How To Choose The Best Stand Up Paddle Board

How To Choose The Best Stand Up Paddle Board

Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few years, you’ve likely already heard of the trend of stand up paddle boarding. This unique watersport was created as an offshoot of surfing and has been heralded for all of its benefits from a fun way to get into the water or an effective form of daily exercise.

If you’re new to paddle boarding or just wanting to upgrade your board, you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed with all of the best SUP brands claiming to have the latest and greatest boards.

We’ve taken the hard work out of the search for you and gone through the best stand up paddle board reviews to find the top rated to suit every kind of rider.

Atoll 11'0

Source: paddle-board.net

These boards can be an expensive investment, which is why it’s essential to understand what is the best stand up paddle board to suit your needs. Because they are all made differently and with unique specifications, it’s hard to find one that’s the be all and end all that will be ideal for every rider.

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Types Of Stand Up Paddle Boards

Before we can get into the finer details, you need to know about little about the different types of paddles boards. Depending on your preference for materials, carrying style, activities, and skill level, there are so many different types to choose from.

Inflatable

Many people assume that just because a SUP is inflatable, it’s somehow going to be less durable or stable than a solid board.

Most of these boards are made from heavy duty PVC which is found on many pieces of watersports equipment and is extremely durable. The inflatable board is preferred by those who don’t want the weight of solid style and often like to travel with theirs.

Solid

Solid stand up paddle boards are made from a few different materials that allow them to float while staying stable. Some common materials you’ll find SUPs made from include fiberglass, wood, carbon fiber, aluminum, and plastic.

Solid paddle board.

Each of these has pros and cons to what they can offer the rider and in what conditions they’re suited to, so you should choose accordingly.

Surf

These are usually shorter in design and with a narrow nose so that they can move through waves easily. Because they have been made to handle waves, you might have some problems with them in flat conditions, so they’re really left best to these conditions.

All Around

This term is found on boards that have curved edges all around and they’re made to suit all conditions. For beginners, these are a great choice, but they also suit experts too. They’re a stable board that can do well on flat conditions but shouldn’t have a problem handling a little bit of surf too.

All Around SUP.

Flatwater

These are also known as touring boards because they are longer and more suited to flat conditions. Made more often for beginners, they can be quite wide which gives you a better chance of staying upright when you’re just learning how to ride.

Race

Racing SUPs are similar in design to flatwaters, but usually with a narrower shaped board. Because they are so narrow, it’s not recommended that a beginner attempt to use them, but those who are an expert will love how easily they glide through the water.

Yoga

As the trend of SUP yoga continues to grow, more and more boards are designed to cater for it. SUP yoga requires the user to perform their yoga poses on the water and using a stand up paddle board as their surface, so you’ll want something wider for more stability.

It might appear at first glance that all stand up paddle boards are the same, but when you realize just how many different styles there are and for all different purposes, you’ll see how varied this form of water sport can be.

Size And Width Guide

All SU brands come with their own size guide, so before settling on the one you should check out what each of them means. Generally, boards are sized from around 9 feet and can go up to 15 feet if needed, and the larger the board the more it can accommodate in terms of user size.

Size And Width

Source: chinasupboards.com

The width of the board can have an impact on how it rides too, so don’t always assume that a wider board will be easier to maneuver. Generally, the wider a board the less glide it will have so if you’re a smaller ride you won’t be able to paddle as well.

This should be considered if purchasing a board that your children will ride too, as you want to ensure it’s the ideal size for everyone.

Things To Consider When Buying A Stand Up Paddle Board

Your stand up paddle board should be just as unique as you are, so it’s no good just finding one you like the look of and hoping you can ride it.

There are so many different variables to consider that will ensure you get the perfect one for your body type, skill level, and conditions you’ll be riding in, otherwise, you will find it very hard to enjoy stand up paddle boarding.

Board Type

After reviewing the different types, you’ll need to choose one that’s right for you. Will you be racing with it or perhaps learning how to ride? These will all affect the final outcome of the board you choose.

Construction

Choosing inflatable or solid can be the biggest decision you’ll make when buying a board, and there are pros and cons to each. The main difference is that inflatable suits people who travel or don’t have space on their car to carry, so consider this before choosing.

ISLE Versa Epoxy 10'5 Standup Paddle Board

Hull Type

Flat and concave are just a few options, each having an impact on your board’s strong points.

Volume And Weight Capacity

This refers to the size of the rider, so it’s essential you choose on that perfectly matches your measurements.

