Choosing the Best Inflatable SUP
Maybe you've tried stand up paddle boarding a few times and fallen in love with it. It is an amazing feeling; paddling over the water with the beauty of nature all around you. There are so many things that you can do with your stand-up paddleboard (SUP). You can enjoy yoga, fishing, surfing, touring, whitewater paddling or just general paddling around for fun and exercise.
SUPing is great exercise as well as being great fun for the whole family; all ages from kids to the grandparents can enjoy tooling around on SUPs.
After you fall in love with paddle boarding the next step is to buy your board. However, the paddle boards are not cheap, and there are so many different choices available that it can be a bit overwhelming to compare them all and choose the best inflatable SUP board for you.
This website was created to gather information about the best inflatable paddle boards available, in a format that makes it easy to choose the top inflatable SUP for your needs.
After a lot of research and field testing into the mid-range, under $1000 top-selling ISUPs, we selected the best inflatable sups to include in the reviews, with links to where you can buy them at the lowest prices.
Is the Best SUP an Inflatable SUP?
After you decide to buy your stand-up paddle board the first choice confronting you is whether to choose a hard paddle board (SUP) or an inflatable paddle board (ISUP). The main advantages of ISUPs are their portability and durability. They are very easy to transport; you can take them on planes with ease, put them in the trunk of your car, carry them in backpacks. You don't need a large vehicle or roof rack to move your ISUP to the water, and you don't need a lot of space in your house to store them either. You can just roll them up to sleeping bag size and store them in your closet.
Hard boards are much more cumbersome and difficult to move around. The advantage of hard boards is that their speed and maneuverability in the water make them a better choice for surfing or racing, but if you are just a general, recreational paddler, the convenience and portability of the ISUP are very hard to beat!
What is the Best Inflatable SUP for Different Activities?
After you've decided on an inflatable SUP paddle board, you need to look at what you want to use the board for to determine the best inflatable SUP for you. Paddleboarding started in the 1940s but has just recently experienced a huge boom in popularity and people are finding many different ways to enjoy their paddle boards.
You can paddle anywhere there is a body of water: rivers, lakes, oceans. Here is a list of the top SUP board activities and what qualities make the best inflatable SUP for each activity.
ISUP for Beginners
When you are first starting out the best inflatable paddleboard is a very stable one. It takes some time to get used to keeping your balance traveling over the water. If you are around 150 lbs or less and on the athletic side, things are much easier. However, if you are closer to 200 pounds, older and maybe not so flexible, or if you are balance-challenged, then a wider, longer board is crucial to give you extra stability. For more information and inflatable stand up paddle board reviews for beginners, check here.
Doing yoga on inflatable paddle boards is awesome! It's a whole different experience than in the studio because you become a part of nature, floating on your board on the ocean. An inflatable board is an excellent choice for yoga for a couple of reasons. First, if you fall off your board, an inflatable board is nice because it's a little softer to climb back up on than a hard board. Also, an inflatable board has an extra little bit of give in the surface that makes it more comfortable to push your hands and feet against while doing different poses. For the best yoga experience, you should have a very stable board, wide, with a rounded hull shape, and also a comfy mat surface. For more details, and board reviews of the top selling iSUPs for yoga, check here.
For fishing on your paddle board, stability and storage are essential. The best inflatable SUP will be a big, wide board to give you a solid foundation under your feet. And it will have lots of d-rings and bungee cords to hold your fishing gear. This Badfish iSUP ticks those boxes and is an excellent choice for a fishing iSUP, but it is a little pricey and over the $1000 mark. Some other accessories you will need are a rod holder to put your rod in while you paddle to your fishing area. And you will want to get a cooler or two to sit on. If your iSUP doesn't come with rod holders, the easiest way is to attach two vertical holders to the sides of your cooler. If you want to sit down more and use your iSUP more as a sit-on-top kayak, then you should have a kayak paddle as well as the paddleboard paddle. For more details about SUP fishing and SUP fishing boards go here.
It's a little hard to surf with an inflatable ISUP. If you want to get the most enjoyment out of surfing, you're going to want a hard board. However, if you lack the space or transport ability for a hard board, or if you just want to use your ISUP to have some fun in the waves, then a shorter, thinner, one with a pointier hull shape is better for more maneuverability. Like the iRocker here.
