BŌTE HD AERO 11’6″ iSUP Review
Founded in 2008 and based in Miramar Beach, Florida, the BŌTE (yes, it sounds just like “boat,”) company epitomizes small business with just over 40 employees all focusing on big dreams. Technical innovation and proprietary design are at the forefront of BŌTE’s iSUP success. A lifestyle brand, BŌTE appeals to surfers, racers, anglers, yogis and casual paddlers alike.
We are going to focus on one of their top everyday iSUPs, the BŌTE HD AERO 11’6″ paddleboard in this article. Because BŌTE iSUPs are generally constructed in a similar manner and only differ in features and functionality, we will include brief descriptions of other iSUPs later.
BŌTE HD AERO 11’6″ Inflatable Paddleboard
Overview: What you Get
All BŌTE paddle boards come with an adjustable paddle, removeable center fin and hand pump. Some, like the higher-end Rackham model include additional features like rolling carry bags and accessory compatibility.
The BŌTE HD AERO 11’6″ iSUP kit includes a three-piece adjustable paddle, hand pump, 10-inch removable center fin, AERO paddle sheath, removable AERO Sandspear sheath, AERO Rac receivers, repair kit and sturdy travel bag. Because some of these items are specific to BŌTE, here is what they mean.
- Sandspear Sheath-allows you to attach a sold-separately Sandspear to anchor in shallow water
- Paddle Sheath-holds the paddle by the blade in an upright position freeing up space on the board and your hands
- Slide-in AERO Rac Receivers-allow you to connect the inflated board to the sold-separately Wheel Rac for easy transportation across a variety of terrain
- Travel Bag-made with Rip-Stop nylon that is waterproof and can easily be packed or checked as luggage
- 10-inch Removable Fin-the center fin can be added for better tracking
The board itself is available in four fun, albeit ambiguously-named designs including Classic Teak, Native Whale Shark, Bug Slinger Echo and Full Trax Citron. You’ll find both front and rear grab handles as well as front and rear bungee storage areas for your gear.
The BVA foam pad provides anti-slip traction and supreme cushioning to help reduce fatigue. Meanwhile, the rocker-style hull available on all models allows you to keep the nose of the board above the water. Additional board features include:
- Magnepod-uses strong magnets and BŌTE Magnepod accessories like tumblers, koozies and bottles to secure drinks to your board
- Travelink-this carrying system strap allows for easier carrying
- Side Bite Fins-molded into the board for additional tracking
- D-rings-allow you to secure a cooler, bait box or other items to the deck
- Velcro Paddle or Sandspear Straps-allow you to attach your paddle or Sandspear to the board securely if you need to tend to other things
Specifications of BŌTE HD AERO 11’6″ iSUP
|Inflated Dimensions||11’6″L x 34″W x 6″D|
|Packed Dimensions||36″L x 17″W x 13″D|
|Weight Capacity||315 pounds|
|Board Weight||30 pounds|
|Pack Weight||48 pounds|
|Inflate Time||10 minutes to 12-15 psi (hand pump)|
BŌTE HD AERO 11’6″ iSUP Construction
If you correlate the idea of an inflatable paddleboard with weakness and unreliability, BŌTE’s AeroBŌTE construction will make you reconsider. With rigidity nearly equaling that of a, well, rigid board, you will find this iSUP to be just as maneuverable and speedy as its counterparts.
This BŌTE HD AERO’s skin made with two layers of military-grade PVC which resists the dents and dings that can appear all over a rigid board. In this sense, the BŌTE iSUP is just as durable, if not more so, than its rigid cousins.
A BVA foam pad that is molded with the B logo for comfort and traction sits atop these PVC layers. This PVC composite encompasses the secret of the BŌTE HD AERO’s rigidity: the composite drop-stitch interior core.
When pressure is applied, these core fibers—over 10-thousands of them— become extremely taught connecting the top and bottom of the board to provide a solid and rigid platform. You will find heat-pressed seams covered by rail tape along the sides of the paddleboard for added support.
Some BŌTE boards are made with AeroULTRA construction. This construction uses the same innovative technology and military-grade materials as AeroBŌTE. However, the AeroULTRA only uses one layer of PVC instead of two, shedding overall weight from iSUPs built this way.
