At 12’4” long and 38” wide, it’s certainly has the largest profile of the other boards in the lineup. This is an iSUP that makes you question if you’re on a paddle board or just a small fishing boat. If you need to be on the water for a while and need to bring your….well, everything with you, you’d be hard pressed to find another board to do the job while still technically being an iSUP
- Giant board
- Massive amounts of storage and gear space
- Most stable boards on the market
- Extremely comfortable
- One of the most expensive iSUPs on the market
- Very heavy board and gear
- Accessories don’t seem to match the price of the board
[ez-toc]What do you do if you are looking for a Bote iSUP but aren’t sure which model you want? Maybe you want the length of the Traveller Aero with the width and features of the HD Aero. Or maybe you like the rac systems of the other Bote boards but need more than just one at a time. If you’re the kind of person who just wants a bit of all the good parts of the other boards, then you may want to check out the Rackem Aero.
|12’4”||38||7||45 lbs||400 lbs|
While you’d normally expect to see an EVA foam pad on an iSUP deck, here you have a BVA foam pad which Bote says is better for getting rid of any water that finds itself on the deck. Whether or not that actually true, we’re not sure, though it is super comfy.
The HD Aero also has 3 grab handles. The middle handle in the center in meant to help you carry it over land while the front and back handles are to help you move it in and out of the water plus perhaps attach to a dock.
One of the things that sets this line of iSUPS apart from most others are the accessory integration systems. On this board specifically, there are 2 attachment points toward the back of the deck. We’ll get into some of the available accessories later in this review. Beyond what you can purchase from Bote directly, you can use the points to attach a GoPro, rod holder or even a fish finder. Something that makes this SUP unique amongst its peers is the addition of 2 extra attachment points on the front of the deck pad.
Just forward of the back accessory attachment points you’ll find 2 cooler tie downs. Essentially, these are just free D-rings that have been reinforced to allow you to have a heavier cooler on the deck without having to worry about it slipping and sliding around. Along the both sides there are attachment points for their Travelink strap.
On the back right of the board, there is an attachment for the Sandspear sheath and the very back has an attachment for the Power-Pole Micro, both of which we’ll discuss in the accessories section.
Just behind the front grab handle there is an attachment point for the paddle holder and one of the models also includes a paddle tiedown on the foam pad for storing your paddle when not in use.
In our opinion, one of the best parts of the Rackham Aero is that while there are three different versions, the only difference between them are how they are decorated. Other models of Bote iSUPs have more or fewer features depending even though they have the same price. Depending on your style, you can choose between the Bug Slinger Sunset, Classic or Verge Camo editions.
The bottom of the board is completely flat to give extra balance to the paddler, even though this iSUP doesn’t need much help in that department. On the nose of the board, you’ll notice a that it’s upturned more than you might see on other SUPs. This is called an entry rocker and is put there to shed water, making it easier to get through choppy water.
As what we would expect with a board like this, the Rackham Aero sports a 3-fin setup underneath the board. The large center fin is removable while the side fins are not. This allows you the option of taking off that center fin for easer storage or if you in super shallow water.
An important feature of the Rackham Aero is its storage space. The front of the board has a 6-point bungee storage system (with 6 D-rings) and the back a 4-point system (with 4-D-rings). Considering how much time you would potentially spend on this SUP, it makes sense that you have the option to store extra gear, snacks or anything else you might need.
Right off the bat, one of the most unique things about the Bote Aero line of iSUPS is that while they’re made of the quality military grade PVC that we would expect to find, it is only a single layer, compared to the 2, 3 or even 4 layers we typically see on most iSUPs. For almost any other brand, a single layer would be a giant red flag for a low-quality board.
The good news here is that it’s single layer, not because they were cutting corners, but because they use completely different construction model. Instead of building a board that gets its strength from multiple layers of material, Bote uses a system that fills the inside of the board with a composite material that makes it feel just about as hard as a solid board.
Inflating the Rackham can be a chore due to its overall volume. To compensate (a little) for that, there are 2 air compartments inside the board — 1 in the front and the other in the back. That way you can inflate one then inflate the other without having to worry about losing air plus you also get a stronger board. This is unique among the other Bote boards as well as most other iSUPS in general.
Rolling Aero Bag: This is a big difference between the other Bote Aeros. Since there is so much material to this SUP, they include more than just the standard backpack. This is a luggage-style bag that includes roller wheels, cam straps and grip handles. The company adverses this as a bag that can be used on airplanes but with all the weight involved here, you’re looking at over 70 pounds which is heavier than a lot of airlines allow.
3-Piece Fiberglass Paddle: this paddle is made of one of the lightest yet strong materials that we see in SUP paddles of this level. Quick to adjust and easy to break apart and put back together. Bote makes a point to let their customers know that this paddle does not float in the water.
Detachable Center Fin: Having the ability to take the fin off makes for easier storage and gives you the option to not use the fin in shallower waters. This uses its own specific type of fin box which makes it non-compatible with third-party US fin box fins.
