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The newly upgraded Body Glove Performer 11 inflatable stand-up paddle board (ISUP) is a lightweight but rigid all-around paddle board. It’s particularly great for beginners and families.
Let’s take a closer look at the new features, the overall build quality, the ride, and the price-to-value ratio — as well as our buying recommendations.
Performer 11 Review: Core Design
Body Glove first introduced its Performer 11 ISUP in 2016. Now on its third update, the new 2021 Body Glove performer is 11-feet long, 34-inches wide, and 5.4-inches thick. Body Glove says that size and volume can handle up to 320 pounds.
To keep the board stiff for maximum on-the-water performance, Body Glove use a triple-layer stringer and triple-layer side rail construction. Plus, Body Glove includes a carbon reinforced lengthwise stringer, which Body Glove shows off through a small window-like section of the outer PVC layer.
Body Glove rates the board up to 15 PSI, which is about average these days. Some high-performance ISUPs will max out at 20 psi, but most paddlers won’t notice much of a difference between 15 and 20 psi.
The shape of the board is a surprisingly sporty nose, which is more pointed like a touring board nose. More rounded nose shapes are typical for all-around boards. Still, the Performer 11 nose is canted upward to a 4.5″ rocker, which helps you cut through choppy water. The more aggressive nose shape also helps with tracking, making it easier to keep the board straight while paddling.
Body Glove includes a set of bungie cargo straps on the front of the board — standard stuff, nothing to get excited about. You also get a GoPro action camera mount, which is set a bit back from the nose.
So why is the GoPro mount a bit farther back? To allow for the tow notch, which a cupped section of plastic on the nose of the board that you can rest a standard ski rope into to tow the board without damaging it. (Some people like to tow their ISUP like a towable tube.)
Some manufacturers go a bit wild on D-rings, which makes ISUPs more versatile for cargo, mounting seats for kayak-style padding, and fishing, but Body Glove keeps it simple. I prefer fewer D-rings to make the board more family friendly for water play. Body Glove includes two D-rings just back from center, which you can use to lash down a cooler.
If you use a hard cooler, like the YETI Roadie 24, you could sit on it to rest or for an alternate position.
I also like the front bumper underneath the front of the Performer 11. It’s there to help reduce the pressure on the material when you — or your kids — beach the ISUP.
Body Glove makes an interesting choice with its fins. The design uses three built-in relatively short fins. They’re not removable, which means you can’t swap in bigger fins for better tracking. If you break them, they’re non-replaceable. However, they’re fairly flexible, which means they should be hard to break under normal usage.
How do they track? For me, I thought the Body Glove Performer 11 tracked remarkably well. I had no problem keeping relatively straight lines. Part of that might also be due to the shape of the nose.
If you’re rough on your gear, I recommend that you place the included pump near the fins inside the included carry case backpack. The pump will help protect the fins during transport and storage if you drop the bag on concrete or toss it in the back of a pickup. As you might have guessed, a pump is easier to replace than the built-in fins — and you could even go with an electric pump like the Outdoor Master Shark SUP II Electric Air Pump.
Body Glove’s handiest feature is its patented handle design. It’s made with a generous wrap of comfy fabric that is big enough to wrap around a water bottle. That’s cool enough, but what’s even better is that you can wrap the paddle in the handle. That makes carrying your board with your paddle much simpler.
Speaking of the handle, you get a three-piece handle made from aircraft-grade aluminum. The blade is fiberglass reinforced nylon with a sweet retro wood-grain look.
Here’s a play tip: Sometimes beginner friends and family feel far more comfortable if they sit or kneel on a paddle board. To give you another way to use your paddle board, nab a 3-piece kayak-style paddle and sit on top of your board. Works great, especially when you’re paddling with a passenger.
For the whole Performer 11 package, Body Glove includes the 3-piece paddle, a high-pressure dual-action hand pump with a pressure gauge, an 11′ coiled ankle leash (very comfortable), a repair kit, and a small dry bag for your smartphone. It all fits into an included backpack carry bag.
When I first unrolled the Performer 11, I was surprised at how light and supple it was. Because I’m a fairly stout guy — about 6’3″ and 225 lbs — I was worried it might not be stiff enough for good performance. I was wrong. Because Body Glove uses triple-layer side rails and lengthwise carbon stringers, the Performer 11 stiffens up nicely.
