You’ve probably heard of a stand up paddle board before. Stand up paddleboarding, or SUP, is the newest and most popular way to explore the water. Basically a mix of a kayak and a longboard, paddle boards are easy to learn, offer a great exercise for people of all ages, and are a great excuse to spend more time on the water.
Whether you live on a small lake, river, or the ocean, you need a SUP. We’ve broken down the top ten best stand up paddle boards of 2016, including inflatable and non-inflatable SUPS, and complete paddle board packages.
Stand Up Paddle Board Buying Guide
What is a SUP?
Unlike traditional surfing, where you have to lie on your stomach and use your hands and arms to get out to the waves, stand up paddleboarding uses a paddle to propel you through the water. You can be sitting, kneeling, or standing. Stand up paddleboarding can be as relaxing as a Sunday afternoon winding down a calm river, or as extreme as paddling into a fifteen foot wave in Hawaii. They can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, fiberglass and resin, epoxy, or polyurethane for the inflatable models.
How to Choose a Stand Up Paddleboard
Before you buy your first paddleboard, you’ll need to know a few things, and consider some options. There are different types of paddleboards designed for different riders. For instance, if you are planning to race your board, you’ll probably choose a paddleboard that has a displacement hull. For most others, who are using their SUP to simply have fun, enjoy a fun workout, or just relax with friends, you’ll opt for a more conventional planing hull.
So now that you know which type of SUP you want to buy, there are still some other factors to consider so you can narrow it down to the one for you:
- SUP Weight Capacity: It’s important to find a board that fits within a wide range of your weight. You can usually find the weight capacity of a SUP on the board itself or by talking to a store clerk. Pay attention to weight capacity because it can dramatically dictate the way your board rides.
- SUP Length: Determining which length to choose depends on a variety of elements. If you plan on buying a SUP for a kid or teenager, go for a shorter board. If you’re looking for al all-around SUP that’s good for calm lakes and surfing, a medium board (9’-12’) should work best for you, and if you plan on touring or racing with your paddleboard, a board between 12.5’-14’ would most likely benefit you the most.
- SUP Width: The width of your board is as equally important as the previous factors. Although your paddleboard width depends largely on your preference, there are key factors you should know first. Narrow boards, usually narrower than 29”, are typically faster than wide options, however they are less stable. A wider paddleboard is usually wider than 31”, a little slower, but far more stable.
- SUP Fins: A stand up paddleboard wouldn’t be complete without a proper set of fins. For most SUP riders, you’ll find the most enjoyment by using a typical 3-fin setup, also referred to as a ‘thruster’. This setup handles well in most conditions and is very reliable for any rider.
- SUP Paddle: Choosing your stand up paddleboard paddle is an important decision. If you plan on sharing your paddle with lots of your friends or family, you might want to buy a paddle with an adjustable length. For the more serious SUP rider who wants a lighter, easier-to-use paddle, look for a custom-fitted paddle made of carbon fiber or another light, durable material.
- Rigid vs Inflatable SUP: Inflatable SUPs are great for traveling with your board and offer convenient storage. You’ll have to pump it up before use typically with a pump that’s included. Store it in the travel bag. Rigid boards offer noticeably better performance and control, but are bulkier to transport. You decide what kind of rider you are, and choose accordingly.
You should be completely prepared to buy your own stand up paddleboard now. But to make it even easier for you, we’ve found and broken down the top ten best selling SUPs on amazon.com in 2016, to make your buying decision easy and hassle-free. Enjoy.
Top 10 Stand Up Paddle Boards
This inflatable stand up paddle board package has everything you need. At 10’6”, it is the ideal length for anyone whether it’s your first day on the water or fifth year doing SUP yoga. It’s extremely durable and made from military grade PVC and drop stitch material. This inflatable paddleboard, or iSUP, is 6” thick, which is 2” thicker than most iSUPs. This means a more stable ride for you and your wallet. As if this board wasn’t comfortable enough, PEAK made it 31” wide to round out an overall easy feel. Don’t worry about forgetting to buy a paddle or a pump—PEAK includes the whole setup with this package. You’ll receive a matching paddle, stylish carry backpack, durable coil leash, and a high pressure pump. You’re officially ready for the beach.
Store your favorite summer toy in your closet with the Tower Adventure 2 iSUP package. This board is 10’4” long and is wide enough to accommodate any rider. The rigid and durable PVC material is military-grade and when properly inflated, feels like a hard board. Boasting a weight limit of 350 lbs, this board was made for anything. When you’re done for the season, simply use the pump to fully deflate the iSUP and store it in the most convenient place for you. Tower Paddle Boards wanted to make sure you were good to go, so they included everything you’ll need out on the water. You’ll get a bungee tether, two carry handles, a 3-piece fiberglass paddle, a fin and pump. Tower over the rest with this iSUP.
