Best Stand Up Paddle Board For Beginners in 2019
SUP activities are getting popular in the US. These have become most people’s favorite past time during weekends and summer seasons.
With so many paddle boards available, selecting the best stand up paddle board for beginners can be confusing. With our comprehensive reviews of the top boards in the market, you can decide more easily and hassle-free.
Last update on 2019-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Reviews of the Top SUP Boards for Beginners
iROCKER Cruiser Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Package Review
This iROCKER Cruiser Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board comes with three board fins. One fin is large and removable. The two smaller side fins are fixed.
The maximum weight capacity is 400lbs. However, the board may only be suitable for 5’10” and below.
The dimensions are: 6 inches thick, 33 inches wide and 10 feet 6 inches long.
The width is ideal for beginners. Activities suitable for this kind include YOGA, cruising, and fishing
For extreme rigidity, inflate the SUP up to 15PSI. The dual action pump has a gauge to help you reach the recommended air pressure.
The material of the board is military grade PVC with drop stitch to keep water from entering. The SUP has bungee cord straps for securing dry bag and other gears.
The multiple metal rings on the deck are plus points for users who do a lot of SUP activities. You can use it to attach a seat for kayak activities or to tie additional gears.
Accessories include adjustable paddle, repair kit, a backpack for storing the board, leash, and dual action pump. The dual action pump is color coded for easy reading of air pressure level.
The backpack is spacious enough that you can store all your accessories in it. It also has inside straps to keep the board and other accessories from moving while you’re moving.
The coiled leash is comfortable and has a secret pocket to hide your keys. Another great addition is the adjustable paddle.
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What We Didn't Like:
THURSO SURF Waterwalker All-Around Inflatable SUP Board Package Review
The THURSO SURF Waterwalker All-Around Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board has 2+1 configuration fins, one large fin, and two small fins. All three fins are removable.
This board is the smaller version of the other THURSO SUPs (10’6” long, 31 inches wide and 6 inches thick).
The deck has traction pad with dimpled texture for better grip during SUP activity. Middle carry handle has a Velcro strap. This strap is excellent for securing a paddle.
The deck has a total of 9 D-rings. These rings can double as attachment points for gears such as a kayak seat. In the nose part, you can find bungee straps for holding the dry bag and other accessories.
Accessories include a paddle, leash with a key pocket, emergency repair kit, dual action pump, and backpack and insulated deck pad.
The three-piece paddle with adjustable length is made of a carbon shaft. This material makes the paddle lightweight and durable.
The paddle weighs 900g. It can float on water.
Overall, the board is versatile, responsive and stable. It can cater users with hybrid SUP activities. The board is an excellent all-rounder
What We Liked:
What We Didn't Like:
ISLE 10' Airtech Inflatable Yoga Stand Up Paddle Board Package Review
The ISLE 10' Airtech Inflatable Yoga Stand Up Paddle Board is 10 feet in length, 32 inches in width and 6 inches in thickness. The board, not inflated, is around 20 pounds. It can support up to 240 pounds.
Manufacturer’s warranties include a 60-day money back guarantee and 1-year warranty on materials.
Airtech SUP manufacturer uses military grade materials. This quality of materials makes the board super durable. The SUP has a full nose and tail for better stability, especially for YOGA activities.
This board has a full grip handle and side rail bungee straps. The side rail straps are excellent for YOGA masters. You can store the paddle on the side.
Thus, you don’t need to worry about the paddle falling off the board or about where to put it during YOGA sessions.
Accessories are a paddle, three fins, hand pump, repair kit, and a backpack. The paddle is heavy but durable. The carry backpack can contain all of your accessories.
The board schematics make this board ideal for calm water surfaces. Medium rough water conditions are manageable, but SUP surf skills are required.
What We Liked:
What We Didn't Like:
ISLE Versa Epoxy 10'5 Standup Paddle Board Package Review
The ISLE Versa Epoxy 10'5 Standup Paddle Board is 10 feet 5 inches long, 32 inches wide and 4.5 inches thick. Volume capacity is 175 liters. Weight capacity is 275 pounds maximum.
