Best Hybrid Kayak and SUP
1/7
The .package is pretty bulky when packed up, but it doesn't weigh all that much
2/7
3/7
Isle Switch Tandem Setup by two people
4/7
5/7
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7/7

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When we got Isle’s new paddle board for testing we thought it was just another 2-in-1 Hybrid. We were wrong. In fact, whereas most hybrids are SUPs that you can sit on, the Switch is conceived as an inflatable kayak that’s also a pretty good SUP touring board.

Its design is very versatile, including a tandem kayak customization as well as link loops that connect to other boards. This will be a modular system for accessories that Isle is still developing.

It’s refreshing to see innovation in the paddle board market, to see companies doing something different. When those tweaks also end up being really good too, it’s doubly pleasing.

To put it bluntly, the Switch is the best 2-in-1 inflatable paddle board. While the kayak experience is unique, that doesn’t come at the expense of the stand up paddle boarding profile (even with an extra 35 inches width). The same argument can be made in reverse.

Of the innovations found on the Switch, it’s better to read the in depth article to get a sense for a trend we’ll likely see in the coming years. But in brief, this inflatable is a worthy candidate for both recreational kayaking and SUP boarding.

Our Overall Review

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

4.9

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    Doing yoga, fishing, tandem kayaking, tandem SUPping
  • check-mark
    Most comfortable 2-in-1 seat
  • check-mark
    One of the most lightweight models out there
  • check-mark
    The seat can also be used as a trekker chair
  • check-mark
    Looking forward to future accessories with the 40 loop Link System
  • check-mark
    The Isle Link System removes D-rings, making space for yoga
  • check-mark
    There's a foot brace (inflatable pillow) for better core training
  • check-mark
    Paddle holder for yoga sessions
  • check-mark
    A good paddle
  • check-mark
    Super stable for beginners and when going tandem
  • check-mark
    The unique material is easy to roll up and pack away
  • check-mark
    You can connect multiple boards
  • check-mark
    Suede-like deck pad is very nice on the feet

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markCurrently no Action Mounts
  • check-markAs a trade-off, the more comfortable deck pad takes longer to dry=longer packing time

Where to buy:

Isle Switch Product Image

Isle Switch SUP & Kayak

Specs & Features

  • Material: AirTech Fusion Lite Drop Stitch Construction
  • Board Height: 11’6”
  • Board Width: 35”
  • Thickness: 6.35”
  • Weight: 19 lbs.
  • Pump: Manual
  • Max. Weight Capacity: 425 lbs.
  • Recommended Inflation: 14-17 PSI
See the complete list of the best Inflatable Kayaks here!

An Inflatable Kayak… and a SUP

Try as we did to find flaws in the Switch, we ended up more impressed than anything. This is primarily a positive review, in appreciation of Isle thinking out of the same old box.

Isle Switch Bradley Testing Sup On Water

Unpack the Switch and it becomes clear that Isle has made something intentional, something refreshing. We thought this was just another hybrid when we looked at the specs. Without sounding overly dramatic, it is something different.

On paper, a 35-inch-wide, 2-in-1 inflatable paddle board makes one think of a stable, yet bulky mass. That’s the first error, because the Switch is surprisingly lightweight, thanks to its extremely soft and flexible PVC material. It doesn’t feel like a wider board and, at 19 pounds, it’s lighter than smaller models.

Isle Switch Lifting Sup On One Hand
Isle Switch Lifting Sup On One Hand

We initially thought of this as a stand up paddle board first–a wider one at that. But we tried it with the kayak seat attachment. That includes a trekking chair set up with an inflatable pillow to sit on and another pillow used as a foot brace.

These attach by G-Hooks to the unique loops–Isle’s Link System–that run along both sides of the top of the Switch. These make it easy to move the seat forward or aft depending on the configuration (solo or tandem).

As an inflatable kayak, the experience is much better on all metrics. Performance, comfort and versatility. Sitting higher on the pillow with a foot brace gives you more thrust and better technique. Sitting higher also negates our concerns that the kayak blade would have to dip in further away from center when entering the water.

