7 Best Paddle Boards For Beginners in 2023

best inflatable stand up paddle boards

Welcome to the world of paddle boarding! You’re most likely here because you want to dip your toes in the water and buy your first SUP board. You want a paddle board that’s suitable for beginners but won’t limit you as your skills improve.

I remember feeling completely overwhelmed by the choice of paddle boards when I first started. Then I tested a bunch on the water and began to understand the differences between them.

You might not have that luxury, but I can share my experiences to help you find your perfect board. Each of the paddle boards in this review is a great option for beginners. The Atoll 11’ is my favorite, due to its performance and longevity—it really is a board for life.

Read on to discover the best paddle boards for beginners!

Best Stand Up Paddle Boards For Beginners

Best All Around

Atoll 11’

Atoll 11’

Top-Quality Board for Beginners—and Pros

With the perfect balance between speed and stability, this is a board that’ll take you from beginner to pro. It’s lightweight, durable and strong enough to take the whole family!

Sizes11′ x 32″ x 6″
Weight21 lbs
Capacity550+ lbs

Best For Travel

Blackfin CX Ultra

Blackfin CX Ultra

Compact, Portable Board with Great Performance

Super compact! The CX Ultra is designed to fit into a small backpack. It’s stable and fast for small paddlers – great for those who want to progress rapidly.

Sizes10’6 x 32″ x 6″
Weight19.6 lbs
Capacity320 lbs

Most Versatile

Gili Komodo

Gili Komodo

Lightweight Board That’s Great for Families

The Komodo is super versatile. It’s stable, glides nicely, and is easy to handle. A great SUP for families!

Sizes10’6 x 33″ x 6″
Weight21 lbs
Capacity340 lbs

Most Stable

Gili Meno Yoga Board

Gili Meno Yoga Board

Very Stable Board with Some Nice Features

This 35-inch wide board is rigid and stable. What it lacks in speed it makes up for in versatility; great for yoga, fishing and family rides! .

Sizes10’6 x 35″ x 6″
Weight23 lbs
Capacity450 lbs

Best Budget

iRocker Nautical

iRocker Nautical

High-Quality Board for Beginners On a Budget

It isn’t the cheapest SUP on the market, but you get a lot for your money with the iRocker Nautical. This lightweight board is a great choice for smaller paddlers.

Sizes10’6 x 32″ x 6″
Weight20 lbs
Capacity240 lbs

Best Lightweight

Gili Air 10’6

Gili Air 10’6

A Great-Value Board with Lots of Features

The Gili Air is lightweight and budget-friendly. It’s fun to paddle and you get a lot of features for your money. I’d suggest taller paddlers opt for the 11’6 model over the 10’6 version.

Sizes10’6 x 32″ x 6″
Weight19 lbs
Capacity280 lbs

Best For Kids

Bluefin Cruise Junior

Bluefin Cruise Junior

High-Quality Board for Beginners On a Budget

It isn’t the cheapest SUP on the market, but you get a lot for your money with the iRocker Nautical. This lightweight board is a great choice for smaller paddlers.

Sizes8′ x 29″ x 5″
Capacity264 lbs

Best Inflatable Paddle Boards for Beginners

Read on for my reviews:

1. Atoll 11’ Inflatable: Highest-Rated All-Around Paddle Board for Beginners

atoll paddle board standing up

Paddlers love the Atoll iSUP. They speak highly of it in every SUP boarding forum you will find online. And I have to agree with them.

Read on to find out why.

Build Quality

The Atoll 11 inflatable board is constructed using Korean Drop Stitch technology. It features machine-laminated, dual-layer PVC. It is tough and durable. You can run it over with your car and it won’t get so much as a scratch.


This paddleboard measures 11 feet by 32 inches. The platform is wide enough for stability, but not too wide to make the board bulky.

The impeccable construction and six-inch thickness promote rigidity. This paddleboard will not flex or sink leading to a wobbly ride.


The good thing about the Atoll is that it finds a balance between stability and performance. A wider board is more stable. But it also has more resistance. So in gaining stability, you lose speed. The 32-inch width ensures that you get both.

It has a three-fin system; one large fin and two side fins. They help with tracking and maneuverability.


