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The Best Inflatable SUP Under $500 Of 2021 Helpful Guide

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. It lets you improve your balance and cardio at the same time. You can use a SUP to explore almost any waterway from lakes to waves at the beach. $500 is a great entry level price point for a paddleboard. It will get you a good performing durable board with high quality accessories. If this sounds like a good idea then let’s have a look at the best inflatable SUP under $500.

Below are our top choices for the inflatable SUP under $500. Keep reading below for our top 5 inflatable paddleboards under $500 including reviews, SUP guide, and FAQ.

Top Pick

Editor’s Choice

Best Value

chasing blue infinite product image small

Chasing Blue Infinite

Bluefin Cruise SUP

SereneLife Inflatable SUP

Roc Inflatable SUP

GILI Adventure

  • Stable, easy to paddle
  • 22 D-Rings and lots of handles
  • Quality accessories and roller backpack

  • Very complete package
  • Croco-diamond EVA deck pad
  • Very stiff and durable board
  • Good value
  • Easy to maneuver board shape
  • Good for first time paddle boarders
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Diamond grooved EVA deck pad
  • Stable, easy to paddle design
  • More aggressive board shape
  • High quality durable construction
  • Loads of D-Rings

The top 5 best inflatable SUP under $500

Below are our top 5 picks for the best inflatable SUP under $500 on the market today. We considered features, performance, price, durability, and customer reviews in our recommendations.

1 – Chasing Blue Infinite All Around Stand Up Paddle Board

Top Pick

Use the Coupon Code RYAN20 for 20% off at OutdoorMaster.com

Review

See our full review of the Chasing Blue Infinite inflatable paddleboard to learn more.

bigger guy on outdoormaster sup

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.

Besides its size and stability, this board is loaded up with features. It has 22 D-Rings for attaching bungees and accessories. It comes with a front and rear bungee. It also includes a variety of GoPro, Camera, and accessory mounts you can attach to the board.

It has 7 handles to make it easy to carry. It also has 2 safety handles at the front that you can grab on it while seated or kneeling while the board goes through waves. It has a very durable 2 layer laminate construction with taped reinforced rails that can take some abuse. At 22.5 lbs it is still easy for one person to carry.

The deck pad is really well thought out. The footpad is grooved for easy water drainage and foot comfort. The tail kick pad is a diamond grid pattern to give you a bit of extra traction for kick turns.

The Chasing Blue Infinite 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.

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.

Sometimes the board is bundled with the OutdoorMaster Shark 2 electric pump making it an even better value. See our review of the Shark 2 pump to learn more.

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. It turns very easily thanks to its narrowed tail.

Overall this is a great board that is well made, durable, and fun to paddle. It comes with a great accessory package and wheeled backpack. It costs a bit more than $500 but in my opinion is worth the extra money. If you catch it on sale with a Shark 2 pump it is a super value.

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 6″ x 34″ x 6″ thick
  • Weight – 22.5 lbs
  • Weight Capacity – 320 lbs
  • Material – 2 Layer PVC laminate
  • Paddle – 3 piece alluminum alloy
  • D-Rings – 22
  • Accessories – Double action pump, roller backpack, ankle leash, paddle lease, phone case, repair kit

Rating

chasing blue infinite rating graphic

What we liked

  • 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

  • For the price, we would prefer a carbon paddle
  • Could use more pockets in the carry bag

2 – Bluefin Cruise SUP Stand Up Inflatable Paddle Board

Editor’s Choice

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.

The fin uses a flip lock fitting. The whole fin box can be replaced if you break the clip on it. People’s experience with customer service hasn’t been great at getting replacement fins. Use some care when attaching the fin to make sure it is fully attached.

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 board has 9 D-ring attachments and a GoPro mount built into it. It has a carry strap in the middle as well. 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 deck uses a croco-diamond EVA pad that is comfortable and gives good grip and drainage. They include a kickpad at the rear of the board to use for kick turns as a nice added feature.

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.

Overall this is a great package for someone looking to get a good performing paddleboard. It is suitable for beginners and more experienced paddlers. The kayak seat makes it good for people who aren’t coordinated enough for standing. This makes our top pick for best inflatable SUP under $500.

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

Rating

bluefin cruise rating

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

3 – SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Best Value

Summary

The Serenelife Paddleboard is one of the best values out there. It’s great for someone who wants to try out paddleboarding but doesn’t want to spend a ton of money. This SUP comes as a complete packing including the board, paddle, pump, leash, and backpack.

