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Buyers Guide & Information

Best Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards

Save space and transport your inflatable SUP to the water with ease.

by PITeam

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards

Save space and transport your inflatable SUP to the water with ease.

by PITeam

by PITeam

Are you looking to enjoy some exciting fun on water near you, but something different and more portable than a boat? Whatever kind of experience you’re looking for, an inflatable stand up paddle board or iSUP for short, might be just what you need.

What are Inflatable SUPs?

They’re inflatable versions of stand-up paddle boards and are a bit like a cross between surfboards and paddle boats. Riders stand on top of them and use a paddle to navigate and propel them through the water.

Although a relatively new sport and inflatable boards are newer still, there is quite a selection to choose from. We've put this guide in which we've reviewed, rated, and compared the best iSUPs to help you find the right one for you.


How iSUPs Work

Inflatable SUPs work with the use of an air pump to inflate them. Once inflated, they’re safe to take on the water. To store away when not in use, you just deflate and fold them up according to the instructions.


Types of Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards

If you’ve looked at iSUPs online, you'll know there are a variety of different types available.

  • All-Around - is one that’s designed for recreational users. It’s considered the best entry-level option for beginners because it offers a lot of stability. This means you can familiarize yourself with just how fun stand up paddling can be without worrying about falling in the water constantly.
  • Touring - are boards designed for taking long journeys across long distances. Many people do this on various bodies of waters such as bays, lakes, or even rivers. As you're trying to cover as much distance as you can quickly, it requires a lot of endurance and persistence, and the whole experience becomes a full-body workout.
  • Yoga & Fitness - probably the most unique and curious form of iSUPing, it can be an incredibly refreshing and calming experience spending some time each morning performing yoga on an iSUP.
  • Racing - is what you need if you’re looking for a fast and exhilarating time on the water. This is a fun sport that’s gaining popularity every year – you can even participate in competitions.
  • Whitewater - No, this is no joke. There are people who whitewater paddle on iSUPs. Crazy people, maybe, but real people, nonetheless. Obviously, this is not for beginners.
  • Fishing - a more relaxing way to enjoy some time out on the water. Fishing iSUPs are designed to carry lots of weight so you can take all the gear and equipment you need to land those amazing catches.
  • Surfing - As stand up paddle boarding essentially developed from surfing, it’s fitting that there are SUPs you can use for a unique form of surfing. The hardboard versions of SUPs are oversized surfboards that come with paddles.

Benefits of Inflatable SUPs

They’re Safe

Although it may not seem the case, iSUPs are safer than their hardboard counterparts. They have a tough and rigid structure, with some give.

They’re More Cost-Effective and Affordable

Although there are always exceptions, generally most iSUPs have lower price tags than the harder alternatives. It’s not only the initial cost that’s more affordable though, as iSUPs tend to cost less to maintain and less likely to sustain expensive repairs.

They’re Easy to Store

Hardboard versions of paddle boards take up a lot of storage space, and if you only live in a small property, they can be a nightmare to keep safe and secure. You may consider investing in a storage unit to keep it in which can add to the cost. Whereas an iSUP can be deflated, rolled or folded up and stuck inside a wardrobe or even under a bed.

They’re Easy to Transport

It’s also worth noting how portable they are too. Whereas with rigid hardboard paddlers you need to use a trailer or roof rack, with inflatables you just deflate and roll them up to a package that can fit inside the back of your car, on a passenger seat or even in the trunk.

They’re Extremely Durable

This may seem strange because you expect an inflatable item will be more prone to wearing out or even bursting. However, they’re made from high-quality, durable PVC materials specially designed to be resistant to abrasions, cuts, and punctures. 


Choosing The Best iSUP For You

Type of Paddle Board

Although we've discussed the different types of iSUPs available, there's another crucial aspect of which kind of paddle board is right for you. The type of hull the paddle board has is important. These are:

  • Displacement Hull
    These are designed for racing and paddling over longer distances. They have a narrow hydrodynamic body. As they’re less stable and trickier to navigate, beginners are not advised to use them.
  • Planing Hull
    These are designed as all-around models great for most uses. As they have a wide and flat design, they’re tough and steady whether the water is choppy or flat and calm. They're much more comfortable to control and paddle with, making them the best option for beginners. Though experts will also find they provide a very pleasurable experience. 

