Updated July 1st, 2023
The Nautical line by iRocker is their low cost entry level paddleboard. iRocker’s goal is to give you a really good entry level stand up paddleboard for a really low price. They succeeded, in creating a package that is far superior to any cheap inflatable board on Amazon for the same price. iRocker gave us a 10’6″ Nautical to try out. After giving it a try, I am convinced it is the best value in paddleboarding. Keep reading to get the full story on the iRocker Nautical.
- Features of the iRocker Nautical paddle board
- SUP Accessories
- Setup and Inflation
- Using an electric pump
- On water performance
- Heavy weight paddlers
- Kayak conversion
- Deflation and packing
- Similar SUP Boards
- The Verdict
- You might also like:
What we liked:
- Incredible value for the price
- Fiberglass paddle that is light and stiff with excellent feel on the water
- Durable and stiff 2 layer construction
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Lots of D-Rings and carry handles
- Overall high quality feel of the board and package
What we didn’t like:
- The carry bag could use a couple more handles
- No measurement markings on the paddle
- Lower published weight limit than other 10’6″ boards
Features of the iRocker Nautical paddle board
I love inflatable paddle boards. They are much better for portability than a rigid board. They are just fun. We got an iRocker Nautical 10’6″ to try out. It is the grey color version. It comes in a very nice package with items such as a composite paddle you won’t find on any other board under $500. It is one of the best inflatable paddle board values out there. We were given the board by iRocker to try out. As with everything else we review, we will give you all the good and bad.
The iRocker Nautical comes in 2 versions. A 10’6″ and 11’6″ versions. Ours is the 10’6″ board. It is a 10’6″ x 32″ x 6″ board. It has a weight capacity of 240 pounds. The weight limit is lower than other iRocker boards but I suspect it will do more. I’m slightly heavier than 240 lbs as I’m writing this so we will see how it really works at the weight limit. I believe this number is iRocker being honest or conservative with the weight capacity. Many paddle board producers publish very unrealistic numbers for max weight. There is also a 11’6″ Nautical with a 260 lb weight limit.
The bag size is 3′ x 16″ x 12″ making it easy to transport and find storage space.
The iRocker Nautical currently runs $399.99 on their website. There is always a $25 off coupon available on their website for signing up for their newsletter. That means you can get it for $374.99. It is also available on Amazon.
The Nautical series by iRocker uses 2 layer PVC construction which is good for durability and board stiffness. Most boards priced $300-$400 on Amazon are all single layer PVC construction. A 2 layer board is much better than a single layer PVC board for stiffness. A double layer board has an extra layer of material on the bottom if you go over rocks or roots that can scratch the board. This is a big advantage for this board at this price. The overall board has a feeling of high quality and clean construction. The deck pad has no loose edges. The D-Rings are all centered.
The board has some signs of excess adhesive around all the seems. Not more than I’ve seen on other boards at this price point. That is the only place I see evidence where they cut a little cost. It doesn’t affect board performance. It doesn’t look as clean as a more expensive board where the seams are smooth.
The iRocker and Blackfin boards use 3 layer construction which is a step up in durability and stiffness. It also brings an increase in cost and makes the board heavier.
One of the ways to measure how well an inflatable board is made and how well it will perform is how stiff it is. To measure this we set the board up on 2 stands 8 feet apart. We loaded the board up with 120 lbs of weight and measured how much the board deflected under load.
The Nautical board deflected 2.8 inches. This was better than most single layer PVC boards. Not as good as more expensive boards. It performed as good as we expected it to for it’s price point. More expensive double layer boards and boards with advanced construction like MSL are stiffer and deflect less.
