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The Best Standup Paddleboards of 2024

If you're considering an inflatable standup paddleboard for exploring lakes, rivers, harbors, or even the ocean, check out our list of the best SUPs of the season.
Author Mary in long sleeves and red PFD paddle boarding across flat water lake in British ColumbiaThe author pack-paddleboarding in British Columbia; (Photo/Mary Murphy)
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Standup paddleboarding is one of the fastest-growing water sports of the past decade. The market is flooded with high-quality standup paddleboards, and our buyer’s guide can help you choose the best, whether you are a seasoned paddler or just starting out.

Standup paddleboarding, or SUPing, is the act of standing (or sitting or kneeling) on a solid epoxy or inflatable plastic board tapered at both ends and using a paddle to move through the water. Whether you’re floating on a mellow river or lake, navigating Class 2 rapids, or exploring coastlines, a SUP offers freedom and exposure you don’t get in a boat or kayak.

Paddleboards are similar in shape to a long ocean surfboard but also have fins that are removable or fixed on the bottom, which help the board track well in the water while being steered.

Inflatables, which we focus on here, are a great option because when they’re deflated, they can more easily fit in a closet, trunk, or truck bed. You can even take them on airplanes. Inflatable designs have benefits on the water, too, like durability against rocks or other debris.

Some paddlers use their boards for multiday adventures, while others race, fish, surf ocean waves, do yoga, run whitewater, hike to glacial tarns, or hang out with friends and family at the local reservoir. Our experts take all of these uses and scenarios into account when evaluating paddleboards.

Over the last 3 years, we’ve had the pleasure of testing 15 awesome boards out on lakes and rivers from Colorado to Utah to Texas. Our editors and contributors are constantly seeking out the latest and the greatest to include in our buyer’s guide. 

Below, you’ll find our list of the best inflatable standup paddleboards of 2024. We’ve grouped them into categories to help you find the paddleboard that’s right for you. Be sure to check out the buyer’s guide, FAQ, and comparison chart at the end of this article if you need more help choosing.

Editor’s Note: For our June 14, 2024, update, we’ve covered the Isle Pioneer Pro. This board is exceptionally rigid and stable for an inflatable paddleboard. It’s a great choice for folks who want to carry a lot of gear, paddle with their friends, or even float with their dogs.


The Best Standup Paddleboards of 2024

Best Overall Standup Paddleboard

iRocker Blackfin Model V 12’6″


  • Length 12’6”
  • Width 32"
  • Thickness 6"
  • Weight capacity 485 lbs.
  • Weight 30 lbs.
  • Fin setup 3 removable
  • Tie-down points 20 D-rings, 2 Bungees
  • Features Sand Spear mounting points, seat attachment points, triple-layer PVC construction, reinforced seams
  • Accessories 3-piece paddle, triple-action hand pump, carrying bag
Product Badge The Best Standup Paddleboards of 2024


  • Tandem capacity
  • Fins install without tools
  • Includes repair kit
  • Mounting points for seat


  • Challenging to maneuver when loaded down with all 3 fins attached
  • Not the best board for beginners
Best Budget Standup Paddleboard

BOTE Breeze Aero Classic Inflatable Paddleboard 10’8″


  • Length 10'8"
  • Width 33"
  • Thickness 6"
  • Weight capacity 250 lbs.
  • Weight 20 lbs.
  • Fin setup 2 plus 1 removable center fin
  • Tie-down points 11
  • Features 10-inch removable center fin, center handle for carry, handles on nose and tail, fixed bungee strap on nose, four D-rings on side rails, 1 D-ring on tail
  • Accessories 3-piece paddle, repair kit, hand pump, backpack travel bag
The Best Standup Paddleboards of 2024


  • Relatively lightweight
  • Sturdy
  • Great price


  • Side bite fins are not removable
  • Not the top choice for whitewater adventure
Most Stable Inflatable Paddleboard

Isle Pioneer Pro


  • Length 10’ 6”
  • Width 34”
  • Thickness 6”
  • Weight capacity 300 lbs.
  • Weight 23 lbs.
  • Fin setup Single center fin, removable
  • Tie-down points 6 Point Front, 4 Point Rear Bungee
  • Features Full-Length Traction Pad, Paddle Holder, High Pressure Valve
The Best Standup Paddleboards of 2024


  • Exceptionally rigid for an inflatable SUP
  • ISLE-Link converts to highly adjustable sit-on-top Kayak
  • Spacious storage bag


  • Fin attachment can be tricky at first
Best Standup Paddleboard for Yoga

Boardworks SHUBU Solr


  • Length 10'6"
  • Width 32"
  • Thickness 4.75"
  • Weight capacity 260 lbs.
  • Weight 21 lbs.
  • Fin setup Single fin, removable
  • Tie-down points 4 (D-rings that anchor the bungee strap)
  • Features 3 grab handles
  • Accessories Adjustable 3-piece paddle, backpack roller bag, hand pump, leash, repair kit
The Best Standup Paddleboards of 2024


