Gili Mako Paddle Board Review

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In this review, we will be going over the Gili Mako board paddle board. Who it’s for, how it handles and what accessories come with it. 

We analyze the board from tail to nose, picking up anything that stands out to us by using our paddling experience with a wide variety of different paddle boards

As we get our hands on this board we will update the review accordingly. 

Gili Mako 10’ Paddle Board Review Ratings

Below is how the Gili Mako rates. Click the links below to jump to each section

Total Score 8/10 (Average of Below Numbers)

Pros

  • A decent board to hit small surf on
  • A great board for smaller people
  • A great starter board for kids 
  • The board’s shorter length gives it good maneuverability
  • Has 5 Action Mounts
  • A good amount of D Rings and bungee Storage (6 rows)
  • 4 grab handles on deck bungees a nice touch for smaller riders on the board
  • The backpack is of pretty good quality
  • Includes Racing fin

Cons

  • More difficult to ride for taller beginners
  • Taller teens may eventually outgrow this board
  • The pump is pretty basic
  • Tracking may be a bit compromised due to the shorter length

Who Should Be Using the Gili Mako SUP?

The Gili Mako is the ideal paddle board for smaller beginner paddlers to bigger advanced paddlers who know their way around maneuvering a paddle board

Gili says that this board is ideal for paddlers 5’10 and under. It also makes a great board for kids who are 12 and up who are growing up fast. 

Who is the Gili Mako not for?

Larger adults could technically paddle this board. Its 280 lb maximum capacity allows you to do so, however, its dimensions of 10’ and 32” will not be the steadiest ride for those who are of a bigger/ taller stature. Especially if you come across chop from waves or you have to paddle against the wind. 

What SUP Activities Can the Gili Mako Be Used For? 

The Gili Mako can be used for a few different uses that range from beginner to more advanced skill sets.

Recreational Paddling

This can be used as a great training board for people that are of a smaller stature. It provides the perfect amount of maneuverability coupled with a wide enough platform to stand on. This coupled with the wider tail and thicker nose makes it a great cruising board.

Light Surfing

The Gili Mako is probably one of the best boards in the Gili lineup to do some light surfing on. Mind you, you won’t be carving up the waves like Kai Lenny but its shorter length and greater maneuverability allows you to ride some smaller surf back to shore.

Because the Mako is a 6” thick inflatable you won’t be able to carve the waves but a quick ride back to shore is always nice. 

Tighter Waterways

Because the Gili Mako is one of the most maneuverable boards in the Gili line-up. It makes the Mako 10 a prime candidate for those tighter waterways that may require more maneuverability. Just put on a Gili river fin and you are all set!

You could even try some river surfing on this board although you definitely need some training before attempting it!

Kayak Hybrid

The Gili Mako has 4 D rings that are labeled and dedicated to attaching Gilis kayak seat attachment to the board. So if you get tired of stand-up paddling simply attach the seat and you are off!

Gili Mako 10 Stats Deconstructed

  • Type of Board: Recreational
  • Length: 10′
  • Width: 32″
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Volume:  218L
  • Weight: 20 Lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 260 Lbs

The Gili Mako series, like the Komodo, Adventure, Meno and Manta series is made of dual layer fusion PVC technology with a drop stitch core. This is fast becoming the standard with paddle boards these days so its good that Gili is keeping up with the trend. 

Dual layer fusion PVC is made by machine pressing two layers of PVC into each other. This process makes the board lighter and requires less glue.  As a result the smaller Gili Mako is one of the lightest boards in the Gili lineup due to less materials being put into the board. 

Gili Mako 10’ SUP Board Profile

As a result of being shorter, the Mako has a stubbier-looking profile compared to the rest of the Gili lineup outside of the Manta Ray. 

Its smaller package also makes it a solid compact board to take while traveling. Especially for coastal waterways that have some swells. 

Whats On Deck

The Mako 10’ in a lot of ways, has a similar deck scheme to the Gili Air series. While the styles may be similar there are some subtle differences.

