The Pelican Rush 11.6 SUP Dynamic Performance Review

How Pelican's Flagship Standup Paddleboard Performs

Pelican Rush 11.6 Paddleboard
Paddling the Pelican Rush 11.6 SUP. George E. Sayour

In a previous article I wrote up a static review of the Pelican Rush SUP.  I say static because it included all of the specifications and information that can be gleaned from the board without actually paddling it.  In that piece I covered the features, specifications, aesthetics, and construction notes.  Overall, the Rush 11.6 is a sharp looking, quality made board, with well thought out features and design.

Read specifics here.  This article, however,  is a dynamic performance review of the Pelican Rush 11.6 SUP.

Testing Out the Pelican Rush 11.6 SUP

So, while looks and specs are good and all, the big question is going to be how it performs while standup paddleboarding.  I was also curious if my 200lb frame and 15lbs or so of fishing and snorkeling gear I would be carrying was getting too close to the 230lb listed capacity.  Having paddled a one of Pelican's kayaks, I was also curious how one of their SUPs would perform.  So, it was off to the water.

I decided to put this board through a paddle that involved all sorts of conditions.  I started out in a protected lake that leads into tidal mangrove trails and eventually to the ocean.   The Rush has a single fin which makes maneuvering easier on flatwater than the three-fin designs.  Yet it was stable and tracked very well.  As a matter of fact, I didn't have to change the side I was paddling on in order to keep moving straight, and that includes times when I experienced both wind and current.

  The board glided was swift and smooth across the water. 

The traction on the rear deck kept my bait bucket full of shrimp stable and without any issues. I had a tackle box under the front bungee deck rigging and bags with water, snacks, and snorkeling gear hooked to the bungees.  Never once, not ever in current or water disturbances, did any of my gear threaten to fall off the board, let alone even shift.

  Also, with the 11" 6" length of this board offered plenty of room for all of my gear on the front and the back and still room to spare where I was standing.

While I didn't compare this board side-by-side with a lighter fiberglass-epoxy board, I didn't notice any speed issues as compared to what I'm used to on a fiberglass-epoxy board.  Nor did I feel any unusual exertion when paddling the board through the water.  I mention that because the impression is that fiberglass boards being lighter are also faster.   If there is a difference, you would not notice it simply by paddling this board.

Upon reaching the ocean I unloaded my gear onto shore and decided to take it out in the waves.  I paddled out of the cut in a lot of current and overall water disturbance and into small waves in the ocean.  The Rush 11.6 was stable and maneuvered well.  At no time did I feel unstable or unable to steer the board while in the fray.  I paddled around a few hundred feet off the shore and then back into the channel again against the tide.  This board can definitely holds its own in the ocean.  

Accessories Assessment

All of the SUP accessories on the Pelican Rush either met or exceeded my expectations.  The plastic 10" fin installed like a normal surfboard fin.

  It held up well even when paddling in the shallow flats.  The bungee tie-downs on the front of the board were great.  Most SUPs don't come tie-downs and if they are not designed in and installed at the manufacturer, it is very difficult to add them after the fact.  They not only securely held my gear underneath them but they provided a great place to hook bags.  Perhaps the most surprising feature on the Rush, however, is the handle in the hand hold cut-out.  Most boards don't have this.  This handle made carrying the board at my side and ever overhead easy.  There is also a bungee on top of this handle that handily holds a water bottle right at your feet so you don't have to kneel down to get one from the front bungees. 

Concluding Thoughts on the Pelican Rush 11.6 SUP

The Pelican Rush 11.6 SUP is the perfect synergy between cost, performance, and durability.

  While it is heavier to transport from your car to the water than a traditional fiberglass-epoxy board, the benefits of the accessories, durability, and cost far outweigh that. Out on the water you'd be hard pressed to find a difference between this and more expensive options.  In short, the Rush 11.6 is a great all around premium standup paddleboard for Pelican.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.