  • Expansive thick cushion across top
  • Comfortable carry handles


  • Need more tie-down points for multiday trips
  • Not our first choice for whitewater
Best Ultralight Paddleboard

Kokopelli Chasm Lite


  • Length 10'
  • Width 30"
  • Thickness 6"
  • Weight Capacity Unknown
  • Weight 12.9 lbs
  • Fin setup Single
  • Tie down points 4
  • Features EVA deck pad, welded D-rings, bungee
  • Accessories pump, paddle, leash, pack
The Best Standup Paddleboards of 2024


  • Extremely light and packable
  • Great stability and performance for size
  • Easy to pack, portage, and carry
  • Quality paddle
  • Small pump design
  • Carry-on size
  • Great price


  • Only single fin
  • Smaller deck pad area
  • Not most durable
Best of the Rest

iROCKER All-Around 10′ Ultra Paddleboard


  • Length 10'
  • Width 32"
  • Thickness 6"
  • Weight capacity 260 lbs.
  • Weight 19.8 lbs.
  • Fin setup 2-fin, removable
  • Tie-down points 4 D-rings plus front and tail bungees
  • Features 2 removable 2 x 9 in fins, EVA deck pad, offset carry handle in the center plus carry handles on nose and tail, bungee cords on nose and tail
  • Accessories 5-piece carbon paddle, iROCKER 12V Electric Pump , 10-inch coil leash, backpack travel bag
The Best Standup Paddleboards of 2024


  • Anchored bungees are located on both the nose and tail
  • Coil leash included


  • Not a good option for multiple paddlers
  • No manual pump is included

Pau Hana Endurance Air


  • Length 12'
  • Width 30"
  • Thickness 6"
  • Weight capacity 300 lbs.
  • Weight 24 lbs.
  • Fin setup 1
  • Tie-down points 23 D-rings, 23 Seamount attachment points
  • Features PVC drop stitch exterior, double-layer PVC side rails, EVA deck pad
  • Accessories Hand pump, backpack travel bag, paddle
The Best Standup Paddleboards of 2024


  • Large enough for 1-4-day expeditions (carrying rider plus gear)
  • Durable
  • Lots of attachment points
  • Stable when paddling


  • Smaller deck pad area
  • Hard to pump to maximum PSI

Badfish SUP Flyweight


  • Length 10'6"
  • Width 30"
  • Thickness 5"
  • Weight capacity 230 lbs.
  • Weight 18 lbs.
  • Fin setup 2 plus 1, removable
  • Tie-down points 6
  • Features Bungee straps, center handle, handles on nose and tail, unique Velcro strap for water bottle in center, integrated GoPro mount
  • Accessories Hand pump, backpack travel bag, coil leash, multi-piece paddle
The Best Standup Paddleboards of 2024


  • Best for solo paddlers and lighter loads
  • Super lightweight
  • Streamlined and fast


  • Not ideal for carrying multiple paddlers or heavier cargo loads
  • The slightly narrower and leaner design makes the board not as stable in whitewater, wakes, or waves

BOTE WULF Aero 10 ‘4’


  • Length 10'4"
  • Width 34"
  • Weight capacity 250 lbs.
  • Weight 20 lbs.
  • Fin setup 1 removable (10"), 2 fixed
  • Tie-down points 7
  • Features Three carry handles, fixed bungee strap on nose, 1 D-ring on tail
  • Accessories 3-piece aluminum paddle, backpack-style bag, hand pump, coiled leash, repair kit
The Best Standup Paddleboards of 2024(Photo/BOTE)


  • Excellent stability and stiffness
  • Good maneuverability
  • Generous, comfortable, and grippy deck pad
  • Great value


  • Small attached fins get deformed and must be straightened
  • Aluminum paddle prone to damage and is slippery
  • Rudimentary travel bag

Red Paddle Co. MSL 10’6″ Ride SUP


  • Length 10' 6"
  • Width 32"
  • Thickness 4.7"
  • Weight capacity 220 lbs.
  • Weight 21.9 lbs.
  • Fin setup 2-fin, fixed
  • Tie-down points D-ring on tail, 2 elastic straps on nose, 1 adjustable bungee strap with two D-ring anchors
  • Features 3 carry handles, accessories mount
  • Accessories Backpacker roller bag, hand pump
The Best Standup Paddleboards of 2024


  • Super innovative minimal backpack carry system
  • The fins are fixed so travelers don't need to fuss with managing extra accessories


  • Paddle not included
  • Lacks tie-down points for overnighters and heavier loads
  • Fins are not removable (for some paddlers, the lack of adjustability is a downfall)