Gili Mako Deck Pad

Like the Air Series the Gili Mako has two different types of styling on deck. It features grooved deck padding on the standing area and diamond grooved deck padding in the back. 

I always find the diamond grooved deck padding the grippiest style so you may be wondering why they put it in the back? Well if you look closely you will notice that the Mako 10’ actually features a stomp pad

This stomp pad allows you to put pressure on the back of the board to make quick maneuvers like pivot turns. You can also use the stomp pad for surfing when you are wanting to make a quick turn while being pushed by the wave.  

Making maneuvers like this can be a bit difficult for a beginner to first learn. So it makes sense that you need all the traction possible to keep firm footing. 

D Rings

The Mako features a total of 18 D rings on its board.

  • 6 for the front bungees
  • 6 for the rear bungees (removable)
  • 4 in the middle for the kayak seat placement
  • 1 On the nose for towing purposes
  • 1 on the tail for the ankle leash

The rear bungees are removable although thats not a ton of use if you have a bigger thing you want at the back like a cooler. Our preference would be that the rear D rings would be further to the outside of the board so that it can strap in a bigger variety of items. But this is by no means a deal-breaker for this board.

Deck Bungees

With 3 rows of front bungees and 3 rows on the back, you have plenty of space to store items while on the go. The way the board is set up, bigger items like big dry bags or soft coolers can go in the front while smaller items like water bottles or speakers can clip onto the back

The differentiating factor between the Air and the Mako is the fact that the Air only has 4 D rings on the rear for storage instead of the Mako’s 6. 

I personally find that the extra row of D rings is helpful for strapping in better items like backpacks and dry bags. The placement of them is also more centered which makes it a tighter, more compact area to place these items.

– Editors Note

Action Mounts

Another differentiating factor between the Mako and Air series is the fact that the Mako features more action mounts. There is one on the nose, 2 on the front of the board, and 2 on the rear deck pad area. 

I like the placements of these and I often find the nose is the best spot to film from as you can get a better angle of both you and your environment

Things you can include with these mounts are:

Handles

The Gili Mako features 7 handles on its board. Although 3 of them are appropriate for carrying or towing the board. 

The middle handle has a nice neoprene cover which is always something I look for when judging a SUP board. The front and rear handles are made of nylon, which is ok but not the most comfortable. On the same token, unless you are using 2 people or a SUP cart it’s best not to drag the board over any surface from the front or rear. 

There are also 4 handles on the deck areas that can be used as safety handles for passengers like kids who need to stabilize themselves when encountering waves.

Paddle Holder

One of my favorite features of any of the Gili SUPs is the location of the paddle holder. It’s 2 velcro strapping mechanisms that can wrap around your paddle when you just want to stop and enjoy the scenery (Or even do yoga). 

The placement allows the paddle to be out of the way while having the entire deck free to do as you wish on it

Gili Mako Accessories

Gili makes good-quality accessories with their boards. Below we go more into detail on their usefulness. 

Gili Backpack

The Gili Bag is about standard with what comes from SUPs that are in the middle tier. One of the things I really like about the bag and package, in general, is the bold labeling. It’s very tempting to just throw the fin in the main compartment of the bag. But this can spill trouble as this is often how fins are lost.

Instead, the Gili bag has a nicely labeled fin pocket on the top of the bag to make you pause what you are doing and slot it in the designated area. 

The shoulder straps are fully padded and come with a complimentary waist strap and chest strap for support during those longer treks. It’s also a good pick to take on an airplane for travel. The lighter weight of the board coupled with this simple, but comfortable bag allows you to be compliant with most extra baggage restrictions

The bag also features 3 handles, one on the top and 2 on the sides to carry like a hockey bag. 

In terms of pockets, the Gili bag features 2 on the sides, the fin pocket and a zippered pocket on the bottom front of the bag for any smaller miscellaneous things you may want to bring. 

I personally would like to see bigger pockets on their back packs like the ones that Nixy provides with their bags. But again this is by no means a deal-breaker.

