In this article, we go through all the benefits and detractors of this Nautical 11’6 paddle board review.
Just like in our Nautical 10’6” review. We state who this board is for, what makes this SUP good value as well as things iRocker could have done better with this SUP.
And Spoiler alert: It was rated as our Best Cheap Paddle Board.
Have I got your attention yet? Let’s get into the review!
Nautical 11’6” Paddle Board Review Ratings
Below is how I rate the Nautical 11’6” board. Click each of the links below to jump to each section of the review.
Total Score 7.7/10 (Averages of Below Scores)
- On-Water Performance – 7.6
- Stability 8.5
- Tracking 7.5
- Speed 7.5
- Maneuverability 7
- SUP Construction – 7.5
- Board Features – 7.9
- Deck Pad 7.5
- D Rings 8.5
- Deck Bungees 8.5
- Action Mounts: 6
- Handles 9
- Accessories – 7.4
- Backpack 7.5
- Paddle 8
- Pump 6
- Fins 8
- Set-Up/ Take Down – 8
- Tracks better than Nautical 10’6”
- The Quality of Accessories that come with 11’6” is great
- One of the more stable budget SUPs around
- A great board for new paddlers that are 6’ and over
- A fiberglass paddle is added bonus
- Board is lightweight for its size
- Handles small chop fairly well
- The pump is nothing to write home about
- Board has some flex, especially when paddling more vigorously
- Maybe a bit too big for smaller paddlers in the mid 5’ to maneuver
Who Should be Using the Nautical 11’6” Paddle Board?
The Nautical 11’6” would have been the perfect board for me when I started paddle boarding 10 years ago. But instead, I went the Craigslist route, learned some things, and ended up building a website about paddle boards! But that’s a story for another day.
The Nautical 11’6” SUP is ideal for taller/ bigger folks who want to get on the water without breaking the proverbial bank. Its large, more rounded shape gives new paddlers extra confidence when they try standing on the board. The board excels at primary stability (the stability of the craft resting on flat water).
This paddle board can theoretically be used for smaller to medium-built folks as well. But they will have to put a bit more work into maneuvering the board. This is why we usually recommend the Nautical 10’6” SUP for smaller people.
What SUP Activities Can the Nautical 11’6” SUP be Used For?
The Nautical can be used for a few different things. This is thanks to the board’s action mount and longer deck pad.
Learning The Sport of Paddle Boarding
I would say at least 50% of the people who will be buying this board fall into this category. This is a great SUP for those taller and slightly heavier folks who want to give paddle boarding a try.
Medium to smaller-build paddlers can also use this board as the longer length will feel like a slightly steadier platform compared to the Nautical 10’6”. While On-water performance metrics like tracking, speed, and stability are slightly better. Its maneuverability takes a bit of a hit thanks to the board’s extra length.
The next step after learning is recreational paddling! The good news with the Nautical 11’6” is that it has 6 rows of bungee deck webbing. This means that you have the capability to bring some essentials with you when taking the board out for day trips.
Things like dry bags, coolers, speakers (a personal favorite of mine), and a change of clothes are all options with this SUP!
As I mentioned in the 10’6” review, this is not the best SUP yoga board by a long shot but it can be more than suitable for those basic yoga positions that have a lower degree of difficulty. Being an 11’6” board it will feel more stable than the 10’6”.
The thing I would mainly caution you on is the deck pad, The striped deck pad in the middle is fairly grippy. Not the most, but it does the job. As you go down, the deck pad is a smooth surface which is not as ideal. When the deck pad gets wet this surface will be a bit more slippery and you will encounter less grip than the striped portion.
So my parting advice on this is to try to keep your hands and feet on the striped part as much as possible 😉
Much like the advice I gave for SUP Yoga, this paddle board makes a decent SUP fishing board. But there are definitely better fishing models on the market. Few will beat the price/ value ratio as the 11’6” Nautical though.
The Nautical offers one action mount which means that you can mount a rod holder onto the board and let your rod do all the work while you kick back with a nice beverage of your choice.
The Nautical 11’6” is best used for the more minimalist fishermen. For folks who like to have a lot of fishing equipment onboard, we made a list of the Best Fishing SUPs.
