Best Stand Up Paddle Boards – Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

If you're looking to buy your first paddle board or looking to upgrade to something better, you're in the right place.

This buyer's guide is designed to help walk you through the process of choosing the best paddle board for your situation.

We will go over what goes into choosing a paddle board, the best paddle board for different scenarios, and the best products in each category.

So let's get started!

Here is the outline of this somewhat cumbersome post, just click any link to jump to that section of the article.

Board

Summary

Tahoe SUP Stand Up Paddlecraft

Tahoe SUP Stand Up Paddlecraft

Best General Use Paddle Board

Overall Rating - 4.5/5

The Paddlecraft is an allaround paddle board, so it is great for those who are just starting out and can be used in a variety of situations. This particular board is large and stable enough to work well as a yoga or fishing paddle board.


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Isle Versa Epoxy Standup Paddle Board

Isle Versa Epoxy Standup Paddle Board

Best Yoga Paddle Board

Overall Rating - 4/5

When it comes to using a paddle board for yoga, stability is the #1 factor to consider. The Versa is one of the most stable boards for its size that we have ever used. It did well in choppy, rough conditions and is suitable for basic yoga.


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BOTE HD

BOTE HD

Best Fishing Paddle Board

Overall Rating - 5/5

The BOTE HD is an incredible paddle board by all accounts. Just looking at it, you can tell it has more to offer than any other paddle board you've seen. The storage options for this board are great for fishing.


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KM Hawaii Aloha

KM Hawaii Aloha

Best Ocean Paddle Board

Overall Rating - 3.5/5

The KM Hawaii Aloha t is stable, but it also gives the rider the freedom to cut through waves. You get this eerie combination of stability and fun from this board that is unmatched.


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NRS Thrive

NRS Thrive

Best Inflatable Paddle Board

Overall Rating - 4/5

The NRS Thrive paddle board, like many other inflatables, uses a PVC drop-stitch. This gives it incredible durability, equal to that of just about any traditional, hard paddle board.


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SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Best Budget/Cheap Paddle Board

Overall Rating - 3.5/5

The SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board is definitely a great value for its price point. The actual board is 30” wide, which is on the wide side, so it will be very stable and good for beginners and experienced riders alike.


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Choosing a Paddle Board

A paddle board is not a small investment. You want to make sure you are making the best purchase decision possible. This is especially true if you are planning on purchasing a board online. Here is what you need to consider when choosing a paddle board.

SUP Board Size Guide

The first question you may ask yourself is "what size paddle board do I need?". This is where most people start.

In general, the bigger you are, the bigger board you are going to need. Board capacity will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but here are a few general guidelines to use as a benchmark. You can use a board thats too big for you, but not normally the other way around.

Board Length

Width

Weight Limit

10'

31"

Up to 240lbs

11'

32"

Up to 275lbs

12'

32"

Up to 300lbs

15'

56"

Up to 1050lbs

Should You Consider an Inflatable Paddle Board?

Inflatable paddle board

In short, yes. At first, the idea of an inflatable paddle board may be off-putting, but I can tell you, they are incredibly sturdy and durable. There are many benefits to opting for an inflatable paddle board over a traditional one. Most notably, inflatable paddle boards are much easier to transport, store, and are generally just easier to own.

Cost/Value

When making such a large purchase, the price is always going to be a factor. You need to be honest with yourself about how often you are going to be using your new paddle board. Once a month? A few times a year? Every week? Depending on how frequently you plan on using the board will help you determine how high quality of a board you need.

I am a big proponent of looking at value rather than price. If a particular board is only slightly more expensive than the alternatives, but is much higher quality and has more features, go with that one because you get more value for your money. This is especially true if you're going to be using your board often and need it to hold up for a long time.

Types of Paddle Boards

Another essential thing to consider when choosing a new paddle board, or buying one for the first time is the type of board. There are three core types of paddle boards:

  • Surf-Style
  • All Around
  • Flat Water

Surf-style paddle boards are generally much shorter, have a more narrow nose are more curved than all around or flat water boards. As the name suggests, these types of boards are best used in the surf. The shape of the board makes them much more maneuverable in rough water, but are much slower. These make for the best ocean paddle boards.

>> You May Also Like: Learn More About Wakesurf Boards

All around paddle boards typically have more girth than surf-style boards. They are more versatile, stable, and are the best option for beginners. Their claim to fame is that they are good in just about every scenario, but they are the best at none. They are great if you want something you can take anywhere for fun, but aren't trying to compete for speed or style. (If you're a beginner, you may want to check out other options for beginners.)

