When paddling with children, it’s always a challenge to find them a fitting board. Up until now, I always gave them one of my shorter boards, but those often compensate the failing length with width. The child will be on a stable board, but in one or more ways it’s always too large – the child just cannot paddle it the same way that a grown up would.
It’s refreshing to see a board that is really scaled down for children, so they can learn to paddle with the same technique as adults. The Body Glove Cruiser is scaled down in all dimensions. It is:
- short (officially 7’6” - own measurement 7'5"), so children can shift their weight back or forward with one small step.
- narrow (officially 26”- own measurement 24.8"), to allow for easy edging.
- thin (officially 4”- own measurement 4.3", which can be considered thin these days), but that is no problem for stiffness, since the board is short, and the paddler isn’t very heavy. Also, the narrow double stringer layers on the top and bottom increase stiffness significantly.
- low volume. The child actually has a chance to stand of the tail and sink it for pivot turns, which never works when they are on a small adult board.
- light (own measurement 5.8kg/12.8lbs), which is a great advantage, not only because it makes the board easier to paddle, but it also keeps the kids in a good mood when proudly carrying their own boards to the water.
- affordable, with an MSRP of USD 599 in the US or €699 in Europe.
This is a well designed and well manufactured board. Deck lines, leash ring, carrying handle alias bottle holder, diamond deck pads, fool-proof instructions, it's all there. The board has three fixed fins. The fins are short and flexible and provide good tracking.
Our test paddler Constantin was 29kg/64lbs, which seems like the perfect weight for this board. The maximum recommended paddler weight for the board is 54 kg/120 lbs.
Since the board is scaled down in all dimensions, one thing to keep in mind is that this also translates to the waters that can be paddled. The board doesn’t iron out waves and currents like a big board does, so understand that what may be an easy ripple, wave or eddy for you, may be more difficult for your kid on this board.
The best environment for the Cruiser is flatwater, small surf or easy rivers.
The package includes:
- Adjustable aluminum 3pc. standup paddle (50-65 in)
- High pressure hand pump w/ gauge
- Durable backpack
- Dry pouch
- Coil leash
- Repair kit
Room for Improvement
I like this board a lot, but there is always room for improvement of course.
I only have the board to test, not the complete package, so I have to use a pump from an other brand, which is tricky. I tried a couple, and they fit well, but when pumping for the last 20 strokes, the rubber valve ring leaks a bit. It's no huge problem, especially if a second person can push the hose down during those final strokes, but it would be better if any mainstream SUP pump would work.
I also didn't have the paddle that comes with the board, but judging by the official product video, that paddle is not scaled down for kids, except for the length. The blade, handle, and shaft looks quite large for a small kid. Again, I cannot ultimately tell with having used that paddle. For our test purposes, we used a Pelican kids paddle. This paddle has a scaled down blade (not the handle and shaft diameter) and works very well.
The Body Glove Cruiser 7'6" Kids ISUP is a great little board that fills a real gap in the market.
PS This board is a pretty cool training toy for grown ups as well, as it’s extremely tricky just to keep standing on it. Below are some photos of myself (85kgs/188lbs) on the small Cruiser.