Inflatable paddle boarding is a relatively new and increasingly popular leisure activity. Offering a great full body workout, or simply just a relaxing trip around the lake, inflatable stand-up paddle boarding (iSUP) offers something for everyone!
Although this is a relatively new paddle activity, there is already a large variety of products and manufacturers, with many different features to consider when choosing the best inflatable paddle board for you. To help, we have compiled a list of our favorite inflatable SUP boards on the market. The best inflatable SUP will be extremely durable and carry a high buoyancy, while still deflating to a small package that is easily transportable and can fit inside your backpack!
How to Choose The Best Inflatable Paddle Board – Buying Guide
Inflatable Paddle Board vs Fiberglass Paddle Board
When comparing a similarly sized inflatable paddleboard to a fiberglass board, you will be hard pressed to see any difference. You may find that a rigid board goes ever so slightly faster and is slightly easier to paddle, but unless you were riding one after the other you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference when it comes to performance.
Even the carrying capacity and rigidity are similar between these two types of paddleboards. The rigid board is obviously stiffer, however, the inflatable is still more than capable of carrying coolers and extra gear.
Characteristics of an Inflatable SUP
Length: It’s no secret that a longer board will be able to go faster, but be more cumbersome to turn. This is why people new to the sport go with a shorter board, while people who’ve been paddleboarding for years choose a longer option.
Width: A narrow board is faster but less stable. Wider boards offer more stability but are slower.
Thickness: A thicker board is better in our opinion. It will not only be able to hold more but also make you ride higher in the water. This will give you the option of paddling in socks or even shoes without getting your feet wet.
Rocker: This describes the curve of the nose of your board. You will want more of a rocker when paddling in places with large waves.
Portability: Inflatable paddleboards are much easier to transport and store than rigid boards. They can even be thrown in the trunk of your car and forgot about until you want to use it again.
Durability: A lot of companies are turning to military grade PVC for the construction of these boards. This material has been specially designed to be nearly bulletproof while still being able to be folding neatly.
Storage: Inflatable paddleboards are some of the easiest water sport items to store. You don’t need a big yard or garage, instead, a small closet will be enough room.
Cost: You can find amazing deals for these boards starting at around $500 which includes everything you need to get on the water.
User-Friendly: Learning on an inflatable is much easier, and less painful, than on a rigid board. Your kids will love that they can play on it without hurting themselves every time they fall.
Setup: It’s no surprise this is on our list. Instead of taking a rigid board off your car you have to spend the time to pump your board up.
Surfing: Inflatable paddleboards aren’t the best for surfing with. You can manage but if you’re used to a typical surfboard you may be disappointed.
Related Review: Surfboard
How We Evaluated The Inflatable Paddle Boards
There are a few different features that you will want to look for in a paddle board and we have listed them below.
This is important for paddlers to consider, especially those in the beginner or intermediate skill level. Paddleboarding is quite an easy sport to learn, but due to the high center of gravity, it is easier if you have a board that excels instability. While many people think that the length of a board determines its stability, this isn’t completely true. While this does play a role, the thickness of your board plays a bigger role. Most often, a board around thicker than 4 inches is preferred.
A higher rocker plays the biggest role in determining how well the board cuts the water and therefore how easy your SUP is to paddle. Inflatable SUPs are often harder to paddle that solid boards for this reason.
Ease of Transport
Owning a paddle board is only enjoyable if you can actually get it into the water. For those that don’t have a vehicle to transport their SUP, opting for an inflatable board is a good idea. These are also ideal for storing as paddle boards often sit around 9 feet long. While they don’t perform quite as well in the water, their benefits often far outweigh their cons.
Speed/Ease of Inflation
Typically, inflating your paddle board should take between 3-5 minutes depending on the size and how quickly you work. You should be inflating your board to a PSI level between 12-15. Oftentimes you will find that the gauge provided is relatively inaccurate. Rest assured that you cannot over inflate these boards. When in doubt just keep pumping until you are certain it is enough.
Value For The Money
Paddleboards are decreasing in price as more competitors enter the market. You should be able to get a board between $350 – $800 depending on quality. Typically speaking you get what you pay for in the SUP world. More expensive boards will incorporate higher quality plastic and will have better accessories. Paying attention to the quality of your paddle and pump should be secondary as you can upgrade those later.
