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Bote Flood Aero Inflatable Paddleboard Review | 2023
Bote Flood Aero Full Trax iSUP: Overview
The Bote Flood Aero Full Trax is arguably Bote’s most versatile iSUP. It has the size and shape of an all-around paddleboard that will fit a large majority of paddlers, a full-length deck pad, and enough on-board features for the serious angler without overcrowding the deck for activities like SUP yoga or paddling with a passenger.
— Bote Flood Aero Full Trax Summary Ratings and Review —
Bote Flood Aero Full Trax
Construction & Durability
Features and Versatility
Warranty & Customer Support
The Flood Aero is feature-rich and versatile for a true all-around paddleboard experience.
- The wide array of built-in features allow you to easily customize how to carry everything you need for a day on the water, but don’t get in the way when you want a clear deck.
- The full-length deck pad is comfortable and offers great traction from the tail to the nose which is great for paddling with passengers or dogs.
- Built in fishing rack attachment points and d-rings designed to tie down a cooler make the Flood Aero great for the occasional SUP angler
- Two large cargo areas and kayak seat attachment points let you load up and/or sit down comfortably
- The large center fin improves tracking and stability
- No dedicated anchor point for a leash (nor is a leash included)
- The Flood Aero construction has switched from double-layer AeroBOTE to single-layer AeroULTRA construction.
Construction and Durability
The Bote Flood Aero Full Trax currently uses Bote’s single-layer AeroULTRA construction technology. This single-layer build reduces weight without sacrificing durability for standard use, but does reduce its overall stiffness.
Bote has two construction methods for their inflatable paddleboards: AeroULTRA and AeroBOTE. The difference between the two is in the number of layers of PVC material used to create the board’s shell (which become the deck and the hull. With AeroBOTE you get two layers of PVC, while AeroULTRA gets a single layer. Previously, the Flood Aero was built using the double-layer AeroBOTE construction. Recently, Bote has changed the construction of the Flood Aero to use the single-layer AeroULTRA technology. This change in construction reduces the overall weight of the board, but also reduces its overall stiffness. While a double-layer iSUP does have additional material, a well-made single-layer board (like Bote’s) is just as durable as a double-layer board when it comes to typical use – especially because both construction types each get two layers of PVC on the rails (sides) of the board where most impact and abrasion occurs.
Speaking of the rails, the Flood Aero does have a double-layer PVC rail. The seams are heat-pressed together using heat to activate the special adhesive between the layers rather than using a standard room-temperature adhesive. This creates a stronger bond between the materials. The top and bottom of the rails also receive a color-matched PVC seam reinforcement strip along the edges to further increase the Flood’s durability and longevity.
When put to our dry-land bend test, the Flood Aero Full Trax out-performed Bote’s other AeroULTRA iSUPs – the Breeze Aero and the Wulf Aero. The Breeze and Wulf bent 2.25” and 2.375” respectively while the Flood Full Trax managed to stay just inside of 2” at 1.9375”. Overall the Flood’s performance in this dry-land test is just below average across all of our tested iSUPs. I do believe part of the difference in testing between the Flood Aero Full Trax and the Breeze Aero/Wulf Aero is the inclusion of the full-length deck pad. While the deck pad itself is soft, any additional material that runs the length of the board should help increase its stiffness overall. But the real question is: how does it feel on the water?
Using the Flood Aero on the water gives us a little bit of a different story than the bend test. While bouncing on the Flood Aero I definitely noticed a medium-to-high amount of flex and a bouncy-feeling rebound. This was similar to the Breeze Aero and Wulf Aero, but not quite to the same extent as either of those two. Again I do feel that the full-length deck pad is doing a little extra duty here to help temper some of that flex and bounce.
Most paddlers (myself included) don’t spend our time on the water bouncing up and down on our boards, though. At least not all of it! While paddling the Flood the flex was greatly reduced and I didn’t notice the bouncy rebound at all. Some of that came back as I walked on the board and while the majority of the board was out of the air during a pivot turn, but again it was better controlled than during the bounce test.
