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15 Best Inflatable Paddle Boards of 2024 – Reviews, Tests, and Ratings

Updated October 12th, 2023

best inflatable paddle boards reviews

Are you looking for a new inflatable stand up paddleboard? We are here to help with our guide to the best inflatable paddle boards of 2023. We have spent a lot of time testing and reviewing paddleboards and researching the market to find the best iSUPs out there. We understand that there are many choices out there and no board is the perfect board for everyone. Below are our top choices for each category, reviews and paddleboard guide to help you find the best board for you.

The 15 Best Inflatable Paddle Boards of 2024



1 – iRocker All Around 11

☆ Best Overall
iRocker All Around Product Image

Overall Score

83
Stiffness9.0


Stability8.0


Speed Performance7.5


Tracking9.0


Accessories8.0


Portability8.0

What we liked:

  • Carbon paddle and triple action pump
  • Big long stable board
  • Plenty of room for a large dog
  • Roller backpack with many pockets and bungee
  • A fun board to paddle around
  • Sturdy stiff and durable 3 layer construction
  • Many accessory mounts, handles and D-Rings

What we didn’t like:

  • It takes a bit of effort to get back into the bag
  • The triple action hand pump is difficult to fit into roller backpack and doesn’t make hand pumping much easier or faster

Summary

The iRocker All Around 11 has been our favorite SUP board since we first tried it out. It is a perfect combination of performance and stability. It has enough D-Rings and accessories mounts to be usable for almost any activity. It uses 3 layer PVC construction that is tough, durable, and stiff. iRocker has tried to replace it with their Ulta Series, people love the original so much that they had to bring it back. We are really happy they decided to bring back the original All Around 11.

Accessories

The AA11 comes with a 3 piece carbon paddle, triple action pump, and roller backpack. The 3 piece paddle is one of the better paddles we have found in inflatable SUP packages. There is an optional blade available to turn it into a kayak paddle. Our one complaint about the AA11 accessories is the triple action pump. It can’t be used to deflate the board. The triple action pumps from NIXY and Thurso can also deflate.

On the water performance

On the water is where the All Around 11 really shines. It is a very stiff board on the water thanks to it’s 3 layer construction. It is stable enough that any beginner can use it. It is long enough to have better glide than most 10’6″ or 10″ inflatable SUPS. The 3 fins give it excellent tracking. A river fin is available for those who want to use the board in shallower water. The board is stable enough to be used for SUP fishing or yoga or any other activity.

Specifications

  • Size – 11′ x 32″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 435 lbs
  • Board Weight – 26 lbs
  • Construction – 3 Layer
  • D-Rings – 20
  • Paddle – 3 piece carbon
  • Pump – triple action hand pump

2 – Red Paddle Co 10’6″ Ride

☆ Best All Around SUP
Red Paddle Co Ride Product Image

Overall Score

88
Stiffness8.0


Stability8.5


Speed Performance9.0


Tracking9.0


Accessories9.0


Portability9.0

What we liked:

  • Clean and simple deck design
  • Good stability thanks to width and thinner 5 inch thickness
  • Easy to paddle and turn. Good beginner board
  • 5 year warranty
  • MSL construction gives it good stiffness for its thickness
  • Available as a complete package including paddle and leash or as just a board and pump
  • Transformer bag is easy to configure for how you use it

What we didn’t like:

  • High cost
  • Titan 2 hand pump is large and bulky and can’t deflate boards
  • Not enough D-Rings to attach a seat

Summary

The Red Paddle Co 10’6″ Ride is one of the most popular inflatable paddle boards ever made. It is a design focused on paddling and isn’t loaded full of a ton of extra mounts and accessories. Red Paddle Co offers a 5 year warranty on their boards when most inflatable SUP vendors only offer 1 or 2 year warranties. The Ride is only 4.7 inches thick instead of the typical 6 inches thick. This puts you closer to the water surface making the board feel more stable.

Accessories

Red Paddle Co boards do not come as complete packages. The Ride 10’6″ sometimes comes with a paddle depending on where and when you buy it. Most of the time it has no paddle or leash. It does come with one of the best roller bags out there. It has hideable straps that stay out of the way when rolling it. It has the transformer option when you want to carry less to the water. The Ride comes with the Titan 2 air pump. It is big, heavy, and kind of fast.

On the water

The reduced thickness of the Ride makes it feel much more stable than other 10’6″ x 32″ boards. This lets it be more stable without adding more drag and weight that go along with more width. The 2 fins do a good job of keeping the board tracking straight with less drag than a 3 fin booster setup.

Review

See our review of the Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6″ to learn more.

Red Ride Paddling on lake

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 6″ x 32″ x 4.72″
  • Weight Capacity – 220 lbs
  • Board Weight – 20 lbs
  • Construction – MSL Drop Stitch
  • Paddle – Optional depending on package
  • Pump – Double Action,Double Chamber Hand Pump

3 – Red Paddle Co. Voyager 12’6″

☆ Best Touring SUP
Red Voyager Product Image

Overall Score

90
Stiffness10.0


Stability9.0


Speed Performance10.0


Tracking10.0


Accessories7.0


Portability8.0

What we liked:

  • Very good glide
  • Efficient V-hull shape for moving through the water
  • Stable enough for beginner paddlers
  • Durable bag with a lot of extras such as hideable straps and transformer option
  • Extra removable handles
  • Enough D-Rings to mount a kayak seat or mount other accessories and gear

What we didn’t like:

  • Very high cost
  • Large size and weight of the Titan 2 Hand Pump
  • Doesn’t turn as quick as single fin touring SUPs

Summary

The Red Paddle Co Voyager 12’6″ is a fast and easy to paddle board. It has a unique v-hull shape created by splitting the drop stitch at the bow to add a slight angle. Red Paddle Co produces some of the finest inflatable paddle boards in existence. The Voyager line is designed for touring with more efficient glide and load carrying ability than their Ride MSL boards. The board has a clean deck design with only 1 flat profile bungee and a few D-Rings across the middle and rear of the board. It uses Red Paddle Co MSL construction with RSS stiffening battens. It’s clear this board is meant to go places and has a clean deck for carrying gear.

