What’s ‘sup SUP gurus? If you’re not quite a guru yet, you sure will be after checking out what we have to say about paddle boards of all kinds!
You can trust our expert guru team to paddle you through every gritty detail there is about a SUP and compare Stand Up Paddle Boards. Why? Because, we’re more than dedicated to the sport, we’re fanatical about it!
Helping you get as much out of your buy as possible means bodies on the water, kiddos outside and active, and a fun and fit way of life that embraces nature and the outdoors! Now, that’s our kind of fun – the SUPping kind of lifestyle!
The Best Stand Up Paddle Boards for 2017
|Image||SUP||Type||Length||Suitable For||Guru Rating|
|Atoll 11'0" SUP||Inflatable (PVC)||11'0"||All-round, flat water, surf, SUP yoga.||9.6/10
|Tower Adventurer||Inflatable (PVC)||9'10"||All-round, recreational||9.4/10
|Isle Airtech||Inflatable (PVC)||10'0"||All-round, flat water, light surf, SUP yoga||9.2/10|
|iRocker 10'6" iSUP||Inflatable (PVC)||10'0"||Flat water, SUP yoga, light-medium surf.||9.2/10|
|Peak Inflatable SUP||Inflatable (PVC)||10'6"||All-round, flat water, light surf, SUP yoga.||9.2/10|
|Isle Classic Soft Top||Soft Top (solid)||9'6", 10'8"||All-round, flat water, light surf, SUP yoga||8.8/10|
|Solstice Bali SUP||Inflatable (PVC)||10'8"||All-round, flat water, light surf.||8.8/10|
|California Board Co||Solid (EPS/Polyethylene)||10'6"||All-round, flat water, light surf||8.8/10|
|Aqua Marina SPK-1||Inflatable (PVC)||9'9"||Flat water.||7.6/10|
|Bestway HydroForce||Inflatable (PVC)||10'1"||Flat water, light surf, recreational.||7.2/10|
ISLE Airtech Inflatable 10′ Stand Up Paddle Board
For an iSUP, it’s conveniently easy to get to full PSI. It’s also very lightweight at 19 pounds, has on-board storage, and includes the complete package, paddle and all!
iRocker Paddle Boards Inflatable SUP
With the iRocker under your feet, it won’t matter if you’re a newbie to the sport or a veteran surfer – the iSUP is made for all! Pieced together with military-grade PVC and triple layer drop-stitch construction, you’ll have an indestructible water vessel for the lake or the ocean.
If you need to drop a few pounds, forget about it! Flex won’t be an issue for weights up to 350 pounds! Besides, you’ll easily lose the flab when you rock it on the surf with this iSUP!
PEAK Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
If you want the whole shebang out of an iSUP package, the Isle Peak paddle board is the way to go! For incredible value, you’ll get the iSUP, paddle, dual action pump, backpack, coil ankle leash, and even on-board d-rings and bungees for storage!
It’s the ultimate beginner’s package to get you out on the water immediately. It’s very lightweight, easy to store and transport, and super rigid to handle a 300 pound rider that’s mooning everyone in downward dog!
Isle Soft Top SUP
Don’t let plantar fasciitis or any other condition get in the way of being active and having fun. What you need is a soft top deck that’s comfortable and provides enough cushion for your tootsies. The Isle Classic Soft Top is just that with its foam top and extra wide 33 inch width that makes it suitable for the entire family!
Better yet, it’s also half the price of most SUPs, making it a comfortable purchase for the budget too!
Tower Adventurer iSUP
If you’re a name brand kinda buyer, then the Tower Adventurer is an inflatable SUP that will tickle your taste buds. It’s strong, rigid, and practically immortal as you take it out in any water condition you dare to surf!
You won’t be without protection either since Tower Paddle Boards includes a 2-year warranty on your buy. If you want the best of everything, you’ll find ultimate satisfaction with the Adventurer! What’s on your adventure menu this Summer?
Atoll 11’0″ Inflatable SUP
That’s why the cross-over Atoll 11’0″ Cruiser Deluxe is perfect for riders up to 300 pounds who are crossing into torrential waters where most of us would do a quick U-turn!
Don’t forget your cooler of snacks and drinks since this thing has 14 d-rings on board! So, get lost and stranded and make your way ashore when you’ve run out of oreos!
Solstice Bali iSUP
Wondering if you’re compromising on quality for price benefits? Be assured that you’re not. It’s pieced together with 3-ply 1000-Denier PVC fabric material and high-pressure drop-stitch construction.
Like we said, it’s a win-win!
California Board Co Soft Top Solid SUP
This SUP board comes with everything you need to take it home today, including an instant padded roof rack with straps to load up and out! It’s a soft top SUP with heat-laminated layers for ultimate durability and comfort.
If you like to buy your groceries at wholesale prices, why shouldn’t you buy your SUP board at wholesale prices too? That’s exactly what you’re doing with the CBC solid board! Cutting out the retail costs means more moolah in your pocket and more time on the water!
