We are reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Up to 98% of all SUP boards sold are inflatable paddle boards (also called iSUP – inflatable stand up paddling).

Also known as inflatable SUPs – or iSUPs for short – these boards are not an air mattress. Due to an extremely tear-resistant skin that becomes rock hard when inflated, even rocks and sharp edges can do little to the shell.

Compared to solid paddle boards, inflatable SUPs are cheaper, easy to transport and store. The scope of delivery of an inflatable paddle board often includes accessories.

Initially, inflatable boards were quite unstable and sagged in the middle. However, for several years now, due to better manufacturing techniques, inflatables have become more and more stable.

Beginners often do not even realize that they are also riding an inflatable paddle board because they are so stable.

Inflatable SUPs are a great choice for beginners and advanced riders. In recent years, great progress has been made in production methods. When inflated, today’s inflatables are rock hard. Light collisions with rocks or jetties cannot harm the robust envelopes. After use, the board can simply be deflated, rolled up and stowed in a backpack.

For beginners who do not yet have the necessary equipment, the complete sets are particularly interesting, in which the basic equipment (paddle, leash, air pump and backpack) are already included.

The elongated inflatable touring paddle boards are just right for advanced paddlers. These boards offer more speed while still being easy to transport and store.

Below, we’ll go over what’s important about inflatable paddle boards and introduce our favorites among iSUP boards.

Best Inflatable Paddle Boards

#1 Bluefin Cruise

Best Paddleboard 2022 for most Paddlers
Bluefin Cruise 10'8

The Bluefin Cruise is one of the best SUP boards on the market. What convinces me most about the Cruise SUPs is the high-quality workmanship of the boards and accessories. Clearly, no quality has been spared here. Last but not least, the Bluefin Cruise comes with an incredible five-year warranty.

#2 Cala Ikatere

Unique very high-quality Touring Paddleboard
Cala Ikatere

The Cala Ikatere is a very high-quality paddleboard. Although the board is quite lightweight, it provides lots of stiffness and stability. The touring paddleboard is great for ambitious beginners and intermediate paddlers looking into mid-range and long paddle tours. In terms of design, the Cala Ikatere is a unique board (you'll either love or hate it!).

#3 Penguin Competition

Top-performing Race Paddleboard
Penguin Competition

The Penguin Competition is a great race board that meets all criteria advanced paddlers are looking or in a racing paddleboard. Except for a paddle, all accessories are included in the large accessory set. With its extra-long, pointed design, this board reaches high speeds and is a great choice for races and longer tours.

#4 Decathlon X100 11′

Very popular Beginner Paddleboard for Paddlers above 80 Kilograms (175 lbs)
Decathlon Itiwit X100 11'

The Decathlon Itiwit X100 11' is a solid paddleboard. With its wide design and high volume, it is very suitable for beginners (also with weights above 80 kg) and offers enough stability to ride on the paddleboard with an additional lightweight adult, child or dog. Overall, the Decathlon Itiwit X100 11' is a very good board for beginners and convinces with its high-quality workmanship.

#5 Aqua Marina Beast

Popular, high-quality Beginner Paddleboard with lots of Features
Aqua Marina Beast

The Aqua Marina Beast is a very solid all-around board and an excellent choice for the price. It has been on the market for years and continues to be very popular. The board is great for ambitious beginners as it offers a lot with its great construction quality (including additional rail reinforcements), extended features (great deck pad with a kick pad) and its high-quality gear.

#6 Bluefin Sprint

Great Race Paddleboard with five-year Warranty
Bluefin Sprint

The Bluefin Sprint is one of the best race paddleboards on the market. The very high-quality workmanship, the extensive accessory package and the uncompromising focus on maximum speed are the biggest arguments for the board from Bluefin. This race board also comes with a five-year warranty.

#7 WOWSEA Bionics B1

Very affordable Beginner Paddleboard set with lots of Gear
WOWSEA Bionics B1

The WOWSEA Bionics B1 (formerly known as WOWSEA Waterdrop) is an excellent board for beginners. The well-built and extremely affordable paddleboard convinced us with its great construction, which makes the board very stable on the water. Also, there is lots of additional solid-quality gear included in the package, which is great for beginners. 

#8 Penguin Coast Runner

Ultra High-quality Touring Paddleboard
Penguin Coast Runner

The Penguin Coast Runner is a great touring board, which convinced us with it's very good workmanship and the extreme stiffness due to the carbon reinforced rails. At the same time, the price is very fair for a touring board of this quality. The board tracks well in a straight line, which is enormously important for touring riders.

