Top 10 Best Inflatable SUP (Stand Up Paddle) Boards Reviewed In 2017
Inflatable stand-up paddle boards (iSUPs) have some big advantages over their traditional hardboard counterparts and their convenience is hard to overstate.
While traditional SUPs are heavy and hard to transport, inflatables allow you to go from backpack to paddling in under 10 minutes.
We evaluated 22 of the best selling iSUPs and narrowed them down to our top 10 picks.
So how do you decide which model is best for you?
There are surprisingly large differences between the various models.
This guide will assist you in buying the best inflatable SUP for your needs based on our comparisons of the top rated brands.
We evaluated them on stability, ease of inflation, portability, value and how easy they were to paddle.
№1 – iRocker Inflatable SPORT Stand Up Paddle Board
Packaging is one of the most influential aspects in any inflatable stand up paddle board because it makes the difference between a fun and interesting experience and a pain in the back. Unsurprisingly, the iRocker comes in an all inclusive pack that includes a strong collapsible paddle, a high pressure hand pump + pressure gauge and a carry bag back pack that is roomy enough for all of the above, including the board.
The basic features of this board are one more motive to fall in love with the iRocker. How far can you go without a trusted gripping pad? Not very far; That is why iRocker invested in a large Eva gripping pad that will make balancing yourself on this board a piece of cake. Also, the dispersed D-rings by the nose of the board make quite a useful cargo holder whereas the remaining D-rings can serve as a kayak seat base. Last but definitely not least are the triple skegs on the bottom of the board which are pretty much the engine of this board.
Let’s talk performance! The iRocker might be a beginner’s board but its sharp design and lifted nose are defining features of a professional board that is set for action. Indeed, this board can perform extraordinarily on running water and even on waves, making it an exception to most inflatable SUPs. For a 10 feet long and 33 inches wide board, the iRocker is indeed an exception that must be seriously considered.
№2 – Ten Toes Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Bundle
For a board of this calibre you’d expect nothing but the best and in this case, you wouldn’t be deceived as the Weekender is strictly made of Industrial PVC material which is then enhanced through a microscopic drop stitch construction, making this board virtually indestructible. That said, forget about baby-sitting this beast because it can handle any environment from rivers to open water.
When it comes to the basic features of the Ten Toes Weekender, it’s just one more reason to seriously get this board on your purchase list. First thing that strikes you when looking at this beast is the stretching gripping pad that is designed to allow you more space to balance yourself freely on top of the board.
The D-rings bungee placement is also a very practical cargo holder which can hold up anything from your sandals to your paddle. Last but definitely not least are the outstanding 3 skeg navigation system.
Speaking of which, these fins are engineered to maximize wind resistance and minimize water resistance, making it much easier for you to navigate this gigantic board. Yes, it is gigantic as it measures 10 feet in length crossed by 30 inches in width which adds up to the stabilization of the board and improves tracking in a straight line significantly. How good of a performer is it? Good enough that it could satisfy a professional paddle boarder. What are you waiting for? Go ahead and try it out.
№3 – PEAK Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board with Adjustable Paddle
ISLE as a manufacturer has brandished the market of inflatable SUPs with various models that have caught equal interest and attention except for the PEAK which was often referred to as the best inflatable SUP out there and for all the good reasons too.
Since we’ve been emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive package, it’s only fair to put the PEAK under the spot light and discover what it has to offer compared to other boards. Unsurprisingly, the PEAK comes in a package that includes a top notch paddle, a coil leash, a high pressure hand pump and a specially designed back pack carry bag that can fit all of the above.
That’s not impressive enough for you? Well, ISLE thought it through and figured out that people love nothing more than quality which is why this board is made of military grade multi layer cushioned PVC material.
Also, the making of the board is just as special as it went through a delicate industrial drop stitch construction which explains why this board has such a handsome warranty life.
As for specs, the PEAK features a set of D-rings on the nose of the board that serve as a great practical holder. Also, a quality gripping pad is a prime requirement for this model as it is essential for balance and body weight navigation.
As for performance, I think that nothing can defeat an 11 foot long 31 inches wide iSUP inside its designated environment. More than that, this board was designed with a beginner / intermediate paddler in mind which is why you’ll notice that there’s more emphasis on facilitating navigation than speed. Nonetheless, the PEAK can still track quickly on still water and along the current. You can’t ask for more from an iSUP.
№4 – ISLE Airtech Inflatable 11′ Explorer Stand Up Paddle Board
When we want to go outdoors, we want to be able to take our furry pals with us. Finding a board that will fit your favorite canine as well as you can be a little bit of a challenge. The 11-foot long board of the Explorer is perfect for making sure that your dog has enough room to sit while you’re paddling across the water.
This board is 32 inches wide for extra stability and 6 inches thick for stability and the ability to carry more weight. In fact, this board is capable of holding up to 275 pounds, which should be enough for you and a furry friend (or two).
This board is made to be stable even without a dog on it. You’ll be able to go for a nice leisurely time on the water and really enjoy the world around you. This board is great for dogs because of how long it is and also the bungees. You’ll be able to secure not only your gear but anything that your dog will need as well. This board won’t go as fast as others, but hopefully, a little extra time with your dog will make up for that.
