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Best Overall: Tower Paddle Boards Adventurer 2 at Amazon
"The Adventurer 2 strikes a nice balance of stability and performance."
"An affordable paddleboard that's great for people who are new to the sport or those who are on a budget."
Best Splurge: Red Paddle Co. Sport Inflatable SUP at Backcountry
"It's stable enough for total beginners, but you won't be needing to upgrade as soon as you get better."
Best Lightweight: Beyond Marina Inflatable Paddle Board at Amazon
"The Beyond Marina board is at least 5 pounds lighter than most at just over 16 pounds."
Best for Big and Tall: Atoll 11-Foot Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board at Atoll
"Atoll's beefy board is great for larger riders that find themselves sinking other boards."
Best for Families: Bluefin Cruise Carbon 15-Foot SUP at Amazon
"It's rated to carry 529 pounds, so you can realistically float with an adult and two kids."
Best for Fishing: Sea Eagle FishSUP at Amazon
"Features a mounting area for a trolling motor, four rod holders, and lots of attachment points for locking down gear."
Best for Yoga: Bote Breeze Aero at Dick's Sporting Goods
"Hold steady on a wide, stable base designed for those that prefer their yoga mat to float."
Best for Touring: NRS Escape Inflatable SUP at REI
"The board's long 14-foot length makes it suitable for long-distance and overnight tours on the water."
Stand-up paddleboarding is a growing sport and that growth is thanks in part to inflatables making the sport more affordable and practical for a wider group of people. Not only are inflatables generally cheaper than rigid boards, but they are easier to transport. Most paddleboards are at least 10 feet long and up to 3 feet wide or more, making them impractical for most vehicles besides large trucks. The wide array of inflatable SUPs makes it possible to take your paddleboard on vacation, down the street, or even deep in the backcountry to an alpine lake. We researched top paddleboards across several categories so you can find the one that lets you paddle the way you prefer.
Read on to learn more about the best paddleboards available.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Tower Paddle Boards Adventurer 2
First popularized on Shark Tank and invested in by Mark Cuban, Tower makes affordable boards that are great for beginner and intermediate paddlers. The Adventurer 2 strikes a nice balance of stability and performance, and at 10 feet and 4 inches, it’s a great size for women and smaller riders who can be bogged down by bigger boards.
The Adventurer 2 is built for flat water which is where most of today’s SUPers paddle and the built-in fins are rubberized for resistance to bumps and dings both on the water and in transit. The board is also sold with essential equipment including the paddle, pump, and center fin, though you can buy just the board if you already have those items.
Best Budget: Bestway HydroForce White Cap Inflatable SUP
If the price tags on paddleboards give you sticker shock, you’re probably a first-time paddleboarder. Truth is, though many boards cost over $1,000, you can get into the sport with a first board for far less. The Bestway HydroForce doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of higher-end models, but it features mostly the same construction, boasts similar dimensions, and offers a great beginner experience.
We found the included sit-down kayaking option a little goofy and a great way to get wet, but it’s optional and the rest of the board is fairly standard. The rounded nose means slower planing than more performance-oriented boards, but if you’re new to the sport, you won’t notice. The listed capacity is 209 pounds and at 10 feet long this board is definitely better suited for average-sized riders or smaller.
Best Splurge: Red Paddle Co. Sport Inflatable SUP
The 11-foot, 3-inch Sport board from Red Paddle Co. is a board you can grow into with a slightly pointed nose and squared end that makes it more maneuverable and faster than the fully rounded, cheaper boards on the market. While it’s big and stable enough to be comfortable for total beginners with an embossed deck for added comfort, you won’t be needing to upgrade as soon as you get better.
It also features a single removable tail fin as on a classic surf longboard which allows for easier turning and movement, though you’ll sacrifice just a bit in straight-on planing. At 22 pounds, it’s actually a pretty light board despite being over 11 feet and comes with a carrying case backpack in case you can’t drive right up to your launching area.
Best Lightweight: Beyond Marina Inflatable Paddle Board
Many inflatable paddleboards come with backpacks to store everything in an organized way and carry the compressed board in, but carrying the board, pump, and paddle anywhere further than a few hundred yards becomes impractical with the weight of many boards. The Beyond Marina board is at least 5 pounds lighter than most at just over 16 pounds.
This is a fairly standard inflatable board suitable for beginner and intermediate paddlers with standard features like a removable center fin and ankle leash, but it sets itself apart with its light weight. The shape is rounded and has a substantial width of 32 inches which prioritizes stability. It measures 10 feet, 6 inches in length and comes with a limited one-year warranty.
Best for Big and Tall: Atoll 11-Foot Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board
From the buffalo icon logo to the extra thick and burly build to the military green colorway, the Atoll iSUP is a heavy-duty paddleboard. Men, and really any larger paddlers, can struggle with boards with thinner profiles and lower maximum capacities around 200 pounds. Not so with the Atoll which is a full 6 inches thick, 32 inches wide, and rated up to 400 pounds for a single rider and 750 pounds with two.
The board is also performance-oriented for its size, with a squared tail and pointed nose for better planing and steering. The thruster fin setup means you can get moving and keep moving straight ahead when you need to cover ground. There are also lots of D-ring attachment points and built-in elastic straps for tying down your gear.
