This is a review of the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12′ stand up paddle board.
Stand up paddle boarding is getting more and more popular, and the market is becoming crowded with different names and models of iSUP. Nowadays, it takes something special to stand out, and luckily, the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 is such a board.
I was looking for a board that would be solid and stable, so it can be used by both beginners and more advanced paddlers. The Bluefin Cruise Carbon ticks that box perfectly. Flex Reduction System (FRS) carbon composite rails, triple-layer shell, and dual-inflation chambers make the Cruise Carbon 12 amazingly rigid on the water.
With a large footprint, it is great for a taller rider, and also has a high weight capacity to carry passengers, pets, or cargo. The dual-inflation chambers make this one of the safest inflatable paddle boards that you can buy. You can take children with extra confidence.
I’m going to show you in my Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 review that this is an excellent all-around board that is great for almost any SUP application. Is the Bluefin Cruise Carbon the best inflatable SUP board that you’ve been looking for?
Read on to find out.
Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 Pros and Cons
Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 Board Specs
- Length: 12’
- Width: 32”
- Thickness: 6”
- Weight: 38 lbs
- Weight Limit: 385 lbs
Who Should Buy the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 Paddle Board?
The Bluefin Carbon Cruise 12 is an excellent all-around paddle board suitable for almost any experience level.
Beginners will enjoy the excellent stability on offer while intermediate or advanced paddlers can buy the Cruise Carbon 12, knowing they’ve chosen a versatile paddle board.
Taller or heavier paddlers will love the confidence from the dimensions and weight capacity of the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12. Anyone that likes to feel comfortable underfoot, even when paddling all day, will enjoy the fantastic EVA Croco diamond deck pad.
If you even want to try kayaking, then the included kayak seat and paddle mean that you have everything you need.
Anyone wanting an all-around SUP that does almost everything will love the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12. This is a stiff board that is happy and stable in all but the roughest water conditions. The flex reduction system and dual-chamber technologies mean that this SUP is one rigid board.
Features of the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 Inflatable Paddle Board
As we move on with my Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 review, I’m going to guide you through an in-depth look at the features that make this paddle board so great.
High Quality Construction
Let’s start by looking at how the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 is built. This inflatable paddle board is made with Bluefin boards extra strong 1000 denier exo surface laminate PVC. The unbeatable drop stitch core has 11,200 stitches of 500 denier yarn per square meter.
With these materials, the very good workmanship maintains the board’s shape and incredible rigidity. They also allow the board to be inflated to a respectable 15 PSI maximum pressure.
The outer shell of the military-grade PVC on the Cruise Carbon is finished by heat welding a UV protection layer. This will keep the board looking fresh for a long lifetime. All in all, this extremely robust construction is built to last.
Carbon Composite Rails
On top of the normal Bluefin Cruise construction, they have added the Flex Reduction System (FRS) to the Cruise Carbon.
Carbon fiber weave has been added to the rails to enhance rigidity further. The carbon fiber will also add extra toughness in this vital area and protect against minor impacts and scrapes.
Air Duo Inflation
Another major innovation on the Cruise Carbon 12 is the Air Duo inflation chamber system. Bluefin has divided the Cruise Carbon into two air chambers, a central section, and an outer inflation loop.
The second inflation chamber adds even further to rigidity and stiffness. They also form an incredible safety feature. The Cruise Carbon will remain floating even in the unlikely event of a complete puncture of one of the chambers.
With all the features added up, the Bluefin Cruise Carbon inflatable SUP has the feel of a rigid board.
Croco Diamond Deck Pad
The deck pad on the Bluefin Cruise Carbon makes it one of the best paddle boards I’ve ever had underfoot. The non-slip EVA padding is extraordinarily comfortable. It remains super grippy even when completely wet. However, it doesn’t stay wet for long as the diamond pattern allows for quick water shedding.
At the rear of the Cruise Carbon deck pad, Bluefin has included a kick pad to make quick turns on the board possible. Features like this show that the Cruise Carbon is a SUP that will grow with you as you get more experienced.
Excellent Weight Rating
The Bluefin Cruise Carbon board has an excellent maximum weight rating of 385 lbs. This means that if you’re planning a long touring trip, you can be confident that the board can cope with you and your cargo.
Alternatively, if you want to carry along an extra passenger or your dog, you can without pushing the board.
Well Placed Handles
Bluefin has been considerate when designing the Cruise Carbon 12. As this is a larger board, they have added plenty of handles to make carrying and maneuvering it easy.
