Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen Paddle Board Review | 2024

Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen iSUP review
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Starboard’s 11’2 x 31+ is an all-around paddle board for lighter paddlers.

Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen Paddle Board Review – Overview

The Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen is an efficient and lighter-weight all around paddle board best suited for paddlers under 150 pounds. The Zen construction is noticeably lighter than Starboard’s Deluxe construction, but is noticeably less rigid. The 11’2 iGO’s size shape make it a great all-around paddle board and for paddlers over 150 pounds it is also available in Starboard’s Deluxe construction for paddlers over 150 pounds.

— Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen Paddle Board Review Summary and Ratings —

Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen Paddle Board
  • Construction & Durability
  • Features and Versatility
  • Stability
  • Speed
  • Maneuverability
  • Tracking

Overall Score

The 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen is a good all-around paddle board for lighter users under 150 pounds.


  • The Zen construction is lightweight making it easy to transport
  • Welded rails allow for higher internal pressure without the worry of glue degradation
  • The 11’2 iGO’s shape is very rectangular to maximize stability
  • Starboard’s environmental commitment includes bags, fins and other accessories made from recycled materials and 10x carbon offset for the production of the paddle board


  • The Zen construction is light, however it is not very rigid and not recommended for paddlers over 150 pounds
  • There are not many built-in features on the board, so mounting accessories to the board can be difficult.

Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen Paddle Board Review – Construction and Durability

Starboard offers three basic construction types for its inflatable paddle boards. The 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen uses Starboard’s lightweight Zen construction to make the board easy to transport and available at a lower cost. However, the 11’2 iGO is also available in several other constructions including Deluxe Single Chamber and Deluxe Double Chamber as well.

Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen rail construction
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The 11’2 iGO Zen has a single layer PVC construction, linear drop stitch, and heat-welded rails.

The most defining characteristic of Starboard’s Zen construction is its linear drop stitch core. Inside the 11’2 iGO Zen are two layers of knitted polyester fabric that are joined together with thousands of yarns stitched through both layers. These yarns are spaced to give the iGO its 5.5” thickness and keep the board flat while inflated.

What makes the drop stitch core different from most other knitted cores is the orientation of the drop-stitched yarns themselves. Typically most drop stitch cores have their yarns sewn through in a zig-zag pattern from nose to tail whereas the linear core of the Starboard Zen construction has the yarns sewn through in a straight line from nose to tail.

linear drop stitch graphic
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Starboard Linear Drop Stitch is intended to be lighter and stiffer, but only succeeds in being lighter.

Starboard does this to “[maximize] the strength and rigidity of the board, providing a smoother paddle sensation and allowing you to accelerate faster with less effort.” However that is not the experience we had with the 11’2 iGO Zen. More on that in just a moment. In addition to this change in drop stitch pattern, the knitted fabric base layers are also typically less-rigid than a woven base layer – like what Starboard uses in their Deluxe constructions.

The outer shell of the board is made with a fusion laminate PVC material that mechanically bonds the reinforced PVC material to the drop stitch core. Then Starboard heat-welds the top and bottom layers together with an inner rail band to create an ultra-durable connection for the board’s air chamber. Welding eliminates glue (which can degrade) and essentially creates a single, continuous, piece of material for the entire board. While Starboard does not explicitly state that the shell material for the Zen construction is different from their Deluxe constructions, the difference in weight (and rigidity) leads us to believe that it is a lighter-weight PVC material.

The 11’2 iGO Zen then gets an outer rail band of reinforced PVC for additional durability and stiffness followed by a rail reinforcement strip along the top edge of the outer rail.

Once the deckpad and accessories are installed, the 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen weighs in at just 19.5 pounds and has a maximum inflation pressure of 18 PSI.

Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen flex while paddling
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The 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen has noticeable bend and flex under normal use conditions..

So how rigid is the unique construction of Starboard’s Zen build? Unfortunately, I can’t say that it does well.

