Atoll 11' Review
Cons: Lacks rear bungee system, lacks a front handle
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Atoll 11 is a high-quality offering that does a good job of balancing all-around glide performance, stability, and maneuverability with its middle of the road size, shape, and weight. Its gradually tapered and rockered nose and squared tail make it a versatile option ideal for most paddlers in most conditions. Its materials, construction quality, and included accessories are of a noticeably higher quality than the bargain-priced boards that we reviewed, yet its price tag is still much less than the highest-end models in our review. Combining admirable performance and a reasonable price tag, the Atoll earns our Best High-Performance Buy Award.
Weighing in at 22.5 pounds and with 11-foot x 32-inch x 6-inch dimensions, the Atoll 11 has a very average shape and size that makes it ideal for general all-around paddling. It doesn't necessarily excel in any one area, but it also doesn't have any major weaknesses. Its 32-inch waist gently tapers to a pointed nose, provided enough width along most of the board's length to maintain a comfortable amount of stability for most paddlers in most paddling conditions.
The Atoll has a pretty typical three-fin setup that is seen on several of the boards in our lineup. The two smaller side fins are permanently attached to the board, and the larger center fin is removable with the included hand-tightening screw. This setup provides a nice balance of stability in choppier water with glide performance and straight tracking in calmer waters. The board's overall width and rigidity help provide confidence for newer paddlers without sacrificing performance for more experienced watermen and women.
The Atoll's 32-inch width provides a gentle taper to a pointed nose of the 11-foot board, with much less of a rockered nose than most other models in our lineup. This design helps the front of the board slice through the water, enhancing its overall glide performance. Other boards with a more aggressive nose rocker (where the front end of the board curves up out of the water more dramatically) tend to plane above the water surface rather than cut through it, sacrificing some glide performance for better stability and maneuverability. The Atoll's pointed nose helps it cut through the water, while its generous width and gentle sidecut angle help maintain overall stability, providing balanced performance between the two metrics.
The Atoll's classic three-fin setup with two smaller fixed side fins and a larger removable center fin helps with its balance of speed and stability. The large center fin helps the boat track in a straight line, while the two smaller fins provide extra stability without too much extra weight or drag to slow it down. The board's overall rigidity helps it glide efficiently without too much bending, flexing, or wobbling that can absorb your paddling energy and rob you of your power and performance. The usual difference between higher-end boards and less-expensive boards is the material qualities and construction that either enhance or compromise a board's overall rigidity. The Atoll does a nice job of balancing build quality and performance with a reasonable price tag.
One additional feature that improves the Atoll's paddling performance is the high-quality paddle included in the package. While most paddles included with inflatable SUPs are pretty cheap aluminum models, the Atoll's paddle comes with a high-quality carbon fiber shaft with a stiff nylon blade. This is one of the best stock paddles that we've seen included in an SUP package, and while it doesn't quite have the high-end performance of a top-end SUP paddle, it easily outperforms most other paddles included in this lineup.
The Atoll 11 receives slightly reduced scores in this rating metric, due to its gradual sidecut and limited nose rocker. While this board is plenty maneuverable for most paddlers in most situations, it's not as nimbler as other boards with more aggressive sidecuts or with more rockered noses.
The Atoll has a 32-inch width at its waist, and a gentle sidecut/taper, meaning that the board stays relatively wide along its 11-foot length before tapering off to the pointed nose and rounded tail. This design helps keep the board more stable and helps it glide and track in a straight line more efficiently, but can make it harder to turn and maneuver. The gentle nose rocker helps the board's pointed nose slice through the water, but also makes it more difficult to turn and maneuver compared to other designs where the front tip of the board is more dramatically raised up above the water. While other models are slightly more nimble, the Atoll's maneuverability isn't awful, and its overall lightweight design helps make it easier to control.
Ease of Transport
The Atoll receives average scores in this rating metric. At 22.5 pounds, it's one of the lighter boards in our lineup, making it easy to deflate, roll up, and stow inside the include carrying pack. The padded center grab handle makes it convenient for one person to carry the board, and the additional rear grab handle provides additional leverage when hauling the board into and out of the water. However, the lack of an additional front handle makes it more difficult to share the load with a friend.
Overall, the Atoll's lightweight design and modest size make it easy enough to carry when inflated, but an additional grab handle at the front would add quite a bit to its convenience.
The included carrying bag is appropriately sized to accommodate the rolled-up board, pump, paddle, fin, and leash, and has well-padded shoulder straps and a waist belt. This carrying bag is very similar to that of other models in our lineup, and provides an adequate balance of storage space and carrying comfort. While not the most comfortable or durable bag that we reviewed in this lineup, it is appropriate for the board's modest size and weight and is comfortable enough to carry the board and its accessories.
Ease of Inflation
The Atoll 11 receives average scores in the ease of inflation rating metric, thanks to its average size, average volume, and average included pump. The included two-stage pump is almost exactly the same as several other pumps in this review. A small screw-in plug can be added or removed from the body of the pump that lets the user engage the pump on both the upstroke and downstroke for maximum volume, or on only the downstroke for maximum pressure. This typical configuration is suitable to get a board of this size and shape up to the recommended pressure with the same effort as most other boards in our lineup.
While inflating the board is our least favorite part of the paddling process for any inflatable SUP, the Atoll makes it no more painful than it needs to be. With some consistent effort for a few minutes, you'll be ready to hit the water with a versatile and capable vessel.
With a reasonable middle of the pack price tag and consistent high-end performance across the board, the Atoll 11 provides great value. Although some pricer models outperform it, the Atoll provides solid performance at a much lower price and stands out above other bargain-priced models. With a versatile, capable design, well-matched accessories including a high-quality paddle, and an appropriate price tag, the Atoll provides great value for users looking for increased addling performance without breaking the bank.
The Atoll 11 is a consistent performer that doesn't necessarily stand out in one area, but also doesn't have any major weaknesses. With solid all-around performance and a reasonable price, it earns our Best High-Performance Buy Award.
— Nick Bruckbauer