For spring 2017 NRS has completely updated their inflatable stand up paddle board (SUP) line-up. They now offer a total of 15 SUPS including the Thrive model which comes in a 10’8”, 10’3”, 9’10” and the 11’ version which we’ll talk about in this review. The Thrive 11’ is classified as an all-round paddle board, ideal for lake paddling and light river running. It’s dimensions are 11’ x 36” x 6”, so it’s very stable which makes sense given it’s large size and 20psi inflation rating. It’s early rise nose helps keep the board afloat in moving water and waves while the 34” girth is ideal for the beginner paddler. In addition to the overall size and air pressure making the Thrive 11’ rigid, NRS has also integrated what they call ‘Axis Technology acrylic stiffeners’ which further increases the board’s rigidity with out impeding the ability to roll it up. We previously reviewed the NRS Earl 6 which is a much smaller paddle board but still loads of fun, read that review over here.
If you’d like a video overview of the Thrive 11’ SUP then watch below:
There are three built in handles on the Thrive 11’ to facilitate lifting and manoeuvring the board, as well as six D-rings for lashing gear to to the deck. Four D-rings can be found in the standard forward board location with another under the nose for towing and the final D-ring on the tail.
The Thrive 11’ SUP comes with a high-pressure pump for inflation, a pressure gauge, a travel bag, a leafield valve adapter, shoulder carry sling and of course a repair kit (just in case). All of these items fit neatly into the travel bag which has sturdy tension straps/clips and is made from extra durable materials. While the travel bag doesn’t have a hip belt it does have a shoulder harness for carrying it backpack style. Since a paddle is not included with the Thrive 11’, I’d recommend the Rush 3-Piece Paddle as it breaks apart and also fits inside the included travel bag, more on that below.
Flat or moving water, the NRS Thrive takes in all in stride.
The fins are easy to change out depending upon the water conditions and your paddling ability.
The NRS Rush 3-Piece Paddle fits a wide array of paddlers given that it’s adjustable from 173-218cm / 68-86”. It also collapses into two pieces so you can easily fit it into the Thrive 11’s travel pack along with the board and take it as checked baggage on your next far flung paddling adventure. Most collapsable paddles however are not very well constructed and feel cheap but the Rush 3-Piece Paddle is made from durable firbreglass and has an ergonomic handle for better control and comfort. The Easy Clip adjustment also means you can adjust it’s length to any size between 68” and 86” in length with minimal effort. The teardrop blade is large enough to provide good power from your stroke and the 7° offset ensures that you can grab more water with out catching the paddle when surfing. While more expensive than other paddles the value and paddling experience that the Rush provides is well worth the price.
I like to think of the NRS Thrive 11’ stand up paddle board as the big friendly giant. It’s ideal for those who aren’t that advanced and need a more stable SUP, one that’s forgiving and can still be a lot of fun on the water. I’ve been paddling the Thrive 11’ over the last few months quite obsessively, on lakes and rivers, on flat water, choppy water, moving water and through rapids. What the Thrive 11’ excels at is moving water and choppy, wavy water—you barely feel anything as it’s just so wide and stable, far more stable than the Body Glove Performer 11, Boardworks Shubu Raven, NRS Earl 6 or even my hard board, the Bounce Super Cruiser. This is because the Thrive 11’ is a full two inches wider than any of these other SUP’s, plus the drop stitch construction with Axis Technology acrylic stiffener makes the board feel even stiffer. Don’t get me wrong you can still feel the waves beneath your feet but it’s a lot less than any other inflatable board I’ve paddled and this is why it’s so easy for beginners to master.
The NRS Thrive 11’ isn’t just for beginners however, because of its stability it makes for a fun river SUP, it’s super easy to surf in standing waves and manoeuvre into holes as it’s not super turny so you can easily surf it on your first try. Just be aware that it’s not the lightest SUP, nor the fastest on the water, but because of this, it is likely one of the more stable. If SUP Yoga is your thing then the Thrive 11’ is the ideal platform for getting your Zen on. With two sets of fins to choose from you can customize the board for more or less stability and tracking depending upon what you want to do that day.
On flat water the NRS Thrive 11’ tracks really well, again given its size and three fin design, but it’s also very slow to paddle, so if you are after a SUP to rack up the miles on then this isn’t the board for you, unless you want a really solid work out. If you are looking for a solid all round Inflatable SUP that’s fun and capable on the lake and still fun and stable on the river then the Thrive 11’ is worth considering.
If you are interested in other stand up paddle board reviews and paddling products, have a look over here at out paddling review page.
NRS Thrive 11’ SUP
Price: $1,295 US
Dimensions: 335 x 91 x 15cm / 11’ x 36” x 6”
Weight: 16.3kb / 36lb
Warranty: 3 years
NRS Rush 3-Piece Paddle
Weight: 737g / 26oz
Adjustability: 173-218cm / 68-86"
Blade dimensions: 21.6 x 45.75cm / 8.5 x 18"
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