Isle Switch On Water Action

Obviously, this is an inflatable kayak with great first stability, no wobble or heeling over. This experience is something that beginners, joining along on a tandem trip, will appreciate.

The paddle is great and the chair is superior to any other one we’ve seen on the market today. Compared to an upper to mid-range inflatable kayak like the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame, the sitting and paddling experience is better on the Switch.

To be clear, it’s not an aggressive kayaking style provided by this seating system, but it’s an extremely comfortable one. A tandem set up will allow a pair to cover quite a bit of distance in a leisurely way, even a speedy-ish way.

Isle Switch Tandem Setup

The only disappointment is that an additional seat and paddle isn’t included. In a pinch, the foot brace pillow can be used by the paddler in front. Seeing what the Switch can do in a tandem configuration will make this accessory highly sought after.

As a stand up paddle board, the Switch is very surprising. Because it’s relatively lightweight propulsion isn’t too difficult. The drag of a 35-inch board didn’t seem to affect speed. We had it inflated to 16 PSI, so it seemed to rise above the water rather than trying to push too much through it.

The greatest experience was on maneuvering the SUP. Or, more specifically, to be able to confidently step back a bit to make turning on a smaller radius. This board is so stable we were able to lift our feet up for stepping, rather than sliding back.

This has clear benefits for the yogi standing and doing poses with more minimal leg shake.

Isle Switch Bradley Side View

On the whole, the Switch is a great SUP that also proved simple to pack because of the Fusion Lite PVC they use. While the bag is still big, it’s not heavy making it an alright traveling pack. Not great, but this is only one of two trade-offs to deal with.

One other trade-off is the very comfortable deck pack. It feels like suede–super soft and grippy enough–but it takes longer to dry. So, when finished, after rinsing, expect to wait 15 minutes at least before being able to deflate and pack up the board.

It’s very rare to applaud inflatable kayaks and paddle board products, but Isle has made the market a little more compelling and our jobs a little more interesting. We look forward to seeing what new and exciting accessories the Link System will facilitate in the future too.

For about a grande, this is a compelling kayak and an amazing paddle board, each in their own right.

Construction and Design

The Switch is one of the most functional hybrids we’ve ever got our hands on. It’s 11’6-long, with a 35” deck width and 6.35 thickness. It’s in no way a slim SUP, making it a super stable option (more on that in a bit).

Isle Switch Construction And Design
That’s quite a well-balanced SUP hybrid.

Isle used a patent-pending innovation for the Switch–an Air Tech Fusion material. It’s a typical cross-stitch core but has a woven base fabric instead of knitted. This paddle board kayak hybrid has higher dimensional stability, making it more durable, rigid, and 20-30% lighter than most SUPs.

When inflated, it’s stiff, but surprisingly the outer layer is softer than typical PVC types, making it easier to roll.

As a kayak or paddle board, the Switch has a planing hull and nose shape that looks like a SUP touring board.. The extra width will create a bit of drag but, inflated to 16 PSI, it lifts out of the water nicely enough.

Inflated to 16 PSI, the Switch stays rigidly above water. It's lightweight body makes it both easy to turn and propel.
Inflated to 16 PSI, the Switch stays rigidly above water. It's lightweight body makes it both easy to turn and propel.

Features

We’re not calling this revolutionary, but there are quite a few nuances that stand out enough to mark the Switch as something different and innovative.

Isle Link System

There are 20 pairs of link loops across both upper edges of the board, making it very versatile. The only place you’ll see a D-ring is the tail handle for your leash.

Sure, it works when using Switch as SUP, which is excellent for yoga sessions. But once you opt for the kayak? Metal G-hooks come into play. You need to attach the kayak seat, foot brace, or maybe your cooler and other gear, and their G-hooks are necessary to keep them in place. So perhaps the metal-free motive wasn’t metal-free at all.

Some will miss the action mounts found on most premium boards. We’re waiting to see the accessories Isle is going to reveal. According to the company, they are in the pipeline.

