What is the Best Inflatable Paddle Board of 2021? Find out which all-around, inflatable SUP board you should get for your family.

best inflatable paddle boards

Inflatable paddle boards have made it so much easier to enjoy stand up paddle boarding. They are affordable, portable, and durable. 

But the minute you decide to buy one, you will realize just how many options are out there. Each one of them is advertised as perfect. If you are not careful, you can easily waste money on a SUP that you won’t like. 

As a paddle boarder myself, I know how important it is to have a SUP that is right for you. So we’ve done a lot of research and testing to bring you an updated list of the top inflatable paddle boards. 

atoll paddle board

Of all the paddle boards we tested, the Atoll 11 is my number one choice. The paddle board perfectly balances speed and stability, making it a great option for paddlers of all skill levels. 

It is made using dual-layer PVC and Korean dropstitch technology. When inflated, the stand up paddle board is so rigid it can hold riders up to 400 pounds. It has been successfully water-tested at 700 pounds with multiple riders. 

The paddle board is durable, versatile, and comes with features that allow you to customize it. 

Anyone can use the Atoll 11 inflatable – from beginners to pros, smaller paddlers to those on the heavier side. I would recommend it to almost every paddleboarder. 

But since people have varying preferences, read on for more SUP board reviews for specific use cases. 

Most Stable Paddle Board – Blackfin X Stand Up Paddle Board

blackfin x 2021

Some paddle boarding activities like SUP yoga, fishing, and paddling with kids require extra stability. 

The Blackfin X is the most stable board I can recommend. 

This SUP is 35 inches wide, which is quite wide for a single rider board. It offers a large stable platform for anything you want to do. 

Whether you are a beginner trying SUP for the first time or a SUP fitness enthusiast, you’ll be comfortable on the Blackfin X. It is not tippy at all. 

It is also a great option for those who want to paddle with dogs or kids. You won’t all end up in the water when they get excited and restless–this inflatable board is that stable. And it has enough handles for the kids to hold on to. 

The Blackfin Model X is extremely rigid, thanks to its triple-layer construction and carbon rails. It feels sturdy when fully inflated and doesn’t flex or wobble. 

irocker cruiser 2021

The iRocker inflatable stand up paddle board is quite popular in the SUP world. To be honest, it’s hard not to love it because it’s packed with awesome features. It has pretty much everything you’d want in a SUP board.

The Cruiser is easy to paddle and stable enough for beginners. The board comes with 20 D-rings, four action mounts, and bungee storage. You can attach gear and convert it into a fishing SUP or camping paddle board. 

The inflatable SUP board is 10’6 long and 33 inches wide. It is not the fastest paddle board, but for an all-around board, the speed is good.  

Best Inflatable Touring SUP – Bluefin Sprint Carbon

bluefin carbon sprint 2021

Exploring different waterways on your paddleboard is an exciting experience. If that is something you love, consider a longer board, like the Bluefin Sprint Carbon.

This inflatable paddle board is designed for performance. It is 14 feet long, 30 inches wide, and has a pointed nose. Its performance is exceptional.

SUP touring involves spending hours on the water, especially during longer trips. The Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14’ has two bungee storage areas and a total of 18 D-rings. You can bring a SUP cooler, dry bags, and even attach a kayak seat if the trip is really long. 

Best Budget Inflatable SUP – iRocker Nautical 10’6

irocker nautical 106 2021

The good thing about inflatable boards is that you can get a good one even with a tight budget. 

The iRocker Nautical is an affordable entry-level stand up paddle board. 

Unlike many budget paddle boards, it is built using dual-layer PVC. Most cheaper boards feature single-layer PVC construction. 

The Nautical 10’6 is tough and rigid. You will find that it performs well in most water conditions. It may be an entry-level board but it would make a good all-around SUP for any paddler. (If you’re a larger or taller person, consider the Nautical 11’6, for extra stability and performance.)

iRocker has done an amazing job with the Nautical and especially the all-inclusive package. The quality of the accessories is not what you typically see in budget inflatable SUP boards.