Accessories

The Red Paddle Co bag is one of the best available. It uses premium materials and has flaps built in to hide the backpack straps when rolling the bag. The latest iteration is their transformer bag which can be used with just the backpack straps. You can carry as little as possible to the water. They include the large Titan 2 Hand Pump with this board. It helps inflate the board to higher PSI faster. It can’t deflate which is a miss. No paddle or leash are included

On the water

The v-hull board shape pieces water and chop better than a standard flat inflatable board. The 32 inch width makes the board stable enough for almost any paddler to use without compromising speed much. The board uses twin fins that give it very strong tracking without being too draggy. It is a very efficient feeling board on the water that glides well.

Review

See our review of the Red Paddle Co Voyager 12’6″ to learn more

Red Voyager paddling across lake

ALSO READ: The Best Inflatable Touring Paddle Boards

Specifications

  • Size – 12′ 6″ x 32″ x 5.9″
  • Weight Capacity – 300 lbs
  • Board Weight – 30.35 lbs
  • Construction – MSL with RSS Battens
  • Paddle – Not included
  • Pump – Double Action, Double Chamber Hand Pump

4 – Nixy Monterey G4 Expedition

☆ Best For Large Paddlers
Nixy Monterey Product Image

Overall Score

90
Stiffness10.0


Stability10.0


Speed Performance8.0


Tracking9.0


Accessories9.0


Portability8.0

What we liked:

  • Very stiff rigid lightweight construction
  • Dual air chambers for more stiffness and safety
  • Big stable fast board that handles well on the water
  • Lots of load carrying capacity
  • Very good for larger size paddlers
  • Overall high quality feel to board and accessories
  • The best roller travel bag and carbon paddle in any package

What we didn’t like:

  • Board is difficult to get back in the bag with the pump
  • Not as fast as a narrower touring board
  • It takes some effort to paddle it into wind and chop due to it’s size

Summary

The Nixy Monterey G4 Expedition is one of the best paddleboards available for larger paddlers. It has a published weight capacity of 400 lbs. It is a large board at 11’6″ x 32″. It’s made from 2 layer woven PVC construction with dual air chambers making it very stiff. The second air chamber adds an extra measure of safety when paddling away from shore. This is one of the best boards available for larger size paddlers or taking a dog out with you. It is designed with tons of accessory mounts for fishing or other adventures.

Accessories

The board comes with high quality NIXY G4 accessories. The best combination we have seen from any inflatable SUP package. The carbon paddle looks and feels stiff and efficient. The double barrel pump is fast to inflate and can deflate too. The 3 wheeled backpack is sturdy and looks ready to take on an expedition. As we stated above with the Newport. The NIXY G4 accessories are the best set of accessories being offered by any paddleboard maker right now.

On the water performance

On the water, the Monterey handles larger paddlers very well. It has decent speed thanks to its length and narrow nose and tail. Beginners love it because of its stability. It’s so easy to stand up on for any size paddler. The Monterey won’t be as fast as a narrower 11’6″ board. It will be a very stable platform for fishing or any other activity you want to do on it.

Review

See our review of the NIXY Monterey G4 to learn more.

Paddling hard monterey

ALSO READ: The Best Paddle Boards For Big Guys

Specifications

  • Size – 11′6″ x 32″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 400 lbs
  • Board Weight – 26 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer woven with carbon reinforced rails
  • D-Rings – 20
  • Paddle – 3 piece carbon fiber
  • Pump – Triple action double barrel

5 – Thurso Surf Max

☆ Best For Paddling with Dogs
Thurso Surf max product image

Overall Score

89
Stiffness10.0


Stability10.0


Speed Performance7.5


Tracking9.0


Accessories9.0


Portability8.0

What we liked:

  • Very large and stable board
  • Good platform to do things like paddle with a dog, fish, or yoga
  • Removable handles to make a more clear deck
  • Full length deck pad that covers the entire board
  • Easy to use fin system that uses standard US Fin Box for center fin
  • Carbon paddle with quick release clamp for lower connection
  • Fast triple action hand pump
  • Bag with wheels
  • Paddle holders on both sides of the board

What we didn’t like:

  • Bag has no padding where it’s worn as a backpack
  • No second side handle on the bag
  • Not as many action mounts as other fishing SUPs and no Scotty mounts

Summary

The Thurso Surf Max is a large 11’6 x 34″ inflatable paddle board that is good for just about anything. It has a fully padded deck making it good for carrying dogs and other passengers. It’s got lots of handles, D-Rings, and action mounts so you can customize it for whatever activity you want to do with it.

The board uses double layer woven PVC construction with carbon reinforced rails and performed well in our stiffness test and feels stiff and durable on the water.

Accessories

The board comes as a complete package with one of the better accessory packages available. It has a carbon 3 piece paddle. The triple action pump is fast and easy to use The bag has rollers and backpack straps. It doesn’t have any padding on the back to make it comfortable to carry as a backpack. They include an accessory bag for keeping the small pieces like the fins, leash and repair kit organized.

On the water performance

On the water, the board is easy to paddle and fun to use. It is one of the most stable boards available and that is one of the best features. Very large heavy paddlers have no trouble standing up on it. It’s great for paddling with a dog because it is stable enough for the dog to move around without sending you both into the water. It does take some extra effort to paddle into wind and chop because of its size.

