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The Nautical 11’6″ paddle board is part of a new budget range launched by iROCKER in 2020 for paddlers in search of an affordable inflatable all-around SUP that didn’t cut corners on construction quality. The Nautical was an instant hit and for this season iROCKER has increased the value even further with new features and colors that we’ll cover in this 2021 Nautical 11’6″ SUP review.
Jacksonville, FL-based iROCKER SUP continues to make waves in the industry by giving the market exactly what they’re asking for — high-quality, feature-rich inflatable paddle boards at prices anyone can afford. In 2018 they launched the popular BLACKFIN SUP range aimed at the premium market and in 2020, iROCKER launched their new budget-priced Nautical range.
The Nautical SUP lineup currently consists of two models, this 11’6″ board as well as the original shorter Nautical 10’6“.
In this review of iROCKER’s 11’6″ Nautical iSUP, we’ll check out the board’s features, build quality and construction, how it performs on the water, what we like and don’t like about it, specs, included accessories, and more. We’ll also tell you where you can buy the board and where to find the latest sales and discounts.
|Max Capacity||265 pounds|
|Board Weight||22 pounds|
(SUP & accessories)
|Returns period||60 days|
— In a Hurry? Here’s a Quick Summary —
iROCKER Nautical 11'6"
The 2021 Nautical 11’6″ is a terrific budget option for anyone needing an affordable all-around SUP with quality construction, great features, and solid accessories.
- Affordable price
- New action mount
- New rear cargo area
- New child safety grab handles
- New upgraded backpack
- New design and color choices
- 3 removable fins
- Only 1 year warranty
- Tracking not as good as iROCKER’s other SUPs
Nautical 11’6″ Review: SUP Overview
Measuring 11’6″ x 32″ x 6″ and weighing in at a lightweight 20 pounds, the Nautical 11’6″ inflatable SUP has a classic all-around shape that provides a good balance of stability, speed, and versatility. The Nautical 11’6″ can be used for a wide range of paddling activities, including recreational paddling, on-the-water SUP fitness workouts, cruising with a dog or small children, and more.
We’ve been recommending iROCKER inflatable paddle boards since the brand’s launch several years ago and it’s been exciting to see the company grow during that time. Since the launch of their first two inflatable SUPs, the SPORT 10′ (now discontinued) and SPORT 11′, the company has maintained a strong focus on responding to what their customers are asking for with affordable, consumer-direct pricing.
With the recent onslaught of cheap boards on Amazon and other ecommerce platforms it’s obvious that there is is a need in the market for a lower cost board — often for beginners or families that need to buy several boards at once. Unfortunately too many of those cheap boards are from brands with no track records and who all too often aren’t around to provide repairs or warranty support after the sale. This is the issue that iROCKER was looking to address when they launched their Nautical line.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the debut design for the Nautical boards in 2020 was somewhat bland. Happily, the 2021 Nautical 11’6″ gets a makeover that significantly livens up the board. The Nautical’s compass logo gets featured more prominently and a contrast pinstripe is introduced on the deck pad. Greater color contrast is used throughout the board design for a more sophisticated look.
There are also more color schemes to choose from this year: Sky Blue, Blue, Teal, Gray. Our review board is the Blue color. Overall, the 2021 Nautical boards’ really upped their game in the appearance department this season.
As you would expect for a budget-minded paddle board, the Nautical 11’6″ is not as feature rich as some of the much more expensive SUPs out there; that’s part of the necessary balance of keeping the cost down. That said, iROCKER has a lot of experience knowing what features most interest paddlers and after a year on the market, they’ve been able to add even more to the Nautical for the 2021 season.
— Click on hotspots for additional details —
At the nose is a convenient grab handle which is helpful for handling the board in and around the water. Just behind it is a large 6-point bungee storage area that provides a convenient and secure place for you to stash your backpack, dry bag, Crocs, and other paddling gear.
