Best Inflatable Paddleboard – In-depth Reviews

The Benefits of SUPs

Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboards give users the best of both worlds. They are extremely portable with most being able to fit into a backpack or duffle bag. If you are someone who doesn’t live right on the water or travels frequently then you will love the flexibility an inflatable paddleboard offers.

If you have no previous experience with inflatable paddleboards you may imagine them as something more along the lines of a cheap inflatable raft, but in actuality an inflatable paddleboard that is filled to the proper air pressure is hard to distinguish from the real deal. It is amazing how hard these boards are, yet they can pack away in a small bag and be easily transported. In my opinion the sturdiness of these boards combined with that portability makes them an even better purchase over their standard solid board counterpart. I love the flexibility my paddleboard offers me. I have flown all over the country with my paddleboard and have been able to paddle in some of the coolest places all due to the fact that I decided to go with an inflatable.

Comparison Chart of the Top Inflatable SUPs

PictureNameLengthWidthThicknessWeightlimitPrice
PictureNameLengthWidthThicknessWeightlimitPrice
Tower Adventurer9'1032 inches6 inches350 lbs$699
Tower Xplorer14 ft32 inches8 inches700 lbs$899
Solstice Bali10 ft 8 in29.5 inches6 inches250 lbs$443
Isle10 ft31 inches6 inches200 lbs$649
Airhead AHSUP-110 ft 6 in30 inches4 inches225 lbs$525

 

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My Absolute Favorite Paddleboard

Before I invested in a paddleboard I did quite a bit of research on the various boards available and even tried a few of them out to experience firsthand the differences between them all.

In the end I decided that my best option was to go with a tower paddleboard. First of all if you are a fan of the television show “Shark Tank” you may have seen the founder of the company strike a deal with billionaire Mark Cuban on the show. With that said, this national television exposure has really elevated the tower brand within the paddleboard community.

As you can see in the chart above, Tower makes two different inflatables. I personally own the 14-foot paddleboard. When trying out the various different boards first hand I realized how much I liked the added length. Not only can I fit both my girlfriend and dog on the board, but even if it’s just me I can sit down and easily move around the board.

Types of Paddleboards

Most paddleboards come in two different styles that are designed to cater to different types of use. The first type of paddleboard is the all arounder. The all arounder has a rounder design and is typically between 10 – 12 feet in length. This is typically the most common board used by beginners. These boards are usually only going to be able to hold one person, but will be fairly easy to navigate.

The other popular style of paddleboard is the touring or racing board. Touring boards have a pointed nose, which gives them the ability to cut through the water with much more ease. If you’re looking for speed or to compete in races then you will definitely need to a purchase a board with a touring design. These boards are typically much larger in size and have a much high weight capacity. This means that these boards will easily handle two riders. I’ve seen a family with two small children all ride on one 14 ft touring board.

Can you surf with a paddleboard?

The short answer is yes! With that said, it is important to take into consideration the wave conditions if you plan on taking you’re inflatable paddleboard out for a surfing session. These boards are basically long board surfboards and are great for a smooth cruise through the ocean waves. If you want to surf bigger waves you’re probably better off sticking with a traditional short surfboard, which will allow you to turn and handle the waves with a little more ease. Check out the videos below to see inflatable paddleboards surfers in action.

Difference between surfboard and paddleboard

Some people are easily confused as to the differences between a stand-up paddleboard and a regular longboard surfboard. While you can use a longboard as a paddleboard, they aren’t designed with this purpose in mind. SUPs are wider than a traditional longboard, which helps to give the rider more balance. Paddleboards are also designed to give better buoyance than a traditional surfboard.

How easy is it?

Paddleboarding is one of the easier water sports to take up. It’s not uncommon to see very young children out on the water paddling. I find that the key is the size of the board. For absolute beginners I recommend starting with the largest board possible. By using a larger board you will feel a lot more stable standing above the water. I also like bigger boards because you can easily fit more than one person on them at a time. Perhaps you have a friend who is an experienced paddleboarder, if so they can easily jump on with you and show you the ropes. To be honest though you really won’t need an instructor. Just get out on the water and give it a go. You may fall the first couple of times, but within less than an hour you’ll be a seasoned professional. Once you’ve found your balance paddleboarding starts to feel the same as kayaking. A simple paddle stroke and you are off on an adventure.

Is it a good workout?

Yes! In my opinion paddleboarding is one of the best workouts out there not only because of the large amount of calories you’ll burn, but also because of the fun you’ll have doing it. The excerise benefits of paddleboarding are similar to that of kayaking or canoeing, but you have to take into account the added benefit of keeping your balance on the board. By trying to stabilize yourself on the board you engage you core muscles. This added benefits makes paddleboarding an amazing upper body and core workout. The amount of calories you burn will depend on a variety of factors, but those who are on a mission to burn with a serious stroke can expect to burn around 800 – 1000 calories per hour. If you are just moderately cruising along then you can expect to burn around 400 – 500 calories per hour. Either way you’ll be having a blast while shedding the pounds. A somewhat smaller board will also help burn more calories, because of the extra effort required to stay balanced.

Another added benefit of paddleboarding over some of the more traditional cardio excerises such as running or jumping rope would be the impact on your body. Paddleboarding is considered a low-impact sport, which means that it is easy on your joints. While running is great for your heart, it can have negative effects on your knees and other body parts. That isn’t the case with paddleboarding, which is one of the main reasons why it is my go to workout.

Final Thoughts

Stand Up Paddleboarding is amazing activity that anyone can enjoy. While a traditional board may be a little more durable , the ability to easily transport these high quality inflatable boards makes them a much better option. Inflatable boards allow you access to explore many different regions and waterways whenever your travels make take you. In addition, the workout benefits have been unbelievable, and I’m not the gym type whatsoever. Above I have outlined my favorite board, but all of the ones mentioned in the chart above are extremely high quality. Hope to see you on the water!