After personally paddling, weighing, and thoroughly testing 110+ boards, our expert staff has selected the best inflatable 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 Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards 2018
The Best Inflatable Paddle Boards 2018
Inflatable Paddle Boards 101
3 Things to Consider to Find the Best Inflatable SUP
Inflatable paddle boards usually fall into 1 of 3 categories of construction: Single Layer, Double Layer, and Double Layer with reinforced rails.
Least Rigid: Single Layer construction is exactly how it sounds: it’s a single layer. Advantages of the single layer construction are that it is lightweight and easy to carry. Disadvantages of this construction are that it is not very durable and also it becomes very flexible, which is not ideal for an inflatable.
More Rigid: Double Layer construction is the next step above the single layer and adds an extra layer of reinforcement allowing for the board to not only be more durable but also more rigid and stiff. As expected, adding the extra layer does help with rigidity and durability but it causes the board to be heavier which is an obvious disadvantage. This construction is the standard used in the SUP industry and most boards are built with the double layer.
Most Rigid: Double Layer with reinforced rails are the best quality inflatable paddle boards on the market. The added reinforced rails help keep the board really stiff and also give the board better durability. Added material means more weight so the reinforced rails are adding weight to the board which is the only bummer.
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
3. ADD ONS
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.
Best Inflatable Paddle Board Reviews
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||Sizes: 10′|
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
STARBOARD TOURING DOUBLE CHAMBER
That is just a phenomenal A-Grade board all around. It has incredible construction and feels really solid. It has a dual-chamber build, meaning that you have to inflate the outer chamber and then the inner chamber separately, which for a touring board is excellent because if you’re out and about and you have lots of things loaded on the board and the board starts deflating, the middle chamber will make sure that you’re still floating and so it serves as an excellent safety mechanism.
|Price: $1,399||Build: Inflatable||Weight: 25.6 lbs|
|Use: Touring||Skill: Beginner||Sizes: 12’6″|
The Antigua is a beginner, inflatable board, 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″|
To look through the 110+ boards reviewed click HERE.
A Look at Imagery from our SUP Reviews
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