In this article we review some of the top inflatable stand-up paddle boards for sale along with some tips on what to look for when selecting a new paddleboard.
Best Stand Up Paddle Boards
As you make your plans on where to head for summer vacation or maybe even just a long weekend, chances are they will include some form of a body of water.
The big question is, what aquatic activity do you do?
You can go to the beach and surf, you can jet ski on the lake, or you can snorkel.
But if you want a fun activity that’s easy, safe, convenient, and fun for the whole family, consider investing in an inflatable stand up paddleboard.
WHAT IS A SUP
Simply put, a stand-up paddleboard or SUP is a recreational longboard that you can use to paddle yourself through the mostly calm water.
There are several different styles these boards come in, including:
- General, All-around SUP – best for recreational enjoyment
- Surf SUP– Built specifically for surfing. Less stable in calm water, but highly maneuverable on the waves.
- Touring SUP– Built for longer distance paddling, more stable for beginners.
- Yoga SUP– Roomier deck, built more stable for yoga poses
- Race SUP– Longer and wider than general SUP for better sprinting and gliding on the water.
- Fishing SUP- Include the most volume of all the boards for better stability and usually include fishing gear holders for poles, tackle boxes, etc.
For the sake of this article, we will focus mostly on the all-around SUP since it’s the most versatile and easiest to use the board.
At a bare minimum, all you really need to use a SUP is the board itself and a paddle.
You can stand on the board, kneel, sit, or even lie down.
For a relaxing afternoon on the water, there really is no better toy than a paddle board.
Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Boards
No paddle board innovation has made the sport of paddle boarding more accessible to the public than the inflatable stand-up paddleboard.
Before you were able to inflate your board you would have to buy a rack for the top of your car or tie it down.
Of course, you could ditch your sedan for an old-school Woody out of an old 1960’s surf movie and hang the board out the back window…
However, today the most transportable boards are actually inflatable!
Inflatable stand-up paddle boards are incredibly easy to set up.
They come rolled up, usually in a carrying case, and all you have to do is unroll and inflate.
Packing up is simply a matter of deflating the board and rolling it back into the carry case which is the size of a sleeping bag.
Most of these boards will come with a hand pump of some sort, or of course, you can use an electric pump assuming all the correct attachments are in place.
Compared to the traditional Epoxy boards, you lose a bit of performance with inflatable boards.
The truth is as of now, they don’t have the maneuverability, speed, and glide of traditional boards.
But as inflatable boards become more popular that could all change.
Best Uses Of Your Inflatable SUP
Because a SUP is so easy to set up, transport and use, it can be utilized in a lot of different ways.
They’re ideal for calm water like lakes and slow-moving rivers.
Many cities like Austin, Tx, have rivers where you can paddle board while taking in the city view.
A paddle board can work both for those looking for a more relaxing float on the water, or for anyone who wants a more rigorous workout.
They can be used by less physically active adults, and are easy enough for kids to use as well.
Although there are specific SUPs you can get for these activities, inflatable SUPs also work well for long distance touring, fishing, and yoga.
There’s even some extra space to bring a second person with you or even your dog.
You need to make sure you have the right size paddle board paddle.
Typically you want a paddle that’s 7-10 inches taller than you’re height.
You want it to be comfortable to stand upright while wading the water below while avoiding any leaning or bending over.
Inflatable SUP Features
Many paddleboards will also come with some added features like bungee ties.
These allow you to tie down anything you want to bring out onto the water with you such as a cooler, extra life jacket, sunscreen, etc.
Having a reliable non-slip footpad with grip is very useful on your board for more comfortable standing, kneeling, sitting, or lying.
This is especially great for beginners.
On the bottom of these boards, you’ll typically find at least 1-3 fins.
Fins help with speed, steering, and gliding.
There are add-on’s you can get like paddle board seats which add some extra comfort to the board.
Paddle Board Workouts
While many people choose the paddle board for a fun recreational activity on the water, plenty of SUP’rs are seeing results from specific paddle boarding exercises.
While simply just paddling can be a great workout in and of itself, certain paddle board exercises can help isolate specific muscle groups for a more focused routine.
These exercises include:
- Standing and twisting your body with the paddle in the water for your abs and core
- Squatting while holding the paddle out in front of your body
- Leg raises with your back on the board
- Holding the board to lift yourself out of the water for shoulders, chest, and arms
Of course, these are just a few examples of the dozens of SUP exercises you can find by simply searching the internet.
Paddle Board Yoga
Paddle Board yoga is another workout that has risen in popularity over the last few years.
There are specific boards you can get that work optimally for a yoga routine, but can also easily be done on an inflatable SUP because of the strong buoyancy.
Along with the physical benefits, the calming sounds of the still water and the surrounding nature add to the allure of doing yoga on your inflatable SUP.
Stand up Paddle Boarding Tips
If you’ve never paddle boarded it’s easy to feel intimidated by the activity.
From the outside, it looks advanced, but it really is quite simple and can be mastered in less than 10 minutes.
Most boards, especially inflatable paddle boards, are very sturdy and don’t require a high degree of balance from the rider.
If you do have issues with balance you can simply sit on the board and paddle slowly to get the hang of it!
Alternate the paddling on each side of the board to get comfortable controlling and turning.
If you’re even slightly athletic you can easily figure out how to use a paddle board.
But if you’re still not convinced plenty of towns and shops offer paddle boarding lessons.