Versatility/Durability

The versatility and durability are important aspects to consider, and these aspects are generally determined by the style and materials used to build them. Most inflatables tend to be made from high-quality PVC using the drop-stitch technique to increase the durability.

Also, the thickness of the material used improves the buoyancy and stability of the boards, as well as making them more versatile for use in different bodies of water and weather conditions.

Usage & Paddling Location

You should give some thought to how you’re going to use it and where. If you’re not intending on sticking to one type of usage or will be exploring lots of different bodies of water and paddling locations, you need to choose a board able to handle this. Whereas if you’re looking to paddle in certain areas and particular ways, you need to select one of the more specific types highlighted earlier in our guide.

Board Size, Volume & Weight Capacity

The length and the width both play their parts in how well the board handles and the speed it’s capable of. Similarly to kayaks, the shorter an iSUP is, the better it will be able to maneuver, but the harder it will be to track with and slower it will move.

For stability, the wider, the more stable it will be, but for all that stability, you lose again in terms of how fast it is across the water and how it handles turns and other movements.

You also need to consider the width of iSUPs in relation to your body size and shape. If you’re relatively light and short, you would be best with a narrow board, whereas if you’re tall and heavy, you'd need a wider board that offers excellent stability.

Weight capacity is another aspect of iSUPs you should factor into your decision. As well as your body weight, though, you need to account for the weight of what you’re carrying on the board.

Skill Level & Style of Paddling

Your skill level and paddling style can be used to determine the right style of iSUP for you. If you’re a rank beginner and not used to more technical paddling in a faster boat, the last thing you would want to do is invest in a racing or even whitewater board.

Storage/Ease of Transport, Portability

All iSUPs are more portable, easier to transport, and store than the hardboard option. However, they’re not all made equal. So, you need to give thought not just to whether a board will have the right design when its inflated for your needs and preferences, but also when its deflated you will be able to transport it in your vehicle and store it in your home or anywhere else you’re traveling.

Speed/Ease of Inflation

Again, although iSUPs are designed with the same concept, they’re not all equal. Smaller boards will take less time to inflate. However, size is not the only thing that determines how fast a board will inflate. Some are designed to inflate and deflate in just a few short minutes.

Tracking & Stability

Tracking and stability are obviously crucial. These aspects of their design determine how easily they’ll travel in a straight line and avoid capsizing.

One part of an iSUP that plays a huge role in how easy it is to control is whether it’s got one fin or more.

  • Single Fin
    A single fin can provide you with more water resistance and is better suited to more powerful paddlers. It’s also the best option for beginners as it will track more easily.
  • Multiple Fins
    When you have 3 much smaller fans on the bottom of your iSUP, there is less water resistance, and it’s therefore designed with intermediate paddlers upwards.
  • Rocker
    The rocker is essentially the curvature of the board’s nose. As a rule of thumb, the larger of waves you intend on paddling through and against, the larger and more visible a rocker you need.

Included Features and Accessories

The iSUP you choose should come with a good selection of features and accessories, including the paddles, D-rings, and bungee for storage purposes.

Price & Warranty

Having a reasonable budget in mind will prevent you from spending too much on an iSUP. Along with the price, though, the warranty will determine how much use you can expect out of your board. Particularly if there are issues with it or it gets damaged. A warranty is also a good sign of just how much faith a brand has in its product.


9 Best Inflatable SUPs Reviewed

1. Atoll 11-Foot

Our Top Pick

Inflated Dimensions (length, width, thickness)

11-feet x 32-inches x 6-Inches

Paddle Board Weight

21 lbs.

Max Weight Capacity

300 lbs.

Features/Inclusions

Paddle, removable fin, 10-feet leash, hand pump, backpack

Warranty

Yes; 2 years

This heavy-duty number from Atoll is one of the best iSUP for many reasons. Not least of all because it’s like a solid hardboard model. So much it gets called a hardboard mimicker. One of the key selling points of Atoll boards is how lightweight they are, and this is no different.

