iRocker Nautical 10’6” 2021
The 2020 paddleboarding season was one for the record books. Between COVID forcing everyone to go inside, production issues leading to disruptions across almost all brands and the whole world shutting down, it wasn’t easy, to say the least.
But one of the bright spots in that year was with iRocker coming out with their Nautical bored. We knew that it was an economical version of their other iSUPs, but we didn’t know what to expect other than that. Thankfully, this was probably one of the biggest surprises that we saw for the entire year and across all brands.
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In fact, the 2020 Nautical made it on our list for the best value paddleboard on the market of that year.
With their iRocker Nautical 2021 model, we wanted to see if they were looking to start and cut any corners or make any other changes.
Performance Analysis of iRocker Nautical 10’6” 2021
Just by doing a quick look at the specs of this board, you would guess that it’s pretty much your standard all-around bored. And you know what, you just about right! A 10-foot 6-inch board at 32 inches wide is the exact measurement we would picture if you were to ask for a standard board of this type. However, it does have a few features that make it stand out a bit.
First of all, we would say that this board is a little bit faster than we would have expected on smooth water. This is due in large part to the shape of the nose that will discuss later in the review. One thing that we typically expect from an all-around board is that it will be more stable than fast since the people purchasing this iSUP are looking to have something they can use in just about any sort of water condition. That’s why it was so surprising to see, while this is no way a racing board, that it’s able to pick up speed relatively quickly and has very little drag in the water.
As far as stability goes, it’s very much what we would expect for a board of this type. The only thing is that if you don’t fill it to the maximum PSI, you may notice that it feels a little spongy. However, it should be noted that this would only really be noticeable to someone who uses inflatable paddle boards on a regular basis, and for the average user, and especially the beginner, it shouldn’t play that much of a role.
Maneuverability on this iSUP is fairly easy and minor course corrections can be made by just putting a bit of effort into your bodyweight distribution versus having to do any major work with your paddle. Overall, this board is as easy to use as we would imagine and was manageable enough that we felt that even a beginner could do well.
This is one of the big categories where we see the difference between the Nautical and other iRocker boards. After all, you have to expect there to be some sacrifices to bring the price down so much. Thankfully, the most important things are all here and only the more luxurious features have been left out.
To begin with, both the front and back have 6-point bungee storage areas where you can put loose bags and equipment, plus D-rings where you can clip on gear like dry bags or coolers. This is one of our overall favorite features iRocker boards and we were very glad to see that they’re still a part of the Nautical line. Since this is the shorter of the two versions of Nautical iSUPs, these Bungie storage areas are naturally going to be taking up a larger percentage of the overall deck space, though we don’t think they should be an issue for most people.
On the topic of D-rings, there are a total of 13 D-rings on this model compared to 20 on other iRocker models. In reality, this is a very minor issue since you’re most likely going to have more D rings than you’re going to use anyway. There are four that are specifically in place for an optional kayak attachment, but since most people don’t use it anyway, you can easily use those as docking points. Our testing is a bit more extreme than the average paddleboarder would experience. So, we end up having to find creative places to attach our docking lines, which means that if 13 D-rings are enough for us, there enough for anyone else!
Another feature that has been left alone with a Nautical is the three grab handles located throughout the top of the deck.iRocker understands that having stable grab points throughout the iSUP is invaluable if you want to have an all-purpose Paddleboard. If you have ever fallen off of a paddleboard and need to get back on (especially when you have waves smacking him from behind), you know that there can never be enough attachment points! Even though we have definitely used the bungee cords as a place to grab on to and a pinch, nothing beats having strong grab handles to move the board in the water, drag across the ground or have as a place to hoist up your body.
One of the easiest ways iSUP manufacturers bring down prices is to limit the number of colors available for a particular model. This is because the more color options they have, the higher the Manufacturing cost since they have to have more stops and starts to their production and have to store color options that may not be as popular. That’s why it’s such a surprise that this Nautical model has four options available. While certainly not as many options as the iRocker Cruiser at seven, we typically see budget boards available Anne one color — two if you’re lucky!
