After personally paddling, weighing, and thoroughly testing 110+ boards, our expert staff has selected the best stand up paddle board 2018 models. These are designated by the “A” grade and organized by categories (inflatable, all-around, touring, etc). The Supconnect team traveled across 3 states and spent 8 months individually assessing each one of the inflatable SUP boards below, counting a total of 23 metrics per board and consistently applying them across all products. The end result: simply the most comprehensive, consumer-friendly, value-added review platform in the standup paddle world. Click through each one of the reviews and find a consistent, in-depth assessment of each product listed.
The Best SUP Boards 2018
The Best Paddle Boards 2018
|Pelican Antigua||23.4 lbs||$649.99||All Around||Beginner||Inflatable||32 inches|
|Boardworks Shubu Kraken||20.01 lbs||$949||All Around||Beginner||Inflatable||34 inches|
|Surftech Alta||30.5 lbs||$999||All Around||Beginner||Inflatable||32 inches|
|Surftech Aleka||24.4 lbs||$1,349||All Around||Beginner||Non-inflatable||30 inches|
|SIC Maui Feel Good||27.2 lbs||$1,499.95||All Around||Beginner||Non-inflatable||32 inches|
|Surftech Generator||25.1 lbs||$1,349||All Around||Beginner||Non-inflatable||32 inches|
|Pelican Saona||22.8 lbs||$499||All Around||Beginner||Non-inflatable||31 inches|
|NSP Performance Touring Cocomat||32.3 lbs||$1,599||Touring||Beginner||Non-inflatable||32 inches|
|Pau Hana Endurance||31.3 lbs||$1,599||Touring||Intermediate||Non-inflatable||30 inches|
|Boardworks Great Bear||34.3 lbs||$1,799||Touring||Intermediate||Non-inflatable||29 inches|
|Pau Hana Malibu||32.1 lbs||$999||Touring||Beginner||Non-inflatable||30 inches|
|Pau Hana Navio||28.3 lbs||$1,295||Touring||Beginner||Non-inflatable||30 inches|
|Bark Vapor Ghost Carbon||23.5 lbs||$2,799||Race||Advanced||Non-inflatable||26 inches|
|NSP Cocomat Allrounder||24.2 lbs||$1,349||Surf/All Around||Beginner||Non-inflatable||32 inches|
|Naish Hokua||22.12 lbs||$1,799||Surf||Intermediate||Non-inflatable||29.75 inches|
|Naish Mad Dog||16.12 lbs||$2,139||Surf||Intermediate||Non-inflatable||29 inches|
|Naish Nalu||24.04 lbs||$1,799||Surf||Beginner/Intermediate||Non-inflatable||30 inches|
Best Paddle Boards 101
3 Things to Consider to Find the Best SUP
The beauty of stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is that there are so many ways and situations where you can participate. Here at Supconnect we break down the different uses of a paddle board into 7 categories: All Around, Touring, Yoga, Fishing, Race, Surf and River. Each category has their own specific purpose and thus, a different shape/design is necessary for each. There are boards that fit into multiple SUP disciplines and can be used in a variety of ways. A brief breakdown of each category is as follows:
- All Around: For multiple purposes but primarily for recreation
- Touring: For cruising paddles beyond the shoreline and for expedition paddling
- Yoga: For optimal stability as a floating yoga mat
- Fishing: For stability to cast the line, with plenty of accessories
- Race: For speed, coming with lightweight build
- Surf: For maneuverability and wave handling
- River: For rapids, river eddies and river wave riding
The best SUPs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. From inflatables to non-inflatables to 14’ race boards to 36” wide yoga boards, the best paddle boards come in a wide variety. What makes one board fall into the “best” category are a few factors:
- Quality. Quality is a massive factor leading into what gives a SUP a “best” rating. If a board is in a lower price point but uses higher quality materials in its construction the board is going to stand out compared to other boards of the same price point using basic or lower grade materials.
- Looks. The board, to put it simply, is beautiful. Whether it’s a simple mix of colors laid out beautifully or a highly detailed mix of graphics, the board needs to look good.
