Choosing the best stand up paddle board isn’t the easiest thing to do. You can be a beginner and be trying to figure out what to buy from them, myriad of product options or you might be an experienced paddler whose worn out his or her board and needs something better the next ride on the water. Either way, I’m sure we have a suitable paddle board that will fit both your needs and your budget too.
We’ve selected paddle boards that can handle varied water conditions and are suitable for paddlers of all abilities; not just the advanced paddle boarders. They come in different shapes and sizes, and color choices to please everyone. After that, we have some advice for SUP fans who need to learn more about the ins and outs of paddler boarding and not just which product is their best choice.
First, let’s dig into the product reviews to see which product will be right for you.
Top 5 Stand Up Paddle Board Reviews
Peak Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board with Adjustable Paddle
The ISLE Surf and SUP is a complete kit for anyone starting out with paddle boarding and wanting a one-stop shop. It’s an inflatable standup paddleboard that comes complete with its own starter paddle too. It is sold in the color schemes of aqua, white or blue which each color being muted, to not stand out much in the water.
When inflated, the board reaches 10 feet, 6 inches long, 31-inches wide and 6-inches of depth. This is a good size for people who want a longer board to balance their weight more effectively. The board carries a paddler up to 300 lbs, and itself weighs 23 lbs.
There is a leash setup on the top of the board. The board is rigid and dependable once fully inflated. There is a high-performance hand pump supplied, and an electric SUP pump would work well too.
The board is made of durable PVC, so it doesn’t suffer accidental damage and stays in one piece. The paddle is a good size and adopts the same color scheme as the board itself.
There is a carry backpack that fits the pump and other accessories inside. There’s also Bungie-like cord supported at 6 points on the top of the board for storage while riding.
The manufacturer offers a 30-day guarantee and a one-year warranty on material defects.
Sportstuff 1030 Adventure Stand Up Paddleboard With Accessories
The Sportstuff 1030 Adventure Stand Up Paddleboard is a colorful product that stands out among many. It has a blue and yellow blended look with subtler orange stripes and a distinctive orange border around it. There’s also a four-point mesh on the board to store a couple of items like a bottle of refreshment.
The SUP hand pump is a Sportstuff branded that comes with it is a high-quality free-standing one with its tubing, a gauge to avoid over-inflating the paddle board and a valve wrench too. It also has its own paddle.
There is webbing on both the fin and the board to secure items while boarding or during transport.
The SUP board is 10 feet 6 inches long and 30-inches wide, with a 4-inch depth when fully inflated. It’s capable of holding up a 250 lb person. The board has 1/3 less depth than the previous ISLE Surf and SUP board and doesn’t support a 300 lbs paddler.
There are EVA pads provided that prevent the feet sliding on the board when its wet or the feed at wet. This certainly helps make paddle boarding more enjoyable by staying upright for longer each time before being knocked off the board.
The board itself weighs 27 pounds.
A larger black backpack packs all the deflated board and all the accessories in a single package to sling over the back or in the trunk of a vehicle.
ISLE Classic Soft Top Stand Up Paddle Board (5″ Thick) SUP Package
The Classic Soft Top Stand Up Paddle Board is a white and blue SUP board with black lines that almost make it look like a runway of sorts. It has an attachable central fin and an aluminum paddle that floats on the water and is adjustable for length up to 85-inches.
The full length is 10 feet, 8 inches, with a 31-inch width and 5-inch depth. Slightly longer than most reviewed SUP boards, but a similar width. The depth is in the middle range. There is support for paddlers up to 275 pounds.
The deck is softer than some, so while firm enough it feels good on the feet for prolonged water use. The board has an EPS core for strength and a higher density bottom to handle harsher waters and stay in one piece. The design of the board suits beginners, intermediate and advanced paddlers. Either calm waters or the odd minor wave is handled well with this board from Isle.
A handle in the center of the board makes it easier to carry around from the surf to the car.
Can be returned within 30 days, but comes with a restocking fee.
SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board (6 Inches Thick) Universal SUP Wide
The serene life Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board is available in either marine blue or olive green coloring. Both boards have a white top with a colorful non-slip central part area that’s either blue or green. The board curves up at the front to take the waves head-on. Four-point webbing at the front of the board helps hold items while on the waves.
