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The Best Beginner Inflatable Paddle Boards Of 2021 Helpful Guide

best beginner inflatable paddle board

Stand up paddleboarding or SUP is a lot of fun. It’s one of the fastest growing watersports today for good reasons. It is easy to do. It is a great outdoor exercise. If your new to paddle boarding and want to get your first board, there are a ton of choices out there. Which board should you get as a beginner? You need a SUP board that is stable and easy to paddle until you develop your paddle boarding skills. Let’s take a look at the best beginner inflatable paddle boards available today.

Below are our top 3 choices for the best beginner inflatable paddle boards. Keep reading below for our top 5 picks including reviews, beginner inflatable SUP guide, and FAQ.

Top Pick

ISLE Pioneer Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Editors Choice

iROCKER Cruiser Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Best Value

Funwater Tiki Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boar

Table Of Contents

The top 5 best beginner inflatable paddle boards

Below are our top 5 picks for the best beginner inflatable paddle boards on the market today. We considered features, performance, price, durability, and customer reviews in our recommendations.

Top Pick

ISLE Pioneer Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

  • MOST POPULAR iSUP: The Pioneer is ISLE’s most versatile board for all-around, top-rated fun. The stylish design makes this a great beginner paddleboard for adults and riders of all sizes who are looking for a versatile board.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT, DURABLE DESIGN: Run it over with your vehicle, throw it off the roof or ram it into rocks or a pier; Constructed with military-grade PVC making this board rigid enough for all paddle board activities and durable enough to last.
  • INCLUDES iSUP PUMP AND ACCESSORY BUNDLE: All inflatable stand up paddle boards come with a complete package of paddle board accessories for compact carry and travel. This includes a paddleboard backpack, adjustable carbon shaft paddle, pump, fin, coil leash, & manual.
  • SIZE SPECS: The 10’6″ model is a lightweight 24 lbs when inflated and the wide deck ensures standing stability for fishing, yoga, and family activities; Up to 300 lb. weight capacity.
  • WHY SHOP ISLE? Born and bred on the water in San Diego, California since 2004. Our team is committed to bringing you the best quality paddle boards designed and tested by people who surf and paddle daily.

Rating

Isle Pioneer rating

Summary

The Isle Surf and SUP Pioneer is their widest most beginner friendly board. Isle Surf and SUP is known for making good boards with excellent customer service. The Pioneer lives up to their standard of high quality construction and performance.

The Pioneer is 10’6″ long by 34inches wide making it very stable. It has grown a few inches wider over previous versions of the Pioneer. The extra width and length combine with generous tail width for a very stable board. This makes it a great choice for beginner paddle boarders. It has one large removable fin and 2 small fixed fines underneath for tracking.

The board is made from dual layer military grade PVC. It has handles at the front, back and middle. It has velcro paddle holders on both sides. These are handy for holding the paddle when you take a break. They also work for holding the paddle while your carrying the board.

The downside to the paddle holders is that the board has fewer D-Rings. It doesn’t have enough around the middle of the board to mount a kayak seat. You can easily add more so this isn’t a huge deal.

Overall the Isle Pioneer is a great choice for a beginner paddle boarder. It offers good stability, a carbon paddle and an overall well thought out design.

Accessories

The board comes with a 3 piece carbon paddle. The pump is only a dual action which makes it a little slower to inflate. For the price, we would have liked to see a triple action pump. The backpack is made from durable materials with enough padding on the straps to be comfortable for a decent hike to the water.

On the water performance

On the water, the Pioneer is very stable. It is easy for anyone up to about 240 lbs to stand on. Heavier novice paddle boarders might start having a little challenge. Tracking and maneuverability are still pretty good for a wide board. The board is suitable for yoga and small wave surfing. It tracks as good as any recreational SUP board that isn’t a dedicated touring board.