Inflatable Paddle Boards Compared

Inflatable SUP Boards
Sizes
Weight
Capacity
My rating
1. Atoll Inflatable SUP 11′
1. Atoll Inflatable SUP 11'
11′ x 32″ x 6″
21 lbs
700 lbs
4.9
Sale 2. iRocker Cruiser 10’6 iSUP
<span class='sale'>Sale</span> 2. iRocker Cruiser 10'6 iSUP
10’6 x 33″ x 6″
26 lbs
400 lbs
4.7
Sale 3. Blackfin Model X
<span class='sale'>Sale</span> 3. Blackfin Model X
10’6 x 35″ x 6″
27 lbs
450 lbs
4.8
4. Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14
4. Bluefin Sprint Carbon 14
14′ x 30″ x 6″
n/a
418 lbs
4.8
Sale 5. iRocker All-Around SUP 11′
<span class='sale'>Sale</span> 5. iRocker All-Around SUP 11'
11′ x 32″ x 6″
24 lbs
435 lbs
4.8
6. Glide Retro SUP
6. Glide Retro SUP
10’6 x 33.5″ x 6″
23 lbs
280 lbs
4.8
7. Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12
7. Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12
12′ x 32.5″ x 6″
n/a
309 lbs
4.8
8. Gili Adventure 11′ SUP Board
8. Gili Adventure 11' SUP Board
11′ x 32” x 6”
19.5 lbs
290 lbs
4.7
9. Red Paddle Co Sport 11’3
9. Red Paddle Co Sport 11’3
11’3 x 32″ x 4.7″
22 lbs
240 lbs
4.6
10. Nixy Newport All-Around SUP 10’6
10. Nixy Newport All-Around SUP 10'6
10’6 x 33″ x 6″
20 lbs
300 lbs
4.4
11. Thurso Surf Waterwalker
11. Thurso Surf Waterwalker
10’6 x 31″ x 6″
26 lbs
300 lbs
4.5
12. Bluefin 10’8 iSUP
12. Bluefin 10'8 iSUP
10’8 x 33″ x 6″
33 lbs
309 lbs
4.5
13. iRocker Nautical 10’6
13. iRocker Nautical 10'6
10’6 x 32″ x 6″
20 lbs
240 lbs
4.7
14. Nixy Huntington Ultra Compact
14. Nixy Huntington Ultra Compact
9’6 x 32″ x 6″
19 lbs
250 lbs
4.6
15. Honu Byron 10’6 All-rounder
15. Honu Byron 10'6 All-rounder
10’6 x 32″ x 4.7″
17 lbs
250 lbs
4.5

Best Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards of 2021

Let’s take a closer look at these inflatable SUP boards:

1. Atoll 11’ – Best All Around Inflatable Paddle Board

The Atoll 11 is our top pick for the best overall inflatable paddle board. This is because it delivers on all its promises. Other paddlers love it too. 

One of the things that make the Atoll inflatable SUP board popular is its rugged construction. The machine-laminated dual-layer PVC and Korean dropstitch construction results in a SUP that can take anything. 

It is one of the toughest inflatables you can find. No wonder it can easily hold 700 pounds. (and it only weighs 21 pounds). It is a great option if you will be traveling or hiking a lot with your SUP board.

The performance of the Atoll 11 is another amazing factor worth mentioning. It is stable, maneuverable, and glides with decent speed. 

When I bring a child with me on my Atoll inflatable, the stability and performance are  outstanding. It is not wobbly and doesn’t sag (our total combined weight is about 300 pounds). So for anyone planning on paddling with a child or for the heavier paddlers and beginners, this would be an excellent SUP for you. 

Check Price

The Atoll comes as a complete package. You get an adjustable paddle, carrying bag, manual pump, and a leash. Its paddle has a carbon fiberglass shaft and a nylon blade.

The backpack is newly designed (paddlers used to complain about it being poorly made). The new design is durable and comfortable to carry around. 

Other features that you will love include a bungee system for gear, 15 D-rings, two grab handles, and a universal fin box.

The side fins on the Atoll 11 are not removable. You can only detach the center fin. But it is also a good thing because fins get lost easily.

