If you’re looking to get involved with one of the fastest-growing watersports, then you’re probably looking to invest in a quality stand-up paddle board.
But how to select a Stand Up Paddle Board?
And most importantly: how do you choose the right one for you?
Before we talk about some of the best models on the market, there are a few pieces to the puzzle that you should have an understanding of.
In this article you’ll find the a complete Stand Up Paddle Board Buying Guide which gives you everything at hand to make the right decision!
So let’s take a look at how to choose a stand-up paddle board before we jump into some of the best stand-up paddle boards available today.
What Types Of SUP Designs Are There?
The Starting Point of the SUP Board Buying Guide
Before you get into the features that make up the best stand-up paddle board, you have to decide what your end uses will be. There are many different types of SUP designs, and each is specifically crafted for a particular type of paddle boarding. Choosing the right design is therefore the starting point in your SUP Buying journey.
Here is a short look at some of the SUP types you have to choose from. If you want more detailed information about all the different types, you can find muh more in our Stand Up Paddle Board Overview.
All – around
The all – around style is a great choice for those that are just starting out. It is crafted to be versatile no matter the water conditions. This is probably the most common and is also the most friendly when it comes to beginners as well as dogs.
This is a specialized division of paddle boarding. It is a sport that uses open water and heavy winds to give the paddle boarder an almost surf – like feel. Most of these types of boards will be outfitted to allow for faster speeds and the ability to ride swells. These tend to be long and narrow and have a plentiful rocker.
If you have a little bit of paddle boarding experience under your belt, then surfing SUP is a great choice. If you’re looking for a little more adventurous when it comes to paddle boarding, then this surf model could be the right one.Though it is less stable on the water and much easier to fall off, it is very maneuverable, which means you have a high level of shred – ability. This type of board is often also convertible so that you can go from a SUP to windsurfing with ease.
If you’re looking for a pretty challenging workout, then the touring setup might just fit the bill. This board is crafted for long distances in calm water. So if you’re looking to stand up paddle board in the open ocean or on lakes, this would be the type you need. It has a high level of glide and efficiency; it is wide and stable, making it a great option for beginners as well.
These boards will be wide and short for improved stability. On top of this, if you are looking to do some whitewater surfing, this type of board will be highly maneuverable. They do tend to also have a pretty high level when it comes to rockers and are best for those with a little paddle boarding experience.
Yoga / Fitness
Some people enjoy making their workout routines even more challenging, even if it is yoga. The fitness board is designed with a perfect shape to handle flat water as well as any fitness activities you may want to do on the water. The design of the board is geared for stability, and most of these will have a deck pad that is perfect for yoga.
If you’re looking for something to do as a couple or family, then a tandem SUP is the right choice. This board comes with handles and strap tie-downs so that you can transport gear such as for fishing or camping, or even your pet. They tend to be longer and wider, offering more stability, and are perfect for a long day out on the water.
If you need a more detailed overview over all the different types of Stand Up Boards, check out our big SUP Board Overview.
THE STAND UP PADDLE BOARD BUYING GUIDE:
HOW TO DECIDE WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Once you have an idea of what your intentions are with your SUP board, then you have to look at the features so that you choose the right option. Here are a few of the features that we think are the most vital for finding the right Stand Up Paddle Board for yourself.
When looking at hull types, you will have two types to choose from – planing and displacement. Looking at the planing hull, you will notice that it is flatter and wider, almost like a surfboard. The hull is perfect for beginners because it has a wide range of use and is very stable. This is also good for those that are unsure of what exactly they want to do with their stand up board.
The displacement option is good for those looking for a faster board that is capable of being used for long distances. This board tends to have a pointed nose and looks almost kind of like a kayak. The design allows the board to move quickly through water and is more efficient when it comes to maneuverability.
When it comes to the length of the board, typically they are classified into three categories: short, medium and longboards. Shortboards tend to be 9′ or less. These boards are typically slower but have better maneuverability and are often found as surfing SUPs.
Medium boards range from 9′ to 12′. Because it rides right in the center this is the best option when it comes to people that are just starting out. These usually have a good balance of stability and speed which is why you tend to find them as all-around boards or even yoga boards.
The last length is long; these tend to be 12′ or longer. The links typically make them faster and that is why users enjoy them for tandem or racing. They do have less stability and maneuverability.
When you are looking at the width of a Stand Up Paddle Board, you’re really looking at stability, as the wider it is, the more stable you will be. Along with that, though, the wider it is, the less speed you may also have. Narrow boards are faster but require more experience, and this means they are not great for experiences like fitness or SUP with a dog. So remember the following: Wider boards will give you more stability, as we have said, but are much slower.
Inflatable Vs. Hardboard
It used to be that there was a big difference between inflatable and hardboard options. But nowadays, both are comparative when it comes to durability and stiffness. If you are someone who is just starting that doesn’t live close to the water, then for transportability purposes you may want to go with an inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board.
On the other hand, if you are someone that likes to paddle and are experienced, you may opt for the hardboard.
