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Tavistock, Devon, Tavistock PL19 9BL, UK – 07739 564702
Hatha Oxygen vs Red Paddle first time review So, On a really lovely August afternoon I decided that me and my long suffering partner would try our hand at stand up paddling (SUP). Now let me make it clear at this juncture that I am very much a novice and have only had a couple of goes at this. Possibly therefore in no position to write a review. However there are plenty of ‘dudes’ getting into this so I thought a layman’s experience could be of use… Our adventure was centred at Roadford Reservoir on the Devon and Cornwall border. When we arrived they said that they currently stock ‘Red Paddle’ boards but that they also had a Hatha Oxygen on trial. Both of these are the inflatable type which makes a lot of sense to me. I was shown the Oxygen and it comes in a rucksack with a pump which makes the whole transport thing a whole lot easier. About 5 minutes of inflating and we were good to go. First things first. The Oxygen looks way better than the Red Paddle. The graphics on it are clean and stylish. Its not over ‘dressed’ but looks….well, cool. The Red looks, to be fair, like a mass produced tourist hire board. Not unpleasant but a little plain. Once afloat we swapped our craft between us to try to compare and see what the pros and cons were. It would probably have made sense to look up the two manufactures web sites to get all the technical stuff sorted but I thought that what we genuinely felt would be more honest and maybe helpful. The Oxygen seems thicker ie the depth of the hull. This makes it more rigid. It feels like a solid board (although I have only been on one once a long time ago). The Red flexes a little when moving through the water which is a little off putting. The flip side is though that the Red looks a little ‘slicker’. Stability must be a large consideration for beginners at this sort of game. I couldn’t really detect a difference however Louise reckoned that the Red felt a little more stable. This could be the case however there is a balance to be had here. I remember when I first started Windsurfing, stability was the big thing. However as you crawl to the heady hights of classing yourself as ‘intermediate’ then a slightly less stable board can be more nimble or responsive or maybe just fun. What about turn the thing then? Well, to begin with Louise didn’t bother and at one point I was reasonably keen for the safety boat to pop over but within 20 minutes or so of her first go she was getting the gist of it and the safety boat could relax. I was keen to try to feel the difference. They both have 3 skegs or are they fins? (Im pretty sure that this is the sort of technical parlance that will drive some people crazy-made-bonkers) The Red’s are all the same and I would say small. The Oxygen has two smaller ones on the outsides and a larger centre one. I noticed that this was one was removable but I can’t really think when that would be a benefit. Nice idea to have though. To my surprise they both turned in a very similar way. Again Louise thought she could feel a difference, this time the Oxygen was better and to be fair she was right. I thought about this as having a larger central fin should make it harder to turn. I realised that the curve or bow of the boards are slightly different. The Oxygen seems to lift a little more out the water at the front. So, less hull in the water, less drag, easier to turn. Ok, to summarise then. In my mind: easy. The Hatha Oxygen looks way better. As a complete beginner it is very accommodating (however the Red is marginally better maybe?). I think though very quickly you would ‘out grow’ the Red. The Oxygen has a great deal more to offer as and when your skill level increases. I have no idea what the prices are but the Red would have to be hundreds less for me to consider…….
Great friendly service, fantastic board. Would recommend to anyone.