Get The Atoll Paddle Board Now

irocker cruiser 2021 paddle board

What makes the Cruiser so popular and why do we love it too?

The iRocker Cruiser is a high-quality board built with triple-layer military-grade PVC. It is durable and reliable. When inflated, the SUP can hold up to 400 pounds and only weighs 25 pounds. 

Anyone can use this versatile board for pretty much anything

Newbies typically want a board that is stable and makes learning easy. The Cruiser is 33 inches wide and offers a great learning platform.

The Cruiser is easy to paddle and stable enough for beginners.The board features 20 D-rings, four action mounts as well as a front and rear bungee system. These are for attaching speakers, rod holders, cup holders, a kayak conversion kit, and other personal belongings. 

A feature of the Cruiser I really like are the 7 handles on the board. It’s a small feature for sure, but they make handling the board so much easier. 

The iRocker Cruiser inflatable paddleboard comes with everything you need to start paddling. The accessories include a carbon matte paddle, premium roller bag, dual-chamber triple-action hand pump, leash, and a repair kit. 

The Cruiser previously came with a fiberglass paddle but now you get a carbon fiber paddle which is awesome. 

Lastly, this iRocker paddle board is available in seven colors: blue, pink, teal, aqua, white, orange, and gray. 

Check Price of the iRocker Cruiser

3. Blackfin X – Best Yoga Paddle Board

blackfin model x 2021 paddle board

If you have been looking to try out SUP fitness, this might just be the board for you.

The Blackfin X is wide and rigid. Featuring triple-layer PVC construction, carbon rails, and a width of 35 inches, the paddle board’s stability is unmatched. You can comfortably practice SUP yoga without falling in every time you transition to another pose. 

Since it is one of the most stable paddle boards, the Blackfin Model X is also a great family board. Let everyone join in the fun and see how well it holds. 

The large soft deck pad prevents you from slipping. It is comfortable enough for kids and your furry friend and also doubles as a yoga mat. 

The carbon reinforced rails (the sides of the board) make folding the board a little harder, but the extra rigidity they give the SUP board is well worth it. 

SUP yoga is not the only activity you can do with the Blackfin X. It comes with 20 D-rings, eight action mounts, and bungee storage. These attachment points allow you to bring gear for fishing, camping, and all sorts of paddle boarding activities. 

It even comes with three detachable fins so you can change the setup if you like. 

The 2021 new design and colors are gorgeous. You have six color options.

In addition to all these fantastic features, the Blackfin Model X all-inclusive package includes a carbon paddle, premium roller bag, dual-chamber pump, ankle leash, and a repair kit.

Check Price of the Blackfin X

4. Bluefin Sprint Carbon – Best Inflatable Touring SUP

bluefin sprint carbon

If you are an advanced paddler looking for a high-performance paddle board, consider the Sprint Carbon.

At 14 feet long, 30 inches wide, and with a pointed nose, the Bluefin Sprint is built for speed. It cuts through the water with minimal resistance making for an exciting ride.

The Sprint Carbon is built using reinforced composite dropstitch and military-strength PVC. It also features carbon rails, resulting in one of the most rigid inflatable boards you can find.

The Sprint Carbon can hold up to 418 pounds and comes with a five-year warranty.

There is a universal action camera mount at the nose so you can capture every epic moment.

The board also has two bungee storage areas and extra D-rings for you to securely attach your items.

The Carbon Sprint complete package includes a carbon paddle, coiled leash, backpack, and a triple-action pump. 

5. iRocker All-Around 11 – Best for Heavier Paddlers

irocker all around 11 2021 paddle board

iRocker SUP makes some of the best inflatable SUP boards around for all kinds of paddlers. The All Around is a great option for big guys and girls. 

Made using triple-layer composite PVC, the iRocker All Around is a super rigid board once inflated and can hold 435 pounds. It doesn’t flex or sink when heavier paddle boarders are riding.

If you have been looking for a SUP that can hold you plus all your gear and maybe a dog, I’d recommend the All Around.

This inflatable paddle board performs well and anyone can handle it, regardless of skill level. Compared to the Blackfin X, the All Around 11’ is slightly less stable, but its speed is good (for an all-around board), and it is easy to maneuver. 

