Review: Better Boarding

More options for more action.

Paddleboarding has exploded in popularity of late, which means a bigger market, more sales, and better R&D for the paddleboard manufacturers. For us, it means more specialized boards, tailored to our chosen uses. It also means more carefully crafted multi-purpose boards that perform decently in a variety of conditions, so that the casual paddleboarder doesn't need to keep a fleet of watercraft in the garage or gear closet.

We've already written about the former, and a classic example of the latter is the NRS Thrive, a top-notch inflatable paddleboard that's suitable for several applications. 

Northern Lights Rivers Lakes Oceans


For light river-running, the Thrive's got removeable, interchangeable fins of differing lengths, so you can track well on long floats down the Missouri, or drift light over shallow riffles on the Jefferson. It's stable and abrasion-resistant, which means no worries should you encounter some unexpected rapids along the way.

NRS Thrive Paddleboard

On flat water, the Thrive feels solid underfoot, in part due to the integration of NRS's proprietary Axis agent, an acrylic deck-stiffening substance that improves stiffness without adding weight—and the stiffer the board, the better it performs. Fill the Thrive to a taut 20 psi and load up a hefty 200 pounds; you'll find a super-stable platform whether you're cruising across a lake or doing fitness exercise at the neighborhood pond.

The Thrive's also got plenty of tie-downs for gear, so you can enjoy a few cold ones in a soft cooler, or lash down a tent and turn your lake or river trip into an overnight. Combine the Thrive with the NRS Rush three-piece paddle and you've got an unbeatable combo for a full season of outdoor fun.

NRS Rush Paddle

To experience the Thrive's multi-purpose magic for yourself, swing by Northern Lights / Rivers, Lakes & Oceans on Huffine Lane and give 'er a look-see. You can rent a board for the day before purchasing. Retail price is $1,095; more info at and


NRS Thrive Paddleboard