Flat water boards are best used on flat water. This can be down a river, open ocean paddling, on a lake, or anywhere that doesn't have much surf. They generally slice through the water more efficiently than all around boards. They are generally wide enough for beginners but are best left to those with at least some experience paddle boarding.

Best Paddle Board Brands

Now that you know the type of board you're looking for let's talk about who to buy them from.

We will dig into the 'best of the best' later in the article, but the following companies have a history of producing top quality products. So, if you find none of the boards on this list are right for you, you at least know an alternative by any of these companies will be great as well.

Just a side note - we were not paid or asked to mention any of these companies, they earned their spot on this list by creating awesome products.

Bote boards Logo

BOTE - BOTE is a company with roots in water sports. Their products are generally more expensive, but the quality is phenomenal. Their boards are known for being stable enough to fish from, but light enough to paddle efficiently.

Tahoe SUP - Originating on Lake Tahoe, Tahoe SUP was actually the first company to design the paddle boards we know and love today. At the time, stand up paddle boards were still in their infancy and a company hadn't really come along yet to create a good one. Since then, Tahoe SUP has solidified itself as one of the best stand up paddle board companies around.

Isle Logo

Isle - Their slogan is "surf. paddle. explore". Makes sense for a paddle boarding company. Isle listens to their customers feedback on products and is known for pushing out new models that are always aimed to please. Part of their company mission is to ride the boards they create, so they stand behind their products.

Now that you know the type of paddle board you want, and who you can trust, lets get into the good stuff.

Best Paddle Board For General Use

If you are looking for a paddle board that can do a little bit of everything, then you probably want a good all around, general use paddle board. Here's our top pick in that category:

On Sale 7th November 2018

Tahoe SUP Stand Up Paddlecraft

Creating products that have the perfect combination of innovation and function is the core of Tahoe SUP. The Paddlecraft embodies these ideals with its durable, versatile design.

The Paddlecraft is an allaround paddle board, so it is great for those who are just starting out and can be used in a variety of situations. This particular board is large and stable enough to work well as a yoga or fishing paddle board.

It has a 300 lb capacity, front and rear mounts for gear, a keel displacement hull for excellent tracking and glide; deck plugs so you can customize the board for your needs and a ton of other great features that make this board stand out from the crowd.

The construction of the board utilizes Tahoe SUPs proprietary Koreguard. This hybrid construction process uses thermoformed ABS sheets as well as composite materials to create an incredibly durable, abrasion resistant and maintenance-free board. The process of creating this board also greatly reduces the amount of materials needed, allows for the ABS cutoffs to be recycled, and creates a board that will last you for decades.

Choosing the best all around paddle board should be an extremely difficult task because it is a very common design and there are thousands of boards to choose from. However, the Tahoe SUP Paddlecraft was a somewhat easy choice. In its price range, it is easily the best you can get. There are more expensive options with more features, but the Paddlecraft is arguably a better value.

To check out this board and more like it, click here.

Best Paddle Board For Yoga

There is an entire sub-market for people who like to use paddle boards for yoga, so this guide wouldn't be complete without touching on that subject. If you are looking for a paddle board specifically for use with yoga, here's our top pick:

Isle Versa Epoxy Standup Paddle Board

When it comes to a great yoga paddle board at an excellent value, the Isle Versa is clearly the best option. It retails at about half the price of comparable boards but can hold its own.

When it comes to using a paddle board for yoga, stability is the #1 factor to consider. The Versa is one of the most stable boards for its size that we have ever used. It did well in choppy, rough conditions and is suitable for basic yoga.

This board is an average weight, making it reasonably easy to carry around, but not the best. You will be able to carry it with one hand, lift it onto your cargo rack and anywhere you need to store it.

The Isle Versa is also a great all around paddle board and can be used for things other than yoga. It does lack some of the storage capacity, which is the reason it wasn't the top choice in that category. However, if you want to paddle down the river on Saturday and get your Shavasana in on Sunday, this is by far the best value you're going to find anywhere.

Best Fishing Paddle Board

Using a paddle board for fishing comes with a whole different set of demands from a board. A fishing paddle board arguably needs to be more stable than a yoga paddle board, and include more areas to store gear. This being said, getting a good fishing paddle board will not come cheap, so just be aware of that.

BOTE HD

Using a paddle board for fishing comes with a whole different set of demands from a board. A fishing paddle board arguably needs to be more stable than a yoga paddle board, and include more areas to store gear. This being said, getting a good fishing paddle board will not come cheap, so just be aware of that.

