Home Paddle Boards The Best Inflatable SUP: How to Not Buy a Piece of Crap

The Best Inflatable SUP: How to Not Buy a Piece of Crap

Best Inflatable SUP

Inflatable paddle boards are AWESOME!

You get everything you get from a regular SUP—adventure, exercise, and fun—while getting the added bonuses of affordability and portability!

Today I am going to show you what I think is the best inflatable SUP, why an iSUP might be right for you, and much more!

Quick Top 5 iSUPs:

*Keep reading below for full detailed reviews on the top 10 inflatable SUPs

Why should you buy an ISUP?

Buying an iSUP can be a little challenging… After all, there are so many choices of brands, specs, designs; it can all feel a little overwhelming.

The elephant in the room, though:

Why should I buy an iSUP vs. a regular SUP?

  • Portability

The biggest reason hands down is their portability. We don’t all have pickup trucks or SUVs, heck, a lot of us don’t have a car at all. This shouldn’t be a reason we don’t get to enjoy all the great benefits of paddle boarding, though. Thanks to inflatable boards, you can load your board up easily in an Uber or even just walk it to your favorite body of water.

All iSUPs deflate, which makes rolling them up and chucking them in the trunk of a small car a breeze, but a bunch of them even come with backpacks to make it even easier to transport.

  • Durability

There’s no way an inflatable SUP can be durable right? Wrong.

They're made with a PVC material that is in multiple layers and stitched together. This creates a very strong material able to withstand damage that would lead to nicks or cracks in a fiberglass board.

  • Storage

Trying to carry a 12 ½ foot board up and down your apartment stairs and then up into your home is quite a task in and of itself. Finding a place to put the dang thing is a whole other ball game. Inflatable boards easily roll up and fit into andcloset, enabling them to stay hidden until you’re ready to hit the water!

Will I Sacrifice Stability?

No, not at all. Volume plays a huge role in the stability of a paddle board not necessarily the material it's made out of. Inflatables give you great stability by making thicker boards. While you average fiberglass SUP is 4", most iSUPs are 6" thick giving them a HUGE volume increase to add to their stability.

How do you Inflate an iSUP?

Most of your inflatable paddle boards are going to come with a hand pump, and to be honest, some models it can be a real pain getting to the required PSI. 

  • First, removed you iSUP from the carrying bag and then roll it flat on the ground
  • Next, remove the valve (usually at the tail end) and hook it up the the pump
  • Pump, pump, and pump some more

If you have a hard time getting the board hard enough with a hand pump, you can always upgrade to a electric SUP pump. These make the process a matter of seconds, instead of minutes.

The Best Inflatable SUP

ISLE Touring 12' 6"

ISLE 12'6 Airtech Inflatable Touring Stand Up Paddle Board (6' Thick) Package | Includes Adjustable...

The ISLE touring is as good as it gets. Long and wide—which makes it perfect for SUP yoga, fishing, or just going on an enjoyable ride. Thanks to its high-quality PVC material, and it’s 6” width makes it stable which is a big plus if you are looking to for a great beginner board.

ISLE’s Airtech Construction makes the board light in the water, enabling you to glide smoothly across the water. The SUP comes with everything you will need to hit the water: Adjustable Paddle, Carry Backpack, Pump with Pressure Gauge, Removable Travel Fin, and a Repair Kit.

The square tail design makes for a wider back end which adds to the stability and helps you to make sharper turns. This design helps it to track straight too.

Even though the board is 6” thick, it’s only rated to carry up to 275lbs. Which means, most likely, there won’t be any double dates on this board.

Red Paddle Co 10' 6" Ride

2017 Red Paddle Co 10'6 Ride Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board + Bag, Pump, Repair Kit, and Water...

The Red Paddle Co. Ride might just be the best all-around inflatable paddle board there is period. It’s 32” wide body makes for a perfect is big enough to store plenty of gear for an all day adventure. The 10' 6" Ride is above average in every category: glides like a dream and is incredibly easy to paddle, it's stable and tracks beautifully.

One of the things Red Paddle does better than anyone is the SUP pump. They give you the industry leading Titan Pump with ever SUP, which makes airing it up a breeze—only taking 4-5 minutes. That's 4-5 minutes to pump it all the way up to 25 psi! Instead of the industry standard of 15 psi, Red Paddle Co takes it 10 steps further creating one of the most stable boards you can buy PERIOD.

