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If you’ve already taken a look around our website, you’ve probably noticed that the Bluefin Cruise models are among our favorites.

The boards really convinced us in our reviews with their high-quality built, enormous stiffness and excellent price / performance ratio.

Now, the British brand Bluefin SUP offers an extensive series of different “Bluefin Cruise” models.

In addition, there is the choice between Bluefin Cruise and Bluefin Cruise Carbon which we’ll discuss in this article.

Let’s dive in.

Overview

The Carbon boards are even stiffer and more robust, than the standard versions.

The Bluefin Cruise is available as a standard version in 4 sizes (Junior 8′, 10’8″, 12′, 15′ Tandem), while the Bluefin Cruise Carbon range is limited to 3 models (10’8″, 12′, 15′ Tandem).

Note: In this comparison, I will explain in detail the differences between the standard and carbon variants. I have mainly focused on the Bluefin Cruise 10’8, as this model is the most popular SUP board of the Cruise series.

The price difference between the Bluefin Cruise and the Bluefin Cruise Carbon boards is significant. That’s why, we have written up this comparison here to help you decide if it’s worth it for you.

Best Paddleboard 2022 for most Paddlers
Bluefin Cruise 10'8
9.4/10Our Score

The Bluefin Cruise is one of the best SUP boards on the market. What convinces me most about the Cruise SUPs is the high-quality workmanship of the boards and accessories. Clearly, no quality has been spared here. Last but not least, the Bluefin Cruise comes with an incredible five-year warranty.

Check out our Bluefin Cruise review to find out more about the board (and also to find the best price).

We’ve also reviewed the Bluefin Cruise Carbon here:

One of the most stiffest Paddleboards in the World
Bluefin Cruise Carbon
9.4/10Our Score

The Bluefin Cruise Carbon is one of the stiffest paddleboards in the world. It is more expensive than the normal Bluefin Cruise, but offers more in terms of stiffness, included gear and board features. With its weight, it's not the best model for travelling, but on the water this inflatable paddleboard comes as close to a hardboard as you can get.

Check out our Bluefin Cruise Carbon review to find out more about the board (and also to find the best price).

Dimensions

The dimensions are not a criterion when choosing between Bluefin Cruise or Carbon, because these are identical for both boards and are 10’8″ x 32.5″ x 6″ (325 x 82.5 x 15 cm) for the 10.8 model.

These dimensions, characteristic of an all-rounder, together with the classic contour, make the Bluefin Cruise a perfect beginner board.

Due to the solid width of 32.5″ (82.5 cm) and the anti-slip standing surface (deck pad), it offers every beginner enough stability to quickly keep the necessary balance and achieve first progress.

Also, the thickness (of all Bluefin Cruise and Bluefin Cruise Carbon models) of 6″ (15 cm) gives the boards a high volume and very good buoyancy, which are also designed for large and somewhat heavier paddlers.

For the sake of completeness, I would like to state dimensions of the other sizes here, so that you get a better overview of the available boards.

Also, for the other models, the dimensions of the standard version are identical to those of the carbon variants:

ModelDimensions
Bluefin Cruise 10’810’8″ x 32.5″ x 6″ (324 x 82 x 16 cm)
Bluefin Cruise Junior 8’08′ x 29” x 6” (245 x 74 x 15 cm)
Bluefin Cruise 12′12′ x 31.5” x 6” (365 x 80 x 15 cm)
Bluefin Cruise 15′15′ x 34.5” x 6” (450 x 88 x 15 cm)

Design and Construction

In this point, the two variants differ significantly from each other. To make the comparison as clear as possible for you, I decided to list the similarities and differences of the standard and carbon boards separately:

Similarities

Both models have a so-called “dropstitch core”, which means that many polyester threads are tightly woven together inside the board. This construction ensures a high level of stability and resilience.

Bluefin makes very detailed specifications regarding the material and the quality of workmanship. The “dropstitch density” is 11200 threads per sqm, which is currently the densest pattern on the market. Bluefin even specifies the yarn quality used (500 denier).

The outer shell of Bluefin Cruise boards is made of 2 thermo-sealed layers of PVC (1000 denier military grade). In addition, the material is UV-resistant coated and thus extremely robust against environmental influences. Bluefin calls this manufacturing technique ESL (Exo Surface Lamination).