№5 – AIRHEAD Popsicle 730 ISUP Paddleboard
If you’re already in paddle boarding and have been looking for a board for a child, then look no further. The Airhead Popsicle is a great solution. The board is built for kids that weigh anywhere between 30 and 120 pounds, which means that this board can actually last quite a while for a growing kid. The board itself is much shorter than others you will find at 7 feet long. It is 30 inches wide and 6 inches thick. The combination of width, length, and thickness means that this board will be perfect for a rider that’s just learning.
The board isn’t as quick as the larger models meant for adults which may mean that an adult will have to go a little bit slower with them, but it can still go fairly well through the water. If you’re going paddle boarding and your child needs some gear (like a water bottle and a small bag), then you may need to put their gear on your board. This shorter board doesn’t have the D-rings or bungee set up for gear, which is understandable with the length.
This board is lighter at 19 pounds, which means that your child should be able to carry the board without too much trouble.
№6 – Sea Eagle Sup Inflatable Paddle Longboard 11Ft Start Up Package
When it comes to getting a paddle board that you can use on ocean surf and even whitewater, this board will be a nice sturdy solution. This is the shorter of Sea Eagle’s Longboards, which is why I have included it for surfing.
While you might want a slightly shorter board for use on just surfing, this board will also be safe and sturdy while you’re getting to those waves. The board is 11 feet long, 6 inches thick, and 30 inches wide. The narrower build of this board might make it feel a little more unstable than a 32-inch wide board, but you are likely going to get used to it as you test it out. While most people find that a board that is 6 inches thick isn’t the most conducive to surf, this board is really capable of handling everything that comes at it. In fact, the extra thickness can help some stability when the conditions get a little bit rough. Having a little more trouble biting into the waves may be worth the extra stability when you’re trying to get through windy waters.
The board is only 22 pounds, which means that it will be nice and easy to carry to the beach in a car or packed into a bag on the plane.
№7 – iRocker Inflatable SPORT Stand Up Paddle Board
When it comes to a touring inflatable stand up paddle board, most boards are going to be longer and narrower. There are boards longer than iRocker’s 11-foot long board, but there are many reasons why this board is going to be a great board for touring. This board is a little bit narrower than most other boards at 30 inches wide. Although just a couple of inches different than other boards, it does impact how stable the board feels. However, once you get used to the board, you probably aren’t going to find any issues with the width.
This board is 6 inches thick, which means that it’s an extremely stiff board. That’s perfect for touring since you need something that’s sturdy and will cut through the water. There are three fins on the board. The largest fin you have to attach, but it’s fairly easy to do so. The fins ensure that the board moves straight through the water, but also helps make sure that you can turn when you need to.
If you’re looking for a board that’s better for racing, then you’ll want something longer than this iRocker board. Although it’s great for flat water and a relaxing day, it won’t go fast enough for the person that really wants to race.
№8 – Red Paddle Co RIDE MSL 10’6 x 32″ (2017 Series)
This board may not be the cheapest, but if you’re looking for a board that can go just about anywhere and do almost anything, then this is really the board that you need. This board is longer with enough width to make sure that you will be stable. It’s a little over 4 inches thick at 4.72 inches. It’s a very specific number, but it provides the added stability and stiffness of a thicker board while keeping you close to the water.
The board is 10 feet and 6 inches long, and it is 32 inches wide. The width will help keep you steady and while it isn’t the longest board, it will still sail smoothly through most water conditions. The board has three fins attached to the board, so there’s nothing extra to attach to the board unless you need to use the D-rings for bungee cords to tie down bags. The board can carry roughly 220 lbs of weight, which makes it okay for many riders.
№9 – PathFinder Inflatable SUP Stand Up Paddleboard
As far as quality is concerned, this is an exemplary board as it is strictly made of Multi layered PVC material which is then reinforced by a firm drop stitch construction which is equivalent to the power of love.
On a serious note however, this board has been through thorough torture tests (Yes. That is what they’re called) and it has proven an outstanding ability to endure the most difficult circumstances.
When it comes to user friendliness, it doesn’t come as a surprise that this board comes with pretty much anything you’d need as a beginner. From the quality Eva gripping pad to the bungee cord placement, this manufacturer has provided you with everything you might need on a paddle board.
Beyond the basic features, it is also remarkable that this board comes in a completely comprehensive package which contains a high pressure and pump, a detachable central fin, an adjustable aluminium paddle, a valve wrench and a carry bag with shoulder straps.
A well equipped board is quite a catch but it all depends on performance in the end. Luckily, this 9 feet long and 30 inches wide piece of art devoted plenty of potential towards navigation and you can tell by the neat navigation system it harbours.
This board is designed primarily to be as agile as possible which is why it might not be as fast as a competitive board. Nevertheless, for a beginner oriented product, this Pathfinder will do more than just take your breath away. So, are you up for the adventure?
№10 – Aqua Marina Fusion Stand Up Paddle Board
The stunning fact about this board is that it appeals to a lot more people than the Monster and it is also cheaper. However, the Aqua Fusion is just as rigid as the Monster as it carries out a strong Military grade PVC body that went through the same construction process of precise drop stitching.