Checklist: What’s Important About Inflatable Paddle Boards (iSUPs)

  • Board type and area of use: Starting with the wide-cut allround board to the gliding touring models to the extremely narrow and streamlined racing boards, you can find all types of paddle boards as an inflatable version nowadays.
    It is therefore especially important that you choose a board whose handling characteristics are well suited to the intended use. If you are still unsure, which is especially true for beginners, then a high-quality allrounder is certainly the best solution.
    With this type of board you can try out almost all facets of paddle boarding and are well equipped for many different waters.
  • Length: The length of an inflatable paddle board is crucial for the running characteristics. Shorter boards are much more maneuverable, but they also don’t plane as well and don’t track as well. A popular saying in the paddle boarding scene is “length runs”!
  • Width: The width is again the decisive criterion in terms of tipping stability. The wider the footprint of an inflatable paddle board, the higher its basic stability, which is of course very convenient for beginners. Narrower models, on the other hand, have less water resistance and accordingly glide more smoothly and nimbly.
  • Thickness: Meanwhile, a thickness of 15 cm (6″) has become established and proven as a standard value for inflatable paddle boards. This ensures a large volume, good rigidity and high buoyancy. Sufficient thickness is the basic requirement for good performance.
  • Volume and load: The volume of course directly depends on the dimensions of the iSUP and influences the maximum load. The higher the volume, the stronger the buoyancy and therefore the load capacity of an inflatable paddle board.
    Unfortunately, exaggerated information about the maximum load capacity is the order of the day with very many offers. Therefore, you will always find a realistic estimate in our detailed board reviews. Here you will also learn a simple formula that you can use to calculate and estimate yourself whether a board is sufficient for your weight.
  • Weight: The weight of an inflatable paddle board depends on the material (construction) and the size. A higher weight is often an indication that thicker and higher quality materials are used.
  • Stiffness: In addition to volume, stiffness is enormously important for load capacity and good running performance. The objective of inflatable paddle board is to get as close as possible to the stiffness of hard boards (made of solid materials).
    The stiffer the construction, the less the board will deform under your feet. Boards with a double or multi-layer outer shell (“double- or multi-layer boards”) have a much higher stiffness compared to single-layer boards (“single-layer boards”).
  • Scope of delivery: There are offers without accessories as well as inflatable paddle boards with complete accessory package (SUP backpack, pump, paddle, leash etc.). For beginners, sets with extensive equipment are of course the best choice. But pay attention to the quality of the individual components!
  • Price: The price range for inflatable paddle boards is huge. In most cases, more expensive models are also significantly higher quality. Experience shows that excessive thriftiness is rarely worth it!


Are inflatable paddle boards stable?

Yes, inflatable paddle boards (iSUPs) are actually very stable and resilient these days. Due to the advancement of manufacturing techniques and the use of high-quality materials, modern iSUPs can hardly be distinguished from a hardboard in practice.
The construction of the outer shell (single, double or multi-layer) additionally has a great influence on the basic stability of the respective model.
Learn more about inflatable paddle boards.

What are the disadvantages of inflatable SUPs?

therefore not immediately ready for launch. Even though high-quality iSUPs are very robust, there is always the risk of damage or leakage if not handled properly.
In addition, they do not achieve 100% of the stiffness of hardboards and can not be designed in your shape as individually (shaping), as the boards made of solid materials.
Learn more about inflatable paddle boards.

What are the advantages of inflatable paddle boards?

Inflatable SUPs (iSUPs) are usually cheaper to purchase than hardboards. They are lighter, are easily transported in a suitable backpack (-trolley) or bag and have a much smaller footprint (also for storage).
The iSUPs are therefore much more flexible to use and the risk of injury is lower due to the not quite so hard surface.
Learn more about inflatable paddle boards.

Are there inflatable paddle boards for heavy people?

Are there inflatable paddle boards for heavy people?
Of course. The decisive criterion for this is the size and volume of the respective board.
The more air is enclosed in an inflatable paddle board, the higher the buoyancy and load capacity. For example, here you can find some models for paddlers up to 120 kg (265 lbs)!
Learn more about inflatable paddle boards.

Hi, my name is Max. In 2016, on my first SUP trip, I was still a bit shaky on the SUP board. But quickly the ambition grabbed me and my passion for SUP was ignited. That’s why I founded stand-up-paddling.org the same year. Our mission is to help beginners discover this sport and bring more transparency into the market with our in-depth product reviews.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments