What Is A Giant Inflatable Paddleboard (ISUP)?
Paddleboards are becoming increasingly popular, because of this, companies have started coming out with different designs for all kinds of activities. Something I began to notice last year was these giant multi-person inflatable paddleboards with multiple people on them. After some research, I discovered that they are a product that some big brands in the paddleboard world are making.
Giant ISUP’s are what they sound like, a colossal paddleboard that can fit around 2-3 adults and sometimes more. There are a couple of styles as well. The first style is a long, wide paddleboard that looks a lot like a large kickboard. The second style is called tandem, they are very long and narrow, much like a racing paddleboard.
What style of multi-person ISUP is right for you depends mainly on the activities you will be doing, the number of people, and the size of the people on it. The giant wide ISUP’s are perfect for families; they can fit children and adults side by side. They can even be great for fishing because they are very stable huge floating platforms. The tandem ISUP’s are for touring and fitness paddling, they aren’t as stable as the other kind, but they move faster and easier through the water.
All Giant Paddleboards On The Table
Best Mega ISUP
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A Closer Look At Each Giant Paddleboard
The Peak Titan is a group paddleboard measuring 12 feet long, 45 inches wide, and 8 inches thick. It’s a good sized board for 2-4 people. It has a max weight limit of 500 lbs, and the board itself only weighs 34 lbs. When deflated and folded it’s only 52 inches wide, 24 inches long, and 12 inches thick. It’s one of the lighter mega ISUP’s, so if you’re planning on carrying it long distances, it’ll be a great choice.
Peak uses dual-layered military grade PVC which is almost a must have because of the size. There are two valves so it can be inflated by two pumps at once, cutting the inflation time in half. There is a large EVA pad for grip and protection. Along with a 9-inch snap-in center fin, there are four large stabilizer fins for easier tracking through the water.
The storage is a 6 D-link bungee system on the nose and a D-link on the tail. Because of the size, there are nine carry handles located all along the edges and in the middle of the Titan, this makes it easy for multiple people to carry it and everyone has something to grab on to when they need to pull themselves out of the water.
Included with the Peak Titan ISUP are two adjustable paddles, two dual action pumps with pressure gauges, a duffel bag, and a waterproof phone case.
Peak has been designing and building boards in San Diego since 2004. They have some incredible products on the market today, and the Titan does not disappoint. It’s incredibly durable and doesn’t ding or scratch. It’s the right size if you want a stable fishing paddleboard or have multiple dogs. It’s big enough for four people but not so big that it’s not manageable for one person.
- Dual-layered PVC
- 2 Dual-action hand pumps included
- Has a storage bag
- Only 500 lbs weight limit
The Orka is 12 feet long, 45 inches wide, and 8 inches thick. It has a weight capacity of 550 lbs (2-4 people) and weighs 35 lbs. It’s another lighter mega board that you can easily travel with. When deflated and rolled up it is only 25 inches by 23 inches.
Driftsun goes one step further than a lot of other companies and uses triple layered military grade PVC. It makes the board slightly heavier but much sturdier and durable. There are two inflation valves located on the tail, four large stabilizer fins, and a 9-inch removable center fin. There are 12 handles total on the deck, so no matter where you are on the Orka you should always have a handle to grab onto for more comfortable transportation and help when getting back onto the board from the water.
The EVA footpad is the biggest one out of all these boards. They limited some of the bungee storage for this but made up for it by adding D-links on the tail. Instead of the vertical 6 D-link nose storage, they made a horizontal one. Your gear can still be held safely while allowing more footpad coverage. There are 4 D-links located on the tail to tie down a cooler which is an excellent feature. Driftsun advertises their D-links to be “hardcore” and being able to take +100 lbs of force, you could use them for not only a cooler but to also tie down an anchor for fishing.
Included with the Driftsun Orka 12′ are two dual-action hand pumps with pressure gauges, a strap to hold the board when it’s folded, and a repair kit.
