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2023 Best Inflatable Paddle Boards – Reviews, Tests, and Ratings

best inflatable paddle board reviews 2023

Are you looking for a new inflatable stand up paddleboard? We are here to help with our guide to the best inflatable paddle boards of 2023. We have spent a lot of time testing and reviewing paddleboards and researching the market to find the best iSUPs out there. We understand that there are many choices out there and no board is the perfect board for everyone. There is a wide range of prices, sizes, and different types of paddle boards available. We strive to give you the best information out there so you can find the right SUP for you.

Below are our top 3 pics. Keep reading the rest of our recommendations and paddle board guide.

☆ Top Pick

☆ Top Pick

☆ Best Value

Nixy Newport G4 Product Image
iRocker All Around 11 Ultra Product Image
iRocker Nautical Product Image

NIXY Newport G4

iRocker All Around 11 Ultra

iRocker Nautical

The 20 Best Inflatable Paddle Boards of 2023

1 – NIXY NEWPORT G4 ALL AROUND

☆ Top Pick
NIXY Newport paddling

Get Big Savings now during the Fall Sale at NIXYSPorts.com Lowest prices of the year plus an extra $100 off 2 boards.

What we liked
  • Very stiff and durable woven construction
  • Fast and nimble performance on the water
  • Carbon paddle and durable roller bag
  • Stable enough for beginner paddlers
  • Very lightweight board that is easy to carry
What we didn’t like
  • Fewer handles than other boards
  • Can be tricky to get back into the bag with the large hand pump

Summary

The Nixy Newport G4 All Around paddleboard is a great fun all around paddleboard. Nixy only makes their G4 line of inflatable paddle boards and produces a great board and accessories. The Newport is the all around board that paddling enthusiasts would create. It has a little more high performance shape to it with a tapered tail. It’s wide enough in the middle to be stable for new paddlers. It uses advanced woven construction with carbon rails making it stiff and light.

Accessories

The NIXY G4 accessories are the best overall accessory package being offered right now. The travel bag and pump are a step above what anyone else is offering. The bag has a ton of handles, 3 wheels, lots of pockets, and sturdy feeling materials. The triple action pump can inflate and deflate. It’s simple to change modes. It can inflate large boards quickly. The G4 carbon paddle is light and stiff. The only thing we wish for was a sliding pin size adjuster instead of quick release clamp.

On the water performance

The Newport G4 is not as stable as some other all around boards such as the iRocker Cruiser. It is more nimble, fun, and fast. It is still very stable and a beginner can stand on it on calm waters. Once you start to paddle it you will appreciate it’s higher performance shape. It has better glide than boards with wider tails. It can turn easier and more quickly. If you want to give SUP surfing a try, this is a good board to start with.

Review

Read NIXY Newport G4 Full Review

ALSO READ: The Best Beginner Inflatable Paddle Boards

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 6″ x 33″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 300 lbs
  • Board Weight – 21 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer Woven PVC with Carbon Reinforced Rails
  • D-Rings – 14
  • Paddle – 3 piece carbon
  • Pump – Triple action, double barrel hand pump
Nixy Newport G4 Product Image

Get Big Savings now during the Fall Sale at NIXYSPorts.com Lowest prices of the year plus an extra $100 off 2 boards.


2 – iRocker All Around 11 Ultra Inflatable SUP

☆ Top Pick
Woman paddling AA11 Ultra

See Unbeatable Deals on gear and SUPS during End Of Season Sale at iRocker.com

What we liked
  • It’s a fun faster board to paddle
  • Has good glide
  • Can accommodate heavier paddlers at least up to 250 lbs
  • Board is stable enough for beginners on calm water
  • Bag is small and compact making it easy to store and travel with
  • Includes an electric pump instead of hand pump
  • Weighs less and is easier to carry than legacy All Around 11
  • Has plenty of D-Rings and action mounts of using a kayak seat and other accessories
  • Stiff and durable 2 layer woven construction
  • 5 piece carbon adjustable paddle that fits inside the small bag
What we didn’t like
  • Board is a little less stable than legacy All Around 11
  • Deeper fins are more prone to catch weeds
  • Paddle shaft has a joint where I hold it with my lower hand.
  • No action mounts on the rear of the deck pad
  • No wheels or option for wheels on the bag

Summary

The iRocker All Around 11 Ultra is the latest offering from iRocker and is a great sporty fun to paddle board. It captures most of what we loved about the original iRocker All Around 11 without the giant heavy bag and pump. The Ultra line from iRocker are more compact and fit in bags half the size of normal paddleboard bags. The boards weigh several pounds less making them easier to transport and store. If you weren’t sure where you would keep a paddleboard before, this could be your answer.

Accessories

The All Around 11 Ultra comes with an electric pump instead of a hand pump. Hand pumps take a lot of effort and people find themselves exhausted before they even start paddling. The electric pump means you can save all your strength for paddling instead of pumping up the board. The board comes with a 5 piece carbon paddle that allows it to fit into the tiny bag. The paddle works well as long.

On the water performance

The iRocker All Around 11 Ultra has similar shape and performance as the original All Around 11. It did get an inch less wide making it a little faster. It just feels a bit more sporty than the original without sacrificing much stability. Most beginners should have no problem with this board on calm water.

Review

Read iRocker All ARound 11 Ultra Full Review

ALSO READ: The Best Portable Paddle Boards

Specifications

  • Size – 11′ x 32″ x 6″ thick
  • Weight Capacity – 290 lbs
  • Board Weight – 21.4 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer Woven
  • D-Rings – 15
  • Paddle – 5 piece carbon
  • Pump – Electric pump
iRocker All Around 11 Ultra Product Image

See Unbeatable Deals on gear and SUPS during End Of Season Sale at iRocker.com


3 – GILI KOMODO 10’6″

☆ Top Pick
woman balancing on gili komodo
image courtesy of GILI
What we liked
  • Gili donates a portion of every board sold to ocean charities
  • Wide stable board
  • Good for beginner paddlers
  • Full length deck pad
  • Removable bungees so you can have a clean deck for your dog
  • Higher performance touring fin instead of standard dolphin fin
  • Lots of D-Rings and mounts
  • Fiberglass paddle included but carbon option available
  • Stiff 3 layer construction
What we didn’t like
  • Action mounts not part of front bungee D-Rings
  • Not as fast and nimble as other boards
  • Bag doesn’t have wheels

Summary

The GILI KOMODO is an all purpose board designed for taking out pets, doing yoga or paddling with passengers. GILI donates a portion of every board sold to charities that help clean up the ocean and protect marine animals. You can feel good about supporting GILI.