In our static bend test we inflate all of the boards we test to their maximum recommended pressure (18 PSI for the 11’2 iGO Zen) and measure how far the board bends with 170 pounds of weight placed on the standing area with the board suspended between a set distance.

The 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen now holds last place in our bend test with a total bend of 3.58 inches. That’s 2 inches more bend than our current running average of 1.6”, or 3.3 standard deviations below the mean if you are a fan of statistics. On the flip side, the Starboard Deluxe Single Chamber construction is quite good, and the 10’8 iGO DSC bent just 1.18” in our test.

Now the caveat with the bend test is that it is a technical way to directly compare constructions. It doesn’t always tell us how a board feels on the water, and we’ve seen some iSUPs that don’t perform incredibly well in the test still feel quite nice on the water.

Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen flex while bouncing
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There is significant flex when moving on the iGO Zen, when paddling hard, and when bouncing.

However, while on the water, the rigidity of the 11’2 iGO Zen continued to disappoint. There was noticeable flex in the board at all times, and serious flex when moving on the board or paddling with effort. The 11’2 iGO Zen actually had enough flex that I had to shorten my paddle to compensate for how low it sat in the water.

I’m not sure why Starboard developed this linear drop stitch construction, and I certainly can’t figure out why they believe it makes it more “solid” than a standard drop stitch pattern. In response to the claim of making the board more responsive, I did not feel any beneficial “responsive” characteristic while paddling the board. Perhaps that’s part of what gives the 11’2 iGO Zen it’s good gliding efficiency (discussed in the Speed section below), but overall I believe the Zen construction to be a net-negative for all but the lightest weight paddlers. Even our 160 pound tester was visibly bending the iGO Zen during all aspects of testing and had the same overall feel. Additionally, the 11’2 iGO Zen is only 5.5” thick rather than the more standard 6” thick (like in the Starboard Deluxe construction). Thinner boards are also less rigid than thicker boards.

In comparison to Starboard’s exceptional Deluxe construction, I can’t fathom why Starboard feels this is a good choice of materials for an inflatable SUP. If Starboard wants to create a lightweight and rigid construction, I’d challenge them to look at what other brands like Isle, iRocker, and Sea Gods have accomplished with their various construction technologies.

In terms of durability, the welded rails and fusion laminate shell are both great choices and will provide continued use for many years.


Length11’ 2”
Max Capacity220 pounds
Board Weight19.5 pounds
Kit Weight
(SUP & accessories)
29 pounds
Buying Info
List Price$729
Warranty2 years
Returns period30 days

Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen Paddle Board Review – Features, Accessories and Versatility

The Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen has an elongated shape with wide nose and wide tail for improved stability, but like the other iGO series paddle boards it comes with a minimalist feature set that has just enough room for your daily essentials while paddling.

Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen size and shape
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The 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen is 11’2” long, 32” wide, and 5.5” thick. It has a maximum rider weight capacity of 220 pounds and a maximum internal pressure of 18 PSI. The wide nose and tail and parallel midsection provide lots of stability for smaller paddlers.
Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen nose
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The wide nose helps carry volume forward in the board for improved stability. There is a slight nose rocker as well for smooth paddling. However, paddlers over 160 pounds will bend the board well beyond the rocker profile.
Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen cargo area
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There is a single cargo area with a bungee cord tied between four D-rings. There’s enough room for your daily essentials – a small dry bag, sandals, water bottle, etc.
Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen cargo D-ring
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The cargo D-rings are made with a high density plastic.
Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen strap D-rings
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The 11’2 iGO Zen does have steel D-rings on the side of the board for a shoulder strap, but does not include a shoulder strap in the kit.
Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen handle
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The center and rear handles are made with flat nylon webbing. There is no handle on the front of the board.
Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen deck pad
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The 11’2 iGO Zen has a diamond groove and pebble-texture deck pad for excellent traction while barefoot or while wearing shoes.
Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen tail pad
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The rear of the deck pad has cutouts and a raised kick pad for tactile feedback on your foot placement as you move to the tail of the board.
Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen tail shape
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The tail has a medium-wide square shape. Like the wide nose, this wider tail helps carry more volume through the board for improved stability.
Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen nose D-ring
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There is a steel D-ring for anchoring or towing the board.
Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen fin box
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The 11’2 iGO Zen has a single US fin box on the tail of the board.
Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen kit
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The 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen comes with a basic set of accessories, but no paddle.