Length And Width

As discussed, there are varying lengths and widths to suit the body type of the user, but this can also have an impact on the best conditions your board works in.

Thickness

Thicker boards are usually preferred for beginner riders as they can be easier to stand up on, however it doesn’t always guarantee that it will keep you steady.

Fins

Some stand up paddle boards come with fins already attached and others allow you to remove and add them as you wish.

Accessories

For a complete setup, it is possible to get boards that come with backpacks, paddles, fins, pumps, and leashes, depending on what accessories you might need.

Lease for paddle boarding.

Source: jobesports.com

Finding the best SUP boards among the hundreds of varieties available can feel like a huge task, which is why we’ve narrowed down the search for you. Here are our top picks for both inflatable and hard boards, as well as the best stand up paddle board for beginners.

Best Stand Up Paddle Board

Here's our recommendation for the best stand up paddle board:

Atoll Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

When you want to get out and about with your paddle board but don’t want the hassle and weight of a solid board, Atoll has created a durable Stand Up Paddle Board that’s one of the best.

Made from an ultra light dual layer construction of PVC, the Atoll claims to be up to 30% lighter than comparable boards. This means you can transport it with ease and take it just about anywhere you go.

Inflatable stand up paddle board

Source: waveschamp.com

Our Rating

The Atoll Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board comes with everything you need to hop straight into the water, including a durable paddle, removable fin, and a high-pressure pump. All of these fit perfectly into the nylon carry bag, and you’ll be surprised at just how much equipment fits inside here at such a light weight.

If you’re not really into pumping by hand then this might not be the board for you, unless of course, you want to invest extra in getting an automatic pump. You will need to put in some hard work to get it inflated, but after that, there’s nothing else to do.

It’s up to you to weigh up whether this slight insignificance is worthy of throwing about one of the best inflatable SUP brands for, though.

Overall, there’s really not much to fault with this stand up paddle board. At 11 feet it’s the perfect size for all kinds of users and has the ability to suit riders up to 300lbs, so you know it’s durable. If you’ve been searching for the best inflatable SUP, your long wait is finally over thanks to this innovative design by Atoll.


Isle Versa Stand Up Paddle Board

For the lover of durable and solid stand up paddle boards, you can’t go past the famous brand of Isle. For years they have made countless pieces of quality equipment for the water, and this one is particularly good for those just learning how to stand up paddle board.

This board comes with the perfect all around shape that makes it easy to ride and fun to learn on, so you can take the process slowly and easily until you begin a seasoned professional.

It measures in at 10.5 feet and has the perfect shape for flat conditions or small waves, again adding to its ease of use in the water.

This paddle board doesn’t come as stacked as the others in terms of accessories, so while you do get an extra fin and a complimentary paddle, you might be looking for a little more for your money.

Rest assured, though, the price tag on this one is to cover the absolute quality and style of the board.

You will definitely be getting your money’s worth when you invest in the Isle Versa Stand Up Paddle Board.

ISLE Versa Epoxy 10'5 Standup Paddle Board

Our Rating

If you’re someone who likes to travel with your board, you’ll love the comfortable carry handle grooves that let you carry it easily and without a fuss. It weighs about 27 pounds which is certainly more than an inflatable SUP, but this extra weight only adds to its durability.

Coming in either an aqua or wood design, there’s something to suit every taste, and you can trust this beloved Californian brand to know exactly what paddle boarders look for in style and durability.


Thurso Surf Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

For an authentic looking wooden board, you might want to consider the Thurso Surf Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board. This unique board features the wooden detailing that makes it look like a professional board but with the lightweight convenience of an inflatable device, so you’re getting the best of both worlds out on the water.

Thurso Surf is an American owned company that makes quality stand up paddle boards, and their 11-foot inflatable model is no exception to this standard. Not only are you getting a great board, but you will receive everything you need to get straight into the water including a powerful pump, paddle, fins, leash, and deck bag.

Inflatable SUP Stand Up Paddleboard

Source: waveschamp.com

Our Rating

The blade of the paddle isn’t as heavy duty as you might like, though, so depending on the conditions you normally head out in, you might want to replace this with something stronger.

The instant you get the Thurso Surf Stand Up Paddle Board onto the water, you can feel its stability and quality, even more so than a solid board. This model breaks all the misconceptions you might have about inflatable boards being less reliable, thanks to the two layer construction of military grade PVC on top of drop stitch internal fabric.

If you’ve been looking for an affordable and convenient way to get into stand up paddle boarding, you can look no further than the Thurso Surf model.

