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Bote HD Aero Paddle Board Review

The Bote HD Aero is a versatile and stable inflatable SUP, ideal for beginners, families, and those interested in fishing or yoga. Great build and design, but not the fastest board.

Bote HD Aero
8.3 / 10
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Ratings by benchmark

  • Stability
  • Speed
  • Tracking
  • Maneuverability
  • Construction and Durability
  • Features and accessories

The Bote HD Aero 11’6″ inflatable paddle board is a versatile and stable choice for a wide range of paddlers, from beginners to more experienced ones.

In our testing, the Aero scored high in stability, tracking, and board construction, but it was slightly less impressive in speed and maneuverability due to its size.

The board has an eye-catching design and is available in seven color options. It has ample room for gear, making it suitable for various SUP adventures.

Reasons to buy

  • Stable and Wide Platform: Ideal for beginners, yoga, and fishing, offering great balance.
  • Attractive Design: Available in seven beautiful color options.
  • Accessory Compatibility: Numerous attachment points for accessories like fishing gear.

Reasons to avoid

  • Lacks a Leash in the Package: Needed safety equipment not included.
  • Lower Weight Capacity: 315 lbs limit, less than some similar-sized boards.
  • Higher Price Point: More expensive compared to some other boards offering similar features.

How We Tested

I have tested the Bote HD Aero several times over several weeks on lakes and canals. The wind speeds varied between 5 and 12 knots.

During my testing, I compared the performance of the Bote with similar-sized boards such as the Gili Meno 11’6, Blackfin XL, and Isle Switch. 

I evaluated the board’s stability, speed, tracking, and maneuverability, as well as its construction, durability, and features and accessories.


Size (length x width x height)11'6 x 34" x 6"
Weight30 lbs
Capacity315 lbs


Stability 9.0/10

The Bote HD Aero measures 11’6″ long and 34″ wide, which is a pretty generous width for a paddle board – and a wider board typically translates to better stability and balance.

During my first experience with the Bote board, I paddled it in 12 knots of wind. Despite the challenge, the board remained remarkably stable, even when facing the wind and small waves from the side.

Even though the HD Aero’s listed weight capacity is lower (315 lbs) than that of other boards of similar size, such as the Blackfin XL (485 lbs), it could hold my weight of 220 lbs without any issues. 

Even though I am not exactly lightweight, the HD Aero remained stable and supported me throughout my paddling sessions.

But how does the HD Aero compare to other paddle boards in terms of stability? 

Stability rating
Gili Meno 11’6
Blackfin XL
Isle Switch
Bote HD Aero

I have compared the stability of the Bote HD Aero with other paddle boards of similar size.

Although the stability of the HD Aero is good, I have found that the Isle Switch, Blackfin XL (with the same width as the Bote HD Aero), and especially the Gili Meno 11’6 are even more stable.

Speed 7.7/10

This board is designed for stability and carrying gear, such as when SUP fishing, rather than speed.

However, I have tried the HD Aero on calm waters, and considering its size and shape, it proved to be quite fast.

Despite my weight of 220 lbs, I found the board to glide effortlessly and be easy to handle. If you weigh less than me, you can expect the HD Aero to be even faster.

I still found it pretty fast when I paddled the board in 12 knots of wind. However, paddling it against the wind required a lot of effort.

Speed rating
Isle Switch
Gili Meno 11’6
Bote HD Aero
Blackfin XL

How does it compare to similar boards? I’ve compared the stability of the Bote HD Aero against other boards of the same length.

Based on my findings, the Bote HD Aero is slightly faster than the Blackfin XL, which could be attributed to its more pointed nose. 

However, the Gili Meno 11’6 and the Isle Switch were both faster than the HD Aero.

Tracking 9.0/10

Tracking is the ability of a paddle board to maintain a straight course in the water.

During my test of the Bote HD Aero on the water, I found that it tracked pretty well.

Tracking rating
Blackfin XL
Bote HD Aero
Gili Meno 11’6
Isle Switch

I compared the Bote HD Aero to boards of similar length. The HD Aero tracks just as well as the Blackfin XL and Gili Meno 11’6, and better than the Isle Switch.

One of the reasons the Bote HD Aero excels in tracking is its three-fin setup; having three fins definitely aids in maintaining a straight line. 