Perfect for cruising, the Fusion had to hook the user up with a long stretched Eva gripping pad which is a dream coming true, a large D-ring on the tail to attach a safety leash or secure the board and 4 extra D-rings on the noise attached with a bungee cord for carrying some cargo (sandals, snacks, sunglasses, bottle of water …etc).
As for packaging, the Fusion is rather similar to the monster as it comes with a large detachable fin, a high pressure hand pump with a pressure gauge and a solid backpack carry bag which can fit all of the above + the board when deflated.
As for performance, the Fusion beats the Monster by a marginal effect. The Fusion might be 10 feet long and 32 inches wide but it’s also very slender, making it great for straight tracing and long rides.
I am not trying to say that you should get the Fusion instead of the Monster but if it were my money, I would much rather get something cheaper that performs slightly better. But what do I know. This is the Aqua Marina Fusion and it might just be the best iSUP money can buy.
Should You Buy Inflatable Paddle Boards?
When inflatable paddle boards first entered the market there were concerns about their durability and rigidity. For some people the concept of inflatables made them think of rubber ducks and children’s floaties. Since then inflatable paddle boards have shown the error of these misconceptions, and have deserved a reputation as a great compact, lightweight, durable and often cheaper alternative to rigid paddle boards.
- Let’s have a look at some of the advantages of inflatable paddle boards:
- Inflatable paddle boards are compact
This is probably the main reason why inflatable SUP board were ever made. Unless you live right by the water or own a large vehicle, transporting a rigid paddle board is often a pain.
Not so with inflatable paddle boards. When rolled up they are often no larger than a sleeping bag. So bringing one along while traveling is easy enough. And storage isn’t an issue either. Any shelf space will do.
Inflating and deflating these paddle boards does take some time and effort, but is usually seen as part of the work out experience. And an electrical pump can make this process easier as well.
Inflatable paddle boards are lightweight
Have you ever tried to carry a solid paddle board? Well, no such problems with inflatable paddle boards. They are generally much lighter. Often weighing less than 30 lbs. For instance, the Isle Airtech above only weighs about 18 lbs.
So you can an inflatable paddle board with you on a plane ride without worrying about extra airline fees. And carrying one from your vehicle to the water and back is no backbreaker any more.
Inflatable paddle boards are rigid
This is the most often asked question people have about inflatable SUP boards: “Can they carry my weight?” With the right size paddle board, of course they can!
Some of the cheaper or thinner paddle boards may bend or sag in the middle, or may even sink beneath you. But the better quality inflatable paddle boards are usually just as rigid as their solid cousins. And since they are filled with air, inflatable paddle boards usually also have a lot of buoyance and a larger weight carrying capacity than a similar shape rigid paddle board.
Inflatable paddle boards are durable
This is another question people often have of inflatable paddle boards: “Are they durable? Won’t they spring a leak when I bump them into a rock?” The fact is that most inflatable paddle boards are made from heavy-duty, military grade materials and can take a lot of abuse. Epoxy foam is very strong. And double layers of PVS stitched together with drop stitch construction make them withstand almost all bumps and scratches.
In fact, because of their inflatable nature iSUPs are often a bit more forgiving then their traditional fiberglass cousins. When you ding a rigid paddle board, the fiberglass is not as flexible, so a solid board is more likely to crack and chip. However, the more flexible materials of an inflatable paddle board can take the impact much better, making them often the better choice in rocky conditions.
Choosing Your ISUP Board
Now that you’re familiar with some of the best ISUP models available in retail stores, you may now proceed to fine-tuning your choices according to your needs. Remember that your weight is one of the primary factors in considering which ISUP is right for you. The heavier you are, the lower or deeper you will push the board into the water. If your board is sitting too low below the surface, you won’t be stable. Conversely, if your board is sitting way too high above the surface, you also won’t glide properly, which will heighten the possibility of you falling off the board.
You may refer to the size chart below to know exactly how much volume you need in your ISUP in accordance to your body weight.
1 liter = will float 1 kilo
For Beginners – use a 2:1 ratio
For every kilo of your weight, double it to get the optimal volume.
Example: If you weigh 70 kilos, you will need an ISUP with 140 liters of volume.
For Intermediate Riders – use 1.7:1 ratio
Example: If you weigh 70 kilos, you will need an ISUP with 119 liters of volume
For Advanced Riders – use 1.4:1 ratio
Example: If you weigh 70 kilos, you will need an ISUP with 98 liters of volume.
You may have noticed that the more advanced your skill level is, the less liters in volume you’ll need. This is because when you are an advanced SUP rider, you will be able to handle boards that may seem less stable, especially to a first-time rider.
Another thing to remember is where you plan to take out your ISUP. If you will be using it mostly on flat water surfaces or calm beaches, you can get away with less volume. However, if you need to cruise around currents or glide down the face of a wave, you have to make sure that your board will be able to handle such circumstances. One way of ensuring this is by getting an ISUP with a good amount of volume.
Choosing the board
Aside from volume, below are more factors to consider when choosing the right kind of ISUP for you.
