Inflatable Paddle Boards Review
Inflatable stand up paddle boards have some unique and decisive advantages over the traditional hardboard models. The biggest of these advantages is easily the convenience these paddle boards offer to their owners. For those interested in the best inflatable SUP boards, we have evaluated the best inflatable paddle boards available on the market today.
Hardboard paddle boats are bulky and hard to transport around. Inflatable paddle boards on the other hand can be carried by a single person in something as small as a backpack. In this article we will be taking a look at inflatable paddle boards because we feel they strike a perfect balance between performance and usability.
- 1 Top Rated Inflatable SUP Reviews 2018 (Updated)
- 2 Editor’s Top 3 Inflatable Paddle Board Picks
- 3 1. Tower Paddle Boards “Adventurer 2” 10′ – Best Inflatable SUP
- 4 2. Supflex 10′ – iSUP Review
- 5 3. iRocker 11” SPORT – Inflatable Sup Review
- 6 4. PEAK – iSUP Review
- 7 5. Isle Airtech 10’ – Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Review
- 8 6. Tower Adventurer 9’10” – Inflatable SUP Review
- 9 Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Beginner’s Guide
- 10 Characteristics of an Inflatable SUP Board
- 11 Inflatable Paddle Board vs Fiberglass Paddle Board
- 12 Pros of iSUP Board
- 13 Cons of iSUP Board
- 14 Best Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Brands
- 15 Which inflatable paddle board is right for you?
- 16 Best Inflatable Paddle Board Accessories
- 17 Conclusion
Top Rated Inflatable SUP Reviews 2018 (Updated)
We have listed down pre-selected range of the top inflatable paddle boards that have been especially picked by experts who have combed through the myriad of available options on the market:
- Tower Paddle Boards “Adventurer 2” 10′
- Supflex 10′
- iRocker 11” SPORT
- PEAK Inflatable Paddle Board
- Isle Airtech 10’
- Tower Adventurer 9’10”
Editor’s Top 3 Inflatable Paddle Board Picks
Tower Adventurer 2 10′
iRocker 11′ SPORT
1. Tower Paddle Boards “Adventurer 2” 10′ – Best Inflatable SUP
The Tower Paddle Boards Adventurer 2 makes it to the top of our list because this is as close to the performance of a traditional hardboard as you can get from an inflatable paddle board.
This paddle board is created to a very high and tough standard. It features military-grade PVC construction that makes it a very rugged paddle board. In fact, this is the most durable inflatable paddle board out there.
Unless you decide to shoot it with a machine gun, it’s nearly impossible to damage this paddle board. Its inability to get scratched or dented is a clear advantage when compared to traditional fiber glass models.
The Adventurer 2 is also an extremely accommodating paddle board, able to carry 350 pounds when its fully inflated to its maximum of 15 psi. The dimensions of this paddle board allow it to be used in tandem by two adults. It is just over 10ft in length and 33 inches wide.
Thanks to an adequate amount of ‘rocker’, the Adventurer 2 is able to withstand the rigors of river rapids. And the highly durable PVC construction makes it exceptionally resistant to encounters with sharp rocks that are inevitable while paddling through the rapids.
Thanks to the high quality construction and high payload capacity, the Adventurer 2 is an easy inflatable paddle board to recommend. This is the best inflatable paddle board out there, in our opinion. It will easily serve its owners for years to come and that makes it an investment very worth your while.
A small gripe we have with this model is that it does not come with its own carrying backpack. Tower does make a backpack for this model but that is just an additional expense. Tower also offer an electronic 12V pump should you wish to make the inflating process faster.
- Extremely durable military-grade PVC construction with drop-stitching for rigidity
- A generous payload rating of 350 pounds, allowing for tandem use
- Included accessories are a pump, 3-piece adjustable aluminum paddle, 3 fins, carry bag (not a backpack) and a patch kit
- Portable – Fully deflated the paddle board weighs 33 pounds
- 2-years Tower warranty covering anything except routine wear and tear
- Carrying backpack an additional purchase
- A little pricey
2. Supflex 10′ – iSUP Review
Suplex has been making quality inflatable stand up paddle boards since 2009. They started in the Brazilian market and quickly gained a good reputation. However they’re relatively new comers into the US market for inflatable paddle boards.
