With so many different options for paddle boards, it can be hard to find the best fit for your needs.
Whether you’re looking at a 10’0”, 10’6”, or anything else or stuck between inflatable and rigid boards, it’s hard to understand all the different options.
Skill level, storage space, and intended use can all affect the size, material, and shape of your ideal paddle board.
The right board for you may be different than the right board for someone else.
So it’s important to know how you will use your paddle board so that you can make the best purchase.
We’ve found some of the best paddle boards on the market to help you find the paddle board that will bring you the most stoke.
Our Favorite Picks
#1 Best Overall Paddle Board: SBBC Orca 10’6”
#1 Best Inflatable SUP: Serenelife 10’ Inflatable SUP
#1 Best Paddle Board For Beginners: Lifetime Horizon 100
#1 Best Paddle Board For Fishing: Atoll Fishing SUP 11’
The 12 Best
Best Overall Paddle Boards
#1 Best Overall Paddle Board: SBBC Orca 10’6”
South Bay Board Co. understand how to make a paddle board. 10’6” Orca has everything you could want in a board. Whether you are just beginning or already experienced, this board has the shape and features you’ll need to have fun right away.
With plenty of volume at 10’6”, the Orca is forgiving to anyone making their first jump into paddle boarding. For anyone looking for their next paddle board, the Orca’s rounded nose with a squash tail and full rails will help you cut through the water and hold the line you want when paddling the board.
Besides its shape, the 2+1 fin layout of the board, with FCS fins, will have you stoked on its responsiveness. Working with the squash tail, the fin set up will let you feel the maneuverability and smoothness of the board as you glide across any body of water.
The 10’6” Orca has you covered with its textured traction area on the deck. This traction pad will help keep you on the board so you can focus on paddling. In addition to the deck pad, the Orca has a wide 32” base for easy stabilization and thick 4½” rails to keep you on the board and having fun.
South Bay Board Co. understands that you want your board to last. The ABS-molded hard shell will keep dings and dents from becoming a problem. The Orca’s hard shell will stay watertight and keep you in the water and out of a repair bay.
The Orca also has any feature you could want. Besides the traction grip on the deck, the deck also sports bungee straps near the nose. This is a great spot for you to store your backpack, water, or lifejacket while you paddle so that you can focus on what’s really important - the paddling.
A leash and fins come ready to install with the board so you’ll be ready and frothing to paddle out as soon as you get your board. Together with the EZ carry handles, you’ll have no excuse to take your paddleboard out whenever you feel like it.
#2 BIC Sport Tough-Tec Performer
The BIC Sport Tough-Tec Performer might be the most durable board on the market. Made out of tough-tec epoxy, this board will see you through a good amount of use.
The BIC has a classic longboard shape, in a great blue color option, that will have you rocking through flat water and small waves. Though it may not be the best board if you are looking to charge the swell of the decade right away, the shape will help you to move through the water and hold a proper line in some fun waves.
The shape of the board along with its wide deck, deep rails, and EPS (expanded polystyrene) core gives this board great floatation and stability. You won’t need to worry about sinking, as long as you get the right length for your size. Together with the width and thickness of the board and rails, the Sport Tough-Tec Performer will let you focus on paddling, or what you really want to do on your board, instead of fighting to stay afloat or falling into the water.
BIC’s Sport Tough-Tec Performer also provides you with the means to hit the beach fully prepared. All models feature a deck pad for ideal wax-less traction so you won’t slip off in the middle of your paddle. Featuring an ergonomic handle, this board is asking to be carried to the water and paddled.
Though this board features deck attachment points to secure gear, it is not the most comprehensive bungee cord system we have seen on a paddle board. Despite this one area of critique, this board certainly has enough to make sure you can carry what you need on your board.
Packaged with the Sport Tough-Tec Performer is a center fin that will give your board the stability you need to enjoy your paddle.
Overall, this board is a great all around, durable option for any skill level. From beginner to beyond, the Sport Tough-Tec Performer will durably serve your paddling needs.
#3 Scott Burke 10’6” SUP
A great option if you’re psyching to try to hit the water immediately. This board comes with everything you’ll need to paddle as soon as possible.
The Scott Burke 10’6 SUP comes with a single fin, leash, and roof straps so you can get your board water ready and transportable immediately. The board is also packaged with a paddle so that you won’t need to stop anywhere else on your way to the water.
This board is light. At under 30 pounds, the SUP is easy to carry while you use the included straps to put it on your vehicle or carry it to the water.
The soft top deck is an added bonus. It makes this board easy to stand on and forgiving if you fall or accidentally run aground. On top of the soft deck, there are rad graphics printed onto the foam of the deck.
