Your Guide to the Best Paddle Boards of 2018
I caught the paddle boarding bug a few summers ago and since then it’s become a huge part of my life. It’s turned into a major trend and as a result the selection process has become a little bit overwhelming. I’ll be breaking down our top choices for beginners, surfing, yoga and touring. I also highlight the cheapest SUP board on the market.
Types of Stand Up Paddle Boards
- Types of Stand Up Paddle Boards
- Best Paddle Boards for Each Style
- The Top Stand Up Paddle Boards Reviewed
Can you use a flat water board to crush a SUP Yoga session? Absolutely, but it’s not as ideal as using a nice board with a grippy mat.
All Around Paddle Boards
For most of us, a flat water paddle board is where it’s at if you’re not interested in doing downward dogs on your board or flying around at top speeds or catching waves.
If you answered no to all of these questions, a standard, flat water SUP is for you. If you’re a beginner or wanting to use a SUP to fish this is a great place to start. These boards provide a ton of stability so you spend more time on your board and less time in the water. If you’re brand new to the sport, I strongly suggest renting a board and give it a whirl, if you’re like the majority of people that try paddle boarding you’re going to fall in love.
Paddle Boards are a serious investment and you’ll want to make sure you’re fully committed before you pull the trigger. The main specs that you’ll want to pay attention to are width, length, weight and construction. You’ll notice that all of these components tie into one another. If your board is wider and longer it’ll be able to handle more weight. Depending on whether it’s solid, or inflatable this will also impact the amount of weight it can hold.
For an all around board we recommend looking for a board that is 30-34″ in width. This will give you a nice wide base to plant your feet on. Until you master the art of balancing on a SUP, a wider base will put you in a position to generate power with your paddle without losing your balance.
In terms of length my preference is somewhere between a 10 or 11 footer. If your board is much longer than 14′ you’re probably looking at a race board which will be narrower. If it’s shorter then 10′ you’re entering surf SUP territory.
The final dimension you should pay attention to is weight. Most boards are plenty sturdy for anyone who weighs 200lbs (90kg) or less. If you’re heavier than that, or you’re trying to double avoid the inflatable SUPs. Which leads us into our next point, construction.
Paddle Boards can be made out of a wide range of materials the most basic classification is inflatable versus or a solid construction.
Inflatable boards are exactly that, you blow them up. This makes them terrific for storage and transportation. If you’re planning on cruising solo these are often a great place to start. They’re usually much cheaper than the boards made out of a solid material, however that isn’t always the case.
Solid stand up boards can be made out of a range of materials. The most common construction is a foam interior wrapped in a fibreglass shell. Others incorporate bamboo or another rigid material to reinforce the bottom of the deck. The quality of material is what’s important; cheaper boards are generally going to be heavier then the ones used to race with.
Fitness or Yoga Paddle Boards
Yoga SUPs are very similar to an All Around board. In my experience, the wider the better. I personally use a Lotus YSUP Inflatable Yoga SUP Board. There are a few things I really like about this board, first off it’s very wide, 32″ wide to be exact. That provides a ton of “mat” area. I’d also recommend using an inflatable board as the surface is a little softer.
It also features a full length traction pad which is terrific for a solid Yoga sesh in the great outdoors. The real kicker for me was price. I already owned 2 boards, a solid touring board and an inflatable board. A third board is a little overkill, but I figured a third board just means more time spent with friends on the water. And when I’m by myself I could use it for Yoga.
Touring or Race Paddle Boards
When folks ask about touring or racing boards they generally assume they’re unstable. And while a wider board is going to provide more stability, most will find that a race SUP is actually fairly easy to manage. The boards are constructed in a different fashion (longer and slimmer), however the main difference between an all around board and a race board is price.
Touring boards are going to be made out of lighter materials, they’ll have some customizations (such as a displaced hull) which allow them to slice through the water. Touring boards swap width for thickness, to decrease drag without compromising volume.