Supflex is aiming straight for the top dogs with their inflatable paddle board offerings. Their competition includes Tower Paddleboards, the manufacturer of our top pick for inflatable paddle boards.
The Supflex features the same high quality military-grade PVC construction found in the best inflatable paddle boards on the market. It is 6” thick and is double layered for added strength. The paddle board comes with a double-action high volume pump that inflates the Supflex in an extremely competitive 5 minutes.
The deck of the paddle board is surfaced in clip-resistant crocodile skin texture. Unlike other inflatable paddle boards, the paddle included in the purchase is made of fiberglass. This allows it to float in water, which means you don’t have to worry about it sinking when not paddling.
The included accessories for the Supflex include a high quality bag pack that’s been made especially for this model. The company didn’t just throw in a generic off-brand one, which we see as their commitment to putting out a quality package. The Supflex inflatable paddle board fits in it perfectly and can be carried wherever you like conveniently.
The Supflex paddle board also has a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty backing it up. The warranty covers any factory defects you might find in the paddle board. If you do spot a problem with the paddle board, you can call up their customer service and will be greeted by a real person answering the phone.
The paddle board even has some fixtures in the front to handle small amounts of luggage you might want to bring on board. They can be secured to the paddle board to avoid falling into the water.
The Supflex is quite portable, weighing only 22 pounds in its deflated form. The payload rating for this paddle board is around 300 pounds, hence it can be quite a stretch to use it in tandem by two users.
For the price, the Supflex is an excellent paddle board thanks to its high build quality and included accessories.
- Military-grade construction using PVC and drop stitching
- Stainless-steel D-rings at the front for securing luggage (bungee cord fitted as standard)
- Highly portable – 22 pounds deflated
- Payload capacity of 300 pounds allows for rider and moderate amount of luggage
- 2-year manufacturer’s warranty. Factory defect coverage
- Included accessories: high pressure hand pump, fiberglass floating paddle, 3 fins, high quality bag pack and patch kit
- Cannot be used in tandem by two riders
3. iRocker 11” SPORT – Inflatable Sup Review
The rocker, as the name implies, is a bit of a rockstar in the world of inflatable paddle boards. This paddle board ties with very competent hardshell paddle boards in terms of performance and easily beats them when it comes to rugged use and durability. On top of that, it’s portable, so it can be transported anywhere with ease.
The standout characteristic of the iRocker paddle board has to be its high durability. The paddle board’s outer skin is constructed from military-grade PVC, as is to be expected from a premium inflatable paddle board. Inside the board, there’s a triple-layer of drop stitches that allow it to be extremely rigid and maintain its form in water. Like most high durability inflatable paddle boards, it is 6 inches thick which is perfect and gives the rider a lot of confidence.
The iRocker is fairly easy to use and setup. There is an included high performance hand pump with dual action. Dual action allows the pump to pump air into the paddle board whether it’s being pushed or pulled. Of course, this means more effort on the user’s part. But hey, maybe a warm up is the thing you need before a paddling session? Expect the iRocker inflatable paddle board to reach its maximum air pressure of 15psi in about 7 minutes of pumping.
In the water, the iRocker inflatable stand up paddle board continues to impress. Because of the 30 inch width when fully inflated, the paddle board is geared to be fast and straight. Stability is quite good as well, although not as good as the models mentioned earlier. Performance in water is extremely good as the paddle board does not feel ‘bouncy’, a trait commonly associated with inflatable paddle boards. In fact, thanks to its triple layer drop stitching and 6 inch core, it is as composed as a hardshell paddle board. It isn’t cumbersome to paddle either as just one paddle stroke can set it racing across water at a reasonable pace. The shape of the iRocker is that of a touring board and hence it is quite fast in water.
The iRocker has 3 fins which allow it to handle difficult water conditions with ease. The payload capacity of this boat is an astonishing 370 pounds, so two adults can easily use it in tandem with some luggage on top.