The large, removable center fin makes a big difference in guiding the board. However, the fixed side fins are angled steeply, creating drag and reducing tracking. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid this since they are fixed fins.

Maneuverability 7.0/10

Maneuverability refers to how easily you can control and change the direction of your board while paddling. 

The maneuverability of a paddle board depends on factors like its shape, size, weight, fin setup, and, of course, your paddle technique. 

The Bote HD Aero is a big board with dimensions of 11’6″ x 34″ x 6″. It’s long and wide, and let me tell you, maneuverability is not its strongest suit.

Don’t get me wrong, you can still turn it, but the Bote HD Aero isn’t the most nimble of the bunch compared to smaller all-around paddle boards.

I have tested and enjoyed this board multiple times on water conditions ranging from still lakes to rough seas. 

In my experience, the Bote HD Aero is best known for its stability and ability to carry plenty of gear, although it may not be the most maneuverable option. It is not entirely sluggish, but turning it quickly requires some effort.

How does the Bote’s maneuverability compare to similar boards?

After comparing the maneuverability of the Bote HD Aero to other similar paddle boards, I found that it is comparable to the Blackfin XL, but less maneuverable than the Gili Meno 11’6 and especially the Isle Switch.

Maneuverability rating
Isle Switch
Gili Meno 11’6
Blackfin XL
Bote HD Aero

Construction & Durability 9.0/10

The Bote HD Aero is built with a composite drop-stitch core and wrapped in ‘military-grade’ PVC layers. This means you get a paddleboard that can take a beating and still perform at its best. And trust me, as someone who’s accidentally scraped boards against rocks in the past, I can appreciate this added protection.

Speaking of protection, Bote took it a step further by including extra PVC layers on the nose and tail. This is perfect for those tricky situations where you might encounter rocks or other obstacles. The paddle board company themselves even state on their website that

“The military-grade PVC skin means AeroBOTEs can withstand being tossed around, banged, bumped, and scraped with low risk of damage or permanent blemish.” 

It’s a bold claim, and I’m happy to say that it holds up in real-life situations.

The Bend Test

But what about rigidity? No one wants a wobbly board under their feet. I’m happy to report that the Bote HD Aero offers remarkable rigidity with very little noticeable flex.

For context, I conducted a bent test: I rested the paddle board on two sawhorses a set distance apart, placed a 150 lbs weight near the center, and measured how far the board bent. While this isn’t a perfect simulation of on-water performance, it’s a useful way to quantify rigidity and compare boards.

The HD Aero bent 3/4″, making it more rigid than comparable boards.

The result? The Bote HD Aero bent a mere 3/4″, making it more rigid than comparable boards like the Blackfin XL and the Gili Meno 11’6. That’s pretty impressive and adds to the overall paddling experience.

Construction & Durability rating
Blackfin XL
Bote HD Aero
Gili Meno 11’6
Isle Switch

Features & Accessories 8.0/10

The Bote HD Aero has three fins; a large center fin and two fixed side fins. The center fin has a lot of surface area, which is great for tracking, but I noticed that the side fixed fins bend easily. I was able to bend them back, but one of mine stayed bent – which isn’t ideal.

And to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the finbox Bote uses. You have to slide the fin in, which can be a bit of a pain (literally – it hurt my hand). I’d love to see Bote switch to the snap-in finboxes that brands like iRocker and Gili use, as they’re much easier to handle.

But let’s not get too caught up in the fins, because one of the main selling points of the HD Aero is its stunning design. Bote paddle boards are known for their cool aesthetics, and the HD Aero is no exception. With options like Native Abalone, Classic Cypress, Bug Slinger Bonefish or Full Trax Seafoam, it’s hard not to fall in love with these boards.

Moving on to the deckpad, it’s color-matched with the rest of the board and features Bote’s logo. It feels comfortable under your feet and offers sufficient grip when wet. However, I did notice some glue residue on my deck pad, but I haven’t heard about this issue from other users, so it could be an isolated incident.

Plenty of Room for Extra Gear

The board is also great for carrying gear. The 6 D-ring front bungee and a 4 D-ring rear bungee provide a lot of cargo space. Plus, it has three grab handles on the nose, center, and tail and a removable Aero Paddle Sheath for temporarily storing your paddle.

And for my fellow SUP fishing enthusiasts, the deck has one pair of Slide-In Aero Rac Receivers for fishing attachments like Bote’s optional Tackle Rac to hold your fishing gear.

