Drift Vs. BOTE Paddle Boards: Which Is Right For You?

Paddle boarding has exploded in popularity over the last decade, and for good reason. It’s an awesome way to get out on the water and enjoy the outdoors. And it’s a great workout too!

With so many paddle board options out there, it can be tough to decide which brand and model is best for you. Two of the top names in paddle boarding are Drift and BOTE. But they have some key differences.

In this article, we’ll compare Drift and BOTE paddle boards side-by-side. We’ll look at:

  • Company backgrounds
  • Construction and build quality
  • Board shapes and designs
  • Features
  • Stability and maneuverability
  • Accessories
  • Prices
  • Pros and cons of each

A Brief Comparison Table First!

Board TypesInflatable onlyInflatable and hard boards
ConstructionMilitary grade PVCMilitary grade PVC or composite
Board ShapesAll-around, touring, surf, whitewater, compactAll-around, yoga, touring, downwind, whitewater, surf, fishing
StabilityVery stable, especially wider boardsExcellent stability from rigid construction
ManeuverabilityGood maneuverability from rocker profileResponsive turning from rocker and rail shape
AccessoriesPaddles, pumps, backpacks, seats, mountsPaddles, electric pump, bags, carts, anchors, seats, mounts
Prices$499 – $1299$1200 – $4000
ProsBudget-friendly prices, quality constructionPremium materials, performance, features
ConsLimited to inflatables, fewer bells & whistlesExpensive, heavy, complicated product line

Key Differences Between Drift And BOTE Paddle Boards

  • Company Backgrounds

First, let’s take a quick look at who Drift and BOTE are:


Drift is a relatively new paddle board company started in 2013 by two avid paddlers in San Diego, CA. They focus exclusively on inflatable paddle boards.

Drift’s goal is to “make the water accessible” by offering high quality inflatable SUPs at affordable prices.


BOTE stands for “Boards of The Environment.” BOTE was founded in 2007 by a group of watersports enthusiasts in Fort Walton Beach, FL.

In contrast to Drift, BOTE offers both inflatable and hard shell paddle boards. Their product line is more extensive, but also pricier.

While Drift is focused on budget-friendly inflatables, BOTE targets the high-end market with premium boards.

So that’s some background on the two brands. Now let’s look more closely at how their boards compare.

  • Construction and Build Quality

Obviously, construction and materials make a big impact on board quality and performance.

Drift Inflatable SUP Construction

Drift Paddle Board

All Drift paddle boards feature an inflatable drop-stitch construction.

This consists of thousands of tiny polymer threads connecting the top and bottom layers of PVC material.

Drop-stitch technology gives inflatable boards rigidity while still allowing them to be rolled up for easy transport.

Drift uses military grade PVC materials in their boards.

This makes them durable and resistant to dings, scratches, and sunlight.

Seams are quadruply reinforced to prevent leakage. D-rings and carrying handles are made of stainless steel. Fins are removable.

Also Read: Differences Between BOTE And iRocker Paddle Boards.

BOTE Inflatable SUP Construction

BOTE uses similar construction for their inflatable boards. They utilize drop-stitch PVC layered with a proprietary material called Straticore.

This gives BOTE inflatable SUPs excellent rigidity and light weight. It also provides great durability – BOTE claims their boards are virtually ding-proof.

BOTE inflatable boards feature military grade PVC, triple layer side rails, front cargo webbing, and stainless d-rings and handles like Drift boards. The fins on BOTE inflatables are also removable.

BOTE Hard SUP Construction

In terms of hard boards, BOTE uses a premium epoxy composite construction. Materials include carbon, bamboo, fiberglass, and Innegra.

These materials make BOTE hard boards very lightweight yet strong and responsive. Hard boards don’t roll up like inflatables, but many paddlers prefer the increased stiffness.

  • Board Shapes and Designs

Beyond construction, the shape and design of a paddle board impacts how it feels and performs. BOTE and Drift offer boards in different shapes and sizes to support various activities.

Drift SUP Shapes

Here are some of Drift’s most popular board shapes:

  • All-around shape: 10’5″ length, 33″ width. Good for flatwater paddling, touring, yoga.
  • Wide all-around shape: 10’5″ length, 35″ width. More stable for beginners.
  • Touring shape: 11′ length, 32″ width. For longer expeditions and distance paddling.
  • Surf shape: 10’4″ length, 31″ width. Designed for surfing waves.
  • Whitewater shape: 9’8″ length, 35″ width. Made for river rapids.
  • Compact shape: 9’4″ length, 30″ width. For kids or easy transport.

