It isn’t easy.
Trying to find the “best stand up paddle board” for yourself, Agree?
Apart from complementing your height and weight, your ideal board should provide good padding performance and better stability. And that is not all; for you also have to decide on other factors including the paddle board’s type, the design of its hull and the board’s length, width and thickness
Have doubts you can’t brainstorm that much?
Don’t worry; for you we have this article to get you the top inflatable sups of 2018.
1.Serene Life Inflatable – Best Paddle Board Under $500
SereneLife Inflatable is an inexpensive SUP for both beginners and kids. Despite its low price tag, this model has all the accessories you want might to ride on the water. Here’s what makes the iRocker one of the most affordable paddle boards.
Starting with a glance at its dimensions, the SereneLife measures 10’ x 30’’ x 6’’ and weighs 30 pounds. It has a total weight capacity of 275 pounds, which is quite considerable once you realize that this model was designed with beginners and kids in mind.
As for its construction, this model uses durable PVC with a corrosion-resistant layer over it. Such an arrangement makes the durability of this board acceptable, though not high-end.
Turning our attention to its features, and the first thing you’re bound to notice is the traction pad. It covers the entire standing area and feels soft but still provides excellent grip. Then comes the D-ring at its nose which will prove to be a godsend when you want to tow this SUP.
Moving on, the carry handle – which is located in the device’s middle – serves two useful purposes. First, it allows you to carry the board with ease. Second, if you have other passengers on the board, they can hold on to the handle to maintain their balance.
Flip it upside down, and you’d notice 2 small side fins which are an essential part of the SUP. For, by letting you easily steer the board on will, they would take the SUP where you – and not the wind – wants to take it.
Finishing our review of the SereneLife, its list of attachments belie the meager price tag of this model. Everything – from the leash repair kit to the coiled ankle leash, and a floating needle to the SUP pump with gauge and storage bag – is included.
- Considerable weight capacity
- Faster to inflate/deflate
- An impressive list of attachments
- Uses elastic bungee cord tie-downs
2.Pathfinder Inflatable SUP – Best Lightweight Paddle Board
Packing pump, a large carry bag but no leash in its package, the Pathfinder is one of the most affordable stand up paddle boards out there. Still, as our review will show, this model has done well to compete with more expensive SUPs.
First things first, the Pathfinder is narrower, shorter and thinner than most other models in this review. What this means is that it is an ultra-maneuverable model which can be taken to dizzyingly high speeds by expert paddlers.
Furthermore, this model uses a strong PVC material which is reinforced with high-end Dropstitch construction. While the former material imparts the Pathfinder maximum toughness, the latter by securing the vulnerable side rails makes the SUP durable.
Measurements of this model, meanwhile, brilliantly complement its maneuverability. It measures only 9.9’’ long, has a width of around 5’’ with a 30’’ width. Add all these dimensions together, and what you get is a desk space enough for moving around when doing SUP fishing or SUP yoga.
Making sure that the cargo you carry on-board remains safe are the five stainless steel D-rings of this model. One of those D-rings is placed at the tail so that you can easily attach your leash. The other four, meanwhile, are located at the front and provide a bungee cord to secure your cargo.
Moreover, of the many nifty features of this model, one that cannot simply be ignored is its single removable fin. Apart from giving the board your – and not the wind’s preferred direction, the fin is extremely easy to secure in place.
Lastly, you won’t find the Pathfinder providing almost all the accessories which other SUPs provide. Included in its package is a manual pump – no bells and whistles here – as well as the carry bag and a paddle. Surprisingly though, no leash is on offer.
- Quick set up and deflation
- Easy to maneuver and moves quickly
- Dropstitch construction makes it tough and durable
- Spacious deck and comfortable padding
- Below-average weight capacity
- some users complain that the parts are cheaply made.
3.Atoll 11’ Foot Inflatable – Best Fishing SUP
Starting with the most eye-catching feature of this model, and its military-themed design comes into play. It has a dark army green color board which is accented by light-colored bottom and board’s black rails. However, if you want something less macho, the board is also available in red and blue colors.
As for its construction, the Atoll 11’’ SUP, despite being extremely lightweight – since it measures only 19 pounds – is still durable and stiff. That is, because, it uses a combination of military grade SUP and high-end drop stitch core.
