Only best products in a given category receive “A” grade.
Paddle Board Highlights
Who is it for?
The HD Aero from BOTE is a great all-around, stable board for mid-range distances that is well suited for beginner and intermediate paddlers. This board can do it all: fishing, touring, yoga, and everything you need from one board. The HD Aero comes in an array of colors and designs that are stunning (in true BOTE fashion), so there’s definitely something there that you’re sure to like. Weighing in at ~25lbs, the board is at an average weight for its size and is fairly easy to carry to and from the water. Priced at $1,149 (USD) this board sits in the popular mid-tier market in terms of affordability.
For the specific board we reviewed we had the whale shark design and at first glance, we couldn’t take our eyes off of it. The beautiful graphic detail of the whale shark design placed on the nose and tail with their logo popping through the yellow stripe on the deck and also through multiple parts on the board was so unique and cool-looking…not that we’d expect anything less from the BOTE team. They’re notorious for amazing graphics on their boards and across their product range. On the water, the board was surprisingly fast for an inflatable and very strong, able to lug around everything you need for long ventures or even a fishing trip. There are bungees at the nose and tail of the board attached to D-rings, along with additional D-rings attached around the board as well that are great for adding on extra gear. There are also straps placed at the nose, deck, and tail of the board making it all the more versatile for carrying, anchoring and other uses you might need. This overall package is packed with great accessories such as 3-piece adjustable SUP paddle, a 10″ removable center fin, a repair kit, a hand pump, and a travel bag. The bag was nice (no wheels unfortunately) but the material is like a waterproof material which was pretty cool and obviously handy. One thing that also stood out was that the package didn’t come with a leash, which is concerning for safety reasons, but it did come with multiple surprising accessories, like an inflatable kayak seat, removable Aero paddle sheath, and a pair of slide-in Aero rac receivers. All amazing add on’s no doubt, but a leash is definitely something that should be an included accessory in the package. Luckily, getting a leash separately is not too big of a hassle or expense so make sure you get one if you don’t already have one. Carrying the board down to the water was easy and it didn’t feel too heavy at all. When getting onto the board it was very stable and didn’t feel like an inflatable when paddling it in the water. It is light on the water and had a fast glide. This board was designed to be a ‘do everything’ board and it truly can do just that. It's really an all-around beautiful board. And when testing out the kayak version of this hybrid board, it stood out how comfortable the inflatable seat was when sitting on it. It was higher than the usual seats we tested out, which might affect stability (lower center of gravity = more stability) but regardless, it was a good time. Overall, this board was exciting, fun, came with a ton of great features, has great quality and for that we’re giving it an A-grade.
Primary UseAll Around
Paddle Boards fall into two broad categories, All-Around and Specialty boards, with all-around designed primarily for recreation while speciality boards for top performance in specific disciplines
Durability is largely a result of the board construction and shape, with more durable boards typically carrying more materials (added layers, PVC, etc) and as such adding to the weight.
Stability is a product of construction and shape, where boards w/ 30”+ wide and 200+ liters in volume offer plenty of stability for your AVG adult while a board under 26” wide is a challenge.
Glide is a result of board shape and construction, w/ boards weighing under 30lbs and designed for racing offering best glide while recreational boards normally being on the slow side.
Dimensions11'6" x 34" x 6"
Industry standard in board dimensions reads: L (length, from nose to tail) x W (width, from rail to rail at midpoint length), and H (height, from top to bottom of board at midpoint length).
Standup paddle boards tend to fall into 4 different weight classes: extremely lightweight (under 20 lbs), lightweight (20-28 lbs), average weight (28-35 lbs), heavy (above 35 lbs).
Volume is a key metric to determine how much weight a board can carry. Boards w/ 200+ liters offer most floatation with boards under 150 liters typically for high-performance surf.
Capacity is the max cargo weight a stand up paddle board can carry, considering not only the paddler’s weight but whatever else the paddler may choose to carry alongside him/her.
Add On'sBungee Nose, Bungee Tail, D Ring, Paddle Included, Leash Included, Shoulder Strap, Handle on nose, Handle on tail, Pair of Slide-in Aero Rack Receivers, Removable Aero Paddle Sheath
Add-on’s include bungee cords, a minimalist way to haul things; connexsup, which allows for all sorts of attachments, even fishing rods; and FCS II/Connect, for easy fin instal.
Handles directly affect carrying ease, with external grip handles (Liftsup & EZgrab) offering most comfort, Internal Ergo Grip the mid-tier comfort, and box handles as least comfortable.
Fishing rod holders and/or paddle holders can make paddling that much more pleasant, esp. when needing holders for the rod or having a safe place for the paddle during yoga.
|11 Feet 6 Inches||34 Inches||6 Inches||unknown L|
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