The paddleboarding season of 2020 was one to remember. It wasn’t easy, to say the least, with COVID forcing everyone to get inside, production concerns causing interruptions across practically all brands, and the entire globe closing down.
However, the release of iRocker’s Nautical Bored was one of the bright lights of that year. We knew it was a less expensive version of their previous iSUPs, but we weren’t sure what else to expect. Thankfully, this was one of the biggest surprises we saw throughout the year and across all brands.
Because of the lower price point, iRocker set out to develop a board that would be inaccessible to a wider range of people, but in the process, they published an amazing board at an incredible price (for what you get) and earned some friends in the process.
In fact, we named the 2020 Nautical as the best-value paddleboard on the market that year.
We wanted to know if they were seeking to cut any costs or make any other adjustments to their iRocker Nautical 2022 model.
Explore iRocker Nautical
Just looking at the specs of this board, you’d think it’s your usual all-around boring. And, you know what, you’re almost correct! If you were to ask for a conventional board of this type, we would envision a 10-foot 6-inch board with a 32-inch width. It does, however, have a few characteristics that set it apart.
First and foremost, we would state that this board is a touch faster on calm water than we had anticipated. This is due in large part to the nose’s form, which we’ll go over later in the review. Because the individuals buying our iSUP are looking for something they can use in just about any type of water condition, we expect it to be more sturdy than quick. That’s why it was so surprising to learn that, despite the fact that this isn’t a racing board, it can pick up speed quickly and has very little drag in the water.
In terms of stability, it’s exactly what we’d anticipate from a board of this type. The only drawback is that if you don’t fill it to the maximum PSI, it will feel a little spongy. It should be noted, however, that this would only be evident to someone who utilizes inflatable paddle boards on a daily basis; for the typical user, and especially the beginner, this shouldn’t be a significant factor.
Minor course corrections can be performed by simply putting a little effort into your bodyweight distribution rather than having to do any big work with your paddle on this iSUP.Overall, we found this board to be as simple to use as we expected, and it was manageable enough that even a novice could succeed. Read our comprehensive Nautical Kids Paddle Board Review 2022.
One of the major areas where the Nautical and other iRocker boards differ is in this category. After all, in order to reduce the price so drastically, certain concessions must be made. Thankfully, the essentials are all present, and only the more opulent elements have been omitted.
To begin, both the front and back include 6-point bungee storage places for loose bags and equipment, as well as D-rings for attaching goods such as dry bags or coolers. This is one of our favorite aspects of iRocker boards, and we’re delighted they’re still available in the Nautical line. Because this is the shorter of the two NauticaliSUP models, the Bungie storage sections will naturally take up a bigger percentage of the overall deck space, but we don’t think this will be an issue for most users.
There are 13 D-rings on this model versus 20 on other iRocker models when it comes to D-rings. In fact, this is a minor issue because you’ll almost certainly have more D rings than you’ll ever use. There are four that are designed for an optional kayak attachment, but as most people don’t use them, you can use them as docking points as well. Our testing is a little more rigorous than what a typical paddleboarder would encounter. As a result, we’ve had to come up with new ways to attach our docking lines, which implies that if 13 D-rings is plenty for us, it’s plenty for anyone else!
The three grab grips positioned throughout the top of the deck are another detail that has been left alone with a Nautical.
If you want to have an all-purpose Paddleboard, iRocker knows the importance of having stable grasp spots throughout the iSUP. If you’ve ever fallen off a paddleboard and needed to get back on (especially with waves slamming into you from behind), you know how important attachment points are. Even though we’ve utilized the bungee cords as a grab handle in a pinch, nothing beats having strong grasp handles to move the board in the water, pull over the ground, or hoist up your body.
Limiting the number of colors offered for a single model is one of the simplest methods for iSUP producers to reduce pricing. This is because the more color alternatives they have, the greater the manufacturing cost will be because they will have to make more stops and starts in their production and store color options that aren’t as popular. That’s why the fact that this Nautical model has four options is so surprising. While not as many as the iRocker Cruiser’s seven, inexpensive boards are usually only available in one color – two if you’re lucky!
