The 9 Best Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboards of 2021

Take your paddleboarding anywhere with these top SUP models

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TRIPSAVVY-best-inflatable-paddleboards

Chloe Jeong / TripSavvy

The Rundown

Best Overall: Tower Paddle Boards Adventurer 2 at Amazon

"The Adventurer 2 strikes a nice balance of stability and performance."

Best Budget: Bestway HydroForce White Cap Inflatable SUP at Walmart

"An affordable paddleboard that's great for people who are new to the sport or those who are on a budget."

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 Splurge: Red Paddle Co. Sport Inflatable SUP at Austin Kayak

"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 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."

Whether your next paradise getaway on an amazing beach setting is Turks and Caicos, San Diego, or Antigua and Barbuda, you want to do more than just soak up the sun on the beach (overcome your fear of sharks!). How about exploring it? 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, taking into account their size, shape, and accessories so you can find the one that lets you paddle the way you prefer.

Read on to learn more about the best paddleboards available.

Best Overall: Tower Paddle Boards Adventurer 2

4
What We Like
  • Easy to manuever

  • Good for beginners

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Slower through the water due to its size

  • Doesn't include leash

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. It's very durable—our product tester noted how "stiff and rugged it felt compared to other inflatables," so it will work well for beginners too. 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.

Size: 124 x 32 x 6 in. | Material: PVC | Warranty: 2-year manufacturer's |
Weight: 26 lbs.

Tested by TripSavvy

While most people buy inflatables for convenience and cost savings—not performance—the Adventurer 2 delivered surprisingly well in terms of glide, stiffness, and turning. The rugged build can hold up to 25 pounds per square inch (PSI) of air, though it’s recommended to stick to around 15 and we found it was plenty firm at around 12.

The stiffness matters because a board that sags or flexes won’t glide as well, and you’ll lose paddling energy transfer if you flex on each stroke. Unlike some cheaper inflatables, the Adventurer 2 is remarkably stiff, and while it can’t match that of a rigid epoxy or fiberglass SUP, the difference is minor for all but the most demanding riders.

Bottom line, for an inflatable, it’s hard to beat the quality and performance at the price of the Tower Paddle Boards Adventurer 2 iSUP. The only reason to spend more is if you demand the performance of a rigid SUP and don’t need the conveniences of an inflatable. — Justin Park, Product Tester

Tower Paddle Boards Adventurer 2 iSUP

TripSavvy / Justin Park

Best Budget: Bestway HydroForce White Cap Inflatable SUP

Bestway HydroForce White Cap Inflatable SUP

Courtesy of Walmart

4.4
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Good for beginners

  • Includes kayaking attachments

What We Don't Like
  • Not suitable for larger riders

  • Turning is difficult

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 to tackle the waters of Balandra Beach or your Belize resort.

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 planning 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.

Size: 120 x 32 x 4 in. | Material: TriTech | Warranty: 6-month limited |
Weight: 34 lbs.

Tested by TripSavvy

The White Cap is almost as stable as they come, thanks to a fairly wide (32 inches) deck area, making it a great option for most beginners. That said, the stability comes at a cost. The flat bottom, rounded edges, and lack of any rocker (upward curve at either the nose or tail that’s often found on high-performance boards) make this board useless in anything besides flat water. Waves and turning feels like a chore despite the relatively short 10-foot length. 

The 4-inch thickness of the board worked well for our lighter testers, but our heavier rider (me) at 190 pounds pushed the board lower than was ideal in icy Colorado spring waters. We recommend this board for riders who don’t come anywhere close to the 209 max weight limit, though if riders are too small, they might struggle to maneuver any board of this size.

While it doesn’t glide smoothly, especially under heavier riders, it works well enough to get in a good workout and spend some quality time on the water. Just don’t plan on trying to cover long distances on it. — Justin Park, Product Tester

Bestway HydroForce White Cap Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboard and Kayak

 TripSavvy / Justin Park

Best for Big and Tall: Atoll 11-Foot Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board

2021 ATOLL Army Green iSUP package

Courtesy of GreenBelt Outdoors

4.8
What We Like
  • Larger weight limit

  • Good for beginners

  • Stylish

What We Don't Like
  • Harder to maneuver

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. We found that the included fiberglass paddle is high quality and the leash feels like one that you'd find on a surfboard.

Size: 132 x 32 x 6 in. | Material: PVC | Warranty: 2-year manufacturer's |
Weight: 21 lbs.

Tested by TripSavvy

Once properly inflated, the Atoll 11-Footer feels rigid and stable—something I noticed immediately when I stepped onto it in the water. I didn’t notice the flex that’s common in some cheaper inflatable options. Also, its shape, rugged construction, and 6-inch thickness made it easy to cruise along. However, this thickness did have one drawback compared to surfboards or fiberglass SUPs (which are often in the 2- to 4-inch range): During a windy day of testing, I could really feel the wind catch the board, forcing me to fight more to stabilize it via paddling.

In terms of speed, inflatable SUPs tend to be slower than their solid counterparts, but I felt the Atoll is firm enough for the difference to be marginal. Another area where inflatable boards fall short is in their turning capabilities. Since the Atoll is designed as a flatwater board, I never expected it to turn on a dime but was pleasantly surprised at what I observed: The pointed and slightly upturned nose made it more maneuverable. Although it’s a step ahead of larger platform inflatables, it’s still not a precision wave surfer, and it takes some effort and time to wheel it around. Overall, the Atoll offers a complete SUP package at a competitive price. — Justin Park, Product Tester

Atoll 11-Foot Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board

TripSavvy / Justin Park

Best for Families: Bluefin Cruise Carbon 15-Foot SUP

What We Like
  • Versatile

  • Comes with a robust kit

  • Can hold multiple people

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

  • Pricey

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.