Another thing that iRocker did which is good in my books, is the fact that they gave the Nautical 11’6” 4 spare D rings in the middle of the board. This allows it to have kayak hybrid capabilities. iRocker has a kayak conversion kit available to buy on their website.
I would recommend a kayak hybrid seat if you have an injury or if you are going out on a longer paddling trip. This allows you to give those numb feet a rest and gives your body a new set of muscles to work on when doing the kayak paddle motion.
Nautical 11’6” Stats Deconstructed
- Type of Board: Recreational
- Length: 11’6″
- Width: 32″
- Thickness: 6″
- Volume: 232 L
- Weight: 22 Lbs
- Maximum Capacity: 265 Lbs
The Nautical 11’6” is made of a dual-layer PVC frame with what we believe to be a single-threaded military-grade drop stitch core.
Admittedly this is not my favorite PVC layering technique but it’s a vast improvement over the single-layer budget boards that you will find on Amazon. It’s also one of the reasons why this board has a 2-year warranty against manufacturing defects.
The frame of the 11’6” board is not the sturdiest of the iRocker line-up though. And you will really see this when you bounce up and down on the board a few times. The extra flex is more noticeable when paddling vigorous strokes.
In Fact, the extra flex is night and day compared to the All Around 11 Ultra or the even more sturdy double-chambered Nixy Monterey. If SUP construction is important to you and you want a board that feels more relaxed take a look at the above picks.
You Can Deck Out My Personal Review of paddling the All Around 11 Ultra here.
Nautical 11’6” Board Profile
In comparison to the Nautical 10’6”, this board will glide a bit better thanks to its extra length. While the board does have a more rounded profile compared to other higher-tiered iRocker SUPs it still features a slightly pointed nose and some extra rocker which allows water to part on each side of the board neatly.
“In my past experience with Amazon budget boards, many of them have a rounded nose. This makes more resistance in the water when paddling which can limit the glide and speed of the board.”– Editors Notes
Thankfully iRocker has taken a lot of the lessons it learned with its more premier boards and has applied similar rocker and board design principles to the Nautical 11’6” board.
What’s On Deck
Below are some of the features that make the Nautical 11’6” stand out from other budget SUP boards.
Nautical 11’6” Deck Pad
The Nautical features a nice spacious deck pad that takes up about 2/3rds of the board. We personally like SUPs that have more deck padding as it means you get more grip for not only gear stashed under the bungees but also your feet!
The deck pad has two different types of textures. The striped texture helps keep your feet in place and the flat texture towards the end of the board.
In our mind, the deck padding is a bit thinner compared to other boards we’ve tested. This means a bit less cushioning on your feet but on the contrary, it makes the board a bit easier to fold. If you feel your feet getting numb after a few hours it may be a good idea to look at the iRocker kayak conversion kit to give those puppies a bit of a break!
The tail is 16” wide which still gives you a good amount of room to place gear. The 16” is also a critical stat to remember when you start increasing your skill level on your SUP. The increased width plus the deck padding running to the tail of the board means you have a grippy surface to try and do pivot turns (standing on the tail and making the board do a 360 in the water while paddling).
In this case, I would actually argue that this is an easier board to learn pivot turns on as opposed to the All Around 11 Ultra. As the Ultra 11 does not have any deck paddling running to the rear due to it having to compromise to be compact.
Nautical 11’6” D Rings
Another advantage the nautical has over the vast majority of budget boards is the number of D rings this SUP comes with. Normally budget boards (especially from Amazon) come with 6-12 D rings if you are lucky. The Nautical 11’’6” comes with 18 D rings which include:
- 6 D rings for front bungees
- 6 D rings for rear bungees
- 1 D ring for towing at the bottom nose for towing
- 1 D ring at the tail for Ankle Leash
- 4 D rings for Kayak Conversion Kit or Shoulder strap (labeled)
More D rings = More possibilities which means more usage of your SUP without having to replace it for a better board with more room. More on this in the next section.
Nautical Deck Bungees
When it comes to budget boards I find a lot of people really overlook the importance of deck bungees.