The Atoll 11 paddleboard is available in four gorgeous colors: aquamarine, desert sand, light blue, and army green. The army green board seems to be most people’s favorite. 

The iSUP has two carry handles and 15 D-rings for attaching your gear. There is a bungee storage area at the front.


You will get everything you need to start paddling with the Atoll 11 paddleboard. Its package includes a paddle, bag, leash, and a pump. The travel bag has been redesigned. It is heavy-duty with high-quality zippers and padded straps. The paddle is lightweight, with a carbon fiberglass shaft and nylon blade.

What I Like
  • Stable and speedy: The Atoll 11 offers the perfect balance between speed and stability. It’s a board that’ll take you from beginner to advanced paddler.
  • Exceptionally durable: Premium materials and construction mean the Atoll 11 can take a beating without getting damaged.
  • Large weight capacity: Atoll has tested this board on the water with 550 pounds of weight on board. You can SUP with your partner, child, dog, or all three!
  • Lightweight: At 21 lbs, the Atol 11 is one of the lightest boards I’ve reviewed. It has by far the best weight to capacity ratio.
  • Universal fin box: Experiment with aftermarket fins, or carry a low-cost replacement.
What I Don’t Like
  • No carry handle at the nose: Most boards sport 3 handles, but the Atoll 11 only has 2, which may make it harder to launch or carry between two people.
  • Side fins are not removable: You can’t remove the side fins, so it’s less compact when packed down than other boards.

Check Price of the Atoll SUP

2. Blackfin CX Ultra

blackfin cx ultra 2022Pin

Inflatable paddle boards are a lot easier to transport than hard SUPs, but the Blackfin CX Ultra takes this to the next level. The board is designed to be folded in half lengthways before you roll it up. This means it fits inside a smaller backpack, making it extremely compact for an iSUP. It’s ideal for transporting on your bike or taking on vacation.

blackfin cx ultra

The Blackfin CX Ultra is 10 feet 6 inches long and 32.5 inches wide. The slim profile and light weight make it fast and easy to maneuver. My wife loved this board and found it stable enough for someone of her size! It also tracked really well for a short board.

I had more mixed views, but this is purely down to my size and weight. I find most boards under 11 feet to be too short and unstable for me, and this was my experience when I tested the CX Ultra. That’s not a dig against the board, though, it just means it’s not the right size for me.

I’d recommend the CX Ultra for shorter paddlers, particularly if you want to progress quickly. If you’re taller or heavier, or you want an exceptionally stable board, I’d go for a wider SUP.

The Blackfin’s deck pad is thick and luxuriously soft – a step up from cheaper boards. This makes it comfortable for paddling long distances or lounging on when your arms need a break!

Due to the compact design, the CX Ultra has two 9-inch fins rather than the usual three-fin setup. The longer fins do impact maneuverability compared to having shorter side fins, but this is offset by the board’s rigidity and light weight. Honestly, as a beginner, I don’t think you’d notice much difference. 

You get plenty of storage, three action mounts, and a top-quality accessory pack that includes iRocker’s brilliant electric pump. The backpack is comfortable, but it doesn’t come with a waist strap. This and the lack of a manual pump means I’d probably choose a different compact board for hiking to remote areas.

What I Like
  • Great performance: The CX Ultra is fast and maneuverable, iRocker have really made performance a key focus point with their new Ultra range, and the CX is no different. It feels swift in the water and the dual fins help it track well.
  • Stable for small paddlers: Shorter paddlers should find this plenty stable enough to learn on, but it won’t hold you back as an intermediate or experienced paddler.
  • Compact and portable: I love the compact design of this board. It’s a great option if you’re short on storage space or want to take your SUP on public transport
  • Premium accessory pack: You won’t need to buy a separate electric pump (which I recommend for regular paddlers) as you get one included. The carbon shaft paddle is top-notch, too.
  • Stylish, practical design: The CX Ultra looks gorgeous and it’s practical too – there’s plenty of storage and action mounts to attach your phone, GoPro, and other accessories.
What I Don’t Like
  • Not as stable for large paddlers: I’d recommend tall, heavy paddlers choose a wider or longer board to get started on. This one is better suited to shorter beginners!

Check Price of the Blackfin CX Ultra

3. Gili Komodo


The Komodo is Gili’s most versatile paddle board. It’s a great choice for beginner paddlers who want to try different SUP activities and for families.

