iRocker Sport 11′ X 31″ 2021
Call us old-fashioned, but we think that the main reason to get a paddleboard is to get out on the water and have some fun! Of course, to do that, you have to make sure that you have a board that will help you bring out your best on the water.
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As we’re talking about the 2021 iRocker Sport, we’re going to be focusing on a simple question: should you buy it? We’re going to be looking from the viewpoint of someone who may have never owned a paddleboard before, maybe looking to upgrade to get a more performance-driven model, or even someone who may have an older model of the Sport who is looking to purchase the most modern version.
This is a fitting category because performance is the name of the game with this board. There are specific racing boards on the market but they’re generally more expensive and not as all-purpose as the Sport. Its long thin design allows it to move quickly in the water and is especially Well suited for smoother waters. If you were looking for something that was better and choppier conditions, then you may want to check the All Arounds or even the Cruiser from iRocker as this will not give you the same amount of control in those conditions.
The one major negative factor about this board is how thin it is compared to your standard paddleboard. Most of us are used to having about 32 inches of width or maybe even a bit more, depending on the kind of board that we’re using. This is a thinner board which is a design that way to make it as low profile as possible so that it can be as fast as possible. This may not be the most desirable trait for someone who needs at least the standard amount of stability on the deck or for someone just starting out with paddleboarding.
Maneuverability is more of a minor issue with this board because it’s really designed to be used at high speeds — well, at least high speeds for a paddleboard. As a rule, the faster you’re going the more difficult it can be for you to make turns on the water. Since this board is really designed to get you going as fast as possible and is thinner than a standard board, you should expect to have a little bit more difficulty making sharp turns.
The last category we talk about when mentioning performance is surfing. As a general rule, we don’t take anything over 10 feet 6 inches on the water specifically for any kind of surfing. We have taken boards 11 foot and above and done some surfing in our testing and while hilarious, we didn’t get the results you would expect. Boards like the Sport tend to get their nose stuck in the water when you’re on a wave and send you flying in the air when the tail launches you. That being said, this was not designed for surfing and you can’t fault it for not being able to do something it wasn’t designed to do.
Unlike most other iRocker paddleboards, the 2021 Sport is more performance-driven than feature-driven. Sure, you’re still going to see much of what you might expect from a standard iRocker paddleboard, but this is a nice up that’s designed for moving quickly and not necessarily spending all day on the water.
To begin with, we have a front 6-point bungee storage area where you can put loose bags and equipment plus D-rings where you can clip on gear like dry bags or coolers. Other iRocker models have a secondary storage area in the back, but the Sport excludes that to make room for a neat little feature that they added to the back.
There is a section of the deck that includes a standing area with a kicker behind it. This serves two purposes: the first is to show you exactly where you should be standing to get the best center of gravity her fastest performance. The second part of this feature is having a kick where you can lean back when you’re really getting into it and still have a little extra stability so you don’t go spilling out the back.
D rings are never an issue on iRocker paddleboards! Just like the other boards of this line, the Sport rocks 20 D-rings located all throughout the deck and one below. These serve a variety of purposes ranging from attachment points for an optional kayak seat, giving you areas to attach carabiners for docking, or even daisy-chaining other paddleboards.
As we would expect from iRocker boards, there are three grab handles located throughout the deck. These include on the center of the board (which is fairly standard in the industry), one on the front, and one on the rear. These grab handles are located where they really give you maximum maneuverability in the water and give you the option to drag the board on land without damaging the fins.
Something that a lot of paddleboard reviews lack is the reality of transporting the board to the water. While obviously, the best option is to inflate the paddle board right next to the water and immediately go in, our experience has shown us that that’s not always an option. On more than one occasion, we’ve had to inflate the paddle board quite a distance away from the water itself and then carry it. Having these extra grab handles makes life a lot easier if you have to maneuver a giant inflated piece of plastic on a windy day at the beach!
Compared to other models of this line, the 2021 Sport has fewer color options available, only including three this year. This makes sense because we’re sure that they produce much fewer of these models than other popular models, such as the Cruiser or All Around. Still, we think that someone who really is going to take advantage of this type of board is going to view the color choices as less than important.
The nose of this board is sharper and less rounded compared to its brethren, but not as V-shaped as other performance iSUPS that we’ve reviewed in the past. While it’s true that this will probably make it less effective in cutting water than those other models, it also gives it the ability to be more all-purpose. After all, even if you’re going to purchase this for the speed, there is a good chance that some days you’re just going to want to take it out for a fun day on the lake with the kids.
We’re convinced that a lot of engineers that design paddle boards have never actually used a paddleboard before. This is because certain features that seem elementary to us seemed to elude many manufacturers out there. iRocker is a major standout here, especially when it comes to a simple feature that they include on all their boards: removable three fins set up.
As much as we love paddleboarding, we still hate having to roll up the iSUP and put it into the backpack after we use it. That goes double when we have to worry about fixed fins that we have to fold without bending and find space for it in the backpack itself. The Sport has three fully removable fins that not only make setup a breeze but also give you the freedom to choose what kind of fins setup you want. After all, when we are in very shallow waters, we tend to take out the center fin anyway because not only will it not help us but it’ll scrape against the bottom and get damaged.
In the past, quality in iSUPs was defined in how many layers of PVC a board had, and iRocker was always on the higher end with four layers. The downside to this is added weight. Over the past few years, more and more companies have been manufacturing boards with a tougher inside, which lets them use fewer layers of PVC and theoretically a lighter iSUP. While that may be true in making a stronger board, the problem is that this doesn’t help with outside damage like punctures. And the last thing you need on a multi-day trip is a damaged board.
iRocker’s new construction this year combines the best of both worlds by using a stronger drop stitch core while still having three layers of military-grade PVC on the outside to protect the board. This creates a strong board that can withstand the elements while still finding a way to keep the weight down. This isn’t the lightest 11’ iSUP on the market but probably the strongest, pound for pound.
When purchasing the 2021 iRocker Sport, this is what you can expect out of the box besides the board itself:
- 3-piece travel paddle carbon matte shaft 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)
iRocker also includes a wide range of optional accessories, including their kayak seat and fishing attachments. If you wanted to also get their electric air pump, you wouldn’t get any problems from us. Trust us when we say we know exactly how difficult these inflatable paddleboards can be to get up to pressure. If you don’t want to spend the time doing that with the included pump or (like us) have to inflate multiple paddleboards at a time, the optional electric air pump can do a world of good.
The 2021 iRocker Sport is really designed for somebody who is trying to get themselves away from ordinary paddleboarding without being too out there. There are lots of true performance iSUPs in the market, but they generally have a very high price tag, very extreme features and are often manufactured by brands that aren’t as familiar to the average consumer.
We understand that your standard 10’6” X 32” paddleboard can be limiting for a lot of people, especially when somebody starts to get some experience under their belt. A board like the 2021 Sport will definitely give someone a chance to shine and to build on their experience in training to become stronger paddleboarders.
If you’re looking to take your paddleboarding to the next level but still want a board that can be used for more than just racing, you would be hard-pressed to find another board with these features, price, and reputable manufacturers. This is why we highly recommend the 2021 iRocker Sport inflatable paddleboard!