Paddle Board Accessories
There are a few accessories you will need to pay attention to when making your purchase.
Typically all SUPs come with heavy adjustable aluminum paddles. These should be collapsible for easy transport. Carbon fiber paddles are of better quality and are also much lighter in weight.
Oftentimes you may not need a transport bag for your SUP, especially if you frequent waters close to where you park. If you plan to hike to your lake, you may want to focus on getting a SUP carrying bag.
Life Vest / PFD
Typically SUPs don’t come with a PFD included but they are incredibly important to have along for your paddle. These should typically only set you back between $20 – $50.
Having a paddle board leash is important, especially if traveling into rougher water such as rivers or the ocean.
While SUP’s don’t require you to have a roof rack, it can be incredibly desirable if you frequently use your board. This is because you may not want to inflate and deflate your SUP when you are using it multiple times in a short period.
What Are the General Stand Up Paddle Boarding Rules on the Water?
Yield to bigger boats: Even though you may not consider it to be, a paddleboard is still a water vessel. This means you have to play by the rules on the water. It’s best to let anything larger than you have the right of way.
Wear a PFD: You might not like the look or feel of a personal floatation device but it can save your life (and is often required when paddleboarding). Every state has different regulations that you’ll need to be familiar with before heading out on the water.
Inflatable SUP Uses:
When choosing your perfect paddleboard we recommend you be incredibly picky. These sought after paddle boards have dropped significantly in price as more and more products become available making it so there is no better time to buy than now. We love inflatable boards since they are easily stored in the trunk of your car which means you are able to paddle whenever the mood strikes.
Consider your weight and your preferred use and then search within your comfortable price range. No matter your decision, we are confident any of these iSUP boards will serve you well.
Reading the many iSUP reviews out there will show you just how popular and versatile these are. The convenience of having your ten-foot board collapse into a backpack you can bring to work or school is incredibly desirable. Not having to strap a rigid board to the roof of your car will allow you more time on the water.
The list of features doesn’t end there. From a quick five minute setup time to the unparalleled durability, these iSUP boards will exceed your expectations. Hard foam SUP boards are susceptible to cracks, dents, and chips that inflatable boards are immune to.
Inflatable SUP Other Uses
We highly recommend you try different ways to use a stand-up paddleboard. More than just an afternoon leisure activity, an iSUP can take you across the lake to find great camping spots or even be the perfect platform for fishing.
Looking to get fit? This is more than just a lazy day at the beach. Without knowing it you will get a great full body workout. Had a busy day at work? Try paddling to the middle of the lake for a unique perspective and a quiet place to meditate.
No matter your age, people everywhere agree that paddleboarding has quickly become a favorite activity. No longer just for suburban folks, these inflatable paddle boards are great for city dweller as well as they will easily fit in an apartment and smart car. A great family outing even with the dog, floating on water does wonders for just about everyone. It can be a relaxing lounging experience or a race to the finish line.
Are you an adrenaline junkie? Once you’re comfortable with your iSUP, try taking to the waves. The best inflatable SUP for surfing should include a leash and be an inflatable sup board in which you have lots of stability.
(Hey! You May Also Like: Best Yoga Paddle Boards)
So which board is right for me?
All of the iSUP boards on this list are designed for all skill levels. If you are new to the sport these iSUP boards are designed to be stable and ride like rigid foam board. This will ensure that you learn quickly and are able to ride like a pro in no time. More advanced riders will be able to take their board for weekend adventures or paddle in rough conditions.
When looking for an iSUP it is important to know the terminology and features of the best inflatable stand up paddleboard. Being able to understand how these details will affect your ride will help you determine which paddle board is right for you. We have put together a list of everything you need to know.
Planing Hull – The all around, great at everything inflatable paddle board. Being flat and wide, these iSUP boards are very stable while performing great in flat or choppy water. Being easy to maneuver makes them a great sup board for beginners and experts alike. All of the paddle boards on our list fall into this category.
