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Wondering if the Atoll iSUP is a Good Choice? Here's my in-depth Review
If you are looking to get in to stand up paddle boarding you are likely to start with an inflatable paddleboard because they are versatile, easy to use, and affordable.
The problem is, there are so many iSUPs out there, how do you choose one?
In this review I'll be giving you my thoughts on the Atoll 11' iSUP.
TLDR: I really like not only the Atoll iSUP, but the whole package that comes with it.
With one purchase you have everything you need to immediately get out on the water and start having fun. And the materials used to build the iSUP appear to be very durable, which is what you want in an inflatable.
I think the entire package really hits the sweet spot in the market. This iSUP package is affordable, but it's not cheap.
You can go to Costco or Amazon and buy a board for $200, but it's not going to have everything this Atoll package comes with and it certainly won't be built to the quality this one is.
That being said, this is a mid-priced iSUP package, there are boards that are much more expensive. Most people don't need to spend double the cost of this Atoll to have fun on the water.
Like I said earlier, I think this entire iSUP package is in the Goldilocks zone of the market, high-quality enough to last a long time and priced reasonably.
First off, here is the full disclosure. I did not buy this board, Atoll reached out to me and asked if I would like to review this board. I said, "Yes, of course."
Atoll is not paying me to write this and I am under no obligation to them.
If I did not like the paddleboard I would simply not write a review about it.
Writing this review is actually taking a lot of work and time away from my real job, but I like this iSUP a lot so that is why I am writing this detailed review.
Atoll iSUP and It's Accessories
In the picture above you can see everything that came with my inflatable SUP package from Atoll.
You have the beefy backpack that holds the SUP, a repair kit, a 3-piece adjustable carbon paddle, leash, dual action single chamber hand pump, a standard 8" fin and a 4" flex fin for rivers.
Now, I'm not sure if the 4" flex fin is a part of the standard package or Atoll threw in something extra. On the Atoll website the 4" flex fin is listed as an extra accessory.
I'd reach out to Atoll before you purchase and ask them.
When I saw the 4" river flex fin I was stoked. You see, with this inflatable SUP package, walking to your nearest river and setting it up is easy and fun.
The problem is with a normal plastic fin you can break it off easily in a river if you hit a rock that you cannot see.
This is why the 4" flex fin is great because it's designed for river running and you don't have to worry about breaking it.
I have seen these fins on SUPs that are specifically designed for river running and those river SUPs are generally pretty expensive. It is a nice feature and I was impressed to see this option.
Atoll Inflatable Paddle Board Specifications
Here are the basic specifications of this iSUP:
Weight: 21 lbs.
Maximum Weight Capacity: 315 lbs.
So, how big is the SUP?
I am about 5' 9" or so, the board is 11 ft. The material looks similar to the beefy material that white water river rafts are made out of, which means this thing is build to take some abuse and last.
When I pumped up my Atoll board for the first time, I really wanted to place it on the road and drive over it with my Subaru Forester. It felt beefy and I thought it could take it.
Atoll has videos of a Toyota 4Runner, which is much larger and heavier than my Forester, driving over an inflated Atoll SUP and the SUP was fine.
While I really wanted to test that out, I decided not to. But I bet I could drive over it with my car and it would be fine.
What do you think? Should I drive my Subaru Forester over my board? My Forester is smaller than a 4Runner.
Atoll SUP Hand Pump
Ok, I'm going to tell you what you need to know about the Atoll hand pump.
The SUP package comes with a single chamber dual-action hand pump that has a pressure gauge mounted to the top of the pump.
The dual-action means the pump can inflate the SUP as you pull up, and as you push down. Now, it takes more work to do this, meaning this is harder. There is an easier option.
You can adjust the valve on the pump so that the air only inflates on the downstroke of the pump. This makes pump up the board easier, but it also takes longer.
I'm a fairly athletic guy. I can go on a 3 mile run, right now, with no problem. I can hike a mountain, go skiing, and be active, but most people aren't as active and strong as I am.
I am not bragging, I'm just telling you how it is.
That being said, I'm lazy and I don't like pumping up iSUPs with a hand pump because it's too much work, but I did it for this review so I can tell you exactly what to expect when you buy this package.
It took me maybe 5-10 minutes to pump up the board with the hand pump on the dual-action setting. The pump is fine and the quality of the pump is fine too.
BUT, I'm always going to prefer an electric pump and I think everyone else will too.
You don't have to buy an electric pump, the hand pump that comes with the package is all you need. But you will WANT to buy the electric pump.
If you want it to be easier to manually pump up the board, you can set the pump on the single-action setting. This means the pump will only inflate on the downstroke.
