Paddleboarding is an activity that can light up anyone’s boring day. With a board in hand, you are free to go battle with the waves in the ocean, or if you are looking for something more subtle, you can opt for a more relaxed paddle in the still lake. Either way, the key to having the most enjoyment is using the right paddleboard.
Paddleboards these days are made to make the overall boarding user experience less demanding. Don’t confuse them with surfboards, though. They have specific shapes, volume, thickness and lengths which make them optimal floatation devices. They are much more stable in water, therefore easier for you to get vertical. So whether you are a beginner or a more experienced border, they will ensure that you are as comfortable as possible in water.
Paddleboards come in different materials too. We have inflatable ones for when storage is an issue, and solid ones if you don’t mind the rigidity. Because of this, you might need to make certain considerations when choosing one. To help you in your quest, we have made a thorough list of the best paddle boards out there today down below.
Top 7 Paddleboards Of 2020 Reviewed
1. Atoll 11′ Foot Inflatable BoardInflatable Paddleboard
The Atoll 11′ Foot Inflatable Board features unbeatable rugged durability paired with portability, convenience, and user-friendliness.
If you’re in the hunt for a top-quality inflatable SUP, you should check out this amazing board from Atoll. It features ultra light construction that is 40% lighter than comparable models without compromising durability. It comes with an extra durable removable fin that is compatible with all universal US fin boxes and doesn’t require tools to install. The US fin is highly durable and designed to avoid breakage, even through very rough water movements.
This paddleboard is 6-inch thick, 32-inch wide, and 11-inch long. Fully wrapped with second layer of PVC on top and bottom, the Atoll is definitely an extra rigid board.
- Quality construction
- Very stable even on rough waters
- Includes all accessories and attachments in one package
- Inflating takes effort
- A little too large (although for some it is a plus)
2. BIC Sport ACE-TEC Wing Stand Up PaddleboardBest Wing Stand Up Paddleboard
Voted as the best standup paddleboard by outsider magazines gear of the year, you can rest assured that you will get both quality construction and versatility in performance from this product from BIC.
The Ace-Tech is build using advanced thermoformed Epoxy construction. This kind of construction not only makes it lightweight but also up to 30% more durable than most traditional paddleboards, with no sacrifice to stiffness whatsoever. So whether it’s rough seas, calm lakes or flat water, these boards will seamlessly hold up.
The ACE-TEC wing comes in a unique design, whereby its recessed standing integrates a deck pad as well as an integral heel support area for a more précised footing and a lower center of gravity. The flush deck also has a mount which you can attach your essentials and for easy transport, it has a BIC Sports ERGO Grip in place.
With its bow entry shape, this board will cut smoothly through chop. It also has a flat hull underneath its ride position for more stability. The BIC Sport Ace-Tec will guarantee a faster, smoother and more stable boarding experience.
- Thermoformed construction which is very durable
- Unique design for better stability
- Has mounts to attach essentials
- Some users claim it falls in the heavy side
- Long length may not be suitable for some users
3. Sun DolphinPaddleboard for the Money
If you’re looking for an affordable paddleboard that offers great features and durable construction, you won’t go wrong with Sun Dolphin.
If you’re looking for a kayak-SUP combo, you should check out this paddleboard by Sun Dolphin. It measures 10 ft long and therefore makes a good choice for beginners and kids. It’s made of a solid polyethylene material and is available in lime, ocean, red, and tangerine colors. The board is suitable for all-round, flat-water and light surfing.
Storage? No problem. The board has a recessed area that fits in a small cooler which is secured down with a strap. It even has a cup holder. Apart from these, the board comes with six plugs for shock and cord deck rigging, plus one more hidden compartment for even more on-deck storage.
The board width is 30 inches which allows for better support and balance. This feature is further enhanced by the non-slip pads that are tailored for correct foot positioning. It is also equipped with 5 carrying handles for added convenience. The biggest drawback however, is that this board weighs 50 pounds which is kind of energy-draining to carry.
- Great for kayak and stand-up paddleboarding
- Handy built-in storage compartment
- Great features for beginners
- Heavy and might be difficult to carry
4. California Board CoPortable Paddleboard
Choose California Board Co if you want a lightweight and portable paddleboard at a good price.
The CB Co Hydra 10’6” SUP comes with everything you need – the board, paddle, leash, fin, and roof rack. It even comes with a bungee holder to keep your important gears dry, such as your electronics. There’s also a strong camera mount for capturing the best surfing moments. It features a multi-layered core that is 100% waterproof. This prevents the insides of the paddle from being wet. The board also has ankle straps to help you sit firmly.
When it comes to durability, this paddleboard is no doubt a real deal. It’s lightweight and portable. Despite this, it can hold the weight of up to 300 pounds. You should, however, be extra careful with this board because unlike wood and fiberglass, EPS is more prone to scratches.
- Made with high-density EPS waterproof foam
- Includes everything else: paddle, leash, and roof rack
- Great starter kit for beginners
- The narrow platform takes some time to get used to
- EPS is prone to scratches
5. Gold Coast SurfboardPaddleboard for Begginners
Gold Coast Surfboards is among the most reliable manufacturers of paddleboards. The Gold Coast Anima Entry Board is perfect for kids, teens, and adults who are new to standup paddleboarding.
