The demand for stand up paddle boards is skyrocketing, and it’s easy to understand why. With a SUP board, you can get a great workout, engage in a range of activities or simply relax in the great outdoors. But with all the different types and brands of stand up paddle boards out there, it’s hard to know which one to buy. We have put together reviews of 10 of the best paddle boards on the market today that suit a range of different activities. Whether you want a SUP for yoga, fishing or touring, or a more versatile inflatable paddle board, you can find the best stand up paddle board for your needs here.
1. Pau Hana Malibu Tour Stand Up Paddle Board with Paddle - 11ft 6in: Best Overall
Editor’s Choice #1: Our top pick for the best stand up paddleboard is actually a touring board. But it’s not just any touring board – the Pau Hana Malibu Tour is fast and smooth enough for long adventures, but stable enough for beginners to use. It is also incredibly durable, has a super grippy and comfortable deck, and can fit all your gear with ease. What’s not to like?
Stable Yet Fast
If you’re a beginner or an intermediate paddler looking for some adventure, the Pau Hana Malibu Tour should be your go to board. It is designed for touring, so it is long and slim, and glides through the water smoothly. Despite its shape, it is also incredibly stable. Many touring boards are reserved for experienced paddlers, but not this one. One reviewer even paddled for a mile without falling, despite being a complete beginner!
Although inflatable paddle boards have benefits, many people prefer the security of knowing their board will not risk deflation on the water. With the Malibu Tour, you don’t have to worry about that or any other damage. Made from ABS plastic sandwiched around EPS foam using Vacuum Formed Technology, this board can survive whatever you throw at it! The self-regulating vent plug also prevents damage from pressurization.
To ensure you have the best paddling experience, the Malibu Tour features an adjustable paddle. The SeaMount accessory attachment system means you can easily attach all your gear and various accessories. You will love the EVA deck pad, which provides a soft and grippy surface, as well as the raised kick pad at the board’s rear end. Whatever your skill level, this is a great board.
2. Atoll 11ft Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board: Best Inflatable
Editor’s Choice #2: The Atoll 11 inflatable stand up paddle board hits the holy grail between stability, maneuverability, and speed. With this strong yet lightweight, durable board, you can do almost anything and go almost anywhere. Out of all the boards we reviewed, this is the best inflatable SUP – you can use it for touring, whitewater adventures or casual paddling.
Performance Sweet Spot
When it comes to stand up paddle boards, there is usually a trade-off between stability and maneuverability or speed – not with the Atoll 11. Its tapered nose and three removable fins mean this board glides smoother and faster than other boards of this width. It is remarkably stable for such a lightweight board at 21 pounds (9.5kg), and yet surprisingly maneuverable. On top of all that, its diamond-groove track pad makes it comfortable, easy to grip and quick to dry. No matter your skill level, you will love this board.
When buying an inflatable stand up paddle board, people often worry about durability. That’s not a concern with the Atoll 11 – constructed from laminated double-layer military-grade PVC and drop stitch technology, you can run over this board when inflated and it will come out just fine. This means you can bring this inflatable paddle board with you up whitewater rapids and in rocky areas without worrying.
Travel And Adventure
This inflatable stand up paddle board comes with a carbon shaft, fiberglass blade, adjustable paddle. It features 15 D-rings so you can easily take it touring or fishing. We already mentioned how lightweight it is – this makes it highly travel-friendly, as does its heavy-duty backpack. The Atoll 11 is the most versatile inflatable stand up paddle board out there.
You can see more inflatable paddle boards here.
3. Bluefin SUP 14ft Sprint Stand Up Paddle Board Kit: Best For Racing
If you are a SUP racer, this board is for you. This inflatable stand up paddle board is ideal both for experts and intermediate paddlers. The streamlined design means it glides through the water with remarkable speed. It is a narrow board at 28 inches (71 cm), but remarkably stable for a racing SUP. A raised kick tail at the rear also makes it easier to perform pivot turns and other maneuvers. Plus, the croc-diamond grip deck means you will never lose your grip. This high performance board will take you way out front.