With your iRocker All Around inflatable SUP, you will get a paddle, pump, rolling bag, leash, and repair kit. 

The adjustable paddle now has a full carbon matte shaft and a nylon blade. 

You’ll also be happy to know that the iRocker All Around 11’ has 20 D-rings and four action mounts. So you can try SUP fishing and SUP camping as well. 

The All Around 11’ is available in six beautiful colors and it comes with three removable fins–a large center fin and two side fins. 

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7. Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12

Bluefin SUP Boards is another company that has been making awesome SUPs for years. They make some of the most rigid inflatable paddleboards.

The Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12 is built using their 1000D exo-surface laminate and pro-weave dropstitch technology. It also has carbon fiber rails to reduce flex as much as possible. 

bluefin cruise carbon 12 package 2021

One thing that makes the Bluefin Cruise Carbon stand out is its package. Like many inflatable SUP boards, it comes with a carbon fiber paddle, pump, backpack, leash, and repair kit. On top of that, you will get a kayak conversion kit (a kayak seat and kayak paddle blade). 

The Cruise Carbon 12 has a pointy nose and a kick pad, features that help with performance. It would make a great all-around/touring SUP. 

There are D-rings for attaching the kayak seat and other items. 

Like all the other boards by Bluefin, the Cruise Carbon has a five-year warranty.

8. Gili Adventure 11’ SUP Board

gili adventure

As you can guess from the name, the Gili Adventure is designed for the adventurous paddler. 

If you love spending time out in the water trying different SUP activities, this may be the right board for you.

The Gili Adventure can be a fishing, touring, yoga, or relaxed cruising paddle board.

It comes with a bungee system at the front and another removable rear bungee for all your paddling essentials. The board also comes with Scotty mounts and extra D-rings for gear and accessories. 

The Adventure inflatable SUP board is built using dual-layer PVC. It is a sturdy yet lightweight board. The 11-foot long Adventure weighs 22 pounds while the 12-foot one weighs 23 pounds. They can hold up to 290 pounds and 330 pounds respectively.

For fitness enthusiasts, the Gili has a large deck pad. It offers a comfortable platform for yoga or pilates as well as traction to keep you from slipping. 

The Gili Adventure inflatable package includes a travel paddle, backpack, 2-stage hand pump, and a coiled ankle leash. 

You can either choose to get a fiberglass paddle or a carbon fiber paddle. The fiberglass paddle option is cheaper.

9. Red Paddle Co Sport 11’3″ – Best Premium Inflatable Touring SUP

red sport 113

Red Paddle Co inflatable standup paddleboards are some of the most expensive SUP boards on the market. They are also super durable and have outstanding performance. 

The Sport 11’3 board features a clean minimalist design. There is a unique Red Paddle Co bungee system on the deck as well as three grab handles, a textured deck pad, and a leash D-ring. 

The Sport inflatable paddle board is built using MSL fusion technology, exclusively owned by Red Paddle Co. This, and their RSS stiffening system, results in an extremely rigid stand up paddle board. 

So although the Sport 11’3 is only 4.7 inches thick, its sturdiness is unrivaled and it doesn’t sag. It comes with a five-year warranty.

This paddle board remarkably balances stability and speed. At 32 inches wide, it is stable enough for paddlers of all skill levels. It has a nice streamlined shape and a speed tail. These features greatly improve speed and maneuverability.

The Red Paddle Co Sport inflatable package includes a backpack, repair kit, pump, and a waterproof phone case. 

The Titan II dual-chamber pump cuts inflation time down by half. Unfortunately, the Sport doesn’t come with a paddle. 

For experienced paddle boarders who already own a paddle, this is good because the price is reduced. But for beginners, you will have to buy your own paddle separately, which means spending more money. 

You should consider the Sport 11’3 if you want an upgrade from the average all-around paddle board.  

10. Nixy Newport All-Around SUP 10’6 Review

nixy newport 2021 paddle board

Nixy Sports is not a new name in the stand up paddle boarding industry. Their inflatable SUP boards are popular and some of the best.