This paddleboard features flat rails for stability, a double concave bottom for less drag, and tie downs for on deck storage. It’s 33″ wide and 5” thick which makes it great for beginners. There’s also a pre-installed deck pad for added comfort and board durability. The paddleboard comes with a convenient handle for easy transport. There’s a small heat exhaust designed to fight the harmful heat rays and keep the board cool under the sun. The 3-fin setup allows for solid tracking as well.
Since the features are well-geared for beginners, you don’t expect the board to paddle as fast as other boards do. Thus, it isn’t intended for racing or other competitive surfing or paddleboarding activities.
- Wide platform for better balance
- 3-fin setup
- Comes with storage bungee straps
- Paddle needs to be purchased separately
6. BIC Sport TOUGH-TECPaddleboard fo all Levels
If you love both surfing and flat-water paddleboarding, the BIC Sport TOUGH-TEC is another top-performing board that caters to all experience levels.
The BIC Sport TOUGH-TEC is well-suitable for any paddleboarding adventure, whether it’s a relaxing tour on the lake or an adrenaline-rush full of surfing through the waves. Available in 9’2, 10’6, and 11’6 sizes, this board combines the surf-inspired longboard outlines to achieve a solid wave performance and a moderate rocker profile for suitability in flat-water conditions.
The board comes with two attachment points for securing gear, a leash plug at the tail, an ergo-grip carry handle, and an embossed EVA deck pad. Featuring a Tough-Tec construction, this paddleboard offers superior durability and performance. Furthermore, the foam core makes the board even stronger, stiffer, and resistance to impact.
- Innovative design
- Comfortable deck pad
- Lightweight foam core
- Paddle and accessories not included in the package
7. Tower PaddleboardPaddleboard for Flatwater Activities
This incredibly tough and durable paddleboard is great for gaining speed, which ensures that you have a lot of fun on the lake with friends.
The Tower Paddleboard is made with military grade materials to ensure superior strength and durability. The SUP board measures 10’4″ long, 32″ wide, and 6″ thick. The package comes with 3-piece fiberglass paddle, high-end diamond grooved deck pad, a roll-up carrying strap, a handhold strap, and a high-pressure SUP pump.
Made using drop-stitch technology wherein thousands of fibers connect the top deck to the bottom to hold its deck, the Tower paddleboard is as rigid as a plywood when inflated. This makes it great for water rapids, as well as rocky shores. Perfect for flatwater activities such as fishing, yoga, touring or even sunbathing.
- Can hold up to 700 pounds of weight
- Comes with 2-year Warranty
- removable center fin
- The white surrounding color makes dirt highly visible
How To Choose the Best Paddleboard: the Ultimate Buying Guide
Paddleboarding is fun for both beginners and experienced folks. But to find the best paddleboard, there are some important things you should consider. They include the following:
Hull – depending on the type of paddleboarding you plan to do, you have a choice between a planing hull and a displacement hull.
Solid or inflatable – both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Choosing between solid and inflatable paddleboards has something to do with the performance you want, as well as your portability and your storage needs.
Length, width, and thickness – where you plan to paddle (whether in the lake or ocean), plays a major role in your choice of board. The dimensions of a paddleboard determine how it handles the water.
Volume and weight capacity – you should pick a board that is suitable for your height and weight. This ensures stability and good paddleboarding performance.
That’s just the summary. Now, let’s dig deeper into these four major factors to consider when choosing a paddleboard.
Do You want Solid or Inflatable Paddleboards?
Paddleboards come in two build types: solid and inflatable.
Solid boards are made from an EPS foam core wrapped in either fiberglass and epoxy, carbon fiber, or plastic. Plastic boards are often the cheapest but they are less durable and lack the performance of more expensive solid boards. You should choose a solid paddleboard if:
- You want the best performance on the water.
- You’re looking for the one that fits you just right. Solid boards come in a wide range of dimensions, compared to inflatable boards so you are likely to find the one that fits you best.
- You prefer a more stable feel.
- You don’t mind a heavy paddleboard.
- You have enough space in your home to store it as well as in your car to transport it..
Inflatable boards, just like other water inflatables and other inflatables products, are made with PVC exteriors in a drop-stitch construction. This board comes with a pump for inflating and a storage bag where you can keep it deflated when not in use. A good-quality inflatable board should feel very rigid (like it’s made from wood) when fully inflated.
Buy an inflatable paddleboard if:
- You love traveling to different locations to paddle. Since they are portable, inflatable paddleboards make a perfect gear for your next vacation.
- You have limited storage space. If you live in a small apartment or condo, you’re not likely to have enough space to store a solid paddleboard. Inflatable boards are portable and compact, hence, they can be conveniently stored in a small area, such as beneath your bed, in your closet, or in the trunk of your car.
- You’re hiking to paddle in a lake. You certainly won’t like carrying a heavy board if you’re hiking to a lake.