Stability is a big factor for beginner paddle boarders. At 33-inches, the Komodo isn’t the widest board, but it feels really stable, even for larger paddlers like me. I usually discount 10’6 boards as being too short, but when I tried it out, I was pleased with the Komodo’s stability.

gili komodo paddle board

It’s hard to find a paddle board that both adults and kids can use, but I think the Komodo is a great all-around family SUP. It glides nicely and is reasonably fast in the water (though not as fast as the Atoll 11). Gili’s construction method makes the board both rigid and lightweight – this makes it easier to maneuver, especially for shorter adults and teens.

The oversized front bungee maximizes your storage space. I like that it’s removable, but it’s a bit fiddly to get it through the D rings. If you don’t need the storage space, I’d leave it off so you can make use of the full-length deck pad for yoga (or sunbathing!). There are extra D rings you can attach a kayak seat to, and a built-in action mount for your phone or camera.

I also really like the paddle holder feature. It’s simple, but so useful, especially if you want to try SUP yoga.

The Komodo comes with everything you need to get started, but the accessories aren’t as high-spec as other boards. They’re functional and fine for beginners, but I’d suggest considering buying an electric pump and upgrading to a carbon fiber or hybrid paddle if you’re serious about paddle boarding.

What I Like
  • Versatile design: If you want one board that does it all, this is a great choice. It has great performance in the water and is easy for people of different shapes and sizes to handle. The 340-pound weight capacity means you can carry multiple people – or dogs!
  • Good stability: I was surprised at how stable the Komodo felt given my height and weight. There aren’t many 10’6 SUPs I recommend for taller folk, but this is one of them!
  • Full-length deck pad: The Komodo’s large deck pad gives plenty of space for yoga or carrying kids and dogs. If you don’t need storage space, you can remove the front bungee cord.
  • Great features: As well as the two bungee storage areas, you get an action mount, mounting points for a kayak seat, and a paddle holder. It’s easy to adapt the Komodo for any activity!
What I Don’t Like
  • Entry-level accessories: The accessories you get with the Komodo are fine, but you may want to upgrade at some point. Fortunately, Gili gives you the option of upgrading your paddle when you buy the board.

Check Price of the Gili Komodo

4. Gili Meno Yoga Board: Best Yoga Paddle Board for Beginners

gili meno yoga paddle board

You don’t need to be a SUP pro to start exploring SUP yoga paddle boarding. All you need is determination, calm water, and a good paddle board, like the Gili Meno.

Build Quality

The Gili Meno is built using triple-layer fusion-laminated PVC material. The rails are reinforced with carbon fiber for extra rigidity. It is remarkably durable and comes with a two-year warranty. The 10’6 Meno can hold 450 pounds while the 11’ Meno can hold 485 pounds.


The Gili Meno comes in two sizes; a 10’6 long and an 11′ long SUP. Both of them are 35 inches wide and six inches thick. As you can see, it is a wide board, ideal for all kinds of yoga poses.


As mentioned earlier, a wider board is more stable but slower. The Gili Meno will have more resistance than narrower SUP boards so don’t expect much in terms of speed. The shorter one is likely to be even slower. The good thing is that beginners and yoga enthusiasts are more concerned with stability than speed.

The boards are maneuverable.


You can get the Gili Meno in two colors: green and teal. It has three grab handles: at the center, tail, and nose. There are two bungee storage areas at the front and back for your luggage. 

The SUP also has extra D-rings and three Scotty mounts for action cameras and other gear.

The large traction pad acts as a comfortable yoga mat.


On top of the usual accessories in most SUP packages—a bag, pump, paddle, and leash—the Gili Meno package includes a five-piece fin kit. It has two side fins, a 3-inch river fin, a 4.5-inch speed fin, and a 9-inch center fin. The paddle has a carbon-fiber shaft and nylon blade while the backpack is wheeled.

