Bluefin Cruise Carbon Review
The Bluefin Cruise is one of the most sold boards. The model was so successful that the British manufacturer launched several new variants on the market. Beside a SUP board for children (Bluefin Cruise Junior), a board for two persons (Bluefin Cruise Tandem) there is also the Bluefin Cruise Carbon.
In addition to the very good workmanship and the extensive scope of delivery, the Bluefin Cruise Carbon convinces above all with its extremely stiff construction and the upgraded accessories. The board is delivered together with the complete basic equipment. It is ideal for beginners who still lack the equipment and for advanced riders who want to switch to a really good SUP board with very high-quality accessories.
Considering the long warranty period and the high-quality accessories, the price-performance ratio of the Bluefin Cruise Carbon is top. With the extra stiff construction by the additional carbon layer and the two separate air chambers, the Cruise Carbon offers top driving characteristics.
In this Bluefin Cruise Carbon Test we deal with the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 10’8 and the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12. Both boards belong to the best inflatable SUP boards at all. The Cruise Carbon 10’8 is a 325 cm long all-rounder that is well suited for various applications, while the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 is best suited for longer tours and rides with two adults on the board.
Compared to these two boards, the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 10’8 is the better choice for most paddlers. The Allround SUP Board can be used in many ways. With its sporty construction it is also suitable for touring. The approximately 40cm longer Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12, however, has more directional stability and is therefore even better suited for long tours. With the slightly higher payload the board is also the better choice for rides with two adults.
This Bluefin Cruise Carbon Test is also about the question if the upgrade from normal Bluefin Cruise to Bluefin Cruise Carbon is worth it.
About the Board
The Bluefin Cruise Carbon 10’8 is a 325 cm long and 82.5 cm wide all-round board that is best suited for cruising canals, lakes, rivers and waters with small to medium waves. For long trips, the 362 cm long and 82.5 cm wide Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12′ should be chosen.
With a thickness of 15 cm respectively 16 cm both boards are quite thick. This has the advantage that more air fits into this board than into only 10 cm (4 inch) or 12.5 cm (5 inch) thick boards. This provides more buoyancy, more robustness and a higher payload.
With a weight of 15.6 kilograms and about 17 kilograms the two boards are not light. The reason for the comparatively high weight is the additional carbon layer, which provides the extreme stiffness of the board and also better protects the board from damage.
A practical thing is that a very high-quality backpack with wheels is included in the scope of delivery. The back and shoulder straps are also very well padded. The off-road castors also make a good impression. This makes the transport of the board very easy and comfortable.
The upper side of the Bluefin Cruise Carbon is largely equipped with an EVA deck pad. The non-slip coating offers a safe stand even with water on the board. This model uses a crocodile deck pad. With the deep profile this is particularly handy.
A very interesting thing is the kickpad at the back of the deckpad. By shifting the weight onto the kickpad with one foot, the board can easily be lifted out of the water. This allows very fast turns on the spot.
For advanced paddlers, a kickpad is a great thing. For beginners this technique is often still a bit demanding, but with practice and feeling for the SUP it can be learned quickly.
The Bluefin Cruise Carbon also has a total of 14 D-rings. These can be used to attach a kayak seat (included) or other equipment.
A luggage net is attached to the front and back of each board, which can be used, for example, to take a drybag on tour.
There is a handle in the middle of the board. This feels comfortable. It is also practical that the central carrying handle can also be used as a paddle holder.
Furthermore there are four more carrying handles at the front and back as well as at the side. With the help of these, the Bluefin Cruise Carbon can also be carried by several people. With the quite high weight of the board this is very practical.
At the front of the board there is also a holder for actioncams. This is compatible with all current manufacturers.
Processing and quality
Qualitatively the board belongs to the top class. The Bluefin Cruise Carbon is very well processed. Apart from the slight plastic smell after unpacking there are no flaws. Despite the construction with two chambers, the board forms a smooth surface. When both chambers are fully inflated, it is no longer possible to determine where the transition between the two air chambers is.
