iRocker Nautical Inflatable SUP Review – The Best Budget SUP You Could Buy?

best cheap paddle board

The Nautical is the most affordable iRocker paddle board. It is an entry-level iSUP that promises an amazing experience to all paddlers. It boasts of being super lightweight and versatile. The board is available in two sizes; 10’6 and 11’6. iRocker defines the Nautical as affordable, stronger, and better.

But does it deliver? That is the question we seek to answer in this Nautical inflatable SUP review.

iRocker SUP started when two friends decided that inflatable paddleboards could use some improvement. Steve Elder and Dave Erwin didn’t see a reason why iSUPs couldn’t be just as reliable as solid boards. They started iRocker and never looked back. So far, the company has maintained a high standard in their quality and customer service.

Before we get into the details, take a look at the pros, cons, and board specs.

Pros

  • Lightweight and easy to transport
  • Dual-layer Dropstitch construction for added durability
  • Comes as a complete SUP package, quality accessories
  • Sufficient D-rings for attachment
  • All fins are detachable

Cons

  • Lower weight limit
  • Lacks action mounts

Board Specs

  • Length: 10’6/11’6
  • Width: 32”
  • Thickness: 6”
  • Weight: 20 lbs/22 lbs
  • Weight capacity: 240 lbs/ 265 lbs

Who Should Buy The iRocker Nautical?

The iRocker Nautical would be great for beginners, smaller paddlers, and SUPers on a budget.

When you are a newbie, you want a basic paddleboard that is stable. The Nautical offers more than that. A board that is 30+ inches wide is stable enough for beginners and all SUP activities. At 32 inches wide, you will have a great time learning to stand and stay balanced on your board. 

The Nautical is not just for beginners and you can continue using it as an intermediate or pro. You will be able to go on SUP cruises, bring your dog and try SUP fitness. To make it an even better board for newbies, the Nautical comes with all the accessories you need. And they are high-quality so you won’t have to upgrade.

Bigger paddleboards are usually not as easy to handle for smaller paddlers. The 10’6 Nautical feels less bulky and is perfect if you are on the smaller side or even for kids. Older children may not be comfortable with the kids’ SUPs which are usually shorter than 10 feet. The iRocker Nautical is just right because they can grow with it.

For anyone on a budget, the iRocker Nautical is one of the best boards you can get. 

In all honesty, there are cheaper iSUPs. You may have come across them in your search. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a cheap SUP that is as high-quality as the Nautical. 

First of all, the iRocker SUP company has an impressive reputation. That is why their boards are popular among paddlers. And while the Nautical costs less, they use the same advanced construction and materials used in their more expensive inflatables. The Nautical comes as a complete iSUP package—a fantastic deal if you ask me.

Performance

What is this paddleboard like in the water?

a. Stability

The Nautical is a very stable iSUP, even with a dog or child on board. This is nice because sometimes, SUP adventures are more fun when shared. It does not feel tippy at all. 

The width of a SUP has a huge effect on its stability. The wider it is, the bigger the platform and the more stable it will be. For beginners, SUP yoga, or anything else that requires stability, a width of 32 inches is perfect. The length helps too. Short SUPs, like those meant for SUP surfing, are typically less stable. The 10’6/11’6 length of the Nautical is great for stability.

irocker nautical sup paddled

You should look at an iSUP’s thickness as well to know how stable it is. Thicker paddleboards are preferred to thinner ones. A thin SUP is not very buoyant and tends to sink while riding. This is more likely to happen if you are close to the weight limit. It will also have a smaller volume and that means a lower weight capacity.

Most thin SUPs cannot handle much. A thick SUP, on the other hand, is more buoyant since it has a higher volume. Additionally, the thicker the SUP, the more rigid you can expect it to be. There’s a reason why many manufacturers like to make 6-inch thick iSUPs.

Thickness, length and width are not the only things that impact a board’s stability. There is one other factor—construction quality. To this day, you can still find paddlers that are skeptical about inflatable boards. And you cannot blame them. Not every brand uses reliable construction and material for their iSUPs. So when paddlers try riding, they flex, making them very unstable. With two layers of military-grade PVC, the Nautical is one of the toughest iSUPs. It will never flex.

b. Maneuverability

The maneuverability of the Nautical is outstanding. It can handle sharp turns and any kind of ride.

The longer the paddleboard, the less maneuverable it will be. That is why surfing and children’s boards are short.

The Nautical may not be as short as a surfing or child’s board but anyone can control it in any situation. It handles well and beginners will enjoy learning with it. Being light makes it even more maneuverable.

c. Tracking

The iRocker Nautical is amazing when it comes to tracking. Nobody likes a board that won’t maintain the course.