This is one of the cheaper complete paddleboards available that still has good construction and features. It is one of the most popular boards available online. It is rated for 275 lbs but is best suited to lighter weight paddlers especially if you’re a beginner. If you are over 200 lbs you should look at a longer board.

The board is 10 feet long and 32inches wide and has a more recreational shape with round bow and square tail. It has a standard 3 fin design. It has enough stability to track well and turn easily.

The construction of the board is what you would expect at this price point. It has thinner, more plastic feeling material than more expensive boards. It is still a 2 layer laminate so it will be more durable than a single layer board. The foam pad has a nice diamond grid pattern and covers enough of the board.

The included accessories are good for entry level use. The paddle works but it’s more flexible than most paddles. The backpack is durable but doesn’t have much padding in the straps. Fortunately the board is lightweight enough that it’s not too much of an issue.

Overall this board is a good package for first time paddleboarders. It is inexpensive but still performs well. It will give you a cheap way to get on the water without much investment. This makes it our best value pick for the best inflatable SUP under $500.

For other low cost SUP options, see our guide to the best cheap inflatable paddleboards.

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ x 32″ x 6″ thick
  • Weight – 19.6 lbs
  • Weight Capacity – 275 lbs
  • Material – 2 layer PVC laminate
  • Paddle – 3 piece aluminum paddle
  • D-Rings – 11
  • Accessories – Bag, paddle, leash, pump

Rating

Serenelife inflatable paddle board rating

What we liked

  • Good value for a low cost complete paddleboard package
  • Easy to maneuver board shape
  • Good for first time paddle boarders who don’t want to invest too much to try out the sport

What we didn’t like

  • Thin feeling materials throughout
  • Paddle is flexible with soft blade

4 – Roc Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

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 $500 paddleboard should have. It is an easy to use good performer on the water.

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. 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.

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 few boards under $500 that uses a 3 layer laminate.

The board comes as a complete package including a 3 piece adjustable paddle, and backpack.

We did see a few downsides on this board. The backpack is made from thin, easy to tear material. It is not as durable as the rest of the package. The paddle will float when you drop it in the water. If it’s in the water too long it will fill with water and sink. If you stop for a rest, don’t leave the paddle in the water. Set it on the board.

Overall, the ROC inflatable SUP board is a great easy to use paddleboard with good features. It is an excellent package and good overall value in the under $500 inflatable SUP price category.

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

Rating

ROC inflatable paddleboard rating

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

5 – GILI Adventure Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Summary

The Gili Adventure Paddleboard is a step up from most under $500 paddle boards. It has several advanced features such as a fiberglass paddle and lots of D-Rings. It has a more aggressive board shape making it faster on the water.

The board is made from a 2 layer PVC laminate. The materials feel solid and the overall construction is excellent. No glue lumps or other flaws anywhere on the board. The deck pad is EVA with a brushed feel. It does not have any grooves or pattern molded into it. Some people may not find it has enough traction.

The board has 17 D-Rings built into it. It has bungees on both the front and rear. This is nice if you have a child or dog who likes to ride on the front of the board. There are enough D-Rings for attaching a kayak seat too. There are front and rear handles in addition to the middle handle for carrying.

The board has the traditional 3 fin setup. The middle fin is larger with 2 small side fins. All 3 fins on the latest version are removable with standard flip lock latches. You could get a larger center fin and leave off the 2 small fins for better touring performance. 3 fins gives good all around performance for flat water or small wave surfing.

The board tracks very well with 3 fins. It floats well up to its maximum weight. It is not as stiff as the Bluefin Cruiser but is on par with other dual layer construction paddleboards. The shape of the board is more aggressive with a more narrow tail giving it better glide and tracking.

The paddle has a 3 piece fiberglass shaft with nylon blade. It is a step up from the aluminum shaft paddles on most other entry level SUPs. It is stiff enough with a sturdy blade giving it good performance.

The price of this board is higher than our favorite, the iRocker Nautical. It doesn’t have any notable improvement in features other than a second bungee cord. It is priced even with the Bluefin Cruiser which is a stiffer better performing board. It also comes with a kayak seat and 2 blades for the paddle. We would like it much better if it was a $100 cheaper.

Overall the Gili Adventure is a well made, good performing board. It has a lot of good features. It is priced a little too high to be competitive with our 2 favorite boards.

Specifications

  • Size – 11′ x 32″ x 6″ thick
  • Weight – 23 lbs
  • Weight Capacity – 290 lbs
  • Material – Dual layer PVC laminate
  • Paddle – 3 piece fiberglass paddle
  • D-Rings – 17
  • Accessories – dual action pump, backpack, leash

Rating

gili adventure rating

What we liked

  • More aggressive board shape is faster on the water
  • High quality durable construction
  • Loads of D-Rings with front and rear bungees for gear storage

What we didn’t like

  • Deck pad has no grooves or pattern for traction
  • Higher priced than other boards such as the iRocker Nautical with similar materials and features

Inflatable SUP Guide – What should you look for when buying a paddle board?

