You may have noticed a sharp drop in attendance at your local gym this season. Even though there are plenty of treadmills, elliptical machines, and bikes ready for use, they seem to always be empty. Perhaps even the city parks and walking trails seem surprisingly empty. As the balmy, summer temperatures set in, more and more fitness enthusiasts have decided to enhance their workout routine by forgoing the gym and adding a new outdoor element. People who may not normally be in the water have decided to take the plunge into stand-up paddle boarding. Strict routine and typical fitness expectations all continue to disappear and evolve, as the adventurous and challenging sport of SUP boarding continues to increase in popularity. As a solo fitness goal and as an opportunity for a loosely collaborative experience, using a stand-up board increases strength, agility, and balance by incorporating a body of water. It also gives nature-lovers a unique opportunity to appreciate the outdoor elements by incorporating low-impact water sports into their routine. Here, we will introduce different paddle board options, and provide a comprehensive overview of how to find the best stand up paddle board to use this year.
Different Types of Stand Up Paddle Boards
At first glance, each SUP may look similar to the other, but they will all vary greatly from each other in terms of length, width, thickness, and durability. All of these elements are crucial contributions to successfully integrating a stand-up paddle board into your fitness or leisure routine. Knowing what to look for is crucial in choosing the right stand up paddle board for you, whether you are a beginner or an expert. As a basic comparison, stand up paddle boards are generally divided into two different types: inflatable and non-inflatable (rigid) boards.
By and large, the inflatable stand up paddle board is the best choice for those who are worried about storage and transportation. The best paddle board reviews include boards that have an efficient carrying and storage solution. There are many different ways for an inflatable paddle board to deflate into a compact carrying case. Many models include a small waterproof bag or a plastic case to store the paddle board when not in use. The best thing to look for, however, is a carrying bag that includes large handles or a shoulder strap. Even the inflatable boards can be anywhere from 15-30 pounds, which could cause unnecessary strain on shoulder muscles if carried over long distances. Inflatable paddle boards are more sturdy than one might think: made of thick, heavy plastic, these paddle boards retain durability while eliminating issues of storage and transportation from your car to the water. Even so, look for an inflatable stand up paddle board that comes equipped with a repair kit, just in case. They are rarely used, but the added comfort is invaluable when making such a large investment.
Non-inflatable (Rigid) SUP Boards
These models are, without a doubt, guaranteed for long-lasting wear and efficiency. Because they don’t need to inflate or deflate, their construction ranges between fiberglass, bamboo, and heavy-duty PVC plastic. Durability is rarely an issue when it comes to non-inflatable paddle boards, though transportation and storage can be challenging. SUP board racks are available for purchase, both for the home and for a vehicle. Their width and thickness are generally similar to inflatable paddle boards, but there is much more room for deviation with a non-inflatable paddle board. For an overall thicker, sturdier surface, a non-inflatable paddle board is the best way to go. Because they typically have a harder surface, most models will offer varying degrees of foam or soft plastic padding to ease stress on joints while on the water. The addition of a softer surface on the deck pad creates added comfort and grip while gliding through the water. While the non-inflatable paddle boards tend to be a bit more expensive, their value is extended through greater durability and overall longer use.
Reviews of Top 5 Stand Up Paddle Boards
For those who are searching for a more dynamic, adventurous experience on the water, it can be difficult to determine what stand up paddle board is right for you. Factors like overall stability, maneuverability, durability, price, and weight capacity are all major factors in purchasing a stand-up paddle board.
Combing through the top reviewed products can assist in narrowing down your search considerably. With so many available options, it is helpful to look at commentary and reviews from other sup paddle board users. The following list is a compilation of the top-rated board reviews to help you pinpoint the best board for your needs.
- ISLE 10’5 Versa ® Standup Paddle Boards & Adjustable Carbon Shaft
ISLE is making gigantic waves in the sup board community. Based from San Diego, California, ISLE has taken twenty years of working with surf and fitness professionals to create an all-around dynamite paddle board. With the volume of glowing paddle board reviews, it is not difficult to see why ISLE has claimed the number one spot.