Viewed from the side, you can see the slightly upward-curved board tip (nose) on both models. This design is called “Noserocker”. This makes the board glide much better over the water and the tip does not sink so easily in waves.

Differences

Here are the main differences in a direct comparison of Bluefin Cruise vs. Carbon:

In contrast to the standard version, the Carbon models are equipped with 2 separate air chambers (“Double-Chamber”).

You should first inflate the inner chamber. Then inflate the outer chamber with the recommended pressure of 15-18 PSI.

The Bluefin Cruise boards withstand a maximum pressure of an enormous 28 PSI, which speaks for the absolutely high-quality material selection and is another indication of the high quality of the boards.

The two independent air chambers of the carbon series have the advantage that the stiffness is even better.

Furthermore, this ensures that in the unlikely event of a defect in one air chamber, the board remains buoyant. This can be life-saving in the worst case.

Another distinguishing feature is the construction of the rails (side surfaces). While the Bluefin Cruise has a 2-layer PVC construction (500 denier) at this point, the rails of the Bluefin Cruise Carbon boards are 3-layer and carbon reinforced.

The middle, flexible and namesake carbon layer results in even more improved stiffness and makes the board more robust against damage. Bluefin calls the construction of its carbon rails FRS (Flex Reduction System).

Load & Weight

The maximum payload of the two 10’8″ versions is again identical at 330 lbs (150 kg). The recommended maximum user weight is 185 lbs (85 kg) max.

To get the best performance from the board, you should always go by the user weight, the maximum load refers to the floatability and is the upper load limit.

Bluefin accordingly recommends the 10.8 model up to a weight of up to 185 lbs (85 kg). If you are heavier, I recommend choosing a larger model from the Bluefin Cruise series.

Due to the differences in construction, the weight of the two versions varies significantly. The standard version weighs a rather average 25 lbs (12 kg), while the carbon board weighs about 9lbs (4 kg) more at 34 lbs (15.5 kg).

Although this difference can be explained by the higher-quality material construction and is quite positive, it naturally also makes transporting the carbon version more difficult.

It makes sense that the Bluefin Cruise Carbon is therefore also delivered with a trolley backpack (instead of the standard Bluefin Cruise backpack).

Again, for the sake of completeness, I’d like to tell you the maximum payload, recommended user weight, and weight of the other boards in the Bluefin Cruise family:

ModelMaximum payloadUser WeightWeight
Bluefin Cruise 12′385 lbs (175 kg)over 185 lbs (85 kg)30 lbs (14 kg) (standard)
42 lbs (19 kg) (carbon)
Bluefin Cruise 15′ Tandem530 lbs (240 kg)optimal for 2 adults44 lbs (20 kg) (standard)
61 lbs (27.8 kg) (carbon)

Features

If you’re wondering whether to go for the Bluefin Cruise or Cruise Carbon, I also recommend taking a closer look at the models’ features.

Since this is another point where the two variants differ from each other, I have directly compared the individual features using the 10’8″ size as an example.

Features Bluefin Cruise vs Carbon

FeaturesBluefin CruiseBluefin Cruise Carbon
DeckpadBase made of anti-slip EVA with diamond embossing and crocodile surfaceNo difference to standard design
D-rings6 free D-rings: one ring at the stern (for the leash), one ring at the action cam mount and 4 rings next to the deckpad for attaching the kayak seat8 free D-rings: one ring at the stern (for the leash), one ring at the action cam mount, 4 rings next to the deckpad for attaching the kayak seat + 2 more in the area of the stand for a carrying strap
Carrying grips3 carrying loops (neoprene): one at the top, one at the stern and one in the middle on the deckpad5 carrying loops (neoprene): In the middle of the board there is a central carrying loop, 2 more are attached to the left and right of the deckpad and again one each at the nose and tail
Luggage net1 luggage net: In the front area is a sturdy luggage net, attached to 4 other D-rings2 luggage nets: In the front as well as in the rear area there is one integrated deck net each, attached to 4 further D-rings
Fins3 removable fins (Smartlock system)3 removable fins: Center fin (US-Box-System), side fins (Smartlock-System)
KickpadThe deckpad is raised in the rear area. If you put your weight on this point, the tip lifts a little bit and you can turn or steer better.No difference to the standard version.
Action cam mountYou can mount your action cam in the front area. The mount is compatible with many models.No difference to the standard version.