BOTE HD Aero Inflatable Paddleboard


  • Length 11'6"
  • Width 34"
  • Thickness 6"
  • Weight capacity 315 lbs.
  • Weight 30 lbs.
  • Fin setup 2 plus 1, removable
  • Tie-down points 10 D-rings anchor the bungee straps plus 4 D-rings along sides, D-ring on nose, 2 D-rings on the top
  • Features Bungee straps on nose and tail, 10-inch center fin, four D-rings on side rails
  • Accessories 3-piece paddle, repair kit, hand pump, backpack travel bag
The Best Standup Paddleboards of 2024


  • Higher weight capacity for hauling gear on tours
  • Compatible with a huge range of accessories that are especially great for anglers, birders, and tours like the SUP paddle seat
  • Ample tie-down and attachment points


  • Additional accessories add up so budget accordingly
  • Not a SUP weight we'd want to hike far with

ISLE Pioneer 2.0


  • Length 10' 6"
  • Width 34"
  • Thickness 6"
  • Weight capacity 285 lbs.
  • Weight 24 lbs.
  • Fin setup 2 plus 1 removable center fin
  • Tie-down points 12
  • Features 3 grab handles, bungee cords on nose and tail
  • Accessories 3-piece paddle, backpack travel bag, hand pump, coil leash
The Best Standup Paddleboards of 2024


  • Economic price point
  • Fixed side fins mean you don't have to worry about forgetting or losing hardware
  • Velcro paddle holders are super unique


  • Ideal for one paddler (versus multiple passengers)
  • Not our choice board for overnighters or whitewater due to lack of D-rings

NRS Thrive Inflatable SUP Boards


  • Length 9' 10"
  • Width 30"
  • Thickness 5"
  • Weight capacity 180 lbs..
  • Weight 23 lbs.
  • Fin setup 2 plus 1, removable
  • Tie-down points 7 D-rings
  • Features 4 carry handles, bungee straps on nose, back stomp pad, EVA deck pad
  • Accessories Hand pump, 4 fins total for variation, backpack travel bag, repair kit
The Best Standup Paddleboards of 2024


  • Durable reinforced rails
  • Rigid D-rings for tie-down points
  • 2 unique angled soft handles on EVA deck pad


  • Not many D-rings in the back for loading and balancing gear out
  • No bungee straps on the tail
  • Other SUPs are even lighterweight (but not inflated to be as rigid)

GILI Sports AIR 11’6 Inflatable Paddleboard


  • Length 11’6’’
  • Width 32"
  • Thickness 6"
  • Weight 21 lbs.
  • Weight capacity 295 lbs.
  • Fin setup 2 plus 1 center fin
  • Tie-down points 9 D-rings
  • Features Paddle holder, 3 grab handles, front and rear bungee storage
  • Accessories Paddle with adjustable aluminum shaft, nylon blade
The Best Standup Paddleboards of 2024


  • All-in-one kit
  • Good price


  • Lower weight capacity for the weight of the board
  • Slightly narrower width (not for beginners)

Standup Paddleboards Comparison Chart

Paddle boardPriceLengthWidthWeightFin set up
iRocker Blackfin Model V$89512′ 6″32″30 lbs.3 removable
Breeze Aero Classic Inflatable Paddleboard$79910′ 8″33″20 lbs.2 plus 1 removable
Isle Pioneer Pro $89510′ 6″34″23 lbs.Single center fin, removable
Boardworks SHUBU Solr$1,02910′ 6″32″21 lbs.Single fin, removable
Badfish SUP Flyweight$1,19910′ 6″30″18 lbs.2 plus 1 removable
BOTE WULF Aero 10′ 4$49910″4″34″20 lbs.2 plus 1 removable
Kokopelli Chasm Lite$99910′30″12.9 lbs.Single fin
iROCKER All-Around 10′ Ultra Paddleboard$84910′32″19.8 lbs.2-fin, removable
Paul Hauna Endurance Air$1,24912′30″24 lbs.1
Red Paddle Co. MSL 10′ 6″ Ride SUP $1,49910′ 6″32″21.9 lbs.2-fin, fixed
BOTE HD Inflatable Paddleboard$1,14911′ 6″34″30 lbs.2 plus 1 removable
ISLE Pioneer 2.0$79510′ 6″34″24 lbs.2 plus 1 center fin removable
NRS Thrive Inflatable SUP Boards$1,24510′ 8″34″23 lbs.2 plus 1 removable
Gili Sports 11’6 AIR inflatable Paddle Board$54511′ 6″32″
21 lbs.2 plus 1 center fin, all removable
Contributor Morgan Tilton and photographer Eric Phillips on a multiday SUP trip; (photo/Eric Phillips)

How We Tested Standup Paddleboards

On top of extensive research, we enjoy putting these SUPs to the test. We took these SUPs on meandering river outings, through turbulent whitewater, and on calm waterways through canyons. We hiked our SUPs to high-altitude mountain lakes, paddled on wide-open reservoirs, and loaded them up for multiday trips. 