|SUP Board||Board Size||Construction||Deflection (inches)|
|Blackfin Model X (15 psi)||10'6" x 34" x 6"||3 Ply PVC||1.0|
|Blackfin Model V (15 psi)||12'6" x 32" x 6"||3 Ply PVC||1.1|
|Blackfin Ultra CX (15 psi)||10'6" x 32.5" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.0|
|BOTE HD Aero (15 psi)||11'6" x 34" x 6"||3 Ply PVC||1.1|
|Coolwave (15 psi)||10'6" x 32" x 6"||1 Ply PVC||3.3|
|Chasing Blue Orion (14.5 psi)||12'6" x 32" x 6"||2 Ply PVC||1.6|
|Chasing Blue Infinite (14.5 psi)||10'6" x 34" x 6"||2 Ply PVC||1.4|
|DAMA (15 psi)||11' x 33" x 6"||1 Ply PVC||3.0|
|Freein Overall 11 (15 psi)||11'' x 33" x 6"||2 Ply PVC||1.4|
|iRocker Nautical (15 psi)||10'6" x 32" x 6"||2 Ply PVC||2.8|
|iRocker All Around 11 (15 psi)||11' x 32" x 6"||3 Ply PVC||1.3|
|iRocker All Around 11 Ultra (15 psi)||11' x 32" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.1|
|iRocker Cruiser Ultra (15 psi)||10'6" x 33" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.1|
|Nice C (15 psi)||10'6" x 32" x 6"||1 Ply PVC||2.6|
|Nixy Newport G4 (15 psi)||10'6" x 33" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.1|
|Nixy Monterey G4 (15 psi)||11'6" x 34" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.0|
|Outdoor Master Swordfish (15 psi)||10'6" x 32" x 6"||2 Ply PVC||2.8|
|Red 12'6" Sport w/RSS (20 psi)||12'6" x 30" x 5.9"||MSL with Battens||1.2|
|Thurso Expedition 150 (15 psi)||12'6" x 31" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.4|
|Thurso Max (15 psi)||11'6" x 34" x 6"||2 Ply Woven PVC||1.2|
The EVA deck pad runs from just behind the front bungee to the rear of the board. It has a grooved pattern in the standing area and a plain texture at the rear of the board. The pad is thin but this helps it stay attached to the board better. Something I have noticed on cheaper boards with thick deck pads is that the pad isn’t flexible enough. It tends to peel off in the corners when the board is rolled and unrolled.
Handles, D-Rings, and bungee cord
The iRocker Nautical has plenty of handles, bungees, and D-rings. It has 2 bungees. One at the front and one at the rear. It has 18 D-rings including a dedicated ankle leash D-ring at the rear and a tow ring at the front under the nose of the board. It has 7 handles. A handle at the nose and tail of the board. A handle in the middle. A set of grab handles at the front and rear bungees. There is also an accessory mount built into one of the right side front bungee D-rings.
3 Removable fins
The Nautical has a standard 3 fin setup. These work very well for board tracking and stability. They work well at slower board speeds. The 3 fins use nylon flip locks for attachment. This gives the 2 smaller fins a better shape than what you get with the 2 small fixed fins most cheap paddle boards have.
The iRocker Nautical comes as a complete package with everything you need to get on the water. This includes the board, paddle, pump, leash, repair kit, and carrying bag. All of the accessories are equal to or better than any other board you will find at this price point. They don’t give you any extra junk items like a waterproof phone case or small dry bag that you aren’t likely to use.
The paddle is a 3 piece fiberglass shaft adjustable length paddle. It is a much nicer paddle than I have seen in any other inflatable SUP package under $500. Every other one I have seen or gotten has had the same aluminum paddle with plastic quick release to adjust length.
The iRocker paddle has flotation built into the shaft and won’t sink no matter how long it is in the water. The size adjuster uses a sliding pin system. This is what windsurfing booms have used forever. It works well under load. You won’t have a grip that keeps turning out of alignment with this paddle.
My only complaint is that there are no length measurements written on the paddle. You have to remember how many holes from the top or bottom you use.
A standard double action hand pump is included with the board. It works. It feels pretty smooth. The handle has a nice grip area on it. You change from double action to single action by removing the plug on front. You change it from inflate to deflate by removing the hose and sticking it on the other side.
The hose has good flex. It has a nice rotating fitting on the end so you don’t have to spin the entire hose to screw it onto the pump. This is a nice little feature not found on many hand pumps.
The carry bag has a zipper opening and a bungee on front for storing things like a PFD. There are 2 mesh pockets on the side. It has some straps for cinching the bag smaller. There is enough padding on the shoulder straps to be comfortable.
The bag is a slight improvement over what comes with most other $300 paddle boards for materials and quality. It doesn’t have wheels or padding like you will find with a $500-$600 paddle board. It doesn’t have any straps or pockets for holding the paddle in place inside the bag. There is an available wheel accessory for converting it to a wheeled bag.
My one complaint about the bag is the lack of handles. There is one handle at the top and that is it. I find bags much easier to carry up and down stairs at home if they have a handle on each side.
A standard 10 foot coiled ankle leash is included. The leash has a neoprene ankle cuff. It has a swivel on the board end to prevent tangles.
A simple repair kit is included with patching materials and a wrench for tightening the air valve.
Setup and Inflation
The board is straight forward and easy to inflate and set up. You can go from in the bag to on the water in 10 minutes.
Unroll the bag somewhere free from anything that might puncture or scratch the board. A board mat works great for protecting your board as well.
IROCKER BOARD MAT
Hook up the air hose to the pump and board and start pumping. Pump until it gets difficult to pull up on the pump. Pull out the plug turning it into a single action pump. Keep pumping more. Your goal is to pump this board to 15 psi. No less.
The pressure gauge will not move until well after the board looks inflated. This is a common first time mistake where people think the pressure gauge doesn’t work and the board is full. It’s not. If you stop pumping too soon you will have a flimsy squishy paddle board that doesn’t perform at all like a solid board.