There is the standard center handle and also one on each side, which is very helpful if you need to climb back on after a fall or swim. There is also a handle at the nose and one at the squared off tail. All handles are padded with neoprene for comfort, and they have a nice Bluefin logo.
It is possible to attach a shoulder strap with the D-rings on the side of the Cruise Carbon.
The Bluefin Cruise Carbon board is often used for carrying extra passengers. Grab handles have been added on both the nose and tail bungee cargo areas to make this easier and safer.
Bungee Cargo Areas
Speaking of the cargo areas, the nose and tail bungee storage areas are ready to secure your cargo. These are ideal for carrying your drybag, flip-flops, and water bottle. They are also the perfect paddle holder for when you’re having a rest.
Four D-rings secure each bungee. These can also be used to clip additional accessories like a cool bag safely.
Action Camera Mount
I love to film my inflatable stand up paddle board adventures, and Bluefin has made it easy by fitting an action camera mount at the nose of the board.
The fitting is an industry-standard size. It will take a wide range of cameras or other accessories, including Bluetooth speakers, phone holders, or cup holders.
Everything You Need to Switch to Kayak Use
The included kayak conversion kit comes with everything you need to start paddling sitting down. Unlike some manufacturers, Bluefin paddle boards have not only included the kayak seat kit. They have even given you a convertible paddle too!
The comfortable padded kayak seat securely clips to the provided d-rings on either side of the board. The second paddle blade is added to your existing paddle shaft, and you’re good to go.
Comes With a Full Set of High Quality Accessories
As well as the kayak conversion kit, Bluefin provides you with a complete package of accessories. I’m pleased to report that it’s all of a superior quality to match the board.
a. Bluefin Backpack
To store your Cruise Carbon SUP board or carry it for travel, there is a backpack-style bag. This has extra-wide padding on the straps and back, so it is comfortable to carry.
The bag is made from heavy-duty nylon, so it doesn’t matter if it gets wet or dirty. It’s easy to wash out after you’ve got home. The zipper webbing is reinforced for extra strength.
The SUP and accessories, including the pump, fit comfortably inside the bag, so this is perfect for traveling with.
b. Carbon Fiber Shaft Paddle
Bluefin has included a very high quality adjustable carbon fiber paddle. It has a lightweight carbon fiber shaft and a polyurethane blade. Overall they say that the paddle weighs 45% less than a standard aluminum set up, and in use, I can confirm that it’s comfortable and light.
The blade is designed to be impossible to chip or warp, and it stood up to my clumsiness. It feels solid in the water and helps you move along efficiently.
c. Triple Action Pump
The Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 is a large board. Thankfully, the included triple action pump is up to the job of inflating it.
Triple action means that you can adjust the function of the pump as you inflate your board. It can pump on the upstroke and the downstroke. Or you can vary as the pressure increases, and you need to squeeze in the last few PSI.
The double chamber pump will get the Cruise Carbon filled at about twice the speed of a regular pump. However, there are also tremendous electric pumps for those who prefer to save their energy for paddling. I thoroughly recommend that everyone considers this an essential accessory.
d. 3-Piece Fin Set
The Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 comes complete with three fins. I’m pleased to report that the center fin box is a US fin standard design. This means that you can easily swap the removable fin for something suitable for different water depths or conditions. Boards that use the US fin box always get an extra point from me as replacement fins are widely available.
The two small side fins use the smart lock fin system and can be taken on and off quickly depending on what SUP board activity you are doing.
e. Coiled Ankle Leash
A good ankle leash is an essential feature for any SUP board. The one included with the Bluefin Cruise Carbon comfortably wraps around your ankle. It has an excellent adjustable neoprene band.
The spring coils make sure that the leash doesn’t trail behind you. It stretches out when you need it and springs back when you don’t. A nice touch is that the end which connects to your board is padded so it won’t wear the board surface.
f. Repair Kit
Bluefin has added a SUP board repair kit just in case you have any accidents in the field. You’ll find adhesive patches suitable for minor damage. There’s also a tool to keep the Halkey-Roberts inflation valve tight.
g. Cellphone Case
Finally, the Bluefin SUP includes a nice waterproof case for your cell phone.
We all want to take our phones with us when we paddle to take photos or stay in contact. It’s a really lovely touch to have a waterproof case included, so you really are ready to go.
Performance on the Water
The Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 is a solid SUP board for beginners. It will make most paddlers including intermediate and experts very happy.
Out on the water, the all-around paddle boarding design gives it excellent stability. It is fantastic at building beginner confidence. Intermediate and advanced paddlers will find that the Cruise Carbon 12 is highly maneuverable compared to other longer boards.