The softer deck is better for newer paddlers to get used to staying upright without injuring themselves when they fall. The deck is quite thick too. It’s also 10 feet long and 31 inches wider to give enough space for a good stance to remain stable. Holds a person up to 275 pounds. 20 PSI is the maximum pressure needed to fully inflate the board.
There is the main fin at the back of the board and two smaller fins spread out a little further up the board. These help with stability and steering especially.
The paddle is an adjustable one to suit people of different heights. Being inflatable, there’s a high-pressure black hand SUP pump provided to push air into the SUP ready for use.
A lightweight storage bag is also provided.
HydroForce White Cap Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard SUP and Kayak 10′
The BestwayHydroForce White Cap Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard SUP and Kayak is a little different to the other four products under review. When you want both a Kayak and a SUP to mix it up and have true flexibility before you go out on the water, this is a possibility.
The design of the inflatable is such that it has a standard appearance, but also with a seat that fixes to the top deck and lets you put the legs in the water and paddle without needing to stand up.
The paddle board measures 120 inches by 32 inches by 4 inches. It will support a paddler up to 209 pounds which is much lower than the other products reviewed. It has a traction pad on the deck to prevent foot slippage when standing up and paddling.
There is a hand pump and an air gauge to avoid pumping too much air into the SUP. An aluminum paddle is provided, so you don’t have to go out and buy one.
There’s a bag provided where all the items can be packed down including the deflated SUP and metal paddle.
How To Pick the Best Stand Up Paddle Board
Paddle boards are made in all shapes and sizes. It is up to you to decide what you feel is more important. Certainly, when you’re a beginner, you don’t really want to spend too much because your SUP is likely to get thrown around a little bit as you learn the ropes. For more advanced paddlers, they’re likely to be a more discerning buyer where certain features are deemed more important than others.
- Inflatable or Fixed: Do you want an inflatable board or one that is a solid material that doesn’t deflate after you use it? Certainly, the non-inflatable type is great to run towards the water carrying it and dive right in. There is no waiting 20 minutes for the inflatable SUP to reach its maximum PSI because you can safely ride on it. On the other hand, the inflatable model packs down much lifter and easier to transport. Usually, it comes with its own bag, so it’s neater than a large board to lug around everywhere and you won’t require a rack on the roof on the car to store the board either.
- Color Choices: There are many color schemes to choose from. Some models have an array of color choices while others only offer one or two only.
- Kayak and a SUP? : Some SUPs are designed to also work as a functional kayak too. The idea here is that they have a seat that can be fitted to the deck and then sat on with the feet in the water paddling from the waist down. It’s debatable whether you’ll get the same quality as you would when picking out two of the better SUPs and kayaks on their own, but it certainly saved on space.
- Carry Handle: A carry handle is essential, so you don’t have to wrap your arm around the full width of the SUP to carry it. It must be sturdy and in the center of the board to make it easier to carry while balancing the weight properly.
- Quality Pump/Meter for Inflatables: With the inflatable SUPs that comes with a hand pump, you should look for one with a reliable PSI meter. This way, you can avoid adding too much air pressure into the SUP which could compromise it. Quite often, pumps have difficulty getting the last 3-4 PSI into the SUP to inflate it beyond the 90% mark, so look out for products that make that task a little bit easier.
Bear in mind that it’s possible to buy an electric SUP pump that takes the effort and about half the time out of the air pumping up the process for each SUP you take on a trip with you. These make using an inflatable SUP much less painful on the back.
- Quality Paddle: A quality, an adjustable paddle is important with the SUP to change its length to match your height. Otherwise, it will either be too long or too short. A paddle needs to float too in case you drop it in deeper water. Not every SUP paddle floats, especially ones that come included with a SUP package, so be sure to verify that before purchase.
What kind of Gear Do You Need to go SUP Surfing?
There are a few things that are useful to bring along or use when you go paddling boarding. Let’s look at what they are:
- Floatation Device or a Life Jacket: Depending on what municipality you live in or are going paddle boarding in, it’s possible that a paddleboard is considered a vessel and as such requires a floatation device to be safe.