The upper deck of the Atoll 11’’ features a sturdy white EVA foam traction. Branded with Atoll’s logo, it provides more-than-adequate standing grip. Also, there is a carrying handle with a soft neoprene grip which let onboard passengers maintain their balance on the Atoll.
Furthermore, the Atoll 11’’ features 14-D rings on the deck itself which let you tie down anything you might need. Six of these rings are on the front whereas the other 8 are nicely distributed alongside the board’s sides. These rings are important as they let you tie down your gear, a kayak seat, backrest, or even a cooler with ease.
Move to the backside of the board, and you can’t miss there the presence of a neoprene covered grab handle. It serves three purposes including letting you pull the board in and out of the water, making the fins off the beach, and preventing the same from damage while dragging. Hence the reason why it is one of the best inflatable fishing paddle boards.
Lastly, the padding performance of the Atoll 11’’ leaves nothing for desire. Thanks to its tapered nose – which helps the board cut through tough conditions – it glides and tracks well. Equally important is the stable feel which it will give you in the middle of the water.
- Remarkable list of accessories
- Provides speed and stability
- A plethora of rings to let you secure your stuff
- Beautiful design
- It is quite expensive
4. Ten Toes 10’ Weekender – Best touring stand up paddle board
A popular choice when you talk about midrange inflatable paddle boards, the Ten Toes 10’ Weekender is a stable board which is fun to paddle and glides well.
First things first, the Weekender measures on the smaller side with its 10’ length and 30’ width. That doesn’t mean, however, that it won’t offer enough space for all your yoga poses. Also, in case you are wondering, its light weight won’t deter the Ten Toes from easily carrying 250 pounds, either.
Moving on, if you’re one of those persons who feel that inflatables don’t keep their shape, the Ten Toes would prove you wrong. It is constructed with Dropstitch technology and has military grade PVC. Consequently, the Ten Toes is both sturdy as well as well-made.
That said, even if you do manage to create a hole in this SUP – the chances of which are pretty slim – it won’t desert you. For, it comes with PVC patching and a valve wrench for basic repairs. What’s more, this model comes with its own pump.
The deck pad of this model – the part where you stand – is constructed of an EVA textured foam. Not only will this pad bore your weight well but it will also keep your feet from slipping. Then there are the three removable tracking fins which make this board a cinch to move around.
Furthermore, the Ten Toes features four stainless steel rings near its nose, and one near its tail, to let you secure it either to a dock or to another watercraft. The front four stainless steel rings have a bungee cord running through them to create a containment area where you can store your gear.
- Constructed with military grade PVC and drop stitch technology
- Deck pad keeps feet from slipping
- Plenty of space for storing gear
- A large number of attachments
- It is quite expensive
- Not super-fast
5. iRocker Cruiser Inflatable – Best Paddle Surfing SUP
Ever since this model was revealed all those years ago, its manufacturer has made progressive improvements in the iRocker over the years. Consequently, what we now have in 2018 is an improved, more versatile and certainly more rugged version of the original iRocker.
Want a board that can pretty much do it all? In that case, you’re in dreamland with the iRocker. Measuring 10’6″ x 33″ x 6″ and weighing just under 25 pounds, its unique profile gives this board brilliant stability, hence making it ideal for fishing, SUP fitness, padding, and beginner paddlers.
Setting up and inflating the model is super-easy; it took us less than 10 minutes to get it out of the package and fully inflate the iRocker with its dual-action hand pump. Also, thanks to its convenient carry handle, this board is a cinch to carry around, even when it’s fully inflated.
The upper portion of the iRocker has an upgraded EVA foam traction pad. The latest addition sees a crocodile texture into the deck pad’s diamond grip. In tangible terms, what this means is an improved grip and comfortable feel under your feet.
The mid-board, meanwhile, contains a neoprene-grip-covered carrying handle. Then there are the four stainless steel D-rings located on both sides of the deck. You can use these D-rings to tie down your additional gear and attach kayak seats and backrests.
Placed at the board’s tail is a high-quality air valve, an additional D-ring, and a newly grab handle. While the additional D-ring lets you attach the provided SUP leash, the grab handle proves its handiness when you are pulling the iRocker in and/or out of the water.