What I Like
  • Very stable: The Gili Meno is 35 inches wide and 6 inches thick. This makes it an exceptionally stable board—perfect for those tricky tree poses!
  • Comes with 3 fins: Switch between a short river fin, a speed fin, and a long center fin depending on your preference and water conditions.
  • Large traction pad: The brushed EVA traction pad makes a great yoga mat.
  • 5 action mounts: Attach your GoPro to film your routine or follow a workout on your phone. Don’t forget a cup holder for your coffee!
  • Integrated paddle holder: You don’t need to worry about losing your paddle on the water and you can stash it safely when transporting your board.
What I Don’t Like
  • Slow (but steady): The extra width makes the Gili Meno slower than other boards and it can be tricky to handle in rough water.

Check Price of the Gili Meno

5. iRocker Nautical: Best Budget Paddle Board for Beginners

irocker nautical 106 2021Pin

What if you are on a tight budget? Well, there is something for you too—the iRocker Nautical. And it is not a cheaply made board that will come apart in a few months.

Build Quality

The iRocker Nautical is built using dual-layer military-grade Drop stitch construction. It is super tough and you can’t dent or ding it. When fully inflated, it can hold up to 240 pounds. It comes with a 60-day guarantee and a one-year warranty.

irocker nautical 106 2021 buget beginner paddle board


The Nautical is 10’6 long and 32 inches wide. Its size ensures stability without hindering maneuverability.

The board is six inches thick and made using high-quality materials. This makes it very rigid and prevents flexing. It can actually handle more than its rated weight capacity.

If you are a larger paddler, the Nautical 10’6 won’t be that stable for you. Consider the iRocker Nautical 11’6 instead.


The iRocker Nautical is of medium length and width. Paddlers of all sizes and skill levels will find it easy to control. You won’t have trouble making quick sharp turns. Its speed is decent and it tracks amazingly. The board glides smoothly and is so much fun to ride.


You can get the Nautical in three colors: white, blue, and aqua.

It has three grab handles, bungee straps at the front, and extra D-rings for gear attachment. The deck pad is large and you can use the board for yoga.

Like the other iRocker paddleboards, the Nautical has a tri-fin system. All of them are removable.


The iRocker Nautical inflatable SUP package includes a paddle, pump, backpack, and a leash. The paddle is made of fiberglass and is adjustable. The bag is heavy-duty, comfortable to carry, and versatile.

What I Like
  • Excellent value for money: You get high-quality design and construction for a budget price. You even get a lightweight fiberglass paddle.
  • Lightweight: The Nautical weighs just 20 pounds, making it easy to carry and transport.
  • Comes as a complete package: The SUP comes with a paddle, pump, leash, and travel bag, so you have everything you need to get started.
  • Very maneuverable: Shorter, lighter boards are easier to maneuver. The Nautical is snappy to turn, making it a fun board to learn on.
What I Don’t Like
  • Low weight capacity: The 240-pound capacity is significantly less than other boards, but in optimum conditions, the Nautical can handle a bit extra weight.

Check Price of the iRocker Nautical

6. Gili Air 10’6


The Gili Air is a great budget paddle board. It’s similar to the iRocker Nautical in terms of performance but has a higher weight capacity and a few additional features. At the time of writing, it’s a little more expensive than the Nautical.

gili air cheap sup board

There are two versions of the Gili Air: the 10’6 model is best for smaller paddlers and the 11’6 model is a great budget choice for larger paddlers. Both models are 32 inches wide and have the same features.

The 10’6 Air felt a little sluggish in the water when I tested it, but that’s because I’m a little heavy for it. I’m well under the weight capacity (280 pounds) but having the weight concentrated in one spot can affect performance. If you weigh more than 175 pounds, I suggest you get the 11’6 version for better performance!

For a budget board, you get a lot of features. There are two bungee storage areas (both removable), a paddle holder, and extra D rings for attaching a kayak seat. You also get three mounting points for attaching rod holders, cameras, and other accessories. I love that the board has four safety handles in addition to the grab handles – these are great if you have kids on board.

You get a choice of six designs, and each board has a cute turtle graphic on the underside. Gili donates a portion of its profits to charities that protect our oceans, reefs, and endangered sea creatures, which is another reason to feel good about your purchase!

The accessory pack is fairly basic. You get an aluminum paddle, though you do have the option to upgrade – an option I suggest you take. The pump requires some effort and I’d generally recommend getting an electric pump. However, it does pack down pretty neatly. The backpack is decent enough for a budget board and as the Gili Air is nice and light, it’s comfortable to carry without needing wheels.

