AQUATONE FLAME 12’6 test Review
The Flame is a big, beautiful grand-tourer with sleek lines and timeless design cues, which hide the generous 339 litre volume. It’s incredibly stable for bigger or taller riders or those carrying a lot of kit. However thanks to the swept-in tail the Flame has impeccable manners in bumpy water and remains an engaging ride.
The Flame 12’6 x 32” is a full-bodied tourer designed for long trips and average to tall / heavy paddlers. It has a classic swept touring nose and is a little bit more pulled in at the tail than other similar boards out there. This gives a pronounced bow to the rail line.
Like all Aquatone’s boards, the Flame has a pleasing, clean appearance. This hints at the brand’s subtext that there is always beauty among the artificial noise that pervades modern life.
A four point bungee lives up front, with a forward tow-point under the nose. The EVA deck pad has an integrated talk kick and soft texture. Four D-rings mid-deck will accept a kayak seat or carry strap. The inflation point is located forward and offset which cleans up the tail area nicely save a leash point. Underneath, a tool-free 9” centre keeps you on track.
Despite its chic appearance, the Flame is a very strong board made from double-layer dropstitch to give a 25% increased stiffness over single-layer construction.
The Flame 12’6″ features a narrow and extended outline combined with a pointy nose that deliver great straight line performance. The advanced outline also offers an effortless glide allowing you to paddle long distances. A generous 32-inch deck width and great volume ensure a comfortably stable stance and easy handling. From flat water to choppy waves, our FLAME boards are at another level when it comes to performance.
The Flame is a sleek looking board yet packs in 339 litres of volume. This makes it a very comfortable place to spend time. The paddling sweet spot is vast and the EVA deck grip has a soft texture around the tail while the low-rise grip elsewhere feels good on bare feet.
The pulled in tail is a clever feature and prevents the Flame from feeling awkward in following swell and chop. Instead of corkscrewing it reacts predictably by lifting from the mid-rail and of course the 32” width provides considerable primary stability.
On flat water, the Flame has an easy smooth glide and nice tracking. It takes very little effort to maintain a decent cruising speed. You can easily fit your kid or a dog on board and a bag full of kit, and like a good flatbed truck it seems to handle even better when loaded.
The Flame is a big touring board that will suit taller and / or heavier riders, or those that are into long days out with a big dog on deck. However at no point does the Flame give off training-wheels energy. This is a stylish board with clean lines and a pleasing, sweeping rail line that comes shipped with a paddle for less than £500. If you’re after a capable tourer for many seasons of exploring, the Flame will keep you lit.
Volume: 339 litres
Weight: 11 kg
Fin: US Centre