On the board’s flip side is a tri-fin setup – which contains two small, irremovable fins and a large, removable one. All three combine to give the iRocker a popular fin setup which provides additional flexibility and excellent tracking.
- Lightweight and stable
- Fins provide it flexibility and excellent tracking
- Huge onboard storage space
- All-inclusive package is included
- Not super-fast
6. PEAK Inflatable Paddle – Best River Paddle Board
As far as beginner users are concerned, the Peak Inflatable is a flashy SUP with noticeable stability and glide. Add to this its affordability – as it is one of the most inexpensive models in this review – and it definitely deserves your attention.
Compare its price with performance, you’d see that the PEAK packs a serious punch. It has got it all, with a no-frills backpack, a nice 3-piece paddle, and a functioning pump. Granted, it doesn’t have a three-fin design, but it has done very well without it as the profile of the board helps it maintain stability.
Furthermore, the PEAK is a cinch to move around, mainly due to its well-designed backpack and lightweight construction. Its bag has a waistbelt to spread the bag’s weight and a full-zip to make loading/unloading it easy.
Moving on, a careful glance over the board can’t help but notice that over 2/3rds of it is covered with an EVA traction pad. It is a good thing because, apart from keeping your feet from slipping off the board, the soft coating provides you comfort.
What’s more, the Peak Inflatable features 7-D rings, one of which is on the board’s tail to let you tie it to a dock using the provided safety leash. As for the other six rings, they are attached with a bungee cord and provide ample space for storage.
Lastly, the most important element of this SUP is undoubtedly its paddle. It is a 3-piece aluminum model and gets you where you want to be. Supplementing the paddle is a removable fin which is attached beneath the center of the board. As a result, you can hope to get the best tracking possible.
- Provides an adjustable 3-piece paddle
- Offers a comfortable and strong backpack in the package
- Comes with a 1-year warranty
- Question marks about its longevity
7. Tower Inflatable Stand Up – Best Affordable Stand Up Paddle Board
Ask any veteran paddler, and the name of Tower would invariably come up in every discussion of respected paddle board brands. That said, it wasn’t the brand name but the performance of this model which led us to include it on our list.
Measuring 10’4” x 32’’ x 6’’, the Tower Inflatable comes in an all-inclusive package. In addition to the board, its package includes a 3-piece fiberglass paddle, a removable center fin, a high-pressure pump, and a hand hold strap. That means you won’t have to buy anything extra with this model.
One of the features which impressed us the most about this model was its thickness. At six-inches, the thickness allows you to sit higher up among the water waves than most SUPs. Increased height, however, doesn’t mean more instability as the Tower remains stable thanks to its central fin.
What’s more, Tower has employed military grade PVC in the construction of this inflatable. That material allows it to withstand cuts, slivers, and damage from sticks, rocks and other objects. It is further complemented by the abovementioned added thickness to prevent sag.
Moving on, like the majority of the boards in this review, the Tower has carrying handles on the front and rear. It also has front and rear D-rings, though both of them have different functions. While the front can be used for towing, the rear one lets you store your items using the supplied surf leash.
- Easy to control thanks to rail-kick tail
- Wide, Thick and sturdy
- Uses military-grade PVC
- Lots of storage options
- No backpack in its package
8. ISLE Cruiser Soft Top Stand Up – Best Wide Paddle Board
Thanks to its impressive build, an eye-pleasing design, and variety of colors in which it is available, the Isle Cruiser has been making all the right waves in the market. But will it suit you? Let’s find out.
Starting with the best this board has to offer, its deck has gone for a unique combination of three wood stingers and a polyurethane deck. The former makes sure the board stays afloat while also making it rigid and firm. The latter, meanwhile, cushions your feet and legs.
Another amazing feature of this model is the larger dimensions of its deck. Both in terms of width and length, it offers plenty of space on the deck. That means whether you’re a beginner who wants easy balancing or an expert looking to do SUP yoga, the deck has got you covered.
Just like its deck, the bottom of the Isle is made of high-density polyurethane. Such an arrangement provides it with a strong and secure base, one that can withstand small collisions with aplomb.