Great For Touring
Due to its impressive stability and speed, the Bluefin Sup 14’ Sprint is also a great touring board. It includes a fixed action camera mount, 2 bungee storage cords and 19 D-rings so you can pack all your gear, plus you can attach a kayak seat. The designated cargo area is generous, and its weight capacity of 353 lbs (160kg) is impressive for a racing board.
Made from military-grade, triple-layer PVC, this inflatable stand up paddleboard is built to last. It inflates to an impressive 28 PSI, which enhances the board’s stability, performance and durability. This inflatable SUP has a warranty of 5 years, which is unusual at this price range. Included in the price is also a fiberglass paddle, a dual action pump, a repair kit and a backpack you can take on airplanes.
4. BLACKFIN MODEL X 2021: Best For Larger Paddlers
Impressive Weight And Gear Capacity
If you are looking for an all-around SUP with a little extra capacity, this may be the best stand up paddle board for you. The Blackfin Model X includes 8 action mounts, 20 D-ring attachments, built-in fishing rack mounts and designated cargo areas. Plus, it can take up to 450 lbs (205kg) in weight, meaning it can accommodate riders and heavier paddlers.
Great Durability And Stability
At 35 inches, this is a super wide board. That means the board offers great stability as well as extra space. The Blackfin Model X is constructed from triple-layer PVC with a carbon rail that enhances durability and makes for a highly rigid inflatable paddleboard. Earlier models suffered from being quite heavy, but the latest version shaves off some weight with a mesh PVC layer. The width and stability also makes this a great yoga SUP. It is not the fastest board, but it has a good glide due to its large center fin.
The Blackfin X is marketed as a luxury stand up paddleboard, and it’s not hard to understand why when you see all its accessories. The package includes a repair kit, a carbon fiber shaft, nylon blade paddle, a dual action pump, and sand spear and fishing rack mounts. You can buy a number of extra accessories such as an electric pump, a kayak conversion kit, a SUP anchor and a sand spear.
5. Pau Hana Endurance VFT Stand Up Paddle Board - 12ft: Best For Touring
Built For Adventure
Calling all SUP adventurers! The Pau Hana Endurance can glide through rough waters smoothly, even when loaded with gear. Pau Hana provides an estimate of how much weight paddlers of different skill levels will be able to handle, from 237 lbs (108kg) for beginners to 417 lbs (189kg) for experienced paddlers. In general, we recommend this board for SUP veterans looking to take it off the beaten track. You can even use it as a sleeping mat as the EVA deck pad is soft and comfortable.
The Pau Hana Endurance is even more durable than the other Pau Hana boards on this list. This is because of its double-layer construction of a fiberglass-reinforced sub-layer and thermoformed outer layer, all held together with Vacuum Formed Technology. In off-grid adventures, you can’t avoid scrapes on rocks and occasional bashing, but you probably couldn’t ding this board even if you tried.
Like the other Pau Hana stand up paddle boards, this one also features the SeaMount accessory attachment system, meaning you can attach all your gear, plus extra accessories. The wide tail enhances maneuverability, particularly for pivot turns. This board is relatively wide at 30 inches (76cm), which enhances stability. The trade-off is that it is probably too large for smaller paddlers. Nevertheless, for those who can handle a large board, this may be the best stand up paddle board for you.
6. Pau Hana Solo Backcountry Stand Up Paddle Board with Paddle - 10'10": Best For Hiking
You are hiking and come across a beautiful lake – what do you do? If your SUP is not portable enough, you won’t be able to make the most of it! That’s where the Pau Hana solo comes in. The full package (including pump, adjustable paddle, fin box, and accessory bag) weighs just 23 lbs (10.4kg) and is very compact. What’s more, the dry bag backpack features padded shoulder straps so you don’t strain your spine. The adjustable paddle is another stroke of genius – it breaks down into four pieces and features a rollable blade. This does sacrifice a bit of performance though.
You would think such a lightweight SUP would sacrifice on quality, but this is not the case for this inflatable stand up paddleboard. It is constructed from an ultra-light drop stitch material, with a woven cloth base and double-layer side rails for extra strength. It might not be as durable as some of the other boards on this list, but it is the best you will get for this level of portability.