BŌTE HD AERO 11’6″ iSUP Performance
If you are brand new to the world of paddleboarding, you will want a stable, secure board, and the BŌTE HD AERO 11’6″ iSUP is just that. In nearly all water conditions, you’ll find this board to be extremely balanced. In fact, even when you adjust positions while atop the board, you’ll find that movement is very limited.
We will cover other BŌTE iSUPs later in the article that focus less on stability and more on maneuverability and speed, as well as some that are loaded with convenience features.
The weight capacity for the BŌTE HD AERO 11’6″ iSUP maxes out at 315 pounds. For the angler, this means you can bring along ALL your gear including tackle boxes, buckets and coolers with room to spare. When compared to other similarly-sized iSUPs, the BŌTE stays just as buoyant when loaded down with all your stuff.
BŌTE boards feature weight capacities from 100 lbs. to 400 lbs. This means that no matter how you plan to use it, you can find a BŌTE board that meets your needs.
You won’t be setting any racing records with the BŌTE HD AERO 11’6″ iSUP, but speed is most likely not the reason you choose this paddleboard. Wider boards are meant for stability and not fast touring. Still, you can get up to a decent speed thanks to the entry rocker hull style. This allows the board to shed water while staying on top of it.
If speed and maneuverability are what you are looking for, check out the specifications on the BŌTE Traveler Aero later in this article. This touring board is great for long-distance and advanced usage.
Tracking with the BŌTE HD AERO 11’6″ iSUP is less efficient and precise than with a thinner touring model. This could be due in part to the super-small built-in side fins. With their size and angles to the bottom of the board, they are nearly useless, and precise tracking is all but impossible if you forget to attach the center fin.
This is a large board, and it will be trickier to maneuver than a more slimline model made for surfing or touring. Simple physics restricts the tightness of your turns and how quickly you can reverse, but overall, the BŌTE HD AERO moves as you would expect for a larger, stability board.
Additionally, shorter paddlers may find it extra difficult to maneuver because of the width of the board. It can be hard to maintain vertical paddle strokes.
When fully inflated, the BŌTE HD AERO, along with most other BŌTE iSUPs, holds its own for stiffness against almost any rigid board. Obviously, there will be some bend, but for the most part, it is hard to tell you are riding on an iSUP and not a rigid board.
BŌTE has you covered with the innovative and convenient accessories available for their paddleboard lines. Some are downright ingenious, while others substantially increase the ease of using their boards. We will cover accessories in detail later.
Who is the BŌTE HD AERO 11’6″ iSUP For?
We think we’ve been fairly clear that this particular iSUP is not the board for speed or surfing. Advanced paddlers may feel somewhat restrained with this board when considering maneuverability and quickness. The size and weight capacity of this board is simply not ideal for those looking to do fast, sport paddling.
Fear not, though. As you’ll read, BŌTE has a variety of iSUP lines for various activities including smaller models for kids. New and intermediate paddlers looking for a stable, secure board will love the BŌTE HD AERO. As such, we think this board is ideal for:
- paddling in flat or calm water like lakes, rivers, bays and ponds
- recreational paddling
- newer paddlers
- paddle board yoga
- paddle board fishing
- shorter duration paddling on the ocean
So, besides the newbie or fisherman, who would this board appeal to? Anyone who wants a good, all-around stable board in nearly any water conditions would be hard pressed to find a sturdier or better-constructed iSUP. The BŌTE HD AERO would also be appealing to those who:
- prefer extra weight capacity for gear or refreshments
- like to paddle with children or pets
- have little room to store or a way to transport a full-size rigid board
- can appreciate the myriads of compatible BŌTE accessories available
PROS and CONS of BŌTE iSUPs
We’d be remiss in this review if we didn’t clue you in to both the good and the not-so-good aspects of BŌTE iSUPs. We think that overall the good of these boards far outweighs the bad, but we will let you decide for yourself.
- Stability-did we mention this board is stable?
- Sturdy, reliable construction
- High weight capacity
- Extremely durable-resists punctures, dents and dings
- Fun color options
- Accessories galore (sold separately)
- No ankle leash included with the boards
- Fully-packed bags are a bit heavy for smaller paddlers
- Built-in fins are nearly useless
As we did mention (in fact), these are some of the most stable boards around. High-quality construction makes them nearly indestructible—they are not simple blow-up toys. The high weight capacity allows for carrying of all your gear or even your kids and pets.