The added kick pad even makes tight step-back turns possible.
The high overall weight capacity means the Cruise Carbon stays nicely in the water even with a load on board. The rocker nose performs well in small to medium chop with excellent glide.
The 12’ length means that the Cruise Carbon tracks really nicely in a straight line. Speed is good, and it’s possible to get up quite a rate when touring.
The last feature I have to mention is the brilliant Bluefin Warranty. All Bluefin SUPs come with an outstanding 5-year manufacturer warranty. This is the longest given in the SUP industry.
The Bluefin Cruise Carbon also has a 60-day return policy. If you buy the board and change your mind, you can send it back unused for a refund, less shipping costs.
What Users Are Saying About the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12
You’ve seen that I think that the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 is one of the best SUP boards available.
To see what other users thought, I scoured the internet and found many highly positive reviews.
User Francis L wrote that he frequently uses the board with his three spaniel dogs. He finds the Bluefin Cruise Carbon highly stable even with the extra passengers moving about.
Gerry said that he purchased the Bluefin Cruise Carbon as his first board and is delighted with the complete accessory package. He said that he particularly liked that the board came with the complete kayak package. He had planned to buy them separately when he was looking at other SUP boards. Having them with the board convinced him the Carbon Cruise was the right choice.
Michelle said that she brought the Bluefin Carbon Cruise to carry her and her two children on trips. She said that the rigidity and stability of the board made the kids feel really comfortable; they enjoy hanging onto the grab handles as she paddles. As an experienced boarder, she was thrilled with the versatile performance of the Carbon Cruise when she managed to get out independently.
Alternatives to the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12
You might be interested in considering some of the other great boards on the market before making your final choice. These are two great options to check out before deciding if the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 is your ideal SUP.
1. Bluefin Cruise Carbon vs Thurso Surf Expedition Touring SUP
The Surf is an 11’ 6” x 30” touring orientated inflatable SUP. Capacity is given as a maximum of 180 lbs. Thurso says that it can be increased for experienced paddlers.
The board comes in an attractive wood effect finish. Some purchasers might find this more to their taste than the Bluefins brighter pattern.
The Surf is an excellent board for touring long distances and has impressive glide and speed. Like the Cruise Carbon, the Surf also has carbon-reinforced rails for extra rigidity.
Thurso has included an accessory kit covering all the essentials. There is a brilliant 32oz carbon hybrid paddle and US fin touring fin. However, the popular Kayak conversion kit is not included – so if you want the versatility of a board that can give you a kayaking experience, then the Cruise Carbon 12 is the way to go.
One great feature I love on the Surf is the handy paddle holders at the side of the board. I wish that all boards came with these!
Overall the Thurso Surf is a brilliant board if you’re looking to travel long distances. It might not be as versatile as the Cruise Carbon, but it is still excellent, particularly for experienced paddlers.
You should take a look here.
2. Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 vs iROCKER Blackfin Model V
The Model V measures a large 12’ 6” x 32” and has a huge capacity of 485 lbs. This large SUP needs an electric pumps efforts for inflation in my mind.
This is another fantastic touring style board. It also makes an excellent platform for SUP fishing thanks to the multiple included mounts. There are no fewer than eight action mounts located around the board, so if you want to use many accessories, this is a great SUP.
The Model V comes in three colors, so there is more choice than the Cruise Carbon, which only has one finish. This SUP also had carbon-reinforced rails for added rigidity. The Blackfin only has a single inflation cell, unlike the Cruise Carbon, so it is less secure.
The Blackfin is an excellent, large, all-around board, and it’s well worth considering. The included accessory package is similar to the Cruise. The included iRocker bag has roller wheels to make it easy to travel with. Unlike the Cruise, the kayak conversion paddle isn’t included.
This is a great board with excellent stability and a vast amount of usable space.
Check it out for yourself here.
ALSO READ: Our review of one of the most stable paddle boards – the Blackfin Model X inflatable SUP
I think that the Bluefin Cruise Carbon is a brilliant all-around SUP. The board is incredibly stable for beginners and is a great place to learn.
Innovative features like the carbon rails and dual air chambers help this inflatable SUP feel like a rigid board in the water.
There’s plenty of room for cargo and extra passengers. Taller or larger paddlers will feel confident too.
I’m confident that you’ll be delighted if you pick the highly versatile Bluefin Cruise Carbon. This SUP is capable of mastering a variety of activities for all experience levels. The Cruise Carbon will grow with you and provide you with many happy years on the water.
I recommend the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12, so make sure that you check it out right away.