The official start of summer is just about here and, if you’re anything like us, you’ve got your mind on the water. Maybe you’re just starting to get into stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) and you’re looking for a great board, or perhaps you’re a serious paddler scoping out some surf or race paddleboards, either way we have a rundown of some of the very best options out there.
We consulted two experts in making our picks. Bill Cochrane is the owner of Nalu Standup Paddle and Surf in Rocky River, Ohio and Mike Vaughan is the owner of Pro SUP Shop in Marina Del Rey, Calif. Both Cochrane and Vaughan are passionate about the water and great gear to help you enjoy it. Get on board with the fastest growing water sport and check out the best boards of 2015.
Surftech Generator AST
A popular board, the Generator earned a spot on both of our expert’s lists. The versatile board “comes in 9’6, 10’6, and 11’6 lengths assuring a size for almost every paddler and also comes in different constructions to hit all price points and performance levels,” said Cochrane. Made with the top priorities of comfort and stability, the Generator is “a great board for adding a child or a dog (maybe a cat if it can swim),” said Cochrane.
surftech.com; starting at $949
Boardworks Super Natural
If you’re looking for great stability on flat water, the Super Natural series is a top choice for Bill Cochrane, owner of Nalu Standup Paddle and Surf in Rocky River, Ohio. The 34” wide board is stable enough to practice yoga on, he said. “The high volume means bigger paddlers can get out and enjoy the water [and] you can get on this board without breaking the bank.”
boardworkssurf.com; starting at $999
This sturdy board is made tough, but handles easy. “You can really get anyone on that board,” said Mike Vaughan, owner of Pro SUP Shop in Marina Del Rey, Calif. The classic shape and durable construction make this a top recreation board.
surftech.com; starting at $999
Made with Carbon Fiber, Fiberglass, Bamboo, and a layer of Riviera’s proprietary material SYNTEK, the Select series comes in two sizes (10’6 and 11’6) and is a great board for the serious paddler who wants to go the distance. “It has all the bells and whistles,” said Vaughan. “It’s built strong and tough.”
If you’re looking for a board that can shred, take a closer look at the CMLB boards from Hobie, said Vaughan. The boards that come in two sizes (9’ and 9’8) were made with some help from the legendary Longboard World Champion Colin McPhillips. Lightweight, high-performance board is a favorite among aggressive paddlers.
hobie.com; starting at $1,350
“My pick is the F-One Manawa series,” said Cochrane, who also added that, “yes, you can surf on a lake.” The MANAWA comes in four different sizes, with “a nice width to length ratio [that] assures some stability. The full nose adds to the stability making it easier to navigate the chop prior to catching your wave. Not to mention—it’s a great looking board.”
f-one.quivers.com; starting at $1,639
“Built on Maui the SIC boards have battled the crossings of the Hawaiian Islands,” said Cochrane. “The X-12 and X-14 come in 2 different constructions – TWC (Tuff Wood Carbon) and SCC (Single Carbon Composite). These boards combine stability with a ‘wave piercing bow’ which will cut through choppy conditions while reducing drag in flat water.”
sicmaui.com; starting at $1,699
This narrow board comes from a legacy of endurance racing and, according to Vaughan, it’s one of the very best models from a top-of-the-line brand. This board, made for elite distance paddlers, was designed by a big name in racing—Joe Bark. If speed is your top priority, this is the board for you, but those just starting to race might opt for more stability on another of the Bark models, like the Competitor, said Vaughan.
Note: All photos are from the websites listed.