This iSUP’s nose has a rocker that makes it really all-purpose because it isn’t too high or too low. The rocker height, in general, has a lot to do with the type of conditions you’re expecting to experience. The rougher the water, the higher the rocker, and the smoother the water, the lower the rocker. This enables you to achieve the highest speeds while retaining steadiness. If your rocker isn’t too high or too low, you should be able to get on practically any type of water without difficulty.
One feature that caught our attention was the nose, which, while not a genuine V-shaped nose, is certainly sharper than we would have expected. In calmer waters, the more angled the front nose is, the faster you may expect to go, and the more rounded it is, the more stable it will be. Because it features a rounded V, it will get you where you want to go a little faster while maintaining stability in choppy water.
Unlike some of the other iRocker models, this one has a channeled deck pad rather than a textured one. The purpose of a channeled deck pad is to remove water from the board as rapidly as possible. Water will always accumulate on the deck, but the faster you remove it, the less of a problem it becomes. Textured deck pads provide better traction in all weather, while channeled deck pads drain water faster and are more pleasant to stand and sit on. This is the type of pad we would want if we were to utilize a paddleboard for SUP exercise or if we planned to do a lot of sitting (like if we were going fishing).
The replaceable three-fin setup was something iRocker decided to preserve with the Nautical this year (and I 100% agree it was a smart idea). When we first heard that iRocker was releasing a budget board, we believed that two of the fins would be fixed and just the center fan would be removable.
There are companies in the paddleboard sector that use two, three, or four layers of PVC material in their construction. The Nautical series contains only two layers of PVC, whereas most iRocker models have three. This is clearly done to cut production costs, but it’s typically seen as an indication of a lower-quality iSUP.
While it is true that cheaper iSUPs feature two layers of PVC, this has both advantages and disadvantages. On the negative side, it implies that the board may feel a little spongier, as we discussed earlier, and that you will have less protection overall if you come across a danger (such as rocks, barnacles, or oysters).
While it is undoubtedly true, the benefits include a board that is easier to inflate, weighs less overall and is easier to manage. We wouldn’t lose any sleep over it in the end, especially since this is a budget board.
The one major disadvantage of employing this style of design over the standard iRocker architecture is that the weight capacity is significantly reduced. The Nautical 10 foot 6 has a weight capacity of 240 pounds, whereas the 10-foot 6-inch cruiser has a weight capacity of 400 pounds.
Aside from the board itself, you can expect the following when purchasing the 2021 iRocker 10’6″ Nautical:
- Fiberglass paddle with nylon blade
- Dual chamber, triple action hand pump
- 10’ leash with key stash spot
- Premium travel roller bag
- Removable nylon sup fins (1 center fin and 2 side fins)
- Repair kit (Patches and valve wrench — Does not include glue)
While the majority of the attachments are identical to those found on previous iRocker models, the paddle handle and backpack are of poorer quality. However, you can add wheels to the backpack as an optional add-on in the 2021 edition of this ice software. You have the opportunity to purchase additional equipment, like an attachable kayak seat, just like any other iSUP from this firm.
We’d say we’re astonished at how good of a deal this board is, but it’s pretty identical to the 2020 version, which surprised us as well! iRocker, on the other hand, continues to provide what we consider to be the best-valued iSUP on the market.
There are few if any, better options in that price range when it comes to the features you get and the quality of construction.
This isn’t the greatest iSUP on the market, but it has everything most people need, and the features it doesn’t have are ones we rarely use anyhow. When comparing the Nautical to other iRocker boards, the most significant difference is that it lacks the same attachment points as other iRocker boards, preventing it from using fishing brackets or other accessories that iRocker and other companies may develop in the future. However, someone who uses this style of board is unlikely to require them.
If you’re looking for a high-quality inflatable paddleboard that won’t break the bank, you won’t find a better option than the 2022 10’6″ inch Nautical inflatable paddleboard. Remember that this model is also available in an 11’6″ inch form, which was added this year.