Two important new features for 2021 can be found around this cargo area. The first is that the bottom-right bungee connection point also now contains an action mount point. This M8 threaded insert allows you to attach optional accessories like GoPro cameras and fishing rod holders to your SUP. Action mounts have become increasingly popular in the past few years as the number of compatible accessories for them have exploded. iROCKER is rather famous for the number of action mounts on their iROCKER and Blackfin SUPs so the lack of any mounts on the Nauticals SUPs at their launch in 2020 was a bit disappointing. Fortunately that omission is corrected for 2021!
The second new feature for 2021 is the addition of removable side grab handles on either side of the front (and back) cargo area. These neoprene wrapped handles are great if you have small children riding on the front of your paddle board as passengers and can be found on all of the rest of iROCKER’s lineup so we’re glad they’ve been added here.
The top deck of the board is covered by a soft and comfortable EVA foam traction pad. It features a brushed surface that is easy on the hands and feet, making it a great fit for SUP fitness workouts. The grip pad also has a grooved pattern for added traction and there’s a center carrying handle which makes it easy to haul the board around.
Located along both rails of the board, around the center carrying handle, are four high-quality stainless steel D-rings used to attach iROCKER’s optional kayak seat kit. These can also be used as handy tie-down points if you want to secure additional gear.
Positioned at the tail is a second 6-point bungee cargo area, also new for 2021. This adds a great deal of additional storage area that didn’t exist last season and is particularly valuable when you have a passenger riding on the front of your board.
Behind the cargo area is the inflation valve, a D-ring for attaching the included safety leach, and a second grab handle. The rear grab handle is the one we use most often as it allows you to drag the board out of the water or along the beach without causing damage to the fins.
On the underside of the SUP are three removable fins that use the same toolless lever-lock system seen on iROCKER’s regular and premium BLACKFIN SUPs.
This is convenient as it makes the fins ease to attach and remove. With all fins removed (in contrast to boards where only the center fin is removable), it’s much easier to roll the board up tightly to fit in the backpack or to stack and tie several boards on top of a vehicle.
Experienced paddlers may also appreciate the ability to set their board up with only a center fin or all three fins, depending on the water conditions and their paddling preference.
The Nautical 11’6″ features a durable drop-stitch core covered by two layers of PVC material. Much of the hardware that you see is the same that is used on the company’s more expensive SUP ranges and the fit and finish of our board was excellent — far better than we find on other inflatable paddle boards in this price range.
What you give up for a board in this price range are some of the more exotic construction techniques like carbon fiber reinforced side rails (iROCKER uses this on their BLACKFIN boards like the Model X) or woven drop stitch construction (THURSO and NIXY use this on their newest SUPs). These have the advantage of adding extra rigidity to a board, saving weight, or both, but come at a significant price premium.
With their Nautical boards, iROCKER has struck a fine balance between building a solid, reliable SUP — one that we’d trust much more than the no-name boards you’d find online or in big box stores– and keeping it at a reasonable price point.
The Nautical 11’6″ is an all-around board that was designed for a balance of speed and stability and is well suited for general on-the-water fun. It’s an ideal board to learn on and given the affordable price point, the original Nautical 10’6″ was one of the most searched-for SUPs on our site after its launch in 2020.
It is similar in dimensions and footprint to the iROCKER All Around 11′, measuring 6 inches longer. The Nautical handles similarly in terms of stability and maneuverability, although the All Around 11′ has better straight-line tracking.
As a generalist paddle board it won’t set any speed records (see the Sport 11′ or the BLACKFIN Model V for more performance oriented boards), but the Nautical 11’6″ paddles well on the water and doesn’t feel sluggish at all for recreational paddling.
If you’re looking for a board that can be used for a wide variety of conditions and activities, the Nautical 11’6″ is a really fun option for the price.
Our Impressions: Likes and Dislikes
The 2020 Nautical’s success demonstrated the need for a board that gave paddlers a quality option at an entry-level price and that iROCKER had largely gotten the value proposition right. They’re known for their customer service and few companies can match the number of markets that iROCKER serves. This gives paddlers around the world an opportunity to buy an inexpensive board from a trusted name.
If they had a winner on their hands last year, then we think the 2021 Nautical 11’6″ really ups the competition. It keeps all of the strengths of the previous board and addresses the few criticisms we had.