- Add on’s. Add on’s are key. They, in a way, are ‘upgrades’ to a board and make the SUP stand out from others that are basic. Add on’s could easily be a deciding factor between choosing one board over another which is why boards with add on’s will almost always get a few extra points in our book.
Add-on’s are accessories for a paddle board that add to your experience on/off the water. The quality of the bag/backpack and the air pump tend to be directly related to the board’s price points. Aside from your paddle, bags and pumps are the most important add-on’s to your board and can drastically improve your overall experience with the board, such as helping you more easily carry the board and/or pump it up more quickly. Other popular add on’s include bungee cords, a minimalist way to haul things; Connexsup, which allows for all sorts of attachments, even fishing rods; and FCS II/Connect, for easy fin instal. Other add on’s could be upgraded handles like the Liftsup & EZgrab and paddle holders for when you aren’t using your paddle. The best paddle boards almost always will have one if not all of these add-ons included.
Best Paddle Board Reviews
The Antigua is a beginner, inflatable SUP, offered at some of the lowest price-points in the market, but packing lots of value with beautiful graphics, a nice pump, and an all-around great package. It naturally misses some of the features of intermediate, advanced boards, such as faster glide, reinforced rails, and a more premium bag. But it is an excellent value for that beginner, price-point inflatable board, well deserving of Supconnect’s “A” grade.
|Price: $649.99||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 23.4 lbs|
|Use: All Around||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 10′, 10’6″|
BOARDWORKS SHUBU KRAKEN
The Shubu Kraken is the inflatable version of the Supconnect award-winning Boardworks Kraken. This one is on the top of the charts when it comes to inflatable paddle boards. As far as graphics go it’s just gorgeous. It’s a very lightweight board weighing in at about 20lbs making it incredibly easy to carry for both men and women. At a price point under $1,000 you couldn’t go wrong with this board. It’s super fun to paddle, has a great glide, and is really stable without compromising the glide feeling. One of the best inflatables that we’ve paddled all year so definitely check this one out.
|Price: $949||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 20.1 lbs|
|Use: All Around||Skill: Beginner
The Alta is another board in the Prana collab collection by Surftech that is eye-catching to say the least. The board has a very strong construction and beautiful graphics on the pro side. On the con side, it is a fairly heavy board for an inflatable at 30 lbs which is sort of prohibitive in terms of weight and it didn’t feel as stable as it should have been at 32 inches wide. But, one might make the argument that the graphics trump everything because it is a stunning, beautiful inflatable board which you don’t see all too often. Another cool thing about the Alta is its use of eco-friendly materials.
|Price: $999||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 30.5 lbs|
|Use: All Around||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 10′|
In a collaboration with Prana, the Aleka boards from Surftech are gorgeous, in fact the women can’t control themselves raving about it. That’s enough to earn an A-grade. The board does come in two sizes with each size having a different set of graphics, both equally stunning. If you’re concerned about floatation you’ll definitely want to get the larger one. The bigger size will float you better. It’s a fairly lightweight board to carry, which is great for the women’s market and in terms of graphics it has beautiful color coordination with the paddle and the leash so it’s just an all around gorgeous package. If you want to make a fashion statement and have a nice board that is touring with a touch of all around to it, than this is the board to get.
|Price: $1,349||Build: Non-inflatable||Weight: 24.4 lbs|
|Use: All Around||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 10’4″|
SIC MAUI FEEL GOOD
If you want to ‘feel good’ about the board you own then the Feel Good from SIC Maui is a great choice. The board looks stunning and has a really beautiful coordination of graphics, from the traction pad to the color on the back rails and bottom. It’s a really nice all around board that can also be used for surfing. The board paddles really well and is quite easy to carry using SIC’s signature EZ grab handle. If you want something that you want to use to cruise short distances and dabble in the surf and look good for your friends this is something that you should look very closely at and consider having in your quiver.
|Price: $1,499.95||Build: Non-inflatable||Weight: 27.2 lbs|
|Use: All Around||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 11′|
If you’re looking for a best in class all around board look no further because the Supconnect Award-winning Surftech Generator is it. The flatter rocker makes it a pleasure to paddle and it has stunning graphics, with a beautiful bamboo layout on both the deck and the bottom. The board is just a really good combination of color coordination between the traction pad and the color on the board, rails, and graphics up on the nose. It’s an excellent all around board, something that you can even put up on a wall to display.