“ A few years ago my friend bought the Tower Yachtsman which featured no deck bungees. He had to buy a dry bag with a clip that clipped onto the nose of the SUP. Because there was no secure place to secure the drybag, oftentimes it would flop over the deck of the board due to the drybag’s round shape. While not a deal breaker it is annoying having to stop every few minutes to put the bag back on board.”– Editors Notes
With the Nautical 11’6” paddle board you get 3 rows of bungees at the front and 3 rows in the back. This gives you plenty of room to stash gear such as:
- Tackle boxes
- Dry Bags
- Water Bottles/ Containers
- Waterproof Speakers (An Essential for me)
- Coolers (Another essential for me 😉 )
- Bathing suits
This list can go on forever but you get the idea.
iRocker Mounting Points
The Nautical only features one action mount which can fit the following accessories:
- Cup Holders
- Rod Holders
- iRocker Bluetooth Speaker
- Action Camera Mount
- Cell Phone Holder
- Camera Mount
Most affordable SUPs do not have such a feature so you are forced to use the little deck bungee room that the board has. Although it must be said, I feel they could very easily add another one on the left-hand side of the SUP.
“In my time testing different paddle boards, I have used the phone holder, cup holder, and action camera mount. All of which I highly recommend trying out. Especially if you want to document your journey.“– Editors Notes
Nautical 11’6” Handles
The Nautical series comes with 7 handles although the one you will be using the most will be the middle one. This will be the handle you use to carry the SUP to shore and back.
The handle is made of a nice neoprene material which makes it easy on the hands. I know this does not sound like much but believe me, carrying a nylon handle to and from shore can be a pain in your hands! Unfortunately, many budget SUPs have them.
There are 2 other handles located on the nose and tail of the board. These are best for guiding the board in the water to the position you want it. I don’t recommend using them to drag the SUP on land though as this could cause wear and tear that you won’t want to deal with down the road.
If you look closely there are also 4 handles located on the front and the back of the board. These are ideal for children to hold onto in case you two go through some wind/ waves or wake from oncoming boats.
I personally like using the front handle to steady the board as I’m carrying it. Oftentimes when you add items to the deck it puts the board off-kilter. So steadying it with your other hand helps carry both the board and the load properly.
Nautical 11’6” Accessories
One of the Nautical series strong suits is the quality accessories that come with the board. Are they the best? No, but I can tell you that the majority of what comes with this board will be a heck of a lot better than what you see on Amazon!
“I, for one, really appreciate a good quality bag because I’ve had SUPs that came with absolute crap bags in the past. Some are too small and take forever to fit the SUP back into the bag, some are made of mesh and some don’t even come with a bag at all!”– Editots Notes
The Nautical comes with a pretty solid bag, especially for its price range. Some things I look for in SUP bags are:
- Does the SUP Easily fit back into the bag when properly deflated?
- Does it have pockets to store extra gear?
- Is the bag made of decent durable materials?
- Is the bag comfortable to wear?
In this case, the bag/backpack that comes with the Nautical checks all of these boxes.
First off, the bag comes with a good amount of padding on the back and shoulder areas. This is something I see a lot of budget SUP manufacturers skimp out on. While carrying your SUP bag to the shore in 5 minutes isn’t a huge deal. It is when the hike to shore is long and those straps start to dig into your shoulders.
The Nautical SUP bag also features a fairly spacious front pocket that can fit the single pump, accessories like a belt pack, or even a smaller SUP life vest.
If you are bringing water with you you can place them in the mesh side pockets on the sides. Although in my experience, these mesh pockets with elastic lip aren’t the best for keeping bigger bottles in place. Sometimes your water bottles with fall out if the bag is tilted sideways.
Of course one of the biggest things I look for in a SUP bag is will the board fit back into the bag when you are finished for the day? In this case, it will, IF the board is properly deflated! Boards with even the smallest amounts of air still in them take up a good amount of room in the bag. Thankfully you can deflate the board with the manual pump to make it fold better inside.
Nautical 11’6” Paddle
The Nautical series comes with a fiberglass paddle, Hallelujah! Now, this small detail won’t make or break your experience when learning to paddle board compared to an aluminum paddle. But you will appreciate a fiberglass paddle more and more as your skills grow.