Great All Round SUP
Although the selling point of the Pau Hana Solo is its portability, it is also an all round great SUP board. Its quick-snap fins are easy to attach and provide good tracking. There is bungee storage on the nose and tail, and the dry back backpack can be easily secured onto the board. The board provides a good balance between speed, stability, and maneuverability. You won’t win any races and you shouldn’t use it to tackle rapids, but you can paddle up a slow moving river or relatively calm sea.
7. Sea Eagle FishSUP™ 126: Best For Fishing
This inflatable stand up paddle board is designed to include everything you need for a fishing trip. It has a built-in fish ruler so you can check the size of your catch, tons of D-rings to attach rod holders for fishing rods and a paddle holder pocket. On top of that, it features a removable motor mount, and you can add an inflatable kayak seat. This seat works great if you want to paddle sitting down, but also for comfort while fishing.
Good Stability And Maneuverability
With all the gear you need to bring along, stability and maneuverability are important for fishing paddle boards. The Sea Eagle FishSUP’s swallowtail design really helps in this regard. It enhances control while turning and improves performance in small waves. The upturned bow also helps plow through choppy conditions, meaning you can take this inflatable stand up paddleboard out to sea. The board comes with three skegs that are all removable.
Decent Durability And Portability
This inflatable SUP is not the most durable, but it is pretty good. It is constructed from decitex drop stitch technology with quadruple overlap seams, and should last you a decent amount of time. Unfortunately, this board is not as portable as the other inflatable paddle boards on this list. However, there are a few transport options. You can carry the board in its carrier backpack, or use the EZ cart to wheel it behind you after set up.
8. Bluefin SUP 10ft 8in Aura FIT Stand Up Paddle Board Kit: Best For Yoga
If you are looking for a stand up paddleboard for yoga or pilates, look no further. This inflatable stand up paddleboard is designed with yoga in mind, which means it offers great stability. Its extended crocodile-skin textured deck pad provides great traction and comfort. Even if you aren’t a yogi, beginners will probably enjoy this board due to its stability. The wide, 35 inch (89cm) deck also means you can bring along kids or pets.
Durable And Rigid
The Bluefin Aura Fit is made from a drop stitch core, military-grade PVC composite coating and Exo-Surface lamination. That’s a lot of jargon, but what it means is this SUP board is both incredibly durable and can inflate to 28 PSI, making it a super rigid stand up paddleboard. This rigidity makes it easier to do your yoga poses and also enhances glide and maneuverability. With a weight capacity of 353 lbs (160kg) of weight, this is a fantastic SUP board for its price.
Despite being designed for yoga, this is a pretty versatile inflatable paddle board. It features a raised kick pad and rounded tail that enhance maneuverability, particularly for step back turns. You won’t win any races, but you will enjoy a smooth ride in flat water and cruising through small waves. And while this is not a touring board, there are enough D-rings and bungee storage cords to bring a waterproof bag along.
9. Bluefin Cruise Junior 8ft SUP Package | Kids Stand Up Inflatable Paddle: Best For Kids
Great All Around Performance
Bluefin Cruise Junior is the best stand up paddle board for kids. This inflatable SUP can also be used by anyone under 5’3 (160cm) or 65kg (143lbs). In kids paddle boards, you are looking for something stable and easy to maneuver, and that’s exactly what you get. It is also decently speedy when used by a child. Plus, this inflatable stand up paddleboard features a kick pad to help with step back turns.
Rigid And Durable
Like most boards made by Bluefin, the Cruise Junior is made from tough PVC material, with a pro-weave drop stitch construction and Exo-Surface laminate technology. Not only does this make it super durable, it also means it can inflate up to 28 PSI, which enhances rigidity for better glide and maneuverability.
One great thing about this inflatable stand up paddle board is that it includes a 2-in-1 paddle and an attachable kayak seat. This is great for kids who get tired after paddling standing up for some time. This inflatable SUP also includes 11 D-rings and several bungee storage cords, as well as an action camera mount. Its fins are high quality, and the large center fin is removable. The dual action hand pump works well. With this inflatable stand up paddleboard, your kid will fall in love with paddling.
Remember not to let your child out of your sight when paddleboarding.