Keep pumping. The gauge will eventually move and you will get to 15 psi. It took me 7 minutes and 56 seconds to hand pump this board using the supplied hand pump.
Attach the fins. To use the nylon flip locks do the following:
- Open the flip lock.
- Insert the front of the fin.
- Push the rear of the fin into the nylon flip lock
- Snap the flip lock closed
Attach the ankle leash. Put the 3 parts of the paddle together. You are set to go.
Using an electric pump
Using the hand pump is exhausting. It can wear you out before you even get to paddle. There is a better solution. Use an electric pump for inflating the paddle board. iRocker makes a really excellent electric pump that inflates boards up to 20 psi with ease. I highly recommend you get one. It makes inflating the board go from exhausting to 8 minutes you can do other things while the pump does the work. See my full review of the iRocker electric pump (coming soon) to learn more.
See our review of the iRocker electric pump to learn more.
On water performance
How does the iRocker Nautical perform on the water? The Nautical 10’6″ is an all around board shape that is 32″ wide. The board carries its width more forward and rearward than other all around boards. This will give it more stability for its width. All around boards are great for flat water like lakes, bays, and some rivers. You can use them to surf small waves as well as yoga or fishing. They are slower than longer touring boards. They work good for just about everything else.
The board is stable enough for beginners right up to its 240 lb weight limit. I find it more stable than some other all around boards that narrow at the front and rear more. It is easy to balance while standing.
It paddles well with good glide and speed for a 10’6″ board. 32″ boards will glide and go through chop better than wider 34″ boards. They won’t glide like a 30″ wide 12’6″ touring board. They are much easier to turn than a longer board. They glide much better than a shorter 9-10 foot board. The Nautica board performs well in calm water and small waves.
The 3 fin setup works well for tracking and keeping the board straight. I find the tracking a little better than other all around boards that have a 3 fin setup with 2 smaller fixed fins.
The board has enough width and a big enough deck pad to work well for SUP yoga if you want to give it a try. It’s stable enough that you could go fishing as well.
Heavy weight paddlers
I am a little over the weight limit for this board at my current weight. I have used other 2 layer PVC 10’6″ all around boards with no problem. I didn’t expect the Nautical to have any issues with my weight and it didn’t. The board felt more stiff than the other budget boards I have reviewed recently such as the DAMA. It didn’t have a bouncy feel like the DAMA board. I can feel good recommending this board to anyone up to the 240 lb weight limit or a bit over it. If you are an over 250 lb person, I recommend checking out the iRocker Cruiser/All Around or Blackfin Model X or XL.
This inflatable board has enough D-Rings in the right places to attach a seat and use it as a kayak. iRocker sells a kayak conversion kit that includes a seat and an extra paddle blade.
IROCKER SUP TO KAYAK CONVERSION KIT
See our article on converting your inflatable SUP into a kayak to learn more.
Deflation and packing
The key to making an inflatable paddle board last a long time is keeping it dry and clean. Always try to let it completely dry out before putting it back in the bag for storage. If you can’t, I recommend rolling it out at home to let it dry and then put it back in the bag.
After everything is dried out, find a place free of rocks and roots to lay the board out. Take the fins off by pulling out the nylon flip locks. Push in the valve and twist it to deflate the board. You can lay down on it to squeeze air out. I find it easiest to attach the pump and suck the remaining air out. Fold the board back up. I find it easiest to start with about a foot of board and fold it in slabs from there. The bag is square shape and the board fits in it better when rolled in slabs then rolled in from the end in a round shape.
Take the paddle apart. Put everything back in the bag.
Similar SUP Boards
The Serenelife, ROC, and DAMA paddleboards are the 3 most popular paddleboards at this price point. They are all single layer PVC boards. They have the same generic aluminum paddle. The iRocker Nautical has better board construction, a much better paddle, and a slightly better bag. I would choose the iRocker Nautical 100% of the time if buying an inflatable paddleboard for $300-$500.
The iRocker Nautical 10’6″ inflatable paddle board is a great board for a great price. It has better construction and paddle than any other board close to its price. If you are looking for your first inflatable SUP, I highly recommend checking out the iRocker Nautical. This would be my choice if I had to choose the best paddleboard and only had $300 to $500 to spend.
You might also like:
- The Best Cheap Paddle Boards Helpful Guide
- The Best Inflatable SUP Under $500 Helpful Guide
- The Best Inflatable Paddle Board Accessories You Need Now
Co-Founder & Editor
Kate is from Taiwan and came to the US after meeting her husband Doug. She has degrees in Fashion Design, Sales, and Marketing. The first thing we did her first winter here was go straight to the mountains and start ski lessons. These days she is an expert black diamond skier and waits for no one at the bottom. She also loves hiking and biking. She comes from Taiwan where people ride scooters way more than cars. She would rather bike or scooter and only drives when she absolutely has to.