Fins / Fin Systems

Both the Bluefin Cruise and the Bluefin Cruise Carbon feature 3 removable fins. Both the two small side fins and the large dolphin shaped center fin are removable.

However, the boards have different fin systems.

The standard version uses the patented Smartlock system developed by Bluefin.

The fins are attached in seconds by latching them into the rail. This system has the advantage of speed, but you are also limited to the fin selection of Bluefin, fins from other manufacturers are not compatible with very few exceptions!

You can find out more about Bluefin Cruise replacements fins here.

The Carbon models are equipped with 2 different systems:

  1. Center fin in the US box system (with screw and threaded plate) and
  2. the side fins in the already mentioned Smartlock system.

The assembly of the US-Box-System is a bit more time-consuming, but you also have a lot more options when choosing your fin.

For the US-Box-System there is a variety of fins from different manufacturers, and you are therefore able to find the right fin for each application (touring, white water, racing).

So when it comes to the question: You unfortunately have to decide between speed and versatility when it comes to fins!

Stiffness

The Bluefin Cruise boards are already in the standard version among the stiffest boards on the market.

The solid material quality and the 2-layer construction give the boards a very high strength. The boards withstand an enormously high air pressure and thus achieve an excellent and very stable position in the water.

However, due to the carbon rails and the two air chambers, the Bluefin Cruise Carbon boards again clearly and noticeably outperform the standard versions in terms of stiffness.

The surface of these models is so hard that you can almost compare it to a SUP board made of solid materials. As a result, it glides with reduced water resistance even under maximum load and offers you an impressively safe and stable standing surface.

Check out our in-depth reviews of the two version:

Best Paddleboard 2022 for most Paddlers
Bluefin Cruise 10'8
9.4/10Our Score

The Bluefin Cruise is one of the best SUP boards on the market. What convinces me most about the Cruise SUPs is the high-quality workmanship of the boards and accessories. Clearly, no quality has been spared here. Last but not least, the Bluefin Cruise comes with an incredible five-year warranty.

Also, we’ve reviewed the Bluefin Cruise Carbon here:

One of the most stiffest Paddleboards in the World
Bluefin Cruise Carbon
9.4/10Our Score

The Bluefin Cruise Carbon is one of the stiffest paddleboards in the world. It is more expensive than the normal Bluefin Cruise, but offers more in terms of stiffness, included gear and board features. With its weight, it's not the best model for travelling, but on the water this inflatable paddleboard comes as close to a hardboard as you can get.

Accessories

Paddle

Both versions come with a color-matching, infinitely adjustable paddle. The length can be adjusted between 5’7 and 7’2 (170 and 220 cm) by sliding in the handle piece. With the included second paddle blade, you can turn it into a kayak paddle in seconds.

On both models, the paddle blades and the ergonomically shaped handles (pommel) are made of plastic. The connecting parts are also identical on both 3-piece paddles.

However, the shaft material differs between the two versions:

While the shaft of the Bluefin Cruise is made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic (GRP), the paddle shaft of the Bluefin Cruise Carbon is made of carbon and is accordingly somewhat higher quality and, above all, lighter.

Backpack or Trolley

The color-matching backpack with solid zippers has a high-quality finish and features a carrying loop and wide, comfortably padded carrying straps. In the small outside pocket you can store your equipment (e.g. the center fin etc.). With the included strap you can fix the rolled up board.

The backpack of the carbon boards is a bit bigger and additionally equipped with wheels, so you can use it as a trolley. Due to the increased weight of the carbon models, this function is a welcome relief when transporting to the water.

Air Pump

The Bluefin Cruise comes with a switchable double-stroke air pump with pressure indicator (manometer) and only one piston.

This allows you to pump air into the board both when pulling up and pushing down. If the back pressure increases over time, you can switch to single-stroke operation by pulling out an enclosed pin, this offers you less resistance.

