Gili Adventure 12 Review

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In this review, we will be going over all the specs and features of the Gili Adventure 12.

How does it differ from the Adventure 11? Is it a better buy than the Gili Air series? 

We answer these questions and more as we deep dive into what makes the Gili Adventure great and what things Gili can improve on moving forward. 

We use our real-world SUP knowledge of testing many different types and shapes of boards and mix it with customer research to make sure you get all the information you need to make an informed decision. 

We also list a few alternatives towards the end of the review so keep reading as we dissect the Adventure 12 bit by bit.

Click here for our review on the Gili Adventure 11 series as well as Other Gili Boards

Gili Adventure 12 Review Ratings

Total Score: 8/10 (Average of Below Numbers)

Click on the ratings below to jump to each section.

Pros

  • Great Roomy board at a good price point
  • Great board to use for most water conditions
  • Has a good selection of action mounts and D rings
  • Tracks well for an All-Around Board
  • Great board for bringing additional passengers on
  • Lightweight for its size
  • Scotty Mounts is a nice touch to the board
  • Ideal board for longer day paddles
  • A portion of a sale goes towards saving the world’s coral reefs
  • I like that they included a racing fin in the package

Cons

  • The pump is harder to use at higher PSI
  • A bit less maneuverable than the Adventure 11
  • We do wish the rear storage was a bit bigger

Who Should be Using the Gili Adventure 12?

The Gili Adventure 12 is a great board for both bigger beginner paddlers sprawling all the way to intermediates. One of the best features of this board is that its one that you won’t outgrow anytime soon. 

Many people buy budget SUPs from Amazon or big box stores only for the SUP to be too small, too slow, or too unsteady. With the Gili Adventure 12, you do not have this problem at all. Plus it has a lot of useful features which makes it worth it just to spend that extra bit on a better quality board. 

So Who Should Be Using the Gili Adventure 11 vs the 12’ Models?

The Gili Adventure 11 is a board that can be used for most sized adults. However, You should choose the Gili Adventure 12 if:

  • You want something a bit more stable, 
  • tracks better 
  • Can handle more gear
  • You can have smaller passengers like kids and dogs

There are certainly cases where it makes more sense to go with the Adventure 11. Such as:

  • If you are a smaller paddler who doesn’t want something as big to maneuver
  • You are in tighter waterways

Larger boards usually give you greater stability. So when you have the same board as the Adventure 11, but you add 1 foot more length and add more volume to it. It gives you better speed and tracking out of the box 

What SUP Activities Can the Gili Adventure 12 Be Used For?

The Gili Adventure 12 is the perfect mid-price range board that will allow you to tackle the most reasonable waterways. Its longer length and improved stability also open it up to more on-water activities such as…

Recreational Paddling

The Adventure 12 is a great board for learning and developing your skills on, especially if you are a bigger guy/ gal. Its 330 lb maximum capacity allows it to be a fit for most paddlers. Often with room to add more gear/ pets/ kids as well.

This board can face the vast majority of conditions that most recreational paddlers will face.  Ideally, you should pack up the board and head to the lake to get some practice before going into waters like coastal conditions that have more wind and waves to deal with. 

Longer Day Paddling Trips

The activity that I would say the Adventure 12 is built for is longer day paddles. Perhaps you are close to a big lake or know of some calm coastal bays in your area. The 12’ model is more than capable of handling these longer trips.

The board features 3 rows of bungee storage at the front for larger dry bags, soft coolers, or backpacks. There is also a smaller area of 2-row bungee storage at the back where you can store smaller items like sandals or waterproof speakers. 

There are also bungee handles for those who want to ride along. These are handy when you come into some choppier conditions and you gotta hang on!

Fishing

One of the most attractive things about the Adventure 12 for anglers is those Scotty mounts that are installed onto the board. This allows you to add Gili’s fishing rack, giving you a whole range of new possibilities when fishing off this SUP.

Not only will the fishing rack make you feel more secure when paddling but it also has room to mount rods, fish finders, and a wide array of different fishing-ready accessories. 

The fishing rack hasn’t been released yet but it’s in the pipeline for Gili. So keep your eyes peeled!

Kayak Hybrid

Like all Gili SUPs, add a kayak conversion kit and you now have a kayak hybrid! 

This kayak set-up is actually more preferred with the Gili Adventure 12 compared to other Gili boards. This is because it’s a more slender board whose tracking abilities will be a little bit closer to kayak standards. 

Gili provides 4 clearly labeled D rings that let you know where to mount the kayak seat on the SUP. One thing I love about Gili products is how clear their labeling is!

Gili Adventure 12 Paddle Board Stats Deconstructed

  • Type of Board: Recreational/ Light Touring
  • Length: 12’
  • Width: 32″
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Volume: 272 L
  • Weight: 23 Lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 330 Lbs

The Gili Adventure 12 is made of Fusion dual layer PVC construction which is a process that a lot of inflatable paddle boards are making a shift towards. 