The BOTE HD is an incredible paddle board by all accounts. Just looking at it, you can tell it has more to offer than any other paddle board you've seen.

It is made of fiberglass, so it is incredibly durable and will be a board you keep for years. Some of the key features that make this board great for fishing include the protruding forward nose with allows it to glide incredibly efficiently through the water. The front of this board almost makes it look like a small kayak. It also has side channels with help with the displacement of water to keep the board stable and quiet, which are essential for fishing.

The storage options for this board are great for fishing. You get front and rear tie downs, as well as a stash pod so you can keep your keys or a drink safely stored on the deck of the board.

The front of the board is actually raised slightly, and this helps keep your gear dry, and also allows for a recessed area for the rider to stand. The foam standing area on this board is extremely comfortable and water/heat resistant.

>> You May Also Like: Affordable Fishing Kayaks

Best Ocean Paddle Board

When looking for an ocean paddle board, you want something stable enough to handle the surf, but in most cases, you also want something with enough maneuverability to rip the waves. Here's our pick for the best ocean paddle board.

On Sale 7th November 2018

KM Hawaii Aloha

When looking for an ocean paddle board, you want something stable enough to handle the surf, but in most cases, you also want something with enough maneuverability to rip the waves.

The KM Hawaii Aloha is that board. Technically speaking, it is categorized as an allaround board, but its performance in the ocean is phenomenal.

This board is made of Bollistech, with is a trademarked hybrid construction process. It is basically a polycarbonate fiberglass over an epoxy foam and fiberglass core. This construction makes the KM Hawaii Aloha impact and scratch resistant, which is useful when going up against the surf.

The Aloha ultimately snagged the spot as the #1 ocean paddle board for a few reasons. Most importantly, it is stable, but it also gives the rider the freedom to cut through waves. You get this eerie combination of stability and fun from this board that is unmatched.

As far as 11' boards go, this one is pretty lightweight. At only 30lbs, it can easily be carried to and from the beach and shouldn't give you any issues storing it. 

Best Inflatable Paddle Board

If you're new to paddle boarding, the idea of an inflatable paddle board may sound insane. It definitely did to me at first. The idea of paying a decent sum of money for something "inflatable" sounded like a ridiculous waste. However, inflatable paddle boards are actually quite durable and can take a beating. You would have to come after this thing with a machete and intentionally try to damage it for there to be any issues.

Now, with that being said here's our pick for the best inflatable paddle board.

NRS Thrive

The benefits of an inflatable paddle board far outweigh the potential concerns. With an inflatable, storage and transportation is incredibly simple. The NRS Thrive paddle board, like many other inflatables, uses a PVC drop-stitch. This gives it incredible durability, equal to that of just about any traditional, hard paddle board.

One thing we really liked about this board is how thick it is. This means that it is very stable in all conditions. It is an all around paddle board that can be used anywhere.

To inflate the board, you use the included pump and add air until it is at 20 PSI. This high PSI, coupled with the thick stitching makes this a very durable, hard board for an inflatable.

The NRS Thrive can handle up to 250lbs and comes bundled with accessories. However, it does not come with a paddle so if you're considering this option, make sure you buy that separately.

If you are open to the idea of trying out an inflatable paddle board, I really urge you to give the NRS Thrive a try. As far as inflatables go, it is the most durable and the most stable in its price range.

Best Budget/Cheap Paddle Board

There is nothing wrong with being on a budget. In fact, most people only have around $500 or less to spend on a paddle board. We get it. Even if you agree that the boards mentioned above are amazing, they might not be in your budget. If you want to spend under $500 for a paddle board, here's your best bet:

SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

The SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board is definitely a great value for its price point. Just looking at the other reviews it gets online, you can tell this board is special.

It is an inflatable paddle board and comes with a full kit with everything you need to get in the water. The actual board is 30” wide, which is on the wide side, so it will be very stable and good for beginners and experienced riders alike.

This board comes with 3 fins, which helps improve speed, handling, and overall maneuverability. You can ride this board down the river or through choppy ocean water without any issues.

The deck of the board is covered in a non-slip material which is comfortable to stand on for long periods. However, it doesn't repel water very well, so it could get slippery if you get water on top of the board.

Overall, this board is probably the best value on the whole list. Coming in at under $500 and being such a high-quality product makes it stand out from the crowd. If you want the best of the best, consider one of the other boards listed here, but if you want something inexpensive that will get the job done, the SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board is an excellent choice.