The technology used is thermal molded epoxy. This technology increases the durability and decreases weight factor. The board weighs 27lbs, which is ultra lightweight.
The board fin is a single configuration type. It is removable. This single fin configuration might be an issue for beginners who struggle with stability.
The board has bungee straps for easy storing of dry bags and other accessories.
Accessories include a leash, paddle, and backpack. The paddle is an adjustable kind that is made of carbon shaft and a plastic blade. The length of the paddle can reach up 84 inches.
It’s a classic longboard. It offers versatility, especially for beginners and yogis. You can use it to fish, cruise or surf.
The grooved handle is comfortable to hold and makes the SUP easy to carry.
What We Liked:
What We Didn't Like:
Peak Inflatable 10'6 All Around SUP Board Complete Package Review
The Peak Inflatable 10'6 All Around SUP Board measures 10 feet 6 inches (length), 31 inches (width) and 6 inches (thickness). Maximum weight capacity is 300 pounds. Volume capacity is 225 liters.
Made of military grade PVC and drop stitch material, the board is durable and lightweight. The board is around 23 pounds when rolled up. It’s one of the lightest among SUPs in the market.
The board fin is removable and single configuration. It’s easy to attach and detach.
The SUP has bungee straps, nose handle for easy carrying or pulling the board on the water.
Accessories include a paddle, coil leash, high-pressure hand pump, and a free waterproof cell phone case.
The paddle is a three-piece kind with an aluminum grade. It is adjustable and lightweight. It can float in the water.
With the high-pressure pump, you can inflate the board in less than 10 minutes. Follow the recommended air pressure, and you’ll have a rigid SUP.
Manufacturer’s guarantee includes a one year warranty.
What We Liked:
What We Didn't Like:
Standup Paddle Boards Buyer's Guide
There are many SUPs available today. Selecting the right paddleboard for your activities can be a bit daunting.
Naturally, you’d want to avoid making mistakes. Perhaps, you have a lot of questions.
What are the common mistakes that beginners often commit?
• Maximum capacity not appropriate to their weight
• SUP too narrow, too thin, too long for their body physique
• Buying used SUP to save money
• Choosing a SUP for the wrong reasons
What are the common questions that beginners often ask?
• What is the best paddle board for my body frame?
• Which is better, buy new or used paddle board?
• Where will I buy SUP with excellent quality?
• How will I inspect a SUP?
• Should I purchase inflatable or epoxy (solid) SUP?
With our comprehensive guide for the best paddle board for beginners, we’ve got you covered. Here are ten factors you should consider before buying any SUP paddleboard:
- Types of paddle board activities
- Water conditions
- SUP parts and details
- Hull Types
- Body physique
- Volume capacity
Types of Paddle Board Activities
SUP paddle boarding is a branch of surfing, which uses a paddle to surf through the waters. Although SUP is an old water activity, it only became popular recently.
From the simple paddling over the waves, SUP branches to other activities that many people find enjoyable. These activities are SUP surfing, touring, SUP yoga, fishing, whitewater rafting, and SUP racing.
Your favorite water activity is essential in selecting the best paddleboard to buy. A specific SUP activity requires a particular design, most of the times. However, with an all-around paddleboard, you can use it in two or three activities without changing your board.
A racing activity requires a longboard with a flat rocker. A longer board covers more distance than a short one. In surfing, you’ll need to paddle and maneuver the board without difficulty.
If your activity is more of a leisure one, you’ll need a SUP that doesn’t move too fast over the water surface. If you do more of whitewater rafting, then, find an inflatable board that allows you to install seats and to carry essentials such as a dry bag for touring.
With these factors to keep in mind, we categorize SUP into four general types.
Ideal for intermediate to advanced paddlers. This activity requires shorter than 10 feet boards.
SUP surfing requires a narrower board, narrower tail, and nose than all around SUP. This board has a concave rocker. Rails typically are thinner than all around boards.