The Komodo deck pad covers the entire board and it has removable bungees so your dog can sit anywhere on the board. The KOMODO uses stiff 3 layer construction and has a high 340 lb weight capacity. This makes it good for large dogs and larger paddlers.

The board has a standard 3 fin setup. All 3 fins are removable. The center fin is more of a touring design than the standard dolphin fin most boards come with.

Accessories

The paddle has a fiberglass shaft. They have a carbon paddle option for an extra $50. The fiberglass paddle feels good and is a step up from any aluminum paddle.

A basic double action hand pump is included. It gets the job done. If you don’t like pumping you can upgrade to an electric pump. GILI frequently has a free electric pump on your first order if you sign up for their newsletter.

The bag is nicely padded and has some storage pockets and molle loops. It does not have wheels which is a miss at this price point.

On the water performance

The KOMODO is a nice stable board that has good manners on the water. It’s not the fastest board out there. The 33 inch width gives it good stability for beginner paddlers. It’s stable enough that your dog can move around a bit without tipping the board.

Tracking is good with the 3 fin design. The board performs well without the side fins on flat water thanks to the higher performance center fin. Beginners will appreciate the extra stability and stronger tracking with the side fins.

Specifications

  • Size – 10’6″ x 33″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 340 lbs
  • Board Weight – 21 lbs
  • Construction – 3 Layer
  • D-Rings – 18
  • Paddle – 3 piece fiberglass (carbon option available)
  • Pump – Double action hand pump
GILI Komodo product image

A portion of every GILI Paddleboard goes to charities that support ocean reefs and endangered sea animals


4 – SIC Maui 12’6″ x 31″ Okeanos Air Glide

☆ TOP PICK
SIC Maui Okeanos AIr Paddling in marsh
What we liked
  • Great speed and stability
  • 3 removable fins giving you lots of fin options
  • Beautiful board styling and graphics. Just the right amount of flare
  • Lightweight and stiff construction
  • Enough bungees and deck space for storing gear
What we didn’t like
  • No paddle included
  • No nose or tail handle on the board

Summary

The Sic Maui 12’6″ x 31″Okeanos Air is the inflatable version of their popular Okeanos touring board. It was one of the first touring boards to have a long straight shape with fuller nose and tail. This gives it more stability while also giving superior tracking. The Okeanos is available in 3 sizes depending on what performance you are looking for.

The Okeanos air uses Sick Maui FST construction which utilizes the stiffest possible outer skin. This makes a very light stiff board. It also uses the latest reinforced rails and can be inflated up to 20 psi for extra stiffness.

Accessories

The Sic Maui Okeanos comes with some basic accessories. These include a roller bag and 8 foot leash. The bag is well made without many pockets or extras to keep the weight down. The pump is a basic double action single chamber pump. It gets the job done. They do not include a paddle.

On the water

The wide nose of the board and straight middle section make for a very stable board that goes where you point it. The 31 inch width 12’6″ version is a board any beginner could handle and feel confident on. The nose has enough rocker to handle chop and waves without digging in. This board handles flat water and choppy water equally well. The 3 removable fins let you fine tune the handling of the board if you want more or less tracking.

Specifications

  • Size – 12′ 6″ x 31″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 265 lbs
  • Board Weight – 26.8 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer PVC with Fusion Skin Technology
  • Paddle – Not included
  • Pump – Double Action, Single Chamber Hand Pump
SIC Maui Okeanos Air Product Image

5 – iRocker Nautical

☆ Best Value
Paddling Nautical Stony Creek

See Unbeatable Deals on gear and SUPS during End Of Season Sale at iRocker.com

What we liked
  • Fiberglass paddle
  • Durable and stiff 2 layer construction
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Lots of D-Rings and carry handles
What we didn’t like
  • Lower weight capacity than other iRocker boards
  • Not as stiff as more expensive iRocker boards

Summary

The iRocker Nautical is the best value out there in paddle boarding right now. It is a 10’6″ x 32″ all around board with 2 layer construction and a really nice fiberglass paddle. It comes in at the same price as many single layer boards with junk aluminum paddles. Everything in this package is just better than anything you’ll find in any other $300-$400 paddle board. If you are looking for the best value inflatable SUP under $500 you have found it.

The board has 3 removable fins. The fin use latches to stay in place so there is no plastic tab to worry about losing or breaking.

The board is made of a 2 layer PVC laminate for durability. The deck has a groooved deck pad. The board has 17 D-Rings with bungees and handles at the front and rear. The deck pad is decently sized for standing on extending back into the tail of the board.

Overall, the iRocker Nautical is the best value out there for an entry level under $500 paddle board.

Accessories

The board comes as a complete package including a 3 piece fiberlgass paddle and a dual action pump. Almost every paddle board under $500 has an aluminum shaft paddle so this is a nice upgrade.

The backpack is nice with optional rollers. It has a couple of mesh pockets and bungee on for storing accessories. It has plenty of room for the board and accessories inside. The only complaint I have with the bag is lack of handles. A handle on each side would be nice.

On the water performance

The iRocker Nautical is a 10’6″ x 32″ wide board. It had decent glide. It has plenty of stability for new paddlers. The board has a good all around shape that is easy to turn and maneuver. The 3 fins keep it tracking straight once you get it moving.

Review

Read iRocker Nautical Full Review

ALSO READ: The Best Inflatable Paddle Boards Under $500

Specifications

  • Size – 10’6″ x 32″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 20 lbs
  • Board Weight – 240 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer
  • D-Rings – 17
  • Paddle – 3 piece fiberglass
  • Pump – Double action
iRocker Nautical Product Image

See Unbeatable Deals on gear and SUPS during End Of Season Sale at iRocker.com


6 – Bluefin Cruise 10’8″

☆ Best Value
Bluefin Cruise Walking towards water
image courtesy of Bluefin

Get $100-$250 off. Check out the current Hot Deals at BluefinSUPBoards.com

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
  • Fin attachment can be tricky to use and replacement fins are hard to get

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.

This board is one of the stiffest inflatable boards available. 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.

Accessories

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. 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. The double action pump is nothing special but it gets the job done.

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. The kickpad at the rear of the board helps make kick turns easier when you are ready to learn that skill.