Bestway HydroForce iSUP
If the kids have saved enough change in their piggy banks over the year, then let them splurge on the HydroForce inflatable SUP! It saves you from forking out a grand, and it gives them a chance to ditch the TV reruns and be active in the water.
If you’re looking for some surf action too, it can hold up to 220 pounds. Let the teens roam and explore the depths of the lake or crest those small surfs with one of the best entry-level SUPs in the market.
Aqua Marina SPK-1 iSUP
Let’s face it, you’re not going to spend in the triple zero digits for a toy for the kids. But, you will pay for an economical iSUP that they can inflate, tote, and deflate themselves! Let the teens do all the work to get out on the water with this beginner board.
Don’t be worried about needing some guns to inflate it. Honestly, it’s a breeze to inflate – the kids will figure it out. With life jackets strapped on, they’ll have hours of fun cruising flat waters and snacking during their recreational paddling.
Types of Stand Up Paddle Boards
Lesson one of becoming a SUP guru is to know what you’re looking for. Avoid being “that” person that buys a paddle board when you lack the right info!
So, let’s paddle you through the types of boards you want to invest in!
This is what you would want if you’re looking to hit the ocean breaks. They’re short, narrow, and plenty unstable for beginner SUPpers. But, for the more experienced riders that are looking for that adrenaline high from hitting the crest of a wave, a surf SUP’s dimensions are ideal for the surfer. They’re not made for long-distance paddling or even tracking in flat water, but they’re made for excellent maneuverability on the waves.
All-Round/Touring Paddle Boards
These types of SUPs are excellent entry-level boards for beginners or for recreational use. They’re versatile and multi-purpose boards that can take you through a variety of water conditions as you build up your SUPping skills. Since they’re wider and longer than surf boards, they’re very stable for riders to learn to track and glide for flat water paddling or open ocean touring.
Flat Water Stand Up Paddle Boards
While many all-round boards are perfectly apt for flat water paddling, the flat water SUP board is specifically made for it. It’s designed to slice through water to maintain perfect tracking with its pointed nose. The shape is akin to a race SUP board that’s made for optimum speed and performance, but it’s wider to accommodate for beginners.
If you’re a fanatic, then you’re probably out for a gut-wrenching core workout or you’re extremely competitive when it comes to speed. They’re very slim and narrow which is great for velocity on surf, however, it’s not recommended for beginners. It’s also unstable to use in flat water conditions. But, there’s no room for flat water for a speed freak!
If you’re comparing the performance of a solid board to an inflatable, you’re looking at things with a narrow mind. iSUPs are excellent paddle boards but they truly shine when it comes to cost, storage convenience, and transportation benefits. Because they’re inflatable, they can be inconspicuously stored and shoved in the trunk of your car – all within a backpack too! iSUPs are also typically sold as an entire package with all the fixings to get you on the water without having to dish out for extra accessories.
While many all-round and iSUP paddle boards can cater to SUP Yoga, there are specific SUPs that are made a little differently for this calming but sweat-inducing activity. They’re wider and longer, and they allow for anchoring so that you’re not floating away while you’re in the middle of a downward facing tree pose! They’re often soft top decks that provide a little cushioning for your entire body.
If river rapids sounds like your kinda style, then you’ll need a SUP board that can handle the unpredictable terrain. Whitewater SUPping is dangerous, but it’s a ton of fun! These kinds of SUPs can come in a variety of lengths and shapes. Depending on these aspects, you can take a river SUP for surf and waves to the flat waters for recreational SUPping to even getting some time in for a little yoga.
You either hate it or you love it! But, windsurfing has been a popular pastime for many ocean-goers! Most windsurf SUPs are compatible for use with and without the wind, meaning, if you remove the center sail, you can enjoy all the paddling you can dish out. Like the Whitewater SUPs, they’re a breed of their own. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and their ability to handle various water conditions depends on the build and dimensions.
How to Choose a Stand UP Paddle Board
Lesson two of becoming a SUP guru is learning the specs to make a well-informed buy. From materials and dimensions to fins, we’ll lay it all out!
Paddle Board Core Materials
Discussing every individual component that comes into the construction of a SUP board deserves a whole page of its own. To condense things for you, it really comes down to two types – solid or inflatable.
These are made with PVC material for the exterior and a drop-stitch construction. This makes them extremely durable. Core materials and construction between varying iSUP brands are typically the same. Since they comprise of mostly air, they’re lightweight, uncomplicated to transport, and easy to store.
These can be a little bit different from board to board and brand to brand. They can be made out of a variety of materials. However, the most common core materials are the ones we’ll discuss.
- Polyurethane Foam (PU): This is the original core material used for SUP boards until EPS came around. But, some people still prefer the soft foam because of the little bit of flex it provides in a solid board. It’s usually seen on entry-level boards or what you would call “soft top” boards.