The board also features two D-rings for attaching Bote’s optional cooler, the Bote Kula, and a MAGNEPOD magnetic retention system for using Bote’s Magnepod accessories, such as a water bottle, tumbler, or waterproof speaker.

Now, let’s talk about some things the HD Aero could improve upon. First, it doesn’t come with a leash, nor does it have a D-ring on the tail for attaching one. I consider a leash an important safety feature and most inflatable SUP packages include a coiled leash these days, so I hope Bote addresses this in the future.

As for the included adjustable fiberglass paddle, it has a nice wide ABS plastic blade, but I had to use a small screwdriver to tighten the screws in the paddle shaft to prevent the top piece from rotating. Given the SUP board’s premium price, I wish Bote would upgrade the paddle to a carbon fiber version.

Lastly, the SUP also comes with a manual pump, repair kit, and travel bag backpack, which are nice additions to the package, though I always say that it’s worth purchasing an electric pump to make your life a little easier.

Versatility of the Bote HD Aero

I’ve tried my fair share of SUP boards, and the HD Aero continues to impress me with its versatility. This board is truly designed to be a “one board for everything” kind of deal, catering to both beginners and intermediate paddlers who want a little bit of everything from their paddle boarding experience.

Whether you’re just hanging out with friends or family, or you’re gearing up for a fishing adventure, this board’s got you covered. With a generous length and width, this board provides an incredibly stable platform that can handle up to 315 lbs of weight capacity – which means it can be used in plenty of different ways. Plus, the carrying bag means it packs away easily to be taken along for various excursions, like camping and fishing trips.

Load it up with fishing gear for a day of SUP angling, bring along a cooler, a passenger or even a pet for a fun picnic on the water, or simply use the grippy deck pad for some SUP yoga.

In my opinion, this board is a fantastic choice for both beginners and intermediate paddlers who want a beautifully designed, quality-made inflatable SUP board.

Cost and Value of the Bote HD Aero

While the HD Aero is definitely a well-made and versatile board, it does come with a somewhat hefty price tag at $1,099 (MRSP).

Some comparable paddle boards, such as the Blackfin XL, Gili Meno 11’6, and the Isle Switch, are offered at a lower price and, in many cases, are faster, more maneuverable, and just as stable as the Bote HD Aero.

However, the true standout feature of the Bote HD Aero, in my humble opinion, is its design. Bote boards have a certain aesthetic that not only exudes quality and craftsmanship but also turns heads on the water. When you own a Bote board, you’re not just getting a functional paddle board; you’re making a statement.

So, is the Bote board worth it? I’d say yes, especially if you’re looking for a versatile, stable, and beautifully designed board for a wide range of activities, such as fishing, yoga, touring, or just having family fun.

Unboxing of the Bote HD Aero

Watch our unboxing video of the HD Aero inflatable paddle board. We’ll show you what to expect in the box when you unbox the Bote SUP yourself.

Compare the Bote HD Aero to Similar Boards

Bote HD Aero Isle Switch Gili Meno 11’6 Blackfin XL
Overall Rating
Sizes11'6 x 34" x 6"11'6 x 35.5" x 6"11'6 x 35" x 6"11'6 x 34" x 6"
Weight30 lbs19 lbs24 lbs29 lbs
Capacity315 lbs425 lbs485 lbs485 lbs
Construction & Durability9.
Features & Accessories8.
Bote HD Aero Isle Switch Gili Meno 11’6 Blackfin XL

Should You Buy the Bote HD Aero?

The main selling points of the Bote HD Aero Paddle Board are its versatility and stability, making it an ideal choice for beginners, families, and enthusiasts in activities like fishing or yoga. 

Its attractive design is available in seven color options, enhancing its aesthetic appeal. 

The board is also compatible with numerous accessories, such as fishing gear, adding to its versatility. 

While not the fastest due to its size, the Bote HD Aero stands out for its stability, tracking, and construction quality.

The Isle Switch, in comparison to the HD Aero paddle board, offers better maneuverability and a noticeably faster ride, making it a preferable choice for those who prioritize speed and agility on the water. 

Another alternative, the Gili Meno 11’6, surpasses the Bote HD Aero in stability. It also provides a faster and more maneuverable experience, appealing to users seeking versatility.

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