ALSO READ: The Best Inflatable Paddle Boards Under $500

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 8″ x 32″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 287 lbs
  • Board Weight – 29 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer
  • D-Rings – 9
  • Paddle – 2 piece fiberglass convertible
  • Pump – double action pump
Bluefin Cruise Product Image

Get $100-$250 off. Check out the current Hot Deals at BluefinSUPBoards.com


7 – Chasing Blue Infinite

☆ Best Value
man paddling outdoormaster sup

Use the Coupon Code SUPAFF to get paddleboards as low as $129.99 at OutdoorMaster.com

What we liked
  • Very stiff board construction
  • Stable, easy to paddle, and works with paddlers up to its 320 lb weight limit
  • 22 D-Rings and lots of handles for versatility and easy transport
  • Quality accessories such as roller backpack and 3 piece paddle
What we didn’t like
  • The width makes it stable but also a little harder to paddle into chop on windy days
  • Could use more pockets in the carry bag

Summary

The Chasing Blue Infinite is a great all around board that can be used by beginners and experienced paddlers. It is 10’6″ long and 34″ wide. The weight capacity is rated at 320 lbs and we have tested with an over 300 lb paddler. The tail is narrowed to make it easier to turn and suitable for small wave surfing. This makes the board very stable and easy to paddle. It is a great beginner’s board and would be great for fishing or surfing too.

The Infinite uses 2 layer woven PVC construction. It has board stiffness almost as good as a high end board from Red Paddle Co or Blackfin. It hits way above its price point for board construction. At 22.5 lbs it is still easy for one person to carry.

Accessories

This board includes all the accessories you expect from an inflatable paddleboard package. It includes a double action pump, 3 piece aluminum paddle, ankle leash, paddle leash, repair kit, and waterproof cellphone case. It has a great roller backpack to make carrying easier. The bag is very well made. The only complaint is that the bag has no extra pockets for accessories or other items. It’s big enough and easily fits the board and pump without any struggle.

On the water performance

On the water, the Chasing Blue Infinite is very stable due to its 34 inch width. 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. Its 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.

The board glides and paddles very easily on calm water. It takes a little more effort to paddle into chop and wind due to its wide width and 10’6″ length. This board is best for calm water days when its length will let it glide well.

Review

Read Chasing Blue Infinite Full Review

ALSO READ: The Best Cheap Inflatable Paddle Boards

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 6″ x 34″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 320 lbs
  • Board Weight – 22.5 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer
  • D-Rings – 22
  • Paddle – Aluminum 3 piece
  • Pump – Double action hand pump
Chasing Blue Infinite Product Image

Use the Coupon Code SUPAFF to get paddleboards as low as $129.99 at OutdoorMaster.com


8 – Freein Overall 11

☆ Best Value
Freein Overall Paddling
What we liked
  • Double layer PVC construction makes board stiff and not bouncy
  • Fun and easy to paddle board
  • Fiberglass paddle
  • Good double barrel triple action pump
What we didn’t like
  • Difficult to get back into the bag
  • Not many handles or accessory mounts on board

Summary

The Freein Overall is a solid basic paddleboard with good performance and good accessories. The board is 11′ x 33″ making it very stable and forgiving for newer paddlers. It’s length gives it better glide than shorter boards.

The board uses double layer PVC construction and performed well in our stiffness test. The board itself is a bit plane without a lot of extra handles, D-Rings or accessory mounts. They had to cut corners somewhere and decided to give you good stiffness and a good paddle instead of extra handles.

Accessories

The board comes as a complete package with one of the better accessory packages available under $500. The board comes with a fiberglass paddle, roller backpack and double barrel, triple action hand pump. The hand pump is one of the better double barrel designs I’ve seen. It can inflate and deflate. The dial for switching modes is easy to read and operate. The paddle is several notches better than a cheap aluminum paddle.

The board is a little tricky to get back into its bag with the large pump. This is one area that could use a little improvement. After you have done it a few times you’ll figure out how to roll it and make it happen.

On the water performance

On the water the board is easy to paddle and fun to use. It is very beginner friendly and easy to stand on. It’s stiff enough to not feel bouncy or wobbly. The 3 fins give it good tracking. When you are ready you can leave off the 2 small fins for a faster board. Beginners who have tried our board really liked how stable it was. The fiberglass paddle is a step up in stiffness and feel from the aluminum paddle other boards come with.

Review

Read Freein Overall 11 Full Review

ALSO READ: The Best Cheap Inflatable Paddle Boards

Specifications

  • Size – 11′ x 33″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 265 lbs
  • Board Weight – 23.8 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer
  • D-Rings – 15
  • Paddle – Fiberglass 3 piece
  • Pump – Triple action pump
Freein Overall Product Image

Get the lowest price of the year now on paddleboards at Freein.com


9 –  Blackfin Ultra CX

Paddling BF Ultra Hard

See Unbeatable Deals on gear and SUPS during End Of Season Sale at iRocker.com

What we liked
  • Very compact bag that is easy to travel with and store
  • Comes with a top of the line electric pump
  • Very stiff board construction
  • High quality 5 piece carbon paddle
  • Nimble and quick on the water performance
What we didn’t like
  • No wheels on the carry bag
  • Folding the board so that it fits in the bag takes a little practice

Summary

The Blackfin Ultra CX is the latest and greatest inflatable paddleboard from popular iRocker brand. The Ultra CX is the best portable paddle board on the market. It is a perfect travel companion that easily fits in the front seat of your car or a closet at home.

The Blackfin Ultra CX is a standard 10’6″ x 32.5″ x 6″ all around paddleboard that performs great on the water. It’s also one of the stiffest paddleboards available and the stiffest board we have tested. It also has the smallest carry bag of any board we’ve seen. It is the only board we’ve seen that comes standard with an electric pump and no hand pump.

The board has a split deck pad to make it fold more compact. They included enough D-Rings and action mounts to mount seat or other accessory. They kept a standard front and rear bungee as well.

Accessories

The Blackfin Ultra CX comes complete with the best accessory package we have seen. It comes with the fantastic iRocker electric pump. This pump is small, reliable, and the fastest electric pump we have tested. I encourage you to add the available battery so you can be free from any need for car or other 12 volt source when using the board. You can read the full review of the pump here.

The backpack is about half the size of a normal SUP carrying bag. It is close to airline carry on size. If you cinch it down you might be able to get it through the TSA checkpoint as a carry on. It has a bag that fits above the paddleboard that holds the electric pump, fins, leash and repair kit. There are places to put the paddle on the sides of the bag. The bag is comfortable to carry as a backpack. We still wish for wheels for carrying it long distances.

A 5 piece carbon paddle is included. It is the adjustable length and fits into the small carry bag.

On the water performance

The only thing different about the Ultra CX on the water from a normal all around board is the 2 fin setup. All the ultra compact paddle boards have gone with 2 fins. They work well on the water and don’t give up anything for tracking compared to a traditional 3 fin setup. This board is very stiff thanks to the woven construction and carbon reinforced rails. It is as close to a rigid paddle board as you can get in an inflatable.