– Editors Note

Unlike companies like iRocker, This Gili bag comes standard with all of their packages which is a nice little added bonus if you buy some of their cheaper SUP models. 

Gili Paddle

On the product page, Gili Mako gives you the choice between 3 paddles. 

While the differences in paddle weight may seem slight. If you are paddling for long periods of time you will notice the difference between the fiberglass and full carbon packages!

For most paddlers, the 3 piece fiberglass paddle will be fine. If you are using this SUP for more intensive purposes like river running or surfing then the full carbon package would probably be the ideal pick.

Gili Mako Pump

If I’m honest I found the pump they included with the package a bit underwhelming. While it is a great lightweight travel pump it requires more effort than a 3-stage double chambered pump like the one that comes with Nixy boards.

I personally have sworn off manual pumps as I’m recovering my back (unrelated to pumping).  I resisted buying an electric pump for a few years and now looking back I look foolishly on that decision. 

You will be expending some extra effort pumping this board so if you are not willing to do that get the Gili Electric pump or the Outdoor Master Shark II pump. Save your back and your energy for the trip at hand is my advice. 

Fins

One thing that I love that Gili did that makes them stand out from other SUP boards is the fact that they include racing fins on all of their packages. 

This differentiates themselves from the rest of the pack in that most other SUP manufacturers within Gili’s price point include more curved dolphin fins

Now the drawback to this fin package is that they are snap-in. Meaning that whatever fin you get has to be from the Gili website as those are the only ones that are compatible with Gili’s style of snap-in fins. 

The good news however is that Gili features a wide variety of fins that it stocks including:

I’m a bit of a fin geek and I love trying out different combinations so it’s good that Gili has this variety that allows you to experiment with tracking and maneuverability. 

The shorter the fin the more maneuverable the board is! So keep that in mind when you find yourself in situations where you need maneuverability on your side!

Gili Leash

The leash that comes with the Mako is a comfortable 8” long coiled leash. One thing I will say is if you are getting the Mako for surfing purposes in the surf zone, get a straight leash!

Gili Mako On-Water Performance

As stated above the Mako is more on the maneuverability side of on-water performance? So what does that mean with the 4 biggest on-water factors?

Stability

The Gili Mako is definitely not the most stable board in the Gili family. That honor would go to the Manta followed by the Komodo. But if you are 5’10 and under it will do the job just fine. 

The board will feel more stable the smaller the person boarding it is. If you are a taller person looking for a more stable board take a look at the Komodo or the 11’6” Gili Meno series

As one customer was quoted:

I took this board out for the first time today and I absolutely love it. It’s much lighter to carry than my last board, and handles really nicely on the water. It really does turn and maneuver better than the typical 10.5’ length. I had no issues with stability. I’m 5’2” and about 130lbs.”

– Ali (Mako Customer)

Tracking

The tracking on the Mako is sufficient but its 10’ length will limit the tracking ability of the board. Thankfully the Mako does come with a racing fin and 5” side fins that help offset the shorter length. Still, it’s rare that you get a board with great maneuverability coupled with good tracking.

In this case, the board favors the maneuverability side of things. If tracking is important to you, take a look at the Adventure series for longer treks.

Speed

The Gili Mako is not really a speed demon in the water. Its shorter and stockier frame will never win you any SUP races. 

But smaller folks will still find that the Mako can do the trick on longer treks. What does help this board is the fact that it’s 20 lbs. Although the lighter weight can also hinder you when paddling against the wind.

Maneuverability

This is where the Gili Mako 10 will excel! Especially if you are wanting to make quick turns. 

The Gili Mako features a stomp pad in it which allows you to make masterful pivot turns. What’s more, is the fact that the nose is easier to lift out of the water thanks to its shorter length. 

For folks who want to do more basic turns like side paddles and sweep strokes, you will have a much easier time doing those maneuvers on this board than a lot of Gili’s bigger models. 