This inflatable stand up paddle board comes with a 2 year warranty that covers factory defects. Customer support is top notch as well. It is a bit on the pricier end but the performance and build quality make this a very convincing option.
- Military-grade construction using high quality PVC
- Triple layer drop stitching for impressive rigidity in water
- 6 inches thick with a payload capacity of 370 pounds, allowing for tandem use
- Excellent performance in water with impressive pace and easy paddling
- High pressure double action hand pump included
- 2 year manufacturer’s warranty
4. PEAK – iSUP Review
The PEAK inflatable paddle board is yet another high quality entry in our list. Its performance across the board is very impressive, although there are no standout features. That is the reason why it makes it on number 4 of our list.
The PEAK inflatable paddle board is made from high quality, military-grade PVC construction that guarantees ruggedness and durability. It also features drop stitching for added rigidity which is crucial for inflatable paddle boards while they’re in water. At 31 inches wide it is quite a stable paddle board which makes it a good choice for beginners as well as those looking to do yoga and other leisure activities on it.
The payload capacity of this paddle board is 300 pounds, which makes it difficult to use in tandem with another rider. However, that capacity does allow for moderate amounts of luggage to be carried. The luggage can be secured at the front of the paddle board thanks to the 6 D-rings with bungee cords.
The PEAK inflatable paddle board is also quite portable, weighing just 23 pounds. And thanks to the included carry bag pack, it can be carried around easily.
The included accessories package is quite generous. The accessories include 3 piece adjustable aluminum travel paddle, a coil ankle leash, carrying bag pack, removable travel fin and a high pressure double action pump which can inflate this paddle boat easily to its maximum pressure rating of 15psi.
The top of the PEAK standup inflatable paddle board features diamond shaped grooves for added traction which can certainly come in handy when navigating busier waters. They also give it a unique look.
- High quality construction using military-grade PVC
- 6 inches thick for added stability
- Drop stitching for rigidity and balance
- Accessories include high performance hand pump, adjustable aluminum travel paddle, carry bag pack
- 6 D-rings with bungee cords to secure luggage
- Diamond-shaped grooves on deck for superior traction
- 32 inches wide for stability in water
- 300 weight limit not suitable for tandem use
5. Isle Airtech 10’ – Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Review
The Isle Airtech 10 paddle board is another strong contender in our list of high quality iSUPs. Like others in this list, it features military-grade construction using rugged PVC and drop stitching for rigidity. This is yet another iSUP that is built to last. Outside of normal circumstances, it is nearly impossible to puncture this paddle board.
Fully inflated the Isle Airtech 10 is 10 feet long, 31 inches wide and 6 inches thick (our minimum recommendation for iSUP thickness). It checks all boxes as far as dimensional stability is concerned. A worrying aspect of this inflatable paddle board is that it can carry only 200 pounds. So bigger adults will want to look at other products in this list.
The accessories for this iSUP is quite extensive – it comes with a carry bag pack, 3 piece adjustable length aluminum paddle and a high performance hand pump. It is also extremely portable and easy to carry. The 200 pounds weight capacity has an upside here because this iSUP weighs just 17 pounds, the lowest so far in our list. And thanks to the included carry bag pack, it is easy to carry around.
Performance in water is quite good. A 6 inch thickness means the Airtech 10 is quite stable in water. It also has an adequate amount of nose rocker which means you can take it into the rapids and still enjoy good tracking performance. There is a diamond groove pattern on the deck which aids in traction and gives it a distinct look.
What’s surprising is the faith of Isle in this inflatable paddle board. This paddle board is offered with a 30-day money back guarantee. If you do not like the paddle board for any reason, the company will take it back (as long as there is no damage).
- High quality, military grade PVC construction
- Drop stitching for rigidity
- 10 feet long, 30 inches wide, 6 inches thick when fully inflated
- Accessories include inflation hand pump, 3 piece adjustable aluminum paddle, 3 fins, carry bag pack and a patch kit
- 4 stainless steel D-rings at the front with bungee cords for luggage
- Portable – just 17 pounds
- 2 year warranty
- 30 day money-back guarantee
- 200 pound weight capacity is severely limiting for larger adults
6. Tower Adventurer 9’10” – Inflatable SUP Review
If you’re looking for the best portable inflatable stand up paddle board in market, please consider the Tower Adventurer 9. This is an extremely portable iSUP made to a very high standard. It is constructed of military-grade PVC that, when fully inflated, is able to withstand the weight of an SUV. That’s how solidly made this thing is. It’s nearly indestructible.
