If you have never owned a paddle board before or you simply want to buy a new one for yourself, there are many items out there to choose from. You don’t want just any paddle board out there. You want the best paddle board for beginners that you can find.
It may seem overwhelming at first since there are so many options, but the truth is that once you understand a few key principles, you can find the board you are looking for. Here’s what you need to know before buying one. Let’s narrow your search down.
Quick Look: Our Top Picks
What is Stand-up Paddle Boarding?
Paddle boarding, or SUP, is a lot like surfing, except that you are standing on top of a board and rowing like when you use a small boat. Many people use this activity as a way to relax, enjoy nature, or even as a full-body workout.
A really cool thing about the sport is that everyone can do it, no matter what their skill level is. All you have to do is get out on the water and try it.
What do I need to know?
There are so many tiny differences in paddleboards, that you may get confused. However, there are just a few basic principles to learn in order to know what you’re looking for.
- The User: You will have to know the height and weight of the person that will be using the board. This can tell you what shape and length the board must be. As a general rule, women and children are able to use shorter boards than males. If you have two children that are roughly the same size, they can share a board, but otherwise, each person will need their own.
- The Skill Level: There are two different types of paddle boards to purchase, depending on the skill set of the rider. One is inflatable, which is easier to use than the rigid type. The rigid type is better for people with more experience and is flatter in shape.
- Storage Space: Another advantage of inflatable boards is that you can deflate them to save space. This may help you keep it in your trunk at all times and it won’t take up the whole back of your car. Then you can inflate it when you intend to use it. This also allows for you to transport it easily if you’re going on a trip or something like that.
- The Weight: The weight can also be a large issue. You can’t expect to be able to use a board that is too heavy for you to carry. This is yet another reason why inflatable boards are so popular. They are much more lightweight than fiberglass or composite options, especially if you’re someone who is petite or are shopping for a child.
- The Length: The length is imperative as well because you have to be able to steer and row it properly. You want to be able to have complete control of your vessel at all times.
There are some extras that come standard with certain boards that you must be aware of as well.
One of these items is fins. You can find boards with one, two, or even three fins, and each type has a specific purpose. Most types are for doing tricks or advanced techniques, so you may not need them as a beginner.
Another extra that you’ll likely see is bungee straps. These help you keep your gear on the board with you, so you aren’t stranded without any equipment.
Many boards come with a paddle already, so it will be well-suited to the board that you have chosen. If it doesn’t come with one, you’ll need to find one that is less than a foot taller than you and suited for the purpose you’re using it for. Otherwise, it won’t work properly and you may have to work too hard when you’re paddle boarding.
Additional Required Equipment
You should always have a life jacket or what is known as a personal floatation device on you when you use this type of board. This is only for your own protection, and in case something goes wrong, you will be able to float until you can be rescued.
You also should have a tether, which just like with a surfboard, allows you to stay connected to your board. Some items have a special hook for it and can be secured easily. You will likely have to purchase it separately though, so shop around for a good deal.
Perhaps the most important item is your clothes. You’ll need proper shoes and a wetsuit, so you will be able to ride your board in any temperature. Just be certain that you have the appropriate suit for the season and that you have something dry to change into when you’re done boarding. You can keep these items in a backpack or bag that will stay dry and change into them when you’re deflating your board or putting it away on your car’s roof.
Our Top Choices for the Best Paddle Boards for Beginners
1. HydroForce White Cap Inflatable
This product is white with a colorful design and gives you almost everything you need in the same package. It is also lightweight and able to stand up to different body types. It runs about 10 feet in length.
- Comes with extras: This item offers you more than just the board. You get an oar, a bag, a gauge, and a pump to ensure that you are well prepared for using the board.
- Made of strong materials: It is constructed of a three-ply polyester that is mixed with mesh and laminated over PVC, so it should hold up well, even with repeated use.
- Can also be used as a kayak: Besides just being a stand-up board, it can be used as a kayak. It comes with a seat to sit in if you just want to relax on it. The seat can also be removed if you don’t want to use it.
- Not good for larger people: It’s rated for people 200 pounds and under, but if you are on the higher side of that spectrum, this one may be harder to use because of the buoyancy. You will be sitting close to the edge of the water.