The goal is to reduce drag to increase speed.
These are actually incredibly fun to ride as they’re noticeably quicker through the water. That said, most entry level paddlers aren’t interested in swapping three or four hundred dollars for speed.
If you want to zip around the bay all day leaving other paddler’s in your trail these boards are for you.
Surf Paddle Boards
Admittedly I’m not a great surfer. I love surfing but I’m fairly average at the sport, which makes this section a bit tricky. From many conversations with friends who are great surfers and paddle surf they seem to unanimously agree, the Starboard Pocket Rocket is the way to go. It’s a smaller board, at just 8’5 and according to them it let’s them turn on a dime. It’s pretty outrageous to watch a quality surfer tear around on the pocket rocket.
I personally use a NAISH Hokua 9’10” board for SUP surfing because I find it’s a little easier to balance on.
Now that you know what type of board you’re looking for, it’s time to take a look at the best individual paddle boards.
Best Paddle Boards for Each Style
Beginner and All Around Paddle Boards
SUP’s for Yoga
Touring and Race Boards
Stand Up Paddle Surf Boards
The Top Stand Up Paddle Boards Reviewed
The Zray A2 Paddle Board gives you all the expertise of one of the leading inflatable stand-up paddle (iSUP) manufacturers. Some people may be wary of iSUPS, and consider them to be inferior to standard paddle boards. If well-constructed, like the Zray A2, iSUPS can...
An all-around iSUP paddle great for beginners and advanced paddlers, the Solstice Tonga is an excellent choice for cruising and leisure. It's one of the larger paddleboards on the market, but once inflated, it offers a safe and sturdy platform for exploring the water....
Combining style and durability, the Jimmy Styks Misstyk Paddleboard is a great choice for female paddlers of every skill level. This ten-foot board has tough epoxy construction with an inlay of real bamboo. Includes an adjustable carbon paddle, fin,10-foot leash and...
Don’t let the name fool you. This paddleboard definitely isn’t lazy. Instead, Lucky Bums has created a paddleboard which will work hard for every adventurous outdoorsman. The Lucky Bums brand makes a variety of fun and functional equipment for the beach including...
Sun Dolphin’s Seaquest stand up paddleboard lets the whole family have fun on the lake, river, ocean or any other large body of water. This Seaquest paddleboard is an exciting and unique alternative to kayaks, canoes and similar sit-down water vehicles. Easier to use...
Have you always been interested in using a stand-up paddle board but uncertain about how to get started? Aqua Marina’s Fusion Stand-up Paddle Board is an excellent option for first-time paddlers and other relative...
For many people new to stand up paddle boarding, finding a board can be a little intimidating. This is especially true if you want to find a reliable inflatable stand up paddle board (iSUP) because there are plenty out on the market. Luckily with the Blue Wave Sports...
Inflatable stand-up paddleboards are a relatively new product that offer paddle boarders great versatility. Because they can be stored away easily, it’s simple to take your board where ever you go. Sometimes, iSUPs are a little less stable and solid than a traditional...
Vilano has long been in the sporting industry making quality push bikes, but recently they decided to expand their offerings to stand-up paddle boards (SUP). The Vilano Navigator is one of their top offerings, and many people new to SUP find that this board is ideal....
The XtremepowerUS Inflatable SUP is an excellent choice for anyone interested in getting started with stand-up paddle boarding. It offers extreme stability and durability that is perfect for beginners and can help you get used to paddling on open water and learning...
The California Board Company, otherwise known as CBC, are the creators of the Ten Six, a classic foam paddle board with a timeless striped design. The CBC paddle board is 10’6 and constructed from a high-density EPS foam that’s perfect for providing stability and...
The Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard by Thurso Surf is one of the top-rated boards and is designed as a versatile option for all types of paddlers. Available as part of a kit, this is an ideal choice for beginners who are looking to get on the water as quickly as...