It features the cutting-edge Fusion Light frame and benefits from dual-layer PVC. This makes it even more durable. So, despite how lightweight it is, it's still a tough customer. Another key feature is the addition of EVA pads on top that increases the grip you have underfoot. There is always an impressive 13 D-rings attached to the board to keep your gear and equipment with you.

You get just about everything you need to get started including a detachable fin, manual pump, leash, back and front bungee tie-downs, a paddle, repair kit, and even a backpack to store it all in. Speaking about the paddle, this is also very lightweight at under 2.5-pounds and comes in three parts, which is easy to assemble and means you can find the right length for you.

Although expensive, it features everything you could need and more and has a generous weight capacity of 300-pounds.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • Expensive

2. iRocker All-Around

Runner Up

Inflated Dimensions (length, width, thickness)

11-feet x 32-inches x 6-inches

Paddle Board Weight

27 lbs.

Max Weight Capacity

435 lbs.

Features/Inclusions

Paddle, removable fins, hand pump, backpack

Warranty

Yes; 2 years

The iRocker All-Around is a great option that comes in just under our top choice. Especially since despite the fact it’s just 27-pounds, it can carry a maximum of 435-pounds. iRocker as a company has gained a loyal following despite their short length of time in the industry, with the iRocker Sport a bestseller.

The iRocker All-Around addresses some issues the Sport raised. For example, it wasn’t the most stable of boards. Something the All-Around doesn't suffer from. This is more stable so that beginners can find their feet in the sport, but it still provides an action-packed ride, to keep more experienced riders interested. Made from a quad-layered military-grade material using drop-stitch technology means that this bad boy is tough. Really tough.

One thing we love is the awesome action mount. This can be used to, among other things, set up your GoPro, keep your phone secure, set up rods for fishing and so much more. The bungee cording is great for gripping to maneuver around the board, while the plentiful supply of D-rings gives you lots of storage options.

The All-Around lives up to its name and along with the board itself you get a dual-chamber triple-action hand pump with full throttle for easier and quicker pumping. If necessary, you’ll find some great extras available from iRocker.

Pros

  • Good all-rounder
  • The action mount
  • Robust and durable construction

Cons

  • Hand pump sometimes stops working after only a few uses, but iRocker has excellent customer service

3. Airhead Popsicle 730 iSUP

Best iSUP For Kids

Inflated Dimensions (length, width, thickness)

7-feet x 30-inches x 6-inches

Paddle Board Weight

19 lbs.

Max Weight Capacity

120 lbs.

Features/Inclusions

Mesh backpack, stainless-steel tow ring, hi-pressure hand pump, pressure gauge, valve wrench, board strap, and repair kit

Warranty

Yes; 2 years

What if you’re looking to get your children interested and to share your growing love for iSUPing? You need to consider the Airhead Popsicle 730. It has been built with kids in mind and will carry smaller paddlers between 30 and 120-pounds, meaning it’ll grow for several years with your children. As it's only designed for youths, it's shorter than others in our guide at just 7-feet, but combined with its width and thickness, this is ideal for the beginner.

This does mean it's not quite as quick. The only downsides we could find is that the pack is full of accessories, but no paddle, meaning you need to buy one separately. This isn't a major problem because Airhead has a great selection available. It also doesn’t have any bungee cording or D-rings, but as it’s so short, this is understandable.

Pros

  • Great for beginners
  • Grows with your children
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • No paddle

4. Thurso Surf Waterwalker

Best All-Around Inflatable SUP

Inflated Dimensions (length, width, thickness)

11-feet x 32-inches x 6-inches

Paddle Board Weight

29 lbs.

Max Weight Capacity

330 lbs.

Features/Inclusions

2+1 Quick-lock fins, Carbon Shaft paddle, Roller backpack, and 10-feet Coiled Double Swivel Leash

Warranty

Yes; 2 years

Next in our guide is the rather impressive and fast, considering it’s an all-around style iSUP, Thurso Surf Waterwalker. Although the brand as only established in 2016, it has become one of the leading brands in the paddle boarding world and it’s not surprising, considering their releases are always high-quality, durable and full of stunning features. The 2019 version of their all-around model, joins a family of other paddleboards, suitable for other forms of this great sport.