The Red Paddle Co. Ride is neck and neck with the ISLE Touring, even beating it in many categories. However, it takes second only because it's price. Keep in mind, though, a paddle board is an investment that you'll have for years.

Tower Adventure 9' 10"

TOWER Inflatable 9’10” Stand Up Paddle Board - (6 Inches Thick) - Universal SUP Wide Stance -...

Tower Paddle Boards are known for their high quality. One of the first to market a 6” thick more—setting a new trend—Tower Paddle Boards are stable and easy to balance on, making them great for learning. In fact, I would be willing to say this is one of the best boards you can get for a beginner: it’s extremely stable, glides good enough to learn on, maneuvers reasonably well, and the price point is not one that will keep you up at night!

Rated to carry up to 400lbs makes this a great board for tandem riders. It’s size also helps to handle choppy waters pretty well.

I will say, this board doesn’t glide as well as other iSUPs out there, but for the casual paddle board rider or someone looking to get into the river rat lifestyle, this board is a good entry point.

(They do have a newer updated model to this board.However, I haven’t been able to test it myself. If you’d like to check it out, though. You can find it here.)

Jobe Aero Inflatable SUP

Jobe Aero Inflatable SUP Paddleboard Package Sz 12.6ft x 29in x 6in

Jobe has their hands in just about all things water sports, and they do them all exceptionally well; especially their inflatable paddle boards! Thanks to its massive 8” fin, the Jobe Aero carves through the water like a fish on fire. The 11’ 6” Aero glides just as good as any SUP you’ll ever ride.

And despite the fact that it’s a narrow board, it's extremely stable, even in pretty sizable waves. It’s also extremely easy to steer and tracks wells. Cargo areas in both the front and back end make it a great all day/long trip paddle board.

I think the Jobe is one of the best inflatable SUPs because it does so many things so well: glides great on the water, easy to inflate, great pump and paddle, and is extremely high-quality material.

The only thing Jobe could do to make this board better is making the fin a little more convenient to put on and take off. It requires a screwdriver, so you need to be sure to carry one with you to the water.

ISLE Explorer 11'

ISLE Airtech Inflatable Explorer Stand Up Paddle Board (6' Thick) iSUP Package | Includes Adjustable...

Smaller than the ISLE Touring, the Explorer more than makes up for it in stability and cargo space. Probably the most stable inflatable paddle board available, the Explorer is perfect for someone looking for an easy to ride all day kind of board.

Its triple fin design stands out, making it so easy to paddle. The front and rear cargo space are awesome for long treks, too!

While it is easy to paddle, the iSUP is not the fastest one on my list by far. I don’t know how to explain it. It weighs on 19 lbs, and paddles so well, but just doesn’t manage to glide as well as many other inflatable boards. It could be thanks to the extra inch wider it is than most boards, but I think the added stability you gain from that inch is well worth the trade off.

Ten Toes WEEKENDER 10'

Ten Toes 10' Weekender Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Bundle, Blue - 2017

The Weekender, made by Ten Toes, is a great all around board. It’s extremely stable, making it good for workouts or yoga. Made from military grade PVC—which they claim to be indestructible—feels just as rugged and stiff as any fiberglass board I have ever taken out. The soft foam deck pad is great for what you should be doing on the weekend...kicking back and relaxin.

The three fin design helps to make the SUP track very well and make pretty sharp turns smoothly. It’s not the fastest board but glides pretty well nonetheless.

Also, I would recommend getting an aftermarket paddle and pump with this SUP. The paddle is alright, but the pump tends to be difficult to get it to the 15 psi need to make this board safe for the water.

Tower Xplorer 14'

TOWER Xplorer Inflatable 14' Stand Up Paddle Board - (8 Inches Thick) - Universal SUP Wide Stance -...

Another solid board by Tower Paddle Boards. You get everything you get from Tower boards— quality and durability—with the bonus of 2”. What do I mean? Well, instead of the usual 6’ boards we see from Tower, they made this bad boy 8”!

This added thickness and length, makes it great for long excursions with multiple people—or your dog. If you want a Tower board, but looking for something with a little more speed, than this is the board for you. They design this 14’ beast for speed, and it delivers. It glides through flat or choppy waters with ease; it was, after all, built for racing.