The Newport is a versatile all-around board that is suitable for beginners as well as advanced paddlers. 

Its dual-layer PVC construction and carbon rails make it remarkably stiff. It can hold up to 300 pounds. The paddleboard performs well on rivers, lakes, and oceans. It is easy to control and you’ll have fun doing all kinds of tricks.

The Nixy Newport is wide and moderately long. You can use it for SUP yoga and fitness or for paddling with your kids.

nixy newport package 2021

All the fins on this paddle board–a large central fin and two side fins– are removable. Some paddlers love detachable fins because they can change the setup for different paddling conditions.

The SUP has front and rear bungee storage as well as extra D-rings for attaching a kayak seat. There are also five action mounts for more accessories. You can bring enough gear for long paddle boarding trips.

One other thing that makes the Nixy Newport inflatable paddleboard awesome is its package. It includes a lightweight paddle, backpack, pump, and a coiled ankle leash. 

The carbon fiber hybrid paddle breaks into three pieces for transport and storage. It only weighs 25 ounces. 

The backpack has cargo hooks, side pockets, extra padded straps, and wheels. Traveling with your Newport will be easy and even fun.

To top all this off, the Nixy Newport comes with a 2-year warranty

11. Thurso Surf Waterwalker Inflatable Paddleboard

thurso waterwalker

The Thurso Waterwalker is one of those inflatable SUPs that makes people stop and stare. 

It is gorgeous and you can get it in three colors. But that is not the only thing that makes it an excellent SUP.

The Waterwalker features a woven dropstitch core and dual-layer PVC. It has carbon rails and reinforced seams. It is a pretty solid paddle board that can handle heavy use and abuse. 

Compared to other all-around inflatable paddleboards, the Thurso Surf Waterwalker is fast. I’d say it is one of the best all-around inflatable paddle boards as far as performance goes. 

This paddle board has three size options, 10’, 10’6, and 11’. You can choose the one that will best suit you depending on your body size and the activities you like.

The Waterwalker package includes a backpack, paddle, leash, and a pump. The carbon hybrid paddle is lightweight and efficient. It is much better than a fiberglass or aluminum paddle. 

The dual-chamber triple-action pump works twice as fast as a single-chamber. The backpack now comes with wheels to make transport easier.

There are two bungee storage areas and extra D-rings for a kayak seat. 

We love the paddle holder on the Waterwalker too. Some SUP activities like yoga and angling can be challenging when you have nowhere to put your paddle. Having the paddle holder keeps your paddle out of the way, leaving your hands free.

Anyone looking to buy an all-around inflatable SUP would love the Thurso Waterwalker. You even have the option to choose the size that is right for you.

12. Bluefin 10’8 Stand Up Paddle Board

bluefin cruise sup review

The Bluefin 10’8 is an all-around paddle board that can go fast when you want it to. 

We love the Bluefin Cruise inflatable package which includes a kayak conversion kit. Sometimes you get tired of standing and being able to sit so you can rest your legs is nice. 

With most inflatable boards, you have to buy the conversion kit separately. Bluefin includes it in your package which saves you some money.

Other than the kayak conversion kit, you get a lightweight fiberglass paddle, dual-action single-chamber pump, repair kit, backpack, and a waterproof phone case.

The Bluefin Cruise 10’8 has a pointy nose that helps with speed. Its kick pad feature makes it easier (and fun) to make quick sharp turns.

Bluefin paddle boards are known for their durability, and the Cruise 10’8 is no different. It features 1000D exo-surface laminate PVC and pro-weave dropstitch technology. The result is a paddle board that is so tough, you can inflate it to 28 psi.

The Bluefin Cruise 10’8 has an action camera mount, two cargo areas, and additional D-rings as well as three carry handles.

If you want a paddle board that can take a lot of abuse, this is a good option. And it comes with a five-year warranty.

13. iRocker Nautical 10’6 – Best Budget Inflatable SUP

This is one of the best entry-level inflatable paddle boards around. The 2021 upgrade has added features, making it even better than some more expensive SUPs.

The Nautical is an excellent option if money is tight. It comes with a ready-to-paddle package and the accessories are great. 