That sort of rigidity is only heard of in fiber glass paddle boards, but the Tower iSUP really is that good. Its high quality characteristics contribute to its excellent manners in water as well. The rigidity ensures that it’s able to maintain perfect balance even in rougher waters.
Coming to the portability aspect of this paddle board, it rolls up to only 1 foot in diameter. So it’s extremely small and easy to carry around. However it still has a 6 inch thickness when fully inflated, so it’s extremely rigid and tough. The weight capacity for this paddle board is 350 pounds, which allows it to be used in tandem by two adults. The weight of the iSUP itself is 25 pounds, which means it can be carried by even the most petite of adults.
The Tower Adventurer iSUP is the perfect gateway into the sport of paddle boarding. It’s very forgiving thanks to its width that contributes to its stability in water.
Tower is known not to be very generous when it comes to accessories. The Adventurer comes with a hand pump for inflating it, 3-piece adjustable fiber glass paddle and that’s it. What’s more, there’s no way to secure any gear you might want to bring on board the paddle board. There are no D-rings or bungee cords. That should be kept in mind when purchasing this inflatable paddle board.
The paddle board comes with 2 years manufacturer’s warranty that covers factory defects and everything outside of normal wear and tear.
- High quality military-grade construction using PVC and drop stitching
- 6 inch thickness for rigidity and superior balance in water
- 25 pounds, 1 foot in diameter when fully rolled up
- Weight capacity of 350 pounds, tandem use possible
- Included accessories are hand pump, fiber glass paddle
- Accessories are not extensive
- No way to secure gear or luggage to paddle boat
Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Beginner’s Guide
Characteristics of an Inflatable SUP Board
1. Length of iSUP
The length of the stand up paddle board directly determines the speed it can achieve in water. The longer a paddle board is, the faster it will be. The drawback to this is agility. A longer paddle board is much harder to turn in water due to the increased length. Experienced users can no doubt take advantage of the greater speed of longer boards, but for beginners it is better to pick a smaller paddle board. A good length for starters is anywhere from 9 to 11 feet.
2. Width of iSUP
The width of the stand up paddle board determines its stability in water. The wider the paddle board is, naturally the more surface area it has and the more stable it will be. The drawback to a wide paddle board is that it will be slower and a bit cumbersome. But for beginners wider paddle boards are ideal. Also, for recreational users who want to do yoga on their iSUP, a wider board will provide much needed stability.
3. Thickness of iSUP
The thickness of a stand up paddle board will determine the amount of weight it is able to handle. That is because a greater thickness allows for more volume to be submerged in water, hence displacing more. A thicker paddle board is also more rigid, which aids balance in water. A 6 inch inflatable stand up paddle board is ideal in terms of rigidity and balance.
4. The Hull Shape of iSUP
The hull shape of a paddle board determines its stability in water and how flat it stays in it. So really, the flatter the hull the more stable it will be. But a flatter hull also means the iSUP is going to be slow as it can’t really carve its way through the water.
A planning hull seems to be the best compromise as it combines both speed and stability into its design. It is much like a flat hull but is slightly rounded for an increase in speed. It is easier to tip over than a flatter hull, but the difference isn’t much and the increase in speed makes this compromise a reasonable one.
5. Nose Rocker Shape of iSUP
The shape of the nose rocker of an iSUP determines it stability under different water conditions. A flatter nose shape is more suited to calm waters like lakes. A more angled nose is important in rough water or while surfing. Lack of nose rocker tends to make the iSUP dive under water, thus becoming a cause for it to sink.