I will say this, though; the added size of the board compared to others makes it kind of a pain to inflate with the hand pump. Sometimes taking 10-15 minutes to get it to 15 psi… which, you’ll find out is a huge strain on your arms.

So I recommend you get an electrical pump with a big board like this to save you the struggle. It’s also a lot heavier than the other models on my list weighing in at 36 lbs compared to the 19-22 lbs of others.

Supflex 10' iSUP

Supflex iSUP 10'8' by Carlos Burle (6' Thick) Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Package - Board,...

This 10’ inflatable SUP is a board that’s good in just about every category. It’s 6” thickness attributes to its stability in the water and the all around design, with three fins, makes this board great for any level of rider. Its design makes the board tear through the water pretty dang fast and can make any turn.

The Supflex tracks extremely well, and it’s hard, rugged body make you forget it’s an inflatable. They even come with a pump, paddle, backpack, and coiled leash—all of which are of pretty solid.

Plus, if you ask me, I think they are the best-looking boards on the list. I especially love the flower edition! And I love that you only need to inflate it to 10psi before it’s rigid enough to ride.

Solstice Bali 10' 6"

Solstice by Swimline Bali Stand-Up Paddleboard

Coming in at the lower end of the price chart, the Bali is a huge value buy. Like many other iSUPs you buy today, this 10’ 8” board comes with everything you need to hit the water. Made from 1000 Denier 3 ply, PVC reinforced fabric material; it’s able to handle choppy waters or shallow rivers well—without having to worry about tearing it up.

The Bali is great for beginners looking to try out an inflatable SUP because it glides with, is easy to paddle, and is very light weight.

The pumpit comes with should probably be upgraded, though. The last few PSI are a killer to try and knock out, and when I am about to hit the water, I want to hit the water not kill my arms slamming down on a weak air pump.

Xterra 10' iSUP

XTERRA Boards Inflatable 10' Stand Up Paddle Board Premium SUP Bundle | Includes Board (6' Thick),...

Durable, stable and easy to ride; that’s what makes Xterra a good choice for a rider at any skill level. More designed for cruising, it’s 6” thickness and wide body make it a great choice for paddle board yoga, too. Made from the same military-grade PVC you’d expect from a quality inflatable, heck, they even claim you can run it over with a car while fully inflated!

Being built with a three fin design helps it to track well, which essential for a cruising board. It glides over the water pretty well, and it’s pretty easy to paddle, too.

It’s not very fast, though, so I wouldn’t recommend you buying this board if you’re looking for a board that will hit the surf well.

You need to make sure this board is properly inflated when you take it out, if you are underinflated, you’ll feel the waves with this board making it extremely hard to stay on if you’re a beginner.

Sportstuff 1030 Adventure 10' 6"

Sportstuff 1030 Adventure Stand Up Paddleboard With Accessories

The 1030 is a good SUP for someone looking to get into the sport without investing a lot of money. Smaller than most boards on this list—only 4” thick—this is probably the least stable board on this list. It does glide on the water well, though.

Rated to carry 250 lbs, you can easily ride tandem or load it up with gear for a long excursion on the water. Although it tracks well in the water, it’s not very fast. If you are riding with a bunch of friends, you might be eating their waves!

Best Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards For The Money in 2017

Pathfinder Inflatable SUP

Pathfinder Inflatable SUP Stand Up Paddleboard 9' 9' (5' Thick)

If you’re low on cash or just want to dip your toes into the sport, you don’t have to drop a grand to get a decent SUP. True, you can always rent. Those fees, however, really add up, and eventually, you might have well just bought yourself a dang board.

The PathFinder is a great entry level iSUP, which comes with everything you need to hit the water riding.

Smaller than a lot of other SUPs I talked about—only 9’ 9” and 5” thick—but can still work great if you want to ride tandem. Though not as fast like the Supflex, it glides relatively well and is easy to maneuver. While they will work for awhile, I recommend that you get a better paddle and pump.

After a few uses, the paddle can have a hard time sticking to the length you want, which gets annoying fast. I’m not going to say this board is great, but for the price you can’t go wrong. Once you get serious, though, I’d have a hard time believing you won't want to upgrade.

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