Now that you’ve decided to get an inflatable SUP, what should you look for when buying a paddle board? What size paddleboard should you get? Let’s take a look at the most important things to look for when buying an inflatable paddleboard.

What size inflatable SUP should I get?

The heavier you are, the bigger a board you need. A board with more volume can float a heavier weight. If you are over 6′ or over 200 lbs you should look for a board that is at least 10′ 6″ long. If you are under that a 10′ board will be fine for you.

In the under $500 price range, there is some difference in board size and shapes. Most boards run around 32 to 33inches wide. The wider a board is the more stable it will be. The wider it is, the slower it will paddle also because more width equals more drag.

Board lengths at this price point can run from 10′ up to 11′. An 11 foot board will glider faster and easier on each paddle stroke than a 10 foot board. A 10 foot board will turn easier. If you are interested in touring or paddling long distances, a longer board is better. If you want an easy to turn board or maybe want to try surfing small waves with it, a shorter board will be better. If you want to learn more about how length affects a paddleboards maximum speed, go here to learn about the concept of hull speed.

Materials

A $500 paddleboard should be made from a 2 or 3 layer PVC laminate. 3 layers better. 99% percent of inflatable SUPs are made from PVC drop-stitch construction. It is the only way to make a stiff thin inflatable structure. Go here to learn more about drop-stitch construction. 2 layers will be stiffer and more puncture resistant than 1 layer. 3 layers will be even better. Using a higher density of threads in the drop-stitch will also make a more rigid board.

It should have an EVA foam deck pad that covers all the area you might stand on. You won’t find a fully padded deck. You should have enough pad area for standing, sitting any normal activity such as SUP yoga. Textured or grooved EVA pads give your feet better traction and are usually preferred over smooth EVA pads.

Fins

Almost all boards in the under $500 price range have a 3 fin setup. 2 smaller side fins and one larger center fin. The center fin is always removable. Flip Lock attachments are the most common for the center fin. They are a standard feature across many brands. You can get a replacement fin or a larger fin if you have this feature.

Some boards may have removable outside side fins but this isn’t that common. If they are removable it gives you the option to use a larger single fin and no side fins. This will give you a faster board for touring. For surfing and easier maneuvering, 3 fins are preferred.

D-ring attachments

D-Ring attachments are nice for attaching accessories. You need a set of them across the middle of the board if you want to add a kayak seat. You can use them for paddle holders or attaching bungees. More D-Rings is better. Some boards may have as few as 7. Some boards may have as many as 17. If your board doesn’t have them, you can buy D-Rings to glue on so it’s not a must have feature. It does save you some effort if you need them.

Bungees

Almost every paddleboard has at least one bungee across the front of the board. Some have a second bungee across the rear. Bungees can be used for storing gear bags, coolers, clothes, etc…. A front and rear bungee is better than a single bungee if you plan on taking a dog or a child out on the board with you. You can’t store anything with the front bungee if someone is sitting on it.

Paddle

Almost every inflatable SUP under $500 comes as a complete package including a paddle. The paddles are not all created equally. When it comes to paddles, carbon fiber is the best, fiberglass is next and aluminum comes in last. A carbon fiber paddle will be stiffer and lighter. An aluminum paddle will have much more flex and be heavier. Fiberglass will be somewhere in the middle.

You are not likely to find a carbon fiber paddle in an under $500 SUP package. The better under $500 packages do come with fiberglass paddles. All the paddles are 3 pieces so they can be put in the bag for carrying with the board.

Accessories

Almost all inflatable SUPs come in a package with accessories such as a carrying bag and pump. In the under $500 price range, you should expect the following:

  • Carrying bag – A backpack that will hold the board, pump and paddle. Better bags will have more padding on the straps and be made from heavier materials. They will have more pockets and compression straps.
  • Pump – A dual action, single chamber pump. This pump will be able to pump on both the up and down strokes.
  • Leash – This is a safety item for keeping yourself attached to the board.
  • Repair kit – A small repair kit containing a tool for replacing the air valve and some PVC patches to fix punctures or scratches.

Some inflatable SUPs come with some other accessories such as kayak seats, a second blade for the paddle, or waterproof cellphone bags.