The board tracks smooth and has glide that is as good as any 10’6″ board. The tail is narrowed a bit to improve board speed without giving away too much stability.

Review

Read Blackfin Ultra CX Full Review

ALSO READ: The Best Portable Paddle Boards

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 6″ x 32.5″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 320 lbs
  • Board Weight – 19.8 lbs
  • Bag SizeBag Size – 10″ x 16″ x 21″
  • Bag Weight – 33.3 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer Woven PVC with carbon rails
  • Paddle – 5 piece Carbon
  • Pump – Electric pump
Blackfin Ultra CX Product Image

See Unbeatable Deals on gear and SUPS during End Of Season Sale at iRocker.com


10 – Nixy Monterey G4 Expedition

Paddling hard monterey
What we liked
  • Very stiff rigid lightweight construction
  • Dual air chambers for more stiffness and safety
  • Big stable fast board that handles well on the water
  • Lots of load carrying capacity
  • Very good for larger size paddlers
  • Overall high quality feel to board and accessories
  • The best roller travel bag and carbon paddle in any package
What we didn’t like
  • Board is difficult to get back in the bag with the pump
  • Not as fast as a narrower touring board
  • It takes some effort to paddle it into wind and chop due to it’s size

Summary

The Nixy Monterey G4 Expedition is one of the best paddleboards available for larger paddlers. It has a published weight capacity of 400 lbs. It is a large board at 11’6″ x 32″. It’s made from 2 layer woven PVC construction with dual air chambers making it very stiff. The second air chamber adds an extra measure of safety when paddling away from shore. This is one of the best boards available for larger size paddlers or taking a dog out with you. It is designed with tons of accessory mounts for fishing or other adventures.

Accessories

The board comes with high quality NIXY G4 accessories. The best combination we have seen from any inflatable SUP package. The carbon paddle looks and feels stiff and efficient. The double barrel pump is fast to inflate and can deflate too. The 3 wheeled backpack is sturdy and looks ready to take on an expedition. As we stated above with the Newport. The NIXY G4 accessories are the best set of accessories being offered by any paddleboard maker right now.

On the water performance

On the water, the Monterey handles larger paddlers very well. It has decent speed thanks to its length and narrow nose and tail. Beginners love it because of its stability. It’s so easy to stand up on for any size paddler. The Monterey won’t be as fast as a narrower 11’6″ board. It will be a very stable platform for fishing or any other activity you want to do on it.

Review

Read NIXY Monterey G4 Full Review

ALSO READ: The Best Paddle Boards For Big Guys

Specifications

  • Size – 11′6″ x 32″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 400 lbs
  • Board Weight – 26 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer woven with carbon reinforced rails
  • D-Rings – 20
  • Paddle – 3 piece carbon fiber
  • Pump – Triple action double barrel
Nixy Monterey Product Image

11 – GILI MENO 10′6″

Man paddling GILI MENO on lake
image courtesy of GILI
What we liked
  • Very wide stable board with a huge weight capacity
  • Still construction with carbon reinforced rails
  • Lots of D-Rings and action mounts
  • Includes 3 center fins to tune performance for distance, river, or speed
  • Roller backpack with molle loops and pockets
  • Lightweight (23-24 lbs) for it’s size
  • Available in 2 sizes 10’6″ and 11’6″
What we didn’t like
  • Triple action pump can’t deflate
  • Very wide board is stable but not that fast

Summary

The GILI MENO is a very wide stable board with a huge weight 450 lb capacity and tons of accessory mounts. It is available in both a 10’6″ and 11’6″ XL version. It is ready to handle large paddlers and tons of gear.

It is extra wide at 35 inches and is perfect for larger beginner paddlers or thoses who want extra stability for taking pets or passengers. It uses 2 layer construction with carbon reinforced rails. It comes with 3 center fins so you can tune the performance for your needs.

Accessories

The GILI MENO accessories include a carbon paddle, triple action pump and roller backpack. The pump works well for inflation. It can’t deflate which is a missed feature when trying to fit these back in the bag. The paddle is stiff and has a good feel. The roller backpack has lots of pockets and some molle loops for attaching accessories.

On the water performance

The MENO is not the fastest board. It’s one of the easiest to use and most versatile boards out there. The wide width makes it a very stable board that any beginner can use. This is one of the best beginner boards for heavier paddlers. It is is a wide board, it still moves and glides okay on flat water. It will feel like a wide board when paddling into chop and waves.

Specifications

  • Size – 10′6″ x 35″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 450 lbs
  • Board Weight – 30 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer with carbon rails
  • D-Rings – 18
  • Paddle – 3 piece carbon
  • Pump – triple action hand pump
GILI MENO Product Image

A portion of every GILI Paddleboard goes to charities that support ocean reefs and endangered sea animals


12 – ISLE Pioneer 2.0

isle pioneer on water
image courtesy of ISLE Surf & SUP
What we liked
  • Wide stable board that turns easily
  • Comes with a hand pump and electric pump
  • Includes a carbon paddle
  • Decent glide in flat water
  • Stable enough for almost any beginner
What we didn’t like
  • 34inch wide boards need more effort to paddle into chop and waves
  • No D-Rings for mounting a seat

Summary

The ISLE Pioneer 2.0 is the latest beginner all around offering from ISLE Surf & SUP. The Pioneer 2.0 is a wide stable friendly design that is perfect for beginners or relaxed paddles. The board has plenty of storage with front and rear bungees. It does not have D-Rings around the middle that could be used for attaching a kayak seat. It has 2 layer construction making it stiff and durable.

Accessories

It comes with a high end accessory set that includes a carbon paddle and both a hand pump and an electric pump. New paddlers don’t have to wear themselves out hand pumping before they ever get on the water.

On the water performance

It is a 34 inch wide board. It is clearly designed to be stable and easy to paddle. Beginners really like the extra stability. It will glide well on flat water making it great for relaxed paddling days. The extra width means it will need some extra push to get it to go into chop and waves. If you want an easy to paddle board that is big and stable this is a good choice.