Most ISUPs are more than 10 feet in length and these are great models for basic paddling, cruising, fishing, and even SUP yoga. You can even paddle around with a dog or a child when you take out a 10-foot board. Shorter ISUPs, however, are not as stable as 10-foot ISUPs, so these paddleboards are for solo paddlers. The difference in length spells a world of difference for maneuverability and the ability to gain speed. If you need a swifter board to pack in better turns, you should consider getting an ISUP that measures 9-feet or below.
The rocker is another important thing to consider when choosing the right stand up paddleboard. The rocker refers to how “curved” your board is from the nose to the tail. You can see the rocker of your board more clearly when you view it from the longer side of the board.
There are 2 main types of rockers: the nose rocker and the tail rocker. The more curved the rocker, the faster it can turn and the simpler it is to maneuver. Emphasis on nose and tail rockers is important when you are going to surf in your ISUP. However, if your plan is just to cruise along a flat or still body of water, you will need less rocker and possible more thickness to your board.
Inflatable SUPs are usually 4-6 inches in total thickness. The thinner the board is (4 inches), the less able it is to carry more than 1 passenger. The thicker it is (6 inches), the more capable it is to carry more than 1 passenger. Thinner ISUPs are also faster than thicker ISUPs, so consider where you will be taking out the board in relation to its thickness.
The hull of the board refers to the bottom part of the board. There are different types of hulls that serve different purposes in the water:
- Flat bottom hull – best for paddle boarding in flat water such as ponds or lakes
- V-bottom hull – creates a corner in the water that allows for more water to jettison outward, thus creating more speed.
- Single to double concave hull – creates less drag when surfing
Just like volume, the width also directly represents the stability of the board. The more width your ISUP has, the more rigid it is. However, if your ISUP is narrow, it means it was built for rougher water conditions that need more advanced turns and maneuvers.
The rails are the sides of the board. It is important to consider the type of construction and material used to produce the rails of your board.
- Hard rails – These are recommended for more advanced riders who need to perform advanced turns.
- Soft rails – These are recommended for beginners and other leisure users who need a stable ride.
Regular Fiberglass vs. Inflatable: Which one should you get?
If you are considering the difference between hard epoxy or fiberglass boards and lightweight ISUPs, you should really think about what you will use the stand up paddleboard for. If you live in a surf town where the beach is accessible from your home, you may consider a hard fiberglass board because it will be easier for you to park or store your board in the vicinity of your beach area and home.
However, if you are an avid traveler, or if you are someone who likes to visit different spots, you should consider getting an inflatable SUP because it is easier to transport and is light enough to carry with you.
Another factor to consider is price. ISUPs can be cheaper than regular SUPs, so if you’re only going to be a casual or leisure user, your best bet will be an ISUP.
If you are looking to invest on a stand up paddleboard that will last you a lifetime, you should get a hard SUP. But with enough care and proper handling, an ISUP can also last you for years to come.
Getting Started With Your New Inflatable SUP
If you’ve already purchased your inflatable stand up paddleboard and are raring to start using it in the nearest beach or lake, you should read these useful guidelines in starting up.
How to inflate your board
Inflating your ISUP can take only 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the pressure your air pump is capable of. The rule of thumb is, the harder your board, the better it will perform in the water.
- Roll out your ISUP on sand or grass. Be sure to remove any sharp objects that may scratch the material.
- Attach the pump hose and pressure gauge into your ISUP’s valve.
- Make sure the valve is not pushed in, as this setting will deflate your ISUP.
- Secure the end of the hose onto the valve. Make sure there is now way for air to leak out when you start pumping.
- Positing your pump on leveled ground and start pumping.
- Once you are satisfied with the pressure, carefully remove and cover the valve cap.
- Go out for a paddle on your new ISUP!
How to deflate your board
When it’s time to pack away your ISUP, you’ll need to do the following:
- Remove the valve cap.
- Push the valve in.
- Listen to the whoosh of air escaping your ISUP!
- Once your board is fully deflated, remember that you need to roll the material as neatly and tightly as possible.
Transporting your board
Your ISUP needs to be fully deflated and tightly rolled into its backpack or carry-on bag for greater mobility and ease of transport. It is tempting to become lazy in rolling up and storing your ISUP after a tiring session, however, improper storage of your ISUP could damage your board.
Now that you know how to inflate and deflate your ISUP properly, you should also remember these useful tips in storing, cleaning, maintaining, and repairing your board when the need arises.
How to take proper care of your board
- Rinse out with fresh water after every use. Salt water can cause even the toughest PVC material to wear away.
- Roll it tight means you rolled it right! Only when your deflated board is rolled into a tight bundle will it become easy to transport via the backpack.
- Stow away all the accessories in a cargo net or a similar contraption. You don’t want to lose your ISUP’s parts and accessories as these can be hard or costly to replace.
- Store your ISUP is a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight.
- Keep sharp objects away from your ISUP.
- In case your ISUP gets dings or holes, you can easily patch these up with the repair kit that is usually sold with the ISUP set. The ding repair kit comes with a quick-dry solution that will have you rowing or paddling again in no time.
