Reviews You Can Rely On

ROC 10' Explorer Review

A fun, lightweight board that provides an affordable way to get on the water
gearlab tested logo
ROC 10' Explorer Review
Credit: Nick Bruckbauer
Price:  $700 List
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   ROC Sup Co.
By Nick Bruckbauer and Jenay Aiksnoras  ⋅  Sep 1, 2023
68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 15
  • Stability - 35% 7.0
  • Glide Performance - 25% 6.0
  • Maneuverability - 15% 7.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8.0
  • Construction Quality - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The ROC 10' Explorer is one of the shortest and lightest boards in our lineup. Its simple design and rounded nose don't make it the fastest, but this board provides plenty of versatile fun for beginner and experienced paddlers alike. The light, flexible construction can get tossed around in rougher water, but it's also playful and versatile. This is the model we'd recommend for families or beginner paddlers looking for an affordable, lightweight board with good all-around performance designed more for playfulness and quick maneuvers than straight-ahead speed.
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight
Affordable
Playful design
Includes a capable paddle
REASONS TO AVOID
Not very fast
Unstable in rougher water
Editor's Note: This review was read through and updated for accuracy on September 1, 2023.

Compare to Similar Products

 
roc 10' explorer
This Product
ROC 10' Explorer
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award   
Price $700 List
$224.99 at Amazon
$594.15 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$330 List
$169.95 at Amazon
$700 List
$427.99 at Amazon
$426 List
$219.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
68
78
69
69
62
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Bottom Line This lightweight and affordable board provides versatile fun for splashing aroundA beginner-to-intermediate board that keeps paddling fun in mixed conditionsA lightweight, easy to use, and affordable board with solid all-around performanceThis simple, stylish board performs well and has a reasonable priceA smaller, inexpensive board that is a great way to get out on the water, but there are better options
Rating Categories ROC 10' Explorer Bote Breeze Aero FunWater 11 Atoll 11' SereneLife Inflatable
Stability (35%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Glide Performance (25%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Maneuverability (15%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Ease of Use (15%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.5
Construction Quality (10%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Specs ROC 10' Explorer Bote Breeze Aero FunWater 11 Atoll 11' SereneLife Inflatable
Measured Weight 18 lbs 20 lbs 18.9 lbs 21 lbs 25 lbs
Weight Capacity 350 lbs 250 lbs 330 lbs 315 lbs 275 lbs
Inflated Width 33" 33" 33" 32" 30"
Inflated Length 10' 10'8" 11' 11' 10'
Inflated Thickness 6" 6" 6" 6" 6"
Paddle Included Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fin Configuration 2+1 plastic fins, with large detachable center fin 2+1 plastic fins, with large detachable center fin 2+1 plastic fins, with large detachable center fin 2+1 plastic fins, with large detachable center fin 2+1 plastic fins, with large detachable center fin
Folded Dimensions 34" x 12" x 14" 38" 18" x 12" 34" x 16" x 7" 34" x 14" x 8" 33" x 12" x 12"
Bungee Cargo System Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pump Included Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Backpack Included Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The ROC Explorer is a fun, affordable, lightweight board that performs well without costing an arm and a leg. One of the shortest and lightest models in our lineup, it isn't the fastest, but it otherwise balances reasonable stability and maneuverability. The smaller volume makes it easier to inflate and haul around, and its reasonable price tag also makes it a good value and a fine choice for beginner paddlers looking to test the waters.

Performance Comparison


roc 10' explorer - the roc is a lightweight, versatile board that is stable enough for...
The ROC is a lightweight, versatile board that is stable enough for beginners and playful for experienced paddlers.
Credit: Nick Bruckbauer

Stability


Weighing in at a mere 17.8 pounds, the Explorer is one of the lightest boards we tested. While this can reduce its overall stability, the lightweight design is offset by its short 10-foot length and generous 32-inch width. Along with its minimal sidecut and generously rounded nose, this board is stable in most paddling conditions and ideal for smaller, lighter passengers. The classic three-fin design with a large removable center fin and two smaller fixed side fins helps balance glide and stability. That said, in windy or choppy conditions, the lack of size and mass can cause it to get tossed around more than other larger or heavier boards.