One of the biggest advantages of getting the Adventure 12 over the Gili Air 11’6” is its construction. The Gili Air 11’6” is made of single-layer PVC. This isn’t a deal-breaker but having that extra layer helps add more years and that extra layer of durability to the SUP. 

This fusion layer also helps the bend of the board when it’s on the water. Compared to other Gili models the Adventure 12 is a happy medium when it comes to bend tests. It compared better than the Gili Air 11’6” but not as well as the Gili Meno series because of its extra layer of carbon placed on the sides of the boards

Still to most beginner and intermediate paddlers you won’t notice this “bend” too much unless you start paddling longer distances and feel more drag after hours of paddling. 

Gili Adventure 12 SUP Profile 

The Adventure 12 is almost the exact same board as the 11 in terms of where things are placed on the board. It just features more length and a bigger board volume. 

When comparing the Adventure 12 board profile to the Gili Air 11’6” there are some bigger differences between the two boards. First off is the shape, while at first glance they look somewhat similar, you can see that the tail and nose on the Air series are a bit rounder and wider compared to the Adventure 12. 

This is because the Air 11’6” is meant more for beginners while the Adventure style boards are made for beginner to intermediate paddlers

The long and the short of this comparison is that if you want a board that features more add-on features, can take more gear, and is more comfortable in all types of conditions. It’s best to choose the Adventure 12 over the Air 11’6” board. 

What’s on Deck

The Gili Adventure 12 is one of the more feature-rich boards in the Gili lineup. The board is perfect for most of your belongings on those longer day paddling adventures. You could even use this for a multi-day paddle although you will probably have to do your own deck rigging system and remove the rear bungees. 

Gili Adventure 12 Deck Pad

The deck pad covers just over 2/3rds of the board and is made of 2 different stylings. There’s the grooved deck pad in the middle of the board where you stand. And then on the back, the deck pad is diamond-grooved with a stomp pad placement. 

We like that the Adventure 12 features the diamond grooved deck padding at the rear as thats the grippiest part. The stomp pad gives you a bit of extra leverage that’s often hard to get from SUPs that don’t have this feature. That extra leverage allows you to lift the nose up from out of the water efficiently and with a bit more ease. It’s especially more crucial to have a stomp pad when you have a longer board. As longer boards are usually harder to perform pivot turns on. 

Gili Adventure D Rings

On the Gili website, they say that the board features 20 D rings. However, we counted 18. We found that Gili has some mistakes on its site from time to time so we will just assume it’s just that.

We will go into bungee deck webbing in the next section so for now, we will mainly be talking about the D rings that are available on the board. 

In the middle, there are 6 available D rings on the SUP. 

The 4 labeled in the middle are designated for a kayak seat but you can use them for a lot of other things like anchors, or even strapping a bigger cooler you want to use/ sit on. 

If you look closely at the section of the deck pad where the rear is smooth, you will see two other D rings there. These would best be used with the rear deck webbing where you need to bring bigger items like tents, tarps, and other camping gear.

Gili Adventure Deck Bungees

The Adventure features 3 rows of deck bungees at the front of the board to store larger items and 2 rows on the back to stow smaller items

I typically like to store the things I use most in the front and the things I use least in the rear. This is so that there is less twisting, turning, and adjusting from your end. 

I usually like the smaller bungee deck rigging at the front as the things I bring with me are smaller. But someone going on a bit of a longer paddling excursion will probably disagree with me as they need to bring more items with them.

– Editors Notes

Gili Mounts

On the Adventure 12 the board features 2 different kinds of mounts. Action mounts and Scotty mounts. The Adventure 12 has:

  • 2 Scotty Mounts
  • 3 Action Mounts

So what’s the difference between the two? The Action Mounts are located at the top of the deck pad and at the nose of the board. They are compatible with 

While the Scotty Mounts are made specifically for Fishing Racks. These racks give you both something to hold onto while fishing, as well as places to store your rods, fish finders, tackle and many more items. This feature is handy for those who take fishing just a little bit more seriously than others 😉 . 

You don’t have to wait for Gili to release its fishing rack for it to be of use though. You can also choose from a wide array of accessories from Scotty Mounted accessories and Yak Attack accessories that use those Scotty mounts

Gili Handles

Like many of the other Gili models, the Adventure 12 has 7 handles. 3 of them you can use for lifting or guiding the board and the other 4 are handles for smaller passengers to hold onto. 

The most used handle on the board will be the middle one. Thankfully this handle features padded neoprene which is soft on your hands. You will notice this feature as you walk greater distances with your SUP in hand.

The other two carry handles are located on the nose and the tail of the board. I wouldn’t use these handles to drag the board on the ground but rather guide it in the water as you are walking the shallows. 