In addition to the lightweight construction, the 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen comes with a lightweight and minimal set of accessories. In addition to the paddleboard itself, you also get:

  • Starboard Re-Cover roller backpack made with recycled bottles
  • Single-chamber hand pump
  • Stretchable flat ankle leash
  • 8” surf/all-around style fin
  • Small repair/maintenance kit

The items that come with the 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen are high quality, but the kit is notably lacking a paddle. Starboard does offer many different types of paddles for different users, though the Tufskin models offer the best value to pair with the lower cost of the Zen construction and kit.

Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen Paddle Board Review – Paddle

The 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen does not automatically come with a paddle in the kit. We tested and reviewed the iGO Zen with Starboard’s three piece Lima Tufskin paddle.

Starboard Lima Tufskin Paddle
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The Starboard Lima Tufskin paddle has a carbon fiber shaft and a highly-durable plastic blade with an excellent shape for all kinds of paddling.

The Lima Tufskin paddle is a high quality, durable, and affordable paddle option to go with your Starboard 11’2 iGO Zen. This paddle uses the same blade shape as Starboard’s venerated Lima racing paddle. Rather than being made from expensive and delicate prepreg carbon fiber, the Lima Tufskin blade is made with impact-resistant ABS plastic.

This does make the Tufskin significantly heavier than the prepreg carbon paddle, but also around ¼ of the cost! The blade has a rectangular shape with a moderately deep concave and double-dihedral shaping on the power face. This type of shape does several things very well. First the cupped shape is easy for beginner paddlers to see how the blade should be oriented while paddling. The cupped shape and “pocket” formed by the dihedral ridges also help lock the paddle in the water to reduce fluttering, wandering, and slipping to increase paddling efficiency. Lastly, the rectangular blade is medium sized and fits most paddlers well while allowing you to paddle at a casual cruising pace or a faster fitness pace.

The paddle shaft is made with carbon fiber to help reduce weight and give the Lima a stiffer and more powerful feel in the water compared to fiberglass. The blade and shaft sections join together with a bias-cut ferrule and push-button spring clip for a very solid fit. It took me a minute to get the two back apart!

The handle section is also made with carbon fiber and has a printed length scale for easy adjustments. However it does not have any automatic indexing mechanism, so you’ll need to make sure the handle is aligned with the paddle blade after you change the length. The palm grip is made with a heavy duty plastic and has a slight ‘U’ shape on top. Whenever I start paddling with this grip I feel the corners of the handle pressing into my hand (rather than falling away as in most handle grips), however after just a few minutes I no longer notice it.

The overall feeling in the water with the Lima Tufskin is great. It’s well balanced in your hands and it catches in the water wonderfully. It’s a great option that matches well with the all-around paddling design of the Starboard 11’2 iGO Zen.

Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen Paddle Board Review – Stability

The Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen has good stability, but it does have some unstable quirks due to its construction.

Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen stability
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The 11’2 x 31+ iGo Zen has a very stable shape, but the lack of rigidity does reduce its overall stability.

There are many aspects of a paddle board that affect its stability. Its overall size, shape, and rigidity are the most critical.

The 11’2 iGO Zen is 11’2” long and 32” wide. I’m not sure why Starboard has gone with this naming convention as it is quite misleading. Starboard indicates that the “+” also refers to the wider square tail of the board in addition to being wider than 31 inches.

The wide tail and wide nose give the board a bit of a boxy look when viewed straight on, however that also improves the stability compared to the same type of board with a more tapered shape.

When standing on the 11’2 iGO Zen i felt that it had good stability, but not great stability. Specifically, the iGO Zen felt twitchy to me and the flex and bounce of the board likewise reduced its stability while standing, paddling, and moving on the board.

