When rafting out on the water, it’s essential to make sure that you have a raft that can support you. That much is pretty clear. What is less clear is how to make that raft portable. Huck Finn and Jim may have rafted down the Mississippi River in Twain’s great novel, but they didn’t have to haul their raft (or paddle board) and stick it in a car or take it on a plane afterward. If you’re looking to take your paddle board with you when you travel, you’ll want to find one that’s light and portable.
Of course, there’s always the fear that a raft or paddle board that is too light won’t be able to support you, and as much as you might like cruising atop the water, you probably don’t want to be dunked into it.
The Roc paddle board promises to offer such a balance, so let’s see whether it sinks or swims when placed under scrutiny.
What to Look For in SUPS
Before we get into the Roc SUP itself, however, it’s worth taking a moment to remember what you should be looking for in a paddle board in the first place.
One of the first and most important things to look for in any inflatable water gear, whether it’s a paddle board, boat, kayak, or anything else is the durability of the material. The last thing you want is to be out there on the water paddling along before plunging into the water because your inflatable raft hit a rock. Modern inflatable kayaks, rafts, and boats often make use of PVC material or something similar.
You’ll also want to check into how light and how easy it is to pack up. Sure, most inflatables are more lightweight than their hard-shelled counterparts, but how lightweight they are will vary from model to model. The same is true for their portability. Different boats and kayaks use different valves for inflation and deflation, and the same is true of paddle boards. Paddling and rafting takes a lot of energy, and you probably don’t want to have to exert yourself too much to pack things up after a long day on the water. You thus want to look for a paddle board that deflates quickly and without much work on your part.
Other key features to look for in inflatable paddle boards include:
- Think about why you want an inflatable paddle board as well as your experience level. If you’re a casual paddle boarder or just starting out, your best bet is probably to get an all-around paddle board that isn’t too hard to handle and can be used for most types of paddling. On the other hand, if you’re an experienced paddle boarder, you might want to look for a sport paddle board. There are also a wide range of SUO boards, such as the Roc SUP board, which are specially made to help paddlers surf, go whitewater rafting, race, fish or even do some yoga. Know thyself, and know which board best fits your paddling activities.
- Think about the size of the board. Longer boards can give more glide power than shorter ones. Narrower boards are often faster than wider boards, though wider boards are often more stable. This is especially true at the tail end, with boards narrower there being more stable than those with narrow tails. On the other hand, boards with narrower tails are better for pulling off quick surfing maneuvers.
- On average, the thicker the board, the more weight it can support. However, if the board is too thick it may have other problems.
- Pay attention to how many layers the board uses. Boards manufactured with a single layer tend to be lighter and more inexpensive than thicker boards (for example, boards six inches or thicker).
Specific Features of the Roc Paddle Board
Some of the most important features of the Roc inflatable stand up paddle board include:
One of the most notable aspects of the Roc SUP is the fact that it’s so light, just 17.8 lbs. Many paddle boards are heavier, so the lightweight nature of this model makes it that much easier to carry to and from the water. This, combined with the carrying handle, helps make it clear how the Roc inflatable stand up paddle board has pitched itself to users as a portable model.
Here you can check an unboxing video by Daniel Jarom:
You might think that this lightweight nature would make it a bit flimsier and less stable, but there are a couple of things that help counteract that. For one thing, this board is six inches thick, just on the border between a “thinner” and “thicker” board. The nose features a small sidecut and is nicely rounded. Add to that the fact that this model is generously-sized at 32 in. wide, you have a board that’s nice and even – not overly thick but just thin enough to be maneuverable and still stable.
Adding to this is the fact that the Roc inflatable stand up paddle board makes use of a classic three-fin design, with the center fin removable. These finds can help add some extra stability in windier or rougher paddling, though these conditions can still get the best of it.
You have your choice of several vibrant colors, including aqua, bright green, black, charcoal, and pink.
Design and Glide Power
At 10 feet long, you’ll get a decent amount of glide power, though not as much as larger, longer models. That length combined with the 32-inch width isn’t a combination well-suited for elite paddle racing, but it nevertheless offers a fair blend of glide power and stability for casual and beginner paddlers.
The sidecut rockered nose adds to this, with the Roc inflatable stand up paddle board having a bit more maneuverability than other beginner boards.
What Do Owners Say?
One thing users have noticed is that the overall build of this board makes it ideal for lighter and more petit paddlers. If you’re on the smaller side and want a board up to big-time activity on the water, this may be a decent one to consider.
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Trouble in Rough Waters?
Users have found this model to do alright in smooth and moderately-high and choppy waters but, as mentioned above, have found it more lacking in rougher conditions.
Easy to Inflate/Deflate
Another thing users have responded positively to has been how easy it is to inflate and deflate this model. Its pump is easy to use, and its small size makes it deflate that much more quickly.
Great for Reactional Activities
Owners have also noted how the shape of this model is suited for recreational paddling and yoga. The round nose and balance between thickness, length, and width give it the ideal size and stability for those activities. Adding to this is a diamond-grooved traction pad, which users have also noted helps them keep their balance while still being soft to the touch, so much so that users have been comfortable lying down on the board, making it ideal for relaxing or doing yoga poses that require you to lie down.
Other users have been positive about the bungee system around the six stainless steel D-rings and how they allow them to secure oars and luggage while they paddle.
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Then there is the material itself. Users have taken note of the durable drop stitching and military-grade PVC. Adding to the sturdiness of this model is the fact the Roc paddle board takes several layers and stitches them together with that drop stitching in such a way that, when the board is inflated, the strings become taught and retains a board-like rather than balloon shape, which can help it track a bit better.
One potential downside, as some users have noted, is that the backpack included with the Roc paddle board can tear a bit too easily. That said, it’s an added accessory anyway, and you can find another backpack easily if you care that much.
Pros and Cons
Our rating: 4.8 / 5
There is a lot to like about the Roc inflatable paddle board. It is lightweight without being flimsy, is easy to carry, retains its shape well when inflated, and is stable and comfortable enough to be quite good for recreation and yoga. It won’t win any awards for speed, but if you’re looking to cruise along the water with a great casual, yoga, or recreational paddle board, the Roc inflatable paddle board may be a great choice.