Displacement Hull – Designed for long distance paddles and racing, these sleek inflatable SUP boards are designed with speed in mind. Their narrow body with a pointed frame gives them the power to cut through the water with ease. Not recommended for beginners, these are tricky to navigate and much less stable.
When looking at different paddle boards it is important to check out how much weight the iSUP board will comfortably keep afloat. Don’t just account for your weight, but the full weight you want to put on the iSUP board. Want to paddle with a friend, pack a daypack, or bring your dog along for the ride? Their weight will need to be added to yours when choosing an inflatable paddle board.
Short boards (9 feet and under) these are typically intended for kids because they are easy to maneuver.
Medium boards (9 to 12 feet) The majority of paddleboards fall into this category being ideal length for both calm lakes and ocean riding.
Long boards (12 to 14 feet) are designed for touring or racing. Coming narrow and long they may be more difficult to turn but are great for catching speed.
Inflatable – We love these sup boards for their unparalleled durability and their extreme lightweight. Usually being made with a strong PVC shell, these are strong and durable boards that are easy to store. All of the paddle boards on our list fall into this category.
EPS Foam – Among the lightest of the iSUP boards, the interior of the paddle board is foam with a fiberglass or plastic outer shell.
Polyurethane Foam – Comparable to the EPS boards this paddle board weighs in heavier. Most often seen used on beginner iSUP boards.
Related Review: Foam Surfboard
Hollow Core – A hollow interior makes this iSUP board lightweight while delivering expert performance
On the underside of your iSUP board, there is either one large singular fin or three smaller fins which act as a guide navigating you through the water. These little pieces of plastic allow you to maneuver through the water with ease. They are removable to increase storage ability.
Single fin – This provides more resistance in the water and is best suited for those with a powerful stroke. The best choice for a beginner as it will provide a straighter paddle, especially through choppy water.
Multiple fins – This setup provides less resistance in the water due to smaller fin size. It is best used by intermediate paddlers
Paddles are usually sold separately except in some iSUP packages. Having adjustable height ensures that the ensure the paddle can be 6-8 inches taller than your head. This is the optimal height for the best stroke.
Leashes ensure you and your paddle board stay attached. Paddleboarding is a relatively easy sport to learn but in the beginning, you may take a few dives in the water. In the ocean with a more unpredictable surf, it is critical to make sure your inflatable sup board stays within arms reach.
Pump: The one downfall of inflatable sup boards is your need to pump your boa*rd up with every use. A small price to pay for storage and transportation simplicity.
Backpack: It may seem incredible but these 10 feet long sturdy iSUP boards condense small enough to fit inside a backpack. Lots of inflatable SUP come with backpacks that are the perfect size to fit your iSUP board.
Gauge: Each inflatable SUP board will have a PSI rating that you should optimally inflate your paddle board too. Having a gauge will ensure you stay within it as to not overinflate your iSUP board.
Q: How Do I Choose An Inflatable Paddle Board?
Choosing an Inflatable Paddle Board doesn’t have to be a hard process. You will want the best inflatable SUP board because of its portability, ease of storage and its versatility. Since it can be condensed into a small package it can be thrown in the trunk of your car, or even worn on your back in a backpack.
Once you’ve decided that an inflatable SUP is right for you the next step is to figure out your use. Aspects like the length, width, and weight (including carrying capacity) all vary with different boards. There are boards for everything, from yoga, to racing, to fishing. If you are looking for a great all around board look for one that is at least 6 inches thick with a weight capacity of at least 350 lbs. This will allow you to stand on the board without getting your feet wet while giving you the ability to carry gear with you.
Q: How Long Will My Inflatable Paddle Board Last?
This answer isn’t always easy to answer. The truth is, it depends on how well you care for it. SUPs are built durable, especially inflatable ones. If you rinse your paddle board after every use to get rid of any build up and store out of direct sunlight your board will last much longer.
The sun is harsh and reducing the exposure will help it look sharp and keep it from warping. It is also important that you store your board safely. Due to the size of these boards, the best way to do so is to invest in a sup wall mount. You can expect your board to last many many years. You will likely look to upgrade your board and sell this one before it becomes unusable. Most SUPs come with warranties between 1-3 years long.
Q: How Durable Is My Inflatable Paddle Board?
