28 Feb ISLE Sportsman 11’6”
ISLE Sportsman 11’6”
One of the best aspects of an iSUP is its versatility — and we’re not just talking about different types of water! The ISLE 11’6” Sportsman is one of the best examples of just of much you can actually do with an inflatable paddleboard besides just paddling.
- Stability for days
- Scotty mounts all throughout the deck
- Extremely large storage areas
- High weight capacity
- Light for its size
- Not very fast
- Windy conditions can cause loss of maneuverability
- On the pricy side
- Single-chamber pump
- Side fins not removable
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Another feature that may go under the radar is that this is an amazing board for beginners due to its superior stability and for heavier paddlers since it has such a high weight limit. This isn’t the highest profile of the all the other ISLE iSUPs which is one the reasons that this board isn’t as well known, which is a shame considering all it has to offer!
|11'6"||36"||6"||27 LBS||320 LBS|
Before getting into the performance of this board, you have to understand what it is and is not. This is a SUP that is meant to take you where you want to go and give you the strength and durability to do what you came there for. With that in mind, stability is a major plus for the Sportsman. You can jump from side to side and not have to worry about tipping over. This is why its works so well with beginners who often have issues balancing at first.
That said, it’s not the fastest board on the water, but it does a decent job considering how wide it is. Having a 3-fin setup on the bottom of the board helps with that, since a single fin would slow it down even more that its own size would. Since he front is also a little more sharp than you would imagine for a board like this, it doesn’t slow it down as much as a more rounded nose might.
For its size, this is a surprisingly maneuverable board. As we mentioned, this isn’t the fastest board, but it does turn on a dime. As a SUP geared toward outdoor sporting, this really comes in handy when you’re navigating around aquatic plants and rocks. Due to its size, however, it can give you a little problem with windy conditions.
The ISLE Sportsman isn’t a sports car — it’s more like an SUV. If you’re the type of person that uses multiple accessories on the water, you’ll be in heaven with this SUP! For starters, there are 3 handles on the deck. The handle on the middle of the deck, like all ISLE iSUPS now, is made using a rounded neoprene material for maximum comfort when carrying the board on land. One both the tail and nose, you’ll find polyester grab handles that will help you move the board in and out of the water. By the way, having a handle on the tail end is a great feature that we wish we’d see in all SUPs because if you’re dragging it on the beach, you don’t have to worry about damaging the fins at all.
Speaking of the fins, the Sportsman comes with the standard ISLE 3-fin setup with a removable center fin. These fins are the secret to having a combination of stability, speed and maneuverability. Since the center fin is removable and uses a US fin box, this allows you to swap out the included fin for another ISLE model or even a third party fin depending on what it is exactly you’re hoping to do on the water.
On the back of the board, they’ve located their high-pressure valve that can get you up to a sturdy 17 PSI. While you can expect to have this board deflated in about 5 minutes, inflating may take you a bit longer — especially with the included hand pump. This is a big board with a lot of space inside.
In our opinion, the real stars of the show are the front and rear Scotty Mounts. Listen, you can say that you’ve build a sporting board, but ISLE really drove that home with these. With a grand total of 3 mounts, you can attach fishing rods, GoPro cameras, fish finders and anything else with a compatible attachment. Because of these bad boys, there is some amazing footage online of what customers have been able to do with this humble board.
For those of you who are fans of options, sorry to disappoint, but the Sportsman only offers on color package — a rugged orange and forest green motif. That being said, it’s still an attractive board.
As you might expect from a board that really pushes its reputation for getting a lot done of the water, there is about as much storage space as you can possibly put on an iSUP. This include a rear storage area as well as a giant, 6-point bungee storage area up front. Along with these, you have 10 D-rings for storage plus an 11th on the back for the ankle leash or for attaching to a dock.
The traction pad is made from an improved soft brushed EVA and is grooved for extra traction and comfort. What’s great about this pad is that you feel good standing on it for hours at a time or sit and kneel on it all day. Again, think about what you’d be doing while fishing on this SUP and it makes sense the ISLE designed the Sportsman to accommodate.
One of the nice things about an ISLE iSUP is that no matter which model you get, you can expect the same type and quality of construction. All ISLE iSUPS are made of dual-layer military grade PVC that is able to withstand just about any abuse other than severe punctures, which is true of any iSUP.
What makes this SUP superior to other dual-layer iSUPS, though, is the construction process. You see, the very cheapest boards on the market use glue and the better boards use a drop stitch process. ISLE’s unique Airtech Fusion Lite process take a bit from both sides by using the drop stitching but adds a laminate to the stitch. This creates a strong seam and board without having to have 3 or 4 layers like other SUPs in this class, thus cutting down on weight.
The paddle that comes with this SUP is gorgeous and above what would be expected at this price level. It’s a 3-piece carbon fiber handle with a nylon blade, providing strength while not tiring you out from its weight. It comes with an anti-rattle and anti-twist locks to make sure that you don’t waste energy monkeying around with the paddle while you’re on the water.
ISLE’s included backpack works out great because it has more than enough space for the board and included accessories plus extra space if you want to bring a snack or other equipment. The only real complaint is that it be nice to have wheels on the bottom, though this isn’t a deal-breaker.
To make sure your board doesn’t run away from you, there is an included 8’ coiled leash. This means that you don’t have a giant cord dangling off the board while you’re paddling but can still go on the water confident that you’ll come back with your SUP no matter what. It also has a Velcro holder for your keys if you want to go out without other bags.
The repair kit is fairly standard stuff — a few patches for a leak and a wrench to tighten the inflation valve if need be. Our only issue is that it doesn’t include the glue for the patches, so that’s something you’ll need to be mindful of.
Of all the included items, we have the single chamber pump. It’s…ok. We mean, it’s good quality for what it is, but what it is isn’t all that powerful and you may find yourself getting a decent arm and shoulder workout inflating the board. Thankfully ISLE includes a double-chamber pump as the boards get bigger.
If you’re so inclined, ISLE also has a few add-ons that we would recommend you look into. To make your life a lot easier, they have two options for electric air pump — one that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter and one that runs on a chargeable battery. Also, you have a respectable 15L dry bag that you can put either in the bungee areas or attach to a D-ring. Lastly, they offer an inflatable belt pack life jacket. While not requires all the time, we do recommend using one in most water and the US Coast Guard requires a life vest of some sort when paddling outside of swimming areas.
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 instalments through Affirm.
Read More about: Best Inflatable Paddle Boards
The Sportsman 11’6” iSUP isn’t the most high-profile board in the ISLE lineup, and that’s a shame. It could easily replace a small fishing board and is a lot more functional. Afterall, most fishing boats serve one purpose, while with the Sportman, you can still use it for general standup paddling, touring and for bringing other riders along for the day.
That being said, this isn’t something you’d want to take out deep-sea fishing or for larger fish. If you catch the big one, you will go for a ride. But for most lakes and rivers, this should work out just fine — especially if you plan to travel with the backpack for a while. Although this is one ISLE’s pricier boards, it’s also one of the highest rated about their customers, so take that for what it’s worth.
There are other boards out there that are even more purpose built for fishing and similar activities such as many of Bote’s line of iSUPS which have an insane amount of the features — but at more than twice the price when you consider all the accessories. All things considered, for the price we would say that the ISLE Sportsman is one of the best fishing iSUPS on the market for both the board itself as well as the value. If you want to get out on the water for your next fishing trip but prefer the freedom of an iSUP over a fishing boat, this board is a no-brainer.