Also with the Bluefin Cruise the cover is already very robust, but the Cruise Carbon is still substantially stiffer. The additional carbon layer strengthens the board considerably. Overall, the board looks as if it will last a very long time. This also makes sense if even the manufacturer offers a five-year warranty.
The Dropstitch process was used in production. In this process, two PVC layers were joined together. The production process is the current standard. In addition, the manufacturer states that Bluefin Cruise Carbon uses the densest dropstitch process among all SUP board manufacturers, which together with the robust two air chambers construction and the additional carbon layer on the edges provides extreme stiffness.
The cover of the Bluefin Cruise Carbon is very stable. In tests these withstood up to 28 PSI. At the air pressure of almost two bar most of the other boards give way. The recommended air pressure for the Cruise Carbon is 12 to 15 PSI, which provides a high lift and stiffness and is also noticeable on the water.
In our Bluefin Cruise Carbon test the board gives very little. Currently the board belongs to the stiff inflatable SUP boards at all. The stiffness is very positive on the water.
With a maximum payload of 130 kilograms (Bluefin Cruise Carbon 10’8) and 140 kilograms (Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12), the boards are also suitable for heavier paddlers, trips with a child or SUP with a dog. If you are planning touring with two adults on the board, you should use the Cruise Carbon 12 because of the higher payload.
A very positive thing is the five-year guarantee that Bluefin offers on the boards. The guarantee period is considerably longer than with other manufacturers. As a rule, they only offer a guarantee of one to two years. The long warranty is a big sign of confidence in your own products and due to the extremely robust construction it can also be assumed that the Bluefin Cruise Carbon will really last long.
The Bluefin Cruise Carbon offers a good degree of tilt stability, but is much more sporty than most all-round boards. The tapered tip of the board reduces water resistance, allowing you to build up higher speeds.
With its extreme hardness and sporty construction, the Bluefin Cruise Carbon is very well suited for touring. In a direct comparison of the two different sizes, the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 is even better suited for long tours. With its longer shape, the board has more directional stability.
This is advantageous for longer rides because the paddle side has to be changed less often. This makes it possible to build up higher speeds.
The construction with three fins gives the board further tilting stability. With the Bluefin Cruise Carbon the two lateral fins are firmly attached. Only the main fin is removable. In contrast to the normal Cruise, the US fin box system is used for the Cruise Carbon.
The advantage of this system is the high number of available fins and also the fin can be placed further back or forward in the fin box. In this way you can experiment with different fins and also with the position of the fin.
The assembly of the fin takes a little longer with this system. With practice, the SUP fin can be removed in 30 to 45 seconds. The installation takes longer than with the normal Bluefin Cruise, where the Smart-Lock fin system is used. In addition for the assembly of the fin with the US fin box system a fin plate is needed, which can get lost quickly.
An advantage compared to the Bluefin Cruise is that the tip of the Cruise Carbon board is slightly more bent up. The so-called Noserocker ensures that the board does not dive into every wave, but glides better over the water. The Bluefin Cruise Carbon can also handle smaller waves.
The best thing about Bluefin Cruise Carbon, however, is the extremely hard edges, which also allow faster turns. The ride feeling of the Cruise Carbon comes much closer to that of fixed SUP boards than that of other inflatable SUP boards.
The scope of supply of the Bluefin Cruise Carbon is very extensive. The board is delivered together with the complete basic equipment. The set includes a backpack, a kayak seat, a paddle, a leash, a manual, a repair kit, a waterproof mobile phone case and an air pump.
The included accessories are very high quality. For this reason, the set is also suitable for advanced paddlers who want to upgrade their old equipment. In single purchase the included accessories would cost more than 300€.
In addition Bluefin has special offers from time to time, where there are additional accessories with the purchase of a board. If you order via the website of the manufacturer you will get a better air pump or an actioncam for free.
Included in delivery is a paddle with a carbon shaft. This weighs less than the fiberglass paddle included with the Bluefin Cruise and less than most paddles from other sets. The workmanship makes a good impression. The paddle looks very high quality.
