RIBER 290 SUP TEST REVIEW
The Riber 290 is a tough, straightforward entry level board with dimensions to suit junior to middle weight adult paddlers. At £290 it’s the cheapest board we’ve tested by some margin, but it’s suitably rigid, has a nice flat rocker line, paddles well and sits comfortably alongside boards costing half as much again. The 290 deserves to be responsible for getting many new people on the water. First timers on a budget, and flat-water schools and hire centres looking to increase their fleet will find the Riber 290 gets the job done.
Anyone that’s unpacked and inflated a paddle board before will find no surprises upon unboxing the Riber 290, which paradoxically is a surprise in itself since you get change back from £300. You get your pump and repair patch and of course the board with two moulded side bite fins and a larger slot-in centre fin. There’s no rucksack but hopefully you won’t be expecting one! The dual-skin build gives a heavier board but it is tough. All we would like to have seen would be a nose mounted tow point, but you could easily utilise the cargo net D rings for that.
Heat pressed laminated PVC rail creates the ultimate airtight and waterproof seal. Twin layer rails with 0.5mm 500 Denier polyester plain weave laminate secures 100% air tightness. For additional stiffness these are covered by robust bi-axial 0.7mm 1000 Denier polyester mesh. Heat embossed 3mm thick EVA deck provides maximum traction and durability. Encasing the 500 Denier drop stitch is a top and bottom layer of 0.5mm 1000 Denier polyester plain weave laminate, which makes the hull extra strong and adds stiffness
Including wetsuit, we were a little over the recommended rider weight of 85 kg for this board but in light chop with a bit of swell rolling underneath it held together just great. In fact the Riber 290 was pleasing to paddle, holding a line well and making good forward progress. It’s quite a sleek design at under 28” wide and with the pulled in nose and this would make it a realistic product for juniors and middle weight adults (as Riber suggest!) so they can get a sense of how weight distribution affects a board rather than just paddling a huge mat. It also reduces the windage factor, which makes learning to turn (and an instructor’s life) so much easier. So you’ve paid your £290 and you’re on the water. For cruising about in light to moderate conditions the experience is very similar to more expensive boards of similar dimensions if we’re honest. Sure differences in technologies will reveal their benefits under more adverse conditions and loadings but that’s not what the 290 promises, or where it is aimed. Instead it’s ideal as a gateway family board for protected waters, or are a centre or school looking to expand the flotilla with tough boards for groups and hire. Riber are relatively recent to SUP but have been producing kayaks in the UK for decades and they’ve bought a great little board to market which easily equals those costing £150 more.
OTHER BOARDS IN THIS TEST: