Updated July 2nd, 2023
Great speed and glide with enough stability for any intermediate paddler that comes with a carbon paddle and triple action pump
Best Value – Best Inflatable Touring SUP
- Thurso Surf Expedition 150 Review and Test
- Recommendation – Buy or No Buy?
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The Thurso Surf Expedition is a high performance inflatable touring SUP. It is 12’6″ x 32″ with a narrow nose and tail that is built for speed. It is wide enough that anyone with some paddleboarding experience will be able to enjoy it. It is a clean design with enough D-Rings for attaching a seat and storing gear and 1 GoPro Mount. It comes with a carbon paddle and triple action hand pump. It performs like a good touring SUP should with good tracking and glide without many downsides to it. It’s one of the best inflatable touring SUPs available today.
What we liked:
- Fast glide with good tracking
- Feels as close to a rigid touring board as you can get with an inflatable
- At 31 inches wide it has enough stability for intermediate paddlers
- Carbon paddle with quick releases for adjusting size and to keep bottom section secure
- Triple action hand pump that can also deflate
- Single fin with a US Fin box and toolless attachment system
- Small bag for storing leash, fin, and repair kit
What we didn’t like:
- Bag has no padding where it’s worn as a backpack
- No second side handle on the bag
- Size – 12’6″ x 31″ x 6″
- Weight Capacity – Recommended 210 lbs, Max 400 lbs
- Board Weight – 26 lbs
- Construction – 2 Layer Woven w/Carbon Rails
- D-Rings – 16
- Paddle – 3 piece carbon
- Pump – Triple Action
Thurso Surf Expedition 150 Review and Test
Touring SUPs are our favorite category of paddleboard. We like going on long distance paddles to explore rivers and lakes here. We like to cover some mileage when we go out. Inflatable touring paddleboards make the experience much more fun and allow us to cover more distance on and off the water. The Thurso Surf Expedition 150 is a good balanced design that focuses more on paddling performance than versatility. It has enough bungees to store gear but it’s not littered with a ton of action and accessory mounts.
The Thurso Surf Expedition comes in 2 sizes. A 12’6″ long by 32 inch wide Expedition 150 and the 11’6″ long by 30″ wide Expedition 138.
We picked up an Expedition 150 to try out this spring to see how it compares to our other favorite touring boards. The on water performance is excellent. We were not disappointed at all by this board or accessories. It’s difficult to find much bad to say about it. Most of our complaints are mainly minor things about the bag.
Let’s get into the details of the Thurso Surf Expedition 150.
1 – Board Construction
Thurso Surf boards are constructed with 2 layer woven PVC drop stitch with carbon fiber reinforcements running along the rails. We have found this construction method to be very stiff on other boards both on our bench test and on the water. All the seams look clean and well made. Construction is on par with what we would expect to see on a $1000 inflatable SUP.
2 – Deck Pad and Step turn pad
The board has a grooved deck pad, with embossed texture, that extends from the rear and stops short of the front bungee storage area. It is grooved with a comfortable soft feel. The back of the pad rises up to a step pad for doing step turns. This is a nice feature to see on a board designed to go fast.
3 – Removable fin
The Expedition 150 includes a single touring style fin. It has no side bite fins. We hate seeing touring boards with fixed side bite fins because all they do is slow the board down while adding little to nothing to the tracking.
The single fin uses a US fin box. It uses 1-3 rubber plugs in the fin to snap it into place in the fin box. You insert the front of the fin into the box like a normal US Fin Box fin. Slide it forward. Push down to snap the rubber plugs into the box. It takes some effort and seems to hold the fin securely in. Because it’s a US fin box you can use a lot of after market fins on the Expedition if you want a different fin style.
The fin is flexible compared to what most other inflatable SUPs come with. If you set the board down on the ground fin facing down, the fin will bend quite a bit.
4 – D-Rings and Accessory Mounts
The Expedition 150 has 16 D-Rings scattered around the board. This includes around the front and rear bungees, a leash ring in the back, and seat rings in the middle. The board only has 1 GoPro mount in the nose with no other action mounts or Scotty mounts anywhere on the board. The Expedition 150 is on the narrower side at 31 inches. It’s not really meant to be a fishing board or adventure board. It’s meant to be a glide efficiently and go fast board.
