The Badfish IRS (Amazon link) is Badfish’s inflatable river surfing board (Inflatable River Surfer), and it’s one of the best boards out there if you want to surf anything you come across. The 2015 version has quite a bit more rocker than the 2014 version, so it has a little less speed to carve with but it handles steeper waves quite a bit better, and will surf a wave/hole with more of a trough better than flatter boards from Badfish and other manufacturers.
The IRS’ fins are permanently affixed in a thruster setup, which limits your options a little bit — no tuning down for low-water groveling or moving from a center fin to a twin, though it sounds like the next generation may have fin boxes. The 33″ width makes the board super stable, either with a paddle or without, and if popping up is proving to be a problem for you on river waves, the IRS feels like popping up on a couch if you’re entering waves on it prone.
The stability is great for beginners, but it can be a little limiting to advanced surfers, particularly on a narrower, lower-volume wave where you don’t have much room to move laterally, and need to make quick turns. While the durability of the inflatable is nice for lower flows — no more ding repairs ! — it can feel a little constricting on smaller waves. On the whole though, the IRS makes for a pretty sold one-board SUP quiver, particularly for someone just getting into the sport or looking for the one board they can pull out to surf every wave they come across.
[…] I wouldn’t be surprised if more Colorado surfers have a Badfish board in their quiver than any other single manufacturer. This hometown favorite is still based in Salida, and has turned out a number of surfing-specific designs. The smaller River Surfer and the Cobra are small enough to be ridden paddle-less, if you’re a pop up surfer looking for something with a lot of volume. Check out our review of their IRS. […]