How to patch and fix a leak
- If you are suspecting a hole in your ISUP, you should first be able to locate where it is. One simple way of doing this is to slightly inflate your board. Next, soap it down with a sponge. Now, the fun part: deflate your board and keep an eye out for bubbles! When you see bubbles form on the surface of your ISUP, you’ll be able to tell where the holes or leaks are.
- Clean the area surrounding the hole and leave it dry.
- Fully deflate your board and get ready to repair it.
- Cut a piece of the spare material in your repair kit and carefully trace the area where you will be putting the patch on. The material and glue should be readily available in most ISUP sets.
- Make sure that you glue the patch on the center or middlemost part of the hole.
- Cover the underside of the patch with glue. Let the glue dry for 5-10 minutes before attaching the patch.
- Once dry, put the patch over the whole.
- Use the end of a spoon or any flat surface to gently “iron out” the patch onto the hole.
- Let your newly patched ISUP dry overnight before you inflate it and use it again.
What Are the General Stand Up Paddle Boarding Rules on the Water?
The US Coast Guard passed a regulation in 2008 that classified paddleboards as vessels. Outside a swim or surf zone, a stand-up paddle board is considered a vessel and must adhere to the same rules and regulations. This may include a Coast Guard approved life jacket in serviceable condition for each person on board and a signaling device like a whistle. Children under the age of 13 are required wear a type 1, 2, or 3 PFD at all times. PFDs are required to be size appropriate for the wearer.
Since SUPs are one of, if not the smallest, vessel on the water they essentially have no right of way and must give way to larger vessels.
SUPs must always cross behind or astern of oncoming motorized boat traffic.
To SUP after sunset or at dawn or dusk, you are required to have a white light such as a flashlight that is visible up to a mile and capable of warning other boaters by shining towards oncoming traffic.
If you’re not keen on wearing a type 3 PFD, there are pouch type manually inflated life jackets or C02 triggered inflatable belt style PFDs available. These types of PFDs do offer more range of movement but keep in mind that if you are paddling somewhere where you might hit your head, you may not be conscious and able to inflate your PFD.
Making a Choice on an Inflatable Paddle Board
If you are a beginner, planning on bringing passengers aboard or planning on doing Yoga on your inflatable paddle board, make sure to consider a wider, more stable board. Check out the most stable board we tested, the NRS Mayra.
If you are a more advanced paddler you most likely will want to consider a board that glides easily. These tend to be lighter, more narrow boards with a rockered or at least slightly rockered nose. Take a look at the Isle Touring that we tested.
If you are looking for a surfing board, you’ll want something that is light and thin and has a D-ring on the back for attaching a leash to. Check out the Red Paddle inflatable paddle board.
When you’re shopping for an inflatable paddle board, keep in mind where you will be going most often and what you will be bringing with you in order to decide which features are essential. If you are going to use your board several times a week, make sure to purchase a board that has fins that are easy to take on and off. If you are going to bring a lot of stuff with you when you paddle, make sure that your board choice has a sufficient cargo system for your needs. If your choice of adventuring is river touring or some activity that requires pulling the board up onto shore often, you might want to make sure that your choice has a nice handle on the nose of the board. A handle makes pulling the board ashore much easier than a D-ring or grabbing further in via a cargo system or middle carrying handle.
Take a look at the Editor’s Choice award-winning Isle Explorer. We love the dual cargo system, extra D rings, handle straps, and tail-placed inflation valve. Inflation valves are nice to have on the tail if you feel like rolling the board up without taking the fin off. This board also has a pump hose with universal ends.
How Hard is Stand Up Paddle Boarding?
Combining a core, arm, and leg workout with components of kayaking and surfing, and stand up paddle boarding is the result. Stand up paddle boarding lures people of all ages, sizes, and fitness levels because of the ease of getting out on the water.
Unlike surfing, paddle boarding can be done on the calmest of waters. Most people do not have the luxury of living near an ocean which makes paddle boarding a wonderfully fun way to make use of most bodies of water.
Flat, tranquil waters are best for beginners, but stand up paddle boarding can be seen anywhere from bays in the Philippines to the north shore of Hawaii.
Although there are pictures showering the Internet showing people performing yoga poses on their boards or toting their adorable pets while they ride, stand up paddle boarding does not always have to be this wild.
Many inquisitive riders question whether their age or size will be a factor in their ability to ride their board. There are varying boards and situations that can work with just about any age and size. As long as a rider is willing to put forth effort and patience, stand up paddle boarding will be possible.
Learning how to stand up on a paddle board is a breeze when the proper gear and techniques are used. This means having the proper board for the desired level of difficulty as well as water conditions.
Surf stand up paddle boards are easily maneuverable in the surf and rugged waters, but are less stable in calm, flat water. These boards are also for riders who are intermediate or advanced in stand up paddle boarding.
Racing stand up paddle boards offer a slimmer width and can generate face speeds, which are perfect for down winders and open ocean competitions. These boards tend to be a little more challenging for beginners but are a supreme choice for elite racers.
The all-around stand up paddle board is the most common and widely favorited as the best board for first-time paddlers. The shape of the all-around is versatile and works effectively in all conditions. Starting out as a beginner in stand up paddle boarding, this board can set any rider off on the right foot.