The premium backpack now has a wheel option. You can buy a wheel tray from iRocker and convert it into a rolling bag. The floating fiberglass paddle only weighs 32 ounces. It is adjustable 72 to 86 inches. 

Unlike most boards in this price range, the iRocker Nautical inflatable is built using dual-layer PVC construction, instead of a single layer. It is tough and can hold up to 240 pounds. 

The Nautical is a light board, weighing only 20 pounds. It performs well on slow-moving rivers, flat water, and the ocean. The SUP is maneuverable and anyone can handle it, from newbies to experienced paddlers. 

Like all the other iRocker paddle boards, the Nautical now comes with 7 handles. 

You can attach a cooler, kayak seat, cup holder, action camera, and other accessories, thanks to the bungee storage, D-rings, and action mount. 

If your budget is tight but you still want a fantastic inflatable board package, you should check out the iRocker Nautical. 

I recommend the Nautical 10’6 for lighter and shorter paddlers. At 195 lbs and at 6’1, I find the Nautical 10’6 to be less stable than some of the other boards on this page. If you are taller or larger, and looking for a budget SUP, consider the Nautical 11’6. The extra foot in length does make a large difference in stability and performance.

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14. Nixy Huntington Ultra Compact – Most Compact Inflatable SUP for Traveling

nixy huntington

Some paddle boarders love to travel all over, checking out different paddle boarding spots. If that is you, the Nixy Huntington may be the right board for you. 

It only weighs 18.75 pounds. Some people may question the quality of the Nixy Huntington because of its weight. 

But it is built to last using dual-layer PVC and it has reinforced carbon rails. It has a weight capacity of 250 pounds when fully inflated and comes with a two-year warranty.

The Nixy Huntington is short at 9’6, compared to most of the other inflatable SUPs here. This length has a few advantages. 

First, it makes the iSUP easy to control in any paddling condition. Second, the Huntington is unbelievably compact and folds down to a small package that you can carry anywhere. 

When it comes to its features, we have no reason to complain. The Huntington has a two-fin system–two large side fins, all removable. It also has bungee storage at the nose and tail, additional D-rings, mounting brackets, and three grab handles.

The Nixy Huntington package is yet another thing we love about the SUP (and we know you’ll appreciate it too). The carbon hybrid paddle breaks into four pieces for easy transport. It is adjustable 70” to 83”. Oh, and it also floats!

The dual-chamber triple-action pump has foldable legs and removable handles. 

As you can see, everything about this inflatable stand up paddle board is designed to make it the perfect traveling SUP. It would be a great option if you are an adventurous paddler. 

15. Honu Byron 10’6 All-Rounder

Honu is an Australian brand that has been around for about 20 years. They are now bringing their SUPs to USA paddlers. 

The Honu Byron inflatable board is designed to be the ultimate all-arounder that can do everything. It is moderately long and wide, with a round nose. 

This shape and size make it a stable board that would be suitable for SUP yoga and relaxed cruising with your kid or dog. It has a large plush deck pad to keep you and your passenger comfortable. 

If you prefer surfing, the Byron can do that too. It is responsive, maneuverable, and a joy to paddle. 

Unlike most inflatable paddle boards, it is only 4.7 inches thick. But its innovative construction ensures that you won’t have to worry about sagging or flexing. It feels super rigid. You can even mistake it for a solid paddle board. 

The Byron has a weight limit of 250 pounds and comes with a four-year warranty. So there’s no doubt about its quality. 

Other than the Byron inflatable SUP board, the package includes a backpack, pump, leash, and a repair kit. The paddle is not included but you’ll get a good discount if you buy it with the paddle board. 

The Byron is an amazing option if you want an incredibly versatile and lightweight SUP.

Conclusion

So, what is the best inflatable paddle board? As you have seen from their features, all the above inflatable stand up paddle boards give you a great paddling experience. However, they differ in small ways; for instance, their dimensions differ, giving you different SUP experiences. Some boards also come with more accessories in the package than others. Hopefully, this article has helped you make a wise choice, so that you can get yourself a board that you will love.