What I Like
  • Very lightweight: The Gili Air 10’6 weighs just 19 pounds, and the longer board isn’t much heavier either. This makes it easy to carry to and from the water and a breeze to maneuver when paddling.
  • Great choice of colors: You can choose from 6 colors and the accessories match the color of your board. I particularly love the turtle graphics!
  • Lots of features: There are plenty of D rings, mounting points, and storage space, so you can customize the board for your needs.
  • Good performance: The Gili Air tracks well and is nice and stable. It’s not as fast as some higher-spec boards, but it’s still fun to paddle!
What I Don’t Like
  • Aluminum paddle: The standard package includes an aluminum paddle, but you can upgrade to a fiberglass paddle when you buy on Gili’s website.

Check Price of the Gili Air 10’6

7. Bluefin Cruise Junior: Best Kids Paddle Board for Beginners

bluefin cruise jr 8

All the above-mentioned boards are great for beginners. But they may be too big for younger newbies. The Bluefin Cruise Junior is designed for youth paddlers.

Build Quality

This Junior board is built using 1000D exo-surface laminate PVC and Pro Weave Dropstitch. The construction is so tough, the board can be inflated up to 28 PSI. The double side rails have been heat-welded to make the SUP board even more rigid.


The stand-up paddleboard is 8 feet long and 29 inches wide. For a newbie rider under 5’3, this platform is stable enough and it will not wobble. The state-of-the-art construction makes this youth iSUP rigid and it can handle up to 265 pounds.


The Bluefin Cruise Junior board has a kick pad feature that allows it to make quick sharp turns. Its maneuverability is excellent.

The stand-up paddle board is responsive and tracks impressively too.


This inflatable SUP has a four-point bungee storage area at the front for luggage. It has extra D-rings for attaching a kayak seat and other gear. There are three grab handles: at the front, center, and rear.

It comes with three fins. The large center fin is removable, the side fins are not. The croco-diamond pad is large and covers most of the deck to offer comfort and traction.


The Bluefin Cruise Junior package includes an adjustable paddle, pump, backpack, leash, and kayak conversion kit. The paddle has a fiberglass shaft and polyurethane blade. The backpack straps are wide and padded for ultimate comfort.

What I Like
  • Top-Quality Construction: Kids shouldn’t have to compromise on quality. The Bluefin Cruise Junior has the same build quality and rigidity as their adult boards.
  • Decent weight capacity: This board actually has a higher weight capacity than the iRocker Nautical. It’s a great option for smaller adults as well as kids and teenagers.#
  • Good performance for its size: An 8-foot SUP is never going to perform as well as a sleeker model, but the Cruise Junior is exceptionally nippy and tracks pretty well.
  • Easy to convert to a kayak: Just clip a padded seat into the D rings and switch the SUP handle for a kayak blade and you have a sit-on-top kayak.
What I Don’t Like
  • No wheels on backpack: The Bluefin Cruise Junior is relatively lightweight, but it’s still a bulky, heavy bag for a young person to carry. Wheels would have been a nice addition to help smaller paddlers transport their board independently.

Check Price of the Bluefin Cruise Junior

How to Choose a Paddle Board As a Beginner

Deciding which beginner stand-up paddleboard to buy can be overwhelming. You have to pick one out of many great paddle boards available.

Different Types of Paddle Boarding

inflatable paddle board reviewsPin

To find the best paddle board, you should first consider the type of paddle boarding you’ll be doing.

SUP surfing: If you want to ride the waves, a SUP surfing board is your best choice. Generally meant for intermediate and advanced paddlers, SUP surfing boards are typically shorter (max. 10′), narrower and have a narrower nose and tail than all around models.

All around SUP: All around paddle boards are usually thicker, wider and longer than SUP surf boards. They usually range in between 10′ to 12′ in length and 29” to 36” in width. All around boards are the most versatile types of SUP boards. As the name implies, they are great in all kinds of conditions. Unless you have good reason to go for another type of SUP board, an all around board is probably the best paddle board for beginners.

Touring or racing SUPs: Touring paddle boards are longer than all-around boards (usually they come in 12’6” or 14′ in length) and have a pointy nose and typically have little to no rocker. These boards are great if you know you’ll spend your time cruising your lake, river or even for open ocean touring.