roc 10' explorer - this board is stable in calm water with its shorter length, generous...
This board is stable in calm water with its shorter length, generous width, and rounded nose.
Credit: Nick Bruckbauer

Glide Performance


The dimensions and rounded nose that make the Explorer stable for most paddlers also reduce its top-end speed. Its rockered nose planes across calm, flat water nicely but can get pushed around when things turn rougher. Other boards with stiffer or more sharply pointed noses tend to track in a straight line better and glide more efficiently. While you won't be entering any races or paddling long distances on the Explorer, its lightweight, stable design is ideal for families and beginner paddlers.

roc 10' explorer - this model glides well in flat water but can get tossed around a...
This model glides well in flat water but can get tossed around a little in windier or choppier conditions.
Credit: Nick Bruckbauer

Maneuverability


This is one performance area where the lightweight design and rounded, rockered nose work to the advantage of the Explorer. This combination makes the board light and flexible enough for all levels of paddlers to control, and the nose shape and profile make tight turns and maneuvers a breeze for more experienced paddlers. Some of our testers took this board out into some moderate knee-high waves and enjoyed its playfulness and maneuverability.

roc 10' explorer - the roc's shorter length and rounded, rockered nose make it playful...
The ROC's shorter length and rounded, rockered nose make it playful and maneuverable.
Credit: Nick Bruckbauer

Ease of Use


With its ultra-lightweight construction and smaller overall size and volume, the Explorer is one of the easiest boards in our lineup to transport. Although it only has a single center grab handle, the short 10-foot length makes it easy enough for one person to carry the inflated board. When it comes time to head home, the included carrying bag comfortably fits the board, paddle, pump, fin, and leash. The bag has comfortable shoulder pads and a waist belt and is similar to a handful of other bags in our lineup.

The ROC's single center grab handle allows the lightweight board to...
The ROC's single center grab handle allows the lightweight board to be carried by one person but isn't as convenient as other options with additional front and rear grab handles.
The ROC's included carrying case (left) has comfortable backpacks...
The ROC's included carrying case (left) has comfortable backpacks straps and a waist belt.

Similarly, the Explorer is one of the easier boards in our lineup to inflate thanks to its smaller overall size and volume. The included pump is similar to many other pumps and makes inflating the 10-foot board fairly easy.

roc 10' explorer - while we wouldn't call any board 'easy' to inflate, the roc's lower...
While we wouldn't call any board 'easy' to inflate, the ROC's lower overall volume is easier than many others.
Credit: Nick Bruckbauer

Construction Quality


The Explorer boasts military-grade polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with DuraWeld Technology. While it's not as impressively built as many top-dollar SUPs, it strikes a great balance of performance and quality.

A noteworthy design feature that we like and that helps you get on the water faster is that the removable center fin connects to the fin box with a sliding tab system that clicks easily into place. We prefer this design over other traditional fin attachment designs with a hand-tightening screw that can more easily get lost or misplaced.

roc 10' explorer - the sliding tab that clicks into place on the removable center fin...
The sliding tab that clicks into place on the removable center fin is a welcome design compared to traditional fin boxes with smaller screws that can get lost.
Credit: Nick Bruckbauer

Should You Buy the ROC 10' Explorer?


This lightweight board provides great value for beginner paddlers or families looking to try paddle boarding without breaking the bank. On top of that, the Explorer is very often available at well below its list price. There are other models with better all-around performance, but most come with a much higher price tag. The package includes all of the equipment you need to get out on the water, including a waterproof dry bag as an added bonus.

roc 10' explorer - the package includes everything you need to get out on the water at...
The package includes everything you need to get out on the water at a reasonable price.
Credit: Nick Bruckbauer

What Other Inflatable SUPs Should You Consider?


The ROC Explorer is a lightweight, fun, and playful board with a smaller design that is easy to control while still being playful. While it's often available well below its list price, we recommend checking out the Funwater 11 if you need to keep expenses even lower.

roc 10' explorer - the roc explorer is a great all-around board for family fun.
The ROC Explorer is a great all-around board for family fun.
Credit: Nick Bruckbauer

Nick Bruckbauer and Jenay Aiksnoras