Most Drift boards have a moderate rocker profile for a blend of agility and tracking. The board noses are pointed for easy slicing through water. Tails are square or rounded.


Some popular BOTE board shapes include:

BOTE Breeze Paddle Board
  • All-around: 11’6″ x 31.5″
  • Yoga: 10’5″ x 34″
  • Touring race: 14′ x 25″
  • Downwind: 12’6″ x 30″
  • Whitewater: 9’8″ x 38″
  • Surf: 10’10” x 31″
  • Fishing: 11’6″ x 36″

BOTE boards feature progressive rocker for acceleration and responsiveness. The outlines are highly hydrodynamic with pointed noses to pierce waves. You’ll see square, pin, or bat tail shapes.

  • Features

Let’s look at some of the key features offered on Drift and BOTE paddle boards:

Drift SUP Features

  • Fins: Drift boards come with one large removable fin. You can add side fins for more stability.
  • Traction pad: Textured EVA foam deck pad provides comfortable stance and grip. Full deck pad coverage on most boards.
  • D-rings: Stainless rings for attaching leash and other accessories. Most Drift boards have 6-8 d-rings.
  • Handle: Located in center of board for easy carrying.
  • Accessory mounts: Some boards have mounts for fishing rods, GoPro cameras, and cup holders.
  • Leash: Included on most boards. Safely tethers you to the board.
  • Pump: Drift boards include a dual action pump for inflation and deflation.
  • Backpack: Optional backpack available as an add-on. Great for transporting board when deflated.

BOTE SUP Features

  • Fins: BOTE boards come with either a single fin or tri-fin setup depending on the model. Fins are removable.
  • Traction pad: Full deck pad coverage for grip, usually made of EVA foam.
  • D-rings: For attaching leash and other gear. Hard boards have embedded stainless rings. Inflatables use rings or metal loops.
  • Handles: Multiple carrying handles are standard. Located on deck and sides.
  • Bungees: Built-in bungee cord storage on many models. Used to secure belongings.
  • Accessory mounts: Some boards have mounts for cameras, rod holders, and other add-ons.
  • Leash: Premium surf leash included. Keeps you attached to your board.
  • Pumps: Come with high pressure dual action pump. Quick inflation and deflation.
  • Backpacks and bags: Offered as optional accessories for easy transport.
  • Electric pump: BOTE’s proprietary Hiro electric pump available for quick, effortless inflation.

As you can see, Drift and BOTE both offer versatile board features to enhance paddling adventures. BOTE tends to include more built-in storage options, but Drift accessories can be added on.

  • Stability and Maneuverability

Two of the most important performance factors for a paddle board are stability and maneuverability. Here’s how Drift and BOTE compare:

Drift SUP Stability and Maneuverability

  • Stability: Drift boards are quite stable, especially the wider all-around and touring shapes. The rocker profile contributes to lateral steadiness.
  • Maneuverability: The pointed noses and moderate rocker allow for good maneuverability. Drift boards turn easily without feeling overly squirrelly.
  • Surf: For surfing, the shorter boards with less volume perform best. The narrow width and rocker enable quicker turns.

BOTE SUP Stability and Maneuverability

  • Stability: With their premium construction, BOTE boards feel very rigid and stable standing on. The wide models provide tons of footing space for beginners.
  • Maneuverability: Despite the stability, BOTE boards remain quite nimble. The pronounced rocker profile supports turning, especially on the surf and whitewater models.
  • Surf: Excellent rails and reduced width on the surf boards make carving in the waves easy.
  • Accessories

Both brands offer a wide range of accessories to customize and outfit your paddle boarding experience:

Drift Paddle Board Accessories

  • Paddles: Fiberglass and carbon fiber paddle options available. Different lengths, shapes, colors.
  • Pumps: Electric pump for quick inflation or backup manual pump.
  • Backpacks: Several carrying backpack options to choose from.
  • Anchors: Help keep your board in place while floating in lakes or rivers.
  • Seats: Removable padded seat cushions for taking a rest.
  • Coolers: Insulated cooler bags can attach to your board.
  • Racks: Car racks for transporting your paddle boards.
  • Leashes: Extra or replacement leashes available.
  • Action mounts: For attaching cameras, rods, speakers, and more.