2. PEAK Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
This board comes in two colors and provides you with many extras that you need. It also has a special design to ensure that it gives you the traction to keep from slipping. The board is around 10 feet in length and weighs a little over 20 pounds.
- Supports high weight limit: You can ride this one if you weigh up to 300 pounds. This allows for many body types to be able to use this one with ease.
- Comes with backpack: There is a backpack that comes with this product, which functions as its carrying case. Other extras include a foot coil, removable fin, and a paddle.
- Has a one-year warranty: You get a one-year warranty when you purchase this one. You will be covered in the event of a problem for that long, so you should be able to get your money’s worth.
- Must be careful with the seams: You may have problems with the seams, so be careful with them when you’re using this board. At the same time, you receive a repair kit with this one, which can help you out in a pinch if you notice a problem.
3. ISLE Classic Soft Top Board
This option is a soft top model that is rigid, instead of being inflatable. This means it will weigh more than other options, but it will also be able to handle larger bodies riding it. It comes in two bright colors and is nearly 11-feet in length. It comes with a paddle, a detachable fin, and a handle.
- Strong construction: This board is made of strong foam on top and high-density foam on the bottom. This allows it to be relatively lightweight and still able to perform well.
- Design makes it versatile: With its rugged design, it can be used in virtually all types of water and wave sizes, so you can use it no matter where you plan to be.
- Can be shared among family members: Since it is able to hold up to 300 pounds, it can be shared within a family. You can let everyone try out their paddle boarding and not have to worry about their safety.
- May become dented: Since this one is comprised of foam, it may become dented if it hits something in or out of the water. You still have to be mindful of your surroundings when you ride it.
4. Pathfinder Inflatable SUP
This board comes in blue or orange, and ships with other items too. There is a paddle, pump, removable fin, bag to carry it in, and a special wrench. It also has bungee cords on the top of it, so you can secure your valuables and any bags you have.
- Made well: This board is made of PVC and has strong stitching to ensure that it doesn’t spring leaks or become damaged in any way.
- Is rather thin: The board is five inches thick, which is a little bit less than other models, but it is still enough to be quite strong. This also helps it to stay lightweight.
- Good for different water types: The shape and size of this board also allow you to be able to use it in different water types.
- May want to use a different pump: Although it comes with a pump, you may want to use a different one. The pump is hard to use and can damage the valve stem if you can’t get it to work properly. You should check out other options when it comes to a pump, or use something you already have around your house.
5. Atoll 11 Foot Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
This cool item is green and white and comes with some things that can really make you want to get out on the water. This includes a hand pump, repair kit, and adjustable paddle, as well as a carrying case to hold everything. It is 11-feet long, so it’s a bit longer than others.
- Has a two-year warranty: You have a two-year warranty with this item, which is quite a long time when it comes to paddle boards, especially if they are inflatable. This ensures you can get a lot of use out of it.
- Lightweight: When the board is deflated, it weighs around 20 pounds, so it’s easy to put right on your back and carry wherever you need to go. Most options weigh much more than this, whether they are inflated or not.
- Double duty pump: The pump is designed not only to add air to the product but also to remove it. This can save you a lot of time when you’re trying to put it back in your car or are storing it.
- Pump is manual: While the pump comes standard and does more than one job, it is a manual pump. If you have trouble using something like this, you’ll need to invest in something that’s electric.
The best paddle board for a beginner is the Atoll 11 Foot Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board. It is long enough and can hold enough weight to be able to be utilized by many different people. It also comes with so many extras. It features a color scheme that reminds you of the armed forces as well, so it’s quite attractive in design.
Between the paddle, pump, carrying case, and leash for your feet, you won’t have to buy a lot of extra items before you can use it. The fact that it comes with a two-year warranty is quite impressive too.
If you want an item that is not inflatable, you should check out the ISLE Classic Soft Top Board. It is a rigid board that can do everything an inflatable can, but it will take up more space. It will also allow you to be able to board in many different types of water, so you can take it pretty much anywhere.
No matter which one you choose, there’s no time like the present to get a paddle board for you and your family. That’s the only way you’ll be able to see how fun paddle boarding is.