Paddling with an inflatable standing up paddle (ISUP) board can be a great way to spend a relaxing day. Unlike surfboards, you do not essentially need waves to have fun with, and you can paddle in different types of bodies of water. In any case, you will need to have the best inflatable paddle board to fit your needs and preferences, if you are really serious about it.
Here, we will be presenting to you our elaborate reviews on this fun product so that you will know which ones to get if you want to give this hobby a try. Our recommendations will also help out if you want to trade in your old paddle board for a new one.
How Did We Pick these Products?
Our picking process comprised several stages. Initially, we did 30 hours of extensive online research in a bid to track down 35 top-rated inflatable SUP boards with a maximum number of positive reviews. Next, we wanted them to test them one by one. Our team members sought help from a group of community-based volunteers who were kind enough to assist us in carrying out a series of field-tests on our listed boards.
For the next couple of weeks, we took the boards out in the sea and nearby lakes in a bid to find out how they practically perform in both salt and sweet water. We marked the reviewing items on their overall ergonomics, build quality, design language, speed, durability, inflation efficiency, and overall performance. Based on these points we narrowed down the list to 10.
The quest didn't stop there. We reached out to other industry experts and board designing engineers for their insights into our final list. They were also provided our field-test data for better understanding. Their valuable guiding helped us categorizing our champion list.
This buying guide has been designed with an aim to give you relevant information regarding ISUP boards, so you can make a better choice.
Our Top 10 Best Inflatable Paddle Board
So, what is the best inflatable paddle board? Here, we present to you our top 10 list. Hopefully, you'll get your answer by the time you have read this review. Please take note that this list merely serves as a guide, and our reviews should always be taken with a grain of salt, as ultimately, the choice of which product to buy will always be yours.
With that, let’s begin with our top ISUP board based on our reviews and research.
Few More Brands and Models Worth Noting
We came across hundreds of manufactures during our study. But few of them found their way to our list. Here are some notable brands and their well-known models that should be useful for you if you want to delve deep into the market: Starboard (popular model- iGO, Astro Touring), Body Glove (popular model--Performer 11), Bestway (popular model: Hydro Force Oceana), NIXY Sports (popular model- Newport), Fanatic, NRS, F2, Jobe (popular model- Duna), Xterra Boards, Ancheer, Vilano (popular model- Journey, Navigator), Jimmy Styks (popular model- Drifter 3.35 m), BOTE (popular model--Rackham Aero, HD Aero, traveller aero, Drift), Goplus, AQUAGLIDE (popular model- Cascade 12), Quroc (popular for their crossover models), Yolo Board, Sevylor, XG (popular model- Giant), RRD, Hobie, BIC Sport (popular model-Performer Air), Zray (popular model- X1), ITIWIT, Blackfin, NAISH (popular lineup- Glide Touring, Glide Air), Hala (popular model- ATCHA 9'6"), STX, Kings, Gul (popular model-CROSS), Retrospec, Uenjoy, Funwater, Bluefin, Soopotay, Solstice, Torpedo7, Tower iRace, Bright Blue, Saturn, Volt Surf, Viking, Boardworks (popular model- Badfish MCIT, Shubu Raven, Shubu Riptide, Shubu Verve, Shubu Solr), Supflex, Swonder, Gumtree, Seacliff, Lahui Kai, Tahwalhi, JLF, and Jobe (popular model- Lena Aero, Aero Duna), ISLE Surf and SUP (popular model-Explorer, Megalodon), Sea Eagle (LongBoard 11), Thurso Surf, Lakeshore, Aztron, Blackfin (popular model-XL), Goosehill, Fisher Boards, ULI, Zupapa, Red Paddle Co (popular model- Sport 11'), JP, SIC, XQ Max, Mistral, Swimline (popular model- Solstice Bali, Solstice Fiji), FLEX, Yolo Board, Aqua Marina (popular model- Magma, Vapor, Breeze), Gili Sports, Atlantis, Tahoe SUP, Rokia R, Hyperlite (popular model- Admiral), and Driftsun.
Some more tested products you may like:
- Bestway Hydro-Force ISUP Board
- Aqua Marina Vapor Inflatable Stand-up Paddle Board
- Goplus 10/11ft Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
- Red Paddle Co 2019 10'6" Ride
- Aqua Marina Breeze 9'
- Tower Adventurer 2
- Aqua Marina Drift Fishing Board
- Sea Eagle NeedleNose 14'
- Tower Xplorer Inflatable 14 foot SUP Board
- iROCKER All Around ISUP
- PEXMOR 11' Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
A good board in this category should serve you for many years. However, this will depend on choosing a suitable paddleboard and how well you take care of it. Here are some tips on how you can take care of your inflatable paddle boards so that they will last you for a long time while still performing at peak condition.
- Always wash your SUP board after use
- Use fresh water and soap to clear sand and other debris
- Make sure that water does not get inside the board
- Make sure that the boards are not stored in direct sunlight
- Make sure they are completely deflated before they are rolled and stored away
- Apply UV gear protectant such as 303 Aerospace Protectant on your model twice or thrice a year, especially when it is being used regularly
- Check for holes by putting enough air and submerging in water. Bubbles will show where the holes are
- Patch any holes using repair kits so as to not exacerbate the damage further
- Always keep the warranty handy whenever it is available
Why Do You Need an ISUP Board?
First and foremost, an ISUP board is portable and lightweight, allowing you to travel with multiple boards in a small car. It is also easy to set up as all you will need is a pump. They are also inexpensive as compared to those made out of epoxy, reinforced PVC, or fiberglass.