The SUP is over 5” thick so you know that it will float easily. With a maximum load of 275 lbs, there is enough flotation for a dog if you want to paddle with you best friend. The large center fin will help keep the board stable and you out of the water.
This board is tricked out as well. With the bungees on the nose, you’ll be able to store gear leaving your hands free to paddle. There are also 3 stringers in a waterproofed body that will keep your board rigid and easy to paddle.
Best Inflatable SUPs
#1 Best Inflatable SUP: Serenelife 10’ Inflatable SUP
Serenelife’s 10’ Inflatable SUP is a great option if your cramped for space. This one comes with everything you’ll need to get started with your SUP including a convenient storage bag.
The Inflatable SUP has three fins on the bottom giving it a little bit more maneuverability as you paddle around. The fin design makes use of a larger center fin giving you added stability as well as maneuverability.
At 10’ long and 30” wide, this paddle board has plenty of size to support you on top of the water. It supports a rider weight of up to 275 lbs. The width will help you so that you won’t feel like your fighting capsizing at every moment when paddling.
This board is also great for beginners. With a non-slip soft top deck, you won’t have to worry about your feet sliding off the board. Combined with being inflated, this board is forgiving if you do accidentally fall on it.
The provided pump makes it easy to inflate and deflate your board.
This board also comes with features you would expect on any non-inflated board. There are crisscrossed bungees on the nose that are ready to hold whatever you need as you paddle.
It also comes with a paddle and leash so that you can use your board right away and feel safe and connected to your board.
If you’re worried about a leaky board, this board has you covered with a repair kit. Serenelife wants to help you get the most out of your board and gives you the tools you’ll need.
#2 Pathfinder 9’9” Inflatable SUP
Pathfinder’s 9’9” is made from PVC material which gives it a lot of strength and durability. Though a little smaller than some of the other options, the Pathfinder makes up for it in its simple and easy to use design.
Boasting a detachable single fin on the bottom for stabilization, the Pathfinder is a good board if you’re looking for a sturdy board with an easy set up.
It comes with a pump for easy inflation along with a valve wrench so you don’t have to wait forever for the air to leak out. You can just crank the valve open and start rolling it up.
The Pathfinder is also 5” thick when fully blown up. Together with its 30” width, you’ll still feel good flotation and stability as you paddle.
The 9’9” Inflatable SUP has a grippy deck stretching all the way tail of the board to about midboard. This will let you shift your feet for added maneuverability if needed.
The bungee straps for this board are placed closer to the middle than many of the other models. This will keep your gear closer to you and help keep the nose of your board out of the water so you can better plane across any water you paddle over.
The nice thing about this board is that it is a little smaller and easier to store. The fin is detachable making this board lightweight and easy to roll up without worrying about anything getting in the way of itself.
At around 25 lbs, the Pathfinder is lightweight. It even comes with a carrying pack, and shoulder straps, so that you can easily carry your board where you need to from your car.
Available in different colors, the Pathfinder offers you more choice in your aesthetic.
#3 ISLE Airtech 10’6” Inflatable SUP
The ISLE Airtech 10’6” is a little bit of a bigger board than some of the other inflatable options. At 31” wide and 6” thick, there’s a lot of volume for air to fill up. It has good flotation at a recommended capacity of 240 lbs.
The Airtech’s shape is a little bit more boat like giving it a lot of versatility. Some of this versatility comes at the expense of doing any one thing really well. But this board can definitely handle any water activity you can think to take it through.
This board comes with a few different handles allowing for easier transport. Wherever you want to take the 10’6” Inflatable SUP, this board is ready to go there.
The Airtech comes with in two different color options so you can make sure you’re rocking the board you want. Together with a floatable paddle and leash, this board is ready to go from the get go.
There are even bungee straps midboard for gear.
The innovative thing about the ISLE Airtech is its construction method. There’s a lot going on, but what you need to know is that the process makes it more durable and stiffer than some of the other boards.
The stiffness will make your board easier to paddle through the water. By not flexing as much, you’ll feel less resistance as you fish, surf, or just cruise on your board.
The 6” rails provide a lot of extra volume so that you’ll better be able to balance. Along with a deck pad in the middle of the board, you’ll be better able to set your feet on the board and focus on paddling.
The construction process also makes this board way lighter than many of the other ones. At right around 21 lbs, the Airtech is asking to be taken out.
Best Paddle Boards For Beginners
Below are our top picks for the ideal beginner SUP. See our best paddle board for beginners review to see our full page about beginner boards.