The Bluefin Cruise Carbon comes with a triple action air pump with 2 pistons and pressure gauge. In the first stage, the pump works with both pistons in double-stroke operation, in the 2nd stage you pump with both pistons in single-stroke operation and in the 3rd stage you use only one piston for inflation.

These graduations allow you to gradually reduce the resistance, and the 2 pistons significantly reduce the pumping time.

Leash (Safety Line)

Both versions come with the same coiled leash (spiral-shaped safety leash). It has a strong Velcro closure to connect you to the board at the ankle.

The spiral-shaped leash, which stretches to the complete length when falling into the water, prevents the board from drifting without you. Please always use a leash…safety first!

Kayak Seat

The kayak seats are also included with all Bluefin Cruise boards and easily attach to the designated D-rings next to the deckpad. Conversion to a SUP kayak is quick and easy.

Waterproof Cell Phone Cover

Bluefin includes a waterproof cell phone case with each Cruise SUP board. So you can safely take your smartphone with you on the water.

Repair Kit

With this small kit you can repair or glue small damages on the board yourself. The repair kit is included with all boards.

Driving Characteristics

Basically, the Bluefin Cruise SUP boards belong to the class of all-round boards and are designed for varied requirements. They offer a successful compromise to give you the full spectrum of SUP use.

However, lakes and canals with relatively calm water certainly bring the most fun with all-rounders. With the necessary experience, however, you can also venture onto slow-flowing rivers and coastal sections.

Due to the high-quality material properties and the 2-layer construction, the Bluefin Cruise Boards generally achieve a very high degree of stiffness in every version.

A stable SUP board is the basis to ensure good riding characteristics. The objective of every inflatable SUP board (iSUP) is to achieve a similar strength as a board made of solid materials.

The Bluefin Cruise Carbon boards are again much stiffer than the standard models. Due to the carbon rails and the two air chambers, the boards are noticeably harder and more resilient than the normal, somewhat cheaper versions. This construction method is clearly noticeable in the riding behavior.

The boards of the carbon series glide significantly easier through the water, their mega stable design improves the hydrodynamic properties significantly. Especially in rough water and waves, you notice the gain in stiffness immediately. The board hardly deforms and therefore delivers better performance in all situations.

In addition, you have the possibility to use other fins with the Bluefin Cruise Carbon due to the US-Box-System. If you choose a touring fin, for example, the tracking of the board improves significantly. You can then set significantly more paddle strokes before you have to change sides.

As already mentioned, all boards of the Bluefin Cruise family offer high stiffness and very good performance.

However, if you want to get the most out of your board in all situations, you should choose one of the carbon models when deciding between Bluefin Cruise and Carbon. Especially, the possibility of using different fins to customize the properties of the board offers you enormous advantages.

On the subject of riding characteristics, however, it must also be noted that all 3 fins are now removable on both boards.

This gives you the additional possibility to influence the running characteristics by changing the setup in the desired direction. This way you can adjust your board to different areas of use and react to changing conditions:

  • The classic 3 fin setup (2+1) has the consequence that the tipping stability and also the maneuverability are maximally pronounced. For beginners and for unspecific use, this is usually the best option.
  • If you are going on a tour, you can also remove the two small side fins and paddle only with a single fin. This increases the straight-line stability and keeps the board more stable in the track. As a result, you can also reach higher speeds, since you don’t have to change sides as often and can ultimately get a faster, very dynamic paddling rhythm.
  • Last but not least, it is also possible to mount only the side fins. This reduces the draft to the maximum, which may be necessary on shallow river sections, for example, to avoid damage.

With this setting, however, the board no longer has good guidance and steering becomes more difficult…as soon as conditions allow it again, you should use the center fin again!

Price

The prices of the Bluefin Cruise boards are in the mid-range, while the Bluefin Cruise Carbon models are in the upper price range.

Not everyone can easily afford to invest so much money in their hobby. Therefore, the decision between Bluefin Cruise or Cruise Carbon is most likely often a question of budget, the more beautiful that both boards are absolutely convincing!

From time to time there are special offers with great discounts directly from the manufacturer or on other sales portals. Here we have already compiled some tips for you on how you can get your new Bluefin SUP board as cheaply as possible!

