Over the past few weeks we have had so much fun testing out and selecting our favourite blow up paddle board and are finally ready to deliver our verdict. Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards, also known as iSUPS, are becoming more popular than their non-inflatable counterparts because they are so much lighter and easier to transport. This gives us the opportunity to travel with them and use them almost anywhere.
Earlier models were sometimes known to crack or buckle in the centre. The resulting puncture would mean the board had a very short life span. Incredible advances in design and materials has recently solved this problem.
Inflatable paddle also boards offer many other benefits over hard boards which are easily damaged, especially by beginner riders.
Our top seven Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards have been developed using superior and even military grade materials so these guys don’t just get our thumbs up, they can take a serious beating.
The Isle Airtech Blow Up Paddle Board
The Isle Airtech is without a doubt a beautiful looking SUP. Fully Inflated its dimensions are 10′ Long x 31″ Length x 6″ Thickness and its impressively light, weighing only 18,6 lbs. It is a great versatile board and handles well on flat water as well as rivers and small waves. The recommended weight limit is 240 lbs. Despite being light, there is no need to worry about damage as this board is made from military grade materials ensuring it handle and bumps and scrapes while in action.
The board has a handle and mounted bungee system on the front for loading any gear or supplies. It comes with a travel paddle, backpack, high pressure and gauge pump, fins and repair kit.
This was the lightest iSUP we tested and we love the speed and sleekness it adds to paddle session. We also loved the “30 Day Ride and Love it Guarantee” from the manufactures. This is undeniably a stunning board and a great buy.
Again, our only fault with the board is the paddle which is heavy. Although it does float, water can get in and if left in the water for a while it will most likely sink. But considering you are getting a fantastic board and the paddle is a package bonus, spending a few extra dollars on a carbon fibre paddle is well worth it. Use the standard paddle to start and get some practice in and when you advance, invest in the perfect paddle for you.
The ISLE AIRTECH is well suited for board riders of all sizes looking for a sleek and stylish board. It is perfectly suited for anything from flat lakes to small ocean surf. The board is 30% lighter that other standard boards making it ideal if you are travelling with it and want to keep your luggage light.
The 9’10 Tower Inflatable SUP
The 9’10 Tower has an impressively weigh capacity of 350- 400 Ibs when fully inflated making this a great board for heavier riders or those wanting to carry the passengers. The board offers excellent stability and firmness when fully inflated. Dimensions are 9′ 10″ in Length x 32″ Width x 6″ Thickness. As with the iRocker board reviewed above, this board is another tough contender made of military grade materials.
This is hands down the most stunning looking of all the boards and it’s a toughie. Its excellent buoyancy makes it perfect for a yoga sessions too as its 6 inch thickness has you perched comfortably out of the water.
Offering only a few of the product add-ons of a package deal, including board, pump and fiberglass paddle, the Tower paddle board makes up for this with a 2 year warranty which gives me the confidence that this company backs their product without having to add any non essential accessories.
The high weight capacity, durability and stability make this the ideal all rounder. The tough construction can handle any environment you throw at it be it rivers, rapids, lakes or ocean. This board makes a great and versatile addition to anyone’s outdoor gear collection.
The Jobe iSUP – Not available
Sorry, this SUP is currently not available
The Jobe blow up paddle board, 10’6″ Length x 30″ Width x 4″ Thickness, weighing in at 31.6 lbs, with a recommended weight limit of 260 lbs, is not just a beautiful looking board, it’s fun, stable and manoeuvres well on the water. It has an anti slip pad and handy D-ring to attach an ankle leash which is included in the package. If has 3 detachable fins and the paddle has an adjustable handle all of which have a place in the waterproof tarpaulin bag.
We love that this board comes with all the extras from ankle leash to pump and then a few extra well thought out additions like a bungee strap on the front of the board to secure gear, a waterproof carry bag which doubles up as a dry bag and extra straps on the bag to secure pump (with pressure gauge) and paddle when not in use.
Despite all its extras, the package does not come with additional screws which secure the 3 fins. As these are custom and small, they are easy to lose and not easy to replace. You will also need a tool to put them in, this is also not included but the design team have without a doubt made up for these tiny missing items by over-delivering on additional board and packaging features.
This is the perfect board for someone looking for a sturdy and reliable board that will last. It includes all the setup essentials so you’ll be enjoying it on the water in no time at all. This iSUP can be inflated on tar, gravel on concrete which is great for anyone wanting to take their blow up board to rugged and untamed locations.
