Surftech has been designing and producing Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs) since 1989 under their own Surtech brand as well as the NSP and Bark moniker (you can read our previous review of the NSP O² Pioneer FS Stand Up Paddle Board here). Surftech also produces Surfboards, Prone and Foil Boards along with a handful of accessories. Surftech SUPs are known for their durability, performance, quality, and consistency. Their Air Travel line of SUP’s are made with a high-quality puncture-resistance PVC drop-stitch material with a double sidewall and a dual-layer deck/bottom construction which creates a strong, rigid platform for both flat and moving water paddling. In this review we are going to look at the Surftech Alta Air Travel SUP, so let's dig in.
The Surftech Air Travel Alta is a women-specific SUP given its length, shape and graphic treatment but that doesn’t mean that everyone can’t have fun on it. Check out the following video review to learn all about it.
SUP manufacturing is notoriously harmful to the environment given the materials required in their construction but Surftech has several global environmental initiatives that they employ in the manufacturing of their products. They use GreenPoxy bio-resins in many of their products in an effort to transition away from petroleum products. They use a moulded sandwich construction on some boards, it's called Tuflite and it creates a stronger and lighter board while creating less waste in the production process. They also have a technology called Bloom Foam which is used on the traction pad of the Air Travel Alta SUP. This uses algae-based sustainable materials in the manufacturing of the deck pad which helps improve the quality of waterways by removing excess algae that harms plants, animals, and people. This flexible foam is made from algae biomass harvested from freshwater sources to create a durable foam with great shock absorption and reduced weight when compared to conventional foams.
As Surftech states:
“We are building boards with the environment in mind. Recognizing that we have a duty to continually strive to lessen our environmental impact and to be transparently accountable for our business operations is our driving force. All manufacturing has an effect on the environment, and we do everything we can to reduce that impact. Investing in machinery, alternative material research, and more efficient product logistics has had a positive impact on our production and the environment; state-of-the-art machinery has reduced waste, improved quality, and increased safety.”
The Alta has striking deck graphics, with a women-specific length and shape and is part of Surftech's Air-Travel lineup. The Alta SUP combines a progressive shape, three strategically placed handles, a fin box with one removable and two fixed fins, an integrated deck pad, a high-pressure valve, and uses advanced drop stitch construction to create a lightweight and compact SUP.
The overall shape of the Surftech Alta Air Travel SUP is very forgiving and ideal for beginner and intermediate paddlers. It has a fairly wide 32” width with a shorter 10’2” length making the board both stable and manoeuvrable. The large removable centre fin only amplifies the Alta’s stability and ability to track nice and straight on flat water. At 6” thick the Alta is also fairly rigid so it’s able to ride over small waves and its 15-18lb inflation rate ensures a solid platform to paddle from.
Most inflatable SUPs use three small permanent fins but the Air Travel Alta SUP only has two with a removable centre fin which provides a greater amount of versatility. Paddle with all three fins for optimum stability and tracking on flat water or remove the centre fin to navigate shallower creeks and rivers. The removable centre fin provides the best of both worlds and the flexibility to paddle the Air Travel Alta SUP on any type of water.
There is a padded centre handle for easy transport of the Air Travel Alta SUP along with two large grab handles, one located on the nose and the other on the tail. These allow you to easily grab the board in moving water should you fall off and also to load it onto a roof rack or secure it to shore so it does not float away on you.
Surftech includes a dual-action hand pump, repair kit, removable centre fin and backpack with the new Air Travel Alta SUP—all you need to add is a paddle and leash and you’re ready to get on the water.
While the Alta Air Travel SUP is designed for women—given its length, shape and graphic treatment, I found it to be an ideal SUP for paddling on the lake and taking on smaller creeks and rivers. The ability to remove the centre fin makes the board very versatile and allows it to go from tracking really well on flat water to being very manoeuvrable on moving water no matter how shallow. It's a great platform to explore those hard-to-reach waterways, especially since it is so stable. The 6” thickness ensures that the Alta Air Travel SUP is rigid and its 32" width means that it's stable, even for beginners. The Alta's shorter 10’2” length makes it easy to move around on the board so you can easily shift your weight to the back of the board to easily get the nose out of the water and turn it on a dime as you can see in the video above. The board’s overall shape makes it more stable than fast on the water which means that it’s also pretty fun to just play around on.
While Surftech doesn’t include a paddle or leash with the Alta Air Travel SUP it does come with a roller backpack that easily fits the board and accessories. Having wheels and a solid base on the backpack provides a convenient way to travel with the Alta Air Travel SUP, be it through airports or just down the driveway to your car. Most inflatable SUPs come with a backpack these days but very few have integrated wheels to help make transportation that much easier so this backpack is a nice plus.
I also really appreciate Surftech’s environmental initiatives that got into several of their products. Case in point—the Alta Air Travel SUP came wrapped in heavy-duty craft paper rather than single-use plastic that would have to be thrown away. This helps reduce waste as I just used the paper for starting a fire in the woodstove, but it could also be easily recycled or reused a number of other ways. While the pump and fin were still wrapped in plastic, this is a good starting place and hopefully the paper packaging carries over to package the other included accessories as well. The use of Bloom Foam in Alta’s deck pad is another step in the right direction, while it is only 20% of the material used in the deck pad it's still better than nothing and a good start at making Paddleboards more sustainable as they are pretty toxic items to produce.
Surftech SUPs are known for their durability, performance, and quality—and after paddling the Alta Air Travel I can agree wholeheartedly. It’s a great all-around board that provides a lot of versatility to keep any paddle happy over the long term.
Price: $1,349CAN / $860US
Dimensions: 10’2” x 32” x 6”
Inflation pressure: 15-18psi
Warranty: Limited 1 year
Quality / Price 1.5/2
Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in below and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation. You'll need to login or register before you can comment but it only takes a few seconds, then you're good to go.
We built this backcountry skiing community for you, the passionate skier, and hope you enjoy the hard work we put into all the reviews, routes, videos, and posts we create. It’s been free from day one but that doesn’t mean it’s not a valuable resource. If you enjoy this website and value the content we create for you, then please support Backcountry Skiing Canada by donating today or by clicking on those sponsor ads and 'Buy Now' links at the bottom of the reviews. Thank you!