Hailing from Crested Butte, Colo., contributor Morgan Tilton is an avid paddleboarder every summer. While a day on the lake is always fun, Morgan prefers to err on the side of adventure. Morgan has completed a self-supported first SUP descent down the 100-mile wild whitewater of the Escalante River, in Utah, giving her a unique perspective to evaluate SUPs for their cargo-carrying and touring abilities. 

Based out of Denver, Editor Mary Murphy frequently tests the latest paddleboards on the local lakes, regardless of conditions, and enjoys multi-day tours whenever she gets the chance. Her experience with a range of boards allows her to make useful, relevant comparisons.

For this guide, we looked at the overall construction, durability, and features of each standup paddleboard across a range of prices and applications. Our metrics for each board included quality, construction, and value. We put a huge focus on inflatable standup paddleboards and all-around models. They are a great option for all experience levels, have a variety of uses (flatwater and whitewater), and don’t require special racks or extra storage.

We tested all of the boards on this list — with and without gear bags strapped down — to get a feel for how the boards handle at different weights. We also call out the quality and functionality of the included accessories like pumps, paddles, and carrying bags.

In addition, we consider the newest, highest-rated, most popular, and bestselling models on the market today.

Contributor Morgan Tilton going SUPing on a Colorado lake; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Standup Paddleboard

Types of Standup Paddleboards

A variety of standup paddleboard designs exist that are tailored to specific activities and user goals. Boards can also have hybrid designs that work well for a variety of applications.


These popular boards work for many types and experience levels of paddlers from whitewater to flatwater. But the designs do not excel at a specific type of paddling such as racing or whitewater.

The majority of the SUPs in our guide are all-around boards, given the designs are often suitable for beginners, families, groups, individuals, and laid-back paddling in addition to more aggressive missions. All-around SUPs can be solid or inflatable, and we focus on inflatable designs in this guide.


SUPs for whitewater are typically inflatable, which increases the durability while running against rocks, trees, or other debris. While they’re lengthier than a river surfboard, they’re generally shorter than the longest SUPs that are speed- or race-oriented on flatwater.

Touring (Flatwater)

Touring boards are made to be stable and move fast in water for paddling over long distances. The shape, or hull, is pointier to displace the water. Touring SUPs can be solid or inflatable.

SUP Camping
Contributor Morgan Tilton on an overnight SUP adventure in Colorado; (photo/Eric Phillips)


For greater stability, fishing-oriented SUPs are often wider, which makes them a tad slower than narrower boards. These boards also usually have plenty of attachment points for angler accessories. Fishing SUPs can be solid or inflatable.


The length of the SUP is longer, and the width is narrower. The longer design helps the board track straighter. The three primary race categories are 12’6″, 14′, and everything that’s longer than that. The shape, or hull, can be pointier to displace the water (called a displacement hull), which is good for flatwater races and long distances. Or, a planing hull sits more on top of the water, which is useful for choppy or ocean water.


If you frequent the ocean and want to surf waves, you can do so on a SUP. These designs are usually shorter in length and narrower for maneuverability.

Solid vs. Inflatable SUPs

Solid Designs

Performance-wise, solid SUPs travel stronger through water and with more stability compared to a lighter, air-filled inflatable. A rigid board is typically made of EPS foam that’s reinforced with fiberglass and epoxy. The blend is durable and fairly light.

Another solid material option is to invest in a carbon fiber board if you want an even lighter-weight, stiffer build. Carbon fiber is pricier. Designs can also incorporate wood, which is aesthetically attractive. Those options include bamboo, which is strong, light, and less expensive than carbon fiber. Other types of wood include cedar, paulownia, and beetle-kill pine.

Generally, rigid boards have a broader range of shapes and sizes compared to inflatables. If you do go with a solid board, be sure you have the proper transportation setup, like a vehicle rack, as well as a place to store the full-length board year-round.

Inflatable Designs

Inflatable SUPs usually are made of plastic with reinforcements, such as along the rail and beneath where the paddler stands. They are pumped up with air for use, similar to pumping up your bike tires before a ride. The materials of the deck pad are soft underfoot.

Inflatable designs are super popular because they’re easier to store and transport than a solid board. But they do require energy and time to inflate every single time you use the board. Typically, it takes us about 10 minutes to pump up a board — it’s a great warmup before a paddle. It can raise your heart rate and make your biceps burn depending on the PSI needs of the day!