Review

See our review of the Thurso Surf Max to learn more.

Thurso Max Paddling across lake

ALSO READ: The Best Inflatable Paddle Boards for Dogs

Specifications

  • Size – 11′6″ x 34″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 370 lbs
  • Board Weight – 29 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer Woven w/Carbon Rails
  • D-Rings – 17 D-Rings, 4 action mounts, 1 GoPro mount
  • Paddle – Carbon 3 piece
  • Pump – Triple action pump

6 – Blackfin Model X & Model XL

☆ Best Fishing SUP
Blackfin Model X Product Image

Overall Score

86
Stiffness10.0


Stability10.0


Speed Performance7.0


Tracking8.0


Accessories8.0


Portability8.5

What we liked:

  • Very stiff 3 layer construction with carbon reinforcements
  • Ala carte shopping menu that lets you customize your package
  • Very stable wide board great for dogs, beginners, or larger paddlers
  • Good tracking
  • Fin tethers to keep you from losing a fin
  • Lots of D-Rings and accessory mounts
  • Available accessories such as fishing racks

What we didn’t like:

  • Not the fastest board especially in choppy water
  • Higher cost

Summary

iRocker makes 2 similar boards with the Blackfin Model X and Blackfin Model XL. They have similar design and construction and come with the same accessories. The Model X is 10’6 x 35″ and the Model XL is 11’6″ x 34″ so you can have the size you want for whatever activity you want to do with your inflatable SUP.

The Blackfin Model X and Blackfin Model XL have a new upgraded design for 2023 with improvements to the construction after last year’s recall. It still has 3 layer construction with carbon reinforced rails. They enlarged the seems a bit and changed the location of some of the D-Rings. The fins now have tethers in addition to flip locks to help prevent fin loss.

The Model X is the shortest and widest of the Blackfin Model X, XL, and V boards. The V is one of our favorite inflatable touring boards. The XL is great for larger paddlers. The Model X is a standard 10’6″ all around board that is extra wide at 35 inches. It can still hold a lot of weight with a capacity up to 450 lbs. The Model X is great for people that want a very stable and easy to turn board and aren’t that concerned with speed.

The Model X is a perfect beginner board or board for doing yoga or taking dogs out.

Accessories

The Blackfin Model X is available with a wide range of accessories. iRocker now lets you choose your package so you can pick any pump, bag, or paddle to go with the board or just get a bare board by itself. The downside to this flexibility is that the package cost is now more expensive.

iRocker sells a full range of fishing accessories to go with the Model X and XL. These include fishing racks, rod holders, coolers, sand spears, and anchors. You can easily customize the Blackfin into your ideal SUP fishing setup.

On the water performance

The Model X is not going to win any races with it’s speed and glide. It will carry a lot of weight and it is a perfect beginner board thanks to it’s width and stability. The X is perfect for people that aren’t that comfortable standing on other less stable boards. The 3 fin design does track decently well making it easy to paddle.

The extra width of the board does mean you will have to work a little harder in choppy water to push the board through the chop. It’s a great board for calm days when you want a relaxing paddle, want to go fishing, or try SUP yoga.

Review

See our review of the Blackfin Model X to learn more

Blackfin Model X on water

Specifications Model X

  • Size – 10′ 6″ x 35″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 450 lbs
  • Board Weight – 23 lbs
  • Construction – 3 Layer with carbon rails
  • D-Rings – 18
  • Paddle – Optional
  • Pump – Optional

Specifications Model XL

  • Size – 11′ 6″ x 34″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 485 lbs
  • Board Weight – 23 lbs
  • Construction – 3 Layer with carbon rails
  • D-Rings – 18
  • Paddle – Optional
  • Pump – Optional

7 –  Blackfin Ultra CX

☆ Best Portable SUP
Blackfin Ultra CX Product Image

Overall Score

85
Stiffness10.0


Stability6.0


Speed Performance8.0


Tracking8.0


Accessories9.0


Portability10.0

What we liked:

  • Very compact bag that is easy to travel with and store
  • Comes with a top of the line electric pump
  • Very stiff board construction
  • High quality 5 piece carbon paddle
  • Nimble and quick on the water performance

What we didn’t like:

  • No wheels on the carry bag
  • Folding the board so that it fits in the bag takes a little practice

Summary

The Blackfin Ultra CX is the latest and greatest inflatable paddleboard from popular iRocker brand. The Ultra CX is the best portable paddle board on the market. It is a perfect travel companion that easily fits in the front seat of your car or a closet at home.

The Blackfin Ultra CX is a standard 10’6″ x 32.5″ x 6″ all around paddleboard that performs great on the water. It’s also one of the stiffest paddleboards available and the stiffest board we have tested. It also has the smallest carry bag of any board we’ve seen. It is the only board we’ve seen that comes standard with an electric pump and no hand pump.

The board has a split deck pad to make it fold more compact. They included enough D-Rings and action mounts to mount seat or other accessory. They kept a standard front and rear bungee as well.

Accessories

The Blackfin Ultra CX comes complete with the best accessory package we have seen. It comes with the fantastic iRocker electric pump. This pump is small, reliable, and the fastest electric pump we have tested. I encourage you to add the available battery so you can be free from any need for car or other 12 volt source when using the board. You can read the full review of the pump here.

The backpack is about half the size of a normal SUP carrying bag. It is close to airline carry on size. If you cinch it down you might be able to get it through the TSA checkpoint as a carry on. It has a bag that fits above the paddleboard that holds the electric pump, fins, leash and repair kit. There are places to put the paddle on the sides of the bag. The bag is comfortable to carry as a backpack. We still wish for wheels for carrying it long distances.

