What is Stand Up Paddle Boarding?
Stand up paddle boarding is said to have originated in Hawaii around 2013, it’s an offshoot from surfing where the rider stands up on the board and paddles to move around. Stand up paddle boarding has exploded in popularity in the past years, and if you go to any body of water today, you are likely to see someone standing on a board paddling around.
I love it, I got into it a couple of years ago and when I go to any lake, river or ocean, I always bring my paddle board. You can use paddle boards for yoga, surfing, fishing, multiple people and even taking your dog on an adventure.
There are solid paddle boards and inflatable paddle boards, in this article I am going to talk about inflatable paddle boards suited for beginners. Inflatable paddle boards (ISUP) have come a long way over the years, they can be almost as rigid as solid boards and just as stable.
They are especially nice because they can be rolled up and stored in a bag, making them very convenient for people who don’t have a lot of space or own a large vehicle to transport a solid board. If you want to know more about the difference between and ISUP and an SUP I go into more detail, here.
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A Closer Look At Each Beginner Paddle Board
There are 2 length options for this SUP, 10 feet or 11. Both are 30 inches wide and 6 inches thick.
For the sake of this article, I am going to talk about the 11-foot one because it’s better for beginners than the 10 foot one. It has a weight capacity of 330 pounds. There is only one removable fin which is enough for tracking easily through water.
The Goplus has a 4 D-link bungee system on the nose, with 2 D-links on each side and one on the tail making it seat compatible.
The paddle board has a rounded nose for all-around use and a narrow tail for better tracking through the water. It is long and wide for stability, making it a great beginner board. I bought one just like it when I started paddle boarding.
Goplus uses high-quality PVC with drop-stitch construction for rigidness and durability. There is one handle in the middle of the board. The footpad is extra long making for more board space if you want to bring along a child or dog.
Included with the inflatable paddle board is a backpack/storage bag, a single-action pump with a pressure gauge, a repair kit, and an adjustable paddle.
The Goplus is a good budget beginner ISUP, it has a fairly high weight capacity for heavier people and comes with everything you need to get out on the water. It’s a simple board, and perfect for beginners of all ages.
- Seat Compatible
- Large Footpad
- High Weight Capacity
The Roc Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Board is 10 foot 5 inches long, 32 inches wide, and 6 inches thick. The maximum weight limit is 275 pounds. It has a 3 fin set up with a removable center fin and 2 stabilizer (side bite) fins. The stabilizer fins help keep you going the direction you want while paddling.
It has a 6 D-link bungee system on the nose and one D-link on the tail. This SUP does not have side D-links so it’s not seat compatible. Sometimes fewer D-links on the side can be better for beginners because it can make the board safer when falling.
The nose is rounded with a flat wide tail for stability, and the middle is wide so it’s going to be very stable. The width makes it so the paddle board can be a little shorter, more maneuverable in the water, and still be for beginners.
Roc is made with military-grade PVC, making it lightweight, rigid, and durable. There is one handle in the middle of the ISUP. The footpad is fairly large with a really cool graphic on it, this is a fantastic looking board with graphics on both sides.
Included with this inflatable paddle board is a backpack/storage bag, a leash, a single action hand pump with pressure gauge, an adjustable paddle, and a dry bag for your phone and keys.
The Roc is a great inflatable paddle board with things that usually only come with the more expensive boards like the 6 D-link bungee system, the 3 fins, and the leash. The dry bag is a really nice added bonus. I always have a dry bag with me when I am out on my board to keep electronics and keys in.
- 2 Stabilizer Fins
- Large Bungee Storage
- Dry Bag Included
- Repair Kit Included
- 32 Inches Wide
The Thunder Wave inflatable paddle board is 10 feet long, 30 inches wide, and 6 inches thick. It has a weight capacity of 275 pounds. There are 3 fins, one removable center fin, and two stability fins.
There is a 4 D-link storage system on the nose, 2 D-links on either side and a D-link on the tail. This board is seat-compatible and Serene life even makes a seat for this paddle board sold separately.
The nose is a hybrid all-around shape, it’s a little more pointed than classic all-around boards but not as sharp as touring boards. The hybrid design means this board will be a bit easier for fitness paddling and short touring while still being an all-around beginner inflatable paddle board. It also has a flat wide tail for stability.
The SereneLife Thunder Wave is made out of PVC, has one handle in the middle, and a large foot pad for safety when falling, grip, and deck protection.
Included with this inflatable paddle board is a backpack/storage bag, a single action hand pump with gauge, a leash, a repair kit, and an adjustable paddle.
This is another great beginner inflatable paddle board with a little different design. If you are into fitness and want to get that workout in on your board the shape of the Thunder Wave with is perfect.