In the end, when it comes to several of these factors, it really does depend on your experience level. The more experience you have, the smaller and narrower board you will be able to use with ease.
And we surely don’t go wrong that for most of the paddlers out there an iSUP is nowadays the best choice.
Choosing The Right Size – the Stand Up paddle size chart
The last but maybe one of the most important thing you want to pay attention to is choosing the right size of your SUP Board.
Though the volume and size is partially dependent on the surfer’s weight, you also have to take into account the experience level. That means that if you are a beginner, you should start with a wider board with a little more volume and go to the upper level of the ranges given in the size chart given below.
Here is a Stand Up Paddle Board Size Chart:
|Rider Weight (lbs)||SUP Width (in)||SUP Length (ft)|
|< 125||31” – 32”||9’6” – 10’9”|
|125 – 150||31” – 32”||9’6” – 10’9”|
|150 – 175||31” – 33”||10’0” – 10’9”|
|175 – 200||32” – 34”||10’0” – 12’6”|
|200 – 225||32” – 34”||10’0” – 12’6”|
|> 225||32” – 34”||10’0” – 12’6”|
|Rider Weight (kg)||SUP Width (cm)||SUP Length (cm)|
|< 57||78 – 81||289 – 328|
|57 – 68||78 – 81||289 – 328|
|68 – 79||78 – 84||305 – 328|
|79 – 90||84 – 87||305 – 381|
|90 – 102||84 – 87||305 – 381|
|> 102||84 – 87||305 – 381|
Looking at this stand – up paddle size / weight chart, it is easy to see that for beginners, as we said, you want to choose a board that has more heft and is wider. This typically would mean you’re looking for a board that is between 120 and 140 liters and somewhere between 10′ 8” and 12′. For instance, the Bluefin Cruise 10’8″ is an allround board.
However, often it is helpful to double check the choice of SUP size together with the volume a board is specified. An orientation about which volume you need depending on your skill level and weight is given in the tables below:
|Rider Ability||Rider Weight (lbs)||SUP Volume (liters)|
|Beginner||110 – 121||101 – 110|
|Beginner||121 – 132||110 – 120|
|Beginner||132 – 143||120 – 134|
|Beginner||143 – 154||134 – 144|
|Beginner||154 – 165||144 – 154|
|Beginner||165 – 176||154 – 164|
|Beginner||176 – 188||164 – 174|
|Beginner||188 – 198||174 – 184|
|Beginner||198 – 210||184 – 194|
|Beginner||+ 11 lbs||+ 10 liters|
|Rider Ability||Rider Weight (lbs)||SUP Volume (liters)|
|Intermediate||110 – 121||92 – 115|
|Intermediate||121 – 132||115 – 124|
|Intermediate||132 – 143||124 – 134|
|Intermediate||143 – 154||134 – 144|
|Intermediate||154 – 165||144 – 154|
|Intermediate||165 – 176||154 – 164|
|Intermediate||176 – 188||164 – 174|
|Intermediate||188 – 198||174 – 184|
|Intermediate||198 – 210||184 – 194|
|Intermediate||+ 11 lbs||+ 10 liters|
|Rider Ability||Rider Weight (lbs)||SUP Volume (liters)|
|Advanced||110 – 121||80 – 87|
|Advanced||121 – 132||87 – 94|
|Advanced||132 – 143||94 – 102|
|Advanced||143 – 154||102 – 109|
|Advanced||154 – 165||109 – 117|
|Advanced||165 – 176||117 – 124|
|Advanced||176 – 188||124 – 132|
|Advanced||188 – 198||132 – 139|
|Advanced||198 – 210||139 – 147|
|Advanced||+ 11 lbs||+ 7 liters|
Stand Up Paddle Board Reviews: our Top Picks
Bluefin Cruise SUP Package – Best All-around SUP Board for Beginners
If you’re just starting, then, of course, you want to look for the best all-around SUP board. The first SUP that we are looking at comes in a package and is an inflatable style paddle board.
To be honest: The Bluefin 10’8” Cruise is definitely one of the overall best products currently available.
This allround SUP is crafted with a Denier Exo surface laminate PVC as well as a pro weave drop stitch. This elevates the board’s durability and allows it to maintain 28 PSI for a more stable and rigid board.
Along with this amazing material that is used in the construction, the board also comes with a kit that allows you to convert it into a kayak as well as other accessories for improved performance. The length of the board allows for better tracking and maneuverability, and because of the PVC used in the construction, it has a nice weight capacity.
On top of that, the deck is designed for improved traction.
All of that doesn’t mean that this board is perfect. It is a little bit on the heavy side which may detract from its portability.
- SUP comes with a kit chock full of accessories that elevate the overall value
- Links of the board gives it a nice combination of maneuverability and tracking
- Crafted with durable ESL build that allows for a high weight capacity
- Finished with a textured deck pad for improved grip
- 60 month manufacturing guarantee
- Board is a bit on the hefty side which makes it harder to transport
GILI Adventure SUP Paddle Board – Best Touring SUP
There are a lot of aspects of this next SUP that make it a perfect option for touring. Crafted with high-quality materials and designed for enhanced gliding, the Gili Adventure Paddle Board just might be the right choice for you.