A 5 piece carbon paddle is included. It is the adjustable length and fits into the small carry bag.

On the water performance

The only thing different about the Ultra CX on the water from a normal all around board is the 2 fin setup. All the ultra compact paddle boards have gone with 2 fins. They work well on the water and don’t give up anything for tracking compared to a traditional 3 fin setup. This board is very stiff thanks to the woven construction and carbon reinforced rails. It is as close to a rigid paddle board as you can get in an inflatable.

The board tracks smooth and has glide that is as good as any 10’6″ board. The tail is narrowed a bit to improve board speed without giving away too much stability.

Review

Read Blackfin Ultra CX Full Review

Paddling BF Ultra Hard

ALSO READ: The Best Portable Paddle Boards

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 6″ x 32.5″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 320 lbs
  • Board Weight – 19.8 lbs
  • Bag SizeBag Size – 10″ x 16″ x 21″
  • Bag Weight – 33.3 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer Woven PVC with carbon rails
  • Paddle – 5 piece Carbon
  • Pump – Electric pump

8 – iRocker Nautical

☆ Best Value
iRocker Nautical Product Image

Overall Score

75
Stiffness7.0


Stability7.0


Speed Performance7.0


Tracking8.0


Accessories7.0


Portability9.0

What we liked:

  • Fiberglass paddle
  • Durable and stiff 2 layer construction
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Lots of D-Rings and carry handles

What we didn’t like:

  • Lower weight capacity than other iRocker boards
  • Not as stiff as more expensive iRocker boards

Summary

The iRocker Nautical is the best value out there in paddle boarding right now. It is a 10’6″ x 32″ all around board with 2 layer construction and a really nice fiberglass paddle. It comes in at the same price as many single layer boards with junk aluminum paddles. Everything in this package is just better than anything you’ll find in any other $300-$400 paddle board. If you are looking for the best value inflatable SUP under $500 you have found it.

The board has 3 removable fins. The fin use latches to stay in place so there is no plastic tab to worry about losing or breaking.

The board is made of a 2 layer PVC laminate for durability. The deck has a grooved deck pad. The board has 17 D-Rings with bungees and handles at the front and rear. The deck pad is decently sized for standing on extending back into the tail of the board.

Overall, the iRocker Nautical is the best value out there for an entry level under $500 paddle board.

Accessories

The board comes as a complete package including a 3 piece fiberlgass paddle and a dual action pump. Almost every paddle board under $500 has an aluminum shaft paddle so this is a nice upgrade.

The backpack is nice with optional rollers. It has a couple of mesh pockets and bungee on for storing accessories. It has plenty of room for the board and accessories inside. The only complaint I have with the bag is lack of handles. A handle on each side would be nice.

On the water performance

The iRocker Nautical is a 10’6″ x 32″ wide board. It had decent glide. It has plenty of stability for new paddlers. The board has a good all around shape that is easy to turn and maneuver. The 3 fins keep it tracking straight once you get it moving.

Review

See our review of the iRocker Nautical to learn more.

Paddling Nautical Stony Creek

ALSO READ: The Best Inflatable Paddle Boards Under $500

Specifications

  • Size – 10’6″ x 32″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 20 lbs
  • Board Weight – 240 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer
  • D-Rings – 17
  • Paddle – 3 piece fiberglass
  • Pump – Double action

9 – Bluefin Cruise 10’8″

☆ Best Value
Bluefin Cruise Product Image

What we liked:

  • Very complete package including a kayak seat and 2 blade paddle
  • Croco-diamond EVA deck pad with kick pad at the rear
  • Very stiff and durable board

What we didn’t like:

  • The board is a bit heavy carrying around
  • Fin attachment can be tricky to use and replacement fins are hard to get

Summary

The Bluefin Cruise 10’8″ Paddleboard is a very stiff sturdy board that comes in a very complete package. It includes everything you need to paddleboard and also a kayak seat and paddle that can be set up with 1 or 2 blades.

This board is one of the stiffest inflatable boards available. Bluefin claims they use the highest thread density in their drop stitch available from any board maker. They use a very thick 2 layer laminate construction. The board feels noticeably thicker and heavier when you roll it out to inflate it. It is much stiffer inflated on the water. This board weighs in at 29 lbs making it one of the heavier inflatable SUP boards.

Accessories

This board has one of the better backpacks available at this price range. It doesn’t have wheels but it has heavy-duty construction with thick comfortable straps. It includes a kayak seat that can attach to the center set of d-rings. The paddle has a 2-3 piece fiberglass shaft and can be assembled as a single blade or 2 blade paddle. The double action pump is nothing special but it gets the job done.

On the water performance

The board is 10′ 8″ by 32 inch wide. This gives enough width to be stable and a little better tracking than a 10′ board. It is still easy to maneuver and suitable for a first time paddleboarder. The included kayak seat helps for those who aren’t comfortable standing up on it. The kickpad at the rear of the board helps make kick turns easier when you are ready to learn that skill.

ALSO READ: The Best Inflatable Paddle Boards Under $500

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 8″ x 32″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 287 lbs
  • Board Weight – 29 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer
  • D-Rings – 9
  • Paddle – 2 piece fiberglass convertible
  • Pump – double action pump

10 – NIXY NEWPORT G4 ALL AROUND

Nixy Newport G4 Product Image

Overall Score

87
Stiffness10.0


Stability8.0


Speed Performance8.0


Tracking8.0


Accessories9.0


Portability9.0

What we liked:

  • Very stiff and durable woven construction
  • Fast and nimble performance on the water
  • Carbon paddle and durable roller bag
  • Stable enough for beginner paddlers
  • Very lightweight board that is easy to carry

What we didn’t like:

  • Fewer handles than other boards
  • Can be tricky to get back into the bag with the large hand pump

Summary

The Nixy Newport G4 All Around paddleboard is a great fun all around paddleboard. Nixy only makes their G4 line of inflatable paddle boards and produces a great board and accessories. The Newport is the all around board that paddling enthusiasts would create. It has a little more high performance shape to it with a tapered tail. It’s wide enough in the middle to be stable for new paddlers. It uses advanced woven construction with carbon rails making it stiff and light.