A version of a touring SUP is a race board. Compared to tourings boards, race SUPs are much narrower giving them less drag and more speed. The downside is that this makes race SUPs much more difficult to stand on.

Yoga and fitness SUP: Doing your yoga routine and pilates on a stand-up paddleboard is a fresh trend called Yoga-on-Water (YOW). It’s perfect for people who are looking to get fit but who are bored with the usual gym setup. As you try to balance on your board, you are actually training your muscles and core strength. A yoga SUP board is generally wide for more stability and balance.

SUP for kids: Stand-up paddle boarding is a great activity for you and your children. Not only is SUP boarding extremely fun to do by themselves or with friends but it also gets your children in the fresh air, helps to build their water confidence and has many great healthy benefits by getting kids active. The right SUP board for your child will depend on his or her length and weight, but most kids paddle boards are shorter than 8′.

To help you narrow down, here are the other things you should consider.

What to Look for When Buying a Paddle Board as a Beginner

1. Quality Construction

This is very important. You don’t want to go searching for another paddleboard after a few months because the one you bought is unusable. A good paddle board should allow you to be as adventurous as you like.

A standup paddleboard can either be solid or inflatable.

Solid paddleboards have an EPS foam core, layered with carbon fiber, plastic, fiberglass, or wood (usually bamboo). Others may be hollow, made of pure wood.

Carbon fiber paddleboards are lightweight, durable, and glide exceptionally. The only issue is that they are expensive. Most beginners may not have the budget.

Fiberglass paddleboards are diverse and common. It is easy to fall for a cheaply made one. Different manufacturers use different techniques and layers. If you decide to get an epoxy/fiberglass SUP, make sure you assess its quality.

Wooden paddleboards are stylish and have an authentic feel to them because ancient paddle craft was made of wood. Some wooden paddleboards are hollow and offer superior performance. They also last a long time but you’ll have to dig deeper into your pockets.

Inflatable paddleboards are undefeated when it comes to durability. Just do a quick search on Google. You’ll see videos of people running them over with cars, dropping them from roofs, and all kinds of tests. They don’t get minor scratches, let alone dents.

However, you need to understand that different inflatable SUPs are made differently. Most of them are constructed using PVC and Dropstitch construction. But some have more PVC layers than others. A SUP with triple-layer PVC will be more durable than a single-layer PVC SUP.

If you are unsure about the construction, always look at the warranty period and user reviews. The longer the warranty period, the more confidence you can have in the board.

2. Stability

Standing on a floating paddleboard looks effortless when people are doing it. But it takes a lot of practice and core strength. It’s hard to attain and maintain balance on a SUP that feels tippy and wobbly. To avoid this frustration, you need a stable paddleboard.

What makes a paddle board stable?

The length, width, and buoyancy.

Longer paddle boards have better balance and they also perform well. But this doesn’t mean that you should look for the longest SUPs in the market. A longer board is harder to handle. As a newbie, look for a SUP that is 10’6 to about 11’6, depending on your size.

Another thing that makes a board stable is its width. The wider it is, the more stable it will be. You may have noticed that all the SUPs above are 30+ inches wide (except the junior board). That’s the best width range for stability. Don’t get anything less than 30 inches wide.

The buoyancy of a SUP also determines stability. And the buoyancy depends on volume. A paddleboard with a higher volume is more buoyant. It rides above the water instead of sinking. This keeps it steady and reduces drag leading to better performance.

3. Utility

It doesn’t make sense for a beginner to buy an advanced racing SUP, does it? First, you still don’t know what SUP variation you like. You will be limited in terms of what you can try. Second, most purpose-specific paddle boards are not newbie-friendly. They are usually too long, too narrow, or too short.

Look for paddleboards that are advertised as all-around. These can be used for anything. You can do yoga, bring a friend on board, tour, fish, etc. They allow you to experiment with different variations to find what you like.

Most all-around SUPs are beginner-friendly too. They are wide, of medium length, and have a shape that enhances stability. Besides, you can find them in every price range. Purpose-specific boards tend to be a bit costly.

Are Inflatable Paddle Boards Good for Beginners?

Absolutely, inflatable paddle boards are great for beginners. I’ll tell you why.

