: 11’6”



What we like:

A high-quality touring board at a reasonable price point.

What we don’t:

Pricier than the Thurso Surf Expedition and does not include a paddle.

A subsidiary of NRS, STAR is an inflatable-watercraft specialist with a large selection of high-quality kayaks, rafts, and paddle boards for everything from river running to flatwater. They’re Photon is an 11-foot-tall, single-fin paddle board that is designed to move quickly and carry equipment on longer trips. Similar to the majority of boards on this list it is also a single-fin model. Photon has the standard drop-stitch PVC construction that inflates up to 20 psi. it has four D-rings in the nose for the purpose of securing the gear for an overnight stay. Overall, it’s an ideal setup for those who want to paddle long distances for exercise or going on multi-day adventures using their SUP.

With a price of just $895 at $895, the Photon is a reasonable price for a design that is a tourer however, it falls short on the Thurso Surf Expedition in regards to the value. The Expedition is much more water-ready with rear and front cargo bungees as well as an included paddle, which the STAR has a noticeable absence of. Furthermore, Thurso Surf’s three fins allow you to modify your setup, whereas the Photon is a bit more limited having only one fin. A final note that although NRS inflatable SUPs come with the three-year warranty for their customers, STAR boards are only protected for a single year. However, the Photon nonetheless is a top-quality touring design for a inexpensive cost and is a rare item in inflatable boards.


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