Driftsun designed a multi-person board that has the people using it in mind. They’re the only ones on this list with D-links on the tail to tie down a cooler, the footpad is extra large, and it’s made out of triple-layered PVC. It doesn’t come with as many extras as other boards. There are no paddles included or carry bag, but what you give up in extra features you get in quality and a well-designed board.
- Triple-layered PVC
- 12 Carry handles
- D-links for a cooler or anchor
- Large EVA textured footpad
- 2 Dual-action hand pumps included
- No carry bag
- No paddles included
- Only 550 lbs weight limit
The Megalodon is the largest on the list measuring 15 feet long, 56 inches wide, and 8 inches thick. The size gives it an enormous weight capacity of 1050 lbs and the board alone weighs 50 lbs. It is a serious group paddleboard that can fit at least 5-7 people. There are 16 carry handles located all over the deck; there are so many that you can use the ones on the tail to tie down a cooler if you want.
There are two inflation valves, four large stabilizer fins, and a removable center fin. The military-grade PVC is dual-layered. Isle is so confident about the durability of their boards they urge you to run it over with your vehicle to test it out. The footpad covers a large amount of the deck, and the storage is an 8 D-link bungee system on the nose.
Included with the Isle Megalodon 15’ are two adjustable paddles, two hand pumps with pressure gauges, and some Isle stickers.
Isle is another company that started in San Diego in 2004. They make a lot of paddleboards and use their unique processing technique call AirTech Fusion Lite to take out any human error when bonding the board making it stronger and more consistent. Isle never disappoints in the quality of their boards, if you’re worried about how well a giant ISUP will hold up then buying an Isle should put your mind at ease. The Megalodon is the biggest board on the list; it’s perfect for multi-person use. Large families, large groups, and couples with lots of dogs.
- 16 carry handles
- Lots of bungee storage
- Dual-layered PVC with AirTech Fusion Lite
- 1050 lbs weight capacity
- No carry bag included
The Bluefin is a tandem paddleboard, it’s narrow but long and has a high weight limit so you can be 2-3 people on it. The Bluefin is 15 feet long, 35 inches wide, and 6 inches thick. It has a weight limit of 550 lbs and weighs 45 lbs. There are two stabilizer fins and a removable center fin.
It doesn’t have dual-layered PVC, but they overlapped the seams to help make it more durable and rigid. The storage is a 4 D-link bungee system with a D-link on the tail, and four towards the back for the included kayak seat. The thermosealed crocodile deck pad is long enough to accommodate at least two people.
Included with the Bluefin ISUP 15’ is an adjustable paddle with an extra blade to turn it into a kayak paddle, a kayak seat, a dual action hand pump with pressure gauge, a storage bag/backpack, a board leash, and a repair kit.
If you want a board built for touring and going fast with multiple people, then you want a tandem board. It’s good for one person as well, so it can be more multi-use than the mega boards. The Bluefin is a budget tandem ISUP that comes with a lot of extras and is going to be perfect for couples or people with multiple dogs.
- Has a storage bag/backpack
- Lots of included items
- Single-layered PVC
- Only one inflation valve
The Voyager Tandem is the ultimate ISUP of its kind. It is 15 feet long, 34 inches wide, and 8 inches thick. The weight limit is around 700 lbs and can fit 2-3 people and any gear you might need. The board itself only weighs 38 lbs. There are two stabilizer fins, a removable center fin, and a fin on the nose. The nose fin is to help with tracking and give greater control in windy conditions. There are two inflation valves on the tail.
You can have up to 3 people, but the design is optimized for 2. There’s a 4 D-link bungee storage system on the nose and a 6 D-link bungee storage system in the middle. If you are going camping or just on a long tour and are bringing a lot of gear, then the middle storage is going to come in handy. You can store enough gear for two people and still have great board control because of the centered storage.
Red Paddle Co. uses a specialized MSL fusion to create a second polymer layer that reduces board weight and increases stiffness at lower psi. It’s an incredible process that only Red Paddle Co. uses. It makes a more durable board with a flawless finish.
There are seven handles on the deck which is a lot for the size of this board. I believe you can never have enough handles when transporting an ISUP. The footpad has three sections; two are textured for comfort when standing and one is to help keep gear in place.
