Solstice Tonga Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard Review

An all-around iSUP paddle great for beginners and advanced paddlers, the Solstice Tonga is an excellent choice for cruising and leisure. It’s one of the larger paddleboards on the market, but once inflated, it offers a safe and sturdy platform for exploring the water.

This lightweight but solid board supports up to 325 pounds and measures 10.8 feet long, 32 inches wide and 6 inches thick.

It comes with a carry bag and pump but doesn’t have a paddle. When folded it looks like a medium duffel bag so you can store it in your car trunk, back seat or even carry it without difficulty.

Type: Inflatable SUP (iSUP)
Suitable for: Beginners and Smaller Individuals
Rider Experience: Beginner and Novice
Length: 10″8′
Thickness: 6”

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All-Around Durability

solstice-tonga-paddleboardWith an extra-rigid six-inch core made of 1,000 Denier, three-ply PVC reinforced material; the Solstice can bear the brunt of your adventures and a whole lot more.

Don’t assume that an inflatable board can’t offer durability. The material is what matters, and the Solstice has a drop-stitch design that ensures the board stays steady in rough situations.

Since the board is held together with durable stitching and virtually puncture-resistant PVC, you won’t experience the gradual wear and tear of a cheap paddle held together with glue. The Tonga will last, without incident, throughout normal recreational use for a long time.

The non-slip grip pad on the Solstice extends over most of the platform. It enhances your grip on the paddleboard to let you adjust your position as the water and wind dictate. The grip helps you get back on the board quickly if you should fall into the water.

The EVA grip pad is made of soft material, and it will keep your feet on the board when you paddle or change directions. The sturdy carry handle is located in the middle of the board so you can carry the inflated board from place to place.

Keep your paddleboard in good shape by storing it in the custom bag included in the accessory kit. Between uses, you deflate the board, fold it, and store it in the bag. It not only makes transport easier, but it protects the deflated board against spills, punctures, and accidents.

The Tonga is excellent as a second board you can share with other people. It still gives you all the advantages of most other boards but is easier to inflate, deflate and store.

Use this sturdy board for lake paddling and cruising on calm waters. It has great stability even when you’re standing, so don’t let the fact that it is inflatable prevent you from using the board to the fullest.

The six-inch thickness explains why this board is so durable. Even when holding excessive weight or under pressure, the Tonga inflatable board remains strong. The six-inch core helps keep you steady and high above water level. You can use this paddle board as a portable diving platform if desired.

Versatile and Easy to Use

solstice-paddleboardThe Solstice Tonga provides four stainless steel D-rings on the front of the board and the fifth on the tail for a safety leash. You can connect these D-rings to cargo with a bungee cord. The Solstice doesn’t include cords, so you’ll need to buy them separately.

Use a bungee cord and D-ring combination to make a cargo net so you can transport sandals, suntan lotion and anything else you need for a day of sun and surf. The cargo net set-up will help you keep your hands free but won’t impede your ride.

There’s a central fin to give the board better tracking. You can remove the fin when you need to pack the board. The central fin replaces the tri-fin system used on most paddle boards. While some people consider the tri-fin system better for all-around operation, the central fin can be more efficient for recreational boarding and novice users.

A repair kit is included with the accessories, which will come in handy if you’re a new paddle boarder. Given the durable build of the Tonga, it’s highly unlikely you’ll need to use the kit, but it’s there if you need it.
The multiple stainless steel tie-down points let you secure your board to a roof rack, making transporting a fully-inflated board simple.

A high-pressure hand pump can inflate the board in eight minutes or less and includes a gauge to ensure you inflate the board to the right degree.

A carefully constructed design makes the Tonga extra-sturdy for an inflatable, recreational board. It has the right amount of maneuverability, buoyancy, and versatility.

This paddleboard is built for leisure and doesn’t pretend to be anything more, but it still retains all the quality of more expensive boards.

Top Features and Specifications

  • Rigid – This inflatable paddleboard weighs 36.2 pounds, a bit more than most iSUPs. That said, it’s strong enough to survive challenging waters or wind due to its drop-stitch and PVC construction.
  • Unique Navigation System – Instead of the tri-fin system used on most paddle boards, the Tonga uses one central fixed fin, which may be more practical for new users.
  • Great looking – The sleek green and white board has a simple, uncluttered look that is easy on the eyes.
  • Stable – The single-fin system, along with the drop-stitch design and reinforced PVC material and the board’s extra width, make it sturdier and more resistant to tears. The durable material makes the Tonga safer for novice users, who might be apprehensive about using an inflatable board.
  • Non-slip – The high-grade, non-slip pad covers most of the board. It helps keeps you firmly planted on the paddleboard under the harshest conditions. The anti-slip pad also lets you get back on the board faster if you do take a tumble.
  • D-Rings – The board has five D-rings to attach belongings and equipment. Four D-rings are located on the nose, with the fifth on the tail for tying the board to a dock or adding a safety leash.
  • Accessories included – The Solstice Tonga paddle board comes with stainless steel tie downs, a carry bag, repair kit and high –pressure pump and gauge.
  • Easy to inflate – The Tonga has a Halkey Robert valve and comes with a high-pressure pump and gauge to fill up and deflate the board. The recommended pounds per square inch for inflating this board ranges from 12 to 15 PSI.
  • Best for beginners – This board works well for people new to paddle boarding due to its large size and durable construction.

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What Customers Are Saying

solstice-supAll reviewers, (even the ones that give the board, overall an OK rating) praise the Tonga’s stability.

Even if all the specifications leave you doubting the Solstice paddleboard’s sturdiness, consider these user experiences. One customer writes that he rides on the board with his dog, and the board remains free of punctures.

The board tracks and travels well, write one user who took it on vacation. It was easy to inflate, deflate and fit into the carrying bag, and you can use in relatively tranquil or slightly busy waters without problems even if you’re new to paddle boarding.

This board is reliable for ponds and other small bodies of water, according to several reviewers. People who live near the coasts or large lakes should invest in a more expensive board. The Tonga paddleboard is best used for fun, or as a beginner paddleboard.

While not as good as a solid board, the Tonga rides well if you just want to use it for fun, writes another beginning user.

The hand pump that comes with the board works well, but some reviewers say that since the Tonga is bigger than many other boards, you should invest in a larger pump.

While practically all reviews of the board are positive, a few users cite difficulties with leaks and say that the board is too “big and floaty” and should be used in flat water only.

Anyone into racing or speed should avoid this paddle board, as it’s not designed for those purposes. People traveling to waterside resorts, teens and young adults looking for summer fun, and anyone who wants to experience paddle boarding for the first time should consider using the Tonga inflatable board.

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The Verdict

Let’s recap this Solstice Tonga review. This giant paddleboard performs best on calm water but can adapt quite well to other conditions. It’s designed for beginning users, but intermediate riders will also enjoy it. More experienced users may want to invest in a solid or professional inflatable board.

No bungee cords or paddles are included with this board, but you can buy your own online or at any sporting goods store. The stainless steel tie downs, repair kit, and other accessories more than make up for those omissions.

A sturdy paddleboard made of high-quality materials, the Tonga is mainly a recreational board that retains lots of weight, even though it’s best for small stature individuals.