Searching for an outdoor activity? Well look no further…stand-up paddling boarding may just be your new hobby! Here we review the BOTE Aero Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board.
Review: Bote HD Aero Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
The paddle boarding industry has been on the rise for the past 6 years. My wife and I originally entered into this new niche back in 2014. We lived on the Gulf Coast, had just sold our boat, and was looking for another activity that we could do as a family on the water…we are a water loving family! So, on to the details and review.
Why We Purchased A BOTE Stand-Up Paddle Board (SUP)
Like any new arena me and my family decided to enter into, we jumped in with both feet (no pun intended). We had rented some from a local shop one weekend and we all really enjoyed it. The local shop had two brands for sale; BOTE and Yolo. Now at the time, Yolo had become popular (not because of its intended phrase), but because paddle board Yoga was becoming increasingly popular in Florida.
I quickly went home and started researching both brands. I also did a quick random search on the web for any other hot brands in this industry. But I kept being drawn back to BOTE. BOTE, headquartered out of Fort Walton Beach, Florida had me at not only the aesthetics and quality, but their unique accessories that really opened the paddle boarding experience to activities like fishing, yoga, and just overall adventure.
So we purchased my wife their new and improved composite HD, and I was able to trade my road bike for a brand new composite Flood. We of course accessorized both boards with the racks, yeti coolers (what they offered at the time, and since have created their own cooler line), board bags, paddle bags, and custom adjustable paddles (so the kids’ could paddle).
It was fantastic! We spent so much time on the water and back channels of the bay…a few times we had dolphins within 3 feet of us. I did a couple races, we took them with us to visit friends in Florida, and anytime family and friends came to visit we would take them out to experience this new niche all for themselves.
And like our standard time in the military, received orders to move somewhere else and sold them. It was a disappointing moment for us, but we knew we would get back into it soon enough. You see we needed versatility. What I mean buy that is a board we both felt comfortable taking on any form of water (ocean, lake, river, etc). While the composite boards were extremely durable and sturdy, the thought of scraping the bottom on some rocks and tearing it up did not sit really well for us.
At the time BOTE had their traditional inflatable board called the Breeze. In fact, I purchased one for my mother who at the time lived in Indiana and was very close to the neighborhood pond she was allowed to take non-motorized platforms on. She loved it and to this day still has it. She does not get out on it as often as she probably would like, but the ability to throw it in the back of her car and take with her anywhere she decides to go is nice feature.
Over the past few years, BOTE has capitalized on this versatility and has incorporated inflatable boards for every composite board they make. They have even jumped into the inflatable kayak and skiff game, which they offer a few different platforms. Yeah, that’s right, they make an inflatable skiff that you can mount a motor to and cruise around…crazy!
And while other companies have emerged since we sold ours, we knew without a shadow of doubt we would go right back to the company we fell in love with. Their design, continuing innovation, quality, and customer service are impeccable. And when you find that in a company…well…you tend to stick with them.
It is also a plus, that they continue to offer accessories for their boards that truly make them stand out amongst their competition. Now I also understand that they are on the top end of price, and that some people simply just want a board to paddle around the lake with. But for me, I like having the ability to fish, paddle, relax, etc…so for me the juice is worth the squeeze.
Bote Aero Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Details
Ok, sorry for the long rant and history, now onto the real reason for this article. As a soon-to-be Mothers Day gift, I bought my wife the BOTE HD Aero inflatable. The board measures in at 11 feet 6 in. And while this is 6 inches shorter than their solid board version, I was impressed with just how stable this board is. So why the HD? Well because it is BOTE’s most versatile board…are you seeing this common theme? I like versatility!
My wife wanted the Classic Teak version. The color palate is nice and clean. So what’s included with the board you ask? Well you get a HD Aero 11′6″ Inflatable Paddle Board, one 3-Piece Adjustable SUP Paddle, one 10″ Removable Aero Center Fin, one Pair of Slide-In Aero Rac Receivers, a Removable Aero Paddle Sheath, a Aero Repair Kit, a Hand Pump, and a Travel Bag.