Gili Paddle Holder

Lastly on the deck of the board is the Gili paddle holder located on the right-hand side of the board.  This velcro lashing helps keep the paddle in place while you are fishing, doing yoga, or simply taking a snooze on the board

I’ve always liked the placements that Gili has used for the paddle holders. They are right next to the board and easy to grab without getting your hand wet trying to fish for your paddle!

Gili Adventure 12 Accessories Explained

Like many of the Gili models, the Gili Adventure 12 has some really good accessories and others that, well could use a bit of an upgrade. 

Gili Bag

The Gili bag is one of the better accessories in the package and is in fact one of the better ones that comes with these mid-range SUPs

First off let’s talk about the straps. One of the first things I look for is a bag that has good quality straps and padding. Bags are one of the most overlooked things when it comes to inflatable SUP shopping but they shouldn’t be! 

It is especially noticeable just how bad a SUP bag can be when you have to walk more than 10 minutes with a 30-plus pound SUP bag package hanging from your back. 

Thankfully the Gili bag is very comfortable to wear and is a favorite among hikers. It comes complete with a chest strap, padded waist strap, and 3 handles which are handy for lifting the bag when it’s on its side out of the trunk of the car. 

The bag is spacious and provides more than enough room for the Adventure 12, even if it’s not folded perfectly to a tee. It has 4 pockets including 2 mesh side pockets a fin pocket at the front as well as a pocket at the bottom for smaller miscellaneous things you may be bringing on your SUP trip.

Gili Paddle

Unlike the Gili Air 11’6”, this package comes with a fiberglass hybrid paddle that has a nylon blade. Which is a much better upgrade from the aluminum paddle that the Air series offers. 

You can choose between 3 different paddle options with this SUP. 

To be honest a full carbon paddle may be a bit overkill for this SUP but if you are traveling greater distances it’s worth it to upgrade to the Carbon shaft with a nylon blade. 

You do almost 2000 strokes an hour so when you add multiple hours onto that total, the smallest difference in weight will make a big difference both to your paddling and your arms!

– Editors Note

Gili Pump

This is an area I found Gili could have improved upon, especially for the mid-tier price range boards like the Adventure series. It’s a 2 stage single chamber pump which means that one stage puts air into the pump on the up and down stroke while the second stage just puts air in on the down stroke. 

The norm is more and more becoming 3-stage double chamber manual pumps which allow you to get more air into the SUP per each pump. WHich reduces setup time by a few minutes. 

I personally only use electric pumps now. And to be honest, if you are planning on using your board a few times a week it’s a good investment to have. Unless you actually like manually pumping up a board. Then in that case power to you!

Gili has an electric pump that it sells that I’ve heard works well. There are also options like the Outdoor Master Shark II electric pump that I find works well for me!

Gili Adventure Fins

All Gili packages come with a 9” racing fin and 5” side fins. Now, this particular package makes a heck of a lot of sense for the Adventure 12 board because it is one of Gili’s budget touring models. 

The long fin coupled with the 12’ board allows the Gili Adventure to have fantastic tracking ability in the water. More on this below. 

The Gili fins are clip-on style, which is okay but there have been a few complaints over this fin locking system in the past. Including some more recent reviews. However, most customers feel they do a good job. Some other fins that Gili provides in their store include:

The most likely scenario for wanting another fin would be if you were paddling in shallower waters. You could replace the 9” racing fin with a 4.5 SPeed fin or 3” river fin to avoid scrapping the shallows.

-Editors Notes

Gili Leash

The Gili leash is comfortable to wear and is double swivel based on the ankle and attachment area so that it doesn’t tangle. The ankle area is padded in neoprene and comes color-coded with whatever color package you choose. 

Gili Adventure 12 On-Water Performance

The Gili Adventure 12 is meant to be Gili’s answer to a mid-price range all-around/ touring board hybrid. So how did they do in this? 

Stability

The stability of the Gili Adventure 12 is one of its assets. It’s definitely not the most stable board in the Gili line-up but it holds its own for beginners and bigger paddlers. Many people who have never even paddle boarded before could get up on the Adventure 12 for the first time!

The Gili Adventure 12 gets a half point more than the Adventure 11 in the stability category due to its longer length. When standing on the board, the primary stability is there. Its stability will be about that of the Air 11’6” in that the Air has a more stability-focused board shape while the Adventure 12 is more pointed in design. 

Tracking

One of the on-water performance metrics that the Adventure 12 exceeded was its tracking ability. Its 12 length coupled with its 5” side fins and 9” center race fin help the board point straight and have to switch sides too much when paddling. With this size board, you can get about 13 strokes per side provided that your paddling technique is decent

Of course, when comparing this board to the Adventure 11 or even the Air series, the Adventure 12 will come out on top. The shape of the board alone makes it one of the better trackers in the Gili line-up. 

