Finally, the time had come. I was in desperate need of a brand new stand-up paddleboard, and my search was on. I have been busting my butt all year long, so I decided I needed to treat myself to something new. Doesn't all that hard work go to waste if you cannot enjoy the fruits of your labor? What should a girl do when choosing the right paddle board for her lifestyle?
For me, the answer to that question is relatively straightforward. I took your advice and went back to what I had already written, and I decided to go with the iRocker Sport 11' inflatable SUP in the end. As I proceed through this article, you will learn how I came to my decision and my uncensored and unfiltered opinion about the iRocker SPORT board. It may surprise some of you what I have to say about it.
How does one even begin to choose with so many available paddleboard options? When it comes to parting with several hundred dollars of your hard-earned money, it's easy to experience information overload and become paralyzed by indecision. The fear of making a wrong choice and experiencing buyer's remorse down the road is hard to overcome, and I understand that feeling.
It's always best to make a purchase decision by starting with the criteria that are non-negotiable for you, the things you know you want aboard. It could be a price ceiling, a particular brand, or a required feature. Anything that will help narrow down the field.
I was looking for inflatable boards, and I live in Florida and Montana, so I knew I needed a SUP board I could easily transport across the country. It was simply a matter of answering the questions I put forth in my article, "5 Crucial Questions To Ask Before Choosing a SUP Board.
There are flat water reservoirs in Montana and light chop small surf on Florida's gulf coast. As a result, I needed something to handle both.
It's me, duh! I am looking for a 5' 3" female paddler at an intermediate level.
In my experience, you get what you pay for after reviewing many different kinds of boards. Getting a quality board was more important to me than the cheapest board. However, I still wanted to feel like I was getting my money's worth.
Yes, I consulted my crystal ball. If by "crystal ball," you mean one of the countless articles I've written about inflatable stand-up paddleboards. Refreshing my memory of some of the boards I had previously written about, I reread them. The infographic "Quick and Dirty Infographic of the Top 6 Inflatable SUPs" and "New ISUP Kits on the Block" scan.
Naturally, I followed my advice. I listed the iRocker CRUISER as the "Best Overall ISUP." iRocker has outdone its competition in nearly every area: With iRocker, you get high-quality accessories that are often just afterthoughts with most SUP kits, a better warranty, and an affordable price that may not be the cheapest, but it's still better than some other boards that I felt were inferior in one way or another. IRocker even boasts in its Facebook advertising that its boards are among the very best on the market.,
It was clear that iRocker was the brand I wanted, but I wanted to see which of their boards I would prefer. I knew I would probably encounter small surf and light chop where I paddle, which is why iRocker gives its SPORT board high marks.
A SPORT paddleboard is a touring style that is longer and narrower, and it appealed more to me as an intermediate paddler than the standard all-around board.
I received my board from Amazon promptly. My first reaction was to open the box, partly out of excitement and partly to ensure all parts were present and undamaged.
I received everything I requested and in good condition: the board, repair kit, 2-piece carbon fiber paddle, pump, carrying bag, fin, leash, a few fun stickers, and the QuickStart User's Guide. I had to wait until the next day to paddle my board for the first time since it was delivered late in the day.
What is the difficulty of inflating a balloon? If you're debating whether to get an inflatable board, the real question is probably this one.
It took me a while to figure that out. At my launch point, I unrolled the board and connected the hose. It was 2:43 p.m. on my watch. Let's get started. A dual-action pump activated, inflated both when you pulled up and pushed down. According to the manufacturer, this allows for quicker inflation.
Inflating on the pushdown requires much less effort than doing it this way. Pull-ups cause pain in my lower back, even in the early stages. Air flows through the board more but at the expense of your back and about 3x more physical exertion. To use the dual-action the entire time to inflate my board would be utterly exhausting for someone my size.
Until the board reaches 7PSI, the pressure gauge won't even register on the pump. Until then, I kept it in dual action, and it's easy to switch from double to single step by simply removing the plug from the neck of the pump.
I'm not so sure this is true if dual action pumping is so physically demanding that you have to stop frequently to give yourself a rest. More muscular guys might be able to do it, but most women will need to use a single action if they want to keep pumping until fully inflated.
That's what I did. I pumped and pumped and pumped some more. When 15 minutes had passed, and I was only at *10 PSI out of the minimum 15, I started to feel slightly depressed. Here, I adjusted my pump, position, and technique. Aha! Once I did this, I noticed that more air was flowing through the board.