ALSO READ: The Best Beginner Inflatable Paddle Boards

Specifications

  • Size – 10’6″ x 34″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 285 lbs
  • Board Weight – 24 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer PVC
  • D-Rings – 11
  • Paddle – 3 piece carbon
  • Pump – Double Action hand pump  + Electric Pump
ISLE Pioneer 2 product image

13 – Atoll 11′ Foot Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Atoll SUP paddling
image courtesy of Atoll

Get $100 Off 2 boards at Atoll with discount code 100off2

What we liked
  • Lightweight stiff board. Only weighs 21 lbs
  • Fast performance for a 32 inch wide board
  • Stable enough for beginners
  • 315 lb weight capacity is enough for a large paddler and extra gear
  • Good customer service and quality
  • Lots of D-Rings for accessories
  • Front bungee for storing gear
  • US fin box for center fin
What we didn’t like
  • Side bite fins are not removable
  • No rear bungee
  • Backpack doesn’t have wheels
  • No front handle
  • Only a double action pump included

Summary

The Atoll 11 Inflatable SUP is a great choice for beginners, large paddlers, dogs or just cruising around with gear. It is a large board at 11′ x 32″ with a big 315 lb max rider weight. Atoll has a very good reputation for making good paddleboards and excellent customer service.

The board has a large deck pad extending to the rear of the board and plenty of room for gear and accessories. There is a front bungee to use for storage. No rear bungee is included although there are enough D-Rings to add one. It uses 2 layer construction giving it good stiffness. It weighs in at only 21 lbs which is impressive given it’s size.

Accessories

The accessories included are okay for the price. The carbon paddle is the highlight. The bag is well made but has no wheels. Only a double action hand pump is included. For the price it should be a triple action pump.

On the water performance

It has a narrow nose and tail giving it a bit more speed than other boards of this size. The width makes it stable enough for beginners and paddling with dogs. It handles large amounts of weight well without becoming unstable. The board tracks well with its 3 fin setup. A US Fin Box is used for the center fin so you can after market touring and river fins. The 2 small side bite fins are fixed so your stuck with the extra drag they make.

Specifications

  • Size – 11′ x 32″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 315 lbs
  • Board Weight – 21 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer PVC
  • D-Rings – 15
  • Paddle – 3 piece carbon fiber
  • Pump – Double action hand pump
Atoll SUP Product image

Get $100 Off 2 boards at Atoll with discount code 100off2


14 – GILI MENO TOURING 12’6″

GILI Meno touring paddling
image courtesy of GILI
What we liked
  • Very fast and stable board
  • Gili supports ocean charities with the purchase of every board
  • Good for beginners and advanced paddlers
  • High weight capacity
  • Kickpad at the rear of the board
  • High quality accessories including carbon paddle and roller bag
  • Roller bag has lots of pockets and molle loops
  • Has lots of D-Rings and action mounts
  • Includes 3 fins for use in different conditions
What we didn’t like
  • The D-Rings are a bit small making it hard to use the removeable bungee feature
  • The hand pump can’t deflate
  • Only one side of the bag has a handle

Summary

The GILI MENO Touring 12’6″ inflatable SUP is designed to be as fast and stable as possible. It is a quick board that also is stable enough for heavier paddlers and beginners. The 31 inch width means it will still be quick.

The board uses similar construction as the other GILI MENO boards. It uses 2 layer PVC with carbon reinforced rails to make a stiff board that is still light. The board uses a single fin which is preferred for touring boards. They include 3 fins so you can adjust performance for where you are using the board.

GILI makes a donation to charities that help clean the ocean and support marine life for every board they sell.

Accessories

The MENO Touring includes good accessories for it’s price. They include a 3 piece carbon paddle with nylon blade. The paddle feels stiff and solid.

The roller backpack has molle loops on the side for storage and pockets to keep the fins and other accessories. One complaint about the bag is that it doesn’t have handles on both sides. Bags with 2 side handles are a lot easier to carry up and down steps to your basement.

A triple action double barrel pump is included. It works well for inflating the board. One miss is that the pump can’t deflate. Being able to suck the last bit of air out makes these large boards a lot easier to fit into their bags.

On the water

The MENO TOURING excels at it’s goal of being fast and stable. The board has excellent glide. It’s light enough to not feel too heavy when trying to accelerate or push it into chop or wind.

The single fin design provides good tracking. The accessory river fin and racing fin allow you to tune the performance. You are set if you want to use the board in shallow water or just want to go fast.

The board feels very stable and most beginners can handle it once they have spent an hour on a shorter board. The length does make it slower to turn and not as responsive as a shorter board. The kickpad is a nice feature making quick turns easier.

Specifications

  • Size – 12′ 6″ x 31″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 300 lbs
  • Board Weight – 24 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer PVC with carbon rails
  • Paddle – 3 piece carbon
  • Pump – Triple Action, Double Chamber Hand Pump
GILI Meno Touring product image

A portion of every GILI Paddleboard goes to charities that support ocean reefs and endangered sea animals


15 – ISLE Explorer 2.0 11’6″ x 32″

What we liked
  • Longer medium width board has good speed and tracking but still stable enough for new paddlers
  • Paddle holders built into the board
  • Carbon shaft paddle and nice backpack
  • Comes with an electric pump in addition to a hand pump
What we didn’t like
  • Not as fast as a longer narrower touring board
  • The 2 small side fins are not removable

Summary

The ISLE Explorer 2.0 is either a slower touring paddleboard or a faster all around board. It is 11’6″ long with a more pointed nose and narrow tail than most all around boards. At 32″ wide and 11’6″ it is a little shorter and wider than most touring boards. It is a good all purpose board that can be used for many activities. As the name suggests, it is good for carrying your gear to new places. Isle Surf and SUP is a California based company. They use a double layer PVC construction that produces light and stiff boards of good quality.

Accessories

The board comes with a good carbon paddle and a decent carrying bag with wheels. It only comes with a double action pump. To make up for it they do include an electric pump too.

On the water

At 32 inch wide the board has good stability to go with its good tracking and glide. It is stable enough for new paddlers. It has enough nose rocker for waves and chop. It won’t be as fast as a touring board. It does a good job of moving your gear to where you want to go with good efficiency.

ALSO READ: The Best Inflatable Touring Paddle Boards

Specifications

  • Size – 11’6″ x 32″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 300 lbs
  • Board Weight – 24 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer PVC
  • Paddle -3 Piece Carbon
  • Pump – Double Action Hand Pump

16 – THURSO SURF Expedition 150 Touring

Thurso Expedition on dock
image courtesy of THURSO SURF
What we liked
  • Very stiff carbon reinforced woven construction
  • Stylish wood grain deck appearance
  • No unnecesary side bite fins or mounts to add extra drag
  • High quality accessories including carbon paddle and triple action pump
  • Built in paddle holders on both sides of the board
  • Kick step built into the rear deck pad
What we didn’t like
  • No action mounts built into board for mounting accessories
  • Very low max weight capacity

Summary

The THURSO SURF Expedition 150 is a fast paddleboard with good styling that built to go the distance. It doesn’t have as many mounts and extras as some other boards. THURSO put the attention where it matters to make a faster board. They used woven construction with carbon rails for stiffness. It has a kick step built into the rear of the deck pad to make kick turns easier. It has 2 bungees for storing gear. The deck isn’t cluttered with a lot of action mounts and scotty mounts. It only has a single fin with a US fin box. No unnecessary side bite fins to add drag.