Moreover, carrying the model around would be a cinch thanks to its center carry handle. Still, while the handle does have its benefits, we would have liked it to be covered in the soft coating, for it is how most paddle handles come these days.
- Lightweight yet sturdy
- Includes a carry handle
- Considerable weight capacity
- Small accessory list
How to Choose the best Stand Up Paddle Board?
To find the top inflatable sup of 2018, here’s what you need to keep in mind:
Type of Hull
For the newbies out there, the hull is the body of a paddle board. Get it right, and you’ll learn the trade in no time. Get it wrong, and you should perhaps get ready to taste the salty ocean water. That means that the hull plays a crucial part in how well – or worse – a paddle board would perform in the water.
Following are the two types of hull:
Similar to a surfboard, it is flat, wide and designed for riders who want to ride on top of the water. Since they are extremely maneuverable, planing hull boards are a good choice for surfing, SUP yoga, and leisure padding. However, one shortcoming of planning hulls is that they don’t track as straight as some people would like. You can find them in ocean paddle boards.
- SUP Yoga
- Leisure Padding
- Tracking Nice and Straight
Ever seen the pointed bow (or nose) of a canoe or kayak? Well, that is exactly how displacement hulls look like. Its nose-shaped front allows the hull to pieces water with ease, hence providing it with better efficiency. As a result, they track straight but are relatively less maneuverable. Anyhow, if you plan to embark on racing or fitness paddling, they are a must-have.
Tracking Nice and Straight
Type of SUP
Both the planning as well as displacement hulls are available in two construction styles: inflatable and solid. Let’s look at both of them to decide which one will suit you more.
With an EPS foam core that’s covered with either epoxy or fiberglass, they are lightweight, durable and affordable options. Carbon fiber generally makes the best lightweight paddle boards, though they tend to be expensive as well.
Plastic SUPs, on the contrary make cheap inflatable paddle boards though they are extremely heavy. There is another type which uses wood for nothing but enhancing the beauty of the board.
- If You Prioritize Performance
- Best if you Want Perfect Stability
- Good For Paddle Surfing
- Have ample storage space
- not good if you Want to travel with them
Why Get Inflatable SUPs?
Not having enough storage space
Want to take them with you on a trip
Looking to do SUP yoga or paddling whitewater
Length of SUP
Want to know why some boards handle water better than others? It’s their length, genius. While longboards are speedier, they are poor at maneuverability. On the flip side, short boards suffer at speed but are a cinch to move around.
Since it isn’t easy to classify whether a board is long or short just by looking at it, we’ve divided them into the following three categories on the basis of their length.
Less than 10’’ (Short Board)
Measuring less than 10’, these boards are best for kids and/or surfing. Almost all short boards come with a planing hull. As stated earlier, they are easy to maneuver but aren’t known for picking up fast speeds. If you’re specifically looking for the best paddle boards for beginners, make sure its length is under 8’.
(10 to 12’’) Medium Boards
Medium boards range in the 10’ to 12’ length spectrum. They are recommended both for SUP yoga as well as for all-around use. Some of them might have displacement hulls though the majority opts for planning hulls.
(12’’ or Above) Long Boards
Want to undertake long-distance touring and/or fast padding? Boards with lengths greater than 12.6’ are your best bet. They track straight like a breeze and part water particles in the same way as the knife cuts butter. As their long length suggests, most of these boards use displacement hulls.
Width of SUP
Another crucial factor in the handling ability of a board is its width. There is a rule of thumb which dictates that wider boards are more stable. However, they also tend to be slower – and if they are too wide for you – difficult to paddle as well.
When deciding on the width of a SUP – which ranges between 25’’ and 36’’ – two factors deserve your consideration. First, decide on the type of padding that you may want. Boards with more padding are slow but more stable. The narrower ones, however, are much quicker and easy to maneuver
Second, since you’re your best judge, decide your ability level before deciding on the board’s width. That is, if you’re paddling for years, you can handle the compact surface of narrow boards with ease. Conversely, if you’re new in the game, that extra inches of width will go a long way in helping you out.
Gilbert is a 23-year old blogger from South america who is a Camping enthusiast and a Technology geek. He is a certified Engineer and is Pursuing his Masters in University Of chile. Read more about him