With the lower weight, paddles made of fibreglass or carbon are popular with beginners and advanced paddlers. An advantage of the Bluefin paddles is that they are floatable. Many low-priced SUP Boards, on the other hand, contain heavy aluminium paddles that cannot even swim.
The three-part paddle, which comes with the Bluefin Cruise Carbon, is height adjustable and can be converted into a double paddle with a second paddle blade. The extra paddle blade is already included. In this way the Cruise Carbon can also be used as a kayak.
The Cruise Carbon is supplied with a Tripple Action air pump. The pump has two cylinders, so you can quickly pump a lot of air into the board at the beginning. Three different modes can be set: Double stroke mode with both cylinders, single stroke mode with both cylinders and single stroke mode with one cylinder.
It is best to start with the double stroke mode, where both cylinders are used, and then gradually switch down to the other modes. With this technique I had inflated the board with the two separate air chambers to the recommended 15 PSI in just six minutes.
The air pump makes a qualitatively very good impression. Meanwhile we use it to inflate all our SUP boards.
The included backpack is very spacious. The rolled up SUP Board and all accessories can be stowed in it. The very well made backpack can also be used for other purposes and looks as if it would last a long time.
On the one hand, the straps attached to the inside of the backpack are a positive feature. With these straps the board can be fixed so that the weight is close to the body when carrying the backpack and the backpack does not pull back too much.
On the other hand, the shoulder straps and the back area are extremely well padded. This provides a lot of carrying comfort, but is also necessary with the quite high weight of the Bluefin Cruise Carbon. And furthermore it is especially practical that the included SUP backpack is equipped with off-road castors. Even longer walks to the water are no problem.
- Leash: The leash is a holding line attached to the ankle and one of the rear D-rings. In case of a fall into the water, the supplied Coiled SUP Leash prevents the board from swimming away.
- Kayak seat: The kayak seat can be attached to four central D-rings. With the included kayak seat and double paddle, the Bluefin Cruise Carbon can be used as a kayak without any additional purchases.
- Repair kit: The repair kit contains several PVC patches that are matched to the color of the deck.
- Manual: The included manual briefly explains how to set up the SUP.
- Waterproof mobile phone case: In the included waterproof mobile phone case, the smartphone can be stowed in order to be optimally protected from the water during a SUP trip.
- Fin: The removable fin is attached to the board using the US fin box system.
The Bluefin Cruise Carbon is one of the best SUP boards. With the very good workmanship, the extremely robust construction, the high-quality accessories, which are significantly better than many low-cost SUP boards, and the extensive scope of delivery, the board convinced us.
The Bluefin Cruise Carbon is the right choice for touring riders and rides at higher speeds. The surcharge compared to the normal Bluefin Cruise is steep, but is justified by the better accessories (triple-action air pump instead of double-action, paddle with carbon shaft instead of fiberglass shaft and backpack with wheels instead of normal backpack), the additional features on the board (extra luggage net, US fin box system, additional D-rings and more carrying handles) and the even better handling characteristics due to the stiffer construction with the two air chambers and the extra carbon layer.
For the average beginner the normal Bluefin Cruise 10’8 remains the better choice. For advanced riders, who are primarily interested in performance, the Bluefin Cruise Carbon is very interesting.
With its sporty construction, the Allround Board Bluefin Cruise Carbon 10’8 is also a good choice for touring. If you mostly cover longer distances or plan to ride with two adults, you should prefer the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12.
The Bluefin Cruise Carbon is definitely not a cheap SUP, but considering the high-quality construction, the extensive scope of supply, the high-quality accessories, the very long warranty of five years and the numerous features of the board (two air chambers, kickpad, etc.) the price is reasonable.
While other manufacturers save massively on the quality of the board and especially on the accessories, the Bluefin Cruise Carbon can easily keep up with expensive boards of well-known brands, which are all priced in the four-digit range.