|Price: $1,349||Build: Non-inflatable||Weight: 25.1 lbs|
|Use: All Around||Skill: Beginner
At $499 it’s tough to beat this deal. The Pelican Saona is a paddle board with a foam construction and has classy graphics, better than any foam board that we’ve seen on the market. It paddles fairly well and with its foamy construction it can definitely take a beating both in and out of the water. If you’re looking for something that won’t cost you a lot, and can be used by the entire family this is something that you should be looking at. The folks at Pelican have done a phenomenal job on this one.
|Price: $499||Build: Non-Inflatable||Weight: 22.8 lbs|
|Use: All Around||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 10’6″|
NSP PERFORMANCE TOURING COCOMAT
The NSP Cocomat Performance Touring is the ultimate board for a heavy guy or big gal. It’s incredibly stable with the traction pad making it feel very comfortable on the feet. It has some lips towards the rails, that really sort of tuck you in inside of the deck. There’s lots of accessories with bungees on the nose and tail and the flat rocker makes it a real pleasure to paddle. If you are heavy weight and looking for something that will float you without hesitation, maybe put your kids on it, or go for a long touring expedition, this is the board. One of the things that got us to notice this model more closely this year is that there were major upgrades to the graphics making the board all the more attractive.
|Price: $1,599||Build: Non-Inflatable||Weight: 32.3 lbs|
|Use: Touring||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 12’6″, 14′|
PAU HANA ENDURANCE
Yes, yes, yes! The Pau Hana Endurance is super fun. It’s very stable and is a great board for many uses. The Endurance can be great for touring, racing and all around family fun, making this board incredibly versatile. It’s also offered in Pau Hana’s Ricochet technology which makes the board virtually indestructible, which if you ask us is a huge plus. It has a beautiful finish and is arguably the most durable board around, which is a hard combo to come by. The board does come in at a heavier weight, about 31lbs, but the durability, graphics and fun factor alone easily carry this board into the A-grade tier.
|Price: 1,599||Build: Non-Inflatable||Weight: 31.3 lbs|
|Use: Touring/Race||Skill: Intermediate||Sizes: 12′|
BOARDWORKS GREAT BEAR
If you’re looking for a board that you can do long distance paddling whether it is for race or touring, the Great Bear is a great option. It has lots of bungee cords up on the nose and tail with some really good looking graphics. The board has a beautiful layout of wood on the top of the deck, and the traction pad and graphics of the board work together beautifully overall. The board comes with the LiftSUP handle making it very easy to carry. The Great Bear glides incredibly well, ideally being used in a long distance race and also for expeditions. So for those looking to go that extra mile you should take a close look at this board. Definitely an A grade.
|Price: $1,799||Build: Non-Inflatable||Weight: 34.3 lbs|
|Use: Touring||Skill: Intermediate
PAU HANA MALIBU
The Pau Hana Malibu is a plastic paddle board that has changed the concept of plastic boards. Plastic boards to date have dealt with a number of challenges. One, the graphics tend to be very plain, usually just white boards. Two, they don’t have a really nice finish and tend to have a seam that goes all along the rails on the both sides. Three, they are quite heavy. And four, they also don’t float as well as composite boards, normally. The Malibu changes all of that. In fact, the Malibu is the plastic board that can fool you into thinking you are paddling a composite board and to boot it looks stunning. Pau Hana has done a really great job and at the price point it comes at it is an excellent board and a great buy.
|Price: $999||Build: Non-Inflatable||Weight: 32.1 lbs|
|Use: Touring||Skill: Beginner
PAU HANA NAVIO
The Navio is not clearly a flat water board, it’s not clearly a touring board, it’s a combination of both. It comes with the best in class of everything you can think of. It has a beautiful deck, and just beautiful graphics all around. It has a lot of add ons too, so if you want to have your iPad mounted on it, a GoPro, maybe a gps, a fishing pole, a cooler, you name it, you can strap it onto this board. It is highly stable and also tracks really well. It is fairly lightweight for the type of board it is, so phenomenal job by Pau Hana. If you are looking for a primarily touring board that can be very comfortable paddling on flat water, maybe to play around with your family and have kids on the board or some gear for the expedition, the Navio is a great choice.