Included with the board are an all-terrain backpack/storage bag with wheels, a triple-action and a dual-action pump with pressure gauges, a water-resistant phone bag, and a repair kit.
The Red Paddle Co. Voyager Tandem is an amazing giant ISUP that is going to last for years to come. It’s not only made with quality materials, but they use a building technique that is the best in the business. The Red Paddle Co. keeps engineering amazing ISUP’s, and the Voyager Tandem has a lot of thought and care put into it. It’s the perfect multi-person board for adventurous people who want to experience paddleboarding together.
- High weight capacity
- Dual-layered PVC with MSL Fusion
- Comes with triple and dual action pumps
- Included all-terrain bag
- Lots of storage
- 7 carry handles
- No paddles included
Best Mega ISUP: Peak Titan ISUP – I am choosing the Peak Titan as the best mega paddleboard because not only is Peak an amazing paddleboard company, the Titan is a perfect size. If you’re going to have a lot of people with you most of the time, then you should consider getting something more significant, but what I like about his board is one person can use it as well as multiple. It’s a little more all-around use than some of the other ones. It’s the lightest board on the list which makes it very portable. Portability is something people want when buying an ISUP. It’s made of durable dual-layered PVC, it comes with a bag, and it looks cool. You really can’t go wrong with the Peak Titan.
Best Tandem ISUP: Red Paddle Co. Voyager Tandem – The Voyager Tandem is designed so well. It’s got a very high weight limit, a fin on the nose, storage in the middle of the deck, two inflation valves, a specialized high-quality storage bag/backpack, and much more. It’s not going to be very easy for one person to manage on their own, but if you are two people looking for the perfect multi-person board for both of you, then this is it. A lot of things are more fun with more people and paddleboarding is no exception. The Voyager Tandem is also really fast because of the design, making it even more fun and great for racing. The Red Paddle Co. did an exceptional job with this one.
What To Consider
Weight Limit – Whether it’s a Mega ISUP or a Tandem ISUP the weight a board can handle is a very important number. There are boards on this list ranging from a weight limit of 500 pounds to 1050 pounds. The number of people you will have with you and gear should be calculated before buying. I get that it’s hard to know exactly how much people and gear will weigh, but try to do an estimate. For instance, if you have a lot of kids and a dog you want to be able to fit everyone, so a bigger board is recommended. If you are just a couple looking for a multi-person board you can share then a tandem is possibly more suitable.
Board Width – The mega boards are wider, and the tandem boards are skinnier, this is all for a reason. Mega boards are more for leisure paddling and lots of people. They are incredibly stable, almost like inflatable docks. Tandem boards are for touring and even racing. Beginners may have a more difficult time on them because they aren’t as stable and are easier to fall off of when turning. It all comes down to what you are comfortable with using.
Board Weight – Some of these ISUP’s are heavy, and some don’t even come with a carry bag. If it’s a long walk to get to the beach or if you’re into hiking to secluded lakes then a mega and even tandem paddleboard might not be the right choice. Again it’s all about how much help you will have and what you can handle.
Included Items – When you get into specialized boards, sometimes things like paddles and bags are not included. You may end up having to buy some extra items. Be sure to read carefully about what’s included so you can budget accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can one person use a multi-person paddleboard?
Absolutely, even though multi-person paddleboards are made much bigger than regular paddleboards, they’re not very hard to control. One person can easily handle a big paddleboard on their own.
What safety precautions should you take before heading out with several people on a multi-person paddleboard?
Before heading out on deep waters, let each person on the board try turning and controlling the paddleboard. This way they know how easy or hard it is to do, and if they can’t figure it out, they can be shown how to do it by somebody else. Everybody on the paddleboard should also wear life jackets. No matter how good of a swimmer you are, if you’re out on deep waters, you need a life jacket.
You should always make sure that the total weight of all the people and gear is under the total weight capacity. If you’re not sure about the weight capacity of your board, contact the manufacturer or look up your specific model online.