the beginning and end of the year when the weather is still cold or cooling down for the winter season. You will also see sales during the holidays. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and New Years are all great holidays towards the end of the year to get some excellent deals.

Even if you don’t get a direct discount on the paddle board itself, you could get an add-on worth a significant value. For example, during the Black Friday deals of 2022, GILI put on a sale that provided you with a free accessory bundle with the purchase of any paddle board across the site – in addition to the accessories that already come with the paddle board.

This bundle worth $340 included an e-pump, dry bag, phone case, anchor, go-pro adapter, carrying strap, and river fin – all excellent accessories to get you started on the right foot.

Paddle Outside: Your Source for SUP

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  1. Forbes, Inflatable SUPs Are Ideal for Travel,
  2. HuffPost, 5 Reasons Stand Up Paddle Boarding Should Be Your New Hobby,
  3. Outside Online, The Mental Tricks of SUP Adventurer Paul Clark,
  4. Entrepreneur, 5 Ways You Can Use Your Paddle Boards to Make Some Extra Cash,


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