In comparison with Bote’s other AeroULTRA iSUPs, the Flood Aero definitely feels more solid on the water than the Breeze Aero or the Wulf Aero. The stiffer build also benefits the Flood’s performance with stability, speed, and tracking.
|Max Capacity||275 pounds|
|Board Weight||28 pounds|
(SUP & accessories)
|Returns period||30 days|
Features, Accessories and Versatility
The Bote Flood Aero Full Trax is arguably Bote’s most versatile iSUP. Whether you are cruising with your pup, laying out for some yoga, or searching for deep-sea monsters, the Flood Aero is rigged and ready.
The Flood Aero Full Trax really takes the term “all-around” to heart as it has a little bit of something for everyone.
Starting with the obvious – the Flood Aero Full Trax is so named because of it’s full-length traction pad. This “BVA” pad is an EVA foam stamped with the Bote “B” logo for additional traction. There are also grooves that run along the length of the pad to help direct water and to further increase traction from side-to-side. Having a full-length pad lets you easily use the entire length of the board for anything from bringing along passengers, more security for the items you bring along, stretching out for some yoga, or even stretching out to relax and take in the sights and sounds around you.
On top of the deck pad (literally and figuratively) the Flood Aero has a wide array of extra features. At the front of the board we have a wide cargo area that’s strung between 6 d-rings. The cargo bungee is tied on with a fisherman’s knot that lets you adjust the tension by sliding the two halves of the knot farther apart (tighter) or closer together (looser). Behind the front cargo area is the Bote Magnepod insert. This is a magnetic attachment that works with Bote’s array of magnetic accessories like drink tumblers, speakers, and more.
Around the middle of the board are four d-rings. These are compatible with Bote’s Travel Link shoulder strap to make carrying the inflated board easier, and with Bote’s Aero SUP Paddle Seat which is an inflatable kayak seat with excellent ergonomics for more efficient paddling. The right side of the Flood also has two velcro paddle holder straps. These are great to hold your paddle while doing yoga or fishing, or holding a spare paddle, fishing pole, or other longer accessory.
Behind the standing area are two small d-rings that stick through the deck pad. These are set up to easily tie down the Bote Kula cooler for your lunch, drinks, catch, or bait. Additionally there are two rack receiver mounts. These work with the included rack feet to attach a fishing rack (Bote has two versions – their Tackle Rack and Bucket Rack) and are also compatible with Bote’s wheel rack for an even easier time moving your board on land.
Lastly the tail of the board has a diamond-groove textured deck pad for increased traction while standing on the tail and another cargo area with an adjustable bungee. What is missing from the tail of the board, though, is a dedicated d-ring to use as a leash anchor point. While you can use the cargo d-rings or the rear handle as an anchor for your leash, typically a leash anchor is a little sturdier than a standard cargo d-ring, and is much easier to use with most leashes than the bulky handle.
The Flood Aero comes packaged in a heavy-duty PVC travel bag with a large front pocket. The bag does not have wheels, so you will need to carry it rather than roll it. The four compression straps on the side of the bag are also lacking a little functionality. Because each buckle piece is attached with several inches of webbing before attaching to the bag, you don’t actually get much compression, even with the pump and paddle in the bag. While this isn’t a huge deal, it does mean items in the bag are prone to shifting around and sagging back away from the padded backpack straps – both of which can make long-distance carrying more uncomfortable.
You do also get the Bote Axe fiberglass and nylon paddle, a very large surface area slide-in fin, repair kit, rack receiver feet, and double-action hand pump with the kit. However, there is no leash included.
When we asked Bote why the Flood Aero and several of their other iSUPs do not include leashes, their response was to give customers more choice in choosing what leash to use and to keep prices lower. While I do understand that accessories are often a personal choice, the specific type of leash is usually a very minor concern, especially on all-around iSUPs where a basic 8-10’ coiled ankle leash works for 99% or more of paddlers. The exclusion of a specific leash-attachment point in an effort to keep costs low also seems to be missing the forest for the trees. Leashes Save Lives. We encourage all SUP paddlers to wear an appropriate leash (and PFD) while paddleboarding. I would really love to see Bote add these safety measures back to their products. The overall cost to consumers to include these safety measures is very low, but the risk of paddling without them is catastrophically high.
The Bote Axe fiberglass/nylon paddles is a great entry-level paddle for casual SUP use.