Inflatable paddle boards are affordable. Most beginners are not looking to spend a fortune on a paddle board. You most likely want something to help you explore the wonderful world of SUP. 

Some inflatable SUPs go for as little as $400 or less.

While you can get cheap solid standup paddleboards, there is a high chance that you will end up with a disappointing product.

Take the iRocker Nautical for instance. It is affordable but its quality is superb, making it a great beginner board. It also comes with everything you need to start paddling right away. You will be lucky to get such a deal with a quality solid SUP.

This leads me to the next point: most iSUPs come as a package.

To go on your first SUP adventure, you will require a paddle, leash, and PFD. SUP packages save you the trouble of finding and buying each of these things separately. You only have to buy the iSUP and a PFD.

The other reason is that inflatable paddle boards don’t require large storage space. They are also easy to travel with. You don’t need to make room in your garage—or even have a garage. Once you are done stand-up paddle boarding, deflate it and throw it under your bed.

What Size SUP Should a Beginner Use?

I’ve discussed this briefly above.

a. SUP Length

Paddle boards range from about 8 feet to 14+ feet long. Shorter boards are maneuverable but they don’t track so well. As the length increases, maneuverability becomes poorer and tracking improves.

Longer standup paddleboards (12+ feet) are mainly used for touring and racing. Shorter ones (8 to 10 feet) are meant for surfing and youth paddlers. Those that fall in between are mostly all-around paddleboards.

For young SUP beginners, the right length would be from 8 feet to 10 feet depending on their size.

Adult beginners should go with a medium-length SUP, 10’6 feet to about 12 feet. You should choose a board that is easier to handle depending on your size. If you are on the smaller side, stay within the 10’6 – 11’ range.

b. Paddle Board Width

You want a paddleboard that is wide enough for maximum stability, but not too wide that paddling becomes a problem. And also don’t forget that wider boards are slower.

So what is the right width for you?

Generally, standup paddleboards that are 30+ inches wide will be stable. If you are on the bigger side, you should get a board that is 33+ inches wide.

Take the Blackfin XL, for instance. It will allow you to paddle with a lot of gear for fishing or camping. You can also have someone else on board regardless of your size.

Smaller newbie paddlers will do fine with a 31- to 32-inch wide SUP—or wider if you plan on doing yoga.

c. Board Thickness

Sometimes, people overlook thickness when choosing a paddleboard. Don’t make that mistake.

Thicker paddleboards are more buoyant and float above the water. A thinner paddleboard will sink slightly leading to poor and frustrating performance.

But that is not the only factor that is affected by a SUP’s thickness.

A thicker board has a higher volume and is likely to support more weight. So if you are a larger paddler, stay away from thin paddleboards.

Furthermore, the thickness of an inflatable paddleboard influences its rigidity. Notice that most iSUPs above are six inches thick. If a board is thin, it will be less rigid and may flex when you try to ride. Unless you are a youth SUPer, you should get a six-inch thick iSUP.

Beginner SUP Accessories

Once you have chosen your beginner SUP, you might want to consider some accessories that can enhance your paddling experience. Some of these accessories are essential for safety and convenience, while others are optional for fun and comfort. Here are some of the most common beginner SUP accessories that we recommend:

