Rigid for an inflatable
High-quality, durable construction
Doesn’t include leash or carrying case
Thickness makes turning slightly difficult
If you’ve heard of Tower Paddle Boards, also referred to as simply TOWER, it’s likely because Mark Cuban jumped on board with this San Diego-based company on an episode of Shark Tank. Tower Paddle Boards purports to offer quality and value by being direct-to-consumer. To see if its products delivered quality at a lower price point than much of the competition, my friends and I tested the Tower Paddle Boards Adventurer 2 iSUP on mostly flat water high in the Rocky Mountains. We assessed its performance over several weeks, evaluating factors such as durability, glide, stability, and maneuverability as well as the overall package and value.
Setup: Simple pump, high capacity to hold air
The inflatable nature of the Adventurer 2 means at some point you have to pump it up using the included floor pump. The actual pumping wasn’t hard, and we had several different people (of varying sizes and strengths) try it out. Even our smallest testers were able to fully pump up the board in about four minutes with mild exertion.
While we didn’t find inflation difficult, we mostly treated this board as a pump-it-up-and-leave-it option.
The pump itself is simple to assemble, though the gauge easily can be threaded on upside down, which isn’t very helpful when pumping, and it’s also difficult to tell if the tube end of the pump is engaged in the valve on the board. We had a few false starts on our first pumping where the pump just came off because it wasn’t fully twisted in place. Having some sort of locking mechanism or tactile feedback to know the pump is ready to go would be a welcome feature for future editions.
While we didn’t find inflation difficult, we mostly treated this board as a pump-it-up-and-leave-it option. That was partly because it didn’t feel unsafe or unbalanced as it partially hung out of the back of our truck bed on short drives, due to its relatively short size. The other reason we weren’t keen to inflate and deflate this board was the lack of included carrying case, meaning when we took it on the road deflated, we had (at minimum) a paddle, floor pump, and deflated board loose in the truck. We left it blown-up for at least a week during our testing and couldn’t detect any loss of air or softening of the board’s flex.
Design: Simple aesthetic, rugged construction
The simple aesthetic of the Adventurer 2 is a departure from the bright, beachy colors of much of the competition. With a length of 10 feet, 4 inches, this board is on the smaller end of the SUP spectrum. However, it’s 6 inches thick, which will feel over-the-top for anyone used to surfboards or fiberglass SUPs that are more often in the 2- to 4-inch range. It weighs just 25 pounds with a weight capacity of 400 pounds.
The first thing we noticed upon pumping this board up is how stiff and rugged it felt compared to other inflatables we’ve used. Comments included, “Wow, this thing seems serious!” In general, inflatables are more durable than rigid boards, which are subject to dings and breaks, but the Adventurer 2 stands out even among inflatables, many of which are simply pressed together.
The first thing we noticed is how stiff and rugged it felt compared to other inflatables.
The brand’s product description emphasizes the build several times, noting “military-grade drop-stitch construction.” Drop-stitch construction is found in life vests and river rafts and involves the connection of the top deck to the bottom deck with thousands of fibers, resulting in a firm shape that holds. To prove a point, the company even ran over the original version of this board with a car, which you can see on its YouTube channel. That wasn’t a “feature” we were keen to test out, but it’s nice to know it’s built to handle abuse.
While you can purchase the board separately, the standard package includes the board, a three-piece fiberglass paddle, and the pump. The Adventurer 2 features an attached hand strap for carrying, a roll-up carrying strap, a cargo net where you can store fishing gear or a jacket, front and rear handles, a ring on the tail for a leash (not included), and a three-fin design with a large detachable center fin. The nose of the board features a 4-inch rocker, which is an upward curvature that helps the board stay above the water when encountering waves.
Performance: Rigid but maneuverable for an inflatable
While most people buy inflatables for convenience and cost savings—not performance—the Adventurer 2 delivered surprisingly well in terms of glide, stiffness, and turning. The rugged build can hold up to 25 pounds per square inch (PSI) of air, though it’s recommended to stick to around 15 and we found it was plenty firm at around 12.
The stiffness matters because a board that sags or flexes won’t glide as well, and you’ll lose paddling energy transfer if you flex on each stroke. Unlike some cheaper inflatables, the Adventurer 2 is remarkably stiff, and while it can’t match that of a rigid epoxy or fiberglass SUP, the difference is minor for all but the most demanding riders.
The Adventurer 2 delivered surprisingly well in terms of glide, stiffness, and turning.
Another design choice that affects performance is the thickness of the board, and at 6 inches, we did notice some drawbacks. On windy days, we could really feel the wind catch the board, forcing us to fight more via paddling. It also makes the board a bit more awkward when turning, though this is a flatwater board and not particularly designed for athletic moves on a dime. The pointed and slightly upturned “rocker” nose helps, however, and it’s a step ahead of larger, platform inflatables in this regard, but it’s still not a precision wave surfer and it takes some effort and time to wheel the thing around.
While we’re not skilled enough to have braved the whitewater with this board during our testing, we feel confident that it would suffice in Class II water in the hands of a capable rider. That said, it’s mostly meant for flatwater, and if that’s not where you’ll be using it primarily, you may want to consider a more specialized board.
Price: Affordable, but not the cheapest around
While the MSRP for the Adventurer 2 package is $1,275, you can find it for closer to $700, which is very much on the low end of the price spectrum for paddleboards, particularly of this caliber. Still, it’s not the cheapest, and there are more budget-friendly options if you are only going to be using your board a few times a year. If you don’t need the pump and paddle, you can also purchase the board separately from Tower Paddle Boards for slightly less.
We actually appreciated that Tower Paddle Boards didn’t tack on a bag to this package (and inflate the price), but you will most likely need one for storage or transport, so keep that in mind when considering the price. Tower Paddle Boards sells what appears to be a very capable carrying backpack on its website, and we’d definitely suggest some kind of duffel to keep the pieces together, even if it’s just for offseason storage—unless you live on a lake and don’t ever intend to move the board and accessories around.
In addition, you might think a leash is just a safety issue for ocean surfers in a crowd, but it keeps the board close to you if you do fall off. This is a surprisingly important feature, even on lakes, and especially in high wind situations, so we’d recommend purchasing a leash as well.
Tower Paddle Boards Adventurer 2 iSUP vs. Bestway HydroForce White Cap Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard and Kayak
One of the “big box store” models is the combination kayak/SUP from Bestway, which we tested alongside the Adventurer 2. Despite some shortcuts taken in the build, the HydroForce White Cap is plenty of board for occasional users and it’s a fraction of the price (around $250). Plus, it can also be used as a kayak. This price is much easier to stomach if you’re uncertain about your interest level in paddleboarding and renting isn’t an option.
The HydroForce White Cap, however, while stable, is only 4 inches thick, so your feet will get wet more often. It’s also harder to pump fully so it lacks the rigidity of the Adventurer 2, which means it’s less suited to larger paddlers. If you know you want an inflatable SUP and value quality and improved performance, go with the Adventurer 2.
Still undecided? Check out our roundup of the best inflatable stand-up paddleboards.
- Product Name Adventurer 2 iSUP
- Product Brand Tower Paddle Boards
- MPN BD-TWR-2ADV2-PKG
- Price $1275.00
- Weight 25 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 124 x 32 x 6 in.
- Weight Capacity 400 lbs.
- Materials Military-grade PVC, drop-stitch construction
- What’s Included Paddle, pump, strap
- Warranty 2 years, excluding accessories