BOTE has updated its popular Rackham Aero paddleboard to turn it into one of the most versatile aquatic adventuring companions I've seen. The popular Rackham Aero can now not only be used as a regular stand-up paddleboard, but also transforms into a kayak or pedalo, making it ideal for fishing or exploring the waterways around you.
Some of today's best inflatable paddle boards (and best paddle boards for beginners) offer a kayak conversion kit, but this is an altogether sturdier and more serious setup. BOTE is a Florida-based brand that made a name for itself selling stand-up paddle boards and has since branched out into inflatable kayaks and floating dock systems, so it has plenty of expertise to draw on.
To unlock these new use options, BOTE has adapted its Rackham Aero 12’4” paddle board to make it compatible with two key accessories: the brand's APEX pedal drive and rudder system (opens in new tab) and Aero SUP Paddle Seat (opens in new tab). Together, these turn it from a SUP to a sit-down, pedal-powered kayak in a matter of minutes.
The APEX pedal drive system boasts a 10:1 gear ratio for efficient pedalling, alongside wide pedals with comfy straps. There's a cool viewing window, hands-free forward and reverse switching, and the rudder is spring-loaded and kicks up to prevent damage, too. It's designed to slot easily in and out of the Rackham's new pedal port, with the rudder controls that can be positioned on either the left or the right, depending on which hand you favour. The Aero seat has four G-clips to enable you to adjust it to your preferences, and there are straps for paddle storage on either side of your seat.
For those of you who want to predominantly use this as a SUP, the Rackham remains a pretty impressive beast. It's designed to be ultra-stable and study, and can carry up to 400lb, making it suitable for excursions where you need to load up with lots of gear (or perhaps want to bring your dog along). There are front and back bungees and gear straps for kit storage, grab handles for easy manouevering and accessory mounting points, too.
BOTE offers a wide range of compatible accessories to extend the possibilities further. These include a bunch of fishing-specific accessories, as well as innovative add-ons like a magnetic port onto which you can stick one of BOTE's drinks tumblers, and a sandspear, for shallow-water paddling.
“The new Rackham is one of the coolest things we make,” says BOTE CEO and Co-Founder, Corey Cooper. “The DNA is an awesome adventure paddle board... now with the APEX Pedal Drive integration port and seat tie downs the Rackham evolves into a badass crossover between a hybrid kayak pedal drive and a SUP.”
The new Rackham Aero 12'4" is available to buy now, with prices starting at $1,449. The APEX Pedal Drive can be purchased separately for $899, and the Aero SUP paddle seat for $169. Head to BOTE to find out more (opens in new tab).