They are also generally less performance-oriented than rigid boards in regard to speed and stability.

Inflatable SUPs are a great choice if you will be in low water depths or near rocks, sharp sticks, or logs because they can absorb and handle abrasion and impact better than a solid board.

Shape or Hull

The hull is the shape of the board. There are generally two types of shapes for SUPs, which are in simple terms rounder and pointier.

Wide and Blunt (Planing Hull)

This SUP design is flatter and rides toward the surface of the water. The wider, rounder nose (and tail) and overall shape are stable and easier to turn. Planing hulls are used for all-around SUPs. These shapes are generally good for whitewater, surfing (the shape is similar to a surfboard), and practicing yoga on a SUP.

Narrow and Pointed (Displacement Hull)

A displacement hull is narrower, and the nose is pointier so the board efficiently, smoothly cuts through the water, and tracks well. The tail is often flat instead of round. Flatwater or touring and race-specific boards typically have a displacement hull. This design is a good choice for competitions, events, and speed-oriented workouts or covering long distances.

Contributor Morgan Tilton paddling a SUP; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Length and Width

With boards, the length and width correlate to overall volume and weight capacity. Overall size influences how nimble a board is in waves or whitewater (relative to the paddler size and cargo weight) as well as the board’s stability.

If ocean surfing is your focus, go shorter. For an all-around board, choose a moderate length. If your priority is long-distance tours, opt for a long board.

Otherwise, if you weigh 140 pounds (and want the board to be extra speedy or maneuverable), you have the option of choosing a shorter length — and therefore less volume — board. If you weigh at or over 180-200 pounds — or if you want to paddle with a dog, child, or partner — consider a longer length and wider board.

Also, consider if you want to travel super lightweight such as on short day trips. Or, if you need plenty of storage for cargo, such as dry bags and a cooler.

In general, here are the guidelines of a short, moderate, and longboard:

Short length (less than 10 feet)

Medium length (10 to 12 feet)

Long length (greater than 12 feet)

Widths range from nearly 25 inches to 35 inches or more. Adding width increases the volume, which improves stability, as well as capacity for hauling gear. Narrower boards have less drag, move faster, and can more easily pivot.

Generally, we recommend a slightly larger board to new paddlers to offer more stability.

The most common size boards are 10′ 6″ or 11′. But there are plenty of lengths, shapes, and sizes beyond that range.

If you’re shopping for a family, you can save buckets by purchasing one longer, wider board instead of two (or four). For instance, two 140-pound adults can comfortably fit on an 11′ board (the fit and weight limit will vary by brand). Like kayaks, there are even tandem-specific models out there (ranging from 12 to 15 feet in length).

Weight and Weight Capacity

Inflatable SUPs generally weigh less than solid boards. All of the inflatables in our guide weigh under 31 pounds. The heavier boards include the 31-pound NRS Thrive Inflatable SUP Board and the 30-pound BOTE HD Inflatable Paddle Board. The lightest board is the 12.9-pound Kokopelli Chasm Lite, followed by the 18-pound Badfish Flyweight.

The weight capacity is how much a SUP can safely carry, including paddlers, pets, catch, or cargo.

When you trim a SUP’s grams, typically the board has a lower capacity for weight overall, however, there’s not a direct correlation so pay attention to those numbers. For instance, the NRS Thrive Inflatable SUP model has a 275-pound capacity. The BOTE HD Inflatable Paddleboard weighs a tad less, has a greater overall volume, and can carry 315 pounds.

The Badfish SUP Flyweight can tote up to 230 pounds, and the iROCKER All-Around 10′ Ultra Paddleboard can carry 260 pounds. The lowest weight capacities among our choice SUPs are the NRS Thrive Inflatable SUP Board and the NRS STAR Phase Inflatable SUP Board that can each carry 180 pounds.

On the highest end of weight capacity, the Portager can carry 350 pounds. The upgraded Portager XL even carries up to 650 pounds.

Deck Pad

The deck pad covers the top of the SUP where the paddler will sit or stand. Coverage varies per board, and some boards have wider, longer patches of pad than others. The material blend is unique to each brand but often includes plastic.

The materials offer traction and grip, and they generally feel soft and cushioned. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get burnt from friction! If you plan to paddle whitewater or uneven water, don’t be ashamed to wear knee pads, especially on a long trip.

One of our favorite deck pads is on the Boardworks SHUBU Solr. The deck pad is covered in a layer dubbed “Honey Fomb,” which looks like honeycomb and feels like a therapeutic, thick yoga mat. A whopping three-quarters of the board is topped off with this cushion, which makes standing, sitting, kneeling, or practicing Warrior II Pose that much more comfortable.