#1 Best Paddle Board For Beginners: Lifetime Horizon 100
This paddleboard was made with beginners in mind. This board shines when it comes to stability that will be the most helpful aspect of any board for you if you’re starting out.
In addition to being 10’ long, this board is a whopping 34” wide. The outline keeps most of the width through the nose and tail so there’s a lot of volume on this board making it forgiving for anyone trying to learn how to paddle board.
The Lifetime Horizon 100 has some similar characteristics of a kayak. With a thick nose and channels for water to flow under on the bottom, it will be easier for you to keep the board steady as you move over the water.
Made out of a high-density polyethylene, the Lifetime Horizon 100 is incredibly durable. So while you’re worrying about trying to learn, you won’t have to worry about the board breaking on you. In fact, it even comes with a 5-year limited warranty.
This board comes with a deck pads giving you more traction as you learn.
One cool thing about the Lifetime Horizon 100 is the universal mount for music or a camera to film yourself. You can either watch yourself in action for better improvement or bump tunes while you exercise.
The Lifetime Horizon 100 comes with a handle for easier carrying and bungees so you can stow gear on the nose.
Overall, this board is focused on giving you a stable experience so you don’t have to fight to stay on the board as you have fun.
#2 Roc Inflatable SUP 10’5”
The Roc Inflatable SUP is one of the bigger boards in the lineup. The added length will help keep the board steady for you as you begin to pick up paddle boarding.
Along with the long outline of the board, it’s wide at 32” and thick with 6” rails. All of these extra inches pack this board with extra volume and flotation making it ideal for you to learn on.
This board was designed with the beginner in mind. With a textured deck pad that covers almost the whole length of the board, you won’t have to worry about immediately slipping off the board if you accidentally shift your feet around as you get used to paddling.
The is a reinforced core on the Roc Inflatable which will give it a little bit more stiffness. This will make it feel almost as steady as a hard board would feel.
The fin set up is two side fins along with a larger removable center fin. The set up gives you some flexibility in what you can do with the board and where you can store it. The side fins will make the board a little bit more steady for you than just the one center fin would have.
The awesome thing about the Roc Inflatable is that it comes with some sick gear so you’ll be ready to hit the water which you’ll definitely be psyching to do. It comes with a leash, fin, pump, paddle, and even a little waterproof bag you can put attach to the bungees on the deck.
With the Roc you’ll be amped to get out in the water as soon as possible.
#3 Ten Toes Weekender 10’
The Ten Toes Weekender is a great option if you’re worried about where you're going to store a 10’ board for your new hobby. The Weekender is able to roll into a small cylinder only 11”x36”.
The Weekender’s construction gives it some extra stiffness so that it can still measure up to some of the other boards in the lineup. Ten Toes construction materials also give the Weekender durability so you can stay on your board longer.
The Weekender has 6” rails giving you some extra flotation while you paddle.
The three removable fins make this board easy to store while still giving it the water resistance you’ll want to fight through wakes and waves. The fins will let you stay on any line you set while paddling.
This board comes with a deck grip for traction and bungees for storage on the deck.
Along with the board, the Weekender is packaged with a pump and paddle so you can hit the water right away.
Overall, this board is a great choice if you are looking for an option that allows you ease of access so you can have it ready for paddling whenever you’re up for it.
Best Paddle Board For Fishing
#1 Best Paddle Board For Fishing: Atoll Fishing SUP 11’
The Atoll Fishing SUP provides you with the steady base you’ll need if you are trying to fish off of your SUP. At 11’ long, there is plenty of space for gear and for you to work with while you are on the water.
The Atoll Fishing SUP is made with a second layer of PVC wrapping giving the board an extra level of stiffness. The stiffness will give the board added stability so that you’ll be less likely to fall in as you fish.
At 32” wide and 6” thick, this board is like a boat but in a good way. There is plenty of volume that will help keep you nice and high above the water as you look for your ideal spot to cast.
The added volume gives this board incredible flotation. Proven to support over 300 lbs, this board is ready for whatever you’ll put on it.
This board has a three fin set up to help you move straight without drifting all over the water’s surface. The cool thing about the Atoll Fishing SUP is that it has a real fin box for the center fin allowing you the flexibility to change the fin out with a variety of aftermarket fins.
The deck comes with a traction pad for standing and bungees for your gear.
Where this board shines, though, is the 15 D-rings around the edges of the board. These will let you attach any gear you need, including a kayak seat if you want, straight to the board so you can spend all day on the water if you want.
The lightweight paddle helps make sure you won’t be wasting any energy as you paddle around looking for the fish. Similarly, the strong leash will help ensure that you stay near your board if you should every fall off.
With a case and pump, the Atoll Fishing SUP is ready to go from the moment you get your hands on it.