As you end your paddle stroke, the pressure can cause the tail to move to the side. Consequently, the board will turn. This will happen with every stroke, making the board go in a circle. The purpose of the fin is to steady the tail and prevent this from happening. The Nautical inflatable comes with three fins.

d. Speed

The Nautical iSUP is not a racing paddleboard but that doesn’t stop it from gliding smoothly with decent speed.

All-around boards aren’t designed for speed but they shouldn’t be too slow either. The Nautical is 10’6/11’6 long and 32 inches wide. Both the length and width are medium. The width is not too much and this means less resistance while paddling, which increases speed.

Whether you plan on paddling idly or going for tours, you will not be disappointed by the speed of the Nautical. The fact that it is lightweight also means that it glides more efficiently.

Build Quality

The Nautical inflatable paddleboard is made using dual-layer military-grade Dropstitch technology. You have to appreciate iRocker for that. At this price point, many boards are of inferior quality. But iRocker have exceeded our expectations—as they do with all their paddleboards. The dual-layer construction is not common in cheap paddleboards so this is remarkable.

When fully inflated, the Nautical can handle 240/265 pounds. It is a super tough paddleboard—theoretically indestructible. If you have been looking for a board that can withstand all kinds of use and abuse, this is it.

With a paddleboard as tough as this, you can freely explore any place you want. Although we say it is good for beginners, intermediate paddlers and pros will love it as well. This board will travel with you to places where you can never take your hard SUP. Regardless of what you throw at it, it will hold and still be as good as new for your next adventure.

The best part is how portable it is. Even with the heavy-duty construction, it still manages to be one of the lightest paddleboards you can find. Once deflated and in the bag, you can easily travel with it across the country or even the globe.

Design

The Nautical iSUP is available in white, aqua, and blue. These seem to be the signature colors for iRocker boards. But based on the upgrades we have seen on iRocker and Blackfin SUPs, more Nautical colors may be added with time. The fins are white.

The accessories are not color-coded. However, no one is complaining about that. The Nautical is already awesome as it is. But paddlers are still excited to see what upgrades iRocker will come up with in the future.

Check Price of the Nautical

Board Features

1. Fins

The Nautical inflatable paddleboard has three fins; a large center fin and two side fins. All of them are detachable.

Being able to remove all fins is not a big deal. But it is convenient when storing your paddleboard because it folds more compact. And you will also appreciate the ability to change the fin setup depending on where you are paddling. They are flip-lock fins. Attaching and detaching them is quite simple.

2. Deck Pad

The EVA traction pad that covers the Nautical’s deck is large. Like all the other iRocker deck pads, this one is comfortable and long-lasting. It is also pet-friendly, so don’t leave your dog behind. It will love the experience.

3. Handles

The Nautical features three grab handles. One is at the front, another one at the back, and the third one is the center handle. The center handle is probably the one you will be using more often. Carrying the Nautical is not a two-person job; unless it’s kids.

4. D-Rings

Even though this is their cheapest board, iRocker still decided to be generous with D-rings. There are six of them at the front of the iSUP. They have a bungee cord attached for storage. Another one is at the back for fastening your leash. The rest are conveniently placed on the deck for kayak seat and accessory attachment. Unfortunately, the attachment mounts you find on other iRocker boards are not available. But again, this is a budget paddleboard.

SUP Board Accessories

You will love all the accessories that come with the Nautical. To be honest, they are way better than what you would expect for the price. The SUP package includes a paddle, repair kit, backpack, pump, and a leash.

a. The Pump

The Nautical iSUP pump is a single-chamber dual action pump. It is not fancy and inflating the paddleboard will be a workout—as is the case with all manual pumps. However, if you get the iRocker electric pump together with your Nautical, they will give you a big discount on the pump. It is a good investment because at some point you will probably decide to buy one anyway.

b. The Paddle

It has a fiberglass shaft and a nylon blade. This is the same paddle that came with the iRocker 2019 boards. It is high-quality and lightweight. In this price range, aluminum paddles are more common. They are heavy and don’t float. So in most cases, paddlers have to upgrade after some time.

But you don’t have to worry about upgrading with the fiberglass paddle. You can use it for hours without getting worn out. It is also adjustable and extremely durable.

c. The Bag

The Nautical backpack is the same as the iRocker 2019 bag. It is a premium quality SUP with padded shoulder straps and waist straps. It is large enough to fit the SUP, accessories, and a few other things. For an entry-level iSUP, the Nautical bag is impressive. There are no complaints about it coming apart. 