- You’re using the paddleboard for yoga. Inflatable boards have a softer, more comfortable feel, making them a good choice for yoga sessions.
- You’re paddleboarding whitewater. Inflatable boards are well-suited to handle rocks, logs, and bumps than a solid board.
The “hull” refers to the body of the paddleboard and it plays a major role in determining how well the board performs in the water. Most paddleboards available in the market today either have a planing hull or a displacement hull. However, there are a few hybrid models that combine the features of both hull types.
A planing hull is flat and wide, almost similar to a surfing board. Boards with planing hulls are very maneuverable and therefore make a good choice for leisure paddleboarding, surfing, stand-up yoga, and whitewater activities. If you’re a beginner, you should opt for paddleboards with a planing hull.
Paddleboards with displacement hulls have a pointed nose or bow in the front end. The hull is designed in such way that it slices through the water, pushing it to the sides of the board and creating a fast and smooth ride. They track nicely but they may be more difficult to maneuver because they have a faster speed rate, thus they are more suitable for advanced paddlers. This type makes an ideal choice for fitness paddleboarding, as well as paddle touring and racing.
Volume and Weight Capacity
Once you’ve decided between a planing hull and displaced hull, as well as the construction type (solid or inflatable), the next thing to consider would be the volume and weight capacity of the board. As we’ve mentioned a while ago, the dimensions of your board largely affect your performance on it, as well as the stability of the board.
The volume, which is expressed in liters, indicates the board’s ability to float with weight on it. The higher the volume, the more weight it can support. The weight capacity, listed in pounds, refers to how much bodyweight the board can handle. When choosing a paddleboard, consider your weight, as well as the weight of other items you will take on the board, such as your gears, food, and water.
The volume and weight capacity is measured by the length, width, and thickness of the board. Paddleboards vary in terms of these three dimensions to achieve different performance characteristics, depending on the user’s personal preferences and requirements.
What’s the Perfect Board Length?
Board lengths come in three major categories: short (under 10ft), medium (10ft to 12ft), and long (12.6ft to 14ft). In general, longer boards move faster than their short counterparts but are more difficult to maneuver.
Shortboards are ideal for surfing. They almost have a planing hull and are more maneuverable than longboards. They also make a great choice for kids, although there are specialized shortboards for children, which measure around 8 inches long.
Medium boards are the most commonly used boards and are great for different activities, including yoga paddleboarding. This board type usually features a planing hull although there are models that make use of a displaced hull.
Longboards are ideal for fast paddleboarding and long-distance paddleboarding. Majority of boards under this length category make use of displacement hulls. Not only are they faster, longboards and tend to track straighter too.
When choosing the right board length for you, it’s helpful to consider how it relates to volume and weight capacity. Longer boards tend to have greater volume and capacity, which make them feel more stable, and allow you to carry more stuff with you.
How about the Board Width?
Another important factor to consider is the width of the board. Board widths range from 25 inches up to 36 inches to address various needs. A wider board is more stable than a skinny board but slower. Also, if the board is too wide for you, it can be difficult to paddle. If you plan to use the board for long tours, consider buying a paddleboard with a larger width so you can add other items like your gears, food, and water. In case you love racing and surfing, opt for narrower boards. If you’re a big person, go for a wider board as well because you may struggle finding balance in a narrow board. Similarly, if you’re a smaller person, you would want a narrower board as it would be difficult to reach the side of a wide board, resulting in an inefficient stroke.
Furthermore, the thickness of the board also affects the overall volume and weight capacity. Basically, the thicker the board, the more volume it has and vice versa.
Another important part of the paddleboard is the fin – yes, just like the diving fins, only this time built into the paddleboard to help you propel when in the water. In general, larger, wider and longer fins are more stable and have straighter track than smaller fins. On the other hands, short fins are easier to maneuver.
Most fins for solid boards are removable and replaceable which means you can easily swap sizes as needed. Boards can have a single fin, 3-fin setup, or a 2+1 setup. Boards with single fins have good tracking and minimal drag, which makes them a good option for flatwater paddleboarding. The 3-fin setup features straight tracking on flatwater and good control when surfing. 2+1 setup is much more designed for surfing.
Fins for inflatable boards are usually made from flexible rubber and are either attached or detachable.
Depending on how you’d like to use your paddleboard, you might want to look for something that comes with a few helpful extras and accessories. These may include bungee straps which are needed to secure your bags and other items on the board while you paddle and attachment points where you can hook up your fishing rod or camera. Some paddleboards come with these accessories at one price although in most cases, they are sold separately.
Paddleboards are a really fun must-haves when going to the beach or lake. But like any other water gears, they come in different kinds and sizes too. They also range in prices. When shopping for a paddleboard, it is important to consider how you plan to use it, where, and how you would keep it. With these things in mind, you can easily identify which one to buy – a solid or an inflatable board.
There are a few more things to take into account, such as the hull, the board dimensions (length and width, as well as its capacity. A few add-ons are nice to have too, depending again on how you will use the board.
That’s it! By now, you should be able to choose the best paddleboard that fits your needs.