An all-around SUP has thick rails that range from 4 to 6 inches, and 10 to 12 feet length. Width often ranges from 29 to 36 inches. You’ll know more in details in the following section.
Touring / Racing SUP
Touring SUP (sometimes racing) boards are longer than all-around SUPs. The nose is pointed. The rocker is flat to slightly concave.
Speed is the number one priority in a touring SUP. The longer the board, the faster it is.
Yoga / Fitness SUP
A Yoga SUP is wide and has a large traction pad. Yogis prefer inflatable SUP because it is soft and more stable than solid ones.
A SUP for kids is shorter than SUP surfboards. This board is 8 feet or shorter, depending on the physique of your kids.
In choosing a SUP, consider the water conditions you’d likely visit most of the times. Are you going to the beach every weekend or paddle through the nearest lake?
If you tour around calm water, or SUP yoga in an open sea, it’s best to choose an all-around SUP. Remember these two tips.
SUP with a full nose is ideal in calm and tranquil waters. Examples of these water conditions are lake, rivers, and beaches (not much of waves on them).
On the other hand, pointed boards mean more control and displacement of water. This board is ideal for choppier water conditions such as whitewater and open seas.
SUP Parts and Details
A SUP has four main parts: the nose, tail, rails, and rocker. The design schematics of these parts are essential in choosing your SUP as a beginner.
Nose / Tail
The nose and tail of the board can be pointed, or full. A pointed nose or tail means less surface area. It is excellent in displacing water around the board.
A pointed nose or tail of a SUP increases ease of movement due to better “slicing” through the water. Increased displacement equals increased speed. A pointed or narrow nose is recommended for SUP surfing and rough water conditions.
However, pointed boards are less stable. Thus, it may not be suitable for beginners.
Full nose or tail covers more surface area. It is better for planning. Since full nose board displaces less water around it, thus, it increases stability, and drag. This kind of SUP is best for calm water conditions and SUP Yoga.
Rails refer to the edge of the SUP. Thick rails are hard to hold, and maneuver is difficult. Thus, thick rails are ideal for racing, touring or cruising.
If you plan to learn SUP surfing, select a board with thin rails for maneuverability. Thinner rails are easy to hold and result in more control.
The last design detail to look for is the rocker. The rocker refers to the bottom of the board and touches the water.
Flat rocker means fast movement over water. The flatter the rock is the faster your board will be on the water.
A flat rocker is ideal for racing and touring. A slightly concave is best for SUP Yoga and other recreational paddling activities. A concave rocker is perfect for SUP surfing.
There are two general hull types. These types are planing and displacement hulls. Planing types have full noses while displacement hulls have narrow or pointed noses.
Planing types are ideal for leisure activities, surfing, YOGA and whitewater activities. These boards are designed to “ride” over the waters.
Displacement hulls have noses similar to a canoe or kayak. These boards have a concave or bow-like rocker.
The pointed noses slice through the water surface, making the board fast and travel a great distance. Efficiency and performance are the top factors why these boards are made.
Displacement types have better tracking but less maneuverable than planning types. The typical application is fitness paddling, racing and touring. Most touring SUPs have displacement hulls but not all.
Other vendors would use nose and tail design instead of this type of category, especially if they’re dealing with beginners.
So, let’s stick to the nose and tail details for simplification. You can read more of the design details above.
Your height and weight are important in selecting the best board for your paddling activity. The board must be able to accommodate your weight and displace as much water as it can for stability.
If you exceed the maximum weight capacity of the board, you won’t paddle that much. You’d be riding below the water surface, and paddling will be difficult.
Aside from these factors, your physique is essential as well. An athletic frame will do well even for first-timers.
Since balance is concentrated in the legs and thighs, strong core muscles are essential. If you’re athletic or have been into fitness before trying SUP activities, adjustment to the sports won’t require much effort.
The liter is the standard measurement for volume in SUPs. Volume refers to the capacity of the board to carry weight. Higher volume means higher weight capacity.