5 – Recyclable Packing
We get a lot of items shipped to us here for review. We end up throwing out a ton of plastic and foam packaging. We like to point it out any time a vendor uses recyclable or otherwise sustainable packaging. Thurso Surf inflatable SUPs are shipped using brown paper wrapping along with some cardboard pads. They did not use any plastic wrapping or foam anywhere in their shipping package.
6 – Stiffness (9/10)
We did our standard stiffness test with the Expedition 150. We inflate the board to its maximum recommended pressure. We place it on 2 stands spaced 8 feet apart. We put 120 lbs on it and measure how much it deflects. The Expedition 150 deflected 1.4 inches. This is okay. This is slightly more than other 2 layer woven carbon reinforced boards we have tested. It’s also the narrowest board. On the water, the board didn’t feel bouncy at all. The stiffest boards we have tested deflected just 1 inch. The softest boards deflected 4 to 5 inches.
|SUP Board||Board Size||Construction||Deflection (inches)|
|Blackfin Model X (15 psi)||10'6" x 34" x 6"||3 Ply PVC||1.0|
|Blackfin Model V (15 psi)||12'6" x 32" x 6"||3 Ply PVC||1.1|
|Blackfin Ultra CX (15 psi)||10'6" x 32.5" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.0|
|BOTE HD Aero (15 psi)||11'6" x 34" x 6"||3 Ply PVC||1.1|
|Coolwave (15 psi)||10'6" x 32" x 6"||1 Ply PVC||3.3|
|Chasing Blue Orion (14.5 psi)||12'6" x 32" x 6"||2 Ply PVC||1.6|
|Chasing Blue Infinite (14.5 psi)||10'6" x 34" x 6"||2 Ply PVC||1.4|
|DAMA (15 psi)||11' x 33" x 6"||1 Ply PVC||3.0|
|Freein Overall 11 (15 psi)||11'' x 33" x 6"||2 Ply PVC||1.4|
|iRocker Nautical (15 psi)||10'6" x 32" x 6"||2 Ply PVC||2.8|
|iRocker All Around 11 (15 psi)||11' x 32" x 6"||3 Ply PVC||1.3|
|iRocker All Around 11 Ultra (15 psi)||11' x 32" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.1|
|iRocker Cruiser Ultra (15 psi)||10'6" x 33" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.1|
|Nice C (15 psi)||10'6" x 32" x 6"||1 Ply PVC||2.6|
|Nixy Newport G4 (15 psi)||10'6" x 33" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.1|
|Nixy Monterey G4 (15 psi)||11'6" x 34" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.0|
|Outdoor Master Swordfish (15 psi)||10'6" x 32" x 6"||2 Ply PVC||2.8|
|Red 12'6" Sport w/RSS (20 psi)||12'6" x 30" x 5.9"||MSL with Battens||1.2|
|Thurso Expedition 150 (15 psi)||12'6" x 31" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.4|
|Thurso Max (15 psi)||11'6" x 34" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.2|
7 – Stability (7/10)
The Expedition 150 is on the narrow side of inflatable SUPs at just 31 inches wide. It has a skinny nose and narrow tail which make it faster but don’t make it more stable. The board has enough stability to be good for any intermediate paddler. It is a little unstable for beginners trying to stand up for the first time. The Expedition 150 is much more stable than a Red 12’6″ Sport. It’s not as stable as the wider Blackfin Model V.
8 – Speed (10/10)
Speed and glide are where the Expedition 150 really excels. The long skinny nose helps it pierce the water and move easily. A good way to describe the Expedition 150 is a poor man’s Red Sport 12’6″. It has a similar nose shape to the Red Sport with an inch extra width and a tail that narrows a bit more. One of our testers spends most of his time on a 12’6″ rigid touring board. He thought the Expedition 150 was the closest inflatable we’ve had to the overall feel of his rigid touring board.
9 – Tracking (10)
The Expedition 150 has a single fin like all good touring boards that are meant to paddle fast should have. It has a touring specific shape. The Expedition 150 holds a line very good once it has water moving over the fin. The narrow nose and tail also help give it more directional stability. It can still turn quick by stepping back and lifting the nose out of the water.