- Two Stabilizer Fins
- Seat Compatible
- Repair Kit Included
Another SereneLife inflatable paddle board but this one is a little different. It is 10 feet 5 inches long, 30 inches wide, and 6 inches thick. The weight capacity is 275 pounds. It has 3 fins, one removable center fin, and two stabilizer fins.
There is a 4 D-link bungee system on the nose, two D-links on either side and one on the tail. Much like this other SereneLife on this list, this one is also seat compatible and has one made for it.
It’s a little longer paddle board with a pointed touring nose and a flat wide tail. This board is going to be all-around but a little more specialized for paddling. Even beginners can get good at paddling very quickly if they have a wide board like this one.
See Also: Best Slim Inflatable Life Jackets (PFD
It’s made out of the standard PVC with a handle in the middle and a medium-sized non-slip footpad.
Included with the SereneLife Free Flow is a high-quality backpack/storage bag, a single action hand pump with a pressure gauge, a leash, a repair kit, and an adjustable paddle.
Even if you’ve never been on an inflatable paddle board before, you might have an idea about what you will be doing with it. If you are an active person who wants to follow the fitness aspect of paddle boarding this is going to be a great choice. It’s wider than a standard touring board making it stable and for a beginner.
If you end up just having a lazy float day at the lake, this board is going to be awesome. It has a paddle oriented design while still being all-around.
- Repair Kit Included
- High-Quality Bag Included
- Seat Compatible
- Two Stabilizer Fins
This is the ultimate all-around inflatable paddle board measuring 10 feet 6 inches long, 32 inches wide, and 6 inches thick. It’s going to be very easy to stand up on, has a max weight capacity of 240 pounds, and a removable center fin with 2 smaller stabilizer fins.
There is a 6 D-link bungee system on the nose, a 4 D-link bungee system back, and a D-link on the tail. It’s not seat compatible but is so wide and stable you probably won’t feel like you ever need to be seated.
The shape is a slightly pointed nose, but still very much the rounded all-around shape. It has the flat wide tail of an all-around board as well. This is the widest option on today’s list, and if you are a bigger person, this is going to be the perfect inflatable paddle board for you, while still being not too wide for smaller people like teens and children.
Peak is a well-known paddle board company that makes boards with military-grade PVC and a drop-stitch. They make light and stiff boards. There is a handle in the middle, the nose, and the tail which comes in handy when transporting and taking it in and out of the water.
Peak Expedition ISUP has an extra-long footpad so if you were to bring along an extra passenger it’s going to be comfortable and the deck will be protected.
Included with the inflatable paddle board is a backpack/storage bag, a single action hand pump with a pressure gauge, a leash, an adjustable paddle, and a waterproof phone bag.
Peak is a great company that makes high-quality boards as well as quality accessories. This really is an ultimate all-around beginner board. I love the looks of it as well.
- Large Bungee Storage
- High Weight Capacity
- 31 Inches Wide
- Multiple handles
- Included Waterproof Phone Bag
Another great all-around inflatable paddle board option. The Weekender ISUP is made by a company called Ten Toes. It is 10 feet long, 30 inches wide, and 6 inches thick. The max weight limit is 250 pounds. It has 3 removable fins, the longer side fins allow for better tracking (going straight) when paddling through the water.
There is a 6 D-link bungee system on the nose, and a D-link on the tail. Note that with no D-links on the sides, it’s not seat compatible.
It has an all-around shape and is the perfect length and width both for beginners and more experienced paddle boarders.
Ten Toes makes this board with military-grade PVC, drop-stitch technology, and advertise it to be virtually indestructible. There is a handle in the middle and a large EVA footpad for comfort and foot grip.
Included with the inflatable paddle board are a backpack/storage bag, a single action hand pump with a pressure gauge, and an adjustable paddle.
The Ten Toes Weekender is one of the most durable beginner inflatable paddle boards on the market, you won’t need to worry about scratching or denting it. Basically, if you want a board that you can learn on and also use for years to come, this is the one for you.
- Large Bungee Storage
- Made with military-grade PVC
- High-quality Bag with External Pocket
- Three removable fins
My Beginner ISUP Recommendations
Good: SereneLife Thunder Wave ISUP – This is a great entry-level inflatable paddle board. It’s perfect for teens and kids as well as adults because it’s a little shorter than other boards while still being long enough for adults.
It has a really large foam, non-slip footpad which is helpful when standing up and reduces the pain from the occasional fall. All in all, this is a great board that won’t disappoint.
Better: Ten Toes Weekender ISUP – Ten Toes makes some really nice products. This is their ultimate all-around inflatable paddle board for all skill levels and ages. It’s simple but has the larger nose storage and a very nice backpack/storage bag with an external storage pocket where you could store the pump.
With this paddle board, you are going to get quality and durability, which is important because you never know what’s going to happen when you go paddle boarding.