Best for Families: Bluefin Cruise Carbon 15-Foot SUP
Paddleboarding is normally a solo adventure, but you can realistically fit multiple people on a board as long as you’re under the recommended weight limit. The high-pressure boards from Bluefin offer big-time rigidity and float by inflating up to 28 psi, which is well above the average 15 psi for entry-level boards. It’s also 32 inches wide by 15 feet long, so there’s plenty of real estate to fit a paddler and a passenger.
There are also fore and aft bungee tie down zones as well as a generous traction pad covering most of the board. It even comes with two sets of paddles and kayak seats. This board weighs in at 44 pounds, but if you’re buying a paddleboard in this class, weight isn’t likely a top concern. Speaking of weight, the Cruise Carbon is rated to carry 529 pounds, so you can realistically float with an adult and two kids if you’re up for the paddle.
Best for Fishing: Sea Eagle FishSUP
Folks have been fishing from kayaks for years but those same types of off-the-beaten-path anglers are seeing the benefits of fishing from a stand-up paddleboard. The problem with fishing from a basic paddleboard is the lack of storage and proper tie-downs. But the Sea Eagle FishSUP changes the game with its unique design. Measuring 40 inches wide with a unique arrowhead shape, this paddleboard veers into small boat territory, but that’s in part why it’s great for fishing.
The details really make it, though. The FishSUP features a mounting area for a trolling motor, four rod holders, a swivel seat, storage compartment, fish ruler, and lots of attachment points for locking down gear. Think of this as a fishing platform disguised as a paddleboard and you’ll understand the convenience over a trailed bulky boat that requires marinas, permits, and upkeep.
Best for Yoga: Bote Breeze Aero
Yoga on paddleboards is now popular enough that some companies are designing boards with yogis in mind. Yoga demands strength and balance on land, but on water, it takes it to another level. This 10-foot long, 33-inch wide platform prioritizes stability over maneuverability, not surprisingly, given that its intended use is to be still on flat water. It also has minimal rocker in its shape in order to maximize contact with the water and minimize swaying.
Still, the rounded nose has a bit of a point and the tail is squared making this board paddle perfectly well for most beginner to intermediate flatwater explorers. Included is an oversized backpack complete with waist and chest straps plus two carrying handles that make it a legitimate option for hauling the 20-pound board to more remote bodies of water.
Best for Touring: NRS Escape Inflatable SUP
More experienced paddleboarders will appreciate the performance of this touring-oriented inflatable SUP from famed river raft brand NRS. The difference in shape from most paddleboards is obvious, with a thin 29-inch waist, sharply pointed nose, and 14-foot length. The board also inflates higher than most, up to 20 psi, for an extra-rigid pressure that allows for greater power transfer from each stroke. While this paddleboard doesn't feature a wide platform, the length alone delivers lots of surface area, making the Escape suitable for long-distance and overnight tours on the water. The NRS pedigree also delivers a high-quality valve for pumping as well as quality pump and fin options.
For a board that strikes the perfect balance between stability and performance, go with the Adventurer 2 from Tower Paddle Boards (view at Amazon). It comes with essential equipment and features durable fins that resist bumps in the water and in transit. If you’re just starting out with paddleboarding, it’s hard to beat the price on the beginner-friendly Bestway HydroForce (view at Walmart) to get you used to paddling.
What to Look for in an Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board
Size: The dimensions of a paddleboard can tell you a lot about how it’ll perform and what its strengths and weaknesses are. If you’re a larger than the average person, you want a board that is at least 6 inches thick because you need that volume to stay afloat. Boards that are 4 inches thick such as the Bestway HydroForce Inflatable SUP can sink too close to the water line under heavier loads, which leads to poor planing on the water.
Shape: Boards wider in the waist are generally more stable, and when paired with a broad, rounded nose and tail tend to be a friendlier beginner board. Dart-shaped longer boards are better for touring and covering longer distances. Rocker, or a curving upwards of the board away from the water, is better for rougher waters than flats.
Accessories: Not all boards come with the necessary equipment. Despite being inflatable, many don’t even come with a pump. If you don’t already have the essential equipment, read product descriptions carefully to see what’s included. Things to look for that you may want: a leash, paddle, pump, carrying bag, fin, or removable seat.
Fin Setup: Many boards, especially those intended for use on flat water, feature a single, removable and adjustable fin that minimizes drag. Most multi-fin setups such as the three-fin “thruster” setup are used on intermediate and advanced paddleboards and serve to improve tracking or control in surfing or rougher waters. Longer fins are better for tracking (keeping you on course) while shorter fins permit more agile maneuvering.
Carrying Case: Not all inflatable SUPs come with a case, but it’s a nice-to-have item that keeps your board, paddle, pump, and any extras together in one place. Additionally, if you intend to hike or cover any significant distance, look for a carrying pack in a backpack style, ideally with both chest and waist straps to help keep the load secure on your back. The best carrying packs have cinch straps to compress the bag around its contents to prevent shifting contents that will wear on your back over the long haul.
Why Trust Tripsavvy
Justin Park lives in Summit County, Colorado and spends his short summers paddleboarding the high alpine lakes around his home. He personally owns both the Atoll and the Tower Adventurer 2 boards and has been known to occasionally catch trout from them.