#2 Z-Ray 11’ Fishing SUP
The Z-Ray Fishing SUP was made for the fisherman. Packed with features that will make fishing easier off of this board, it comes ready to take out.
Though this board is great for fishing, the outline of the board’s shape will make it a little harder to cut through larger waves. But, that outline will make this board incredibly stable. The good news is that you’ll be using this board primarily for fishing and not surfing so the shape is ideal.
This board is 32” wide giving you a stable deck to work off of. With that much width on the board, there won’t be very much rocking from side to side.
Along with 3 fin system, you don’t have to worry very much about drifting sideways as you paddle.
The volume on this board is enormous. At 275L this board will float almost anything you can think to put on it.
With a capacity of almost 300lbs, there’s plenty of room for you to carry all but the biggest catch on this board.
This board was made for storing gear on the deck. Besides the bungees, there is space all over the deck with D-rings so you can fasten coolers or kayak seats to the deck for added comfort and functionality.
With an added PVC layer around the rails of the board, the Z-Ray Fishing SUP will feel stiff similar to a hard board. The stiffness will make it easier for you to work as you fish off the board.
This board also comes with a comfortable deck grip over most of the deck so you can rock out in comfort as you cast away.
The Z-Ray Fishing SUP is a solid choice if your primary purpose is fishing from your SUP.
#3 Aqua Marina Drift Fishing SUP
The Aqua Marina Drift Fishing SUP is designed with fishing as its primary purpose. Though there are lots of features that help for fishing, they do make this board not nearly as adept for other purposes.
One cool thing about this board is that it has gunnels to keep everything on the deck of the board. This does make it a little bit more boat like, but they are helpful with storage while fishing.
This board is very large giving you an enormous space to work with if you’re fishing. At 38” wide, this board will be almost like fishing off of a dock, though slightly more rocky.
The Aqua Marina Drift Fishing even comes with built in rod holders so you can free your hands up on the water.
The bungee cords seem a little small, but there is plenty of room on this board for storage. With 2 D-rings on the deck, you can also fasten gear down there.
There is only a center fin for stability, but it will allow you to track sideways a little as you paddle.
Overall, this board is focused on giving you the most stable platform for fishing as possible on an inflatable SUP. In that respect, it does a fine job, but it is at the expense of other capabilities.
Inflatable Paddle Board vs. Rigid
As you research different boards, you’ll probably notice that they fall into either inflatable or rigid boards. Each has its own strengths that could make either the right board construction for you.
Rigid boards are going to be stiffer since the core isn’t just air. These boards will have better performance and stability. These boards will also perform much better in waves since they are more rigid. Rigid boards can be difficult to transport and store though.
Inflatable boards are great for beginners. They are often cheaper than rigid boards. They are also more durable since as long as they aren’t torn, you’ll never have to worry about the glassing or covering cracking. If you are travelling or hiking with a board or just worried about where you can store a 9”+ board, an inflatable paddleboard would be a great option for you.
Top 5 Tips For Beginner Paddle Boarders
- Always wear a leash in case you fall off.
- Beginning your paddle against the wind can make it easier for you on your way back when your more tired since the wind will be blowing with you.
- Start paddling on your knees until you’re comfortable and then work towards standing up.
- Bend your knees a little when you paddle so that you can be more stable on the board.
- Look where you want to go, not at your feet.
Choosing Your Paddle Board
Length - The longer your board, the easier it will move through the water. This will help you save energy when paddling. Length will also help provide volume to help you float and steady yourself on the water.
Width - The wider the board the more stable it will feel on the water. Too much width though and you’ll lose all ability to turn the board. If your board has too little width though, you’ll risk rocking your rails back and forth in the water and falling more often.
Thickness - The thicker the rails of the board, the more volume your board will have. The more volume, the easier floating and standing on your paddle board will be.
Accessories For Fishing - Kayak chairs are a nice touch so that you can sit down once you’ve paddled to where you want to be. D-rings are a must have so that you can attach anything else you’ll need to the board.
Rocker - Rocker is the curve on the bottom of the board. The flatter the rocker the faster the board will be. The curvier the rocker, the easier it will be for you to navigate through waves and wakes. You want to balance the two so that you can cut through the water easily, but still feel steady on your board.
Price - There are many options at various price points. Inflatable SUPs are often a cheaper option than rigid boards.
Paddle boarding Vs. Kayaking
Though you paddle a paddle board similar to how you would paddle a kayak, there are a few key differences. Since you typically stand on a paddleboard, paddleboards are often less stable than a kayak. Kayaks are better at moving through rougher water.
