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christos nicolaou

Christos Nicolaou
Divemaster & Paddler
Christos is a passionate diver, enthusiastic paddler
& amateur SUP racer

PRODUCT REVIEW

Surftech BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel Inflatable Prone Paddle Board

BARK has been working over 20 years with Surftech, creating high quality paddle boards, excellent for speed.

The BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel is a prone paddle board, ideal for racing and physical exercise. A kind of hybrid surfing is also fun with this one.

If you want to try prone paddling the BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel is an excellent place to start, given the fair price and portability.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.3

Reasons to buy

  • Fast with great tracking
  • Durable and sturdy materials
  • Very transportable
  • Lightweight

Reasons NOT to buy

  • Pump doesn’t have a deflate function
  • Lack of carry handles

Review

  • DIVEIN.com Score: 4.3/5
  • Construction: 4.2/5
  • Stability: 4.5/5
  • Maneuverability: 4.2/5
  • Portability: 4.5/5
  • Price/Quality: 4.2/5

One of the best prone paddle boards on the market, this board has won more world titles, championships, and world records than any other prone paddleboard on the market.

High quality, durable materials make this board sturdy and strong, whilst remaining lightweight and easy to transport.

Used by kneeling and paddling with your hands this board is great for building strong upper body strength as well as training your core muscles for balance. Prone paddlers tend to be pretty ripped in the shoulders.

This paddle board is inflatable and built using the drop stitched Air Travel construction and can fold up small making it great for travelling.

The BARK Commander 12’ is one of Surftech’s best boards, with a great reputation it has won more world titles, championships, and world records than any other prone paddleboard on the market.

Some paddlers coming from the SUP world discover how surprisingly fast prone paddling is. That makes it fun to jump into swells, just like surfers.

One of the few inflatable prone paddleboards on the market, this board is designed for speed and tracking. It can be inflated in less than 10 minutes and the high air pressure ensures this board is as sturdy as a solid board when on the water.

The added advantage of the BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel is that it can fold up into a small backpack making it great to bring on adventures and to transport to and from the water.

The shape of the BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel model mimics the other Commander models with its pin tail shape, single fin, and has the same bullet nose, bottom contours, and consistent curves. Just like the solid model this board is built for speed and tracks incredibly well in the water.

Prone paddle boards are designed to be used primarily for racing. By kneeling or lying on the paddle board, the rider uses their hands to paddle forward. This method of paddle boarding is excellent for building upper body strength and training a strong core through practicing balance.

The BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel is ideal for those looking to try out the sport, as well as, for travellers who want to take their board on adventures. Prone paddling is also a great way for surfers to maintain upper body and paddling strength on rivers, lakes or flat sea.

Features

  • The board has a thick and comfortable deck pad that provides support for the knees. The comfort deck pad also has raised sides to help with stability and ensures the rider does not slip off the sides whilst paddling.
  • One rear detachable fin makes it easy to fold up the board and provides good tracking in the water. The fin also helps the rider maintain their course when paddling.
  • The Air Travel model mimics the same shape as the solid Commander models. The bullet nose and pin tail ensure good stability and help the board to cut through chop. This unique shape also aids with aerodynamics, keeping the board streamlined and fast.
  • The board has a small bungee-tie at the nose of the board, perfect for bringing small personal items or a bottle of water.

See the complete list of the best Paddle Boards here!

Surftech BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel Inflatable Prone Paddle Board 2 Horizontal Boards

Surftech BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel Inflatable Prone Paddle Board: Key Specifications

  • Best Suited For: Entry-level, Racing, Sport Enthusiasts
  • Material: Drop Stitch construction with Fusion V-tech
  • Volume: 220L
  • Capacity: 135-190lbs
  • Dimensions: 12’ x 22″ x 6″
  • Weight: 33.5lbs
  • Recommended Inflation: 15-18PSI

Where to Buy:

Accessories

Included with the purchase of the BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel is a detachable fin, repair kit, pump and backpack.

  • Backpack: The paddle board comes with a Surftech waterproof backpack. Made of durable materials this backpack is excellent for carrying your Air Travel Commander 12’ model. This backpack is waterproof and has a small drain at the bottom, and has extra pockets for carrying personal items.
  • Fin: The BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel comes with one detachable fin.
  • Pump: The Commander 12’ Air Travel comes with a standard single action hand pump. This pump can inflate the board in less than 10 minutes and does not have a deflate mode.
  • Repair kit: Comes with a basic repair kit, ideal for making small fixes to the board when out using the board or travelling.