Waist-worn floatation devices are the best type. Some are designed just for standup paddlers and made to be more comfortable. There is also the option of a lifejacket for a more traditional method.
Lifeguards or the Coast Guard usually will have local information about the requirements for paddle boards on local rivers and lakes.
- SUP Leash: Most SUPs come with a leash that you can attach. If it doesn’t come with one, you’ll need to buy one. It’s a critically important piece of equipment to keep yourself attached to the SUP.
It’s possible that a strong wave could knock you off the SUP. With currents, your SUP could disappear far away from you very fast with you unable to recover it. Then you’re on your own. When you’re attached to a SUP leash, this is no longer as much of a concern.
- Wetsuits: The wetsuit isn’t essential, but for anyone who doesn’t want to look like a prune when they get out of the water, then it is more desirable. For colder waters, the wetsuit becomes more important to avoid the body temperature dropping fast and getting you into trouble.
When trying on a wetsuit, be sure to lift your arms and emulate similar moves as you have in the water to make sure it’s not too tight on your body.
- Other Gear: For non-inflatable boards, you might need a roof rack if the board won’t fit inside the back of the vehicle or the trunk. Webbing straps are used on the top deck of the board if they’re not already there or you could add more. They sometimes have cam locks and are used to secure your board, so it won’t get stolen when unattended. A water bottle is useful to slide inside the webbing to keep hydrated; makes sure it’s waterproof to avoid salt water getting inside the bottle.[/su_row]
SUP Surfing Tips
With non-inflatable SUPs, don’t load it on the roof if you’re in a hurry to get to the lake or there’s a strong wind. A board coming loose when driving can be extremely hazardous to other people on the road.
Standing on a SUP the First Time
Look for a body of water that is calm and not deep. This way you can fall down and not injure yourself on the river bed.
Here’s the process to follow:
- Go out to the water area so it’s up to the knee level
- Place the paddle across the SUP towards the nose slightly above center
- Kneel on the board, your feet a little apart
- Take the paddle, hold it comfortably and bring your hands up in front of you
- Use your fingers for balance while you move a foot forward to where your knee was
- Repeat the process with the other leg
- Use the paddle for balance as you rise up to your feet
- Keep your knees slightly bent to help with balance and look into the distance
- Carefully adjust your feet to a comfortable position without making sudden movements
- Position the paddle in the water; it will help with balance
Getting Comfortable & Starting to Paddle
Here’s what you should do:
- Bend your knees more so they will support wobbles and waves better
- Look forward, not down at your feet
- Stand up straight with squared off shoulders, straight hips and without sticking your butt out
- Paddle gently and feel the forward movement & better stability too
Going Around in Circles
When you only paddle on one side, the board will curve to the other side and help you turn. Keep that up and you’ll begin to go in an arc and then a full circle.
When you wish to go in reverse, just paddle backward in the same way as you paddle to go forwards.
For more advanced paddlers, they learn to turn by elevating a foot and moving it back from center. They then move their weight to the foot that’s farther back on the board which pulls the nose out of the water a bit. Basic strokes will now turn the board quicker.
Sooner or later, you’re going to end up in the water. It’s inevitable. In fact, it’ll happen many times until you get more proficient. Expect it. Don’t let it upset you. This is how you improve as a paddle boarder.
Here’s what to do about it:
- Paddle in water that’s deep enough to not hit the riverbed when you fall in to avoid injury
- Try to fall into the water, not land on the board itself for a softer fall
- Avoid paddling near other people on the water or immovable objects that could cause injury
- Climb back on your board after you’ve fallen and try to extend your time between each fall
Paddle boarding is a fun activity that takes time to master, just like with surfing. But once you have the techniques down, you’ll enjoy many hours on the water with great views and a shared inner peace.
Make sure that you have the right equipment to support your journey as a paddle boarder. Boards that leak air, paddles that don’t float or missing leashes don’t bode well for safe and fun water entertainment. Spending a little more to get something that’s better quality is often the best choice for improved value for money. Also, take care of your gear by cleaning and drying it between uses so it stays in top condition for the next trip to the ocean, lake or river.