Accessories

THURSO provides premium accessories to go with their boards. The carbon paddle is one of the nicer package paddles we have seen with some dihedral in the blade shape. The backpack is made of heavy feeling materials with wheels and plenty of pockets. You get a double barrel triple action pump for faster hand pumping.

On water performance

The Expedition 150 is a medium width touring board. It is not as hard to balance on as a 28-30inch width board. It’s not as stable as a 32 inch width board with a wider tail. The board only has a single fin which we prefer for touring boards. The nose only has a little rocker which will be faster on flat water. It will not go through chop as well as a board with more nose rocker. This board will be happiest in flat water with minimal waves and chop.

ALSO READ: The Best Inflatable Touring Paddle Boards

Specifications

  • Size – 12’6″ x 31″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 210 lbs
  • Board Weight – 26 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer Woven w/Carbon Rails
  • Paddle – 3 Piece Carbon
  • Pump – Triple Action, Double Barrel Hand Pump
Thurso Expedition 150 product image

17 – iRocker All Around 11

iRocker all around 11 paddling

See Unbeatable Deals on gear and SUPS during End Of Season Sale at iRocker.com

What we liked
  • Carbon paddle and triple action pump
  • Big long stable board
  • Plenty of room for a large dog
  • A fun board to paddle around
  • Sturdy stiff 3 layer construction
What we didn’t like
  • It takes a bit of effort to get back into the bag
  • The triple action hand pump can’t deflate

Summary

The iRocker All-Around 11 is a great paddleboard to share with your dog. It is a longer board with lots of stability and plenty of weight capacity. It is 32 inches wide giving it lots of forgiveness for giving your dog a ride.

The board has 3 removable fins. The fin use latches to stay in place so there is no plastic tab to worry about losing or breaking.

The board is made of a 3 layer PVC laminate for stiffness and durability. The deck has a embossed grooved deck pad. The deck pad is one piece and is the same diamond grid pattern underfoot and in the tail area. The board has 20 D-Rings with bungees and handles at the front and rear. There is plenty of room in front and behind you for a small to medium sized dog to stand without being on the bungees.

Overall, the iRocker All-Around 11 is one of the best beginner paddle board packages out there.

Accessories

The board comes as a complete package including a 3 piece carbon paddle and a triple action pump. This is one of the better spec’d packages out there without any parts that leave you wishing for an upgrade right away.

The backpack is nice with rollers. It has a pocket and bungee on the front for storing accessories. It has plenty of room for the board and accessories inside.

On the water performance

The All Around 11 is an 11′ x 32″ wide board. The length gives it good glide. The 32 inch width is a nice compromise between stability and being able to paddle through chop and waves. It will paddle through small chop without too much effort. The board tail is tapered enough to still be easy to turn. As it’s name implies, it is a good overall board that will serve you and your dog well.

The board has a stated weight capacity of 425 lbs. Heavier paddlers over 350 lbs have found the board to be a bit soft and difficult to use.

Review

Read iRocker All Around 11 Full Review

ALSO READ: The Best Paddle Boards For Dogs

Specifications

  • Size – 11′ x 32″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 435 lbs
  • Board Weight – 26 lbs
  • Construction – 3 Layer
  • D-Rings – 20
  • Paddle – 3 piece carbon paddle
  • Pump – Triple action double barrel
iRocker All Around Product Image

See Unbeatable Deals on gear and SUPS during End Of Season Sale at iRocker.com


18 – BOTE HD Aero 11′6″

BOTE HD Aero on water
image courtesy of BOTE
What we liked
  • Very big stable board that is easy to paddle and can carry a lot of weight
  • Tough heavy duty construction
  • Many available accessories to customize the board for any purpose
  • Stylish woodgrain deck appearance
What we didn’t like
  • High cost
  • The big board can take some effort to paddle into waves and chop
  • No wheels on the travel bag

Summary

The BOTE HD Aero is a big versatile board. It can carry large amounts of weight and has one of the widest selections of available accessories. You can customize the board to make it perfect for almost any activity from fishing to river expeditions. BOTE boards use 2 layer PVC construction for stiffness and durability.

Accessories

The BOTE Aero HD comes with one of the better double action pumps we’ve tried. It doesn’t give up much to some of the better triple action pumps. The composite paddle is stiff and light. At this price the paddle should be full carbon. The included bag is a miss. This board is heavy at 30 lbs making the total package close to 40 lbs. The bag does not have wheels or a lot of handles for carrying it.

If you want to do so something special with your board, check out the full range of optional accessories.

On the water performance

The HD Aero is a larger wider board at 11′ x 34″ giving it good glide and stability on flat water and chop. It is a perfect beginner board for heavier paddlers. It is a very stable platform for fishing. It has room for carrying gear for SUP camping. Like all big wide boards, it doesn’t go into the wind and chop that easily.

ALSO READ: The Best Paddle Boards For Big Guys

Specifications

  • Size – 11′6″ x 34″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 300 lbs
  • Board Weight – 30 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer
  • D-Rings – 16
  • Paddle – 3 piece composite
  • Pump – double action hand pump
BOTE HD Aero Product Image

19 – Red Paddle Co. 12’6″ Sport Inflatable SUP

Paddling Red sport
What we liked
  • Great speed in flat water
  • Has enough nose rocker to handle small chop okay
  • Lightweight for its size
  • Titan pump helps inflate the board faster
  • Good roller bag with heavy duty materials and good strap design
What we didn’t like
  • High cost
  • Not as stable as wider boards
  • No paddle included

Summary

The Red Paddle Co 12’6″ Sport is a fast and fun board. Red Paddle Co produces some of the finest inflatable paddle boards in existence. The Sport line is designed for more speed than their popular Ride MSL boards. The board has a clean deck design with only 1 flat profile bungee and very few D-Rings. There is only a single fun underneath. It uses Red Paddle Co MSL construction with RSS stiffening battens. It’s clear this board is meant to go places and not meant to carry gear or a ton of accessories.