Aside from the fact it looks incredible, with a beautiful wood-grain print, it's the performance and durability we want to focus on. Like most of the others in our guide, this benefits from a military-grade PVC dual-layer construction and is protected against punctures, scrapes, and cuts. It'll bounce off obstacles you come across such as sticks, rocks, and anything else without causing damage.

Although it lacks somewhat compared to the iRocker, the Waterwalker handles itself on the water reasonably well and is a little quicker. It really is an all-around model and with several D-rings, the Velcro paddle holder and that comfortable with a firm grip EVA foam pad, this is great for just about anyone.

Pros

  • Great handling in water
  • Paddle holder means you can enjoy some hands-free time
  • Well-made and robust

Cons

  • The pump could do with being upgraded

5. Peak Expedition

Best Inflatable SUP for Dogs

Inflated Dimensions (length, width, thickness)

11-feet x 32-inches x 6-inches

Paddle Board Weight

19.5 lbs.

Max Weight Capacity

300 lbs.

Features/Inclusions

Waterproof phone case, center fin, leash, paddle, pump, and backpack

Warranty

Yes; 2 years

When looking at Isle Surf and SUP’s selection of iSUPs, you might find it hard to figure out which is the best. However, if you’re looking for a way to enjoy some quality time on the water with man’s best friend, we believe the Peak Expedition 11-feet model we have next in our guide is ideal.

Made with longer paddling experiences in mind, hence the name, this has been designed to be as convenient a ride as possible. It features the drop-stitch dual-layer PVC construction we’ve come to expect for iSUPs which means it’s perfect for just about any location.

But as we’re focusing on it as a suitable board for you and your pooch, the diamond traction padding pad that sits on top is what will really attract you. This gives you the traction and grip you need, while being soft underfoot, it's also pet-friendly and will ensure your furry friend is safe and comfortable.

One concern when taking more than one person out on board is that there's enough space for accessories, with this you get 2 separate bungee systems at the front and back, providing space to store your stuff and the dog's easily.

Pros

  • Comfortable grip pad for both you and the dog
  • Robust construction
  • Ideal for paddlers of all skill levels

Cons

  • Paddle feels quite heavy

6. SereneLife

Best Inflatable SUP for Surfing

Inflated Dimensions (length, width, thickness)

10-feet x 30-inches x 6-inches

Paddle Board Weight

19.6 lbs.

Max Weight Capacity

275 lbs.

Features/Inclusions

Patch repair accessory kit, manual air pump, oar pedal, coiled ankle cuff safety leash, storage bag

Warranty

Yes; 2 years

As SUPs and iSUPs originate from surfboards, it only seems fair to highlight a paddle board that’s ideal for tackling waves with. We picked out the SereneLife 10-feet model. Now, given that compared some of the other brands in our guide whose focus is on paddle boards and other aquatic equipment, we initially weren’t expecting much from a company that also sells a wide variety of different products, including some excellent massagers. However, we were mistaken to hold preconceived ideas.

The SereneLife’s wide board means it offers some of the best balance and stability of any in our guide. When you combine that with the non-slip and soft top deck, it’s not just awesome for beginners but those attempting to take on some waves. Add into the mix the fact it’s super easy to control, with the triple fins helping it to cut through the water at surprisingly fast speeds, but still with the same measure of control.

As if that all wasn’t enough, the package you get when you invest in this beauty has all you’ll need and more to get out there and catch some surf!

Pros

  • Stable, wide board
  • Non-slip, soft top deck
  • Surprisingly fast, but controlled

Cons

  • Lacks storage space

7. Sea Eagle Fish SUP 126

Best Inflatable SUP for Fishing/Fly Fishing

Inflated Dimensions (length, width, thickness)

12.6-feet x 40-inches x 6-feet

Paddle Board Weight

19.6 lbs.

Max Weight Capacity

500 lbs.

Features/Inclusions

Pump, seat, storage box, SUP and Kayak paddles, backpack, hull

Warranty

Yes; 2 years

There was no way we could really do this guide any justice without highlighting at least one Sea Eagle product, given their prominence in the inflatable boat and eventually paddleboards market since 1968. What better one to highlight than one for all you anglers out there? The FishSUP stands out in a field of its own, as very different to the average iSUP, because…well, it must.

