This is part 1 of a 3-part series of recommendations on Inflatable Stand-up Paddleboards by size and price
There are waaaaaay too many brands of inflatable paddle boards out there – over 100.
I’ve grouped them by Price & Size, and narrowed each group down to a few recommendations based on my experience as a paddler, and knowledge from designing and importing the Cypress Stand-up Paddle board.
I know price is the main thing for most people, but after that you’ll need to consider the size and features that are best for you. You’ll also need to be aware and accept that nearly all inflatable stand-up paddle boards sold in the USA are actually made in China. Lots of the non-inflatable, solid ones are made in the USA, but even most high-end inflatable SUP’s are made overseas. Because of the Trump-era 7 to 8% import tariffs and the higher cost of international shipping, all SUP prices will be higher for the foreseeable future.
So let’s get to it! Here’s how I’ve grouped the top 14 SUP’s by size and price. All the boards are 6″ thick – anything less is too poor quality to float an adult.
The Basics of Shopping for an Inflatable Stand-up Paddleboard
The “Good Enough” $250-350 paddleboards (Compare these to a Wal-Mart bike)
What makes these so cheap? Two things: (1) They use a THINNER PVC material. (2) They use LESS PVC or LESS EVA foam material. (3) They have few features such as lift handles at the front and back, D-rings for attaching accessories, and other things.
How that works: Think of a paddleboard’s outer PVC material like ply wood: some plywood is thicker & stronger than others, and you can overlap two pieces of plywood to make it extra strong. Likewise, Paddleboards are made of PVC material that comes in different thickness or weights (called “denier”) and can use 1, 2 or ever more layers of PVC material. Cheap boards use a thinner, lighter-weight PVC, which you can tell if the PVC is less than 1,000 “Denier” (Denier is a measure of thickness & weight similar to “thread count” in fabric). Inexpensive boards use one layer of PVC material to keep costs low. Most times, Cheap boards may advertise “multi-ply” instead of “multi-layers” of PVC material. That’s not special, as all PVC material used is “multi-ply” but not all paddle boards have multi-layers of PVC. Cheap SUP’s generally don’t advertise their “Denier” rating because they are under 1,000. At best, they come with some freebie extras like cheap $3 waterproof phone bags.
“These are still great boards if…” If you or your young kids don’t care much about design or features, or you just need something simple for a short number of summer seasons, then these are still great boards to get the job done. A Wal-Mart bike still works fine, and is great to learn on.
Here are my recommended “Good enough” boards by size.
10′ long x 30″ wide x 6″ thick:
This company is based in Asia, and is like the “Harbor Freight” of outdoor equipment. Bare bone, inexpensive and direct from the factory w/o any retailer to provide any meaningful customer support.
Serene Life ($340)
(lots of other colors to choose from)
Ancheer (under $400)
10.5′ long x 32″ wide x 6″ thick
11′ x 32″ boards
Aqua Plus – ($300)