After about 10 minutes of pumping, I finally gave up. The time was 3:08 pm, and I reached *13PSI after 25 minutes of pumping. Let me say a few words about inflating my board before getting to my performance review.
It was probably a user error that caused me to have difficulty inflating my board on my first try.
Before writing this review, I took my board out four times. I found it easier each time. I knew what I was doing, but the board also played a part. As a brand new board, it is stiffer. After a few uses, the committee develops muscle memory, making inflating it more accessible and manageable.
Inflating my board took me 15 minutes the second time and 10-12 minutes the third and fourth time. A few PSI are hard to reach and require a bit more elbow grease while pumping. Fewer pumps will be necessary at this physics point. Now that I know how I work, I find inflating my board easier every time. I don’t want the little effort it takes to grow my board to be an excuse for my not using it.
So, I bought a car-mounted 12V electric pump. It looks like this:
Intelligent 20PSI Digital 12V Electric Air Pump for Inflatable SUP & Paddle Board Quickly reach high pressures
It only takes about 10 minutes to re-inflate the board, so it does not take significantly less time than pumping manually, but it doesn't require any effort if you don't feel like pumping the board yourself on the days when you're feeling lazy.
During this waiting period, you can sort through the rest of your gear, down a quick cold beverage, or relax and enjoy the view.
Finally, I would like to mention the performance features of the board. I purposefully bought a touring board. My favorite place to paddle is the large reservoir near my home in Montana, and I like the idea of covering a large area with my boat. Its length, 11 feet, allows you to go farther than a standard board, but you can also go faster. For me, this was a critical feature.
The downside is that it's a little less stable. The board feels "tippy" due to its narrow width compared to a more typical "all-around" board. You're afraid of falling in the water if you shuffle or reposition your feet.
I worked out the board's limitations; I was careful with my strokes and movements, and I didn't want to make too many movements and lose my balance. I was very impressed with the board's first run. I did feel a slight "flex" in the board, but I knew it was because I hadn't pumped it up to enough PSI. I tested it further the second and third time I had it out. I managed to pump the board up to its proper PSI, which helped it glide better in the water.
I felt more comfortable with the board's limitations and how much I could shift weight from one leg to the other without losing balance. However, I thought it would turn with a little more ease than it does. It depends more readily than many "all-around" boards but not as acutely as you'd expect from a touring board.
Intermediate paddlers or those who have some prior experience with paddling or other board sports should be able to become comfortable with the board quickly.
It was windy during my last trial run, and I went to a more exposed area of the reservoir. Consequently, the water was choppier than before. Because of this, I proceeded with caution while I figured out the board's limitations. I paddled on my knees until I knew how the board would handle the 1' waves.
My experience was that iRocker's SPORT board handled small waves and chopped much better than their "all-around" models. The board has a slight rocker or curvature.
This board has a slight nose rocker, so it rides over the wave rather than digging into it. After taking a few practice trips on my knees, I finally gathered the courage to stand on the board. You will need this feature in a paddleboard if you encounter small waves or light chop. As the first wave approached, I felt nervous because of the strong wind.
I paddled forward to get some momentum going as I approached the wave. Surprised by how easily the board handled the lock, I nosed over it and swam through it. Success! It took me about 15 minutes to paddle around in the choppy conditions, and I was pleased with the board's performance.
When you're paddling with the wave, you have to be careful because if the tide or chop is pushing your tail forward, you'll feel it almost stall for a split second before continuing. You can almost lose your balance when you ignore that slight pause.
I am thrilled with my choice of boards. The board and its accessories are of high quality and offer great value for money. I found the perfect board for me and my needs due to my diligence in researching my choices before deciding.
It is challenging to inflate the board at first, but it gets easier with practice. Moreover, this is probably not unique to rocker boards but to all inflatable paddleboards. As you'd expect from a narrower touring profile, the board is tippy and doesn't have as stable a platform as you'd expect.
Turning ability was disappointing. Considering it's a touring board, I expected it to turn more precisely just a personal preference and not totally the board's fault. Lastly, it would help if you considered how it works after a chop or swell. There can be a slight stalling action as the wave glides under the board.
Although this is just a minor detail, people should be aware of it when using the board. It has high-quality accessories, excellent tracking, ease of handling small chops and waves, and great value for money. As iRocker says: "You can find a cheaper board, but you can't find a better one!
According to my previous reviews, iRocker is the best inflatable board overall. If you're looking for an iSUP, I would recommend iRocker to you as they are a good value, high-quality board. What do you think of the iRocker? Let me know! Let me know what you think!