This season’s model adds an action mount, a rear cargo area, and and removable child safety grab handles at both the front and rear cargo areas. The design update sharpens the look and more colors increase the choices too.
Combine this together and iROCKER has managed to narrow the feature gap even more between the Nautical and mid-priced boards on the market further cementing their value proposition.
One might ask whether this cannibalizes the company’s other ranges of inflatables. We think the answer is largely no. Compare it, for example, with the the iROCKER All Around 11′. For approximately $250 more it offers triple-ply construction, better tracking, 4 action mounts, a carbon fiber hybrid paddle, a premium roller backpack, a triple action pump, and a 2 year warranty. For some buyers, that’s obviously the better deal, but for a family that needs to buy three SUPs, the Nautical may be just the ticket.
In other words, iROCKER’s strategy is to provide lots of options and let the buyer choose for themselves. And since the included accessories are compatible in between the different lines, we’ve also seen families buy one “nice” board and then a couple of Nauticals to round out their lineup.
As far as dislikes go, there’s honestly not much to complain about. Most of what you might criticize are again choices made to keep the price down. The accessory bundle is basic but solid — we’ll cover it in detail below. Interestingly, most of these accessories used to be what came with the iROCKER boards several years ago.
It should be noted that the 1-year warranty is a step down from iROCKER’s standard 2-year warranty. This was probably a cost-management choice on iROCKER’s part and it is on par with what you see with inflatables in this price range. It is worth pointing out, though, that Bluefin’s budget board, the Cruise 10’8″, still comes with their full five-year warranty. We don’t believe this shorter warranty reflects on the Nautical’s quality; if well cared for it should provide many seasons of enjoyment.
Accessories: What’s Included
iROCKER includes a complete bundle of quality accessories with the Nautical 11’6″ unlike many of the cheap iSUPs flooding the market these days. Included with the board is a SUP backpack, fiberglass paddle, dual-action hand pump, leash, repair kit, user guide, and Nautical sticker pack.
The Nautical SUP backpack is far nicer than the bags that come with other entry-level paddle boards and has seen a number of updates for 2021. The front of the bag is updated this season with a new an exterior bungee storage area for stowing a towel or other loose items and a deep zipper pocket that extends down the entire front of the bag for accessories.
On both sides of the bag at the bottom are mesh storage pockets that can be used to secure your paddle or other gear. The are also two compression straps which help to keep things in place when everything is packed up.
At the top of the bag is a a grab handle, convenient for picking up the back or pulling it out of the back of a vehicle. This is also where you’ll find a see-through luggage ID window which is great if you’re planning to fly with this board. By the way, the Nautical 11’6″ can simply be checked with your normal luggage and picked up whenever you reach your final destination.
On the bottom of the pack are four rubber feet and a metal grommet for draining water or sand from the bag. Also new this year is a webbing strap for attaching the optional accessory wheels tray to transform the bag into a roller backpack.
On the backside of the pack are two lightly-padded shoulder straps that are fully adjustable and feature plastic D-rings for securing small items and a sternum strap for stabilization. There’s also a lightly-padded waist belt and back cushion to keep things comfortable when the bag is loaded and on your shoulders.
The included paddle is the same as the 2020 model. It’s a good quality basic fiberglass shaft with a nylon blade and plastic t-grip handle. This lightweight three piece paddle floats and is fully adjustable.
We prefer this fiberglass paddle over the heavier aluminum paddles that you find with some competitor budget paddle boards, but it’s definitely not quite as nice as the new premium carbon fiber hybrid paddles that come with iROCKER’s higher end SUPs.
iROCKER also includes a basic dual-action pump. This is the pump they had previously included with their iROCKER boards before upgrading them to a dual-chamber, triple-action pump. This is a high-quality hand pump that does a good job of inflating the board.
This pump features two inflation modes:
- Dual-action: Adds air to your board on both the up and downstrokes, speeding the process along while the pressure is low.
- Single-action: Only adds air to your SUP on the downstrokes, making it easier to finish inflating your board as the pressure increases, nearing the recommended 15 PSI.