All-around or whitewater boards typically have a deck pad that covers the majority of the board’s surface and at least covers the center to the tail, given the paddler will be making more dynamic paddling strokes and moving around to shift weight on the board. For instance, the Boardworks SHUBU Solr is nearly entirely covered in a cushioned deck pad.

In comparison, the EVA deck pad on the iROCKER All-Around 10′ Ultra Paddleboard is split in the middle with two strips where the paddler is likely to stand, which helps trim down weight. The deck pad is also strategically placed on the Paddle North Portager Paddleboard, marking where a paddler can stay centered on the board.

Mary Murphy paddling on the ISLE Switch paddleboard kayak
Editor Mary Murphy paddling on the ISLE Switch paddleboard kayak; (photo/Katherine Murphy)


The SUP rail is the edge around the board. The rail materials can vary and the shape can be rounder or more angled.

Rails are good to pay attention to because they can often be the first place on a board that can get dinged or begin to deteriorate through use. It’s good to know how to repair a rail and to have your repair kit on a trip.


Many SUPs are designed with a well-cushioned, ergonomic carry handle in the center of the SUP, so you can carry it under your arm. There can also be carry handles at the nose and tail. Some carry handles are more comfortable than others, and not all are cushioned.

Dry bags with multiple tie-down points help for efficiently loading a boat or SUP, according to contributor Morgan Tilton; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Tie-Down Points and Bungee Straps

Various tie-down points exist on SUPs. Many designs feature bungee cord nets fixed to the front or back of the board (or both).

For overnight paddle trips and whitewater trips, our favorite feature is stainless steel D-rings — they’re easy to clip or thread tie-downs into, reliable, and super sturdy.

Other rings include soft rings, which are not as quick to thread, and plastic rings, which are not as durable as stainless steel.

Certain SUP designs feature specific attachment points for brand accessories tailored to certain sports like fishing and touring. The BOTE HD Aero Paddleboard is compatible with removable rack receivers for the brand’s tackle rack or bucket rack accessories for anglers.

Contributor Morgan Tilton and photographer Eric Phillips strapped down a hard cooler to the inflatable SUP on a multiday trip; (photo/Eric Phillips)


Fins beneath the board near the tail help a board track well (read: stay straight) in the water and help increase stability. Sizes and shapes vary. The longer the fin, the more influence it will have on tracking and stability. In contrast, shorter fins are great for shallower water like low-volume rivers, certain beaches, or areas with lots of vegetation like seagrass. Often folks refer to fin size in regard to the length of the fin or how much it protrudes into the water.

Lots of paddle brands offer removable and interchangeable fins for various types of water. Certain boards have a mix of both fixed and removable fins, like the ISLE’s Pioneer 2.0 SUP, which has two fixed side fins and a removable larger center fin.

A removable fin attaches to a board via a fin box or plate, which is where the end of the fin slides or snaps into place. Note: not all fins are compatible with all types of fix boxes.

A variety of fin configurations exist:

Single fin: One single, usually longer fin that is placed in the center

3-fin: Three fins that are equal in length and size and spaced evenly apart

2-fin: Two fins that are equal in length and size and space evenly apart

2 plus 1: One single larger fin in the center and two smaller fins on either side

If you know you want to take your board out on both flatwater and whitewater (or the ocean), invest in a brand that has a surf fin in its lineup.

Some brands also offer spare fins with a purchase.


The majority of SUPs include a paddle with purchase but not all. Generally, an inflatable SUP includes a multi-piece or three-piece paddle that breaks down and fits well in the travel bag. The length is adjustable.

A paddle has a handle at one end, connected to the shaft, and then a blade (which goes in the water) at the other end. Nicer paddles have more ergonomic handles.

Paddle shafts are usually made of aluminum, glass fiber, carbon, or Kevlar. Carbon is the most performance-oriented because it’s lightweight and strong, and the investment could be worth the long haul.

Contributor Morgan Tilton at a lakeside beach in Colorado getting ready to SUP; (photo/Eric Phillips)


A leash is helpful if you fall off your board and don’t want it to float away, especially if it’s breezy or there happen to be wakes, or if you pushed the board away as you toppled over. A leash is also a tool used by flatwater racers, given they are moving faster. Many SUPs are made with a leash attachment point like a D-ring.

Some SUP packages include a coiled leash, which attaches to the board. The other side of the leash is padded and Velcros around the paddler’s ankle, such as the one made by BOTE ($44).

However, there is major contention nationwide regarding the safety of whether or not a leash should be used on a SUP (and on a river surfboard), especially in turbulent, quick-shifting, debris-laden water. The industry lacks universal standards regarding this piece of gear. Fatalities have occurred due to leashes getting lodged in underwater debris when a SUPer falls off in fast-moving river water.

To help increase a paddler’s ability to disconnect themselves from their setup multiple brands have designed quick-release leashes such as NRS ($64), Hala ($80), and Level Six ($50).

