On the heels of the launch of their premium BLACKFIN SUP lineup two seasons ago, Jacksonville, FL-based iROCKER SUP is once again making waves in the industry with the announcement of their new lineup of entry-level inflatable paddle boards, Nautical SUP…
In this exclusive interview with iROCKER SUP founders Dave Erwin and Steve Elder, we'll get the inside scoop on their new lineup of budget-friendly iSUPs and find out what's in store for the company going forward.
Inflatable Boarder: Congratulations on the massive success of your premium BLACKFIN SUP range which was launched a few seasons ago in March of 2018. It has been incredibly well-received and those boards are some of our most highly-rated inflatable SUPs of all-time. What motivated you guys to launch the Nautical lineup? Was it based on customer requests for a lower-priced, entry-level iROCKER board or was it something else?
Dave and Steve: Thank you, we really appreciate that. We have put a lot of work into everything, iROCKER, Blackfin, and now Nautical, over the past few years and it is great to see how much joy it has brought to so many people. We have actually been discussing the Nautical line for quite some time and we finally decided it was time for the brand to launch in 2020. There were multiple factors that really brought this brand to life. One of the biggest reasons is definitely from the requests of our customers over the past few years. It is no secret that iROCKER and Blackfin are at a premium price point. This is because of what they are and what each brand has to offer including the construction and build of the boards, the features of the boards, and the quality of the accessories that come with each board. We have started to see more and more of a need for a brand that was at a lower price point but still was a great quality offer. There are so many lower price point boards on the market today. We wanted to come up with an offer that compared to that lower price point but more than surpassed the quality and offers that these other brands were offering. We wanted to make sure that it still had the high-quality build and construction that iRocker has become know for but also offered much better accessories as well. We really wanted to make sure that our customers who purchase a Nautical paddle board package were going to be more than satisfied with their purchase. So what we ended up with was a dual-layer construction board that comes with a Fiberglass Paddle, the premium 2019 iRocker backpack carry bag, a single chamber dual-action hand pump, an ankle leash, and the same 3 removable fins that come on the iRocker and Blackfin boards. Essentially this paddle board package is very similar to the iRocker paddle board package that iRocker launched with, only better.
Inflatable Boarder: The Nautical brand is being launched this season with a single 10'6″ all-around model which will give fans of the popular iROCKER CRUISER and ALL-AROUND 11′ boards an even more affordable option to consider — looking into the future, what do you see in store for Nautical in terms of expanding the range?
Dave and Steve: It is hard to say. This decision is really going to depend on how well the brand is received into the market. I can tell you that we have very high hopes and there has been lots of discussion on how far the Nautical brand could end up going.
(*Click or hover over hotspots for additional details)
Front bungee storage area provides a secure place to stash your dry bag, backpack, water shoes, and other gear.1 of 6
Center carrying handle makes it easy to carry the Nautical 10'6″ around when it's fully inflated.2 of 6
Grab handle at tail is perfect for pulling the board along the beach as it elevates the fins, preventing damage caused by rocks and other hard objects.3 of 6
Grab handle at nose is convenient for handing the board in and around the water.4 of 6
Multiple D-rings along board's rails for attaching optional kayak seat, tying down a SUP cooler, etc.5 of 6
Brushed EVA foam traction pad provides excellent grip and is easy on the hands and feet, perfect for activities like SUP fitness.6 of 6
Inflatable Boarder: What were some of the challenges that you encountered as you were developing this cheaper line of premium iSUPs?
Dave and Steve: There have been quite a few challenges that we faced when developing Nautical. Most importantly we wanted to offer the best quality board with the best accessories at this price point. That was not easy. We knew what we wanted to offer, knew what price point we wanted to be at, and we weren’t going to settle for anything less or cut any corners in order to get to where we wanted to be.
Inflatable Boarder: Over the past several years, iROCKER SUP has emerged as one of today's best SUP brands and we're confident that this new lineup will be just as impressive as the other two ranges. What would you say sets the Nautical SUP line apart from other budget-priced inflatables?
Dave and Steve: First is going to be the build of the board and the quality of the accessories, as I have spoken to a little bit about already. But I think most importantly is the fact that this is Nautical by iRocker. This is not just a fly by the night new paddle board brand that no one has heard of, popping up out of nowhere. Customers of Nautical are going to expect the same high level of customer support that iRocker has been committed to since day one.
Inflatable Boarder: With the addition of Nautical, do you feel that the iROCKER SUP range is complete at this point or do you foresee the possibility of even more spinoff brands in the future?
Dave and Steve: Some tough questions that you have here Jason, lol. It’s funny because at any given moment since day one, the launch of iRocker, we have always been super proud of where we were. Right now looking back since that day 1 iRocker launch, I can tell you that we feel 100% complete. We have come a long way and I like to think we are one of the leaders in the market. How we will feel in 4, 6 months, or a year from now will probably be completely different though. Every decision we have ever made just seemed to always make sense. Can I see us with another brand outside of iRocker, Blackfin, and now Nautical? It’s is hard to see that being the case right now but it is tough to see what the future holds for us or how each of these brands will continue to evolve over time.