The answer is simple: VERY durable! Inflatable paddle boards are usually made of military grade PVC. This is a material that has been designed by the military, for things like zodiac boats, making it incredibly durable. Boards made from this material are usually puncture resistant which makes them great for rocky shores and hidden obstacles like tree stumps. What makes this type of PVC great is that it is still able to be folded and maintains a lightweight feel.
While these boards can handle a rough beating, it is still ideal to use a SUP board bag to provide further protection. These bags also make transporting your SUP super easy. If you have to hike to your favorite beach simply throw your board into a bag and you have both hands free to hike and climb.
Q: Can I Use My Foot Pump To Inflate My Paddle Board?
Yes you can. Some boards come with a pump which has a gauge on it. If yours didn’t we strongly recommend getting a pump that has one. Every board has a different limit of how much air they can handle. This is usually around 15 PSI. You will find that when you first pumping your board will inflate effortlessly. But as you reach 12 PSI it will get harder and harder to get to that elusive 15 PSI. Without a gauge telling you your board is fully inflated you can overinflate it which can cause it to pop or seams to become weak. An underinflated board will not perform nearly as good either. It can bend in weird ways and not be responsive in ways you need it to be.
Q: How Do I Clean My Inflatable Paddle Board?
Cleaning and maintaining your SUP is important. Many people think this is only needed when taking it through salt water but it is important to do so after use in fresh water as well. There are many microbes in lakes that will cause mildew to grow on your board. A thorough rinse is all you need using the fresh water from your hose. Be sure to pay close attention to any metals on your board that are prone to rust. This is especially important around your fins and where your leash attaches.
Many people hose their board off forgetting about the other water accessories they use. Rinsing your paddle, leash and pads you use is important as well. This will allow your gear to last for much longer and allow your money to go further. Be sure to always rinse your life vest as well. This can be done with a hose or for a deeper clean you can rinse in a tub of 10 parts water to 1 part bleach. After rinsing your board allow it to fully air dry before putting into your paddle board bag. This will reduce the chance of mold growing. Limit the exposure to the sunlight by allowing your board to dry in the shade and storing out of direct sunlight.
Q: How Do I Locate A Leak In My Paddle Board?
Your paddle board is large and locating a small leak can be challenging. Running your hand over to feel air blowing works. If this doesn’t work, a better way is to fill your SUP with some air and then put it below the water and look for bubbles. As these are designed to float be sure not to fully inflate and hold specific sections below the surface so you can easily locate the leak.
Q: How Can I Patch My Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board?
Most iSUPs come with a patch kit that will give you everything you need to repair your board. A patch as well as a stick of heavy duty glue help to ensure that your board rides like new again after patching. Simply place the patch over the hole and thoroughly secure it with the marine grade glue provided.
Q: What PSI Do I Inflate My Paddle Board To?
Every board will have a different recommended PSI. Most boards will be around 15 but can vary depending on their size and width. Be sure to not overinflate your board as it can cause havoc on the seals and seams.
Globo Surf Overview
We love when our exercise is more fun than tedious. Paddling is much like escaping to the mountains for the weekend, a great experience for your mind and body. Breathe the fresh air and paddle to the middle of the lake with confidence. You can go where you’ve never been before with the help of these paddle boards.
The iSUP boards on our list will ensure your weekend trip is full of fun. These inflatable stand up paddle boards will be the life of the party. All of the inflatable sup boards are made of durable PVC material and are stable and rigid when fully inflated. The feeling of walking on water will be hard to get used to in the beginning so kneeling to start is often a great idea.
The beauty of having the best inflatable SUP is that you can bring it with you anywhere. Having the best inflatable sup board is not just great for storage but will prove much more useful as you can stuff it into your luggage and bring it just about anywhere.
More Paddle Reviews:
- SUP For PDF
- Electric Pump For SUP
- SUP Accessories
- Touring Paddle Board
- SUP Leash
- Jimmy Styks Paddle Board
- Gifts For Paddleboarders
- Aqua Marina Paddle Board
- Paddle Board Fishing Accessories
- Hala Paddle Board
Have one the best inflatable paddle boards on our list? Let us know how you like it in the comments below.