Size: 179.5 x 36 x 6 in. | Material: PVC | Warranty: 5-year manufacturer's | Weight: 44 lbs.

Tested by TripSavvy

At 15 feet, the Bluefin Cruise Carbon is not a nimble board. And it can definitely feel sluggish, especially if you’re paddling solo. Paddling with a dog or non-paddling child can exacerbate this as you might not be able to stand in the optimal position for paddling. Plus there's the extra dead weight. Still, this board is for touring and cruising and it moves well for the size and feels rigid enough.

Adding a second paddling person can really change the dynamic and makes this board cruise. However, like two people paddling a canoe or kayak, it takes time to get a rhythm. Once you do, the double output can be refreshingly effective compared to solo paddling. It’s important to note that there are limits to the board’s tandem capacities. The stated weight limit is 353 pounds, so two large adults might be pushing it. With two lighter testers and an adult dog on the board together, it appeared to be near the weight limit and sinking a bit. 

For a larger tandem inflatable, it’s hard to beat the stiffness and performance of the Cruise Carbon for the price. Just be sure you’re okay with the compromises you’ll make in transporting and performance versus smaller boards. — Justin Park, Product Tester

Bluefin Cruise Carbon 15’ Paddleboard

Justin Park / TripSavvy

Best Splurge: Red Paddle Co. Sport Inflatable SUP

Red Paddle Co. Sport Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboard

Courtesy of Red Paddle Co

What We Like
  • Removable tail fin

  • Good maneuverability

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Moves faster through the water

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.

Size: 135 x 32 x 4.7 in. | Material: MSL | Warranty: 5-year manufacturer's | Weight: 22 lbs.

Best Lightweight: Beyond Marina Inflatable Paddle Board

What We Like
  • Sturdy

  • Inflates quickly

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Entry-level accessory kit

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.

Size: 126 x 32 x 6 in. | Material: PVC | Warranty: 1-year manufacturer's |
Weight: 16.3 lbs.

Best for Fishing: Sea Eagle FishSUP

What We Like
  • Storage and tie-down space

  • Sturdy

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

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.

Size: 150 x 40 x 6 in. | Material: Denier | Warranty: 3-year manufacturer's | Weight: 45 lbs. (48 lbs. with motor mount)

Best for Yoga: Bote Breeze Aero

Bote Breeze Aero

Courtesy of REI

What We Like
  • Sturdy

  • Lightweight

  • Good for touring

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't handle chop as well

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.

Size: 128 x 33 x 6 in. | Material: AeroULTRA | Warranty: 5-year limited |
Weight: 20 lbs.

Best for Touring: NRS Escape Inflatable SUP

NRS Escape Inflatable SUP

Courtesy of REI

What We Like
  • Powerful

  • Good for long distances

  • Lots of tie-downs

What We Don't Like
  • Not as sturdy

  • Not suitable for beginners

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.

Size: 138 x 32 x 6 in. | Material: PVC | Warranty: 3-year limited | Weight: 34 lbs.

Final Verdict

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.

Paddleboard
TripSavvy/Justin Park.

What to Look for in an Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board

Size

When renting a paddleboard, the dimensions of one 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 can sink too close to the water line under heavier loads, which leads to poor planning 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.

Paddleboard pump
TripSavvy/Justin Park.

FAQs

How do you store an inflatable paddle board?

When storing a deflated paddleboard, it’s important to rinse and fully dry it before deflating and rolling it up. The important thing is to try to keep it somewhere dry, out of sunlight, and free from extreme temperatures.

It's also possible to leave the board inflated for convenience if it doesn't need to be transported or if it's used frequently. If used seasonally, it’s fine to deflate for those times of year when it's not used often, but it’s technically better to not leave it tightly rolled up as that may cause hard creases that can create weak points over time.

How long does it take to inflate a paddle board?

When pumped steadily, it should only take about five to ten minutes to inflate by hand with the included pumps, though if the board needs to be deflated and inflated the board frequently, it's good to consider buying an electric pump to speed up the process. 

Is a leash necessary?

A leash is important if using in ocean surf to prevent the rider from being separated from their board, but for most flat water situations, a leash isn’t essential. Some boards come with a leash, others do not. Those who may want a leash sure ensure the board they're buying comes with one or purchase one separately.

What is a double-action pump?

A double-action pump pushes air into the board both when pushing down and when pulling the handle up on a hand pump. A single-action pump only pushes air in on the press down. While it increases the effort required to pull up, it means faster pumping on-balance. Most double-action pumps have a switch that allows it to be used as a single-action pump, which is easier for pumping the last few PSI into your board.

Can dogs ride on an inflatable SUPs?

The larger platforms of a SUP have plenty of room to bring a furry friend, but a fair question is if dogs’ claws are a danger to an air-filled SUP. Most inflatables are built with multiple layers of thick and often reinforced PVC to withstand bumps and run-ins with rocks and sticks, so claws shouldn't be a serious threat. 

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.

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