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 6″ x 34″ x 6″ thick
  • Weight – 24 lbs
  • Weight Capacity – 300 lbs
  • Material – Dual layer military grade PVC laminate
  • Paddle – 3 piece carbon paddle
  • D-Rings – 11
  • Accessories – Double action pump, repair kit, leash, backpack
What We Liked
✔️ Wide stable design
✔️ Carbon shaft paddle and nice backpack
✔️ Paddle holders built into the board
What We Didn’t Like
Only comes with a single chamber pump
Not as many D-Rings as other boards

Editors Choice

iROCKER Cruiser Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

  • EXTREMELY STABLE, iROCKER CRUISER INFLATABLE PADDLE BOARD: 10’6” Long 33” Wide 6” Thick – Board Weight 25 lbs Weight Limit of up to 400 lbs. 33′ Wide throughout the entire board with an extra wide tail makes for extra stability while the shape of the board still allows for a smooth tracking experience.
  • HIGH QUALITY ADJUSTABLE CARBON PADDLE: Floating carbon paddle is less than half the weight of a standard aluminum paddle, designed to make you enjoy your paddle session.
  • FULL THROTTLE, DUAL CHAMBER, TRIPLE ACTION HAND PUMP by iROCKER: Easy to use 25” triple action dual chamber hand pump comes with an integrated pressure gauge and inflates your board up fast.
  • BACK PACK CARRY BAG by iROCKER: Most comfortable iSUP bag on the market. No need to worry about how you are going to carry your board from the car to the water to begin your SUP adventure.
  • WHATS NEW for 2020: Updated paddle board features include four Action Mounts for securing valuables, four more D-rings and an additional bungee-cord cargo area.

Rating

iRocker Cruiser rating

Summary

The iRocker Cruise is their most stable and beginner oriented board. It is 10’6″ long and 33″ wide. The weight capacity is rated at 400 lbs. The tail is significantly wider than their other models as well. This makes the board very stable and especially suited to first time paddle boarders.

Besides it’s size and stability. The iRocker cruiser is loaded up with features. It has 21 D-Rings for attaching bungees and accessories. It comes with a front and rear bungee. It has carry handles in the middle as well as the front and rear.

It also has 2 safety handles at the front that you can grab on it while seated or knealing while the board goes through waves. It has a very durable 3 layer laminate construction that can take some abuse. At 25 lbs it is still easy for one person to carry.

The deck pad is really well thought out. It has grooves to help water drain as well as a nice textured surface that is easy to grip and easy on your feet.

The iRocker Cruise isn’t the cheapest inflatable paddle board out there. It is one of the easiest to learn to paddle and versatile enough to grow and let you try out other SUP activities such as rivers, waves and yoga.

Accessories

The accessories that come with the iRocker cruise are first rate. The paddle is a 3 piece carbon paddle. The pump is tripple action and the backpack is one of the best available.

On the water performance

On the water the iRocker Cruise is very stable due to it’s 33 inch width and wide tail. It is one of the easiest boards available for a beginner to stand up on. It still glides reasonably well. Better than a 10′ or shorter board. It’s 3 fin setup makes it track well. This board will grow with you and will be fine for trying out small wave surfing or yoga.

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 6″ x 33″ x 6″ thick
  • Weight – 25 lbs
  • Weight Capacity – 400 lbs
  • Material – 3 Layer PVC laminate
  • Paddle – 3 piece carbon
  • D-Rings – 21
  • Accessories – Tripple action pump, backpack, leash, repair kit
What We Liked
✔️ Very stable and easy to paddle
✔️ Good tracking and gliding for a large board
✔️ Excellent quality accessories including tripple action pump and carbon paddle.
What We Didn’t Like
The cost is on the high side
There are very few things to complain about with this board

Best Value

FunWater Tiki Inflatable Paddle Board

  • New ultra light construction dual layer PVC 35% lighter than comparable models. Inflated 10’6″ long 33″ wide 6″ thick, weight 17.6 lbs, maximum capacity is up to 330 lbs, stable and great for all skill levels and conditions.
  • Ultra durable Constructed with additional PVC layer of board rails are highly strengthened the board durability.
  • Safety & Convenience 33” board width and 3 removable fins construction achieved amazing balance ability.
  • Package including Board, adjustable aluminum paddle, high pressure pump, travel backpack, coil leash,waterproof bag, and 3 removable fins.
  • Warranty No risk returns within 30 days+ 60 day guarantee +1 year manufacturer warranty.