Inflatable Paddle Board vs Fiberglass Paddle Board
To find out the difference between iSUP boards and fiberglass paddle boards, we chose a model of each which most closely resembled each other in terms of their dimensions. The results were surprisingly close, with the fiberglass model edging out some performance advantages of merely 10%. While 10% is a significant different for enthusiasts, the majority of users out there will likely prefer the convenience of the inflatable. If you’re still confused about the differences between inflatable paddle board and fiberglass paddle board, let’s take a deeper look.
Pros of iSUP Board
1. Inflatable SUPs are Portable
The biggest advantage of owning an inflatable stand up paddle board is that it’s always going to be more portable than any fiber glass model out there. That’s mostly because when fully deflated, an iSUP board is able to fit inside a regular sized bag pack. This is of course a huge advantage over conventional fiberglass models since you need to have dedicated roof rack or a trailer to transport those.
While fiberglass models are faster when it comes to going from your car to the water, that’s mostly due to the fact that you’ve got to inflate an iSUP board first. The best inflatable SUP comes with a double action hand pump that can fully inflate the board in around 5 minutes.
You can even take your inflatable paddle board onboard a flight, or check it in for a small fee. That’s the flexibility an iSUP board is able to offer its owner.
2. Inflatable SUPs are Durable
When you think of inflatable, you instantly think of a balloon. And balloons aren’t the most rugged things out there. However, a good iSUP board is nearly indestructible. Modern construction like heavy duty urethane are ridiculously robust. Some inflatable paddle boards are even able to withstand a car being driven over them when fully inflated!
Sharp rocks, corals and other sea-related obstacles will not puncture a high quality iSUP board. What’s more, inflatable paddle boards have a clear advantage over fiberglass models as they do not chip, dent or crack.
3. Inflatable SUPs are Easy to Store
Not only are inflatable stand up boards extremely light and easy to transport, but they’re easy to store as well. Where as you would need a dedicated space to keep your hard shell board, you only need a small duffle bag to stow away your iSUP board. It’s that convenient. For those living in small apartments or shared rooms, the iSUP board is a great choice.
4. Inflatable SUPs are economical and long-lasting
Cost-wise, inflatable stand up paddle boards are not that expensive. Most high quality ones can be had for little over $500. What’s more, they’re virtually indestructible thanks to the advances in rugged PVC technology. So they’re a long-term investment.
5. Inflatable SUPs are Beginner-friendly
Beginners are prone to making mistakes, that’s for certain. However, mistakes on a stand up paddle board can result in injuries. If you fall on a standard fiberglass SUP, you’re likely to hurt your head or butt. But the inflatable paddle board’s material soaks up the impact from your fall and does not hurt.
6. Inflatable SUPs are Easy to Carry
Hard board models require the user to carry them from the car to the water by hand. This can be a laborious process as fiber glass boards are not exactly light weight. What’s more, since they can be quite large, they’re quite cumbersome to carry around as well. While turning you might accidentally hit someone or something, which could cause injury or damage to the board. What’s more, some hard board users have even reported to being put off the activity of paddle boarding because of how inconvenient hard boards are when it comes to carrying them.
Inflatable SUP boards on the other hand are quite easy to carry. They’re not heavy, and they can be inflated right before reaching water. So you don’t have thread your way through people while carrying them! When fully deflated, iSUP boards are no bigger than a folded sleeping bag. They can be carried in a bag pack easily.
Cons of iSUP Board
1. Setup time of Inflatable iSUPs
This one is unavoidable. The strength of the inflatable stand up paddle board is its compactness when it is in fully deflated form. But that strength is also its biggest weakness. It takes anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes to fully inflate a typical inflatable paddle board to operating pressure. The pumping process on the hand pump is also likely to leave some people exhausted, so that has to be kept in mind. But looking at it another way, the pumping can also be a great way to warm up before beginning your paddling session!
Because you have to inflate your iSUP before you can use it in the water, you’ll also have to carry a hand pump. Which is just another thing you’ll have to lug around and keep in mind. This isn’t a big drawback since hand pumps tend to be quite compact and easy to store.
2. Speed of iSUPs
This is almost a given. An inflatable stand up paddle board is never going to be as fast a traditional fiber glass board. That’s mostly because an iSUP needs to be thicker to remain adequate rigidity in water and also has to be wider to aid in stability. So people looking for the last word in performance will be better served by a fiber glass board.