No inflatable paddle board comes with an electric pump. An electric air pump is far and away the best accessory you can get for your inflatable paddle board and I highly recommend you get one. See our guide to the best inflatable paddle board pumps to learn more.

a couple paddling on inflatable sup

Inflatable SUP FAQ

Q: Are inflatable paddle boards worth the money?

Inflatable paddle boards are much cheaper than rigid paddleboards. You can’t get an okay level rigid SUP for less than about $900. You can get a good inflatable SUP for under $500. Inflatable SUP’s are much easier to store and transport. You don’t need to load and unload from a roof rack or find garage space for it. A good inflatable SUP can be almost as stiff as a rigid paddleboard.

Q: Why are inflatable paddle boards so expensive?

Inflatable paddleboards look simple. It’s just a flat board. Why can’t you get one for under $100 like a cheap inflatable kayak? To make a thin inflatable structure you need to use drop-stitch construction. Drop-stitching can only be bonded to PVC. You can’t use any of the cheaper inflatable boat materials. That is the biggest reason why there are no $100 SUPs out there. About the cheapest anyone can manufacture a drop-stitch board, pump, and paddle is $200.

Q: Is it OK to leave inflatable sup inflated?

You can leave an inflatable paddleboard inflated for storage. Keep in mind that UV rays from the sun and exposure to the elements will degrade the PVC material. If you store it inflated outside, find a nice sheltered place in the shade. Over time the SUP will slowly deflate. You may need to top off the air inside with each use. There is nothing wrong with it. There is some porosity to the PVC material and leakiness to the valves no matter how well they are made.

Do not leave a board out baking in the sun fully inflated to the max PSI it can handle. As the board heats up, the air inside will expand and the pressure will go up. This is a great way to pop the seams and drop-stitching in the board.

Q: Are cheap paddle boards any good?

You can enjoy paddleboarding with a cheap board. What you will get when you spend more is more durable materials, a more rigid board, and a better paddle. A cheap flexible board will not feel as stable on the water. It will feel bouncy floating over waves. A cheap board will work a lot better for a child or lightweight adult who won’t notice the flex. If all you can afford is a cheap board, don’t let it hold you back from trying out paddleboarding. See our guide to the best cheap inflatable paddle boards to learn more.

Another option is finding a used board. Like most outdoor activities, it’s possible to find used high end equipment that is a few years old. Usually, it is cheaper than new mid to low end equipment.

Q: How long do inflatable SUPs last?

An inflatable paddleboard should last you anywhere from 5 years to many years. There are PVC inflatable boats out there that have lasted for 10 to 20 years. If you take good care of it, keep it clean, and store it out of the sun it can last a long time. An inflatable paddleboard built from high quality 3 layer PVC laminate will outlast one made from 1 layer PVC.

Q: What is the best paddle board for beginners?

Most inflatable paddleboards in the $300 to $700 price range are designed to be easy to use by beginners. They have a straight forward all around design that is wide enough to be stable and long enough to track okay. As a beginner, you should avoid a narrower board under 30 inches wide. You should look for a board with a weight capacity well above your actual weight. More buoyancy equals more stability and easier to stand on.

Q: Are inflatable paddle boards good for the ocean?

You can have a great time surfing waves with an inflatable paddleboard. There is no reason you can’t take one out to the beach on the ocean. They are good for anywhere with flatwater like bays or inlets. The PVC material will not get damaged by use in saltwater. Like anything else you use in saltwater, you should rinse it off after each use with fresh water.

Q: How dangerous is paddle boarding?

Paddleboarding is a safe sport. It is as safe as kayaking or canoeing. Most boards have padding so they don’t hurt when you fall on them. You can only go as fast as you can paddle. You should use caution on really windy days or in areas of high current. You don’t want to get blown or pushed by current out where you can’t get back. It’s a good idea to wear a PFD or at least take one with you in case you need it. See our guide to inflatable belt PFDs for more information.

Q: What should I wear to stand up paddle boarding?

When you go paddle boarding there is a good chance your getting wet. Quick drying clothes are key. A bathing suit with a rash guard is good for most warm days. On cooler days you might want to add a spray top or wetsuit. Some people like to paddleboard barefoot. Others like wearing water shoes. See our guide for what to wear paddle boarding in the summer for more information.

Q: Is paddle boarding good exercise?

Paddle boarding is an excellent form of exercise. It takes balance to stay standing on a paddleboard which is a good core exercise. You need some arm strength to paddle and move along. It can be as strenuous or relaxing as you want it to be. If you go out on a windy day or need to paddle against current it will add another level of paddling intensity. Paddle boarding can be a good way to build muscle and lose weight.

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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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