Rating

Funwater tiki rating

Summary

The Funwater Tiki Paddle Board is the one of the best paddleboard values available. It is a decent board with good stability and okay accessories at a very low price. You could buy 2 or 3 of these for the price of some other inflatable paddle boards.

The board is 10′ 6″ long by 33 inch wide giving it good width for stability. It’s shape follows current trends for easy to use recreational paddle boards.

It uses a mix of single and double layer PVC laminate construction. Double on the sides and single on the top and bottom. It has an EVA deck pad that is big enough to work for paddle boarding and other activities like yoga. It has 3 removable fins on the bottom. You need to be careful with the fins and the attachment clips.

If you are looking for a cheap way to start paddle boarding, the Funwater Tiki is a great choice. It is one of the cheapest paddle board packages available with better than expected performance. This is our top pick for best value beginner inflatable paddle board.

Accessories

The board comes as a complete packing including a pump, 3 piece aluminum paddle, double action pump, and backpack. The paddle and backpack are both decent quality and hold up okay. The double action pump is the weak point in the package. Many people have received pumps that leak air before the board gets to 15 psi. If you use the board often you will want to get a different pump, or even better, an electric pump.

On the water performance

The performance on the water is better than expected for such an inexpensive board. It has enough stability for a beginner paddler over 200 lbs. It tracks reasonably well for it’s length. It is not as rigid as a higher end board and you will feel it flex and twist going through waves. It is stiffer than many other boards at this price point.

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 6″ x 33″ x 6″ thick
  • Weight – 17.6 lbs
  • Weight Capacity – 330 lbs
  • Material – double layer PVC laminate on the sides. Single layer top and bottom
  • Paddle – 3 piece aluminum paddle
  • D-Rings – 7
  • Accessories – double action pump, repair kit, leash, backpack
What We Liked
✔️ Low price and high value package
✔️ Good stability
✔️ Lightweight and easy to carry
What We Didn’t Like
The pump could be better. It can leak before getting the board up to pressure
Fins can break if your not careful

Roc Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board W Free Premium SUP Accessories & Backpack

  • ROC Paddle Boards premium inflatable paddle board is made of the highest quality military grade material. We provide the most durable lightweight board on the market.
  • Our extra wide design creates an incredible all-around board for people of all skill level. These kits can be used in the ocean, fresh water lakes, and rivers.
  • Our premium paddle board package has everything you need to enjoy your day on the water including: your board, collapsible aluminum paddle, safety leash, hand pump, waterproof bag for essentials such as cell phone and keys, and an upgraded backpack to hold everything.
  • USA family owned company!! We stand by the quality of our boards and are glad to provide a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty at no additional cost.

Rating

ROC inflatable SUP rating

Summary

The ROC inflatable paddle board is a durable solid performer. It is one of the most popular SUP boards available for good reason. It clicks off all the boxes for what a beginner paddleboard should have. It is a stable, easy to use, good performer on the water.

The board has 3 fins. 2 fixed and one removable. The fin uses a plastic clip to attach which is easy to use and holds the fin securely in place.

The board uses a 3 layer PVC laminate which should make it hold up and not scratch or puncture easily. The deck uses a diamond grid EVA pad which is comfortable to stand on, provides a good grip, and drains water well. This board is one of the only boards under $400 that uses a 3 layer laminate.

Overall, the ROC inflatable SUP board is a great easy to use beginner paddleboard with good features. It is an excellent package and good overall value for well under $400.

Accessories

The board comes as a complete package including a 3 piece adjustable paddle, and backpack. The accessories are all the level you would expect for the price. You won’t find a carbon paddle, but you will find a solid aluminum paddle and a reliable dual action pump. The downside to the paddle is that it can sink if you leave it in the water too long.

The backpack is not as durable as we would like. It’s functional and fits the board okay. The material may rip and wear through if you use the board a lot.