10 – Accessories (9/10)
The Thurso Expedition 150 comes with the board, a padded roller bag, a 3 piece carbon paddle, ankle leash, repair kit, and pump. They put the fins, leash, and repair kit into a folding bag that is different than we have seen from any other board maker. It’s as nice touch for keeping everything organized.
The Thurso Surf bag takes a different direction than what we have seen before. It zips open along the top, bottom, and one side. I’m not sure if this makes it easier to load or not. It’s different. The bag has backpack straps but no padding on the backside. It has a large cinch strap that goes around the middle of the bag with a large buckle. It has a handle on the top and 1 side.
The bag is on the large size and has more than enough room to fit their largest board in with ease. That is good. The bag has no padding on the back so it’s not that comfortable to carry as a backpack. I wish that all SUP makers put a handle on both sides of their bags. A few do and they are much easier to carry up and down stairs with a handle on each side.
3 piece carbon paddle
The Expedition 150 comes with a carbon shaft paddle with nylon blade. The lower joint in the paddle has a spring pin and a quick release clamp. This makes it easy to align and gives it less rattle than a paddle that just has a pin. The top of the paddle has a quick release clamp to adjust length. There is no marking on the paddle clamp to help with aligning the top of the handle to the blade.
The paddle works well and doesn’t have as much rattle as other 3 piece paddles. The blade has no cant so that it can lay down in a bag easier and also work as a kayak conversion.
Triple Action Hand Pump
The Expedition comes with a double barrel triple action hand pump. We have seen this pump design from other vendors which is good. It’s our favorite triple action pump so we are happy any time we see it. It has 2 levers on the back to switch between modes. It has foldable feet and handle ends that unscrew to make it smaller in the bag. It can also deflate which is a big help for rolling up the board.
The 3 levels have just about the right spread in force to make inflating the board by hand as fast and easy as possible. The lowest gear is easy enough to pump that most small paddlers should be able to inflate the board up to 15 psi.
A 10 foot coiled ankle leash is included that is color matched to the board.
11 – Portability (8/10)
The Expedition is fairly light for an inflatable SUP at 26 lbs making the overall package come in at around 35 lbs. It’s not too difficult to carry around and the wheels help for carrying long distances. Padding on the back under the backpack straps and a second side handle would make the bag much easier to carry.
12 – Kayak Conversion
A kayak conversion is available from Thurso Surf. It has a paddle blade and seat. The Expedition 150 has 4 D-Rings around the middle of the board so it can be set up as a kayak. It should make a fairly fast sit on top touring kayak when used that way.
13 – Setup and take down
The triple action pump makes inflating the board as easy as it can get with a hand pump. Find a clean spot to inflate the board that is free of any debris that could scratch or puncture it. I recommend using a tarp if you are somewhere without a nice grassy or sandy area to inflate.
Takedown is equally simple. Let the air out with the valve. Hook the pump back up and suck as much air out as possible. I have found that it takes a little bit more effort to deflate the Expedition 150 than other boards even with an electric pump. I have rolled it from the fin end several times now and ended up with a pocket of air at the nose. Put a little bit of extra effort into deflation or let your electric pump run a bit longer.
I prefer using an electric pump to inflate paddleboards. I like using all my energy to paddle and not pump. We almost always use 3 or 4 inflatable paddleboards on every trip to the lake with our friends. Thurso Surf has a new pump coming with a built in battery. We can’t wait to try it out. You can see our article on the best electric paddleboard pumps to find out what our current favorite is.
Recommendation – Buy or No Buy?
The Thurso Surf Expedition 150 is a fun and fast inflatable paddle board. It has enough stability to be usable by paddlers with a little experience. It has a fast shape with stiff carbon reinforced construction. It’s available for a very reasonable price compared to high end inflatable touring boards from Red Paddle Co or Starboard without giving up much of anything in performance or quality. If you want an inflatable touring SUP you should check it out.
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Co-Founder & Chief Editor
I grew up back east in Pennsylvania and learned to ski on a family trip to Killington, Vermont when I was 6. I immediately fell in love with the mountains and outdoors and have been skiing across the US and Canada ever since. I went to school for Mechanical Engineering, and have a Master’s Degree in Material Science and Reliability.
I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible.