7 Best Inflatable Paddle Boards in 2020
Inflatable SUP boards are one reason for the rocket-like rise of Stand Up Paddling. From the water sports, which in the early 2010s still dabbled in its niche existence, to one of the most famous water sports. The trend really started in the United States, but in the meantime stand up paddlers can be found on all kinds of waters worldwide.
From the first inflatables, which still had to struggle with considerable shortcomings, to today’s models, great progress has been made in terms of robustness, durability and stiffness. With the “air mattresses”, when the inflatable SUP boards were scorned in the beginning, the modern inflatable SUPs have nothing to do anymore. It is no wonder that inflatables now account for 95 to 98% of all SUP boards sold.
Inflatables are especially suitable for beginners, as they are low priced and often come in complete sets, which already include all the basic equipment for stand up paddling.
Inflatable SUP boards are not only suitable for SUP beginners. Meanwhile there are Inflatables for all possible fields of application. From inflatable beginner SUP boards to inflatable touring SUP boards to inflatable Yoga SUP boards, everything is included.
With the increasing popularity of the sport and especially the inflatable SUP boards, the number of available models has also increased. Every season more manufacturers were added. Especially for beginners it is difficult to get an overview. A good orientation can therefore be this best list, in which models are listed, which already convinced in an inflatable SUP board test or otherwise in practice.
Inflatable Stand Up Paddling Boards are a relatively new development and yet the easily transportable, affordable boards have already convinced thousands of beginners and advanced paddlers.
The market is literally flooded with iSUPs. That’s why we have listed a number of really good inflatable SUP boards in our best list. The latest models are very durable, have a high load capacity and still fit in a SUP backpack. In the following we will take a closer look at the presented boards
The best inflatable Stand Up Paddling Boards
|SereneLife Inflatable Stand Up|
|Roc Inflatable Stand Up Paddle|
|Premium Inflatable Stand Up Paddle|
|Goplus 10' Inflatable Stand Up|
|Goosehill Inflatable Stand Up|
|Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board -|
|Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board|
Guide: Buying the right inflatable SUP Board
In the following we will discuss a number of characteristics that should be considered when selecting a suitable SUP board.
The load capacity indicates the maximum weight the board can carry. This figure is one of the most important and determines which iSUPs are suitable for you. It is important to calculate the total weight. In addition to the body weight, the SUP accessories (paddle, leash, drybag, etc.), possibly wet clothes, the water bottle and other provisions are added.
Special boards are designed for riding with several people or SUP with dog. Especially for these uses, a sufficiently large load must be ensured. This must also be taken into account for SUP boards for children. Although the small boards are well suited for young teenagers, they may become too small as the children grow up.
A speciality are Fishing SUP Boards, because the additional load of the rod, the other fishing equipment and the caught fish is quite high and increases during a long fishing day. As a rule, these types of boards are therefore particularly sturdily built and offer a particularly high carrying capacity.
The dead weight of the board can mean different things. A heavy board could be built from heavier, more robust materials, which would be positive in itself. But it also means that the SUP board would be more difficult to transport.
The additional weight of the backpack with the board makes long walks especially difficult. However, the trend in current models is to build lighter and lighter boards that still offer a high degree of robustness.
Nowadays an above-average weight is no longer a sign of a robust board, which is particularly good due to the additional use of materials. Quite the opposite: The really good SUP manufacturers are constantly researching new production methods that provide more and more stability and reduce weight at the same time.
For a long time, thickness was the focus when it came to the quality class of SUP boards. The background is that the first iSUPS only measured 4 inch (10 cm) in thickness. The problem was that due to this low thickness, the first inflatable boards often bend in the middle.
It was not until around the year 2014 that 6 inch (15 cm) thick SUP boards appeared in larger quantities. Nowadays, this kind of boards are ubiquitous and there are hardly any manufacturers left who stick to the 10 cm thick models.
The thicker iSUPs fit much more air in, which has two advantages: On the one hand this provides more buoyancy and thus a higher load capacity. On the other hand, these boards are much more robust, which ensures a more stable stand.
