Ocean Kayak Nalu 11 Paddleboard and Kayak Review

The Ocean Kayak Nalu 11 paddleboard and kayak hybrid is a great solution for the paddlesport enthusiast. As a sit on top kayak (SOT), the Ocean Kayak Nalu 11 handles moderate surf and flat water with excellent maneuverability and stability. As a paddle board, the Nalu 11 works great as a recreational board for the beginner to intermediate stand-up paddle boarder. The best part is you get both in one lightweight and easy to manage hull.

Performance Review

The Ocean Kayak Nalu 11 paddles as you would expect from any Ocean Kayak sit on top kayak. The Nalu glides nicely across the water handles very nicely across the board. What I didn’t expect was how well it performs as a paddle board. With its thicker-than-usual hull, I thought the Nalu would handle sluggish as a paddle board. However, much to my delight, the paddle board handled well and had excellent primary stability. With its molded-in integral fins, the Nalu 11 provides tracking that is straight and true, yet still maintains enough maneuverability to be fun and agile in the surf.

Versatility Review

Although the sit on top kayak portion of the Ocean Nalu 11 is fairly limited in what can do, as most SOTs are, I have to say the Nalu is incredibly versatile if only for the fact that it also acts as a paddle board with surprisingly good performance, especially on flat water. The hybrid combination of kayak and paddle board really makes the Nalu one of the most versatile watercraft I’ve ever paddled.

Cargo Space Review

Unfortunately, this is where all SOTs and paddle boards fall short. If you’re looking to do long paddles or even do some coastal camping, then this is not the right setup for you. The Nalu 11 offers just enough cargo space to allow you the necessities, and nothing more.  The bungee cargo well is only big enough for a backpack sized dry bag, which makes the Nalu suitable for beach fun and short lake paddles.

Portability Review

At a mere 42 lbs, the Nalu 11 is very easy to maneuver off the water. Hoisting it to the roof of your vehicle or into the back of your truck is a breeze, and its relatively small footprint makes it simple to twist and turn when angling it into small areas.

Product Specifications

  • Length: 11ft (11’ 0”)
  • Width: 31 in. (31”)
  • Weight: 44 lbs.
  • Capacity: 225-275 lbs
  • Features:  Two strap carrying handles, molded in kayak seat, cargo well with bungee, self-draining scuppers, and molded-in integral fins, works as paddleboard or kayak.

Overall Review

My overall review of the Ocean Kayak Nalu 11 paddleboard and kayak earned a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed paddling the Nalu 11, as both a kayak and a paddleboard. While neither the kayak or paddleboard portion of the Nalu 11 perform like a high end model, the hybrid combination has certainly earned it 4 stars. I could easily see the Nalu 11 selling like hotcakes to rental shops, resorts, and campgrounds simply due to the incredible versatility of this boat in one lightweight package.

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Rating: 3.4/5 (37 votes cast)
Ocean Kayak Nalu 11 Paddleboard and Kayak Review, 3.4 out of 5 based on 37 ratings

Written by James Stalker

James Stalker is a licensed kayak teacher and field guide with over 20 years of experience. James fell in love with adventure sports after facing a bout of cancer at a young age. He can be found traveling in some of the corners of the continent almost untouched by nearly anyone else. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

This Review Has 1 Comments

  1. RonM

    The Nalu is good as both a SOT kayak and SUP. But great at neither. As has been stated elsewhere it tracks well and is easy to maneuver as well being stable. But as a kayak it is really a SOT with no molded in seat and no back support. I found this tiring and uncomfortable after more than a short while. The fact that the bungee tie downs are on the back did allow for securing a pad in place to make it a little softer on the bum.

    As a SUP the molded in foot wells help to lower the center of gravity for stability. But they also limit the width of your foot placement. And that width is more narrow than what would be available from most dedicated SUP boards other than a few racing models. This makes for a less balanced feel, especially for new paddlers.

    But still hard to beat as an option to get out on the water and paddle around in two styles at a very low price. Thus I give it a 3 for 5 where as either a SUP or Kayak alone I would only give it a 2.5 for 5.

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