If you purchase a quick-release leash, be sure to practice and confidently know how to effectively and efficiently use it in the water.

And no, a leash doesn’t replace the buoyancy and safety of a PFD (personal flotation device). Be sure to follow the PFD, or life jacket, regulations where you plan to SUP.

carrying the body glove SUP into a lake
Editor Mary Murphy carrying the body glove SUP into a lake; (photo/Mary Murphy)

Travel Bag

Travel bags are usually included in the package for an inflatable SUP, and they often have a backpack design with padded shoulder straps. Nicer travel bags even have durable wheels so they can be rolled. Typically, the bags have zippered pockets, too.

The bags are a great way to keep all of the accessories in one place including the fins, hand pump, and patch kit.

The most unique travel bag design we’ve seen is the one made by Red Paddle Co., which comes with the MSL 10′ 6″ Ride SUP. Great for minimal approach hikes, the SUP offers the option to fully isolate the shoulder harness from the rest of the roller backpack, leaving behind a simple system of straps that attach horizontally and vertically around the SUP.  For a streamlined paddle day, this arrangement is great.


Another top consideration to look at when purchasing a board is what comes with it.

This wasn’t always the case, but many boards are now sold with a paddle, fin, pump, and travel bag included in the package.

Buying the board and paddle together saves time, research, and often money. And at the very least, these combo packages ensure you’ll get an adjustable paddle that works with your board.

Transporting Your SUP

Inflatable SUPs can be deflated, rolled up, and easily stashed inside a truck bed or inside your rig.

If you plan to transport a SUP on the outside of your vehicle, be sure the board is completely locked down and secured. For instance, Thule makes a SUP roof rack and Viking Solutions makes a truck bed rack.

SUPs that are sketchily or incorrectly fixed to vehicles can fly off and into the windshields of rigs behind them. Be sure your board is correctly affixed!

Mary paddleboarding on BOTE board in spring
Editor Mary Murphy paddleboarding on BOTE board in spring; (photo/Mary Murphy)


The SUPs featured in our gear guide range from $699 on the low end to $1,399 on the high end. Typically, SUPs cost around $1,000.

If the board you love is out of your price range, wait for a sale. You could rent or demo the board you like through your local retailer until you find the one you like.

Some outfitters will even sell off their demo fleet boards after a couple of seasons. These are all great options for setting yourself up for success. Wait, plan, invest.

In terms of quality, especially with an inflatable SUP, it will be well worth it in the long run.

Caring for Your SUP

There are a few common practices you should know once you invest in an inflatable SUP.

  • Never leave your board sitting out in the sun. This can degrade the strength of the material over time, delaminating the board. Not to mention, UV rays could cause the surface and colors of your board to fade.
  • Always inflate to the recommended PSI. You want to keep the maximum weight in mind if you have two riders, whether two adults or an adult, and cargo (dog or kid). If you are a heavier rider and want more stability, feel free to inflate to the maximum recommended PSI when starting out.
  • Invest in some boat cleaner for your SUP. An inflatable boat cleaner is designed to remove any dirt, oxidation, and marks from a SUP or kayak (works on PVC or urethane materials). Alternatively, you can wipe down your board after use with a damp cloth. This is crucial if you are paddling frequently in saltwater. We always carry a soft microfiber towel in the trunk.
  • Inspect the valve and board before you go. Most SUPs nowadays include a repair and patch kit, but no one wants to have to deal with that on the water. Always inspect your board before you head out for the day.

Repairs, Repair Kit, and Product Lifespan

It’s not every day that you have an opportunity to watch a 7-year-old bomber SUP finally bust at the rails from general wear and tear, as one of our editors did last summer. 

Product Lifespan 

Based on our experience, you could generally expect the lifespan of a premium whitewater SUP to reach around 7 years. That’s if the board is built with double-glued, mechanically welded seams — and it’s not been hammered by pup feet or dragged across asphalt. According to Hala Gear, the standard minimum life expectancy on all of the boards they produce is the same timespan. 

That said, the final blowout was a solid reinforcement of the red flags of wear-and-tear, general maintenance, as well as prevention of a blowout.

In the Field: Beware of Heat

First things first; heed that warning label: Do not leave your inflated SUP in direct sunlight regardless of the board’s age. 

On a sunny summer morning, rays slowly baked our editor’s veteran SUP, which was anchored on a beach during a multiday paddle trip, 12 miles from the takeout. A seam started to leak air, which was audible, and bubbles were visible along the rail. 

Carry a Repair Kit

Always carry at least one repair kit, and know if the supplies are an adequate quantity to fix your SUP plus the other boards in your group in a gear emergency. 

Our editor’s repair kit included PVC (polyvinyl chloride, a type of plastic) glue and circular PVC patches that she cut in half with a pocket knife to maximize the coverage. 

