iROCKER Nautical iSUP Review
As all of the noise around paddle boarding continues to echo louder and louder, so too does the rate at which people are taking to the water and embracing what has become one of the fastest growing water sports of choice. Better again, we are now also spoilt for choice as manufacturers continue to stretch the boundaries in terms of technology and the quality of boards that they are producing.
If you are a newbie to paddling however and do not want to stretch the bank and shell out for one of the top tier paddle boards, then there are definitely some great quality boards on the market that will well and truly give you a taste for the sport.
Length: 10′ 6″ (320cm) and 11′ 6″ (351cm)
Width: 32″ (81 cm)
Thickness/Depth: 6″ (15 cm)
Construction: Dual-Layer Military Grade Dropstitch
Weight: 20 lbs (9.1 kg) / 22 lbs (10 kg)
User Weight: 240 lbs (109 kg) / 265 lbs (120 kg)
Inflation PSI: 15 psi
Volume: 232 litres
Paddle: 3-Piece Adjustable Fibreglass / Nylon Blade
Fin: tri-fin (3 x detachable)
Pump: Single Chamber Dual Action High Pressure
Leash: 10′ coiled
Warranty: 12 months
Why Paddle Board
As a recreational activity, paddle boarding offers some tremendous health and fitness benefits ranging from a full body workout engaging many of the core muscles albeit in a low impact way through to improved balance, improvements in endurance and stamina, injury rehabilitation, weight loss and improving our cardiovascular health. Its an exciting way to unwind and decompress whilst at the same time engaging with nature. As one of the fastest growing water sports globally, if you have access to water then its definitely worth giving it a go.
Based in Florida and founded in 2013 by Steve Elder and David Erwin, iROCKER are an inflatable paddle board and accessories manufacturer who have nicely positioned themselves in a growing and crowded water sports market.
The initially introduced iROCKER branded board has 3 models that cater for sports, all-round and cruise paddling. The BLACKFIN premium offering steps it up further again with fully loaded boards that feature high end external features and accessories. The latest addition to the range is the NAUTICAL which they have well positioned to take advantage of the ever growing beginners market. A clean lined well-built board albeit with a more affordable price point. iROCKER are a well reputed quality SUP manufacturer that has a little bit of something for paddlers of all levels.
iROCKER themselves have near on 5,000 genuine customer product ratings on their own site making their products some of the most creditable in the market. Amazon to have very strong customer recognition with an overall customer satisfaction rating of 4.7 out of 5 – 86% of which are 5-star.
Amongst the feedback reviewers have cited – particularly quick inflation time, very light-weight and ease of use for smaller paddlers, extremely stable, easy manoeuvrability, ample D-rings for accessories, highly durable bag, great snap in fin functionality, soft and stable deck padding and more. As to be expected, there were however a small percentage of reviews that were not favourable with comments that included an inability to properly inflate and poor construction.
Like many quality inflatable boards these days, the Nautical is made from two layers of military grade PVC with a dropstitch core. Dropstitch construction uses thousands of polyester threads connected to the outer layers of fabric which enables the board to maintain its shape once inflated. The multilayered PVC outer layer not only protects the core but it also helps provide its rigidity which enables the board to withstand the riders weight. This method of construction makes these boards very robust and durable so they can withstand impacts with rocks and other floating debris or if accidentally dropped. Far higher priced boards are made to this very same standard which is a testimony to iROCKER for producing a board of this quality and at this price point.
Its beginner to intermediate target audience considered, the Nautical is a board that has been designed for all-round paddling. Owing to its greater length, the larger 11′ 6″ board tracks well and is better suited to taller/heavier paddlers who are looking for a smooth recreational touring style board. The smaller 10′ 6″ board is a little sharper in the water and is well suited for smaller paddlers and children.
At 32″wide and 6″ in thickness, the Nautical stays true to the characteristics of an all-round SUP that offers a nice balance between stability, manoeuvrability and quality recreational paddling performance. The board also has the versatility to comfortably handle light wave conditions, paddling with the kids or even a bit of SUP yoga.
External Board Features
Unless you are looking for a purpose built specific disciple SUP, the Nautical’s simplistic and clean design more than caters for all of your recreational paddling needs.
Unlike many other lower end or mid-range priced boards, the Nautical offers a tri-fin configuration with all 3 fins being detachable. Similar price range boards usually only have a detachable centre fin so there is a degree of adaptability on the Nautical if for instance you are paddling in shallow waters where removing the centre fin can be advantageous. Each fin uses a simply snap-lock feature making them easy to attach and remove for storage or transportation.
The boards EVA traction deck padding covers the majority of its surface so there is ample room for the paddler to manoeuvre or to include the kids. Like other quality boards, the grooved pattern provides additional grip and support to help maintain balance and stability while still remaining comfortable under foot.
With 13 D-rings, you are spoilt for choice in terms of attaching accessories. Nicely spread out around the perimeter of the board 6 of which are for attaching the bungee cargo net, accessorising your board will not be an issue. iROCKER also offer a kayak conversion kit which again neatly attaches to the D-rings.
While having an action mount at the front of the board would be nice (for attaching a GoPro Camera for instance), this is iROCKER’s entry level board so they have not opted for this inclusion at this stage. One for the next model perhaps.
The 6 point bungee system is located at the very front of the board and is quite generous in size. It provides ample room for storage of your dry bag and other personal belongings.