The Bote Axe paddle has a fiberglass shaft and medium-large nylon blade. The blade shape is a happy medium between a full tear-drop and a narrow rectangular shape. The scooped power face catches easily in the water and holds well for slower-cadence, casual paddling. When pressed for speed, the blade shape and flex don’t hold up quite as well and create some minor flutter during the stroke and resistance at the release. However the Axe was neither designed nor intended for high-cadence paddling. With a relaxed, casual pace, the large blade holds well in the water to propel you forward and the flex in both the blade and the shaft make it comfortable to use for longer periods of time. The overall weight of the paddle is a little on the heavy side due to the large blade, but it is fairly well balanced.
The handle section of the paddle has a height scale printed on one side, but no indexing mechanism, so you’ll want to make sure you have the handle aligned properly to the blade. The handle grip itself is made of a molded plastic. One thing I did notice is the molding line across the middle of the handle does protrude a little bit and should be knocked down, either by sanding or with careful use of a razor blade, to increase long-term comfort on the handle.
The Flood Aero has excellent stability on the water, but could be improved with a stiffer construction.
Stability is affected by many design and material choices on any paddleboard (inflatable or hard). Some of the primary factors are the overall volume and the board’s size and shape. At 11’ long and 32.5” wide (measured at it’s widest point) the Flood has plenty of volume and width to keep it pleasantly stable on the water. While standing still with the board flat on the water I didn’t feel any rolling or wobbling. Rocking the board from side to side was smooth and predictable, and holding the Flood Aero on its edge was actually quite easy to do.
The Flood Aero has a relatively narrow tail compared to Bote’s other all-around iSUPs, but it is still moderately wide in the grand scheme of things at 19.75” wide. The nose also keeps a great amount of width until the last end of the board, and the gentle curve between the two ends keeps the stability very predictable as you change positions on the board.
Where things do get just a little dicey is when moving around on the board and when half (or more) of the board is lifted out of the water for a pivot turn or surfing a small bump. Here the single-layer construction can’t quite maintain the board’s stiffness as well and you can feel some flexing and the bouncy rebound. This is moreso the exception than the rule for the Flood Aero, and once you experience this slight shift in stability you can easily accommodate for it by keeping your legs a little looser.
The Bote Flood Aero has a very efficient feel on the water and easily outpaces Bote’s other all-around iSUPs.
If we’re only looking at the overall top speed of a paddleboard, the Flood Aero isn’t going to be at the top of our list, but top speed is not the main focus of any all-around paddleboard. The Flood Aero does reach higher top speeds than its wider all-around cousins the Breeze Aero and Wulf Aero, and it glides more efficiently than either of them as well.
The narrower outline and relative length of the Flood Aero help it move easier through the water and its extra stiffness prevents it from bobbing up and down in the water as much as the Breeze Aero or Wulf Aero. I was able to reach speeds just a bit over 5mph while sprinting on the Flood Aero, but it was extremely difficult to sustain that rate.
Where the Flood Aero really comes into its own is while cruising. The tapering outline does a good job of keeping the Flood Aero moving through the water easily without sacrificing stability. While its quarter-mile-cruise-test time wasn’t the fastest (5:33) it felt easy to paddle – and that’s a far more important stat for an all-around board.
If the Flood Aero were a bit stiffer – either by construction or with a higher pressure rating – I feel that it would be even faster and more efficient.
Maneuverability and Tracking
The Flood Aero has a moderately wide turning radius thanks to its very large and raked-back center fin.
Paddleboard maneuverability is impacted by many factors including the board’s length, shape, rocker, and fins. The Flood’s 11’ length, tapered outline, and slight nose rocker are all within the range of normal for an all-around iSUP, but what sets it apart is its very large central fin. This large fin adds stability and tracking (more on that below) but reduces how easy it is to turn the Flood Aero.
On average it takes over 8.5 high-quality forward-sweep strokes to turn a complete circle on flat water. Most all-around iSUPs are closer to the neighborhood of 6 strokes to do the same.
Turning is much easier when paddling with reverse-sweep strokes (which stops any forward momentum you may have had), bow-draw strokes (which can knock you off the board if not done correctly), and of course a pivot turn.