Within minutes, most first time paddle boarders are up and out in the water moments after grabbing their stand up paddle board. As long as you follow some basic guidelines, making way in the water will happen with ease.
Facing the right way on the board sounds very simple, however, for non-surfers it can be confusing at first. After falling off a board, a rider must check and make sure that the fins are facing the back; ensuring that the fins are at the back means the board can keep straight while a rider paddles.
When paddling, a rider must always make sure that they are clear of any other paddlers in the area. With winds and currents going in the same direction it becomes very easy for paddlers to somehow end up in the same place. These large boards can hurt if they collide with someone else, so to ensure safety, look out for other paddlers.
With any water sport, the water itself has to be respected. A paddler must know their own physical strength as well as swimming abilities before they set out for extreme stand up paddle boarding. Stand up paddlers must be mindful of the wind as well. When standing on a paddle board, the rider becomes a sail in the wind. When weather conditions take a drastic turn, riders should lay flat on their boards and paddle using their arms.
As a beginning stand up paddle boarder, a rider should always use a leash and practice properly falling off their board. Falling correctly means the rider falls as far away as possible from their board. This ensures that neither the board nor the fins will harm the rider when they fall.
Paddling using arm strength seems like a no brainer. Stand up paddle boarders show immense strength in their arms, however that is not where the paddling should originate. Paddling with the core is crucial. The core muscles act as a center for the rest of the body, acting as a line of defense. Paddling with arm strength alone will leave any rider exhausted.
In comparison to surfing, paddle boarding offers a much faster reward for work put in. It may take someone three or four surf lessons before they are even able to stand up the board. However, with stand up paddle boarding, a rider can stand up on the board within minutes.
The most difficult components of stand up paddle boarding involve balance and maneuvering. Balance is something that comes naturally to some but can be very difficult for others. Balance is a key component in having success as a rider. A tip for beginning riders is to not stare down at their feet. Although this seems to be the safest way to ride, it actually makes riding much more difficult. The best tool for beginners is to gaze at the horizon; with a firm stance, and a focused gaze, the board will move in the desired direction.
Maneuvering is the final piece that will make stand up paddle boarding easier once mastered. All riders have to get accustomed to using a paddle and understanding the amount of force it takes to guide the board in the proper direction.
Stand up paddle boarding is the quickest growing water sport because of the difference in levels for all riders. To make the most out of a stand up paddle boarding experience every rider must understand their ability and comfortability level.
The weather conditions, attire, and water can all contribute to either a positive or negative stand up paddle boarding experience.
Stand up paddle boarding is an emerging water sport that can easily be a part of any family’s outdoor excursions. A day out on the water enjoying this sport will also include an amazing workout and tranquil scenery.
How to Turn Your Paddle Board into a Kayak
Do you have a stand up paddle board (SUP) that you no longer use? Are you tired of it taking up space and not being something you use? If so, perhaps it is time to give it a makeover. You can learn how to turn your paddle board into a kayak, and perhaps rediscover how much fun being out on the water can be. All you need is a plastic SUP, few parts, and a little creativity.
Where to Begin the Transformation
The first thing you will want to do is get the right paddle for yourself. A SUP will have a different paddle than a kayaker will use. To skip purchasing a paddle would be bad unless you have a SUP paddle that converts to a kayak paddle. The good news is, there are a lot of manufacturers making SUP paddles that break down and become kayak paddles because there are so many people choosing to do the transformation. Even those who still want the SUP may choose to sometimes use it as a kayak.
Next Step when Building Your SUP Kayak
Next, you will most likely want to find a seat that you feel comfortable sitting on. This seat will have a low back support and perhaps a little cushion for you to sit down on. You will need to figure out where to place the seat. If you put it in the middle, it may cause the paddle board to sit with one end higher than the other. This could be bad for your adventures. Often, it is best to have a friend tell you how the board is sitting in the water while you try out different seat placement options.
Final Step for SUP to Kayak Transformation
One thing that a kayak will have that your SUP does not, is the paddle holders. You will not want to forget to add them. Ideally, you will place the paddle holders near the rear of your paddle board. This will ensure that they are not in your way if you decide to use the paddle board as a paddle board, but that the paddle holders are available when you are kayaking on it.
Things to Consider Before Starting
Transforming a stand up paddle board is not difficult to do. However, if you do not have the plastic style SUP, you may want to get someone else to help you with the transformation. Drilling into harder materials may not sound difficult, but it can end up messing up your board if you are not careful. If you have a plastic board, you should have an easier time of drilling and not have to worry about messing it up. The trick is mostly going to be the seat position and ensuring that it is in a stable area. If you do not have someone who can help you figure out where to place it, you may also want to consider taking it to a prefessional.
5 Best Inflatable Paddle Board Brands
When you’re considering the purchase of an inflatable paddle board, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go with the best product you can find. The top brands know what you’re looking for in a paddle board, and sell many different styles, sizes, and shapes of boards.
Keep reading for all the information you need on the top board makers of this type, so you’ll know which ones to check out when it comes time to make a purchase.