This board is lightweight, comes with all of the accessories you need, and looks like a far more expensive style than it is. There’s no need to spend a fortune just to get a quality SUP, and this board certainly proves it.


BIC Sport Dura-Tec SUP

For those new to paddle boarding that have tested the waters with some brands and felt themselves a little unstable, the BIC Sport Dura-Tec Stand UP Paddle Board might be the solution you’re looking for. With a user-friendly shape that comes in all sizes, this is one board that can suit all types of riders from beginners to experts.

The best thing about the BIC Sport Dura-Tec SUP is that this one unique design comes in many different sizes.

There is a size and width to suit children, novices, and experts, each with their own specific weight measurements too.

No other brand offers such versatility in the size and shape of their boards than this, so if you find one that’s perfect for you then you know it’ll be great for your kids to learn on too.

There are quite a few features worth mentioning in this board, including the ergo grip handle that makes it easy to carry.

Some people are put off by solid boards due to how hard they can be to transport, but BIC Sports have solved this problem with their innovative handles.

The boards are made with a polyurethane shell just like a kayak but with a higher density core which gives them more stability, and you can feel that instantly when you hit the water.

DURA-TEC Original Stand up Paddleboard

Our Rating

The only real complaint with the BIC Sports Dura-Tec Stand Up Paddle Board is that it can pick up quite a few dents and marks.

Although this is one of the more durable boards as a whole, if the outer appearance of your board is important to you, you might want to look elsewhere for something that can handle the roughness of the outdoors a little better.

Overall, though, this is one of the more modestly priced boards without sacrificing anything on its strength and stability. BIC Sports are leaders in all kinds of water sports equipment, and their range of stand up paddle boards proves just how much they care about the comfort and support of those out on the water.


Isle Classic Soft Top SUP

It’s no wonder that we’ve featured two stand up paddle boards from Isle here, with every model they make worth of recognition. The Isle Classic Soft Top Stand Up Paddle Board is our top choice for a beginner’s board, with all of the features you need to make a slow and successful journey towards being an expert boarder.

The biggest difference that the Isle Classic has compared to other SUPS is its soft top, which makes it easy to learn on and a great pick for all members of the family. It’s a thick 5” and measures in at almost 11 feet so it’s a great size for everyone and can carry almost 300lbs of weight.

ISLE Classic Soft Top Stand Up Paddle Board


ISLE Classic Soft Top Stand Up Paddle Board


ISLE Classic Soft Top Stand Up Paddle Board


Our Rating

The Isle Classic Stand Up Paddle Board comes with an accessory bundle so you can take it straight out into the water without needing anything else. This board has an extra fin, adjustable paddle, and center handle so that you can customize it to your needs and skill level.

If you’re an experienced paddle boarder, you won’t like the large and comfortable design of this, so be warned that it’s best left to beginners and young riders.

For those who have attempted to ride a stand up paddle board before and had problems staying on top, you’ll be pleased to know that the Isle Classic Soft Top comes with a non-slip surface.

Even if you feel unsteady on your feet you can feel confident that you won’t slip off, so it’s one less thing to worry about when you’re trying to learn this beloved sport.


Final Verdict

Anyone who has ever ridden a stand up paddle board will tell you how instantly enjoyable and addictive it is, leading you to want to buy one of your very own. However, just one glimpse into the SUP market and you can be scared off for life, due to the hundreds of different designs and specifications you have to choose from.

With that in mind, we’ve narrowed down our top recommendations even further to give you the best stand up paddle boards choices currently available. Firstly, for the best SUP for beginners, it would have to be the Isle Classic Soft Top.

Wear A Leash

Everything about this board makes it comfortable and easy to ride, especially its non-slip surface, so it was an easy choice for those new to these devices.

The best inflatable SUP is the Atoll, thanks to its durability and stability out on the water. In terms of complete packages, this one had it all with every accessory you could ever hope for.

When you’re looking to swap to something lightweight you don’t want to skimp on quality, and that’s exactly why we chose this as the best inflatable stand up paddle board.

For those who prefer paddle on a solid board, we’ve chosen the Isle Versa as our number one pick. There wasn’t much to fault with this board, and as soon as you jumped aboard you could feel why it’s such a best seller. With the perfect all around shape it suits beginners to pros and can be enjoyed by every member of the family.

With so many wonderful boards to choose from, both inflatable and solid, finding the best stand up paddle board doesn’t have to be a chore. When you have the perfect fit for you, you’ll never have a boring weekend again as all of your spare time will be spent on these innovative and enjoyable water devices.

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