With normal use, most paddlers aren’t finding themselves in the position where they need to turn a full circle on the spot, and in those cases the Flood Aero does respond moderately well to steering corrections and is relatively easy to turn less than 90° at a time.
While the large fin makes turning harder, it does help the Flood Aero track straight while paddling. While paddling toward a distant target, the Flood Aero only drifted off course by 12° on average over 10 paddle strokes on a single side. This is definitely on the higher-end of the performance spectrum for all-around iSUPs and creeping up toward touring iSUP territory. What this really means is that while you are paddling the Flood Aero it’s very easy to stay pointed in the direction you started and if you paddle evenly on each side you’ll have very little steering to do.
The main driver of the Flood Aero’s tracking and maneuverability performance is its large center fin. The center fin is 10” long and extends 7” behind the fin box (“rake”). This slide-in fin has a very large surface area which helps add stability to the board by resisting rolling side-to-side. It’s extra width toward the tail of the board helps resist the board turning compared to smaller fins and those with less rake. While the overall shape of this fin is similar to many other types of fins, the shape and large surface area together are quite unique.
The small side-bite fins neither add nor detract from the performance of the Flood Aero. They are too small to realistically impact tracking and maneuverability and too soft to provide lateral force for surfing. The placement of the side bite fins does make it slightly harder to easily fold/roll the Flood Aero, and because of their vestigial nature it would be nice to see them removed on future versions of the Flood Aero (and other iSUPs).
Warranty and Customer Support
Bote offers a 2 year warranty with all of their iSUPs, however you must register your board after purchase in order to activate your warranty. The accessories included with the Flood are likewise covered by a 90 day warranty, and your purchase has a 30-day return period (less a 20% restocking fee). This is a pretty standard warranty and return policy for many iSUP companies. You can reach Bote customer support by phone, email, webform, social media, or in-person at one of their four showroom locations in Florida.
The Bote Flood Aero offers a ton of versatility and good performance on the water as an all-around iSUP. I find that the Flood Aero is the most versatile iSUP in Bote’s lineup and is one of the most versatile all-around iSUPs on the market today. The overall package includes good quality accessories and the warranty is fairly standard. When you combine all of this and then compare with other, similar iSUPs, the list price for the Bote Flood Aero is on the higher side. Overall the performance and feature to dollar value of the Flood Aero is okay, but there are other options available that offer a similar set of features at a lower list price. Seasonal sales from Bote do happen fairly regularly and those do increase the value proposition for the Flood Aero.
Overall Impressions/Review Summary
The Bote Flood Aero Full Trax is possibly my favorite iSUP from Bote. It’s extremely versatile and works great whether you are cruising, fishing, doing yoga, paddling with your dog, doing some light day-trip touring, or all of the above. The full-length deck pad and well-placed mounting points make it easy to customize and comfortable for passengers. It’s stable enough for beginner paddlers, but is still efficient and fun to paddle as an experienced paddleboarder.
Bote Flood Aero Full Trax iSUP FAQ
Is the Bote Flood Aero Full Trax a good fishing paddleboard?
Yes! The rack receivers and cooler tie down points make it easy to outfit the Flood Aero for your fishing adventures. The 32.5” width and wide nose offer great stability for casting and landing. While the Bote HD Aero and Bote Rackham Aero are more dedicated to SUP fishing, the Flood Aero offers many of those features, plus a little more general-use versatility.
Is the Bote Flood Aero Full Trax heavy?
At 28 lbs, the Flood Aero Full Trax is on the heavy side for all-around iSUPs. However the Bote Travel Link strap and the Bote Wheeled Rack are both available for (and integrate seamlessly with) the Flood Aero for an even easier time transporting your board.
Can I take my kids or dog on the Bote Flood Aero?
Absolutely! The full-length deck pad on the Bote Flood Aero Full Trax is perfect for dogs. The same high-quality traction you get at the standing area extends all the way up to the nose of the board making a perfect perch for your pup.
Is the Bote Flood Aero Durable?
The PVC material used to make the Bote Flood Aero is quite durable. The board’s rails (edges), where it encounters the most bumps and rubs, have an extra layer of PVC and PVC seam reinforcement strips for even more durability.
How long does it take to inflate the Bote Flood Aero?
The Flood Aero takes between 8-10 minutes to inflate using the included hand pump.
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