Ten Toes Boards
This cool company is located in Los Angeles, California, and its name is an homage to a classic, yet short-lived surf board company. Since they are in LA, they are right at the source of great surfing at all times too. Their boards are designed to be easy to use and able to transport around wherever you want to go to find the best waves. They come in a variety of sizes, from 8 feet to 14 feet long, and each of them weighs around 30 pounds, give or take. Each item they sell is made of military-grade PVC, so it’s resistant to tearing and punctures as much as possible.
The paddle that comes with the products they sell is aluminum, meaning it’s strong and won’t weigh you down. All of these features make these boards something you can really get some use out of. For example, they even sell replacement fins if you lose them, and each board is tested for over 70 hours before it’s placed into a retail package. This means that the company prides itself on making sure that each product that they make works like it should.
Atoll Boards wants to help you, even before you are a customer. They encourage their customers and potential customers to ask questions, so you can make a purchase that will be the best for your needs. You can contact them by phone, email, or even snail mail with your questions, comments, or problems. The board they are most known for is olive drab green, 11 feet long, and only weighs a little over 20 pounds. It comes with all the things you need to make it work for you, including a travel bag, a pump to blow it up, and an adjustable paddle.
They also sell replacement parts and accessories for their boards, in case something breaks or you something. They have a 60-day return policy, a 2-year warranty, and offer promotions throughout the year, so you should always make sure that you visit their website to see what is going on.
This company came about in 2004 when a couple of dedicated surfers wanted to do something besides climb the corporate ladder. They are now among the largest retailers for paddle boards online. The cool thing is that the company is headquartered in San Diego, where they are able to test their products on a daily basis. Unlike other companies, employees at ISLE really use their products. They have a great selection of inflatable paddle boards in stock. Their paddle boards range anywhere from around 10 feet to 15 feet, and even models designed especially for women.
There is also a model for kids if you have a young one who is interested in the growing sport of paddle boarding. Besides that, they come in different colors and styles, so you’ll always look good when you’re using one. Their website offers a place to ask questions, pages that help you choose a product, as well as an area dedicated to explaining how to take care of your board, which is something everyone needs to read to protect their investment.
This is another company that tests out their boards to make sure that they offer you a great experience. They have blue and white boards, which come in 10 or 11 feet lengths for you to choose from. There are also packages, if you need to purchase more than one at a time. These 2 packs offer a savings, and each product comes with all the accessories you need.
These boards have a special drop stitch core that makes them more rigid than other brands that you find on the market. They also have a no-slip deck pad, so you won’t be slipping and sliding around when you’re riding it. They are said to be able to store in nearly any car, and can be checked in at the airport when you’re going on a trip. That means you never have to leave home without your trusty iRocker paddle board.
The inflatable boards that are available through Tower Boards come in so many sizes that you may have trouble finding the one that is the right length for you. However, all you have to do is visit their website for information on how to choose a size. You can also learn nearly anything else you may want to know about their boards. Their website features all the boards that you can choose from. It also lists accessories that you may need when you own a paddle board.
Many products come with a 2-year warranty and are made of top-quality materials. They are virtually impossible to mess up, and they are easy to use and take care of. Most items are white or gray, so they may seem plain, but what they lack in design, they make up for in versatility. This company was also started in San Diego, so you know that the workers are actual surfers. They have a 15-day return policy and you can exchange items if you think they aren’t for you.
How We Evaluated The Inflatable Paddle Boards
Stability – This was our number one consideration when evaluating an inflatable paddleboard. Since they tend to be used by beginner and intermediate boarders who want a board to be as stable as possible. Naturally the bigger the board the more stable it is. But the primary thing that gives a board its stability is how thick it is. The thicker the board the more rigid and stable it usually is. 4 inches thick is the minimum recommended thickness.
Paddling Performance – By its nature a inflatable paddle board will not cut through the water as well as a standard fiberglass board. However the better quality paddle boards will glide through the water noticeably easier than the cheaper boards. Typically a higher rocker aids in how well it cuts through the water and makes it easier to paddle in rougher water or winder conditions.
Ease of Transport – Being that the main reason to buy an inflatable paddle board is because it easier to transport and store this is an important consideration. While as stated above they do not cut through the water as well the ability to transport in almost any car without needing a roof rack and being able to store one almost anywhere, makes the inflatable SUP very desirable.
All of the boards tested required a little extra effort to get them back in the storage container after they were inflated except for the Isle Airtech. A nice feature also with the Isle Airtech was that the center fin did not need to be removed.
Speed/Ease of Inflation – Inflatable paddle boards have standardized on pumps and how the pump attaches to the board so there is not really any standouts in this category. Normally it will take you between 5-8 minutes to inflate one, depending on the size of the board and how fast you can pump.
Most paddle boards recommend an inflation PSI of 12-15. One drawback we noticed was the gauges sucked and were very inaccurate. It is impossible to over-inflate them, so when in doubt, keep pumping until it feels hard enough to hold you.
Value For The Money – The paddle boards tested were in the range of $350 to $750. With the more expensive paddle boards being made of higher quality plastic and usually come with a better quality paddle, pump and other accessories. The paddles that come with the boards are made from aluminum shafts with plastic blades.