Isle Switch Link System
40 Loops or Links Create Versatility and Remove Metal Rings

Bungees

Pretty standard bungee cords at the front and back. But, again, using the Link System, it’s possible to move them around.

isle-switch-bungee-cord

Handles and Carrying Strap

This paddle board kayak hybrid is complete with carrying handles- nose, tail, and center. But there’s a simple yet handy difference at the nose grab. It’s vertically aligned. It doesn’t only help clear more space on the deck. It’s easier to carry compared to traditional ones since it falls in the direction of your natural grip.

Embroidered handles for easy transport.

There’s also a strap if the Switch is too big to carry by hand. And just like everything else, it can also double as another cargo strap for your additional items.

Use the strap to carry your Switch or to secure items onboard.
Use the strap to carry your Switch or to secure items onboard.

Uniquely again, the strap acts as a connector to attach your board to another Isle SUP using the Link System. Linking up, as it were, for lunch or coffee in the middle of the lake or bay like this is actually pretty great.

Connect your Switch together using the carrying strap for more fun!

Deck Pad

With a nose-to-tail EVA pad, the Switch ensures you won’t accidentally slip whether you’re maneuvering sharp turns or balancing out a headstand. It provides efficient traction to keep your feet aboard. If you remove all the attachments, you essentially end up with a floating yoga mat.

The texture of the deck pad feels a little bit like suede. It’s pleasant and plush to the touch. The trade-off with this extra comfort is the extra time required to let the pad dry. It absorbs more water than the typical, more foam-like pads.

A Softer EVA deck pad is more pleasant, but takes longer to dry.
A Softer EVA deck pad is more pleasant, but takes longer to dry.

Single Fin

The Switch has a single fin setup with a US fin box. Tracking is great due to the straight lined shape. It’s thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)-made and feels like a crossover between typical plastic and rubber. It’s super flexible and almost indestructible.

We had a little difficulty getting it screwed into place, but that tends to get easier with time. A smart-snap, clip-on option like Blackfin XL 11’6” has is easier, but… potato-potatoes.

Isle Switch Us Fin Box

Valve

There’s nothing special about the valve. Pretty standard. The twist-to-open lid is easy to use, and the pin sets up/down to inflate or deflate. It’s crucial when pumping air into your Switch so you don’t waste time and energy with the laborious manual pump just to end up with the air escaping once you detach the hose. Keep the pin popped up to inflate this Isle paddle board and press it down to deflate.

Pin up to inflate and down to deflate.

Paddle Holder

Another feature that keeps this paddle board kayak hybrid clutter-free is the paddle holder. When all you want to do is chill while watching the sunset or you’re out for full yoga practice, keeping the paddle out of the way is a significant plus. We appreciate this simple yet effective design tick since not all SUPs have it, and it’s just super helpful when you want to be hands-free.

Isle Switch Paddle Holder
Keep the paddle out of your way.

Accessories

What extras are in the package?

The Pump

This Isle paddle board comes with a manual pump. It’s a single chamber option that does the job as well as the next. Not better, not worse. For higher frequency inflate-deflates, it’s so much better with a double chamber pump and worth it. There’s space in the backpack for an upgrade and it’s recommended for serial paddlers.

This manual pump will give you the warm-up you need.

This manual pump does have a Double Action mechanism. So, it pushes air into the chamber when pulling up as well as when being pushed down. It does have a guage to check when reaching the recommended 14 to 17 PSI.

The Paddle

This versatile 4-piece paddle set is one of the best we’ve tested. Easy to set up based on your need, for kayak or SUP, with an oval shape and rubberized connecting shaft for optimum grip.

We’ve not seen too many paddles with rubberized coating on the shaft. For longer expeditions, kayak gloves might be wise, but the rubber protects against the worst of wear and tear or blisters that might come about when paddling long trips.

Isle Switch Paddle Easy Set Up
The paddle is easy to set up for SUP and kayak use.

