If you’ve been interested in getting into stand up paddle boarding, you have probably considered an inflatable SUP. Inflatable stand up paddle boards (AKA iSUPs) are easy to transport and store, as they can be packed up and fit into a carrying case. However, shopping for an iSUP can be overwhelming with all the options, features, and price points. After investing hours scouring reviews online for days, I decided on the iRocker All Around 11′ inflatable paddle board.
iRocker offers three different lines of boards, positioned at three different price points: the Nautical, iRocker, and Blackfin series. The entry level Nautical series features a double layer composite construction, with the iRocker and Blackfin lines upgraded to a triple layer composite construction for additional durability and longevity. The Nautical supports paddlers weighing up to 265 lbs. with the iRocker rated for paddlers up to 435 lbs. The Blackfin, being the premier touring model, features even more weight capacity with a 485 lb. maximum weight. The additional weight capacity of the Blackfin makes it suitable for overnight camping and fishing adventures.
With plenty of d-ring attachments, all the boards are compatible with the option SUP to kayak conversion kit. ($130)
Features of the iRocker All Around 11′
- Height: 11′
- Width: 32″
- Thickness: 6″
- Three flip-lock nylon removable fins
- Weight: 26lbs
- Includes a full carbon paddle, travel roller backpack for transportation & storage, pump, and repair kit
The iRocker boards (including the Nautical and Blackfin lines) are sold as complete kits that include a pump, paddle, bag, leash, and fins and include rack mounts and attachment points that add versatility over many of the other boards in its price point.
Out of the box: iRocker All Around 11′
After ordering it online, the iRocker All Around 11″ arrived in a large box delivered directly to my front door. (I don’t recall if the add ons were packaged separately – they may have been) The package includes everything you need to paddle: board, paddle, repair kit, and roller backpack. (note, you’ll still need a PFD, and whistle to be legal at most places, which they do sell should you want to get it all at once)
As I purchased mine during a promotion it included a cup holder that threads into the GoPro compatible action mounts. It also came with a cell phone case and backpack. (iRocker offers a full line of paddling accessories that can all be purchased as add-ons or separately) I’ll readily admit, it was the added value of the accessories that initially sold me – and I’ve enjoyed the cup holder immensely for those leisurely days floating on the water.
The option to add a sit-on-top kayak conversion kit was another selling point, as it adds to the versatility of the board. I’ve thought about picking up a kayak at some point, but why not just add the conversion kit?
Paddling the iRocker
I was still a SUP novice when I purchased the iRocker All Around last summer. While I had owned an iSUP for several years, I had enjoyed simply being out on the water, and participating in a new activity. My other iSUP is a white water board with short fins (and length) designed for maneuverability downstream, and I found myself often falling in when negotiating choppy water on the Columbia River.
The iRocker All Around at 11′ long, is considerably longer than my first board, and I enjoyed the increase in stability. Part of this is due to the removable fins – specifically the long center fin. That center fin also helps keep the board on track. (My previous board is a white water board that’s much shorter, with low profile fins designed for maneuverability. To keep it moving in a straight line requires a lot of switching sides while paddling) The removable fins of the All Around can be tailored to the desired ride, and are replaceable as well. If you’re new to paddling, choosing a longer, wider board will aid immensely in learning how to balance on the board. (I’d also recommend watching how-to videos on YouTube, which I purposely did not do initially)
The All Around includes a double chamber triple action hand pump with an accurate gauge which was a game-changer for me. Previously I had been paddling with my board underinflated and as one might expect, the performance and handling was lacking. The high-quality pump makes it easy to get to the proper psi, which is crucial for a proper paddling experience.
The additional space on the deck also provides lots of room for my dry bag as well as passengers. My adventure cat Enoki and her kitty backpack frequently come along for the fun in sunny weather. (yes, my cat accompanies me on the iRocker – read more about her here) With cargo bungees in both the front and rear of the board, and plenty of D-ring attachments on the board, lashing coolers, bags, and other items to the board is easy.
There are d-rings in both the front and rear of the board should you want to tow or be towed, though I did find that with the weight capacity, it was easier to bring a passenger on the craft than to tow them.
I also got a lot of use out of the cup holder for those lazy days on the lake with friends.
Buying an inflatable stand up paddle board
The paddling season is just about to kick off, which means it’s an ideal time to shop for a new SUP, with deals and sales to be found.
The Nautical series from iRocker is possibly the best value to be found at the moment; the Nautical 10’6″ package is on sale for $349 at the time of this posting – an incredible price – (if you’re thinking about one, act quickly) as they include everything needed to hit the water: paddleboard, carrying bag with wheels, 3-piece adjustable paddle, a pump, ankle leash, and a repair kit. Like the iRocker model, it includes the D-ring attachments for towing, gear storage, and the optional kayak conversion kit. I elected to spend a bit more for the upgrade to the iRocker, as the lighter carbon paddle and the beefier construction appealed to me. It’s worth noting that all iRocker/Nautical boards include removable fins, making it a significant upgrade over the popular Body Glove models found at Costco.
After a summer of paddling with more experienced paddlers (that participate in SUP racing), I’ve added a 14′ composite (hard) board to my quiver of paddleboards. In the summer I paddle a few times a week and have become addicted to the feeling of speed, so these days the iRocker is mostly utilized for road trips as it’s ideal for traveling. (I’ve also purchased an even lighter paddle – as a gear head its easy to fall down the rabbit hole)
In hindsight, if I knew I was going to become a SUP addict, I would have chosen the Nautical 10’6 or the 11’6″ and spent a bit less, as I’ve since had the opportunity to try it (as well as the iRocker Sport for comparison) and it is also a quality board. <update> It’s also worth noting that since this post was originally published, the iRocker series has been relaunched as the “Ultra” series, which is now significantly lighter, packs smaller and is easier to hike with. If you enjoy hiking in to your paddling destination, its now an even better option.
That said, the triple-layer PVC construction of the iRocker All Around features even more durability, the 3-piece carbon paddle is much nicer than the entry-level paddle included with the Nautical models. You get what you pay for with the increase in the sticker price. That said, they’re both great options for starting out and I would recommend them both; it simply depends on your level of athleticism, what kind of paddling you want to do (touring & exploring vs floating & lounging), and the folks you paddle with.
Learn more at iRockerSUP.com
(disclosure: we’ve since joined the iRocker affiliate program so if you visit their site using our links a portion of that sale will support this website)