Are Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards Any Good? The Pros and Cons of Blow Up Paddle Boards.

are inflatable sups any good

So you want to get into paddle boarding and you’ve heard about inflatable stand up paddle boards.

But you have this image in your head about the inflatable toys you played with as a kid that used to leak all the time. When you stood on them, they couldn’t bear your weight. And they deteriorated when you left them out in the sun too long.

Are inflatable paddle boards like that? Are inflatable SUPs any good?

Read on and lets break down the advantages and disadvantages of blow up paddle boards.

Pros of inflatable SUP boards

a. Inflatable paddle boards are easy to transport and store

This is probably the first reason why inflatable paddleboards were ever made.

inflatable paddle boards are compactLoading your rigid paddle board on top of your car rack isn’t that easy. Neither is it easy to store it away after a long day of awesome paddling. And bringing it with you on a plane is a hassle to say the least.

An inflatable, blow up paddle board doesn’t have these problems. Deflate it and roll it up into the size of a sleeping bag. And storage and transport become much easier.

b. Inflatable SUPs are lightweight

An inflatable SUP board is light compared to its solid cousins. This makes it easier for you to hand carry them to the waters. The Atoll paddle board, for instance, only weighs 19 lbs. Even my two young daughters can carry this board between them.

c. Inflatable paddleboards are rigid with a Soft Surface

atoll paddle board sturdyThis is the general doubt people have when considering this type of board: Can it handle my weight? Won’t it sink underneath me?

The answer to these questions of course depends upon the size and quality of the inflatable SUP you get.

The iRocker All Around SUP can carry up to 435 lbs. That should be enough for you, your friend and your dog, don’t you think?

Take a look in the comparison table on this page about the best 15 inflatable SUP boards. You’ll see that the iRocker All Around SUP can carry up to 435 lbs. That should be enough for you, your friend and your dog, don’t you think?

When you inflate an iSUP to the required psi, you’ll be surprised how rigid it gets. Not like the inflatable toys I mentioned above at all! When you get a quality inflatable paddle board, it won’t bend, wobble or sink beneath you.

Yet the surface of an inflatable SUP is still softer and more forgiving in case of a fall than the surface of a solid SUP. It is quite ironic for something to be both rigid and soft, but the iSUP board is like that and it’s quite good.

d. Inflatable SUP boards are durable

inflatable paddle boards durableThis might be hard to believe in but you’re in for the surprise. Inflatable paddle boards are perfect for paddleboarding near rocky shores and on rivers. Boards made of fiberglass tend to get dinged once they hit rocky surfaces. Inflatable boards bounce right off.

Note of caution: this does not mean iSUP boards are invincible. They can still get holes once poked by exceptionally sharp stones.

But over all, higher quality inflatable SUP boards are very durable.

Cons of blow up paddle boards

a. Inflating Takes Time (Deflating, too)

manual sup pumpAs soon as you arrive at your paddling location, you might be ready to head straight into action.

But hold up! You still need to take some moments to inflate your paddleboard.

Inflating can also be tiring especially if you only have the hand pump that comes with your iSUP board.

If you like to speed things up, you may want to consider investing in a foot pump or a SUP electric pump.

b. Less Speed and Agility

inflatable vs hard paddle board performance
Photo by el coleccionista licenced under CC BY-SA 2.0

You may want to show off your rad SUP skills as you ride the waves and make speedy twists and turns. For SUP surfing you’re best off with a rigid surf paddle board.

Inflatable SUPs have thick rails (the sides) with a lot of buoyancy that are hard to sink into the waves. So, while you can use inflatable SUPs for SUP surfing, rigid paddle boards are better.

The same is true in terms of speed. There is a reason that most dedicated SUP racers use rigid paddle boards. Hard paddle boards are still faster than inflatable paddle boards.

c. Flex

One thing to look out for is that a paddle board can carry your weight. If you try to ride a board that can’t carry your weight, it will sink in the middle giving you a poor experience.

Cheaper inflatable SUPs are great if your budget doesn’t allow for a more expensive model. But do keep in mind that cheaper inflatable SUPS usually have a lower weight capacity.