On the other hand, some may say that inflatable paddle boards are not as durable as solid ones. Although this may be true in the early days, nowadays these types of boards are being made much stronger and can withstand abuse just like its solid counterparts.
Of course, a cheap and affordable product will definitely break much more quickly, which is why you should definitely buy quality products from reputable manufacturers. The list below provides some of the top-of-the-line products that you can find on the market today, and they are definitely worth looking over before you look anywhere else.
Inflatable SUP Board: A Comprehensive Buying Guide
Not all inflatable paddle boards are the same. They have different dimension and specifications which would perform differently based on varying conditions. This will result in a better or worse experience for you. Thus, when you are up to buy one, remember the following points.
1. Size & Color
The dimension measurement is extremely important here. This should definitely be based on your body type and type of usage due to balance issues, although take note that larger ISUP boards will also affect your maneuverability. Lengths are usually around 10 feet while widths, on average, are around 32 to 34 inches. Thickness, on the other hand, is at about 4 to 6 inches. Always remember to choose the right size to make the most of this sport.
These boards come in a variety of graphic designs. People mostly prefer red, white, blue, pink and mixed color schemes.
These sports gear are usually made out of PVC with additional coatings that will add onto its durability. Most boards use PVC that is military grade, which means that it is absolutely tough and are designed for the greatest kinds of abuse.
These boards should be stable, firm and rigid when fully inflated. This will allow you to stand on them and for them to fully support your weight. They should also be stable even in choppy waters, which is important as you’ll be spending a lot of your time in the water otherwise.
There is no question that durability should always be an issue. As previously mentioned, they should withstand multi person uses and should be made out of quality materials. These are serious investments so you should definitely not waste your money on patches or buying new ones altogether.
5. Nose Rockers
Nose rockers, as long as the tail, are parts of the board that greatly affects your performance and experience. Different types of nose rockers will affect your speed, maneuverability, and ability to turn, among others. Knowing the nose rocker type and how it will affect your inflatable board is absolutely critical as it will help determine what to expect when you are already out in the water.
6. Hull Type
Hull Type paddleboards are classified into two, namely planning and displacement. Boards with planning hulls are flat, wide, and are more stable and, as such, better for beginners. On the other hand, displacement type hulls are pointed and are geared more towards those that value speed and distance when using paddle boards.
7. Weight Capacity
Some ISUP boards can carry more than one person at a time along with additional gear. Knowing the weight capacity of your paddle model will help you know how to safely use your gear and can help in preventing accidents or injury due to overloading.
Fins in ISUP boards differ in number and size depending on the product. Single fins provide better resistance which then leads to better stability. On the other hand, multiple smaller fins allow for less resistance in different areas, which then helps you better manoeuver as well as travel faster.
9. Paddling Performance
Paddling performance depends on the shape of your paddling board as well as your own skills. A combination of the rocker, hull type, and fin structure will determine how easy you will be able to paddle. Of course, this would also affect how fast and how versatile you can be in the water.
10. Ease of Transport
ISUP boards should be lightweight and can be easily carried along with other essentials and accessories. They should be lightweight and slim. This is a big plus especially if storage bags are already provided for easy transport and storage.
11. Ease of Inflation
Most inflatable paddle boards can be inflated and deflated using pumps. These pumps often come along with the package and can either be manual and automatic. You can use a third party pump in some cases, but you should definitely have one along with you to provide ease in setting up and taking down. There are self inflating models that automatically inflates themeselves without any hassle. For this cases you wouldn't need an extra pump when packing.
Some ISUP boards can also serve other functions such as for surfing, touring, fishing, or even carrying a dog. A multi-purpose inflatable paddle will definitely add more value to your money as you would no longer have to buy separate items for different purposes.
Accessories for these boards include paddles, pads, pumps, and leashes, among other things. Fins and other detachable equipment are also considered, especially if they are included in the purpose. Having accessories are great because they add adaptability to your boards and you can use them depending on your needs and preferences.
14. Value for the Money
Of course, the price would always be a factor when looking for a quality product. The top choices for the money are those that will last for a long time while still maintaining superior quality. Usually less expensive than a solid one, ISUP boards should last you a long time and not be affected quickly by wear and tear caused by regular use.
General SUP Boarding Rules
Using a SUP board safe, especially if you do not know about safety protocols when SUP boarding. Here are some rules that you should always adhere to in order to avoid accidents or injuries.
- Always wear a flotation device
- Use an ankle leash, preferably with a breakaway mechanism
- Do not paddle too far especially if you are not experienced
- Do not go SUP boarding when there is low visibility or if there are low light conditions
- Do not go SUP boarding during harsh weather conditions or if there are large waves
- Always provide ample space between your board and other objects such as other paddlers, other swimmers, boats, rocks, or other debris in the water
- Always have someone know where you are in case of emergencies
- Have a partner that can keep you in his or her sights at all times
- Always wear protective clothing or sunscreen to protect yourself from harmful UV rays
Now, we have reached the end of our review. We reviewed only the top rated products and carried out extensive field tests from our end. Hopefully, this will help you choose the best inflatable paddle boards easily. We made extensive comparisons among multitude of models in a bid to hunt down the top deals. This guide will also help you gain more knowledge about these products so that you can make an informed buying decision.
Our top favorites are the ROC Inflatable Board and the Ten Toes Weekender for its look, as well as Peak Expedition for its versatility and ability to carry a lot of stuff. Of course, that’s our opinion only, and you can freely choose which, among the inflatable paddle boards on the market that are not necessarily included in this list is your best bet. Happy paddling!