Sorry, this SUP is currently not available
The iRocker 10′ Blow Up SUP
iRocker 10″ paddle board has a weight limit of up to 350 lbs and compares very closely to a hard board when fully inflated to its maximum. Inflating to 15 psi leaves the paddle board super rigid and stable. Dimensions, 10′ Long x 30″ Width x 6″ Thickness. Constructed with military grade materials, you need not worry about running into rocks or rougher gravel banks, in fact, the manufacturer claims you can even drive your car over this tough guy. We did not however test this out for our review but believe it may be possible.
It is super lightweight weighing in at 28 lbs making it ideal for travel. The package includes the board as well as a high pressure hand pump, a back pack to carry the deflated board and an adjustable aluminium paddle.
The board glides beautifully on the water and was easy to paddle even with a passenger, keeping both of us dry and well out of the water.
The pressure gauge did not initially give a reading but once it reached 7 PSI’s and the board began to feel a lot more rigid, it kicked into action allowing us to complete the inflation without any problems.
This is for a rider who needs a board that is near indestructible. The manufacture stands behind this claim so if you need a board that you can travel with and run through the mill, the iRocker is the one for you.
Vilano Navigator 10′ iSUP
This rigid and durable, 10″ Length x 31″ Width x 6″ Thickness board, is made of high grade PVC giving it a very similar feel to a sold board. The board can be inflated up to 18 psi which will easily accommodate a medium to heavy paddler. but it is a comfortable and stable ride at between 12 and 15 psi. It has a comfortable diamond patterned, anti slip pad and several D-rings on the front to attach bungee cords. It includes an effective pump with built in pressure gauge, an Aluminium paddle, removable fins, repair kit and a backpack to store all the items.
This good looking grey and orange SUP inflates to a rock solid and stable board and the additional D-rings come in super handy to attach extra gear.
Our only negative feedback with this package is the paddle. Being aluminium, they sink, so paddles will require a leash if you are planning to take on faster moving rivers or choppy conditions. The paddle does however disassemble into 3 pieces making it compact and ideal to travel with.
It’s ideal for flat water lakes, canals and slow rivers. Its sleeker, narrower design makes it ideal for an extra added bit of speed. The manufacturer recommends a 250 lbs weight limit.
The Solstice Bali Board
The Solstice is comfortable, sleek and relatively light at 39.4 lbs leaving it fast on the water, the recommended weight limit is 250 lbs. Dimensions are 12.8′ Long x 29.5″ Width x 6″ Thickness It performed impressively and felt strong and firm on the water. It is made of 1000 Denier, 3 ply PVC reinforced material and includes 4 tie-downs for attaching gear. The package includes a carry bag, pump with gauge and repair kit.
The Solstice is a great looking board, its darker color hides scuff marks, keeping it looking brand new and the best thing about it, it is excellent value for money.
The package does not come with a paddle but this is not so much a problem as most package paddle are inferior quality and the lower cost allows you to buy a better product that can be matched to your budget and needs.
This board offers excellent manoeuvrability and speed on the water and suits a lighter paddle rider looking for a board that performs on various water surfaces from lakes to waves.
The Blue Waves Sports Inflatable (Kayak) Board
The Blue Waves Sports Measures 10-ft length x 30’’ Width x 4’’ thickness. It has a weigh capacity of 220 lbs when fully inflated. The board manufacturers have ensured maximum durability by designing this product using multi-layer drop stitching with high pressure core construction and a double layer outer lining.
The package includes all the extras you’d expect and more, including a high pressure hand pump, adjustable paddles for both paddle boarding and canoeing, built-in stainless steel D-rings and bungee cord for easy gear storage. The surface of the board has a built in anti-slip deck pad that is soft and comfortable and it all packs away into a convenient rip-resistant storage bag.
This paddle board easily convert into a canoe style board by simply attaching the fabric seat and switching up the paddles, this offers the most versatility of all the boards we tried out, making this one of our favourite favourites.
Of all the boards we tested, this one is the only 4 inch thick board so sits a little lower in the water but we did not find it any less effective or sturdy.
If you can’t decide if you want a kayak or a stand up paddle board, the Blue Water is the perfect in-betweener board for you.
When choosing your board it’s good to have an idea of what you want to get from it. If ease of transport is a focus then all of the above are winners especially those with backpacks. Our main area of focus would be weight capacity. Ensure you select the right board for your weight as described above. This will ensure you do not battle to get started. If the board is too small for you, you will only become frustrated and paddle boarding will feel more like work than fun. The package deals offer you reduced cost over buying all the gear individually. Our absolute winner is the Isle Airtech, not just because it is such a good looking board but it is the lightest. This makes it easiest to carry while inflated or deflated and packed in its carry bag.