Accessories

The NIXY G4 accessories are the best overall accessory package being offered right now. The travel bag and pump are a step above what anyone else is offering. The bag has a ton of handles, 3 wheels, lots of pockets, and sturdy feeling materials. The triple action pump can inflate and deflate. It’s simple to change modes. It can inflate large boards quickly. The G4 carbon paddle is light and stiff. The only thing we wish for was a sliding pin size adjuster instead of quick release clamp.

On the water performance

The Newport G4 is not as stable as some other all around boards such as the iRocker Cruiser. It is more nimble, fun, and fast. It is still very stable and a beginner can stand on it on calm waters. Once you start to paddle it you will appreciate it’s higher performance shape. It has better glide than boards with wider tails. It can turn easier and more quickly. If you want to give SUP surfing a try, this is a good board to start with.

Review

See our review of the NIXY Newport G4 to learn more.

NIXY Newport paddling

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 6″ x 33″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 300 lbs
  • Board Weight – 21 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer Woven PVC with Carbon Reinforced Rails
  • D-Rings – 14
  • Paddle – 3 piece carbon
  • Pump – Triple action, double barrel hand pump

11 – THURSO SURF Expedition 150 Touring

Thurso Expedition 150 product image

Overall Score

88
Stiffness9.0


Stability7.0


Speed Performance10.0


Tracking10.0


Accessories9.0


Portability8.0

What we liked:

  • Fast glide with good tracking
  • Feels as close to a rigid touring board as you can get with an inflatable
  • At 31 inches wide it has enough stability for intermediate paddlers
  • Carbon paddle with quick releases for adjusting size and to keep bottom section secure
  • Triple action hand pump that can also deflate
  • Single fin with a US Fin box and toolless attachment system
  • Small bag for storing leash, fin, and repair kit

What we didn’t like:

  • Bag has no padding where it’s worn as a backpack
  • No second side handle on the bag

Summary

The THURSO SURF Expedition 150 is a fast paddleboard with good styling that built to go the distance. It doesn’t have as many mounts and extras as some other boards. THURSO put the attention where it matters to make a faster board. They used woven construction with carbon rails for stiffness. It has a kick step built into the rear of the deck pad to make kick turns easier. It has 2 bungees for storing gear. The deck isn’t cluttered with a lot of action mounts and scotty mounts. It only has a single fin with a US fin box. No unnecessary side bite fins to add drag.

Accessories

THURSO provides premium accessories to go with their boards. The carbon paddle is one of the nicer package paddles we have seen with some dihedral in the blade shape. The backpack is made of heavy feeling materials with wheels and plenty of pockets. You get a double barrel triple action pump for faster hand pumping.

On water performance

The Expedition 150 is a medium width touring board. It is not as hard to balance on as a 28-30inch width board. It’s not as stable as a 32 inch width board with a wider tail. The board only has a single fin which we prefer for touring boards. The nose only has a little rocker which will be faster on flat water. It will not go through chop as well as a board with more nose rocker. This board will be happiest in flat water with minimal waves and chop.

Review

See our review of the Thurso Surf Expedition 150 to learn more.

Thurso Expedition paddling

ALSO READ: The Best Inflatable Touring Paddle Boards

Specifications

  • Size – 12’6″ x 31″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 210 lbs
  • Board Weight – 26 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer Woven w/Carbon Rails
  • Paddle – 3 Piece Carbon
  • Pump – Triple Action, Double Barrel Hand Pump

12 – Blackfin Model V

Blackfin Model V Product Image Updated

Overall Score

93
Stiffness10.0


Stability10.0


Speed Performance9.5


Tracking10.0


Accessories8.0


Portability8.0

What we liked:

  • Fast friendly board that is fun to paddle
  • Very stiff 3 layer carbon reinforced construction
  • Plenty of D-Rings and mounts so you can customize it for any adventure
  • Side bite fins can be removed for better performance
  • Ability to choose which accessories you want
  • Bag has plenty of storage pockets for an electric pump and PFD

What we didn’t like:

  • Difficult to get back into its bag with the included pump
  • Flip locks for attaching fins

Summary

The Blackfin Model V has a fast shape and comes with great accessories. It’s fast, stable, stiff and just a fun board to paddle. Blackfin paddle boards are the high end boards from popular iRocker. They have upgraded construction including carbon reinforced rails. They come with first rate accessories including a carbon adjustable paddle.

Accessories

New for 2023, iRocker has decided to let you pick and choose what accessories you get with the Blackfin boards. You can choose the traditional hand pump and carbon paddle or pick and electric pump and 2 piece paddle. There is also a few bag options. I like this change a lot because I rarely use the paddle or hand pump that any inflatable SUP comes with.

On water performance

The Model V is a great balance of speed while still being a friendly board shape for new paddlers. It keeps its stability in wind and chop. It feels like it powers through chop when paddling into the wind. The board has 3 fins. The tracking is a little too good with 3 fins on and turning is slow and difficult. With 1 fin the board feels much faster and easier to turn.

Review

See our review of the Blackfin Model V to learn more.