As you start wanting to paddle at a more vigorous pace for a longer time period you will start to feel the weight of the aluminum paddle start to weigh on you over time. With a fiberglass paddle, you get a lighter-weight paddle which means you can paddle for a longer time period without frequent breaks.
The Nautical series paddle adjusts between 72” and 86” which is within the average range of most paddlers. Although people who are 6’4” and above may need to get a more customized paddle to fit their stroke.
The Nautical paddle also floats in the water in case you drop it thanks to a foam layer located in the handle. This is another area where aluminum paddles have a tough time staying afloat.
Nautical Single Chamber Pump
This is the area where I felt the Nautical slacked off a bit. There’s nothing inherently wrong with single-chamber pumps. It’s just that it takes a bit longer to pump the board and it feels like a workout before you actually start what you thought the workout would be (paddle boarding).
This particular pump measures 24” lengthwise and features a dual-action setting. Dual action means that the pump produces air both on the up stroke as well as the down stroke. As you get to a higher PSI range it starts to get more difficult, so this is where you can switch it to single action to make the pumping harder.
Pumping on a manual single-chambered pump non-stop takes about 8 minutes.
“I’m done with using manual pumps though. I personally let the iRocker electric pump do the work for me! While the pumping time may take a few minutes more compared to a manual, it is much more efficient as you can use that time to properly set up your board or pack the bag back into the car. Work smarter not harder! 😉
While the $130 price tag for an electric pump may feel like an extra gimmick in the beginning. You will feel completely different after having to manually pump the board a few times! Once you go electric you can never come back. Unless you are a fitness junky.”– Editors Notes
iRocker did well with this in my mind. The Nautical fins are the same proprietary fin system that you can find on their iRocker boards. This gives you the option to play with fin set-ups as you get more experienced.
Although starting out, I’d recommend using all the fins to give you that extra bit for tracking and stability.
If you compare this to most budget boards from Amazon, they usually have 2 smaller fins glued on followed by a slide-in center fin made of cheaper plastic. This makes the average budget board’s tracking worse off. Which greatly limits on-water performance criteria like tracking and speed.
The leash is pretty standard with most leashes that come with SUPs these days. It has two swivel bases that allow it to not get tangled up, as well as a 10’ length to give you ample space in case you take a bit of a tumble.
The leash also comes with a small key pocket on it as well. Although I would advise putting your car keys in a dry area like a dry bag.
Nautical 11’6” On-Water Performance
The Nautical 11’6” won’t be the all-star of the iRocker line-up. But it does an overall admiral job at getting a decent amount of performance for a board of its price range. We detail more below.
If there was one on-water performance area that the Nautical 11’6” was built for I would say stability would be it. Being an introductory board, many people who purchase the Nautical 11’6” are first-time paddle boarders.
The Nautical 11’6” has good initial stability. As a first-time beginner when you stand, the board may have a bit of wobble when first getting used to it but after a bit of experience you’ll get the hang of it!
When compared to the iRocker boards, the board will feel a bit more bouncy the more weight you put onto it.
The Nautical 11’6” will be better at tracking compared to the 10’6 model simply due to its longer length. How does it compare to other iRocker models though? The Nautical will not track as well as boards of a similar length like the All Around 11 or the Sport series.
These boards are made of an extra layer of PVC which gives those boards more rigidity compared to the Nautical 11’6” dual-layer frame.
From what I’ve heard from other people, the Nautical can do about 3-4 strokes a side before you have to switch sides to correct the course. These stats are similar to the testing I did with the All Around 11 Ultra and its 2-fin set-up.
The Nautical 11’6 will be faster than most budget boards due to the board’s rocker and the slightly pointed nose. Its 22-pound weight will also give the board more acceleration off the bat compared to heavier boards. Although I’m noticing a trend that these budget Amazon boards are getting lighter and lighter due to their single-layer constructions.
Where the Nautical does not do itself any favors though, especially compared to the iRocker brand boards is the fact that the SUP bends more when you paddle more vigorously. The dual-layer PVC construction is the cheapest construction iRocker use. That, coupled with the singled threaded drop stitch material lacks the rigidity of the cross-threaded drop stitch found on the Ultra boards.