 

Surftech BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel Inflatable Prone Paddle Board Accessories

Stability

Prone paddles are made for speed rather than stability. The length, along with the narrow width of the board give it a good tracking profile in most waters, however this negatively affects the board’s stability. It’s like ocean kayaks that have stronger secondary stability and are made for speed.

The high PSI along with the durable materials make this board very sturdy and once you pick up enough speed on the water it becomes more stable allowing you to go fast across the water’s surface. Comparable to solid prone paddleboards the BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel is very stable and sturdy.

Surftech BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel Inflatable Prone Paddle Board Bottom View

Maneuverability

The BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel is designed for speed and racing, whilst it has amazing tracking it is difficult to maneuver and turn on the water surfaces due to the board’s length.

It’s lightweight, along with the shape, make it easier to turn than other prone boards, however, the Commander 12’ Air Travel is difficult to turn quickly and changing directions poses a challenge. That said, the board is excellent at keeping course and boasts quick acceleration and speed in most bodies of water.

Surftech BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel Inflatable Prone Paddle Board Side View

Portability

An extremely portable board, the BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel prone board is easily deflated and inflated. When inflated, the board is lightweight and easy to carry, however there is no need for finger wells, as seen on the solid Commander models, because the grip on the Air Travel is more than good enough and thanks to its width it can easily be hooked under the arm.

When deflated the Commander 12’ Air Travel prone is easily folded into the provided backpack. The backpack opens fully, making it easy to remove and place the board neatly. The backpack is very comfortable with padded shoulder and waist straps.

The Air Travel Commander is an excellent model for travelling to lakes, rivers, and the sea, allowing riders to practice and enjoy various bodies of water.

Surftech BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel Inflatable Prone Paddle Board Portability

Price/Quality Ratio

Compared to other prone models the BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel is affordable and of excellent quality. Made using strong, durable materials this board is long lasting and sturdy.

The added advantage of travelling with this Commander model makes it an excellent choice for those who have minimal storage space or wish to travel with their prone paddle to the water.

Both BARK and Surftech boast excellent reputation for paddle and prone boards and their expertise in the market has given them the opportunity to make a prone paddle accessible to a lot more people through a much more affordable price.

This board is also great for those looking to try the niche sport of prone paddling.

Do we recommend it?

Yes, we recommend the BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel inflatable prone paddle board. An excellent choice for beginners at prone paddling looking to try the sport, as well as a convenient choice for those who have limited storage or are looking to travel with their prone board.

Joe Bark is the biggest name in prone boarding–the Commander the winningest board–and with surftech’s collaboration, this board will perform and open up new experiences on the ocean worth the time and money.

Made with high quality materials this board is durable and sturdy providing excellent tracking and speed on the water. It’s fast and you can surf some swells with it!

We recommend getting the hang of it and getting into some surf as soon as possible!

What We Like

  • Fast with great tracking
  • Durable and sturdy materials
  • Very transportable
  • Lightweight

What We Don’t Like

  • Pump doesn’t have a deflate function
  • Lack of carry handles

Where to Buy:

Where to Buy:

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about Surftech BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    What is the difference between a prone paddle board and a SUP?

    Prone paddleboards are narrower than a stand up paddle board. For this reason they are both faster but less stable. Lying on one’s belly using arms like breast stroke (and like surfers before they catch a wave), or from the knees pumping both arms at the same time, prone boarding is for racing, fitness and fun. The Bark Commander 12 is a great example, both an entry level board and a championship racer.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    How long does it take to inflate the BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel prone paddle board?

    The BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel prone paddle can be inflated and deflated in about 10 minutes using the same method that any inflatable stand up paddle board uses.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    What pressure can the BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel prone paddle board be inflated to?

    The BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel prone paddle needs to be inflated between 15 to 18 PSI. Because it’s only 22 inches wide, it’s easier to store without deflating too. But it should be topped up with air before using it.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    What does the BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel prone paddle board come with?

    The BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel prone paddle comes with a fin, pump, repair kit and backpack. A lot of these accessories can be easily replaced and upgraded.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    What weight can the BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel prone paddle board hold?

    The BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel prone paddle can hold between 135lbs to 190lbs.

  • image/svg+xmlimage/svg+xml
    Is the BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel prone paddle board covered by warranty?

    The BARK Commander 12’ Air Travel prone paddle board is covered by a limited 1 year warranty.

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