You have different needs when fishing, and that's why this is the longest and widest in this guide. Interestingly, despite its 500-pound capacity, it still only weighs around 19.6-pounds. This is built for comfort and stability, not for speed. You can, however, add a motor to it, to help you reach those deeper spots in the water.

The thing that you need to realize is this board has a hull, which also makes it different and makes it harder to store, even though it's an iSUP. However, with plenty of D-rings and even a fish ruler on board, it's the best of the bunch for landing those catches.

Pros

  • Mount for installing a motor
  • Fish ruler
  • Plenty of D-rings

Cons

  • Heavy and awkward to store, thanks to the hull

8. Pathfinder

Best Budget iSUP

Inflated Dimensions (length, width, thickness)

9.9-feet x 30-inches x 5-inches

Paddle Board Weight

19.6 lbs.

Max Weight Capacity

240 lbs.

Features/Inclusions

Valve wrench, carry bag, detachable center fin, pump, and adjustable aluminum paddle

Warranty

Yes; 2 years

Perhaps you’re looking to get into stand-up paddle boarding but are not willing to pay too much to enjoy all the fun. The Pathfinder is an excellent option for that. It’s user-friendly and has been designed with additional buoyancy and a strong PVC construction. The single detachable fin that fits in the center is great for a reasonable amount of speed, and with an anti-slip deck, you've got a good starter model.

We also like the fact it's very lightweight whether it is inflated or deflated and performs well on lakes, rivers and tackling waves, though we'd not suggest you do that often, as it's not as heavy-duty as others. Still, for a lower price than many others, you get a reasonable quality 10-feet board with a package that includes all you need to get started.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Anti-slip deck
  • Performs well on various water conditions

Cons

  • Not quite as heavy-duty as others

9. Isle Explorer

Lightweight SUP

Inflated Dimensions (length, width, thickness)

11-feet x 32-inches x 6-inches

Paddle Board Weight

22 lbs.

Max Weight Capacity

275 lbs.

Features/Inclusions

User manual, sticker pack, coil leash, center fin, HP hand pump, backpack, Hybrid Travel Paddle

Warranty

Yes; 2 years

Isle and their range of Explorer paddleboards are designed for the more adventurous iSUP enthusiast, but one thing that also stands out about these great additions to the market is the 22-pounds. It features all the hallmarks of a great board, with a 3-part paddle that can be adjusted to suit your own height.

The one thing we’d say is the fact it’s a longer board and lighter, this makes it a little trickier to control, but if you're really interested in trimming the fat as much as possible, then this is the ideal board for you. The length also serves the practical purpose of allowing for plenty of space for storage on board with a total of 15 D-rings and 2 bungee cord storage systems to the front and back. This is also one of the fastest to inflate and deflate at 5-minutes each time.

Pros

  • Around 30% lighter than others on the market
  • 15 D-rings
  • 5-minute quick inflation and deflation

Cons

  • Doesn’t handle speed as well due to shape

Solid Vs. Inflatable Paddle Boards

iSUP Advantages

  • Cost – You will find even high-end inflatable models are cheaper than high-end hardboard versions of stand-up paddle boards. What’s more, the money you save on an inflatable model can be used to invest in some great accessories.
  • Storage – It’s no surprise we’re discussing the storage capabilities here as this is one of the main reasons why people who buy iSUPs in the first place. They fold and roll down to a small size, unlike the hardboard alternatives that need to be stored away in a piece of furniture or somewhere where there is enough room in your home, garage or yard.
  • Durability – As many companies are using military-grade PVC for inflatable stand up paddle boards, it’s hard to argue with their superior durability over hardboards.
  • Portability – Again, as we’ve highlighted several times, because they can be easily deflated, they’re incredibly easy to transport. Many will fit, when deflated, in the back seat of your car or the trunk and can even be taken along if you’re riding an ATV, scooter or bike instead.

iSUP Disadvantages

  • Set up – one of the significant disadvantages iSUPs have compared to their hard counterparts is the setup time. Even if it only takes 5 minutes to use a motorized pump and inflate your iSUP, it's still not as fast as unstrapping the hard model from the car rack and launching it into the water.
  • Surfing – While not everyone will be interested in surfing on their paddle board, as it originates with that aquatic sport, some do. ISUPs are not the best for this kind of activity, though.