Model V on water

ALSO READ: The Best Inflatable Touring Paddle Boards

Specifications

  • Size – 12’6″ x 32″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 485 lbs
  • Board Weight – 30 lbs
  • Construction – 3 Layer w/Carbon Rails
  • Paddle – Optional
  • Pump – Optional

13 – ISLE Pioneer 2.0

ISLE Pioneer 2 product image

What we liked:

  • Wide stable board that turns easily
  • Comes with a hand pump and electric pump
  • Includes a carbon paddle
  • Decent glide in flat water
  • Stable enough for almost any beginner

What we didn’t like:

  • 34inch wide boards need more effort to paddle into chop and waves
  • No D-Rings for mounting a seat

Summary

The ISLE Pioneer 2.0 is the latest beginner all around offering from ISLE Surf & SUP. The Pioneer 2.0 is a wide stable friendly design that is perfect for beginners or relaxed paddles. The board has plenty of storage with front and rear bungees. It does not have D-Rings around the middle that could be used for attaching a kayak seat. It has 2 layer construction making it stiff and durable.

Accessories

It comes with a high end accessory set that includes a carbon paddle and both a hand pump and an electric pump. New paddlers don’t have to wear themselves out hand pumping before they ever get on the water.

On the water performance

It is a 34 inch wide board. It is clearly designed to be stable and easy to paddle. Beginners really like the extra stability. It will glide well on flat water making it great for relaxed paddling days. The extra width means it will need some extra push to get it to go into chop and waves. If you want an easy to paddle board that is big and stable this is a good choice.

Specifications

  • Size – 10’6″ x 34″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 285 lbs
  • Board Weight – 24 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer PVC
  • D-Rings – 11
  • Paddle – 3 piece carbon
  • Pump – Double Action hand pump  + Electric Pump

14 – GILI MENO 10′6″

GILI MENO Product Image

What we liked:

  • Very wide stable board with a huge weight capacity
  • Still construction with carbon reinforced rails
  • Lots of D-Rings and action mounts
  • Includes 3 center fins to tune performance for distance, river, or speed
  • Roller backpack with molle loops and pockets
  • Lightweight (23-24 lbs) for it’s size
  • Available in 2 sizes 10’6″ and 11’6″

What we didn’t like:

  • Triple action pump can’t deflate
  • Very wide board is stable but not that fast

Summary

The GILI MENO is a very wide stable board with a huge weight 450 lb capacity and tons of accessory mounts. It is available in both a 10’6″ and 11’6″ XL version. It is ready to handle large paddlers and tons of gear.

It is extra wide at 35 inches and is perfect for larger beginner paddlers or thoses who want extra stability for taking pets or passengers. It uses 2 layer construction with carbon reinforced rails. It comes with 3 center fins so you can tune the performance for your needs.

Accessories

The GILI MENO accessories include a carbon paddle, triple action pump and roller backpack. The pump works well for inflation. It can’t deflate which is a missed feature when trying to fit these back in the bag. The paddle is stiff and has a good feel. The roller backpack has lots of pockets and some molle loops for attaching accessories.

On the water performance

The MENO is not the fastest board. It’s one of the easiest to use and most versatile boards out there. The wide width makes it a very stable board that any beginner can use. This is one of the best beginner boards for heavier paddlers. It is is a wide board, it still moves and glides okay on flat water. It will feel like a wide board when paddling into chop and waves.

Specifications

  • Size – 10′6″ x 35″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 450 lbs
  • Board Weight – 30 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer with carbon rails
  • D-Rings – 18
  • Paddle – 3 piece carbon
  • Pump – triple action hand pump

A portion of every GILI Paddleboard goes to charities that support ocean reefs and endangered sea animals


15 – iRocker All Around 11 Ultra 2.0 Inflatable SUP

iRocker All Around 11 Ultra Product Image

Overall Score

87
Stiffness10.0


Stability7.0


Speed Performance8.0


Tracking8.0


Accessories9.0


Portability10.0

What we liked:

  • It’s a fun faster board to paddle
  • Has good glide
  • Can accommodate heavier paddlers at least up to 250 lbs
  • Board is stable enough for beginners on calm water
  • Bag is small and compact making it easy to store and travel with
  • Includes an electric pump instead of hand pump
  • Weighs less and is easier to carry than legacy All Around 11
  • Has plenty of D-Rings and action mounts of using a kayak seat and other accessories
  • Stiff and durable 2 layer woven construction
  • 5 piece carbon adjustable paddle that fits inside the small bag

What we didn’t like:

  • Board is a little less stable than legacy All Around 11
  • Deeper fins are more prone to catch weeds
  • Paddle shaft has a joint where I hold it with my lower hand.
  • No action mounts on the rear of the deck pad
  • No wheels or option for wheels on the bag

Summary

The iRocker All Around 11 Ultra 2.0 is the latest offering from iRocker and is a great sporty fun to paddle board. It captures most of what we loved about the original iRocker All Around 11 without the giant heavy bag and pump. The Ultra line from iRocker are more compact and fit in bags half the size of normal paddleboard bags. The boards weigh several pounds less making them easier to transport and store. If you weren’t sure where you would keep a paddleboard before, this could be your answer.

Accessories

The All Around 11 Ultra comes with an electric pump instead of a hand pump. Hand pumps take a lot of effort and people find themselves exhausted before they even start paddling. The electric pump means you can save all your strength for paddling instead of pumping up the board. The board comes with a 5 piece carbon paddle that allows it to fit into the tiny bag. The paddle works well as long.

On the water performance

The iRocker All Around 11 Ultra 2.0 has similar shape and performance as the original All Around 11. It did get an inch less wide making it a little faster. It just feels a bit more sporty than the original without sacrificing much stability. Most beginners should have no problem with this board on calm water.

Review

See our review of the iRocker All Around 11 Ultra to learn more.