One of the places where the Nautical 11’6” was marked as average was in the maneuverability segment. A lot of this is down to the board’s foot length which makes it on average, a foot to 6 inches longer than a lot of other budget boards. The extra length means more surface area on the water which will take a bit more effort on your side to turn the board.
The good news, however, is that you have a fin setup that you can play around with. If you want the board to be more maneuverable but still track you can keep the center fin on but take off the side fins. This setup may help in environments where you need to do more turning such as mangroves, coastal shorelines, or slow-winding rivers.
About the iRocker Nautical Series
The Nautical series is meant to be the budget line in the iRocker line-up. But just because the board is in the budget category doesn’t mean that it hasn’t taken some inspiration from its higher-priced cousins.
All adult-sized Nautical boards come with accessories that you would expect from higher-priced boards. Things such as a pretty good quality bag, a fiberglass paddle and the proprietary fin setup found on higher-priced iRocker boards are all prevalent on the 11’6” Nautical SUP.
The iRocker brand itself was founded in 2013 by Steve Elder. Since its formation, the iRocker brand has rapidly expanded and now has distribution centers in the United States, Canada, Europe, the UK, and Australia.
The 11’6” Nautical board comes with a 2-year warranty for boards that are 2021 models and up. The warranty for the better-constructed iRocker and Blackfin paddle boards is a 3-year warranty. For older Nautical SUPs before 2021 it’s a 1-year warranty.
The return policy for 2022/2023 is interesting so here it is as quoted from the iRocker site:
- *Orders placed between 10/01/2022 and 01/31/2023 may be returned within 120 days of the original purchase date.
- *Orders placed between 02/01/2023 and 09/30/2023 may be returned within 60 days of their original purchase date.
- *Orders placed prior to 10/01/2022 are eligible for a return within 90 days of the original purchase date.
The due this is probably due to the fact that people who live in more northern regions of Canada, the United States, and Europe have to usually wait until spring/summer time for it to be warm enough to paddle board.
What Customers Think
The Nautical 11’6” has a good amount of customer reviews so let’s dive into both the good and the bad.
“We finally got a chance to use our iRocker out at Skaha Lake in BC. Perfect size for my husband who is 6′ 4″ and 210 lbs. So very happy with our choice of board. 5 stars for sure!”– Betty T (Verified Nautical 11’6″ Customer)
As I stated in the who it’s for section, the Nautical is an ideal choice for those bigger/ taller paddlers or even medium-sized paddlers who want to bring some gear aboard.
“This is my first SUP and I love it. My girlfriend bought a competitors board and after seeing my nautical she regrets buying hers, which was more expensive! 😂. I’m 6’4” and weigh 230lbs and the board length (11’6”) is perfect for me, very stable and easy to ride. I got the electric pump and it makes setting up a dream. 100% recommend this board for beginners.”– Gregory R. (Verified Nautical 11’6” Customer)
Gotta love it when you have the one up on the partner 😛
“Quality for the Price TagI honestly love this board so far! I’ve used multiple well known brand names in the past and in comparison, this board holds up well, especially for the price tag! The fin beds are different than I’m used to, but so far have been great. Since they’re not the US standard, would have to go directly through iRocker to replace them if needed, but hopefully won’t need to. I would like it if the paddle was a little sturdier but about 30 paddles with it already and I haven’t felt any serious need to replace it. I have recommend this board to 7 friends now and 5 have purchased and are very happy with it!”– Thayla J (Verified Nautical 11’6” Customer)
I wanted to include the above one as it’s always good to hear from customers that have owned different paddle boards in the past to get a sense of comparison.
Now onto the not-so-good…
One customer had a problem with the board bananaing (when you step in the middle the tail and nose bend out of the water. It was followed by an explanation which I thought put some things into perspective.