On the water performance

The ROC board is 10 feet long by 32 inches wide. This makes it long enough to paddle easily and track well while being easy to maneuver. The width makes it stable for first time paddlers. It won’t be the fastest board on the water at that length. The round nose and tail make it stable and easy to turn. It works best in flat water. It is lively enough to handle light surfing.

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ x 32″ x 6″ thick
  • Weight – 17.5 lbs
  • Weight Capacity – 300 lbs
  • Material – 3 Layer PVC laminate
  • Paddle – 3 piece aluminum paddle
  • D-Rings – 7
  • Accessories – dual action pump, backpack, small dry bag, leash
What We Liked
✔️ Lightweight and easy to carry
✔️ Diamond grooved EVA deck pad
✔️ Stable, easy to paddle design good for beginners or experienced paddlers
What We Didn’t Like
The backpack tears easily and isn’t durable
The paddle will fill with water and sink if it’s in the water long enough

Bluefin Cruise SUP Stand Up Inflatable Paddle Board

  • 10’8 – LOOKING FOR THE MOST STABLE, VERSATILE, ALL-INCLUSIVE SUP PACKAGE ON THE MARKET? Only Bluefin uses 1000 Denier Exo Surface Laminate PVC & Pro Weave Drop Stitch. These materials make our boards so tough they are can hold up to 28 PSI and are the most stable rigid, stable inflatable SUP you’ll ever buy.
  • KAYAK CONVERSION KIT & GoPro MOUNT – Use our D-rings to transform your SUP into a SUP kayak in seconds!
  • DURABLE TRAVEL SUP BACKPACK & LIGHTWEIGHT FIBREGLASS PADDLE – The most comfortable SUP backpack available with loads of extra padding & super wide straps.
  • SMART LOCK FIN & DOUBLE ACTION PUMP – Our versatile 8” centre fin with optimised rake provides ultimate glide and versatility for day to day paddling.
  • 5 YEAR WARRANTY & OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SERVICE – Bluefin boards & accessories are designed to last which is why we are able to provide a 5 year warranty. Responsive, expert customer support is always here to help choose a board or resolve any issues you might have

Rating

Bluefin Cruise rating

Summary

The Bluefin Cruise 10’8″ paddleboard is a very stiff sturdy board that comes in a very complete package. It includes everything you need to paddleboard and also a kayak seat and paddle that can be set up with 1 or 2 blades. It’s design is very stiff and stable making it perfect for a beginner or experienced paddler boarders.

This board is one of the stiffest inflatable boards available adding to it’s stability. Bluefin claims they use the highest thread density in their drop stitch available from any board maker. They use a very thick 2 layer laminate construction. The board feels noticeably thicker and heavier when you roll it out to inflate it. It is much stiffer inflated on the water. This board weighs in at 29 lbs making it one of the heavier inflatable SUP boards.

Overall this is a great package for someone looking to get a good performing paddleboard suitable for first time paddle boarders. The kayak seat makes it good for people who aren’t coordinated enough for standing. The only downside is the very high price for someone who is looking for their first paddle board.

Accessories

The board has 9 D-ring attachments and a GoPro mount built into it. It has a carry straps at the middle, front and back. Because the board is on the heavy side, the extra handles really make it easy for someone to help you carry it. It includes a kayak seat that can attach to the center set of d-rings. The paddle has a 2-3 piece fiberglass shaft and can be assembled as a single blade or 2 blade paddle.

This board has one of the better backpacks available at this price range. It doesn’t have wheels but it has heavy-duty construction with thick comfortable straps. The included paddle has a 3 piece fiberglass shaft. For the price, we would have really liked to see a carbon shaft paddle instead.

On the water performance

The board is 10′ 8″ by 32 inch wide. This gives enough width to be stable and a little better tracking than a 10′ board. It is still easy to maneuver and suitable for a first time paddleboarder. The included kayak seat helps for those who aren’t comfortable standing up on it. If you feel like taking a break and want to relax you can sit and paddle for a while.