A small plus is also that the thicker inflatable SUP boards are more difficult to flood with water and the feet stay rather dry. If you want to buy an inflatable SUP Board today, you should pay attention to a thickness of 15 cm. We strongly advise against narrow boards with a thickness of only 10 cm. Also in a SUP Board Test 15 cm thick boards the others mostly hang out.
length and width
The length and width are two points that must always be considered together. Only in combination can driving characteristics be derived from them. Because there is not only one kind of Stand Up Paddling Boards. In fact the boards are divided into different board classes, each of which shines in different areas of use.
The best known types of SUP boards are
Allrounders: Typical beginner boards, which are suitable for various applications.
Touring: Longer boards with a good directional stability that are ideal for touring.
Fishing: Wide SUP boards for fishing, which offer plenty of space for fishing equipment and are often equipped with fishing rod holders.
Yoga: Wide boards without central carrying handle with an extra large deck pad.
Whitewater: Wide boards, which are extremely robust to withstand collisions. Additional carrying handles allow you to hold on to the board on particularly challenging passages.
The width determines how safely the board lies in the water. Even a few centimetres can make a difference here. A good orientation when it comes to evaluating length and width is the typical all-rounder. On average, Allround boards measure 320 cm in length and 80 cm in width.
A board that is only 75 cm wide lies noticeably wobblier in the water than a SUP that measures 80 cm in width. The same applies to Yoga Boards, which are often 83 cm or even wider, and therefore offer a high degree of stability.
SUP boards for beginners usually measure 78 cm or more in width. Touring and Race SUP boards are built narrower, at least relative to their length, which means that the boards are somewhat more unstable in the water. Here the principle of running stability comes into play (just like when riding a bike). In the beginning the Touring SUP lies a little bit unstable in the water. But if you build up speed with some strong paddle strokes, the board runs very stable and doesn’t wobble anymore.
The length has an influence on the straight running. Long Race and Touring boards offer good directional stability and the paddle side needs to be changed less often. The manoeuvrability is reduced a little bit, but especially on touring boards straight pieces make up the biggest part of the track anyway.
Shorter boards are much more agile, which is very important for special applications like surfing with the SUP board. The combination of length and width of course also has a significant influence on the weight, the load and the size of the upper deck, which can also be important for some people.
Most are made of PVC. The robust plastic is durable and can withstand collisions. The material is somewhat susceptible to direct sunlight. For this reason the board should not be left in the sun for an entire day on the beach. And also when choosing a suitable storage location, care should be taken that there is no direct sunlight.
More important than the specific plastic is the production process used. The drop stitch process is the current standard. In this production process several PVC layers are joined together, which on the one hand increases stability and on the other hand does not make the boards too heavy.
In addition to the general characteristics, you should also pay attention to a number of other factors. The little extras will pay off during your SUP career. For example, most SUP boards are equipped with a luggage net, which can be used on longer tours to carry a water bottle, a waterproof backpack or a drybag.
A good SUP board also has numerous D-rings. Additional equipment such as a kayak seat can be attached to the oval-shaped metal rings. Another thing are the fins. Depending on the model, SUPs are equipped with either one or three fins.
In general, a setup with three fins provides more stability, while single-fin SUP boards generally offer better straight-line stability and allow for higher speeds. In the advanced and professional sector, the shape of the fins should also be taken into account, as this also has a significant influence on the riding characteristics.
Another thing is the difference between boards with removable fins and those where the side fins are firmly attached to the SUP. In the latter case it is a bit harder to roll up the board and the fins also break off quickly.
By the way, SUP boards use either (partly manufacturer-specific) connector systems) or the US fin box system, which is already known from surfing.
An inflatable SEA need not cost a fortune. We are not one of those people who advise even beginners to buy 1000€ expensive brand boards. Even really good SUP boards are available for much lower amounts.
However, it also applies to iSUPs that quality always has its price. This does not necessarily mean that an expensive board is better for you, but chances are high that this board is of higher quality and lasts longer.
SUP boards for beginners are now quite affordable. For newcomers to water sports it is especially practical that they are often delivered in a complete set that already includes the most important accessories. With the high price that the accessories would cost in the individual purchase, one often makes a very good deal with the complete sets. The included basic equipment is sufficient for the beginning, but top products are usually not.
The price of the SUPs also depends strongly on the area of application. The (normal) all-rounders cost the least. But if you are looking for special SUPs for races, SUP Yoga or a WindSUP, you will have to dig deeper into your pocket.