Speed

The speed of the Adventure 12 will be better than many of your average all around paddle boards that you will find in the market. And that’s in due part thanks to the 32” width and the tail that narrows towards the end of the board. 

The Gili Adventure 12 will be a slightly quicker board than the Adventure 11 or the Air and Mako series due to its size dimensions. 

The only board in the Gili line-up that would outpace the 12 is the Gili Meno 12’6” touring board due to its pointy nose profile. 

Maneuverability

This is where the size of the Adventure 12 may hinder it a slight bit. While I have heard a few other smaller paddlers say it’s not too hard to maneuver and do sweep strokes on. That extra foot of length does add a small degree of difficulty to turning

Smaller folks are best to go for the Adventure 11 to make those sweep strokes and pivot turns a little bit easier. 

Maneuverability on this board is considerably improved when you remove the fins, but this greatly hampers the tracking of the board. So try different fin combinations until you find one that fits you!

About Gili Sports

Gili Sports was founded based on a passion for the planet’s oceans. It all started in Bali when Jay Regan was inspired by the damage he was seeing tourism bring to the local beaches with litter and numerous reefs being destroyed from marine/ fishing activity. 

Gili wanted to make a difference by donating to ocean charities such as  

Coral Reef Alliance

Save Our Turtles

A portion of every Gili paddle board bought goes to one of these charities. So if protecting the ocean is something you are passionate about, Gili Sports is a great brand to get involved with that. 

Gili Warranty

The Gili Adventure 12 features a 2-year warranty on their SUPs which is about the average for good paddle board companies. The return policy is better than many paddle board manufacturers in its price range with a 60-day money-back guarantee

What Customers Think

When looking at what customers say about the Adventure 12 I went digging in specifically for people who had the Adventure 12 series. Here’s what was said..

I am new to owning my own paddle board and was looking for an all around adventure board, and the 12′ adventure board nailed what I was looking for! I wanted something my wife and I could take turns on in the water, but also something I could take to use for fishing. All the mounts and d-ring connection points really gives you endless options. Ive taken it out twice and have gotten a compliment on the color (teal) literally from everyone that has seen it!The 12 footer is a solid length in the water and really helps with stability. I was blown away with how solid the board is once it’s inflated to the proper psi. I bought the full carbon paddle with it and man is that thing light, almost like there’s nothing in your hands, it’s great!

 – Cody A (Gili Customer

We just bought our second 12’ adventure to have a matched set. The longer board tracks and is faster than the shorter 10’6 surf style and I like the narrow ish profile which doesn’t give up stability. We’re kayakers and I’ve sold my folding kayak and sit on top and these are now our primary ocean kayaks.

– Patrick F (Gili Customer)

A lot of customers liked how the Adventure 12 gave them the ability to carry a good amount of gear with them without compromising the stability of the board.

On Amazon, the Adventure series has a 4.5/5 star rating

Some of the negative comments about the Gili Adventure series were some quality control issues. One customer blew the board up to 12 PSI and the seams from the nose blew so they had it returned. 

Another one recently found that there was a problem with the fin mounting system in that the fin had difficulties latching to the mounts due to a manufacturing defect. 

Where to Buy The Gili Adventure 12

You can purchase the Gili 12 Adventure on the Gili Website or on Amazon. If you live outside of the US/ North America check your local Amazon site as they may have some in stock locally at an FBA center. 

Comparable Boards

Below are some boards that can be compared to the Adventure 12.

iRocker All-Around 11

iRocker accessories

While the iRocker All-Around 11 is a foot shorter it does have a bigger load capacity at 435 lbs. So while both SUPs are great for making longer Treks the iRocker may be better suited for paddling excursions in which you need to bring more gear with you. 

Isle Explorer

The Isle Explorer exhibits similar qualities to the Adventure 12. It features a similar deck pad formation of grooved traction padding followed by diamond grooved padding. The main difference is that this board is 6” shorter at 11’6” length and its side fins are less prominent as they are side-bite fins that are attached

Should You Get the Gili Adventure 12?

The Gili Adventure 12 is an ideal SUP if you:

  • Want a good passenger board to go on day paddles
  • Want a board that tracks well and carries good speed in the water
  • Are a bigger guy or gal who wants that extra foot of stability
  • You want a SUP that can carry some gear like multiple dry bags

It’s also a solid pick to learn the art of paddle boarding while being able to grow with it as your skill set increases. Its stomp pad allows you to learn how to do pivot turns while its 32” width creates little resistance as you paddle on those longer SUP journeys. 

Have you got or have tried the Adventure 12? What do you think about it? Tell us on our Facebook Page

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Hey, My name is Derek and I'm the owner of Inflatable SUP Authority. I've had over 20 years experience with watersports. My new-found passion is learning about and testing SUP's. I love teaching people what to look for.