10. Bluefin SUP 18ft Mammoth Stand Up Paddle Board Kit – 10 Person Group: Best For Group
Amazing Carrying Capacity
If you want to share the joy of paddleboarding with the whole family on one inflatable SUP board, this is for you. This inflatable stand up paddle board can take a whopping 1430 lbs (650kg) and up to 10 people. Despite its massive size, it is a very transportable 60 lbs (27kg) and fits into a travel-friendly backpack. 13 grab handles means it is easy for everyone to pitch in to carry it when inflated. If you want a SUP for corporate team building events or cruising around with friends, this is a great board to choose.
Bluefin inflatable stand up paddle boards are known for their durability, and the Mammoth is no different. With a composite drop stitch core, military-grade PVC construction and a UV resistant coating, it will give you years of fun. This inflatable paddle board also comes with a dual action hand pump, a carrying bag and a repair kit. The Mammoth also features double inflation valves, so two people can inflate it at the same time. However, you will have to buy a second pump separately, which you can get here, as well as paddles, like these.
Stable Yet Maneuverable
Despite being designed for groups, this inflatable stand up paddle board is easy enough for one person to maneuver. So if you are a solo paddler but want a super wide board to laze around on, this inflatable SUP may be a good choice. The five rear fins enable you to maintain control and keep it gliding in the same direction.
Everything you need to know to choose the best paddle board for you.
What Is A Paddle Board?
A paddle board is what is used for stand up paddle boarding. Today, SUP is taking the world by storm, but it has its roots in ancient African, South American and Polynesian cultures. Modern SUP boards were inspired by surfboards, and some can also double as surfboards. What’s great about paddle boards is their versatility – you can use them for surfing, yoga, fishing, racing, touring or just having fun. Almost anyone can use a SUP board, and they allow you to see the great outdoors while getting in a fantastic low-impact core and cardio workout.
Types Of Paddle Board
All around SUP boards are the most versatile. They tend to be wide enough to be stable, but long and thin enough to gather some speed. If you don’t have one specific activity in mind, you should go for one of these.
Yoga paddle boards are very wide and stable. They are designed to provide a wide, comfortable surface to do yoga and other fitness activities. Due to their stability, these also make great beginner boards.
Yep, you can combine surfing and a SUP adventure! Surf paddle boards are shorter and thinner than your average SUP board. This is because the most important thing for surfing is maneuverability. They feature a wide, planing hull to prevent the nose dipping down.
Touring boards are designed to travel long distances, which means they are built for speed. They tend to be relatively long and narrow. They also usually include features such as D-rings and bungee storage so you can bring lots of gear.
Racing paddle boards are the narrowest and longest of all stand up paddleboards, only 25-29 inches (64-74cm) at their widest point. They are designed to prioritize speed above all else.
Racing boards are really only for pros as their shape makes them highly unstable.
What To Consider When Choosing The Best Paddle Board For You
Okay, so besides type, what should you consider when choosing a stand up paddleboard for yourself? Well, there are a number of features to look out for.
Length and width are probably the first differences you’ll notice when comparing stand up paddle boards. Generally, longer boards are faster but harder to manipulate, while shorter boards are easy to maneuver but don’t go very fast. When it comes to width, it’s a toss-up between stability and speed. However, you also need to think about your own size and how it relates to the SUP board.
Larger paddlers will need a bigger board for stability, while smaller paddlers should go for something shorter so it is easier to maneuver.
Lightweight boards enhance speed and ease of transport. However, heavier paddlers should not choose boards on the lightest end of the spectrum, as this can hamper stability. At the same time, no-one should go for a board that is too far above them in weight, as these will be difficult to maneuver.
When it comes to construction, there are two basic types. There are the solid models which are made of an EPS foam core that is coated with either epoxy, fiberglass, plastic or carbon fiber. Then, there are inflatable SUP boards which are usually made from PVC and rely on a high-pressure inflatable core for rigidity. Inflatable stand up paddle boards are on the rise due to how easy they are to store and transport, and the good ones rival solid boards in quality and performance. However, they are susceptible to tears, and solid boards are a little more reliable than inflatable boards in terms of performance and stability.