Accessories

The Red Paddle Co bag is one of the best available. It uses premium materials and has flaps built in to hide the backpack straps when rolling the bag. They include the large Titan 2 Hand Pump with this board. It helps inflate the board to higher PSI faster. It can’t deflate which is a miss. No paddle or leash are included

On the water

The board shape has a little bow rocker so it can handle some chop okay. The 30 inch width makes the board fast and stable enough for intermediate paddlers. The board uses a single 9 inch fin for good tracking and low drag. There are no extra side bite fins to slow it down. It has Red Paddle Co Speed Tail molding around the tail to help reduce drag even more.

Review

Read Red Paddle Co 12’6″ Sport Full Review

ALSO READ: The Best Inflatable Touring Paddle Boards

Specifications

  • Size – 12′ 6″ x 30″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 265 lbs
  • Board Weight – 26 lbs
  • Construction – MSL with RSS Battens
  • Paddle – Not included
  • Pump – Double Action, Double Chamber Hand Pump
Red Paddle Co Sport 126 Product Image

20 – Blackfin Model V

Model V on water

See Unbeatable Deals on gear and SUPS during End Of Season Sale at iRocker.com

What we liked
  • Fast friendly board that is fun to paddle
  • Very stiff 3 layer carbon reinforced construction
  • Plenty of D-Rings and mounts so you can customize it for any adventure
  • Side bite fins can be removed for better performance
  • Carbon paddle is light and stiff
  • Bag has plenty of storage pockets for an electric pump and PFD
What we didn’t like
  • Difficult to get back into its bag with the included pump
  • Flip locks for attaching fins

Summary

The Blackfin Model V has a fast shape and comes with great accessories. It’s fast, stable, stiff and just a fun board to paddle. Blackfin paddle boards are the high end boards from popular iRocker. They have upgraded construction including carbon reinforced rails. They come with first rate accessories including a carbon adjustable paddle.

Accessories

The Model V comes with an upgraded bag with good materials and large pockets. It has room for an electric pump and PFD in the pockets. The materials feel like an upgrade from what you get from an iRocker bag. It could be a little larger to fit the bag and pump easier. The paddle has a carbon shaft and feels light and stiff. A triple action pump is included. It works but I don’t find it that much faster than a regular double action pump.

On water performance

The Model V is a great balance of speed while still being a friendly board shape for new paddlers. It keeps its stability in wind and chop. It feels like it powers through chop when paddling into the wind. The board has 3 fins. The tracking is a little too good with 3 fins on and turning is slow and difficult. With 1 fin the board feels much faster and easier to turn.

Review

Read Blackfin Model V Full Review

ALSO READ: The Best Inflatable Touring Paddle Boards

Specifications

  • Size – 12’6″ x 32″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 485 lbs
  • Board Weight – 30 lbs
  • Construction – 3 Layer w/Carbon Rails
  • Paddle – 3 Piece Carbon
  • Pump – Triple Action, Double Barrel Hand Pump
Blackfin Model V Product Image

See Unbeatable Deals on gear and SUPS during End Of Season Sale at iRocker.com


Inflatable paddle board guide.

Here are some things to look at when you are shopping for an inflatable paddleboard. Do you want the most stable boad or want the fastest board? Do you care what accessories the board comes with or how easy it is to transport? How will the SUP actually perform on the water? We are here to answer all those questions.

Stability

The question I see asked the most on any online forum or group about a paddleboard is “How Stable is it?”. Most people buying an inflatable paddle board want to know if they will be able to stand on it or if it will be a struggle. Board stability is determined by the board size (length and width) and the board stiffness.

A wider board will be more stable than a narrow boad. A board with a wider nose and tail will be more stable than a board with a heavily tapered tail.

A stiffer board will be more stable than a soft board. A really soft board will flex and bounce underneath you letting you feel every small motion in the water. A very rigid board will make a nice solid stable platform to stand on and push against.

If 2 boards are the same size and shape, the more rigid board will feel much more stable on the water than the soft board.

The most stable board we have tested is the NIXY Monterey G4. It is very wide and long with a lot of volume. It is a lot of board to paddle around. The iRocker All Around 11 is also a very stable board that has excellent overall performance. The Freein Overall 11 is a much cheaper board with similar performance to the iRocker All ARound 11 but without a lot of the extra features.

Stiffness

An inflatable paddle boards construction determines how stiff it will be. All inflatable paddleboards are made with PVC drop stitch construction. All drop stitch and PVC laminates are not created equal.

1 Layer PVC boards will all be soft. Boards are made with 1 Layer construction for one reason. To be cheap. This is the biggest problem with most cheap paddleboards. They aren’t stiff. They won’t feel stiff on the water no matter what a manufacturer claims. This doesn’t mean they are no good. People have a lot of fun on 1 layer boards. You will rarely find a 1 layer board with more than a 1 year warranty.

2 Layer PVC paddleboards are much stiffer than 1 layer and can perform well. This is the best value for the money in paddleboard construction. This is the biggest gain in stiffness. 3 layer boards at a little more but not much for the weight they add.

There are other newer construction methods such as woven. The drop stitch core is woven together giving it much more strength for the weight. 2 layer woven boards are the stiffest construction we have tested. Boards made with this are also lighter. This is our most preferred construction method.

We do a stiffness test on every board we review here. We do this by placing 120 lbs of weight in the middle of the board and measuring how much the board drops. 1 layer boards tend to drop 2.5 to 3 inches. 2 layer, 3 layer and woven boards will drop 1-1.3 inches.

See our results in the table below.

SUP Board

Construction

Deflection (inches)

Nice C -10'6" x 32" (15 psi)

1 Ply PVC

2.6

DAMA - 11' x 33" (15 psi)

1 Ply PVC

3.0

Coolwave - 10'6" x 32" (15 psi)

1 Ply PVC

3.3

iRocker Nautical - 10'6" x 32" (15 psi)

2 Ply PVC

2.8

Chasing Blue Orion -12'6" x 32" (14.5 psi)

2 Ply PVC

1.6

Chasing Blue Infinite - 10'6" x 34" (14.5 psi)

2 Ply PVC

1.4

Freein Overall 11 - 11'' x 33" (15 psi)

2 Ply PVC

1.4

iRocker All Around 11 - 11' x 32" (15 psi)

3 Ply PVC

1.3

iRocker All Around 11 - 11' x 32" (15 psi)

2 Ply Woven PVC

1.1

iRocker Cruiser Ultra - 10'6" x 33" (15 psi)

2 Ply Woven PVC

1.1

Blackfin Ultra CX - 10'6" x 32.5" (15 psi)

2 Ply Woven PVC

1.0

Blackfin Model V - 12'6" x 32" (15 psi)

3 Ply PVC

1.1

Nixy Newport G4 - 10'6" x 33" (15 psi)

2 Ply Woven PVC

1.1

Nixy Monterey G4 - 11'6" x 34" (15 psi)

2 Ply Woven PVC

1.0

Red 12'6" Sport - 12'6" x 30" with RSS (20 psi)

MSL with Battens

1.2

deflection test setup annotated

Speed

A paddle boards speed is determined by how efficiently it moves through the water. A faster board will accelerate more easily and glide farther with each paddle stroke.