The volume correlates to the width and thickness of the board. A wide and thick board has a higher volume capacity. It can displace more water than a thin and slim board can.
Some manufacturers don’t include volume capacity. If you can’t find any volume indicator, you can look for the maximum weight capacity. Alternatively, ask for assistance from us.
Remember this tip. As long as your weight is below the maximum, the board can carry you.
The width of the board is measured in the center of the board. Generally, the wider board increases the stability but decreases speed. Here is a summary of width ideal for each SUP activity and users:
• For SUP surfing or racing – 26 inches to 30 inches
• For intermediate users, SUP yoga, recreational activities – 29 inches to 33 inches
• For beginners, users with a tall and heavy body frame – 33 inches or wider
The length of a SUP starts from the tip to the tail. The longer the board, the faster it will be. A shorter board is great for maneuverability.
Furthermore, a longer board has greater volume capacity than shorter boards are. Longer boards can travel more distance than shortboards.
Thus, longer and narrower boards are great for racing. However, smaller boards are less stable than wider and longer boards. Here’s a general guideline in choosing the proper length for beginners like you:
• SUP surfing – 8 to 10 feet
• Cruising and Recreational – 9 to 11 feet
• Touring – 11 to 12 feet
• Racing – 12 to 14 feet
An all-around or a balanced SUP is around 10 feet. With this kind of board, you can do a lot of activities.
You can cruise bodies of water with calm to moderate rough conditions. You can do YOGA without worrying about stability. You can race with an all-around SUP but only for recreational purposes.
The thickness of the board may be the least important of all factors but should still be considered. The right distribution of thickness is also essential. It increases stability.
How do you know if the thickness is appropriate for you and your chosen activity? Remember two things.
First, a board with a flat rocker has a thickness distributed evenly. The thickness from the middle of the board to the rails is the same.
Second, a concave rocker has a thicker mid and a thinner rail. This kind of board has less stability but great for maneuvering in the waves.
An ideal SUP surfboard has 3.5 to 4.5 inches thickness while SUP for recreational activities and racing has 4.5 to 6 inches thickness.
Best paddle board for beginners should have the right thickness for rigidity. The ideal thickness of an inflatable board is 6 inches. Your weight also plays a role in checking the appropriate thickness of the SUP inflatable board.
Extra features may include board fins, bungee straps, and attachment points. These extras may or may not be useful for the specific activity you choose.
You can find bungee straps in front, rear or both ends of the SUP. You can use these straps to secure your dry bag and coolers.
You can use attachment points to mount cameras, seats or anything else. Sometimes, these attachment accessories are sold separately. At other times, these mounting areas are part of the board.
A board can have one or three fins. These fins are removable and flexible or rigid. Board fins provide stability and tracking.
These fins are the same in sizes. Alternatively, one fin is larger than the two fins. The fins have channels so they can slide in tune with the water movement.
An inflatable SUP with a single fin is ideal for calm water conditions. The drag is minimal, and tracking is excellent.
Three-fin boards are excellent for SUP cruising or touring. Board with single large fin and two smaller fins are ideal for SUP surfing. This configuration provides control and maneuver.
The right length and weight of a paddle should correlate with your height and weight. Knowing the correct length is simple. Do these simple steps:
• Let the paddle stand in the ground.
• Make sure the blade isn’t bending.
• Raise one arm. The T-handle of the paddle should be in line with your wrist.
If the handle is an inch above or below, the length isn’t appropriate for your height. Inappropriate SUP length will make paddling a nuisance.
A paddle is either adjustable or fixed. Some users prefer adjustable paddle because of its flexibility. However, it might be heavier than a fixed length paddle.
Other paddlers use fixed length paddle because it’s lightweight and a lot durable than adjustable ones.
The paddle should be made of light and durable material. Paddles are made of aluminum plastic, fiberglass, wood or carbon fiber.