Best Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board Brands
The market is filled with various brands of inflatable stand up paddle boards all competing for your hard-earned money. However only a few make the cut by consistently putting out high quality products that are well-received by enthusiasts. We have selected the best inflatable SUP brands based on the quality of their products, accessories provided, warranty and customer service.
1. Tower Paddle Boards
Tower Paddle Boards entered the market in 2010 but have quickly made a name for themselves thanks to extremely competitive pricing on their high quality inflatable stand up paddle boards. The company has Mark Cuban as an investor, and he doesn’t exactly invest in questionable companies. Tower work on a unique sales model that cuts distributors, and instead the company imports and sells directly to customers, thereby selling premium quality paddle boards at affordable prices.
2. SupFlex Paddle Boards
SupFlex is a company that was formed in 2011. The company was formed with a vision to promote physical activities in a fun way to improve the quality of life of people. The company focused on stand up paddle boards because it is a great way to bring the family together in a fun atmosphere. What’s interesting is that SupFlex is an exclusively inflatable paddle board company. They do not offer classic fiberglass models in their portfolio. The reason for that is that the company thinks that traditional models are too inconvenient.
3. Isle Paddle Boards
Isle makes boards for both paddling and surfing. The company focuses on this as it believes surfing and paddling to be the best recreational sport in the world. Their portfolio consists of models that are geared towards beginners as well as expert users. Customer satisfaction is also key to the company’s success. The company is owned by riders as well, so the products it puts out are the ones that make it through rigorous testing, and not ones that just look good.
4. iRocker Paddle Boards
iRocker is the maker of some of the best paddle boards on the market today. Inflatable paddle boards are their specialty and that’s the only product that they offer. All of their best inflatable stand up paddle boards are constructed using highly durable military grade PVC. Their paddle boards are designed to be used in a variety of water conditions, so they’re quite versatile. Most of their paddle boards are also capable of being used in tandem by two users.
Which inflatable paddle board is right for you?
All inflatable paddle boards are not created equal. In fact, the models in our best picks share one major characteristic – they are all inflatable and easy to carry around.
According to your needs based on stability, ease of inflation, affordability, we have evaluated the best inflatable paddle boards.
Best Inflatable Paddle Board Accessories
Buying an iSUP isn’t the end of your purchasing. You’ll need some optional accessories to go with your purchase to enhance your paddling experience. Let’s take a look at some of the best accessories that can accompany you on your paddling adventures.
1. iSUP Board Paddle
All of the iSUPs that we have reviewed come with an adjustable paddle as an accessory. These included paddles are quite durable however they tend to be quite heavy. Depending on your requirements, you might want to invest in a paddle that is lighter. For example, carbon fiber paddles can be had for not much money and are feather light, which will make the task of paddling easier for you.
2. iSUP Board Backpack
A backpack can come in quite handy when transporting or carrying your inflatable paddle board. Some water bodies might be far away from your car, like after certain hiking trails. You’ll need a backpack to carry the paddle board so you can concentrate on hiking and not worry about losing your paddle board.
3. Life Preserver
It’s always good practice to have a life preserver when paddling in trickier waters. None of the paddle boards we reviewed come with one. However, it’s a relatively purchase, costing somewhere between $50-100. Not a bad price for something marketed as a life preserver.
4. Paddle Board Leash
A paddle board leash is essential for beginners, as it cuts down the chance that you’ll lose your paddle board if you happen to fall into water. Also a good idea to have one if you’re navigating rivers.
5. Electric Air Pump
A 12V electric air pump not only takes the burden of pumping off of your hands, but it does the job quicker as well. You can connect a 12V pump to a car’s battery. A good electric air pump will inflate your iSUP fully in around 3 minutes.
The market is full of great inflatable stand up paddle boards. If you’re just now looking to begin exploring the exciting sport of paddling, it can be quite intimidating and downright frustrating to choose the best inflatable paddle board. That’s a challenge we have tried to address in our list of best inflatable stand up paddle boards. Any of these paddle boards is a great choice.