This makes it easier to pump, but it also means it will take you twice as long to pump up your iSUP. I choose the quicker route because I'm impatient.
And it doesn't matter because I will be buying an electric pump anyway.
When I took this board to the lake that is 15 minutes from my house, and I placed the board on the pavement next to my car in the parking lot to start pumping it up, there was a lady in the parking lot with an electric pump inflating her SUP easily, as I was laboring away getting mine inflated.
My powerful ego was bruised a little.
You definitely do not NEED to buy an electric pump.
But you are going to WANT to once you use the board a few times.
One final note about pumping up the board. The valve (or whatever it is called) on the board that you connect the hose to, is a great piece of engineering.
You can pump it up, take the hose on and off, and no air escapes, which is a relief.
I've used some older inflatable SUPs where you had to take the hose on and off quickly because the board would lose air.
Not so with this Atoll SUP.
The valve is high quality, and when it is time to deflate, you simple push down on the valve stem, and turn it to the left. This will leave the valve open so air can escape.
This is a small, but in my opinion significant detail.
When a company, and this applies to nearly any product, focuses on getting small details worked out, then that is usually a sign of a quality product.
How the Atoll SUP Performs on the Water
On my initial test run I used the standard 8 inch fin that comes with the package. It is simple enough to install, but you can refer to the instruction manual if you are having difficulties.
Atoll says that all of their SUPs come with a universal style fin box, which allows you to use just about any aftermarket fin that you want.
While I think that is a nice option, I personally would just buy the 4 inch river fin, and maybe Atoll's other 8 inch fin that is flexible, unlike the one that comes with the package that is a hard plastic fin.
I would not mess with buying any other aftermarket fins for this board, but you can if that is what you want to do.
On my maiden test voyage there was a little wind, but not much.
I was able to plow through the small waves and it was enjoyable because the wind caused me to get a better workout than if the water was flat.
I was able to easily pilot the Atoll board through the small chop, the 8 inch fin did it's job and kept the board going straight where I wanted it to.
The rubber padding, that is grippy on your feet, covers 2/3 of the surface of the paddleboard.
There was plenty of room for me to move back and forth on the board to find the most comfortable position.
As I was walking back and forth I noticed that the board felt stable and secure, even in the small chop on the lake.
Atoll's Carbon SUP Paddle
One of the first things I noticed on my first test of the Atoll was the paddle. It is a three piece design that is simple to assemble.
At first I was disappointed because the paddle felt cheap, unlike the rest of the package.
And then I realized I was wrong, the paddle felt expensive.
I had the optional carbon SUP paddle and did not realize it. I am used to the cheap aluminum paddles that come with most SUPs and are much heavier.
I actually don't own anything that is made from carbon fiber so I am just not used to the material, that is why I thought the paddle was cheap, low quality at first.
Then I realized I was using a carbon paddle and was impressed. The carbon paddle is significantly lighter than a normal paddle.
If you are just tooling around close to shore, hopping on and off your board, it doesn't matter if you have a carbon paddle or an standard aluminum paddle.
But I like to get a workout in and on my maiden test voyage I was on the water for 45-55 minutes. I went so far out on the lake that I could not see my car when I looked back at it.
It was about halfway into my test that I realized how nice it was to have a carbon fiber paddle. The carbon fiber is light and strong.
When you are on a longer tour you are doing thousands of strokes with the paddle and that extra weight that you don't have really makes it easier to pull yourself through the water.
It really makes a difference.
I was impressed.
I've never had a carbon fiber paddle, but now that I have one I am spoiled and don't want to go back to the aluminum.
It's not necessary to get the carbon paddle, the aluminum will work fine, but it sure is nice.
Pros of this Board
Cons of this option
Should You Buy the Atoll 11' Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard?
Let me start first by saying I do really like not only the board, but the whole package.
Should you buy this Atoll iSUP?
Well, are you looking for a durable inflatable paddleboard that can do just about everything that MOST people want from a paddleboard?
This SUP tracks well on the water, is stable and comfortable. It seems to me that this SUP will satisfy the widest range of people that want a paddleboard.
This board is for the general SUP enthusiast, it's good for families and larger children.
This board is not a race board, is not a SUP surfboard, nor is it a white water SUP, although with the 4 inch flexible fin, it will do fine in a moderate river.
The Atoll SUP is also not the cheapest board on the market. You can get some inflatable boards for $200.
But you pay for what you get and you'll be buying another $200 next season or maybe sooner.
This Atoll SUP is built more like a white water raft that can take a beating, than a beach toy designed to last a few weeks in the summer then call it quits.
So if you are looking for a high-quality, durable, inflatable paddleboard that you can take anywhere and let the whole family use, I think you are going to enjoy the Atoll inflatable paddleboard.