- Expanded Polystyrene (EPS): Since 2005, this has been the most commonly used material for solid tops. They’re always combined with some sort of resin or epoxy coating for strength and durability. They’ll last longer than PU boards and are 60 percent lighter.
- Hollow Core: Some solid boards will feature a hollow core to maximize performance and reduce weight. The construction is unique as it’s a process of blow-molded polyethylene. These types of solid tops might be popular among whitewater SUPs for its toughness.
Does size matter? It sure does! We’ll break this down so that you understand each aspect of size when it comes to SUPping!
Why do you need to know volume? The volume which is represented in liters will tell you how much weight it can support while still being able to stay afloat. The more volume it has, the more it can hold.
Here’s a quick formula to determine what level of volume you’ll need to keep your feet dry.
- Beginners – your weight (kg) x 2
- Intermediates – your weight (kg) x 1.7
- Advanced – your weight (kg) x 1.3
The result is the least amount of volume you’d want in a SUP. For example, if you’re a beginner SUPper and you weigh 80 kg, multiply by 2 and you’ll need at least 160 liters of volume.
Many SUP boards will list the weight capacity of the SUP for those not into doing math. It’s usually listed in pounds. Knowing this number will help you determine if you’ll stay afloat without sagging in the middle and compromising on performance. Most SUP boards can hold weight anywhere between 240-350 pounds. Also, the heavier and taller you are, you should look for a longer board. This leads us to…
The length of the board has a lot to do with performance and how you want to use the SUP.
- Shorter boards 9′ and under are either surf SUPs or they’re paddle boards designed for smaller riders like kids.
- Medium boards 9′ to 12′ long are great for everyone of all skill types looking for all-round, recreational, flat water, and SUP yoga uses. Many all-round sups in the longer end of this range are great cross-over SUPs for versatile use in most water conditions.
- Long boards 12’6 to 14′ long are for those with a lead foot. Because they’re longer and slimmer, they’re excellent for speed or for touring when you’ve got several miles to paddle back to shore.
When considering the length of your SUP, you’ll also have to take into account transportation. Is it short enough to strap to the roof of your car? Longer boards might be heavier and difficult to carry from the car to the water source, especially in wind, if you’ve got to hike in between.
The width will determine the stability and speed of the board for users of various skill levels and the type of activity you plan on doing.
- Narrow boards of 29″ or 30″ are narrower than other boards making them less suitable for the beginner. Its width can be unstable for riders but they’re desired for its faster performance than wider boards.
- Wide boards of 31″ to 36″ are much more user-friendly for the beginner and the Yoga SUPper since they’re easier to remain standing on. Where they contribute in stability they typically lack in speed, making them slower than narrow boards.
To sum up size, you’ll have to take all measurements into consideration. Here’s a quick guide to sum things up! Match your type of most-commonly bought SUP with your weight for the right length board you’ll need.
- 48-150 pounds, 9′ or smaller board
- 150-275 pounds, 9’1″ to 10’6″ board
- 249+ pounds, 10’7″ to 11’6″ board
- 48-123 pounds, 9′ or smaller board
- 123-174 pounds, 9’1″ to 10’6″ board
- 149-249 pounds, 10’7″ to 11’6″ board
- 222+ pounds, 11’7″ to 12’6″ board
- 48-123 pounds, 9’1″ to 10’6″
- 48-174 pounds, 10’7″ to 11’6″ board
- 174-224 pounds, 11’7″ to 12’6″ board
- 200+ pounds, 12’7″ or longer board
The same numbers also apply to inflatable SUPs. Be sure to check these specifications before you purchase.
Fins are mounted on the underside of a SUP for tracking and stability. Sometimes they’re removable, sometimes they’re not. Here are the variations.
A single, center fin is mounted into the underside of the tail of the board with a nut and screw. The rack it’s placed into is called a finbox that allows the fin to move back and forth.
The Tri-Fin Setup consists of three fins. One larger one in the center and two smaller ones on the side. It’s also referred to as the thruster setup. They’re dual-purpose fins that allows for straight tracking when in flat water and excellent control when in surf. They’re a lot easier to remain stable and comfortable on for SUPping versus the lone, center fin system.
These promote speed and help to maintain tracking in those downward swells for longer boards.
These are often found on iSUPs. Some inflatable iSUPs will allow for only the center fin to be removed while the other two are permanently attached. The removable option allows for tighter rolling for compact storage without fin damage. However, iSUP fins are usually semi-rigid or made out of a flexible rubber that can easily be reshaped.
SUP Guru in the Making!
We’re in the business of making every water sport lover a SUP guru! It’s in your best interest to know everything about a water vessel that will bring tons of enjoyment for the entire family. Plus, you want to know if you’re getting a great deal or not!
A SUP guru in the making is the start of a SUPping lifestyle!