Transporting Inflatable SUPs

There’s virtually no fuss or hassle involved in transporting inflatable SUPs. You simply deflate them, then roll or fold them up. If you’re worried about your board becoming unrolled while you’re busy driving your car or vehicle, you can place them inside a storage bag (most tend to come with one).


Inflatable Equipment Accessories

Bungee Straps/Tie-Down

Bungee and tie-down straps are essential accessories you need to invest in for iSUPs because they provide you with excellent storage solutions. If you’re intending on using an iSUP for fishing or touring.

Paddle

Unless otherwise stated, you will typically have to buy a paddle separately. The general rule of thumb for deciding on how long a paddle you need is it should be around 6 to 8-inches above your head when it is standing vertically beside you. Adjustable height paddles are a great option.

PFD

PFD or personal floatation device, otherwise known as a life jacket and life preserver is something you consider investing in. You need to wear them in certain areas, so always check where you’re paddling beforehand.

Proper Clothing

  • Swimming Trunks or Swimsuit
    When the water is hot, at least 90-degrees or more, you can get away with wearing the bare
  • Eye Protection
    Invest in a pair of sunglasses with a strap to keep them in place. It's very easy to lose them, and when the sun's blazing, you'll really feel the benefit on your eyes for having the protection and enjoy your time on the water more.
  • Rash Guard
    Rash guards are another great investment; they dry very quickly and don't cause any irritation for your skin while protecting it against the harmful rays of the sun.
  • Wetsuit/Drysuit
    When the weather is colder, you’re best wearing a wetsuit. A good quality 6mm cold water wetsuit will give you the warmth you need, but restrict your flexibility and mobility, so it may be worth investing in a dry suit instead.
  • Thermal Clothing
    If you intend on working up a sweat and really pushing yourself on your board, you will be generating high amounts of body heat. If that’s the case, you need a good pair of thermal bottoms and a thermal top. As well as helping you to move easily, they’ll provide you with the body temperature regulation you need.
  • Booties
    These could be likened to water shoes, though booties are made from neoprene and will ensure your toes are warm enough you can enjoy paddle boarding in colder water. Pro Tip – heat booties up in warmer water before you start, and you’ll benefit from the warmth for far longer.

Leash

Helps provide a tether for you to your stand-up paddle board and is essential if you’re interested in paddling along a fast river or surfing. They’re also great for beginners.

Car Rack

Nott as essential for iSUPs as they’re for solid SUPs because iSUPs can be stored anywhere in your car, whether it's the trunk or the back seat. 

Electric Pump

If you’re not keen on waiting or exerting yourself before you even hit the water, you need an electric pump.

Backpack

You want somewhere to store your iSUP, don’t you? That’s what you can use a backpack for. If you get a big enough model, you may be able to store the board and accessories in one place.

Gauge

All iSUPs have a PSI rating, and this measures how much they should be inflated. By investing in a gauge, if the paddle board itself or electric pump you’re investing in doesn’t have one, you can carefully inflate your iSUP without causing any damage to it.


Paddle Boards Tips & Tricks

The first thing you need to do when you acquire your new iSUP is to learn how to use it properly. Generally, paddle boarding is easy to get the hang of, but the first couple of times you’re out on the water, you may find it a challenge. Keep these tips in mind.

  1. 1
    Check You’re Paddling Your Board the Right Way
    This may seem a little silly to mention, but it may not be so obvious which way you should be facing once your board is on the water. The best way to check is by looking at the fins. They’re located at the back of the board, and therefore you should be standing with your back to them.
  2. 2
    Learn How to Fall Safely
    Falling is inevitable. So, to avoid hurting yourself from a fall, you need to practice falling properly. The term inflated may suggest iSUPs are soft to fall on, when the truth is, they’re very sturdy and hard. When you fall on one, you’ll really feel it. The key to falling safely is to fall away from your board. So, if you feel yourself tipping over, exert yourself and try to push away rather than falling onto your back or front.
  3. 3
    Don’t Get Too Close
    To other surfers, paddle boarders, swimmers, boaters and anyone else using the body of water you’re paddling on. For obvious reasons.
  4. 4
    Always Use a Leash
    At least in the beginning anyway. These tend to fit around your ankle with a Velcro strap and attach to a D-ring on your board. They eliminate the chance you will be separated from your board if you end up in the water.
  5. 5
    Go Slow
    The phrase 'don't run before you can walk' is apt here. Aim to practice short paddles first so you can learn how to stay standing on the board and gain confidence before you start dipping the paddle in and trying for longer, faster paddles.