Conclusion

The choice between Bluefin Cruise or Bluefin Cruise Carbon is certainly not an easy one. If your budget is tight, or you’re looking for a great SUP board for a wide variety of uses, you’ll probably opt for the standard variant and be fully satisfied with your board for sure.

If you spend a lot of time on the board, are looking for a top of the line model with even better features, and have the wherewithal, then the Bluefin Cruise Carbon is ideal for you.

The direct comparison Bluefin Cruise vs. Carbon reveals one thing above all: Both versions are really very successful entry-level boards for the respective target group…first-class workmanship, very good material quality, durable construction.

Best Paddleboard 2022 for most Paddlers
Bluefin Cruise 10'8
9.4/10Our Score

The Bluefin Cruise is one of the best SUP boards on the market. What convinces me most about the Cruise SUPs is the high-quality workmanship of the boards and accessories. Clearly, no quality has been spared here. Last but not least, the Bluefin Cruise comes with an incredible five-year warranty.

Check out our Bluefin Cruise review to find out more about the board

But the carbon versions are in many areas even a bit higher quality than the standard models. 2 air chambers, carbon rails, other sophisticated features, the US box fin system and better quality accessories are the arguments, but also cost significantly more.

One of the most stiffest Paddleboards in the World
Bluefin Cruise Carbon
9.4/10Our Score

The Bluefin Cruise Carbon is one of the stiffest paddleboards in the world. It is more expensive than the normal Bluefin Cruise, but offers more in terms of stiffness, included gear and board features. With its weight, it's not the best model for travelling, but on the water this inflatable paddleboard comes as close to a hardboard as you can get.

Check out our Bluefin Cruise Carbon review to find out more about the board

What you need, want and can afford, you must ultimately decide for yourself. But you can’t do much wrong if you choose a SUP board from Bluefin!

FAQ

Will the Bluefin Cruise Carbon last longer than the Bluefin Cruise?

Basically, both versions are absolutely durable and very high quality workmanship. However, due to the 3-layer carbon rail construction, the side surfaces of the Bluefin Cruise Carbon boards are constructed a bit more robustly than the standard version. Thus, they are more resistant to external influences and damage in this area. In the direct duel, Bluefin Cruise vs. carbon, the carbon reinforced version tends to be just ahead in terms of durability.

Is the Bluefin Cruise more suitable for women than the Bluefin Cruise Carbon?

The Bluefin Cruise Carbon boards are considerably heavier than the Bluefin Cruise standard models due to their construction, so it may be that some women reach their limits with the handling of the boards…but that depends more on your individual strength than your gender. The backpack of the carbon variant can also be used as a trolley, so the way to the water is already no problem. More information about the comparison of the Bluefin Cruise against the Bluefin Carbon can be found here.

Should beginners go for the Bluefin Cruise or the Bluefin Cruise Carbon?

That depends on your situation. Both boards are perfect for beginners, but the Bluefin Cruise Carbon is a bit more premium than the standard boards in many areas. It has 2 air chambers, carbon rails and also the accessories are more professional.

Accordingly, the models are also more expensive. If performance is very important to you and you are less concerned about money, then your decision between Bluefin Cruise or Cruise Carbon should be clearly in favor of the carbon model.

For less intensive use or for paddlers with a smaller budget, the Bluefin Cruise board also offers a lot in the standard version and convinces with its excellent price/performance ratio! More information about the comparison of the Bluefin Cruise against the Bluefin Carbon can be found here.

Are there stiffer boards than the Bluefin Cruise Carbon?

Over the years I have tested a lot of SUP boards and I can safely say that the Bluefin Cruise Carbon is absolutely one of the stiffest boards on the market.

While I can’t 100% rule out the possibility that there are even stiffer boards out there, there isn’t much room for improvement. When you consider that the Bluefin Cruise boards can withstand up to 28 PSI of pressure, that’s actually hard to top! More information about the comparison of the Bluefin Cruise against the Bluefin Carbon can be found here.

Hi, my name is Max. In 2016, on my first SUP trip, I was still a bit shaky on the SUP board. But quickly the ambition grabbed me and my passion for SUP was ignited. That’s why I founded stand-up-paddling.org the same year. Our mission is to help beginners discover this sport and bring more transparency into the market with our in-depth product reviews.

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