“The reason the Nauticals are so cheap (edit: I just checked and it looks like they’ve upped the price point on these since they launched, but I’m sure they haven’t made any actual changes to the boards) is because they cheap out on materials and construction. That leads to things like taco-ing, short life span, poor performance, difficulty tracking and less stability without exceeding the rider weight capacity. The listed capacity is 265lb, I can’t imagine putting another 80lb on the standing area of that board, it would be ridiculous.”– mcarneybsa (Reddit)
Where to Buy the iRocker Nautical 11’6” Board
The best place to buy the Nautical 11’6” is from the iRocker website. Not in the US? That’s Okay! iRocker has distribution centers in:
- United States
If you click on most of the Nautical 11’6” links it will take you to the iRocker website that is closest to your location.
iRocker Nautical 11’6” FAQs
Below are some common FAQ’s I get about the Nautical 11’6” SUP.
Is The Nautical 11’6” The Best Budget Paddle Board?
Out of our research and testing, the Nautical 11’6″ is the best budget paddle board. Not only does the board come with some good bonuses like 6 rows of bungee deck webbing, an action mount, and 7 handles. But it also performs fairly well in the water compared to most budget inflatable paddle boards.
The accessories that come with the Nautical 11’6” are also some of the best we have seen from a budget board due to its fiberglass paddle, spacious and comfortable carry bag as well as the proprietary fin set-up that has the same features in the more expensive iRocker line-up.
Check out our best cheap paddle boards article here.
Nautical Vs IRocker Vs Blackfin? Which Should I Choose?
There is no right or wrong choice. Instead, look at what best suits you and your budget.
If you have a tight budget and want a board to explore the sport of paddle boarding then I would recommend the Nautical series for you.
If you want to upgrade your board or have a bit of a higher budget but want a board that will last for a while the iRocker series is a good pick. The new iRocker Ultra series is ideal for people who want to travel and have a board that folds into a compact size.
If price is not an issue for you and you want a board that is more specialized look at any of the Blackfin models. These boards have more customization options and are manufactured with higher-quality materials including carbon side rails.
Can A Smaller Person Paddle The IRocker Nautical 11’6”
For a smaller person, the 11’6” Nautical will feel like a more stable board. However, they may have a bit more difficulty maneuvering the board in tighter areas as it requires a bit more effort to turn.
In medium-sized lakes and places where you are mostly going a straight course, this paddle board will be fine. In areas that require more maneuvering, I’d recommend sticking to the Nautical 10’6” board
What’s the Difference between the Nautical 11’6” and the Nautical 10’6” SUP?
The Nautical 11’6” is a better board for those taller/ bigger paddlers as it has a higher maximum weight capacity. It also tracks a bit better and will be a little bit more stable in the water.
The 10’6” Nautical is best for customers who are about 6’ and under. Some of the advantages of the Nautical 10’6” is that it’s a more maneuverable board.
Below are some budget alternatives to the Nautical 11’6” inflatable paddle board.\
Gili Air 11’6”
This would be Gili’s answer to the Nautical series and to be fair it’s a pretty good SUP! The Gili Air features a good amount of onboard accessories like bungee deck webbing, action mounts and it even has a stomp pad. The only real downside to this SUP is that it’s made of single-layer PVC construction, much like many budget boards. I do personally like the Gili Airs colors and appearance better though.
Bluefin Cruise 12 ft SUP
The Bluefin Cruise 12” SUP will have better tracking ability thanks to the board’s pointier shape and 6” extra length. It would arguably have better construction as it can be blown up to a maximum of 28 PSI (you don’t need to do this). The only downside to this SUP is that it is a whopping 12 Lbs heavier at 34 pounds compared to the Nautical. In this case, with quality comes extra weight!
Should You Get the Nautical 11’6” SUP?
I would highly recommend this board for people who are on a budget and are of a bugger stature. This particular board was ranked as our best cheap sup and for good reason!
You should get the Nautical 11’6” board if:
- You are on a tighter budget
- You are over 6 feet 180 lbs
- You are looking for a board with decent speed/ tracking for the price
- You want a board that your older child can comfortably paddle
- You want a board that can carry a child or dog as a passenger
- You want a cheap stable board to do fishing or yoga from
- You want a board that comes with decent quality accessories at a cheap price point
What are your thoughts on the iRocker Nautical 11’6” SUP? Let us know on our Facebook page!