ISUP for Rivers and White Water
For paddling in rivers, removable fins are an excellent option; you can take them off and have more maneuverability and also not damage your board as you slide over rocks. If you're paddling on some white water, you have to be prepared to fall. As I don't like falling, I stick to flat water and use a wider board for more stability. An excellent choice for flat water or white water paddling for the paddler 200 lbs or less is this 10'6 Badfish iSUP here
For going faster and farther, think pointy and thin. The longer, narrower boards and pointy hulls make for a fast ride. However, the narrow boards might be difficult for a beginner or heavier paddler. And the inflatable might be not quite fast enough for the serious racer. Some professionals do like to race on them, however. So don't entirely rule them out! One of the best inflatable SUPs for speed is the Tower Paddle Board iRace.
Putting it All Together
Here, in an easy to compare chart format, are some of the best inflatable SUPs available on Amazon. Click on Full Review for a more detailed look at each board or click on view price to see the latest sale prices and read all the customer reviews available at Amazon. I can't include the prices in the table as they change often depending who is holding a sale at that particular time.
Top Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboards of 2017
|Name/Image||Learn More||Size||Max Weight||Accessories||Special Notes|
Tower Paddle Boards 9’10 Adventurer ISUP
|view pricefull review||9'10x 31.9" x 5.9"||350 lbs||2 D-rings, detachable fin,2 fixed side fins, fiberglass paddle, middle handle||Solidly built board, very stable, will give you years of fun paddling|
10′ iRocker Inflatable SUP Package
|view pricefull review||10'x 30"x 6"||350 lbs||4 Front D-rings, 4 central D-rings, rear leash d-ring, central handle, 2 fixed and 1 removable fin||Well constructed, stable, good for recreational paddling/fun/fitness.|
Ten Toes theWEEKENDER
|view pricefull review||10'x 30"x 6"||250 lbs||4 front D-rings, tail D-ring, central handle,3 removable fins||Well constructed, stable, all around general paddling board.|
Atoll 11′ Foot Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
|view pricefull review||11'x 32"x 6"||250 lbs||14 d-rings, front and back carry handles, two attached, one removable fin, pump, backpack, 2 bungies, aluminum paddle, repair kit||Decent recreational board with all the extras|
How About Accessories?
Finally, after you’ve decided on the best inflatable SUP for you, there is the matter of accessories. Let’s look at the accessories that usually come with iSUP package deals: paddles, pumps, D-rings and bungees, and also safety items, and some other extras that you might like to add to your ride.
The paddle choice is important. The cheapest paddles are aluminum with plastic blades. These can be quite heavy and cumbersome after a long day on the water. And if you’re not that strong, using the heavier paddle can cause shoulder pain. Most paddleboard sets include this type of paddle. The lighter carbon or fiberglass paddles can be a better choice but they aren’t included with most sets, so if you want a good one, you might have to purchase it separately.
Also, the blade shape is something else you have to consider. A wide blade takes a lot more effort to move through the water and can cause shoulder pain after some time. A smaller blade is better for most users. It allows for more maneuverability and also requires less power to use. If you want to go longer distances, you can choose a narrower but longer paddle which allows you to get more distance from each stroke but isn’t as hard to use as the rounder paddles that require a lot of brute force to push through the water.
Inflatable SUP Pumps
The pump is another consideration. Some sets come with dual action pumps where they inflate on both strokes and others come with single action pumps where it takes a longer time to blow up. Also, using manual pumps of either kind, it is quite a bit work to pump up an iSUP to the recommended psi. You might want to buy an electric pump that is compatible with the iSUP that you choose because it can be hard to match the ends with electric pumps for air mattresses or other uses. I don’t have any problems with the manual pumps so have never tried one of the electric models.
And to keep your gear, D-rings and bungees are needed. If they don’t come pre-attached, you can purchase separately and glue them on yourself.
Some people like to add a kayak seat and paddle and use their iSUP for sit-on-top kayaking. Some boards have d-rings where you can install a seat, or you can glue them on yourself. Another option is to use tie-downs to attach a cooler to your board. It can keep your beverages cold as well as give you a place to sit.
One last thing to think about before you’re ready to hit the ocean is what kind of safety features you need. The two most important safety items are a board leash and a personal floatation device. Also, a good idea is a dog lifejacket . If your dog is water-averse, like mine, the jacket will help make him feel much more at home on the water. The one I’ve linked to here is cute but fits a little small, so you might want to size up if Fido is borderline.
So there you have it, pick your board and accessories and away you go! Happy iSUPing.
If you have any tips, comments or questions, please leave them below.