Hand pump: A basic hand pump is included to allow you to inflate the board on site. We would have liked to have seen a double chamber pump.
Repair Kit: This includes everything you need to make minor repairs to the board if there are tears or rips. We’re happy to see that this kit includes glue and not just patches like we see from other comparable brands’ repair kits. The glue isn’t expensive, but this detail means that the company cares.
Rac Receivers: These are points that you can screw onto the board at two attachment points towards the back of the deck. With these mounted, you’re able to attach the rac accessories that are sold separately.
Paddle Sheath: This neat feature shows you just how this iSUP was originally designed as a hard board. On the hard version, this is an indentation on the nose, but here it is an attachment that is screwed on and gives you a place to quickly store your paddle by the blade.
Sandspear Sheath: This is another attachment that allows you to use the Bote Sandspear as a quick and easy way to anchor your SUP without having haul any heavy equipment. The Sandspear itself is sold separately.
If you’re looking to add the ISLE Scout to your arsenal, there are two ways to do that online. You can either going through their own page[i] or through Amazon[ii]. As of now, is no difference in price between the two options, but ISLE give you the option to pay in installments through Affirm.
Travelink Sling: This attaches to 2 D-rings on either sides of the board and lets you travel over long distances than simply holding the center handle.
Onyx Inflatable Lifejacket: This compact lifejacket contains a CO2 cartridge that gives you the same amount of buoyancy as a jacket many times its size. This helps it to stay out of the way.
Aeropump: This high-quality electric pump gives you the option to use your car’s cigarette lighter or battery as a power source. Probably one of the best electric iSUP air pumps on the market.
Tackle Rac: Now we’re starting to get serious about the fishing aspect of a Bote and the company said that it is by far the most popular of their racs. This attachment inserts into the rac receivers quickly and without any real effort. There are two pegs near the top to keep your gear high and out of the water. On the back, there are 2 rod holders that will accommodate conventional, spinning or fly reels so that you can either just have them sitting there without you having to hold them or so that you can do some SUP trolling. It’s made with marine grade aluminum and powder coated for your choice of color.
Bucket Rac: This is for you who really want to bring a bucket with you either for bait, storing your catch or just to load up with refreshments of the soft or hard varieties. Although lower than the Tackle Rac, one of the benefits is that it can hold 4 rods compared to just 2. You can fit a standard 5 gallon bucket or use the optional KULA coolers.
KULA Cooler: Designed in-house, this cooler comes in both 2.5 and 5 gallon models and both hard and soft materials. However, most of the best features are in the hard-shell model. It can be opened with one hand and the handle even has an integrated bottle opener. The bottom has slip resistant feet and the top is made if the same material that they use on the deck. This is so that you can sit or even stand on it without having to worry about any water on your cooler. The last feature that we really liked is that there are grooves in the bucket itself so that when the cooler is open, you can rest your rod in a place where it won’t slip out.
Power-Pole Micro: This is a wireless anchor system for shallow waters. Although there is an attachment for this on the back of the SUP, as of this writing, this accessory is not available. The reason for this is unknown.
Bote offers a wide range of ways to purchase. While you can purchase at one of hundreds of dealers throughout North America, they aren’t sold in larger sports supply stores. For most of us, buying online might just be the best bet. You can purchase through Amazon[i] or via their own webstore[ii]. However, for whatever reason, the Breeze Aero seems to be the only model you cannot purchase on their Amazon store. Regardless of how it’s purchased online, there is always free shipping in the lower 48 states.
Something we love to see in a SUP is a generous return policy. Bote offers a 60-return policy if you don’t like it for any reason. Above and beyond that, you have a 2-year limited warranty for any defects on the board itself.
If you purchase from Bote directly, you have the option purchasing via Affirm. This option, although not unique to Bote, gives you the option to finance the board interest free for up to 12 months. Remember that this is not a program via Bote, so any questions you have about the process needs to go to Affirm directly.
The Rackham is a force to be reckoned with. While we almost hesitate to call it an iSUP due to the vast number of accessories and functionality entailed, it’s also one of the most purpose-built boards on the market. In all honesty, as awesome as this iSUP is, it’s difficult to justify the purchase because you can easily find a non-motorized fishing boat at well less than half the price not to mention a large iSUP of similar or superior quality. To really use this iSUP to its potential, you could easily spend over $2000.
Like most of the other iSUPS in this lineup, we are baffled at the lack of quality of the included accessories. We were happy to see that they included an upgraded carrying case, but the least the could have done would be to include an electric air pump considering how much work would be involved in inflating this monster.
Overall, would we love to take this SUP on the water and go fishing? Hell yeah! Would we want to pay the amount of money they are asking for the privilege? Well, maybe not Hell no, but we wouldn’t reach into our pockets just yet until the price goes down or they include more for the cost.