You can also use this stomp pad to try and maneuver in 1 – 3 foot waves. Like I said above you’re not going to be cutting waves with the best of them in this SUP. But its shorter length definitely aids in the board’s maneuverability. Which is a crucial aspect of paddle board surfing

About Gili Sports

Gili sports was born out of a love of the water and the Gili islands between Bali and Lombok Indonesia. In fact Gili supports ocean initiatives such as Coral Reef Alliance and Save the Turtles in which a portion of every paddle board sale goes to those charities. In December 30th of 2020 Gili wrote a $10,000 check to the Sea Turtles Conservatory located in Florida. 

So if you are a full supporter of ocean charities Gili is a great brand to support. 

Gili Warranty and Return Policy

Gili features a 2-year warranty on all of their paddle boards including the Mako 10’.

Gili comes with one of the better return policies in the industry with a 60 day money back guarantee on all of their boards. Although they also charge a 20% restocking fee and the boards do have to be in “like-new condition” in order to successfully create a return. 

What Customers Think

The Gili Mako is one of the least reviewed paddle boards in the Gili line-up so it’s hard to make any concrete conclusions about the board other then what the verified customers have to say about the board. 

As of the time of writing the Mako features a 5-star rating based on 9 customers who wrote to Gilli. Some things customers said included…

I bought the Mako because it is smaller but has very similar stability to the longer boards. It handles the small surf very well. I also love the carbon fiber paddle, it is super light and feels very sturdy.

– Zathan B. (Mako Customer)

After a decent amount of research, I chose the Mako 10′ for my Florida adventuring, and after a three-hour trek through the mangroves, inflating and deflating the board by myself, I’m happy with my decision! It’s important to me to have good, safe gear, that I can easily assemble and then pack up without an extra set of hands, since I do a lot of solo trips. Mako and all the accessories fit the bill perfectly. I hope it stays in great condition for a long time! You can check out more videos from my SUP/Florida adventures on IG – @alissajean_sosofla

– Alissa (Mako Customer)

Overall most of the reviews I found were positive in nature although I could not find any from 3rd party sites reviewing the Mako 10 as Gili does not sell this board on Amazon. 

If you want 3rd party reviews from the Gili company their facebook page is a good place to go. The good news is Gili is pretty responsive to reviews (even bad ones) on here. 

Where to Buy

You can buy the Gili Mako on the Gili Website. They offer free shipping to the continental United States (not Hawaii, Alaska, or Guam). They also now offer shipping to Canada although duty and taxes may apply. Being a Canadian resident ordering paddle boards from the US, this has happened to me a few times. 

Comparable Boards

The following are boards that closely resemble the Gili Mako board. 

iRocker All Around 10 

Photo by: @jerianflows

The iRocker All-Around 10 has similar dimensions to the Mako 10 but has a thinner board profile that’s more narrow despite having the same width. The All Around 10 features a bigger bungee deck net on the rear of the board and comes in more colors. Both models feature snap-in fins although the center fin that comes with the All Around 10 is a dolphin styled fin. 

If you are looking for a travel-friendly package iRocker also has the All Around 10 Ultra which is more lightweight and features extra folds to be more compact. 

Nixy Huntington Compact Paddle Board

The Nixy Huntington Compact paddle board is about 6” smaller in length compared to the Mako 10. The Huntington Compact is lighter at 18.75 lbs but it only comes with 1 fin and less bungee deck storage at the front. 

If traveling is the name of the game take a look at the Ultra Compact which can fold in a more compact bag that measures 26” x 20” x 13” 

Should You Get The Gili Mako Paddle Board?

There’s not secret about it that Gili makes great paddle boards, and the Mako is no exception. However, if you do get the Mako there are a few things you should be wary of

  • If you are a beginner, the Mako is ideal for folks that are around 5’10 and under
  • The Mako is 10’ long which makes it a more maneuverable board
  • The Mako is a good board to surf smaller waves 

While being 5’10” and over is not a deal-breaker by any means it will just mean that you will have less primary stability compared to longer and wider boards in the Gili lineup like the Komodo.

Have you got a Gili Mako? What do you think? 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.