The best inflatable paddle board

From bestreviews.com
By
Sian Babish
BestReviews

Prior to embarking on your next paddle board excursion, make sure the pump is operating correctly so you don’t need to troubleshoot once you arrive at the river or beach.

If you enjoy water sports, you might be thinking of trying SUP, or stand-up paddle boarding. Fiberglass paddle boards can be expensive, especially if you're new to the sport. To enjoy it on a budget without skimping on fun or function, an inflatable paddle board is often the way to go.

Despite their affordable price, inflatable paddle boards feature rugged construction to withstand a variety of water conditions. Bring them to your favorite beach or river and cut through the water while mastering your balance. Some inflatable paddle boards are even long enough for a second passenger for twice the fun.

Give our buying guide a read to find an inflatable paddle board that suits you. We're including our top recommendations at the end, such as our favorite, Hala's Carbon Playa Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board. This stiff inflatable board is perfect for riding the waves or doing yoga on the water.

Considerations when choosing inflatable paddle boards

Inflatable vs. fiberglass paddle boards

The main difference between inflatable and fiberglass paddle boards is their portability. Inflatable paddle boards are collapsible, whereas fiberglass designs are rigid and can be harder to carry. Inflatable boards are also much lighter than fiberglass boards, making them a preferred option if you intend to walk a reasonable distance to the river or beach.

Riding alone vs. with a passenger

Depending on the length and weight capacity of the inflatable paddle board, you might be able to ride with a passenger. On average, boards can support a distributed weight between 500 and 800 pounds. If you intend to ride alone, however, you may prefer a shorter paddle board that is easier to control.

Basic package accessories

In addition to the inflatable board and paddle, you often receive a carry case and pump. Not all carry cases are waterproof, so if you have to wear it while you paddle, keep in mind it might get saturated. As far as pumps go, you usually receive a hand pump, though some more expensive sets include bicycle pumps.

Popular types of inflatable paddle boards

Touring: Casual riders enjoy touring paddle boards, as they offer a reasonable degree of versatility. These boards can be taken in flat or choppy waters, and it's fairly easy to learn how to control them. Touring paddle boards are recommended for beginning riders.

Surfing: Surfing paddle boards are thick and narrow to masterfully cut through ocean waves. They require a bit more experience for successful riding. They lack the stability of other boards, and it's more challenging to maneuver and control them.

Racing: Racing paddle boards are usually reserved for competitive use, though they can be enjoyed by individuals outside of tournament settings. These streamlined boards are long and narrow and feature V-shaped hulls to cut through water.

Fishing: Fishing paddle boards are thicker, more stable, and more buoyant than other types of boards. Many of these designs feature removable mounts for rods. Not only are they much easier to carry to the beach, river, or lake, they're a remarkably inexpensive alternative to regular boats.

Price

Inflatable paddle boards priced below $1,000 include beginner-friendly designs with basic features. Experienced riders may prefer boards priced closer to $1,500, as they have more features geared toward improved maneuverability. Those that cost $2,000 and above include brand new designs equipped with the latest technology.

FAQ

Q. Can I bring my dog as a passenger on my inflatable paddle board?

A. Absolutely, and in fact, many boards advertise their dog-friendly features. Provided your dog is trained and comfortable in water, feel free to bring your furry friend on your inflatable paddle board excursions. You may want to purchase a dog life vest as well.

Q. Can I leave my paddle board inflated?

A. You can, as long as you make sure it's adequately inflated before each excursion. Some users prefer leaving the board inflated if they have room in their vehicle; it saves time on trips since you don't need to pump the board before heading into the water.

Inflatable paddle boards we recommend

Best of the Best: Hala's Carbon Playa Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Our take: Designed with beachgoers in mind, this high-performance board uses Carbon Construction technology to give you extra rigidity to take on the waves.

What we like: Feels like a hardboard, making it easier to ride. Rolls up in an included backpack. EVA deck pad offers extra traction for those who want to do yoga on the water. Has 8 rigging points for all your things.

What we dislike: Comes with a high price tag. 

Best bang for your buck: SereneLife's Premium Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Our take: Budget-conscious and well-made option for all skill levels.

What we like: Terrific maneuverability for a smooth ride on lakes, rivers, or the ocean. Includes all the accessories you need, such as air pump, carrying bag, and patch repair kit. Has three fins for extra speed.

What we dislike: Paddle made of aluminum sinks easily.

Choice 3: Red Paddle Co.'s Voyager Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board

Our take: Well-designed board that's made extra wide and long so you can bring a child or your dog along for the ride.

What we like: Board is thick enough to handle rough water with ease. Its 12.5-foot length is enough room for a child to sit in front. Includes a high-quality pump. Sleek and modern color scheme.

What we dislike: Might be unnecessarily long for solo users.

Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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