The long, slender shape of this paddle board may resemble its close cousin, the long board, but this provides a few important benefits. Its rigid shape allows for versatility in any body of water, allowing for freedom of easy movement when traversing across bodies of water, or to come back to shore. Because it is thicker and wider, your water-bound travel is supported by a greater sense of balance. ISLE effortlessly fulfills a top-rated concern for paddle board enthusiasts: can I balance and shift my weight on the water without tipping over all the time? With ISLE, the answer seems to be a resounding “yes.”
For those with eco-friendly concerns, rest assured: ISLE manufactures each of their epoxy boards while minimalizing excess waste. This process results in a lightweight, durable board guaranteed to last through years of paddling sessions.
- Ten Toes iSUP Inflatable Standup Paddleboard SUP, theWEEKENDER
This best-selling board has earned some of the top-rated paddle board reviews. A common worry with inflatable boards may be overall strength of the material, and whether it has long-lasting durability. Ten Toes has managed to eliminate all worry with an extra-durable design, made of practically indestructible PVC material. Despite the thickness and durability of its construction, when deflated, this board rolls up neatly into a compact container to make storage and transportation a breeze.
The included paddle comes in three pieces, is fully adjustable, and will float above water if accidentally dropped. The adjustability of the paddle and flotation capabilities ensure that neither height nor clumsy fingers will inhibit your paddling experience. The deck pad is covered in textured foam, which eliminates the risk of slips and falls while balancing on the water. With a wide, rounded shape, the Weekender has established itself as one of the sturdiest sup boards available. In fact, the shape and overall construction of the deck has awarded the Weekender with some of the best stand-up paddle board reviews, especially for beginners.
- PEAK Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards Complete iSUP Package
Though considerably higher in price comparison, the PEAK Complete iSUP Package makes up for the price through overall value. With an all-inclusive accessory bundle, this board will keep you fully equipped for paddling through any body of water. The additional paddle enables quicker movement from the beach to the water, and the easy to carry backpack provides simple transportation from start to finish. A high-pressure pump ensures that your paddle board can quickly inflate before beginning your workout, and deflate just as easily when you are done.
The durable construction of the PEAK iSUP board has ensured that it will remain competitive within the sup board trend. While most boards can only hold a weight limit of 225-250, the combination of PVC and drop stitch construction allows this board to safely hold 300 pounds. The board is six inches thick, making balance and stability much easier to attain. Its wide construction creates a steady surface to support a wide variety of controlled movement. Because the board is crafted with durability in mind, this board even has enough stability to support you and a friend, or perhaps an adventurous canine companion.
- SharkSUPS 10´6″ Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard Set
For those who are just starting to experience the sport of stand up paddle boarding, and would like to get the most value for their dollar while they hone their skills, the SharkSUPS inflatable set may be the best stand up paddle board for beginners. This board is extremely easy to inflate and deflate and can be taken out into flat or mildly choppy water without sacrificing stability.
Its deck is long enough to comfortably fit up to two people and includes an aluminum paddle for added versatility of use. Though perhaps not as wide as other models, the SharkSUPS Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard offers increased thickness to create a high level of stability. A longer length provides an impressive amount of space and balance, especially for those who are taller in stature. Perfect for beginning levels up to advanced levels, this inflatable stand up paddle board glides effortlessly into any body of water, be it a pond, lake, river, or ocean. Your paddle board options are truly limitless with the SharkSUPS paddle board set.
- Long Island Boards, The Montauk SUP, Double Bamboo Super Lightweight Epoxy Stand-Up Paddle Board
With its beautiful combination of bamboo and carbon fiber, The Montauk SUP from Long Island Boards is sure to appeal to the nature-lover in all of us. With finely sanded shades of light and dark wood, this solid board is right at home amidst calm ocean or lake water.
You’ll never have to worry about floating capability or stability with this board. Its unique layered bamboo construction results in one of the most lightweight sup boards available. At only 18 pounds, this 10-foot board can hold up to 350 pounds without sacrificing a moment of stability. For stand up paddle board enthusiasts, this stability is crucial.