You should also consider the blade paddle. Larger blades are ideal for large body frames. They are also more powerful than small paddle blades but less efficient.
These accessories aren’t part of the board but are essential for your safety. Accessories include a flotation device and a leash.
Personal Flotation Device
A personal flotation device (PFD) is a necessary accessory that you must carry all the time. The US Coast Guard requires all SUP paddles to use PFD. The Coast Guard categorizes paddle boards not used in swimming and surfing as vessels.
PFD has two classifications, the standard, and inflatable. Standard flotation devices are low-maintenance. These devices provide more buoyancy than inflatable PFD.
The cons of standard PFD are its bulk appearance and discomfort during summer seasons (since it’s hot to wear).
The inflatable PFD can be manual or automatic. Advantages include comfort and cool features. Disadvantages are less buoyant, high maintenance especially for automatic PFD and not suitable for non-swimmers and users below 16 years old.
Another safety device you should include is the leash. You attach the strap to your ankle. This leash could save your life especially if you aren’t a good swimmer.
During SUP activity, you can use either one of these accessories for safety. Let’s face it. Accidents happen, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Other important Accessories
Appropriate clothing is crucial if you’re SUP-ing. During summer, wear light clothes such as swimsuit. During colder months, wear a dry suit.
Light and whistle are also essential, especially if you’re paddling after sunset.
Expectations and Misconceptions
Let’s discuss the common expectations and misconceptions on inflatable SUP boards.
These boards are an all-around SUP. Generally, you can use them to cruise in the lake, paddle in the sea or whitewater rafting. Occasional SUP surfing is okay, too.
When we talk about SUP surfing, we refer to the wave surfing. Inflatables aren't designed for these activities.
Riding the waves require a more rigid board than an inflatable SUP. Wave surfing requires maneuver by holding the rail or stirring using the paddle. It needs a shorter board than the 10-foot boards we’ve discussed here.
Don’t expect to use a 10-foot SUP for competitive performance. The SUP boards we’ve discussed in this review are recommended for leisure and recreational activities.
If your SUP activity requires performance and speed, go for the longer and narrower boards. Yes, the 10-foot SUP board is also fast but don’t expect to compete and win.
When we say an all-around board, we don’t mean you can use it for activity that needs specific board design.
If you need a surf-specific board, go for rigid, solid shortboards. If you need a leisure-specific board, then, these boards we’ve reviewed are the best paddle board for beginners.
Inflatable SUP Versus Solid SUP
Why choose an inflatable SUP over solid ones? Inflatable and solid boards are ideal for any SUP activities. The right type is a matter of preference.
However, if you aren’t sure what to choose, we’ll give you the different advantages and disadvantages of each type.
Inflatable SUP is easier to transport than solid boards. Deflate the board, put in your backpack, and you’re good to go.
Solid boards, on the other hand, need a car rack for transportation. Furthermore, you’ll need a vehicle to transport it to your destination.
What if you’re traveling to the Bahamas and like to bring your SUP? An inflatable is more convenient than a solid one.
If you still prefer solid ones, you’ll have to rent out when you reach your destination. Renting fees could be a little steep.
As for performance, solid ones are the winner for now. However, if you’re a first timer in SUP, an inflatable board is more ideal than solid boards. SUP inflatable works in all water conditions.
For example, you want to try whitewater. A solid board is hard to maneuver in these conditions.
Inflatable SUPs are more manageable in these conditions than a solid board. The flexible design of an inflatable SUP will “bend” to the whitewater conditions.
An inflatable SUP is easier to store, regardless of the size of the board. You can deflate a 12-inch SUP board and store it in a small backpack.
Unlike solid boards, these boards need space for storage. So, if you’re short of space to store, an inflatable is a better option for you.
Inflatables despite its durability claimed by manufacturers are prone to leaky seams. Indeed, you have a warranty where you can ask for a replacement.
However, proper care and storage are essential in keeping your inflatable SUP in a pristine condition beyond the warranty period.
- Deflate your SUP if you aren’t using it.