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 8″ x 32″ x 6″ thick
  • Weight – 29 lbs
  • Weight Capacity – 287 lbs
  • Material – 1000 Denier Exo Surface Laminate Technology PVC. 2 layer laminate
  • Paddle – 2 piece fiberglass shaft, 2 blades. Can be put together as an SUP or Kayak paddle
  • D-Rings – 9
  • Accessories – Paddle, backpack, leash, dual action pump, kayak seat, built in GoPro mount
What We Liked
✔️ Very complete package including a kayak seat and 2 blade paddle
✔️ Croco-diamond EVA deck pad with kick pad at the rear
✔️ Very stiff and durable board
What We Didn’t Like
The board is a bit heavy carrying around
Very high cost

Inflatable Paddle Board Guide

What should I look for in an inflatable paddle board?

As a beginning paddle boarder the most important thing to find is a paddle board that is stable and easy to paddle. Nothing is more frustrating than falling off your paddle board over and over. After you find a board with a good design, the other factors to consider are cost and what the board comes with. A more expensive board will have better materials and better accessories.

Lets take a look at what matters when buying a beginner paddle board.

Paddle board size and volume – What size inflatable SUP should you get

The size, shape and volume of a paddle board will determine how stable the board is and how easy it is to paddle. A higher volume board will float more weight and be more stable. A wider board will also be more stable to stand on. Board length will determine how well a paddle board glides and tracks straight. A longer board will glider easier and track more straight. A shorter board will be easier to turn.

As a beginner, you want a good all around board that is between 10 and 11 feet long. You should look for a board that is at least 32 inches wide. 33 inches is even better. You want a board with a rated weight capacity well above your actual weight. See our article on how much weight can a paddle board hold to learn more.

Boards longer than 11 feet tend to fall into the touring category. These are designed to be easy to paddle long distances. They don’t turn as easily. They may be less wide as well. You don’t want a long narrow touring board as a beginner.

Construction and materials

All inflatable paddle boards are made from PVC. They all utilize drop-stitch construction. PVC is the only material that you can bond to the threads easily. All drop-stitch is not created equally.

A better board will have 2 or 3 layer laminate PVC. The more layers you have, the heavier the material. Heavier thicker material will give you a stiffer, more stable board. It will give you a more durable puncture and scratch resistant paddle board. A board made with single layer PVC will be softer and more easier to damage.

Some drop-stitch has much higher thread density. Bluefin claims to have the highest thread density in their boards. They produce very stiff inflatable paddle boards. You have to pay for it. See this article to learn more about drop-stitch construction.

D-Rings, handles and mounts

D-Rings are useful for attaching bungee cords, seats and other accessories. A more expensive board tends to have more D-Rings mounted to it. Some boards can come with over 20 D-Rings from the factory. An inexpensive board may have as few as 5. More is better. You can easily add more D-Rings to a board that doesn’t have them.

Almost every board has a center carrying handle. As you go up in level, boards will have front and rear handles and sometimes safety handles in the middle. A single handle is fine for carrying a light board on your own. If the board doesn’t have a front and rear handle, it is difficult for someone to help you carry an inflated board.

More expensive boards may have action mounts for mounting GoPro’s and other accessories. You can always add a mount by gluing one on if you need one.

Paddle

Inflatable stand up paddle boards typically come with a 3 piece travel paddle. Paddles are either aluminum, fiberglass or carbon fiber. Carbon fiber paddles are the lightest and stiffest. Aluminum paddles are the heaviest and softest. A stiffer paddle will let you put more force into the water. A flimsy soft paddle will flex a lot and not paddle great.

A good carbon paddle by itself can cost more than a low end complete paddle board package. If your just starting out a aluminum paddle can be fine. If you like to paddle hard, you might find an aluminum paddle is just too flexible.

Pump

Most boards come with at least a double action pump. This means that the pump pushes air into the board on both the up and down stroke. Higher end boards come with a triple action pump. These have 2 air chambers that can pump on the in and out stroke. As the board fills you can then pump with 1 chamber on both strokes or 1 chamber on just the down stroke. A triple action pump will fill the board faster.

If you use your inflatable paddle board a lot, it’s worth investing a little money into an electric pump. An electric pump will inflate faster. It will save your arm strength for paddling instead of pumping.