Another factor to consider in terms of price is the warranty period. Some manufacturers demonstrate a high level of confidence in their products by voluntarily offering multi-year guarantees on SUPs.
FAQ: Frequently asked questions about inflatable SUP boards answered
How to choose the right inflatable SUP board?
With the enormous selection, choosing a SUP board is not exactly easy. Basically, however, this does not have to be difficult at all. A good inflatable SUP board offers the right length, width and is designed for the paddler’s body weight.
Furthermore the SUP board should be adjusted to the area of application. So there are different models for SUP Yoga, longer tours or high speed races. Beginners, however, best decide for all-rounders. The Allround SUP boards can be used in many different ways and are suitable for trips over canals, lakes, slow rivers and waters with small waves.
How long do Inflatables last?
The modern inflatable Stand Up Paddling Boards are made of durable materials like PVC. The drop stitch process is often used in production, in which several PVC layers are joined together. This makes the cover very resistant. The Inflatables are so stiff that they won’t bend even if the board is placed on a chair at both ends and you stand in the middle of the board.
The robustness is expressed by the fact that the iSUPs can withstand collisions. The tear-resistant PVC material is also quite resistant to damage from sharp objects. As a result, high-quality Inflatables last for many years.
Some manufacturers are particularly convinced of their own quality and voluntarily offer their own guarantees on the boards they offer. On the one hand this is a great sign of confidence in their own quality, but on the other hand it is also quite practical for customers. In case of damage to the board or production errors, they can count on help for longer.
However, the handling must not be neglected. This has a great influence on how long the inflatable SUP board will last. Especially cheap SUP boards should not be exposed to too much sunlight. The sun could heat up the PVC and warp it.
Correct storage is also crucial. Before storing the SUP Board, it should first be thoroughly cleaned. Then the board is stored in a not too humid environment, without direct sunlight and ideally at room temperature. With a suitable wall or ceiling bracket, space-saving storage in living areas is also possible.
How to clean an inflatable Stand Up Paddling Board?
The cleaning and care of the SUP boards is important. Contrary to widespread belief, a thorough cleaning is also necessary after a tour in fresh water. But this is quite simple. The SUP simply needs to be rinsed with a garden hose after a tour.
Special attention should be paid to the metal D-rings, as they tend to rust. Before storing the SUP, the board should also be given enough time to air dry. This reduces the risk of mold.
To how much PSI is an inflatable SUP board inflated?
The recommended air pressure varies from model to model. For information about your SUP, either refer to the owner’s manual or visit the manufacturer’s website. However, on most boards the ideal air pressure is in the range of 12 to 15 PSI. This corresponds to a pressure of slightly less than one bar.
How do you find a leak in your paddleboard?
With all the caution and robust construction, a leak can always occur. The search for the small hole is not easy. It is best to use the same trick as for bicycle tubes.
Either it is directly possible to locate the escaping air, or the board is placed in the water. The leak is at the place where air bubbles rise. The SUP does not need to be fully inflated for this trick.
How to repair an inflatable SUP Board?
Most inflatable SUP boards come with a repair kit that includes at least one PVC patch and plastic glue. After a thorough cleaning of the area with the leak, simply prepare the patch and the affected area with the PVC adhesive. The PVC patch is placed in the middle of the leak and then smoothed. Additional pressure must be applied for a few minutes. Then the patch is left to dry for a further 24 hours before the Inflatable can be inserted again.
Stand Up Paddling is a great sport and one of the best ways to spend a day on the water. SUP, as we know it today, has been made possible by the great progress in the production processes of the inflatable SUP boards and has come to today’s popularity.
Instead of having to transport a board of more than three meters in length and drag it all the way to the water, the entire equipment including an inflatable SUP board fits into a single large backpack.
Only the comfort in transport and storage as well as the low price of the inflatable SUPs opened the sport to a wider audience. Even people who are not so keen on water sports and do not have a roof rack on their car could easily try out paddling and fall in love with it.
The modern boards are made of durable materials and are very robust. With the increasing popularity of water sports, many new companies have emerged that have developed their own SUP boards, so the market quickly became very confusing.
We therefore hope that our list of the best and this guide have helped you. And now you know better what is important for an inflatable SUP board. And maybe you have already identified a model that suits you.