|Price: $1,295||Build: Non-Inflatable||Weight: 28.3 lbs|
|Use: Touring||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 11′|
BARK VAPOR GHOST CARBON
If you’re looking for a race board that can do more than racing then this is the board for you. The board is very lightweight yet it floats you incredibly well and has a great glide. If you’re not in a race and you’re not training and you want to put your kids, dog or accessories on the board it can easily transfer into a touring or expedition board with the right width. The Bark Vapor is simple yet beautiful with its graphics. It’s definitely the race board that can do more than just race.
|Price: $2,799||Build: Non-Inflatable||Weight: 23.5 lbs|
|Use: Race||Skill: Advanced
||Sizes: 12’6″, 14′|
NSP COCOMAT ALLROUNDER
The Cocomat Allrounder from NSP is a great board for SUP surf beginners who might also want to try to do some flat water or touring. While the board is dubbed the ‘Allrounder’ it’s definitely more of a surf shape and is a great, beautiful board for someone who is looking to get into SUP surfing. It will definitely work well as an all around board as well as the board is wide and stable. The graphics on the board are really eye catching with the bright blue colors mixed in with their eco-friendly Cocomat material and the contrast with the lighter blue on the traction pad looks awesome.
|Price: $1,349||Build: Non-Inflatable||Weight: 24.2 lbs|
|Use: Surf / All Around||Skill: Beginner
The Naish Hokua is a great all around surfboard. It has a flatter tail than the Mad Dog model, allowing for much flatter sections, allowing for more speed. You can pump through so if you live in a place where the surf is fairly soft this is the board you want to have. It drives lots of speed, it is fairly stable, and it looks stunning as well. The Hokua is fairly lightweight for that type of board with its strong construction that it comes with. It’s a phenomenal board if you live in Southern California, or in a place with a bit softer surf wherever you are but is a great all around board that can also pump a bit more aggressively in faster surf. Defintiely deserving of an A-Grade.
|Price: $1,799||Build: Non-Inflatable||Weight: 22.12 lbs|
|Use: Surf||Skill: Intermediate||Sizes: 8’6″, 9′, 9’6″|
NAISH MAD DOG
The Naish Mad Dog really comes alive when you have some punchy surf. It works quite well off the tail and is fairy stable to paddle for a board this size. It feels really good under the feet and is super easy to carry. If you live in a place where you have really nice punchy surf, quite a bit of either wind swell or hollow surf that you want to work your way through, this board is the perfect fit. But, if you live in a place where the surf is fairly flat or soft you might want to look for a board with less rocker on the tail so that you can grab more speed and pump more easily through the flat sections . But if hollow is what you are dealing with, or steeper waves, this is a great option. It has nice rocker both on the nose and on the tail and the graphics are beautiful overall. A great surfboard.
|Price: $2,139||Build: Non-Inflatable||Weight: 16.12 lbs|
|Use: Surf||Skill: Intermediate||Sizes: 7′10″, 8’1″, 8’6″, 8’11”|
The Naish Nalu is an excellent beginner surfboard that can also be used as an all around board. It’s very stable and the flatter rocker drives lots of speed in smaller softer surf. You can also use in the flat water with your family. If you are a beginner SUP surfer, or are trying to get into SUP surfing, and you still want a board where you can use it on other occasions with family and friends on flat water this is an outstanding choice. There is a beautiful coordination of graphics. The gradient from yellow to green on this board is stunning. If you put the Naish fins on it, which has yellow stripes with some black to it, the board just comes together as a beautiful package. So, the Nalu is a great choice for someone who is a beginner SUP surfer or someone who is looking to get into SUP surfing, who also wants an all around board.
|Price: $1,799||Build: Non-Inflatable||Weight: 24.04 lbs|
|Use: Surf||Skill: Beginner/Intermediate||Sizes: 10’6″, 10’10”, 11′, 11’4″|
A Look at Imagery from our SUP Reviews
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