You will generally see two types of hull: flat, planing hulls and pointy, displacement hulls. Planing hulls enhance maneuverability and stability. They work well for surfing, yoga and recreational paddling. On the other hand, displacement hulls are designed to cut through the water and enhance speed. If you want to race or go touring, look for a pointed nose.
Top Tips For Paddle Boarding
For those who are new to paddle boarding, it can seem intimidating, and you are likely to experience a few falls. However, the basic technique is pretty easy to master, and you should feel confident after just a few sessions.
Learn How To Hold The Paddle
Before you even get onto your board, you need to find the correct hand placement. To achieve the ideal grip, hold your paddle above your head, and then bring your arms down so the shaft is resting on your head. The shaft should be parallel to your shoulders and both arms should make perfect 90 degree angles.
Engage Your Core
Using your core is essential for paddle boarding. That is what makes it such a great core workout! Without engaging your core, your arms will get tired way too quickly and balancing will be harder too.
If you find yourself falling a lot, chances are it’s because you’re not engaging your core muscles.
Keep Your Head Up
As a beginner, your temptation will probably be to look down at the board or where your paddle blade is hitting the water. However, it’s important to keep your head up and your eyes on the direction you are headed. Not only will this prevent you going the wrong way, it is also very important for stability.
Fall Away From The Board
Taking a few unplanned dips is part of learning how to paddleboard. That’s why it’s a good idea to actually practice falling. Not only will this make you more relaxed, but it’s important to get used to falling away from the board so that you don’t get hit in the face!
Safety When Paddle Boarding
It is important to take safety seriously when paddleboarding, no matter what your experience level. Here are a few of the most important points to keep in mind.
Check The Weather Forecast
Before jumping on your board, make sure you check a detailed weather forecast ahead of time. Pay attention to wind conditions, and avoid going out in anything more than a mild wind if you are a beginner.
Know Your Limits
Beginner SUPers should stick to calm, sheltered waters. As you gain experience, you can start venturing out a little further. However, don’t let your experience make you overestimate your ability or stamina.
If you are paddling in the sea, it’s important to check the tidal forecast. In addition, be cautious of currents and rip tides.
Check beforehand if the place you are planning to go is safe for paddling activities.
Here’s what you should bring with you when you head out on your paddleboard.
- Personal flotation device (PFD): Required by the US Coastguard
- Foot leash: It can save your life in an emergency.
- Repair kit: If you are paddling far out with an inflatable SUP board.
- A whistle and phone: For longer trips or choppy water.
- Sun protection and water: If you are going to be out in the sun for some time.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best paddle board is the Pau Hana Malibu Tour. Of all the stand up paddle boards we reviewed, this one offered the best balance between adventure and stability. It is super versatile, and paddlers of all skill levels can use it for touring, racing, and recreational paddling. Plus, it is highly durable and customizable!
The most stable paddle board is the Blackfin Model X. This is due to its width, as well as its carbon rail and triple-layer PVC construction. This inflatable paddleboard also has a higher weight capacity than the other boards we reviewed, and can take up to 450 lbs (205kg) without losing stability.
The best stand up paddle board for beginners is the Atoll 11, as it offers the best combination of stability and maneuverability. The Blackfin Model X and the Bluefin Aura Fit are also great beginner paddle boards due to their stability. But if you want adventure right from the get go, you should choose the Pau Hana Malibu Tour.
You should get a paddle board that suits your height and especially your weight. For those looking for an all around board, if you weigh under 125 lbs, you should go for a 9-10.5 foot board. For paddlers between 125 and 175 lbs, something between 10.5 and 11.5 feet should suit you. For those above 175 lbs, look for something 11 feet or above.
You do not need to wear shoes when paddle boarding, as the deck pads of most stand up paddle boards are designed to be gripped by bare feet. However, if the weather is cold, neoprene boots or light barefoot trainers are good options. Avoid wearing shoes with thick, hard soles when paddleboarding as these can damage the traction pad.
After reviewing the best paddle boards from the paddle board industry, we have concluded that the best overall is the Pau Hana Malibu Tour. This is because it offered the best combination of stability, speed, durability and accessories. However, there are many reasons people use stand up paddle boards, and we have identified the best paddle boards for several activities. Whether