With soft and sturdy diamond-shaped grooves, the EVA foam deck pad offers extra support for movement while on the board. Foam grip allows for easy and steady movement back and forth across the deck pad. This comfortable and sturdy surface creates the best stand up paddle board option, as it increases the comfort and overall experience of your trip to the water.
As an added benefit, this yoga board comes with a built-in GoPro mount. Safely record your favorite paddling moments beneath the beautiful backdrop of sand and sun.
Aside from this list of models that have received the best stand up paddle board reviews, there are boards that continuously attract customer praise. If the above-mentioned stand up paddle boards don’t quite seem to fit your needs, here are some additional products that are worth looking into before beginning your paddle board journey.
- Asana SUP Yoga Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard
While the price climbs substantially higher than previously discussed models, it is clear to see that Asana is truly dedicated to the tradition and fitness potential for stand up paddle boards. Not only is the board much longer and thicker, but extra care is taken to alleviate stress and pressure on joints, through a soft, inflatable surface.
- Royal Journey Paddle Board 9’9″ Inflatable SUP Package
For those who are looking for simplicity in construction and convenience, the Royal Journey paddleboard could be a great option. Affordability and relative ease of use make this a good option for any newcomer to the world of paddle boards.
- BIC Sport Sup AIR Inflatable Stand up Paddleboard
Yes, that’s right, the brand behind one of our most popular ballpoint pens have also created a sup board! Don’t let that steer you away: the BIC Sport Sup has been getting lots of attention for its portability and durability. With an affordable price combined with attractive, brightly colored designs, the BIC Sport Sup is a competitive force in the stand up paddle board
Stand Up Paddle Board Buying Guide
Even with so many available options, you’ll notice that certain criteria regularly appear throughout each description, and play a large role in determining the highest-rated stand up paddle board reviews. By paying attention to this particular group of characteristics and features, you can ensure that your stand up paddle board purchase will be an educated one. Purchasing the best stand up paddle board for your needs is an important consideration.
- Most of all, you want a board that has been constructed well and tested for stability. While on a stand-up paddle board, you will be constantly shifting your weight and using your core strength to keep the board stable. You don’t want to add unnecessary stress to your body by using an uneven, unstable board. The best stand up paddle board reviews all highlight superior stability. These boards are usually wider throughout the deck pad, and tend to be at least six inches thick.
- Storage and Transportation. Keep in mind that a board can potentially take up quite a bit of room. If you’re a little tight on extra space, consider choosing an inflatable stand up paddle board. This is the best way to keep transportation and storage simple.
- Weight limit. This varies between different models of paddle boards. Your weight and your height are important factors in choosing how many pounds your paddle board needs to sustain. Are you going to be sharing the board with anyone? Are you going to be using it for leisurely or for athletic purposes? Will you ever want to bring a passenger on your stand up paddle board? Without considering these questions while looking at weight limits, you might find yourself severely limited in future use.
- Deck pad construction. The deck pad is essentially the top surface of the paddle board, and it is where you will primarily be standing. Whether your SUP board is made of wood, carbon fiber, or plastic, the deck pad should always have some sort of foam or soft plastic covering. Some deck pads are smooth, while others have patterns stamped into them. The purpose of a deck pad is to offer additional traction, but its softer surface also provides extra comfort for knees and joints when out on the water. You need to be sure that the foam covering is thick enough to offer both comfort and stability. A comfortable deck pad can do wonders to prevent joint pain, and it can also ensure that you avoid falling into the water.
Take a look at this quick tutorial for some additional tips on what to look for when purchasing a board.
Whether you are purchasing a paddle board for leisurely, recreational paddling, or looking to break away from tradition and use stand up paddle boarding as an athletic endeavor, there are certainly many things to consider when purchasing a board. Looking at highly rated SUP board reviews can be a great tool in eliminating products that may not fit your needs. One of the best methods of product analysis comes from personal experience, and listening to the experiences of others can be a great guide in your sup board search.
By providing a refreshing break from the monotony of enclosed spaces indoors, stand up paddle boarding is certainly here to stay. With a little bit of research, you can find the paddle board that is best suited to your individual recreational needs.