- Ensure that pointed and sharp objects aren’t in the backpack with your SUP.
- Follow the recommended SUP air pressure level.
How to Inspect Your SUP
Whether you buy your SUP online or offline stores, here are a few tips on how to inspect your paddleboard:
- Check for cracks and pressure rings on the bottom and surface.
- Inspect the seams and rails for cuts or similar damages
- Test the SUP by inflating it to the recommended air pressure level
- Check the base of the fin for any crack or defect
- Inspect if all accessories are complete
If you can’t find any visible damage, go for final testing. Use it on choppy and calm water conditions.
Sometimes, actual testing the SUP on the water surface is better than physical inspection. In this way, you can test for performance and speed.
Contact the company’s customer service once you find any defect for possible replacement.
Using the factors we’ve discussed above, let’s rank the products we’ve reviewed so you can decide which one is appropriate. At the end of this review, we’ll announce our choice.
It’s your decision whether you’d follow our recommendations. Besides, buying and selecting an inflatable SUP is still a matter of preference.
Last update on 2019-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Based on the standard, the ideal width is 33 inches or wider. However, some beginners may prefer a narrower board. We recommend that you start with a 33-inch wide board.
As for width measurement, iRock wins in this comparison. The next winner is the Isle SUP.
In this comparison, the Isle Yoga edition is the winner with 10 feet.
We’ve mentioned that the ideal length for a balanced, all-around SUP is 10 feet. However, the Isle YOGA is designed for women with average height.
So, if you’re 6 feet or taller, you might have issues with stability. We recommend SUP with 10 feet 6 inches or longer.
Maximum Capacity Comparison
The winner in the maximum capacity comparison is the iRock. With 400 pounds max capacity, it can accommodate heavier beginners. The second winner is the Thurso.
Well, this is a matter of preference. Four out of the five SUP boards have good designs and are not gender specific.
All of the reviewed SUPs have traction pad so that users won’t slip when paddling over waters.
So far, we find the design of the Thurso to be the best. It has natural wood grain design, mimicking wooden, solid boards.
In warranty period, iRock and Thurso win the comparison. The type of warranty is a matter of preference.
For us, we recommend that you go for the 2-year warranty. This long period of warranty implies that the company is very confident about the quality of their product.
Company Related Factors
Now, that you have a basic idea in choosing your SUP, let’s talk about customer service, warranty, and guarantee.
A company with excellent customer service answers your inquiry and addresses your complaints as soon as possible.
Another characteristic of excellent customer service is the ability of a company to listen to customer’s suggestions. If these suggestions are feasible, they incorporate these suggestions in improving their product and accessories.
Warranty and guarantee are also significant factors in considering a product. The warranty gives you an option to get a replacement for a defective product. Other companies provide a refund.
A 1-year warranty is good, but a 2-year warranty is a privilege.
Most companies offer a minimum 1-year warranty. A few ones provide an extended warranty with a few dollars added on the total cost.
Money back guarantee is another factor to consider in buying a SUP from a company.
Our Choice for the Best SUP Board for Beginners
Our choice is the iROCKER Cruiser Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board. Why did we choose this as the best paddle board for beginners?
First, the width is ideal for beginners. As we’ve discussed in our value section, the best width for beginners is 33 inches.
The wider board means better balance and stability. Since beginners may have a hard time finding their balance, the wide board can help.
Second, the length is just a little over the 10 feet recommendation for inflatable SUP. Although the recommended range for an all-around SUP is 10 feet, a 6 inch increment is still okay, especially for taller individuals.
Third, iRocker offers more versatility than other boards. It has multiple metal rings as attachment points. If you’re doing more than paddling in a lake, these attachment points are great additions.
Fourth, iRocker has a warranty period of 2 years. It means that the company isn’t afraid to replace or refund any defective product. It means their SUP is of superior quality.
Lastly, the value you get in terms of quality, versatility, and stability is worth the money you’ve spent.
Top Rated Beginner SUP Boards
Last update on 2019-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API