Boat Review: BOTE HD | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
A man holding a fish on the BOTE HD standup paddleborad Photos by Roberto Westbrook

BOTES Gatorshell tech makes the HD strong and fast fishing platform.

There was a time when I wrote off standup paddleboards as inefficient platforms best only for skinny, sheltered waters and quick trips on calm days.

After an afternoon paddling BOTE’s new HD board my opinion has changed. BOTE’s boards are more than just pretty, they’re pretty fast. 

The problem with SUP fishing is most boards trade speed for stability; they are easy to stand and fish, but hard to paddle into a headwind and choppy seas.

BOTE’s line of boards are designed with speed and efficiency at the forefront. While the inlaid wood and deep gloss finish are mesmerizing the real beauty of BOTE’ board lies beneath the waterline. BOTE gave the HD a hybrid hull halfway between a recreational board and a touring board. This all-round design is wide enough to provide confident stability regardless of sea conditions. It’s the touring side of the design that makes the boat handle like a dream. A V-nose entry fades into a slightly keeled hull that ends in a single skeg to keep the board tracking straight even in a quartering or side-to sea. As I paddled faster, I could feel the board planing over the water making it even easier to go the distance.

Once I was on the water paddling, my buddy had a hard time keeping up with me in his kayak. Expecting a short trip, I packed light with a gear bag and a couple of fishing rods. However, the full array of leaning post and cooler wouldn’t take much away from the board’s performance. The HD is pre-rigged with ports that hold the leaning post and tie-downs for other accessories. Bungees in the bow and stern made it easy to rig for a quick trip. Foam deck padding is comfortable to stand and fish on all day. The traction is channeled and siped to manage water and improve traction.

For 2017, BOTE is building boards with a new material and manufacturing process called Gatorshell. The foam core is sandwiched between a ballistic plastic material that is six-times tougher than their hand-laid epoxy construction. This construction method usually leaves a seam between the top and bottom layers of plastic, but somehow BOTE figured out how to join the two sections without interruption. The board is tough and looks clean.

The board may be a little heavier than previous models, but that pays off in a surface that is practically ding and dent-proof. I did encounter some oyster shells that left a few light scratches in the plastic that I was able to buff out at home.

The new material gave me the confidence to take the board into tight places and handle it with reasonable care without worrying about doing serious damage. This was particularly helpful when I hooked a fish. Instead of worrying about striking the board with the jig head or drifting into shallow water, I was able to concentrate on landing my catch and smiling for photos.

Currently, Gatorshell is only available on the HD and in one color pattern. With its expected success, I hope to see other Gatorshell boards in BOTE’s cool palette of colors and designs.

BOTE has changed standup paddleboard fishing with the new HD board. And it has certainly changed my opinion of the sport.

BOTE nose

The sharp entry of the bow, like on a touring board, blends into a recreational board. Speed to get there; stability to fish.

BOTE tiedowns

For a water bottle, tackle box or a weekend’s worth of camping gear, the HD’s tie-downs and bungees can be rigged with a leaning post, cooler and rodholders.


Gatorshell looks like an epoxy board, but it’s actually foam sandwiched by ballistic plastic that BOTE says is six times tougher.


Enter Your Email

Related items

  • Boat Review: Innova Kayak Halibut

    Boat Review: Innova Kayak Halibut

    Inflatable kayaks are blowing up on the kayak fishing scene as more anglers realize they can transport, store and use these boats almost anywhere. To meet the need, designers are developing stiffer…


  • ICAST Recap: Day 3

    ICAST Recap: Day 3

    BOTE Rover Wins Best of Show In another coup for paddle fishing, BOTE’s Rover won Best Boat and Best of Show at this summer’s ICAST Tradeshow. Capturing the most coveted…


  • SUP REVIEW: Hobie MirageDrive Eclipse

    SUP REVIEW: Hobie MirageDrive Eclipse

    Kim Kardashian, Grumpy Cat and Donald Trump get a lot of attention on social media. Add Hobie’s new MirageDrive Eclipse standup paddleboard to the list. When videos of the pedal-powered…


  • VIDEO: SUPs Are The Future Of Fishing Expeditions

    VIDEO: SUPs Are The Future Of Fishing Expeditions

    No food, no preparation, no worries; the BOTE Board team paddled 100 miles in the Florida Everglades on a self-supported SUP expedition. See why this style of expedition could be…


  • Boat Review: BOTE Rackham

    Boat Review: BOTE Rackham

    At the 2015 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market tradeshow, standup paddleboards outnumbered all other paddlecraft two-to-one. But after years on the market, BOTE's boards standout from the crowd. The Rakham board…


  • VIDEO: BOTE's Made by the Military Project

    VIDEO: BOTE's Made by the Military Project

    Check out the latest dispatch from BOTE Paddle Boards to get the details on how you can help support veterans and their families and win this great American SUP! "The made…


Popular Articles


Join 30 000+ fellow anglers! Get the latest fishing news and special offers delivered straight to your inbox.  



Free Issues