Perhaps one of the coolest and simple-looking iSUPs on the market this year is the WEEKENDER by Ten Toes. Only 10’ long and 30” wife, the WEEKENDER may seem short when compared to similar models. But the 6” thickness makes up for lost length and adds stability that’s hard to match. Perfect for iSUP riders of any age or ability, you can practice yoga, read a book, or race your best friend on this all-terrain vehicle. This thing is also nearly bulletproof. Made of military-grade PVC, you can forget the days of board-dings and paddle-knicks. Ten Toes didn’t forget about the accessories, either. They include an adjustable paddle, 3 fins, a manual pump and a useful repair kit. Be a WEEKENDER.
If you’ve been searching for the ideal beginner inflatable stand up paddleboard that won’t break the bank, but will still deliver all of the durability and maneuverability that you need, you’ve found it. This 10’ paddleboard is the all-around crowd-pleaser for it’s sleek look and design, compact and comfortable size, and user-friendliness. With a weight capacity of 220 lbs, this iSUP is ideal for beginners fishing, yoga, or exercise. It’s made from military-grade PVC and has drop stitch seams. This board can also be deflated and stored easily and only weighs 31 lbs. An adjustable aluminum paddle is included in this setup, including a pump, carry bag, and a fin. Get to know the water better with the Zray 10’ iSUP.
The California Board Company has struck gold with their custom foam SUP. Specifically shaped to provide a balanced and comfortable feel, this SUP is made of high density EPS foam and laminated wood stringers. This board has a weight capacity of 300 lbs and has a waterproof core to ensure longevity and performance. At 10’6” in length, this board was meant to be ridden by anyone. You can comfortably cruise the bay, navigate down a river with your friends, or catch a couple waves in SoCal with CBC’s foam shape. Only weighing in at 25 lbs, you can traverse sketchy terrain in search of the perfect waves or calm water. This deal includes a paddle, too, so what are you waiting for?
Making big waves this year was this iSUP from iRocker Paddle Boards. Going the distance at 11’, these guys had performance and durability in mind. Featuring triple layer, military-grade PVC, and drop stitch technology, this board is as tough as a boat. To complement the length, iRocker made this iSUP 6” thick to give anyone who rides it the stability they need to feel confident. Don’t worry about buying a roof rack, either. You can just deflate your iSUP when you’re done and throw it in your trunk. This board is ideal for anyone who has been searching for a portable, durable, and dependable inflatable stand up paddleboard that their entire family can use. You can practice yoga and develop balance, go for speed and exercise, or simply lounge on the river on a hot summer’s day. Do it all with iRocker’s iSUP.
This user-friendly inflatable stand up paddleboard setup is the clear choice for so many riders who want dependability and aesthetic appeal merged into one tough iSUP. The The Bali by Solstice is reinforced with extremely tough and durable 3 ply PVC. There are four stainless tie-downs on the front top deck of the board to secure flotation devices or personal items, which is perfect for those tropical excursions or brisk mornings. The Bali is 10’8” in length, which means you’ll feel confident enough to stand and paddle, or even to try a yoga pose. This iSUP package comes with a carry bag, pump, and gauge. Get ready to explore because this iSUP is leading the way.
With a name like Atlantis, you can’t help but think these guys have developed an all-around exploring machine. With a huge anti-slick deck and wide base, virtually anyone can learn to stand up paddleboard in record time with this iSUP. The military-grade PVC material and extra-thick design allow Atlantis to boast a 398 lb weight limit. This beast of a SUP is equally as portable as it is durable. Simply use the pump to deflate your iSUP and stow it in your trunk. This water toy will give you the most fun exercise you’ve ever done and it won’t even feel like work. Hurry and grab this board, or even two for the family, since it includes an adjustable paddle, carry bag, pump, and fin.
iRocker makes another appearance on the list with a similar model, yet a foot smaller. This inflatable stand up paddleboard will favor the rider who is looking to do a little more surfing. The shorter frame will allow for quicker turns in the face of a swell and better maneuverability than its longer counterparts. The extreme durability of iRocker’s products is evident in this iSUP machine. The military-grade PVC material allows you to enjoy yourself on your iSUP without worrying about scratching your favorite toy or, even worse, someone else’s. You’ll be good to go with an included paddle, hand pump, and carry bag. The 30” width, 6” thickness give this board desirable stability, and the thruster fin setup make this iSUP the raddest board of them all.
The new Airtech® from ISLE features the newest technology we’ve seen in awhile. The fusion-lite construction allows for an iSUP that is 30% lighter yet just as durable as its competitors. The all-terrain design makes it ideal for beginner riders who are usually in flat waters with some small waves. The military-grade material can withstand just about anything, so don’t worry if you run into the pier or your friend’s dad’s expensive yacht. This board is a comfortable 10’ long, which is perfect for those who want more control, or if you’re just beginning. You can hit the beach as soon as you get this iSUP because it comes ready to ride with a travel paddle, carry bag, pump, fins, and a repair kit.