Kayak Seat

With the Switch, you don’t have to get wet while sitting in your paddle board kayak hybrid. It has an inflatable seat cushioning to keep you dry, sitting 4 inches off the ground. It has a sturdy fiberglass high back support for a relaxing kayaking journey. There’s no wobbling while we’re testing, making it feel like a built-in one. It is better with the foot brace to pair the seat, alleviating any pinching pressure on your back.

Stay dry and comfortable with the elevated seat and foot brace.
Stay dry and comfortable with the elevated seat and foot brace.

Setting it up in the Isle Link lash points is easy. The angle of the back support is also adjustable to suit your preferences. You’ll notice an elastic loop at the front of the seat cushion. It’s for your water bottle or any extras you need quick access to, and there is a mesh pocket at the back. The kayak seat of this Isle paddle board can also work as your camping chair while you’re on the ground. Just clip the straps to the inflatable cushioning, and it’s all set.

Use it as a kayak seat or as a camping chair.
Use it as a kayak seat or as a camping chair.

You can transform the Switch into a tandem kayak. But remember, you’ll need to purchase another seat separately. Customize it however you like effortlessly. Whether you’re a solo paddler or with someone, this Isle paddle board got your demands covered.

Isle Switch Customized Seat

The Leash

There’s a standard coiled leash included in this paddle board kayak hybrid. Use it, as usual, to keep your board attached to you if you fall off (very highly unlikely anyway!).

Drybag

A drybag is included with the Switch package. Your small valuables can stay safe and dry while you’re paddling. The size is just right to keep your phone and keys as you cruise the waters. But it won’t be enough if you like carrying lots of cargo. But quality-wise, it’s a reliable dry bag to secure your items. Besides, you rarely get a SUP with this extra accessory included.

The small dry bag is good enough for keys and a phone, but not much else.
The small dry bag is good enough for keys and a phone, but not much else.

Stability and Speed

The Switch is one of the most stable paddle board kayak hybrids we’ve put to the test. Its 35” deck seems almost impossible to topple over. The maximum weight capacity is 425 lbs. Whether using this Isle paddle board as SUP or kayak, staying afloat is child’s play.

Isle Switch Stable Hybrid

Don’t expect to win any races. As SUP, we have a decent touring board in a recreational sense. The narrow nose impressively cuts through waves, and its long fin maintains good tracking.

With two kayakers or paddle boarders working in tandem, this lightweight board moves along easily.

Portability

All the Switch accessories and board easily fit into a spacious backpack. And since this weighs only 19 lbs., longer treks aren’t too bad. Still, it’s bulky and will take up a lot of space in the trunk of a car.

By far the best quality of the Switch, in terms of traveling or portability, is on the packing side of things. Even though the soft EVA pad demands waiting a bit to dry, rolling the board up is super nice. It rolls as easily as a soft taco when all air is sucked out. It’s nice not to have to struggle after a session.

The .package is pretty bulky when packed up, but it doesn't weigh all that much
The .package is pretty bulky when packed up, but it doesn't weigh all that much

The clamshell opening of this Isle paddle board’s pack is practical, and the YKK zips glide without bumps. The comfy harness system also transfers the weight as equally as possible with the generous shoulder padding, sternum strap, and hip belt.

If you’re traveling, there’s some extra space. You can check the Switch in and stuff some clothes inside the bag.

Price/Quality Ratio

At under $1000, you get a complete package of paddle board kayak hybrid when you purchase the Switch. That’s a massive SUP/boat that can accommodate as heavy as 425 lbs., a sturdy kayak seat, sitting 4″ off the board with a high back, a foot brace to keep you comfy, and a dry bag for your stuff.

The 4-piece paddle also morphs according to your need, whether for SUP or kayak use. It comes with a rubberized handle, offering you an excellent grip. The manual pump is a bit laborious to use. But compared to the overall benefit you reap from the Switch? It’s no big deal.

This Isle paddle board keeps you cruising with its durable and lightweight AirTech Fusion Lite Technology. It hits two birds with one stone- giving the SUP more rigidity while reducing its weight by up to 30%. You can trust that it won’t leave you feeling sorry for your investment.