BOTE Paddle Board Accessories

  • Paddles: Carbon fiber paddles offered in multiple sizes and blade shapes.
  • Pumps: Electric Hiro pump for fast inflation. Also high pressure manual pump.
  • Bags: Backpacks and roller bags to carry and protect boards.
  • Carts: Wheeled carts that attach to board nose for easy transport.
  • Anchors: Help keep board in place while drifting or fishing.
  • Seats: Removable seat cushions give versatile options.
  • Coolers: Built-in coolers on some fishing models. Can buy separate cooler bags too.
  • Racks: Car and roof racks offered for transporting boards.
  • Leashes: High quality leashes standard. Spare leashes available too.
  • Action mounts: For mounting rod holders, cameras, speakers, GPS devices, and more.
  • Pricing

Lastly, let’s look at how pricing compares for Drift vs. BOTE paddle boards:

Drift Paddle Board Prices

Drift focuses on keeping their inflatable SUP prices affordable:

  • Entry-level boards: $499 to $699
  • Mid-range all around boards: $699 to $899
  • Touring and specialty boards: $899 to $1199
  • High end racing boards: $1199 to $1299

Their goal is to offer quality boards with all the needed features at budget-friendly price points.

BOTE Paddle Board Prices

As a premium brand, BOTE paddle boards are pricier:

  • Inflatable boards: $1200 to $2400
  • Entry-level hard boards: $1200 to $1800
  • Mid-range hard boards: $1500 to $2500
  • High end race boards: $2500 to $4000

You’re paying for top shelf materials, performance, and quality with BOTE boards. For many buyers, the higher cost is justified by the construction, features, and reputation.

Also Read: Comparison Between Backfire And Meepo Boards.

Pros and Cons of Drift And BOTE Paddle Boards

To recap, here are some pros and cons for each brand:

Drift Paddle Board Pros and Cons


  • Very affordable, budget-friendly prices
  • Quality construction of inflatable boards
  • Fun board shapes for all paddling styles
  • Good stability and maneuverability
  • Plenty of accessories available
  • Simple, clean board graphics


  • Only offers inflatable boards
  • Not quite as high-end as pricier brands
  • Graphics not as flashy as some boards
  • Fewer bells and whistles than premium boards

BOTE Paddle Board Pros and Cons


  • Premium materials and construction
  • Offer inflatable and hard boards
  • Excellent rigidity and performance
  • Great stability and tracking
  • Lots of built-in storage features
  • Leading brand name and reputation


  • Significantly more expensive than average
  • Heavy and large boards can be cumbersome
  • Complicated to choose from many models
  • Not ideal boards for entry-level paddlers

So in summary, Drift paddle boards offer outstanding quality and features for the prices, while BOTE boards represent the higher end of the market in terms of materials, construction, and performance.

Also Read: Comparison of Bote Breeze And Drift Paddle Boards.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are Bote and Drift the same company?

No, Bote and Drift are separate companies that both make paddle boards. They are two of the most popular brands, but not affiliated.

What type of paddle board is most stable?

Wider boards generally offer the most stability. Inflatable boards that are 34-35 inches wide provide a ton of footing space for beginners. Wider boards also have more volume for increased buoyancy.

Why not to buy a cheap paddle board?

While budget boards seem appealing, they often use low-quality materials that are heavy and don’t perform well. Cheap boards also lack adequate features and accessories for safety and functionality. Spending a couple hundred dollars more gets a much better quality board that will last.

Are inflatable paddle boards better than hard paddle boards?

Ultimately it comes down to personal preference. Both provide a great paddling experience once you get used to them. Inflatables are more convenient for most recreational paddlers.

Closing Remarks

When deciding between Drift vs. BOTE paddle boards, consider your budget, preferred paddling style, needs for stability, transportation considerations, and performance preferences.

If affordability is your priority, Drift boards offer amazing quality for the prices. Their inflatable all-around and touring boards suit most recreational paddlers very well.

If top-shelf performance and premium details matter more, then a BOTE board may be the way to go. Their hard and inflatable boards deliver an unmatched paddling experience for the price.

We hope this detailed Drift and BOTE comparison helps you select the ideal paddle board for the money to enjoy hours of fun on the water!

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