Backpack

All paddle board packages will include a backpack carrying case. This will fit the board, paddle and pump. As you go up in price, the backpack gets nicer. Better materials and more padding on the straps. Some will add wheels to the bag also. A nicer backpack is nice if your going to hike anywhere with your board.

Leash

A leash attaches the paddle board to your anke. This keeps you with the board if you fall in the water. On a windy day, your paddle board can drift away from you pretty fast which is not good.

What else do I need?

PFD

The United States Coard Guard classifies paddle boards as vessels. If you are using a paddle board in US waters you are required to have a PFD with you. If you are under 12 you have to wear it. To read more about USCG requirements click here. If your new to paddle boarding it’s a good idea to wear it since you will fall in the water a lot. See our guide to the best paddle board PFD’s to learn more.

You should not get an auto inflating PFD to use on a paddle board. Sooner or later you will walk or fall into the water and inflate it burning up a CO2 cartridge. Every time you do it you will need to repack it with a new CO2 cartridge.

See our article – Do you need to wear a life jacket on a paddle board – to learn more about life jacket rules and life jacket types.

What to wear paddle boarding

In the summer you can wear whatever you would wear swimming. If it’s colder out you may need a spray top or wetsuit. If it’s a lot colder out you may want to consider a dry suit. You can safely paddle board as long as the water isn’t frozen with the proper clothing. See our guide to what to wear paddle boarding in the summer and our guide to paddle board wetsuits to learn more.

An electric air pump

While this isn’t an essential it is a really nice to have. Pumping up your iSUP can take 10 to 15 minutes. The last few minutes getting the last few PSI can be really tiring. An electric pump will take care of the job for you. See our guide to the best electric paddle board pumps to learn more.

a couple paddling on inflatable sup

Inflatable Paddle Board FAQ

Q: Are cheap paddle boards any good?

A cheap paddle board can be a great way to start paddle boarding without spending a lot of money. A cheap board is not going to be as stiff or as stable as a more expensive paddle board. It’s not going to come with a carbon paddle. You might spend more time inflating it with the included pump. It will get you out enjoying your time on the water. Boards such as the Funwater Tiki perform much better than their cost. They are a good cheap way to get started. If you enjoy using it and try someone’s higher end board you’ll probably want to go out and get a better board.

Q: Is sup hard to learn?

canoeing. The concept for going forward and steering is all the same. You use the same paddle strokes. Paddle boarding requires you to stand and balance on the board. This adds a small amount of extra challenge. With a little practice anyone can stand and paddle on a big floaty stable beginner paddle board.

Q: How long will an inflatable SUP last?

A well cared for inflatable paddle board should last at least 5 years and may last much longer. I know people who have PVC inflatable boats that are still going strong after 10-20 years. A higher end paddle board made from better materials and adhesives may last much longer.

Q: What is the best paddle board for a beginner?

The iRocker Cruiser and ISLE Pioneer are 2 of the best beginner inflatable paddleboards. They are both very stable and durable and come with good accessories. If they are out of your budget range than the Funwater Tiki is a very good cheap starter paddle board.

Q: How do you care for an inflatable paddle board?

The most important thing to do with a paddle board is keep it clean and keep it out of sunlight. UV rays from the sun will degrade the PVC over time. If you use your board in saltwater you should rinse it off with freshwater after each use. Let it dry before rolling it up. If you don’t have time for it to dry, then unroll it when you get home so it can dry off completely. If you store it wet it will get moldy and disgusting. Every few uses clean it using cleaner meant for inflatable boats. Starbright inflatable boat cleaner is a good choice. See our article on how to clean a paddle board for more information.

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selfie for info block

About the author

My name is Doug Ryan. I am an adventure sports fan and an avid skier, sailor, mountain biker who also enjoys paddle boarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, waterskiing, and travel. I take any chance I can get to get out in the snow or water.  I actively run an adventure sports meetup where I get asked many questions.  I decided to start Endless Rush Outdoors as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for adventure sports their gear.

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