The board size of the Isle Airtech leaves it stable in the water and the rigid structure is firm and comfortable. It handles like a dream and the added straps and accessories will have all your boxes checked.
Blow Up Paddle Board Pumps
Blow up SUPs are notorious for one thing, they are not the easiest to inflate. While using the “package deal” pumps and gauges, we understand the inflation of your board will leave you mildly frustrated. It without a doubt takes a little practice and will give you a fair workout in the process. For those ready to convert to weekend paddle board excursions, we recommend upgrading your pump to a two-stage 12V electric car pump so you don’t have to work as hard. This will ensure you avoid the lengthy process of inflating your board.
We know you will be thrilled with the board you select and would love your feedback. Let us know how your SUP is performing. We look forward to seeing you on the water.
More info in the Isle iSUP
General SUP Tips & Techniques
How to Use Your iSUP
Step 1 – Determine the SUP size you’ll need
The heavier (or taller) you are, the more volume you’ll need. A paddle board’s volume is determined by it’s dimensions. The length, width and thickness.
Smaller boards are harder to balance unless you are light and you may find yourself frustrated and not enjoying this awesome water sport. If you’re a beginner, get a board that’s at leat 10 feet long and around 31 inches wide. If you’re over 220 pounds, you should consider going even larger. The Tower SUP is good for heavier riders.
Step 2 – Paddle Length
When standing next to it on dry land, with the upright paddle resting on the ground, the top handle should extend slightly above your head.
This means that when the paddle is submerged beside you on the board, the top handle is at bout shoulder height, with your hand resting on the handle. This will result in a comfortable paddle stroke.
You can usually adjust a paddle but cutting it to length and re-attaching the top handle.
Step 3 – Inflating the Stand Up Paddle Board
This can be done manually or with the assistance of an electric air pump. We have found that even with the electric pumps, the board will sometimes need a few manual pumps to achieve the proper rigidity.
Make sure you’re inflating the sup on an area cleared of sharp objects.
Step 4 – You’re first SUP ride
Place the board on calm water and get onto it with your knees while holding the paddle. Once you’ve achieved balance, begin paddling forward (still on your knees) to get a sense of balance while paddling.
You should take care to “point” the paddle angle “backwards”. This seems counter intuitive at first but once you realize how the paddle pulls through the water at a right angle because of the stroke pattern, it will make more sense.
Step 5 – Standing
You can now begin trying to stand up.This will be easier the smaller you are. Remember to stand up with your paddle in your hand or else you’ll have to go back down and get it!)
Your feet should be shoulder width apart, perpendicular on the board. (Facing forward) Knees are slightly bent and with a comfortable but strong core.
Should you fall, the only thing that can hurst you is the board and the paddle and being inflatable, that won’t really hurt either. But just in case, fall away from the board as opposed to on top of it. When you feel yourself falling, don’t overcorrect too wildly, just lean to the side (Away from the board) and enjoy the splash. Make sure not to land on the paddle either.
Step 6 – The Stroke
With your weaker hand on top of the top handle and you’re stronger hand comfortably in the middle of the bar, begin your stroke next to the board.
It’s a fine balance between pulling with your lower (strong hand) and pushing slightly with your top (weaker hand). See what feels the most comfortable for you.
You may find you hit the board with the paddle many times at first. This will improve as you strengthen your core and begin paddling just next to the board (as opposed to against it)
Step 7 – Consider the Tides, Currents and Wind
It is of the utmost importance that you make sure you know the direction the water is moving before you get in. Even a little wind can push you dramatically into a direction which can be very hard to get back from.
Go in the opposite direction of the wind or current ensuring you have enough energy to return with an easier ride back.
Its also safer to go with an experienced rider when you start out unless the water is completely still. Even then, it may be useful to wear a life jacket and possibly even a helmet for safety.
Step 8 – Deflating the board
As long as no water can get into the board valve, you can simply deflate the board by opening it up and letting the air out. SUP manufacturers will promote complete deflation but you simply get it down to whatever you feel is ok and will fit in the bag (or the back of your car)
You should let the board dry before storage to avoid damp stains. If you were in the ocean, a good freshwater rinse one in a while will keep your board looking new for much longer.
The same goes for extended periods of sunlight. Don’t let a fully inflated stand up paddle board bake in the hot sun for too long. The air could expand, damaging the board and the harsh rays could also cause the colors to fade.
We have enjoyed many hours of fun in the water with a massive variety of blow up paddle boards. The boards on this list are by far our favorite based on quality, durability and ease of use. That being said, if you think we’ve missed an important option, we would love to hear from you.
Simply leave your comment below. We look forward to hearing from you.