Woman paddling AA11 Ultra

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Specifications

  • Size – 11′ x 32″ x 6″ thick
  • Weight Capacity – 290 lbs
  • Board Weight – 21.4 lbs
  • Construction – 2 Layer Woven
  • D-Rings – 15
  • Paddle – 5 piece carbon
  • Pump – Electric pump

Inflatable paddle board guide.

Here are some things to look at when you are shopping for an inflatable paddleboard. Do you want the most stable boad or want the fastest board? Do you care what accessories the board comes with or how easy it is to transport? How will the SUP actually perform on the water? We are here to answer all those questions.

Stability

The question I see asked the most on any online forum or group about a paddleboard is “How Stable is it?”. Most people buying an inflatable paddle board want to know if they will be able to stand on it or if it will be a struggle. Board stability is determined by the board size (length and width) and the board stiffness.

A wider board will be more stable than a narrow boad. A board with a wider nose and tail will be more stable than a board with a heavily tapered tail.

A stiffer board will be more stable than a soft board. A really soft board will flex and bounce underneath you letting you feel every small motion in the water. A very rigid board will make a nice solid stable platform to stand on and push against.

If 2 boards are the same size and shape, the more rigid board will feel much more stable on the water than the soft board.

The most stable board we have tested is the NIXY Monterey G4. It is very wide and long with a lot of volume. It is a lot of board to paddle around. The iRocker All Around 11 is also a very stable board that has excellent overall performance. The Freein Overall 11 is a much cheaper board with similar performance to the iRocker All ARound 11 but without a lot of the extra features.

Stiffness

An inflatable paddle boards construction determines how stiff it will be. All inflatable paddleboards are made with PVC drop stitch construction. All drop stitch and PVC laminates are not created equal.

1 Layer PVC boards will all be soft. Boards are made with 1 Layer construction for one reason. To be cheap. This is the biggest problem with most cheap paddleboards. They aren’t stiff. They won’t feel stiff on the water no matter what a manufacturer claims. This doesn’t mean they are no good. People have a lot of fun on 1 layer boards. You will rarely find a 1 layer board with more than a 1 year warranty.

2 Layer PVC paddleboards are much stiffer than 1 layer and can perform well. This is the best value for the money in paddleboard construction. This is the biggest gain in stiffness. 3 layer boards at a little more but not much for the weight they add.

There are other newer construction methods such as woven. The drop stitch core is woven together giving it much more strength for the weight. 2 layer woven boards are the stiffest construction we have tested. Boards made with this are also lighter. This is our most preferred construction method.

We do a stiffness test on every board we review here. We do this by placing 120 lbs of weight in the middle of the board and measuring how much the board drops. 1 layer boards tend to drop 2.5 to 3 inches. 2 layer, 3 layer and woven boards will drop 1-1.3 inches.

See our results in the table below.

SUP Board Board Size Construction Deflection (inches)
Blackfin Model X (15 psi) 10'6" x 34" x 6" 3 Ply PVC 1.0
Blackfin Model V (15 psi) 12'6" x 32" x 6" 3 Ply PVC 1.1
Blackfin Ultra CX (15 psi) 10'6" x 32.5" x 6" 2 Ply Woven PVC 1.0
BOTE HD Aero (15 psi) 11'6" x 34" x 6" 3 Ply PVC 1.1
Coolwave (15 psi) 10'6" x 32" x 6" 1 Ply PVC 3.3
Chasing Blue Orion (14.5 psi) 12'6" x 32" x 6" 2 Ply PVC 1.6
Chasing Blue Infinite (14.5 psi) 10'6" x 34" x 6" 2 Ply PVC 1.4
DAMA (15 psi) 11' x 33" x 6" 1 Ply PVC 3.0
Freein Overall 11 (15 psi) 11'' x 33" x 6" 2 Ply PVC 1.4
iRocker Nautical (15 psi) 10'6" x 32" x 6" 2 Ply PVC 2.8
iRocker All Around 11 (15 psi) 11' x 32" x 6" 3 Ply PVC 1.3
iRocker All Around 11 Ultra (15 psi) 11' x 32" x 6" 2 Ply Woven PVC 1.1
iRocker Cruiser Ultra (15 psi) 10'6" x 33" x 6" 2 Ply Woven PVC 1.1
Nice C (15 psi) 10'6" x 32" x 6" 1 Ply PVC 2.6
Nixy Newport G4 (15 psi) 10'6" x 33" x 6" 2 Ply Woven PVC 1.1
Nixy Monterey G4 (15 psi) 11'6" x 34" x 6" 2 Ply Woven PVC 1.0
Outdoor Master Swordfish (15 psi) 10'6" x 32" x 6" 2 Ply PVC 2.8
Red 12'6" Sport w/RSS (20 psi) 12'6" x 30" x 5.9" MSL with Battens 1.2
Thurso Expedition 150 (15 psi) 12'6" x 31" x 6" 2 Ply Woven PVC 1.4
Thurso Max (15 psi) 11'6" x 34" x 6" 2 Ply Woven PVC 1.2
deflection test setup annotated

Speed

A paddle boards speed is determined by how efficiently it moves through the water. A faster board will accelerate more easily and glide farther with each paddle stroke.

The biggest factor for an inflatable SUPs speed is it’s length. A board with a longer water line will glide farther. This is due to something called “hull speed”. A 12’6″ board will glide better than a 10′ board. A board with little to no rocker or up curve in the nose will have a longer water line than a board with a lot of nose rocker.

A narrow SUP will be faster than a wide SUP. A narrow board will have less wetted surface than a wide board so it will have less drag. A narrow board will be less affected by chop.

