Paddleboards offer something for everyone. Whether you’re a newbie trying to learn how to paddleboard or a seasoned paddler looking for a new setup, there is something in store for you. Whatever your preferences might be – whether you want to paddle in a calm lake or play with big waves in the ocean, the best paddleboard should be something that meets your needs and lifestyle. On this article, we’ll show you the best paddleboards to pick. Learn about their pros and cons, and what specific activities they are best for.
Ready? Here we go.
To jumpstart your quest, check out the best paddleboards on the market today. You might just be a few scrolls away to finding the perfect paddleboard for you.
Top 7 Paddleboards of 2018 Reviewed
- Top 7 Paddleboards of 2018 Reviewed
- How to Choose a Paddleboard
1. BIC Sport ACE-Tech BoardSolid Paddleboard
Voted as the Best Standup Paddleboard by Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year, the BIC Sport features quality construction and versatile performance.
The BIC Sport Wing series of board paddles are designed to provide users with a smooth and effortless paddleboarding experience in various surfaces, from rough seas to calm lakes and flatwater. This board is built with thermoformed composite construction technology which makes it lightweight and durable. Great for local lake touring, and even sea surfing, this paddleboard features a unique design with an impressive glide and stability to enable you to go faster and further in a quieter, smooth paddleboarding.
The board comes with four attachment points in the front of the standing area for securing gears, along with a leash plug at nose and tail. There aren’t any short and medium-size BIC sport paddleboards available. The board sizes for this product are either 11 feet 0 inch or 12 feet 6 inch.
- Lightweight and durable
- Smooth tracking, easily maneuverable
- Ergonomic handle and non-slip pad
- Long length not suitable to some users
2. 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
3. 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
4. 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
5. 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
6. 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)
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 a Paddleboard
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.
Solid vs. 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, 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 body weight 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.
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.
Short boards are ideal for surfing. They almost have a planing hull and are more maneuverable than long boards. They also make a great choice for kids, although there are specialized short boards 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.
Long boards 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, long boards 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.
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. 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.