- Below are the actual technical specs of the BOTE HD Aero:
- • Dimensions: 11′6″ L × 34″ W × 6″ D
- • Capacity: 315 LBS
- • Avg. Weight: 30 LBS
- • Construction: Inflatable AeroBOTE Technology
- • Optimal Inflation: 10-15 PSI
- • Travel Bag Dimensions: 36″ L × 17″ W × 13″ D
- • Loaded Bag Weight: 48 LBS
I don’t want to spend too much time on the technical aspects, but one thing I want to focus on is the carrying capacity of 315 lbs. Even if you are 225lbs, you still have room for gear and a cooler. But enough about that…let’s dive into the board and the included items.
Transporting The BOTE Aero Inflatable Paddle Board
The board itself is constructed very well, like I had expected. Better yet, I don’t fear it coming into contact with rocks, pavement, etc. The welded seams are solid, it’s very rigid when inflated and glides through the water. The board itself is also very lightweight, making it easy to maneuver around and carry.
Don’t have a truck? No problem, the ability to inflate/deflate at any location, and place back in its carrying bag with ease means you can have a little 2-door car and still bring this with you. The bag itself also allows you to take with you even if you decide to fly somewhere and want to bring it along.
And while there is a place to store the pump, I wish the bag was a little bigger and padded to store the pump inside with the board. Maybe that’s me being a little nit-picky, but when traveling it would prevent the pump from possibly getting damaged. The bag does have some nice bungees on the side for securing though.
The paddle is a big upgrade from the Breeze board I bought my mom back in 2016. I like the 3 piece design and the paddle is nice a light versus their older companion. The ability to adjust on the fly means that when we take a kiddo with us, we can easily adjust and let them paddle us around. I also like that it breaks down easily enough to fit inside the bag.
BOTE HD Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Accessories and Options
The rac receiver, paddle sheath, and removable center fin are made from strong plastic material. The added paddle sheath is great for when you want to take a break, or if you are fishing and want quick access to your paddle without having to bend over.
And while we do not have the tackle rac just yet, we do plan to purchase (again) one soon. They do offer a bucket rac, which fits really well with their Kula cooler, but I prefer the tackle rac and yeti roadie combo. I can use it as a back rest, place a sunbrella in the fishing rod holder for some shade on the beach, and hang a wet shirt or towel to dry.
Creativity is the name of the game with these boards. I have had my kids take a nap under that sunbrella and did not have to worry about them getting sand all over them or a towel. And the deck pad has a nice cushion feel…not to mention it is still an inflatable board.
Let’s talk about the one area that I feel does not get enough attention for users to be aware of…inflating the board! Sure they have upgraded the pump, but it is still a journey and you will feel it physically…now this gets easier over time as you get used to it, but it is still something you need to be aware of. Typically it takes me anywhere between 5-8 minutes to inflate the board…you can do it quicker, but I do it in strides.
After all, not trying to completely exhaust myself right before I am about to go paddle. Now, I did invest in the auto pump. And while I thought this was going to be useful, I had some minor complications with it. The dial guage malfunctioned on the first use and their psi dial did not cut off as I had it set to 12 psi. You can check out Mike and I’s Youtube video here where we compared inflating the HD and Flood side-by-side and I used the Aero electric pump.
I did call BOTE the following Monday, and of course there customer service was great and they had not heard of that issue previously. Either way, if I had to do it over again, I would not buy the Aero electric pump…I thought it would be worth the money, but to me it wasn’t…and who couldn’t use the extra exercise.
If you are reading this and have reached this point, then you need to go ahead, jump on the website or head to a local outfitter who sells BOTE and buy yourself one! We currently live in Colorado and have taken this into a cold lake twice now since purchasing and are looking forward to the many trips it will go with us this summer.
On our first trip and the kids were so excited that they were back on the water paddling. We even let our 12-year-old daughter paddle our 8-year-old son around the small lake while mom and dad stayed onshore and relaxed in the sun. Get out and explore! Stand-up paddle boarding is no longer a niche…it is a full-fledged hobby that many have taken the plunge to enjoy.