Paddle Board Accessories
Paddle – All of the reviewed inflatable paddle boards come with an adjustable aluminum paddle, that tend to be on the heavy side but durable. They are collapsible so they can be easily transported. If you are looking for a lighter, higher quality paddle, carbon fiber is worth looking into such as the 100% Carbon Fiber ‘Slider’ SUP Paddle.
Backpack – Since you will most likely be paddling fairly close to where your car is, you may not need a backpack to transport it. However, if you need to hike to where you want to go, a backpack is going to be something you want to purchase such as the ISLE Inflatable SUP Carrying Bag.
PFD/Life Preserver – None of the reviewed paddle boards come with a PFD but you can buy one for $20 – $50. You will need to one to paddle board in some areas and you should at least keep one on your board as a matter of practice. Onyx Co2 Automatic Vest.
Paddle Board Leash – This is really only an absolute necessity if you are surfing or paddling a river. When you are starting out it’s a good idea to use one. A good option is the ‘Storm’ SUP 10′ Coiled Leash .
Roof rack – While the small size of an inflatable paddle board is one of its primary advantages, if you are going to be at same place for a few days or more you may not want to inflate and deflate your paddleboard every time you use. A good option is the Surfboard Soft Rack LOCKDOWN Premium Surfboard Car Racks, it will easily transport 2 SUP’s
Electric Pump – If you get tired of hand pumping your paddleboard, there is the option of a battery powered pump. Not only do you not have to pump it, electric pump will inflate your paddleboard faster. Here is a good option, Sevylor 12 Volt 15 PSI SUP and Water Sport Pump, it plugs into your car accessory port and will inflate your paddle board in 3-5 minutes.
Why you should love an inflatable sup
Compared to hard SUPs, inflatable SUPs can be
- Rolled up neatly,
- Packed away quickly
- Carried around easily.
The biggest advantage is that you can carry them on a plane without having to pay excess baggage fees. That way, you can look forward to a full vacation-complete with your favorite activity. Transporting the traditional sup is a nightmare because they need special often bulky packaging.
If you love surfing, then chances are that paddleboard surfing will be equally as enjoyable for you. That’s where an inflatable sup comes in. if you’re paddling for long, they will prove to be equally and sometimes more comfortable than the traditional rigid fiberglass board.
Consider the space they will save you. You need a lot of vertical or horizontal room to store a hard board. With an inflatable sup, all you need to do is deflate it, roll it up and put it away in a corner.
Apart from sport, here’s a list of what you can do with your board;
- Convert one of these versatile boards and use it for fishing because of its incredible stability. Their size is another huge plus.
- You can be two or more people plus your pet dog on one board, if it enjoys getting into the water with you.
- Apart from paddle boarding, you can attach coolers and go fishing.
- You can get D ring attachments, attach kayak seats and you have yourself yet another incredible hobby to indulge in.
- At maximum or near maximum rigidity, you can even use it to surf.
- To crown it all, stand up paddle boarding can be used as a full body workout. Why wouldn’t you want that?
Even if you dread the pumping, there’s an easy solution. Make your work easy and get a powered pump to replace the manual hand pumping. Only if you mind the 5-10 minute workout, that is. Make sure your inflatable board can handle electric pumps first before you use one.
To preserve the integrity of the PVC, after paddling in the ocean, rinse it with fresh water. The compounds in sea water can corrode the rubber and affect its appearance, more than its functions. After rinsing, air it out then store it away. Leaving the paddle in the water can affect its buoyancy when water seeps in.
Moisture can compromise the integrity of the material making up a traditional hardboard, and affect the overall functioning of your paddleboard. You simply cannot take that risk while out riding a high wave. That’s where inflatable sups provide a better alternative.
That is not to say that inflatable sups cannot be damaged. They will hardly get ruined in the way that traditional boards so. If they do however, it could be out of very rough/hard impact. Even then, repairing them is simpler than patching banged up hardboards.
That brings us to the end of this list. Hopefully, our analysis was useful to you and most importantly, we hope it helped you make up your mind about which board you’ll be wrecking this summer. If you liked this article and want to know more about faster and more competitive stand up paddle boards, make sure to check out our Top 10 racing Sups.
Regardless of what you will do with your paddleboard, there is a board that will fit your lifestyle out there. Hopefully, the advice and boards in this article will give you a place to begin looking. Even if the boards on this list aren’t exactly what you want, you’ll know where to start looking for a board that will do everything you need it to and maybe a little more.
So, TOP10 of inflatable sup:
- №1 — iRocker Inflatable SPORT Stand Up Paddle Board
- №2 — Ten Toes Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Bundle
- №3 — PEAK Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board with Adjustable Paddle
- №4 — ISLE Airtech Inflatable 11′ Explorer Stand Up Paddle Board
- №5 — AIRHEAD Popsicle 730 ISUP Paddleboard
- №6 — Sea Eagle Sup Inflatable Paddle Longboard 11Ft Start Up Package
- №7 — iRocker Inflatable SPORT Stand Up Paddle Board
- №8 — Red Paddle Co RIDE MSL 10’6 x 32″ (2017 Series)
- №9 — PathFinder Inflatable SUP Stand Up Paddleboard
- №10 — Aqua Marina Fusion Stand Up Paddle Board
by Don Oliver | Last Updated November 1, 2017