Rounding out the boards exterior are 3 neoprene grab handles positioned at the front, rear and centre of the board. The board is sufficiently light enough so most will simply use the centre handle to carry the board although having rear and front handles provides the versatility for two people to share the load. They can also act as towing points so another nice little bonus.
Suitability and Performance
As an all-round SUP, the iROCKER Nautical is an inflatable board that is well suited to beginners or those looking to buy their first board without breaking the bank.
Stability – owing to its dimensions and in this instance its width, at 32″ wide, the Nautical offers a nice level of stability on the water without being clumsy. Too narrow, the board will become tippy and too wide it will labour in the water. There are of course many narrower and wider boards out there but when it comes to all-round SUPs, 32″ is very much where you want to be particularly if you’re new to paddling and still trying to master the fundamentals.
Beyond the boards width, iROCKER have also been quite smart in offering two different length Nautical options as when it comes to paddle boarding, there is no such thing as one size fits all. Taller or heavier paddlers will find the 11′ 6″ board more stable owing to its greater surface area and resultant level of buoyancy. Similarly, smaller paddlers will find the 10′ 6″ board more comfortable both stability and otherwise.
At 6″ in thickness (or depth) the Nautical can comfortably carry the average size adult with a user weight range of 240-265 lbs. Thicker boards provide more buoyancy given their greater volume so once fully inflated and under high pressure, a well constructed 6″ board will provide a very rigid and stable paddling platform.
Tracking – particularly when you’re new to paddling, you want all the help you can get when it comes to having your board maintain its course. The Nautical’s light-weight and rigid feel on the water makes it a really comfortable board to paddle on. Its larger than normal 9″ centre fin is at the core to helping you maintain your line but with the added 2 side fins (side-bites), the board is again more stable and performs better as you start to work through your stroke.
Manoeuvrability – size, weight and fins all come into play here and the Nautical covers these bases off nicely indeed. The 10′ 6″ board in particular is very easy to turn and manoeuvre which is further aided given that it is one of the lighter paddle boards on the market. While the two side fins are detachable, staying with the tri-fin configuration is advisable as it offers the most optional level of performance and makes the board more agile and responsive.
As is the case with most SUP offerings these days, iROCKER have built out a quality accessories package that will cover everything you need to get you out on the water.
Paddle – we like the fact that iROCKER have not gone with a cheap aluminium shaft paddle but rather a reasonably light-weight 3-piece fibreglass option. The paddle floats if dropped in the water and adjusts to suit paddlers of all heights so can easily be sharing between different people. If you do see yourself getting out on the water on a regular basis and can afford the extra spend, then we highly recommend upgrading to one of the iROCKER light-weight carbon shaft paddles (two options). You will definitely notice the weight difference and feel so a great addition to get even more out of your board.
Leash – outside of wearing a PFD, your SUP leash is the most important item of safety equipment and is a must wear. The Nautical comes with a 10′ coiled leash that attaches to either your ankle of calf muscle via a sturdy Velcro strap.
Backpack – most SUP backpacks typically have their challenges and whilst the Nautical’s backpack is not particularly outrageous, it is well-made and can comfortably accommodate your board and all accessories. It comes with padded adjustable shoulder and waist straps for added comfort and is made from a durable waterproof nylon material.
The Pump – a single-chamber dual action pump. This is by no means a high-end manual pump but with a little effort it will definitely get the job done. iROCKER do offer a dual chamber manual pump as an optional accessory but if you don’t mind spending a little extra then investing in an electric pump will always be a great choice.
Repair Kit – comes complete with adhesive patches to repair small tears or holes on the boards PVC exterior and a valve wrench in the event that the boards inflation valve requires tightening.
iROCKER also offer a great range of optional accessories, both their own and third party brands that will nicely compliment your board. A handful of these include:
– high quality 12v electric pump
– waterproof blue tooth speakers
– kayak conversion kit including seat cushion and blade attachment
– iROCKER cooler drink holder
– ONYX M16 Inflatable Belt Pack (see the 10 Best PFDs for Paddle Boarding for even more options)
– iROCKER backpack cooler
– ER deck bag
– SUP anchor
– cell phone case
– shoulder carry strap
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>> excellent entry level beginners board offering good stability and performance
>> well constructed board particularly within this price bracket
>> optional lengths of 10′ 6″ and 11′ 6″ to cater for a broader range of paddlers
>> ample D-rings for accessories
>> detachable snap-lock tri-fin configuration
>> easy to carry and manoeuvre given its light weight
>> 3 design options
>> quality grooved EVA deck padding for comfort and grip
>> light-weight 3-piece adjustable fibreglass paddle
>> quality accessories package
>> While common for a mid-range board, it would be nice to see iROCKER extend the warranty out beyond the current 12 months – 24 months in line with their other range of boards
CHECK AVAILABILITY / BUY NOW
iROCKER have managed to position their Nautical iSUP really nicely into the ever growing beginner to intermediate paddle board market. Built via high quality construction methods, the Nautical is an affordable board that offers a quality ride with solid stability, manoeuvrability and good tracking through its tri-fin configuration. Its clean exterior surface allows for ample accessorising and a comfortable ride given its cushioned grooved traction pad. As one of the best performing and well respected entry level boards, you would be wise to keep this one front of mind if you’re in the market for a new toy.
As always we would welcome your feedback so please feel free to comment below and we will get back to you.
Until then, stay safe and get wet.