On the water, it was quite a bit better than I expected. However, I will say this: Pump it up to at least 13 pounds of pressure if you want heavier adults to cruise around on it. Under 13 pounds, I noticed the flex a bit more than I like.
Even though the nose and tail are tapered, I really appreciate the 34″ width. For me, I favor wider boards for more stability vs narrower boards for more speed. With our friends and family, we tend to play around more than cruise for exercise. Plus, I think wider boards are more forgiving and stable for beginners, which makes it possible for newbie friends to have a good time, too.
We also like to sit or kneel on the boards with 2 or 3 passengers — usually kids and dogs — and cruise up along the beach. The Performer 11 holds up well for this kind of water play.
Length: 11′ Width: 34″ Thickness: 5.4″ Weight: 24 lbs. Nose Rocker: 4.5″ Tail Rocker: none Maximum Pressure: 15 P.S.I.
The Body Glove Performer 11 has a higher overall quality than I was expecting. The non-removable fins put me off, but the fused panels are well done, the graphics are excellent, and the two-tone material really pulls the board together. Plus, the included Body Glove paddle is solid.
Interesting Price-to-Value Ratios
At $999, the Body Glove Performer 11 offers a good price-to-value ratio. Is it worth it? Yes, but it means it’s not as competitive as some other high-end ISUPs, particularly those that include interchangeable fins and go up to 20 psi.
However, if you can nab the Body Glover Performer 11 on sale — for instance, Body Glove’s Labor Day sale at 25% off, the price-to-value ratio turns into a very good deal.
And then there is the Costco offering. Costco, which is a member-only retailer, offered the Body Glove Performer 11 packages at a tantalizing $399 price point this summer. At $399, the Body Glove Performer 11 is an outright steal. Even if you have to pay $60 to get a Costco membership, the pricing is fantastic. If they’re still available at Costco — and I’m not sure they are because Costco is notorious for selling out of seasonal items and never bringing them back — I’d act now.
There are many many ISUP packages available these days, some of which are cheap and will likely fail when the drop-stitch fibers separate from the top or bottom sheets. However, many of today’s ISUPs are very good and competitive. Let’s take a closer look at a few alternative ISUP options:
Body Glove Cruiser+ Inflatable Paddle Board — The closest competitor to the Body Glove Performer 11 is the 10’6″ Body Glove Cruiser+. It has a similar overall construction as the Performer, but it has a more traditional rounded nose and taper that’s good for beginners. While it is slightly shorter than the Performer 11 and has 1″ less width, the less aggressive taper still gives you plenty of room for yourself and a passenger. Better yet, its price point comes in at $750. The lack of a tow hook is a drawback if you want to tow your SUP.
NRS Thrive Inflatable SUP Boards — The NRS Thrive ISUP series of paddle boards are an ultra high-quality competitive option. The taper has a do-it-all shape, and the construction is heavy-duty. You can inflate your NRS Thrive to a rock-hard 20 psi and you don’t have to worry about it separating. What really sets the NRS Thrive apart from the ISUP competition, though, is its built-in pressure relief valve that will protect you from over inflation. The pressure relief valve also protects you when you pull your ISUP up onto a hot beach in the hot sun: If the internal pressure increases, the relief valve will do its job. So cool. You also get multiple removable fins and a high-quality pack bag and pump. The main drawback to the NRS Thrive is a higher price point and the lack of an included SUP paddle.
Color-coordinated leash coils!
High-quality ankle leash.
All-in-all, the Body Glove Performer 11 is a solid beginner-friendly ISUP with a versatile shape for a variety of water conditions. The Performer 11 is surprisingly stable and tracks well despite its relatively short fins. The mountain graphics and the two-tone material design looks fantastic in person, and the foam deck is cushy yet grippy for bare feet or water shoes. For optimal performance, be sure to pump it to at least 13 psi. The regular price is acceptable, but if you can nab the Performer 11 at a discount, the price-to-value ratio gets very good. Finally, if you can still find one at Costco for $399, that deal is pretty fantastic. Highly recommended.