You can make a faster board that is wider by giving it a more pointed nose and making the tail more tapered. A good example of this is the NIXY Newport G4 and Monterey G4. They are both relatively wide but have very tapered tails. They feel like much faster boards than they should for their width.

A long narrow board like the Red Paddle Co Sport 12’6″ will be a very fast board. They do some other tricks like their Speed Tail that reduces drag. The 30 inch width also makes the board very unstable and only suitable for intermediate and better paddlers. The Blackfin Model V is also a 12’6″ board and very fast. It’s 32inch width makes it feel like a much more stable board.

Tracking

Tracking is how well a board will travel in a straight line. A board with good tracking is easier to cover distance with less effort. A board that tracks very well can also be more difficult to turn. Tracking is determined by a board shape and fin arrangement.

A long narrow board will track better than a short wide board. Inflatable touring paddleboards will all have very good tracking. Short all around boards will not track as well.

Most inflatable paddleboards come with a 3 fin arrangements. 3 fins give good tracking at low and high speeds. If you look close you will notice that the 2 smaller side fins are angled towards each other. This is called bite. It improves the tracking of the board but also adds a lot of drag.

Single fin paddleboards will track well when the board is moving. They have less drag than triple fin boards. They won’t track as well until the fin has some water flowing over it. They allow the board to turn easier when it’s moving slower.

Boards that have 3 removable fins instead of 1 removeable fin and 2 fixed fins allow you to customize the board feel. A Blackfin Model V has tracking that is almost too good with all 3 fins attached. It will go straight very well but is challenging to turn. With 1 fin the board is faster and tracks well once it is moving. It is much easier to turn.

Accessories

The accessories are what the board comes with. The 3 most important things are the paddle, pump, and carry bag.

A carbon shaft paddle will be lighter and stiffer and perform better than an aluminum paddle. A fiberglass paddle somewhere in the middle.

Triple action hand pumps are better than double action pumps. They let you inflate the board better. Now all triple action pumps are created equal. The ability to deflate a board is also important and makes getting it back in the bag a lot easier.

Electric pumps make the inflation process easier. I personally prefer to save my energy for paddling and not pumping.

Carry bags with wheels, lots of handles and padded straps make transporting an inflatable SUP much easier. Bags with a handle on only 1 side are a lot harder to carry up and down steps.

Right now the NIXY G4 series boards have the best overall set of accessories for the bag, paddle, and pump. We would choose the G4 bag and pump over any other. The paddle is a close second to the iRocker/Blackfin carbon paddle.

Setup

How easy is the board to go from bag to on the water and back into the bag. Things like electric pumps make the process easier. A faster hand pump is better than a cheap single action pump. Extra steps such as RSS battens or multiple air chambers will slow setup down.

Bags that are undersized and difficult to zip up with the board and pump inside make take down more difficult. No one likes to reroll a board because they didn’t quite get it tight enough to fit in the not quite big enough bag.

Portability

How easy is an inflatable paddle board to carry around or take with you on a trip? A smaller, lighter weight bag makes a board much more portable. I love my Blackfin Model V but it is on the heavier side and the bag could use a couple more carry handles. My iRocker Cruiser Ultra is super easy to throw in the car and take anywhere.

A board that weighs 40 lbs in its bag with no wheels and only a couple handles is not easy to take anywhere. The board would have to perform great on the water to be worth the hassle of moving it anywhere.

Value

How good a bang for the buck is the board for its cost. The iRocker Cruiser is a really great value. You get stiff 3 layer construction, a carbon paddle, roller bag, and triple action pump for a very reasonable price. The boards from Red Paddle Co perform great but they are very high priced and most do not include paddles. Red Paddle Co doesn’t score well in this area. They are the luxury car of paddleboards.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Funwater boards are very very cheap. They skimp in several important areas. You only get a single action pump and the bag is a pain to load. They are cheap but spending another $50-$100 gets you a much better value.

Size

Inflatable paddle boards are not a one size fits all item. A 10’6″ all around board is good for the majority of people. If you want to get more performance from your board you can go for something that is a bit more personalized. Small paddlers can go for shorter boards such as the iRocker All Around 10′. Very large paddlers are best suited to boards such as the Nixy Monterey.

Price

Everyone has a budget when shopping for an inflatable stand up paddleboard. Paddleboards are a great example of you get what you pay for item. Board stiffness and stability are clearly better on mid to high priced boards. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a lot of fun with a cheap paddleboard. Many people do. We have included a few of the more standout cheap options like the iRocker Nautical and Chasing Blue/Outdoor Master paddleboards.

If you are looking for cheaper options, please have a look at our guides for cheap paddleboards.

Customer service & warranty

A lot of cheap paddle board companies that sell only on Amazon have no real customer service. They might claim a 1 year warranty but good luck trying to make any kind of claim on it. This is immediately obvious if you spend some time reading the comments on some of the more popular iSUPs on Amazon.

Almost all 1 layer PVC paddleboards only have a 1 year warranty. That should tell you something about the manufacturers confidence in the product. If you buy a cheap paddleboard you should not expect much customer service to back up the product.

If you are spending $500 and up on an inflatable paddleboard you want it from a company that will back up the product. Look for US based companies such as iRocker, ISLE, BOTE and NIXY that have US based costumer service. They all offer at least 2 year warranties and have good reputation for fixing issues or sending replacement boards.

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Doug Ryan Portrait Skiing 200x200

Doug Ryan
Co-Founder & Chief Editor

I grew up back east in Pennsylvania and learned to ski on a family trip to Killington, Vermont when I was 6. I immediately fell in love with the mountains and outdoors and have been skiing across the US and Canada ever since. I went to school for Mechanical Engineering, and have a Master’s Degree in Material Science and Reliability.

I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible.

doug@adventuregearinsider.com