The Switch also has the brand’s exclusive Isle Link System. No more D-rings on the deck while doing your daily Sun Salutations. Plus, the nose-to-tail EVA pad serves strong traction to keep you from slipping. You can enjoy a clutter-free SUP yoga session.

On the other hand, this paddle board kayak hybrid requires G-hooks for attachments, and it kind of rips apart the whole “metal-free” motive for the Isle Link. It’s also an exclusive feature with a pending patent, but they’re easy to use. This strapping system makes the Switch one of the most versatile models, allowing customization as much as you please! There’s also a paddle holder to keep your hands free whenever needed.

Stability is unquestionable. Staying afloat is a no-brainer, and you won’t sink having an extra passenger aboard. The Switch has decent tracking, although maneuvering is a challenging task. But considering it’s recreational-oriented, this performance mix is not terrible at all. This Isle paddle board is a practical choice for families and individuals who may have difficulty feeling safe in a SUP/kayak.

All these perks and benefits in a premium carrying backpack. Complete with compression straps and comfortable harnessing to skip back-breaking problems.

The Switch is more than worthy of its tag. Quality and performance-wise, this paddle board kayak hybrid will be hard to beat within its category. 

Do we recommend it?

Definitely!

If you love SUP and kayaking, you’ll be surprised at how the Switch fits both purposes. You’ll love this Isle paddle board for its versatility, from its use to the customizable lash points and accessories. It’s complete with everything you need for a fun escapade in the waters. Switch’s durable construction and recreational-focused performance are a must if you’re into the sport for casual fun and want to share the excitement with others.

Related Reviews

Our Overall Review

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

4.9

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    Doing yoga, fishing, tandem kayaking, tandem SUPping
  • check-mark
    Most comfortable 2-in-1 seat
  • check-mark
    One of the most lightweight models out there
  • check-mark
    The seat can also be used as a trekker chair
  • check-mark
    Looking forward to future accessories with the 40 loop Link System
  • check-mark
    The Isle Link System removes D-rings, making space for yoga
  • check-mark
    There's a foot brace (inflatable pillow) for better core training
  • check-mark
    Paddle holder for yoga sessions
  • check-mark
    A good paddle
  • check-mark
    Super stable for beginners and when going tandem
  • check-mark
    The unique material is easy to roll up and pack away
  • check-mark
    You can connect multiple boards
  • check-mark
    Suede-like deck pad is very nice on the feet

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markCurrently no Action Mounts
  • check-markAs a trade-off, the more comfortable deck pad takes longer to dry=longer packing time
FAQ

Frequently asked questions about Isle Switch

How to deflate the Switch Isle paddle board?

To deflate your Switch, simply press down and twist the pin in the valve of your paddle board kayak hybrid. Let the air out and start rolling from the nose to the tail. Do this to help squeeze out any air left inside before pressing the valve up again and closing the valve.

Is Isle a good brand of SUP?

Absolutely. The company has been around for a while and continues to attract industry experts and invest in experience-driven innovation.

You can have an Isle paddle board at a reasonable price and still enjoy quality construction and performance. They offer a wide range of SUPs to accommodate all types of paddlers of any skill level.

Are Isle paddle boards made in the USA?

Yes.

Isle manufactures their paddle boards in San Diego, USA. The founders are passionate surfers in the area, dreaming of building game-changing innovations in watersports. And boy, they sure have and kicking it since 2004. Isle is also one of the pioneers of the SUP Revolution that started in 2008, and now, their paddle board kayak hybrid is taking the industry in a storm.

What is a hybrid SUP?

A hybrid is a SUP that can work as a paddle board and as a kayak. It’s essentially a SUP, but you can attach a kayak seat to the deck and transform the paddle, so it has blades on both ends of the shaft. Most 2-in-1 paddle boards have D-rings that an additional kayak seat can attach to, allowing a paddler to use a kayak paddle.

The Switch is one of these models and one of the best (if not the best) of its kind. It serves both paddlers and kayakers with a decent build and performance for a relaxing adventure. Hop aboard this paddle board kayak hybrid, whether flat water or open and anything in between.

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