Care & Maintenance of an iSUP

iSUPs are designed to require little maintenance. They can handle a lot of use and abuse. However, there are some necessary maintenance and care tips to keep in mind.

  • Avoid excessive exposure to sunlight
    The UV rays from the sun can break down the material used in most iSUP over time, so when it’s not in use, even if only for a short period, try to keep it in a shaded area or covered.
  • Rinse Your Board, Paddle, and Accessories
    Use fresh water to rinse off the saltwater as this can cause irreversible damage to the board itself, your paddle and just about anything else you use when on the water.
  • Clean it With Mild Detergent or Soap and Some Water
    When your iSUP is looking particularly dirty, you can wash it using mild soap and some water. 
  • Use 303 UV Protectant Spray Occasionally
    This will not only provide your board with protection against UV rays but help it to stay looking better for longer.
  • Ensure It’s Dry Before Storing It Away
    Always make sure it’s properly dry before rolling it up and storing it.

Safety Measures When Paddle Boarding

  • Tell someone where you’re paddling, how long you will be there for and when you’re expected back.
  • Always check the conditions to make sure you’re prepared for any changes in the weather.
  • Avoid paddling when there are offshore winds and stronger than usual water currents.
  • Bring a friend along. It's more fun, and you can keep each other safe.
  • Invest in and use appropriate safety equipment. Make sure you have a PFD/life jacket and an extra buoyancy aid if anything happens to your main one and you end up stranded.
  • Always wear the appropriate clothing for the weather and conditions
  • Always stay close to your kit. Use a leash, unless the waters are very calm, or you feel confident enough.
  • Keep the iSUP inflated to the correct pressure. This will ensure it performs better and stays stable.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you keep your balance on an inflatable paddle board?

This video tutorial provides excellent tips.

Are all SUP boards inflatable?

No, you have the choice between hardboard models and inflatable ones.

What are inflatable paddle boards made from?

You will find most are made from heavy-duty (often military-grade) PVC, reinforced rubber materials, polymer, and urethane.

How long do inflatable SUPs typically last?

It really depends on how well or not they’re cared for, but there's no reason why they can't last for several years. The warranty offered by the manufacturer is a good indication also, with most ranging from 1 to 3 years.

How do I locate a leak from my inflatable paddle board and then patch it?

This video provides a good idea of how to do this.

How should I put the fin on the inflatable paddle board?

It depends on the kind of inflatable SUP you have, and whether you have one with multiple fins or just one single fin. The 2 main methods of putting them on are:

Double Fang Method where you ensure your board is fully deflated and then use the back of it to insert it into the board’s knot. You then need to connect all the slots to knobs so push the fins on until you hear it catching. Tug it to check they’re fully in place.

Slide and Snap Method where you slide the fin into the onboard fin holders in reverse. Hold the bottom of each fin in your hands, and once it’s on, it should be tightly in place.

How long does it take to inflate an iSUP? Can I use my foot pump to inflate my paddle board?

It depends on which model of iSUP you have and pump. If you have a motorized pump, though, it may take around 5 to 10 minutes. Yes, you can, if it has an appropriate attachment.

What are the best inflatable iSUP brands?
  • Isle
  • Pathfinder
  • SereneLife
  • Peak Expedition
  • Thurso
  • Airhead
  • iRocker
  • Atoll

Conclusion

There we have it, our quintessential guide to the best inflatable stand up paddle boards on the market. We've tried to cover all bases, to give you plenty of choices, whether you are a beginner, angler, kid or want to take your dog out on the water with you.

All the products listed above are great options, but the Atoll 11-feet model stands head and shoulders above the rest as the best overall.

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