The nose on this iSUP has a rocker that makes it truly all-purpose due to not being overly high or overly low. In general, the rocker height has a lot to do with the type of what are conditions you’re expecting to encounter. The higher the rocker, the rougher the water, and the lower the rocker, the smoother the water. This allows you to get the best speeds while also maintaining stability. Having a rocker that’s not too high and not too low means that you should be able to get on almost any type of water without an issue.
The one thing that we found interesting was, while not a true V-shaped nose, certainly one that is sharper than we would have expected. The more angled the front nose, the greater speed you can expect to get in calmer waters and the more rounded, the more stable it will be. This has a rounded V, so it will get you where you want to go a little bit faster while still not sacrificing stability altogether in rough water.
The deck pad features a channeled layout compared to a textured one in some of the other iRocker models. A channeled deck pad functions to get water off the board as quickly as possible. Obviously, you’re going to get water on the deck, but the faster you get it off, the less of a hazard it becomes. Textured deck pads give you more traction in all conditions, though channeled deck pads work to get the water off quickly and are generally more comfortable to stand and sit on. If we were to use a paddleboard for Sup fitness or plan to do more sitting (such as if you were going fishing), then this would be the type of pad we would want.
Something that iRocker decided to keep with the Nautical this year (and 100% agree it was a good idea), was the removable three-fin set up. When we first heard that iRocker was coming out with a budget board, we automatically assumed that they would leave two of the fins fixed and only have the center fan removable. But having all three be removable on a board of this price is practically unheard of in the industry. This alone would be enough reason to choose this over any other board in his price range!
Within the paddleboard industry, you’ll find companies that use two, three, or four layers of PVC material in their construction. While most iRocker models have three layers of PVC, the Nautical line only has two. This is obviously done as a way to decrease manufacturing costs but is often considered a sign of a lower quality iSUP.
While it’s true that cheaper iSUPs have two layers of PVC, there are positives and negatives to this. On the negative side, it means that the board may feel a little bit spongier like we mentioned before and that if you were to hit a hazard of some sort (like rocks, barnacles, or oysters), then you would have less protection overall.
While those are certainly true, the positives include having a board that’s easier to inflate, weighs less overall, and is easier to maneuver. In the end, especially considering this is a budget board, we wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.
However, the only major issue we see with using this type of construction compared to the normal iRocker construction is that the weight capacity drops considerably. For reference, the 10 foot 6-inch cruiser has a weight capacity of 400 pounds, while the Nautical 10 foot 6 only has a weight capacity of 240.
When purchasing the 2021 iRocker 10’6” Nautical, this is what you can expect out of the box besides the board itself:
- Fiberglass paddle with nylon blade
- Dual chamber, triple action hand pump
- 10’ leash with key stash spot
- Premium travel roller bag
- Removable nylon sup fins (1 center fin and 2 side fins)
- Repair kit (Patches and valve wrench — Does not include glue)
While most of the accessories are the same as you’d get with any other iRocker model, it should be noted that the paddle handle and the backpack are of lower quality. However, the 2021 version of this ice app allows you to add wheels to the backpack as an optional add-on. Just like any other iSUP from this company, you have the option to purchase additional accessories such as an attachable kayak seat.
We would say that we’re surprised at what a great value this board is, but it’s very similar to the 2020 version and we were surprised then! Still, iRocker continue to do a great job in providing what we consider to be the best-valued iSUP on the market.
Considering the features that you get as well as the quality of construction, there’s few if any better option in that price range.
Admittedly, this is not the best iSUP you can buy, but it has everything most people need, and most of the features that it excludes I ones that we rarely use anyway.
When you compare the Nautical to other iRocker boards, the biggest issue we see is that it does not have the same attachment points and therefore does not have the ability to use things such as the fishing brackets or other accessories that iRocker and other companies may come up with in the future. That said, someone using this type of board probably wouldn’t need them anyway.
If you’re in the market for a top-quality inflatable paddleboard but don’t want to break the bank, then you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than the 2021 10’6” inch Nautical inflatable paddleboard. Keep in mind that this model also comes in an 11’6” inch version that was newly added this year.