This is my favorite in today’s inflatable paddle boards for beginners comparison. It’s the widest board on the list, has stabilizer fins and large storage. Basically, everything you need as a beginner to have an amazing paddle boarding experience.
Because of the length and width, it’s going to be very stable. If you are a bigger person this board is going to be easier to use than the narrow boards. I like this board a lot because it has features not often seen at this price point.
Things To Consider
Width – If you’ve never been on an inflatable paddle board before you want to consider the width of the board you purchase. A good width for beginners is 30 inches, if you are a bigger person you may want to consider going a little wider. Your ability to balance is also important. My balance isn’t excellent, but because I am short the 30-inch boards were stable enough for me when I started paddle boarding.
Durability – The first time I took out my inflatable paddle board I wasn’t used to carrying it around. It can be very awkward in the beginning and even a light breeze can start to push you around. Long story short it was dropped a lot before I even got to the water.
I also noticed that there’s not always a nice, soft, clean area to blow up the paddle board. Therefore buying a board that can take a bit of a beating is important. Even after all the abuse I put my board through I haven’t had any holes or scratches. PVC is a really amazing material.
Seat Compatibility – When I first heard you could put seats on inflatable paddle boards basically turning them into kayaks I thought it sounded really cool. I’ve tried seats on paddle boards and even though my board is seat compatible I’ve never bought a seat for it. For me, it’s not really something I want. That being said if you think a seat might be something you will really enjoy make sure to buy a paddle board that has D-links along the sides and a D-link in the tail.
Weight Limit – Weight limit is not just something for heavier people to think about. If you are planning on bringing along a pet, another person, or even a cooler you will want to pay attention to how much the board can take. I would suggest buying a board that is 6 inches thick, like all of the boards on this list. It increases the max weight limit, adds rigidness, and the board sits higher up on the water, making it easier to paddle even with extra cargo.
Frequently Asked Questions About Beginner Inflatable Paddle Boards
What does ISUP stand for?
Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard.
What does SUP stand for?
Stand Up Paddleboard.
Are inflatable stand up paddle boards (ISUP) durable?
Yes. Most Inflatable SUPs are made of some kind of PVC making them extremely strong and also very easy to patch. Many companies advertise their ISUPs as being strong enough to get run over with vehicles.
How Do I Deflate My Inflatable Paddleboard?
Most valves release air by either just pushing down on the button in it or pressing down and twisting the button to lock it. You want the valve to be dry so no water will get inside the board and you should be ready for a quick release of air. It can be noisy and a little surprising the first time. Once you have opened the valve you can either roll up the board or fold it to get out the rest of the air. Once fully deflated close the valve and you are all set.
Do I have to wear a life jacket on my inflatable paddle board?
Kids are pretty much always required to wear a life jacket and for good reason. A lot of large bodies of water will have a patrol that usually goes around and makes sure there is a least a life jacket on your paddle board. If you are an adult you don’t have to wear one but you need to have one with you. If you are like me and you don’t like wearing a bulky life jacket but you want to be protected in case of an accident there are other options out there. Like life jackets that self inflate when they hit the water. For more information on those, click here.
For more information on United States Coast Guard life jackets rules for paddle boarders check out this post here.
Can I keep my paddle board inflated overnight or during the day when it’s not in use?
Once you’ve gone through the experience of pumping up an inflatable paddle board you understand why it’s so hard to have to deflate it knowing you will someday have to pump it up again, especially if you are planning on using it the next day. Luckily it is possible to store a paddle board inflated, but there are some things you have to be careful of when you do. In this article, I have outlined how to store your inflated paddle board, and ways to keep it nicer longer.
How do I keep things dry, like my phone and keys, on a paddle board?
Whenever you go out on a paddle board you may need to bring your car keys and phone with you. Possibly some sunscreen and an extra shirt as well. You want to keep these things dry and there’s a simple way to do that. A dry bag. Dry bags are inexpensive and a great way to keep anything you want to bring with you on a paddle board dry. I always bring one with me. I put my phone and keys in it, and clip it to a bungee or D-link. It’s as easy as that.
How do I keep my paddle board from floating away if I fall off?
If you’ve watched surfers you’ve probably noticed the little cuff around their ankles with a line that goes to the board. Paddleboards have a similar thing and a lot of times it’s included with the purchase of the board. If you want to get one there are lots of options.
Can I buy another paddle board pump?
Yes, you can! A lot of inflatable paddle boards come with single-action hand pumps which are really bad at inflating paddle boards efficiently. There are some great options for sale like double and even triple action hand pumps that will do the job way faster. Anything to get out on that water sooner.
They even make electric pumps that can inflate a paddle board from start to finish. They have to be heavy-duty to reach the high psi required for a paddle board. They can be noisy and a little slow but being able to inflate a paddle board with no work is worth the wait.
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