Bouncing on the board generates an extremely large amount of flex, but thankfully has a fairly calm rebound when the board settles back down. There’s no trampoline-like feeling, just a soft flex. The same flex happens when sprint paddling, which I found greatly reduced stability while paddling as well as tracking performance.

The large, stable shape does help aid in stability when the board is held on its edge or tilting back and forth by keeping more of the board in contact with the water. However the flex and light weight of the board do maintain a certain amount of twitchiness compared to the Starboard Deluxe construction.

Now, I will fully admit that at 230 pounds I’m technically over the listed rider weight capacity for this paddle board (220 pounds). However, for a board of this size and shape to have such a low listed weight capacity is quite uncommon. For example, most boards in this size have weight capacities between 300-400 pounds. Even though the 11’2 iGO Zen has such a stable shape, those other iSUPs are all far more rigid. This makes them more stable and maintains their performance with heavier paddlers or payloads.

Overall I think the 11’2 x 31 iGO has a great, stable shape. But the Zen construction is really only a good option for paddlers under 150 pounds. For paddlers over 150 pounds, I do recommend the Deluxe Construction versions for significantly improved stability.

Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen Paddle Board Review – Speed

The Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen has surprisingly good speed on the water. The parallel shape and rocker profile help keep the board gliding between strokes.

Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen speed performance
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The 11’2 iGO Zen has good speed considering how much the board flexes when pushed to go faster.

With the wide tail and nose creating a boxy shape and the notable flex in the board I wasn’t expecting to be able to sprint on the 11’2 iGO Zen as quickly as I did.

In our speed testing, the 11’2 iGO Zen held a sustained sprinting speed of around 5.3 MPH, and I was able to paddle up to a maximum speed of 5.4 MPH. 5.3 MPH for a sustained sprint is fairly typical for an all-around style paddle board, however there is normally a larger difference in the sustained and maximum speeds.

In my testing I’ve found that when the maximum and sustained sprint speeds are close it usually means that either the board has significant flex with each stroke, causing it to push into the water rather than glide, or there is an issue with the paddle (too large, too heavy, too much flex). In the case of the 11’2 iGO Zen it is definitely the board flex and not the paddle. With each paddle stroke I could feel the board bend, push into the water, and bend back as the next stroke began. It also caused the board to quickly veer off course and become less stable.

Now all of that is while sprinting. The 11’2 iGO Zen does perform better while paddling at a casual cruising pace. Here the board does not bend nearly as much (though it still bends), but I was able to travel at an average speed of 3.7 MPH at 25 strokes per minute. That’s pretty good for an all-around paddle board, and it did feel much smoother gliding across the water.

At that cruising speed, the 11’2 iGO Zen did actually glide quite well. With a single paddle stroke, the board would move about 20 feet before noticeably slowing down. That gives it a gliding ratio of 1.8 board-lengths per stroke. That is on par with the more rigid 10’8 iGO Deluxe, and is high for an all-around iSUP in general.

I was surprised at the capable speed performance of the 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen. I think it will also improve greatly with a more rigid construction like the Starboard Deluxe Single Chamber.

Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen Paddle Board Review – Maneuverability and Tracking

The Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen doe a fantastic job with both maneuverability and tracking performance.

Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen tracking and maneuverability
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The 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen tracks incredibly well for an all-around paddle board, and it turns easily.

In our maneuverability stress test, the Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen did very well. With just forward sweep strokes (paddling in an arc from nose to tail), the 11’2 iGO Zen makes a complete 360° turn from a standstill in just over 5 paddle strokes. This is on the fast side of average for all-around iSUPs, and it’s incredibly easy to turn the board in smaller increments up to 90°.

Using reverse sweep strokes is more efficient and turns the board in fewer than 4 paddle strokes. While more advanced turning strokes do spin the 11’2 iGO Zen even faster, with this type of maneuverability you rarely need to use them!