The biggest factor for an inflatable SUPs speed is it’s length. A board with a longer water line will glide farther. This is due to something called “hull speed”. A 12’6″ board will glide better than a 10′ board. A board with little to no rocker or up curve in the nose will have a longer water line than a board with a lot of nose rocker.

A narrow SUP will be faster than a wide SUP. A narrow board will have less wetted surface than a wide board so it will have less drag. A narrow board will be less affected by chop.

You can make a faster board that is wider by giving it a more pointed nose and making the tail more tapered. A good example of this is the NIXY Newport G4 and Monterey G4. They are both relatively wide but have very tapered tails. They feel like much faster boards than they should for their width.

A long narrow board like the Red Paddle Co Sport 12’6″ will be a very fast board. They do some other tricks like their Speed Tail that reduces drag. The 30 inch width also makes the board very unstable and only suitable for intermediate and better paddlers. The Blackfin Model V is also a 12’6″ board and very fast. It’s 32inch width makes it feel like a much more stable board.

Tracking

Tracking is how well a board will travel in a straight line. A board with good tracking is easier to cover distance with less effort. A board that tracks very well can also be more difficult to turn. Tracking is determined by a board shape and fin arrangement.

A long narrow board will track better than a short wide board. Inflatable touring paddleboards will all have very good tracking. Short all around boards will not track as well.

Most inflatable paddleboards come with a 3 fin arrangements. 3 fins give good tracking at low and high speeds. If you look close you will notice that the 2 smaller side fins are angled towards each other. This is called bite. It improves the tracking of the board but also adds a lot of drag.

Single fin paddleboards will track well when the board is moving. They have less drag than triple fin boards. They won’t track as well until the fin has some water flowing over it. They allow the board to turn easier when it’s moving slower.

Boards that have 3 removable fins instead of 1 removeable fin and 2 fixed fins allow you to customize the board feel. A Blackfin Model V has tracking that is almost too good with all 3 fins attached. It will go straight very well but is challenging to turn. With 1 fin the board is faster and tracks well once it is moving. It is much easier to turn.

Accessories

The accessories are what the board comes with. The 3 most important things are the paddle, pump, and carry bag.

A carbon shaft paddle will be lighter and stiffer and perform better than an aluminum paddle. A fiberglass paddle somewhere in the middle.

Triple action hand pumps are better than double action pumps. They let you inflate the board better. Now all triple action pumps are created equal. The ability to deflate a board is also important and makes getting it back in the bag a lot easier.

Electric pumps make the inflation process easier. I personally prefer to save my energy for paddling and not pumping.

Carry bags with wheels, lots of handles and padded straps make transporting an inflatable SUP much easier. Bags with a handle on only 1 side are a lot harder to carry up and down steps.

Right now the NIXY G4 series boards have the best overall set of accessories for the bag, paddle, and pump. We would choose the G4 bag and pump over any other. The paddle is a close second to the iRocker/Blackfin carbon paddle.

Setup

How easy is the board to go from bag to on the water and back into the bag. Things like electric pumps make the process easier. A faster hand pump is better than a cheap single action pump. Extra steps such as RSS battens or multiple air chambers will slow setup down.

Bags that are undersized and difficult to zip up with the board and pump inside make take down more difficult. No one likes to reroll a board because they didn’t quite get it tight enough to fit in the not quite big enough bag.

Portability

How easy is an inflatable paddle board to carry around or take with you on a trip? A smaller, lighter weight bag makes a board much more portable. I love my Blackfin Model V but it is on the heavier side and the bag could use a couple more carry handles. My iRocker Cruiser Ultra is super easy to throw in the car and take anywhere.

A board that weighs 40 lbs in its bag with no wheels and only a couple handles is not easy to take anywhere. The board would have to perform great on the water to be worth the hassle of moving it anywhere.

Value

How good a bang for the buck is the board for its cost. The iRocker Cruiser is a really great value. You get stiff 3 layer construction, a carbon paddle, roller bag, and triple action pump for a very reasonable price. The boards from Red Paddle Co perform great but they are very high priced and most do not include paddles. Red Paddle Co doesn’t score well in this area. They are the luxury car of paddleboards.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Funwater boards are very very cheap. They skimp in several important areas. You only get a single action pump and the bag is a pain to load. They are cheap but spending another $50-$100 gets you a much better value.

Size

Inflatable paddle boards are not a one size fits all item. A 10’6″ all around board is good for the majority of people. If you want to get more performance from your board you can go for something that is a bit more personalized. Small paddlers can go for shorter boards such as the iRocker All Around 10′. Very large paddlers are best suited to boards such as the Nixy Monterey. See our guide to paddleboard size to learn more.

Price

Everyone has a budget when shopping for an inflatable stand up paddleboard. Paddleboards are a great example of you get what you pay for item. Board stiffness and stability are clearly better on mid to high priced boards. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a lot of fun with a cheap paddleboard. Many people do. We have included a few of the more standout cheap options like the iRocker Nautical and Chasing Blue/Outdoor Master paddleboards.

If you are looking for cheaper options, please have a look at our guides for cheap paddleboards.

Customer service & warranty

A lot of cheap paddle board companies that sell only on Amazon have no real customer service. They might claim a 1 year warranty but good luck trying to make any kind of claim on it. This is immediately obvious if you spend some time reading the comments on some of the more popular iSUPs on Amazon.

Almost all 1 layer PVC paddleboards only have a 1 year warranty. That should tell you something about the manufacturers confidence in the product. If you buy a cheap paddleboard you should not expect much customer service to back up the product.

If you are spending $500 and up on an inflatable paddleboard you want it from a company that will back up the product. Look for US based companies such as iRocker, ISLE, BOTE and NIXY that have US based costumer service. They all offer at least 2 year warranties and have good reputation for fixing issues or sending replacement boards.

Wrap Up

I hope that we gave you everything you needed to find the perfect inflatable paddle board for you. Feel free to drop us a note if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions on our picks.

selfie for info block

About the author

My name is Doug Ryan. I am an outdoors enthusiast always looking forward to my next adventure. I spend as much time skiing, biking, and paddleboarding as I can. I decided to start Endless Rush Outdoors as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things outdoor adventures and to help other people have as much fun as me.

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