On the other hand, the whole set up can be somewhat heavy for smaller individuals to carry. The hand pump works to inflate the board, but it can take some time to reach the fully recommended psi. Additionally, we would really like to see an ankle leash included with the kits, as this seems standard on most other iSUPs.
Other BŌTE iSUPs
BŌTE Breeze Aero
Constructed using BŌTE AeroULTRA technology and available in either 10’8” or 11’6” lengths, this iSUP is ideal for beginners. It is one of the most lightweight of BŌTE’s line-up and makes for a stable, everyday board for light to moderate usage.
|BŌTE Breeze Aero 10’8”||BŌTE Breeze Aero 11’6”|
|Inflated Dimensions||10′8″ L × 33″ W × 6″ D||11’6”L x 33”W x 6”D|
|Capacity||250 lbs||315 lbs|
|Board Weight||20 lbs||22 lbs|
|Features (both sizes)||Travelink Compatible|
BŌTE Flow Aero 8’
The BŌTE Flow is an entry-level iSUP ideal for kids weighing less than 100 pounds. It is constructed with AeroBŌTE’s two-layer PVC, so you don’t have to worry about sometimes less-than-careful kids destroying it on their first run.
|BŌTE Flow Aero 8’|
|Inflated Dimensions||8’L x 30”W x 4.5”D|
|Board Weight||17 lbs|
BŌTE Traveler Aero 12’6”
If you’re looking for more adventure, the BŌTE Traveler board is the way to go. This touring board will take intermediate and advanced paddlers the distance, and quickly at that. Whether paddling in the surf or river rapids, the slim, sexy and sleek Traveler won’t let you down. It remains super durable thanks to AeroBŌTE construction.
|BŌTE Traveler Aero 12’6”|
|Inflated Dimensions||12’6”L x 30”W x 6”D|
|Board Weight||30 lbs|
|Features||MAGNEPOD compatible, Travelink compatible|
BŌTE Rackham Aero 12’4”
This iSUP is the largest overall by BŌTE offering both stability and extra capacity. Constructed with AeroBŌTE, you won’t have to worry about durability. The Rackham offers tons of features that the angler can appreciate. Paddlers with children or pets will also adore the roominess of this feature-packed iSUP.
|BŌTE Rackham Aero 12’4”|
|Inflated Dimensions||12’4”L x 38”W x 7”D|
|Board Weight||45 lbs|
|Features||MAGNEPOD-, Travelink-, Rac-, and Sandspear-compatible Rolling carrying bag included|
Additional BŌTE Accessories
We promised more on accessories, and now we deliver on that promise. There are a variety of attachments available to make paddling much more convenient. As mentioned earlier, the board is built to support the BŌTE Sandspear so you can anchor your board in shallow water or off of the shore.
You will also find a variety of removeable center fins for adjustable tracking and maneuvering. There are a variety of additional paddles including single- and two-piece units. Furthermore, you can purchase paddle or board bags for extra protection for your gear.
Magnepod is a unique system to BŌTE. This system allows you to connect BŌTE’s line of magnetic tumblers, bottles or koozies directly to the magnetic pod built into the paddleboard. You never have to worry about losing your drink, or your expensive koozie to the bottom of the ocean, lake or river again.
There are a variety of Rac systems including tackle and bucket Racs that allow you to keep your fishing or other gear secure atop your board. They can easily be connected to the D-rings already built into your board.
There are ergonomic shoulder straps, as well as Wheel Racs available for easier carrying and moving your board across various terrain. These are extremely useful for those smaller paddlers who may not be able to lift heavier weights.
BŌTE iSUP—Final Thoughts
There is very little to complain about with the BŌTE HD AERO iSUP. This board just feels solid from the get-go. Quality craftsmanship is apparent simply by looking it over and backed by a two-year warranty. Because it is made of two layers of military-grade PVC, we feel very secure in its strength and durability.
The sheer number of available convenience and functional accessories leaves us speechless. True, we’d like to see an included leash, as would most newbies to the sport. However, the endless possibilities help us to overlook this small lack.
As a super-stable, durable paddleboard, we feel this is an excellent choice for new paddlers, fishing paddleboarders and recreational paddlers who enjoy bringing pets and kids along. Overall, BŌTE Aero iSUPs are worthy investments for paddleboarders.