The single fix required nearly all of the kit’s supplies, which had been previously unopened. (Be sure to not touch PVC glue with your bare skin.)   

Inspect Your SUP

After returning from that multiday trip, our editor pumped up her SUP for a short river lap one toasty afternoon, walked inside for 5 minutes, and returned to a completely blown rail. 

If you see signs of air bubbles around the edge of the SUP (which she had) don’t take ‘em lightly — they could burst. 

Store in a Cool Place

That goes for storage, too. A popular option can be to keep your SUP inflated and hang it between outings, but make sure the rack or pulley system allows the board to rest in the shade. 

Overall, stashing the plastic at a cooler temperature and out of unnecessary UV rays can help extend its lifespan. 

Repair Kits: What’s Included

Many standup paddleboard bundles these days include a repair kit. 

Prepacked repair kits from manufacturers include: 

  • A brightly colored, solid waterproof case
  • PVC glue
  • PVC patches
  • Valve tool that can tighten or loosen the valve point on your SUP  

How to Use Repair Kit Supplies

If air is leaking out of the valve, use the valve tool to tighten it by giving a small clockwise twist. The majority of the time there is a leak, it’s coming from the valve, where dirt can get lodged. 

A valve tool can also loosen the valve enough to pull it up so you can clean out any debris. 

Not all valve tools are interchangeable across valves — so carry the one that came with your board! 

Some PVC patches are rectangular and others are circular. Either way, make sure you have a generous amount on hand. If you need to fix even a small hole along the rail, the patch will likely need to extend several inches on either side of the hole in order to fully secure the leak. 

Warranty Plan and End of Product Life

Check your SUP’s warranty plan. Our editor’s board had a 5-year warranty, so the incident fell beyond that timeline. 

Some brands, including Hala Gear, will take back retired SUPs and reuse the materials to keep waste out of landfills — like repurposing the deckpads as floor mats. Or using the interior drop stitch for educational videos and displays.  


What is the best SUP brand?

There is no “best” brand.

However, some SUP brands have been around long enough that we’d consider them at the top of the market. The list is short: NRS, Blackfin, Starboard, BOTE, and Hala Gear. More top brands are emerging, including ISLE (founded in 2008) and Glide and Atoll (both founded in 2014).

Inflatable vs. solid: Which standup paddleboard is best?

As noted in the intro, the inflatable SUP market has skyrocketed over the past 6 or so years. Why? Inflatable boards are fantastic. You don’t need a special roof rack, garage, or special straps to carry a 12-foot, 40-pound piece of gear around.

All you need is an oversized backpack and some space in your trunk. Inflatable boards, by nature, deflate and pack down small. They’re easy to travel with, are fairly easy to care for and maintain, and come in at a great price.

Even better, almost all inflatables (all the ones we’ve listed) come in a package: SUP, paddle, backpack, fin, and pump. There’s no need to buy any SUP gear separately.

That being said, the quality of inflatables does vary widely based on materials, construction, and design. The stability and feel of the board are a little different.

If you know you want to invest in the sport or are going to be paddling in extremes (cold or whitewater), you’ll want to spend extra time researching a board’s construction (welded seams, thicker PVC) and performance in your intended environment.

What is the most stable standup paddleboard?

Of the paddleboards we’ve tested and reviewed, we’d mark the 11′ 6″ BOTE HD Aero as the most stable on our list. This is due to its width, sidewalls, weight capacity, and overall construction. This is a middle-of-the-pack, not-too-heavy, and well-balanced board that measures a full 34 inches across.

It’s got lots of D-rings for strapping down gear, or a kayak seat if you are looking to feel extra grounded and stable on your board. And the HD Aeros also clocks in at a great price point for its size.

It’s worth noting that if you are looking for other stable board choices, fishing expeditions, yoga SUPs, and touring boards are commonly a bit wider across. Any board that is 34-36 inches across is a good choice.

Of course, other factors contribute to stability. But, width and sidewall depth as well as overall shape are the big ones.

What is the best SUP for beginners?

The best SUP for beginners is the one that fits you best. For most people, that’s a board that is larger so it has a higher weight capacity and provides more stability to accommodate riders of different weights (say, if you’re sharing a board with your partner). We frequently recommend an inflatable model as a first board due to its durability and ease of storage.

Contrary to newbie beliefs, inflatable boards are very durable, can pack down small, are convenient and easy to use and store, and are usually more budget-friendly. Even better, if you learn on an inflatable SUP, you’ll have great balance for when you decide to tackle ocean or whitewater paddling or upgrade to an epoxy board.

Our recommendation would be to look for an inflatable board at least 10′ 6″ or 11′ in length, with a weight capacity of at least 230 pounds.


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