The pump also has an easy-to-read pressure gauge on top of the handle, allowing you to see exactly how much air is in your paddle board during the inflation process.
iROCKER includes a basic 10 foot coiled SUP leash with the Nautical 11’6″. This leash is a basic black color, instead of color-matched to the board as iROCKER does with their higher-end boards.
The ankle cuff is covered by soft neoprene material for comfort and there are dual metal swivels to prevent tangling.
If you ever need to perform a repair on your board, there’s a handy iSUP repair kit included in the box. Inside of the plastic canister is a valve wrench and two large color matched PVC patches. You would need to purchase your own adhesive.
User Manual & Sticker Pack
Last but not least, in the box you’ll find a user guide and a large sheet of Nautical SUP stickers which is a nice bonus.
Warranty & Returns Info
As mentioned, iROCKER’s Nautical SUPs include a 1-year warranty that covers any manufacturing defects. While it’s not as good of a warranty as the 2-year coverage included with the company’s more expensive paddle boards, it’s common for boards in this price range. Although we are starting to see some longer warranties on budget boards from reputable brands like Bluefin and GILI. We’ll be curious to see what the trends are like over the next few years.
Where to Buy it
iROCKER’s Nautical 11’6″ SUP is available for sale directly from the company’s official online store. In addition to FREE expedited shipping, iROCKER also offers a 60-day, no-risk, money-back guarantee. iROCKER’s popular inflatable SUP line is available worldwide including in the US, Canada, the UK, Europe, and Australia. When you click on the store link above, you’ll be automatically redirected to the online store for your area.
2020 Model Year Deals & Discounts
2020 model year iROCKER SUPs are currently on sale now that the 2021 boards have been launched. While supplies last, you can also get a nice discount by bundling accessories along with your new paddle board purchase. For more details on these and all the latest iROCKER promotions in the US, Canada, the UK, Europe, and Australia, check out our SUP sales and discounts page.
Nautical SUP FAQ
Nautical vs. iROCKER vs. BLACKFIN — which SUP should I buy?
If you’re on a tight budget and money is an issue, we’d recommend the Nautical. If you can afford to pay a bit more for an inflatable SUP, then we’d highly recommend bumping up to the iROCKER or BLACKFIN range. In short, buy what you can afford and know that all of iROCKER’s inflatable SUPs offer outstanding value at the price point they’re sold at. For an in-depth look at the differences between the lines, we’d recommend reading our Nautical vs. iROCKER vs. BLACKFIN SUP comparison guide.
Can I paddle my dog around on the Nautical 11’6″?
Yes, this board offers good stability and the tough outer PVC layer won’t be damaged by your dog’s nails.
How long does it take to inflate iROCKER’s Nautical SUP?
Depending on how quickly you pump, the Nautical 11’6″ can be inflated in 5-10 minutes.
After a successful debut year, the 2021 Nautical 11’6″ returns with an even more compelling set of features, better looks, more colors, and a great backpack. Anyone looking for a longer budget all-around paddle board should check out this 2021 Top Pick SUP.
The Nautical 11’6″ expands the Nautical lineup — literally — with a longer board that’s ideal for paddlers that would like extra room for passengers, dogs, coolers, or kayaking. Taller or bigger paddlers might prefer the extra size over the Nautical 10’6″ as well.
It’s an ideal choice for beginners just starting out, budget-minded paddlers looking to enjoy some all-around paddling fun without breaking the bank, or families needing to purchasing multiple boards at a time.
As the SUP industry continues to be flooded with low-quality boards from brands that offer little in the way of support, we’re pleased that more of today today’s best SUP brands are beginning to offer quality iSUPs at entry-level price points.
Meanwhile, paddlers with a bit more budget to play with — or those who prize higher-end accessories and more action mounts — may want to consider the Nautical’s iROCKER siblings including the iROCKER All-Around 10′, iROCKER All-Around 11′, and iROCKER Cruiser. See our post about the differences between the Nautical, iROCKER, and BLACKFIN lines.