When you look at the construction of this paddle board, you are looking at something that is designed to last. Crafted with a dual-layer of fusion technology, this board is not only durable but lightweight as well. On top of that, for every board you purchase, the company donates money to save the oceans.
When it comes to the actual performance, though, you’re looking at a paddle board that is crafted to glide through the water with ease and have improved maneuverability.
Along with that, the model is crafted with several D-rings that allow you to add extra accessories so that you can ensure your board is perfect for you.
The only negative aspect of this board is the deck pad itself. Though it is comfortable to stand on for long periods, there are no grooves embedded in it, and therefore, it offers less traction.
- Design of the SUP provides excellent tracking as well as glide
- Crafted to be lightweight for easier transport and storage
- Built with a dual-layer fusion construction for enhanced durability
- Outfitted with a plethora of D-rings for improved customization
- The deck pad is not designed with very good traction, although it is comfortable
THURSO SURF All-Around SUP Paddle Board – Best Versatile SUP
For those looking for a versatile allround inflatable surf SUP then this model from THURSO is a good option. This model uses a hybrid shape that combines both the all-around and the touring board design for improved glide and enhanced versatility.
This SUP is crafted with a military-grade PVC layer and outfitted with side rails that are reinforced with PVC seams. This is designed to help reduce the chance of delamination and extend the life of the board.
Not only does the PVC seem to help with its ability, but the board is also lighter. This means that you can ride this board for longer and you can also bank on the fact that it will be easy to transport. THURSO SURF All-Around SUP Paddle Board – Best vVersatile SUPs well. This, too, is key when it comes to the portability of the unit.
The wood grain design gives it an aesthetic that almost anybody will like, and the high-quality PVC tar player makes it more rhere is one issue, and that is that the board is only crafted with one action mount, which may reduce the maneuverability a little.
- Crafted with a drop-stitch construction for a lighter haul
- Designed with a 3-stage pump as well as removable handles and folding feet
- Finished with aesthetically pleasing wood-grained design
- SUP Offers a high-quality build and excellent rigidity
- High load capacity and size is ideal for all who want surf not only alone, but also maybe take their kids or dogs regularly on the water
- Board is only crafted with an action mount
DAMA SUP Yoga Board – Best Yoga Board
Finding yourself in the middle of the lake, away from all the distractions and stress, is the perfect place to get into some yoga. That is why if you’re looking for the best yoga board on the market, you may want to check out this DAMA SUP model.
Maybe you’re looking to expand your yoga practice and want to share it with those online that are along for the same journey. This board comes with a camera mount as well as many other features that could be used to elevate the share-ability of your morning yoga paddle boarder routine.
The board is crafted to be compact, which is perfect for kids or even smaller adults. On top of that, as we said, it comes with a ton of great accessories, including a folding paddle that floats easily so that if you lose it, you’ll be able to recover it.
The board itself is crafted with high-quality materials so that you don’t have to worry about its durability. Plus, there are dual handles that help with not only hold but new maneuverability.This board is inflatable, and there have been some that have found that the air valve that is built into the board is not as durable as the rest of the board.
- Designed with a compact build which is perfect for kids and small adults
- Comes with a ton of great accessories, including a folding paddle making it ideal for beginners
- Crafted with military-grade PVC material for enhanced sturdiness
- Built with dual handles for improved hold and maneuverability
- Some people have found that the air valve in the board is not as durable as others
Bluefin Cruise SUP 15′ Tandem – Best Tandem SUP
Sometimes you just want to head out onto the waters with a friend, whether that is of the human persuasion or the four-legged. When this is your goal, you will need a tandem SUP and this model from Bluefin (Bleufin Tandem 15) is one of the best choices.
This model is a longer version of the first SUP we looked at, but even though it is the same, it offers a lot of great features that are specifically geared to tandem paddle boarding. It is still crafted with high-quality materials and gives the rider a durable and rigid ride.
Though it is a variation of the prior board, the value that you get from it outweighs the price tag compared to other tandem boards. The board itself is crafted to hold 530 pounds which is a high weight capacity perfect for multiple riders. It also comes with several great accessories, including two fiberglass paddles that help with customization and versatility of use.
Unfortunately, though, there is one major issue, and that is that it is crafted with a single chamber pump which means that you will be inflating this board for longer than you might like.
- Price versus value is very competitive when it comes to comparison to other models
- Designed to be able to hold 530 pounds which is perfect for a tandem board
- Unit comes with two fiberglass paddles and several accessories for improved versatility
- Non-slip grip texture finishes the deck pad for better balance
- Unit is fitted with a single chamber pump which makes inflation take a bit of time
So there you have it, a look at how you can choose the right stand-up paddle board for you as well as a couple of suggestions when it comes to the best stand-up paddle boards on the market.
Do you need more information about all the accessories available and needed for Stand Up Paddling? Check out our complete SUP Accessories Overview!