Once you are standing on the tail of the 11’2 iGO Zen, the board spins around for a pivot turn very easily. The wide tail and raised kick pad give it plenty of support and stability while turning. However, getting to the tail is a bit harder because of the amount of flex and twitching that happens when walking on the board.

With the great maneuverability performance and flex while paddling I had braced myself for the potential of lower tracking performance.

Our tracking stress test involves paddling toward a distant target, taking 10 paddle strokes on one side of the board, and then measuring the difference between the original course and new course. The 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen did quite well and had an average course deviation of just 10°. That’s incredibly impressive for an all-around paddle board, especially with just a single 8” surf-style fin.

Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen 8
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The 11’2 iGO Zen comes with an 8” fin that shares the same size/shape as the Starboard Net Positive M8 fin, but is notably missing the printed graphics of that fin.

The 11’2 iGO Zen has a single Universal Standard (US) style fin box that can accept thousands of different types of fins to suit your paddling style. The board comes with Starboard’s M8 8” surf-style or all-around style fin.

The placement of the fin box, length of the board, and parallel sides all work together to give the 11’2 iGO its great tracking performance. Combined with the easy maneuverability and good cruising speed, the 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen is a good option for lighter paddlers who want an all-around board that is also capable of easy paddling for miles at a time.

Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen Paddle Board Review – Warranty and Customer Support

Starboard offers a two-year manufacturer’s warranty on their inflatable SUPs. Because Starboard does not currently sell direct to the consumer, paddlers must work with retailers (locally or online) to purchase their Starboard products and work with those retailers for any warranty issues. Any return policies are at the discretion of the individual retailer (or pertinent regulations for your area). Starboard is available for customer support via email, however most customer support questions should be directed to your chosen retailer.

Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen Paddle Board Review – Overall Impressions/Review Summary

Starboard 11'2 x 31+ iGO Zen pivot turn
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The 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen is a stable and efficient paddle board for lighter paddlers.

I’ve spent a lot of time in this review talking about the drawbacks of the Zen construction, and I do firmly believe that it is not Starboard’s best option. However I do want to make clear that in the Deluxe Single Chamber construction, the 11’2 x 31+ iGO is a formidable competitor to any all-around iSUP. The shape is incredibly stable and the turning, tracking, and speed performance are all great. For paddlers under 150 pounds who want a lightweight all-around board, the 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen is a great option. For paddlers over 150 pounds who want that same performance, go for the 11’2 x 31+ iGO Deluxe Single Chamber for a more rigid build.

Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen Paddle Board Review – FAQ

Can I bring a passenger or pet with me on the Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen?

Smaller paddlers could bring along another small passenger / child or a small pet and comfortably paddle the 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen. However, paddlers over 150 pounds will greatly benefit from the more rigid Deluxe Single Chamber construction for this board.

Is the Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen good for fishing?

The 11’2 x 31+ iGo Zen is an all-around board with an extra-stable shape. It can work for SUP fishing, however the lightweight and flexible construction won’t be ideal compared to the same board in Starboard’s Deluxe Single Chamber construction. The Starboard iGO Series does not have any fishing specific or alternate accessory attachment points outside of the cargo bungee.

Is the Starboard 11’2 x 31+ iGO Zen a good value?

The lightweight construction of the board makes it a good option, and a fantastic value, for paddlers under 150 pounds in weight. However, paddlers over 150 pounds will likely experience reduced performance capability and should opt for the Deluxe Single Chamber option.

Should I get the Deluxe Single Chamber, Deluxe Double Chamber, or Zen construction?

Most paddlers will get the greatest benefit from Starboard’s Deluxe Single Chamber construction. It’s very rigid, without being overly heavy, and is a great value. Deluxe Double Chamber is more expensive, and the extra air chamber is really only needed if required by local regulation, it does not provide a noticeable performance improvement. The Zen construction is lighter weight and less expensive, but does not offer the same performance level of the DSC construction. We only recommend the Zen construction for paddlers under 150 pounds, but we still prefer the rigidity of the Deluxe Single Chamber.

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