Other than the accessories in the package, iRocker offers optional ones when you’re buying your SUP. Those compatible with the Nautical include:

  • Electric pump
  • Carry strap
  • Cooler deck bag
  • Kayak bundle

What Users Are Saying

To know how good a paddleboard is in real life, ask fellow paddlers. They are unbiased and often speak from experience. So let us see what SUPers who have used the Nautical say about it.

One Redditor was thinking about getting two Nauticals, for himself and his wife. The affordable price caught his attention. However, he was skeptical about the weight capacity. A 240-pound limit didn’t seem enough for him, especially since he is almost 200 pounds. He didn’t think he’d be able to bring as much gear as he would like.

Another user replied saying that he uses the Nautical. He weighs 170 pounds and brings his 50-pound kid along. He was also worried about the weight limit until he saw two adults riding the Nautical with no issue.

A beginner was wondering which iSUP to get between the iRocker Nautical and the Body Glove Performer. He posted on the SUP subreddit to get other paddlers’ opinions.

-Ufdah- responded saying that he had to make that same decision and he went with the Nautical. He says that the iRocker board offers so much more compared to the Body Glove. He goes ahead to give 7 reasons why the Nautical is an amazing paddleboard. In his breakdown, he mentioned high-quality accessories and better stability.

A user on Reddit posted his Nautical with the caption, “first day out on the new SUP!”.

Sfcushions replied saying he owns the Nautical too and that he hopes the OP (original poster) loves it as much as he does. The OP replied that it is better than he expected.

He responds to other comments praising the Nautical. In one reply he says that it is a quality board and a great deal.

Xanders_Vox posted a photo of his first time paddling on the Nautical in England. When asked how he likes it, he said that it is so rigid and does not feel like an iSUP. Another Nautical owner agrees.

Check Price

For a long time, Alice had wanted to buy an inflatable paddle board but the prices kept putting her off. When the iRocker Nautical was introduced, she was happy to buy it. Inflating it with a manual pump is no different from any other iSUP. The task isn’t easy. But for her, it is nothing to complain about. She found the Nautical to be sturdy and she loves its performance.

Keisha opted for the electric pump. She says there’s nothing wrong with the manual pump but it is a workout. She uses her Nautical on lakes and she loves it.

Rael owns solid SUPs but they were limiting. She always needed someone to help her get them out into the water. With the Nautical, she can go SUPing whenever and wherever she likes without anyone’s help. She enjoys having a portable board.

iRocker Nautical Alternatives

iRocker Nautical Vs Gili Air

gili air cheap sup board

These two boards are similar in many ways and they are both popular entry-level iSUPs.

The Gili Air 10’6 is an all-around iSUP designed for all conditions. It measures 10’6 x 31” x 6” and only weighs 19 pounds. Despite being lightweight, it can handle 275 pounds. And according to the manufacturer, you can exceed the limit if you are experienced.

It comes with a backpack, paddle, pump, and a leash. The paddle is made of aluminum and is adjustable. This iSUP is built using military-grade PVC and has a three-fin system. The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty. You can get the Gili Air in four colors; teal, blue, light blue, and green. It has 9 D-rings, a bungee storage area, and two grab handles—at the center and nose.

The Nautical is wider than the Gili by one inch. This means better stability. But a narrower board faces less resistance. So the Gili may be faster than the Nautical. However, the difference is not noticeable.

The Gili has fewer D-rings and only two grab handles. The fin arrangement is the same, but with the Gili the side fins are not removable.

Both paddleboards are made using high-strength PVC. The Gili has one layer while the Nautical has two layers. iRocker only offers a one-year warranty while you get two years for the Gili. Additionally, the Gili can handle more weight (although paddlers say the Nautical handles more than it is rated for).

The main difference between these two boards is the size and design. When it comes to performance, they are both fantastic all-around iSUPs, made by reputable companies. So it is a matter of personal preference.

Conclusion

The iRocker Nautical is one of the best entry-level iSUPs you can find. And it is not just for beginners. Any adventurous paddler will love it, regardless of skill level. 

The Nautical paddle board comes with high-quality accessories. The bag and paddle are the same ones that were offered with their more expensive models last year. 

This iSUP performs well in every condition and is as stiff as a solid SUP once inflated. Honestly, it is a steal. You can see from reviews that there is nothing to complain about. And the iRocker customer service is top-notch. You will not regret buying the iRocker Nautical.

If you own an iRocker Nautical or have a question about the board please leave a comment below. We will be happy to answer.

Check Price of the iRocker Nautical

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