Another common reason for too much flex is not inflating the board to the proper psi (air pressure). Manufacturers will mention the right psi for their boards. Many inflatable paddle boards need to be inflated to 15 psi, some even go up to 20 psi.

Keep in mind that the higher the psi, the more rigid the board will be and the more buoyance it will have. But also the harder it will be to inflate with a manual pump.

Are inflatable stand up paddle boards worth it?

nixy newport best inflatable sup boardYes, inflatable stand up paddle boards are worth their price.

But, as with anything in life, you tend to get what you pay for.

You can get a cheap inflatable paddle board for US$ 300 – 400. And if you’re on a budget or don’t weigh that much, that may be a good option. But keep in mind that the rigidity and weight capacity of these cheaper boards is often not that great.

In general, I would advice you to go for a better stand up paddle board. And since these boards are of higher quality, many of them aren’t that much cheaper than solid SUPs.

Conclusion

So, are inflatable paddle boards any good?

Are you looking for a board that is easy to ride, stable and somewhat cushions a fall? A board that is easy to travel with and store? A board that is durable and won’t crack or dang when you encounter an occasional rock?

Aren’t you primarily intending to SUP surf or SUP race?

If so, an inflatable paddle board seems a good choice for you.

Happy paddle boarding!

9 thoughts on “What is the Best Inflatable Paddle Board of 2021? Find out which all-around, inflatable SUP board you should get for your family.

  1. Bill O'Leary says:

    Thank you. I tried SUP boarding, for my very first time, in the Caribbean as part of a cruise ship day trip and it was a terrible experience as far as standing up. The instructor simply said “stay on your knees & paddle out until you get to deeper water, then squat on all fours, and slooowly stand up with your feet evenly apart, and start paddling!”.
    There was only ONE style of hardboard to choose from and it was barely 24″ to 26″ wide. I’m 6’2″ tall and weigh 245 lbs. After the 5th time falling off I ended up kneeling & paddling for the next 4 hours, which left me with terrible cramps in my legs and bruised knee caps.
    After reading this article, along with several others, about longer AND wider boards I am going to try to locate a SUP shop near Jacksonville, NC and try an inflatable board that is at least 11′ long and 33″ wide and 6″ thick AND hopefully give me a chance to enjoy this sport.
    I didn’t mention that I’m also a a 100% disabled veteran, with a gortex implant in my shoulder, a steel plate in my ankle, and a pacemaker, so there are not many active sports that I can really get into but I do love swimming and SUP boarding seems like it could really be fun if I can find the right board and lessons.

    • Hi Benoit,
      I’d go with the iRocker. While I like the Body Glove Performer as well, I think the iRocker is more of an all around board and therefore the better choice.
      Hope this helps,
      David

  2. Hi,
    Thanks for all the information provided.
    As a novice to this with currently a very cheap SUP (28” wide) I’m learning the hard way about balance.
    I’m currently looking for an allround upgrade and I’ve read many review but I’m still just as confused, especially when some say that 6” thickness is more prone to stability than da 4.75 or 5”.

    My budget is £500 all in, and weight is <85kg, so can you advise if a 6” stability is still an issue to be used on sea, river and lakes.

    Thanks
    Steve

    • Hi Steve,
      Yes 6″ boards will be more rigid, have more buoyancy and be more stable than (cheaper) thinner inflatable SUPs. You also mention that you currently use a 28″ wide board. That is very narrow. For beginners I’d advise a wider board, say, 31 – 33″. All the above boards will give you a better experience than your current board.

  3. I have a 10’6” all round board right now. I’ve been thinking about getting into SUP racing but still unsure of what board I should buy at a decent price. Do 12’6” inflatable and rigid SUP’s race in the same class and do either have an advantage in racing?

    • Hi John,
      To be honest I’m not that well versed in SUP racing, but it is my understanding that most men in SUP races will use a 12’6 or 14′ feet, rigid SUP. Rigid SUPs are faster than inflatable SUPs (but a pain to transport and store :-). Maybe visit a SUP race near you to see what lengths and brands are being used? Hope this helps. David

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