Paddle boarding gives more of a full body workout than kayaks. Since you are standing as opposed to sitting, there is more opportunity to engage your legs and core giving you more of a workout than just paddling a kayak with your upper body.
Paddle boards are also more versatile than kayaks. They are lighter and can be brought to different places. They can also be more easily taken into waves than a kayak.
Top Paddle Board Brands
Below is a list of the best paddle board brands out in the market today, we hand picks the industries top manufacturers.
Atoll Board Company is based out of Huntington Beach, CA, aka Surf City, USA. Atoll has experience in the ocean waves of Huntington Beach, but also has a deep appreciation of anywhere else people SUP. They specialize in an 11’ inflatable board that is one size fits all. Atoll is dedicated to providing the best board for every situation and condition. Their board is versatile and ready for whatever you’ll throw at it. Overall, Atoll is steeped in the ocean and brings that experience to whatever body of water you’ll take your board from them to.
Tower is another Southern California outfit. This one has the backing of Mark Cuban though so you know that they make quality boards. They are a bigger operation and have paddle boards ranging from entry-level, inflatable SUPs to expert level, carbon constructed racing SUPs. Tower’s vast selection of boards from different materials for all skill levels and purposes makes the company stand out. Since Tower sells boards directly to the consumer, their boards are often priced lower than some of the competition. Tower also boasts expertise on all of their products and are more than willing to share their knowledge and experience to any potential customers.
South Bay Board Company is based in Hawthorne in the heart of Los Angeles’ south bay. In an area that experiences a wide range of ocean conditions from lake-like summers to pumping winters, South Bay Board Company has been shaped by their environment. They make all kinds of wave riding craft in addition paddleboards. Their paddle boards include inflatable SUPs as well as rigid boards. For rigid boards they offer both EPS core and soft-top paddle boards if you are looking for every option. SBBC is knowledgeable about all kinds of boards and definitely have a board for whatever it is that you are looking at. Though primarily geared towards ocean paddling, their boards are suited for all conditions.
You have most likely seen their famous longboard surfboard at the beach or a Costco store but they also make make great Wavestorm paddle boards as well.
When Was Paddle Boarding Invented?
The history of standup paddle boarding can be traced back to ancient Polynesians paddling canoes across the ocean. The modern conception of paddle boarding can be traced back to Waikiki in 1960s, though people paddled on board like craft even earlier. Duke Kahanamoku is even said to have paddled on a surfboard. However, stand up paddle boarding really took off within the past few decades with legendary waterman like Laird Hamilton and Kai Lenny bringing the sport to the mainstream.
What Are Some Benefits Of Paddle Boarding?
At its best, paddle boarding puts you in the beauty of water in a relaxing manner. Beyond the spiritual and mental satisfaction of paddle boarding, it is a low impact, full body workout. As such it is an overall healthy activity. Paddle boarding will also improve your balance as you get more comfortable on your board.
How Do I Take Care of My Paddle Board?
Rinsing your board off with fresh water will help your board stay clean and help any metal pieces last longer. Storing out of the sun will keep your board lasting longer, especially if it is an EPS board. If you have a rigid board it is important to try and not store the board on the nose or tail as the weight of the board may crack that section of the board. If you have an inflatable SUP be sure that you are properly drying it before rolling it up and putting it away. Also avoid dragging your paddle board over anything. Dragging will scratch your board and cause it to lose integrity sooner than it might otherwise.
What Are Some Good Paddle Board Accessories?
Depending on where you are, a lifejacket is a necessity, both legally and for safety. A leash and a paddle are a must if you want to use your board and it did not come with these items. Other useful items are paddleboard coolers or waterproof bags so you can store items on your board. Also if you are fishing, kayak seats that can attach to D-rings can be extremely useful.
Final Thoughts - Which SUP Should I Get?
The best SUP for you depends on your skill level, intended use, and storage capability. If you have little storage, an inflatable SUP will probably be best. If you are looking for your next replacement board, you might want to try a rigid board that will allow you more room to progress. Three fins are important if you are looking at paddling any sort of distance without getting pushed around by the water.
If you’re uncertain, we recommend the SBBC Orca. The SBBC Orca is a great board if you are looking for a SUP that can do it all.
Though a little thinner some of the other boards, the rigidity will still keep you above the water and paddling. Ready to go from purchase, this board has what you need to be stoked from the get go. It is a solid beginner board, but also has the most room for you to progress into.
This is a board that could last you a while and keep you stoked in any condition.
The Orca was built by people who know surfing and the ocean and it’s apparent in the board design. Trust the experts to make a board worth paddling.
Our #1 Pick - SBBC ORCA 10’6”