  • Paddle: A paddle is obviously a must-have for any SUPer. You want a paddle that is comfortable, durable, and adjustable to your height. Some beginner SUPs come with a paddle included, but you can also buy one separately if you want a better quality or a different style. Some of the best paddles for beginners are the iRocker Carbon Blend Paddle, the Blackfin Carbon Shaft Paddle, and the Atoll Carbon Fiber Paddle.
  • Pump: If you have an inflatable SUP, you will need a pump to inflate and deflate it. Most iSUPs come with a manual pump that works fine, but it can be tiring and time-consuming to use. If you want to save some energy and time, you can invest in an electric pump that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter or battery. Here are some of the best electric pumps for iSUPs.
  • Leash: A leash is a cord that attaches your ankle to your board, so you don’t lose it if you fall off. A leash is essential for safety, especially in windy or choppy conditions, or when paddling in open water or near other people. A leash can also help you get back on your board more easily after a fall. See this article for some of the best leashes for beginner SUP boarders.
  • PFD: A PFD (personal flotation device) is a vest or belt that helps you stay afloat in case of an emergency. A PFD is required by law in some areas when paddling on certain waterways, so make sure you check the local regulations before you go out. A PFD can also provide some warmth and storage for your essentials. Some of the best PFDs for beginner SUPs are the Onyx M-16 Belt Pack Manual Inflatable Life Jacket, the NRS Ninja PFD, and the Stohlquist Edge Life Jacket.
  • Dry Bag: A dry bag is a waterproof bag that keeps your belongings dry and protected from water damage. A dry bag is useful for storing your phone, keys, wallet, snacks, or anything else you might need on your paddle. You can attach your dry bag to your board’s bungee cords or carry handles, or wear it as a backpack or waist pack. Read more about the best dry bags for beginner paddle boarders.
  • Cooler: A cooler is a insulated bag or box that keeps your drinks and food cold and fresh. A cooler is optional for fun and comfort, but it can make your paddle more enjoyable and relaxing. You can attach your cooler to your board’s bungee cords or carry handles, or wear it as a backpack or shoulder bag. Some of the best coolers for beginner SUP boarders are the iRocker Backpack Cooler, the BOTE Kula Cooler, and the Gili Cooler Deck Bag.

These are some of the most common beginner SUP accessories that we recommend, but there are many more that you can explore depending on your preferences and needs. For example, you might want to get a waterproof speaker, a waterproof phone case, a sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, water shoes, gloves, or a wetsuit. The choice is yours!

We hope this section helps you find the best beginner SUP accessories for your paddling adventures.

Beginner SUP FAQs

What are the best paddle boards for beginners?

There are many factors to consider when choosing a paddle board for beginners, such as stability, performance, versatility, durability, and price. Some of the best paddle boards for beginners are:

  • Atoll 11’: This is a durable, stable, and speedy inflatable paddle board that can handle up to 550 pounds of weight. It has a three-fin system, a large bungee storage area, and a universal fin box. It comes with a carbon fiberglass paddle, a heavy-duty backpack, a leash, and a pump.
  • iRocker Blackfin CX Ultra: This is a compact and portable inflatable paddle board that folds in half before rolling up. It is 10’6″ long and 32.5″ wide, making it fast and easy to maneuver. It has two 9-inch fins, a thick and soft deck pad, plenty of storage and action mounts, and an electric pump. It is ideal for transporting on your bike or taking on vacation.
  • Gili Komodo: This is a versatile inflatable paddle board that can be used for different SUP activities and for families. It is 10’6″ or 11’ long and 33″ wide, offering good stability and performance. It has a full-length deck pad, two bungee storage areas, three action mounts, a paddle holder, and a kayak conversion kit. It comes with a fiberglass paddle, a pump, a backpack, a leash, and a five-piece fin kit.
  • Gili Meno: This is an inflatable paddle board designed for yoga and fitness. It is 10’6″ or 11’ long and 35″ wide, making it exceptionally stable and comfortable. It has two bungee storage areas, three Scotty mounts, an integrated paddle holder, and a large traction pad that acts as a yoga mat. It comes with a carbon-fiber paddle, a pump, a wheeled backpack, a leash, and a kayak conversion kit.
  • iRocker Nautical: This is an affordable inflatable paddle board that is suitable for beginners on a tight budget. It is 10’6″ long and 32″ wide, offering decent stability and maneuverability. It has three fins (all removable), a bungee storage area, extra D-rings, and a large deck pad. It comes with an aluminum paddle, a pump, a backpack, and a leash.

What are the benefits of paddle boarding for beginners?

Paddle boarding is a fun and healthy activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. Some of the benefits of paddle boarding for beginners are:

  • It improves your balance and core strength by engaging your muscles to stabilize yourself on the board.
  • It gives you a low-impact cardio workout that burns calories and improves your heart health.
  • It allows you to explore nature and enjoy the scenery from a different perspective.
  • It reduces stress and boosts your mood by releasing endorphins and connecting you with the water element.
  • It offers you variety and challenge by allowing you to try different SUP variations such as touring, racing, surfing, yoga, fishing, etc.

How to choose the best paddle board for beginners?

Choosing the best paddle board for beginners depends on your personal preferences, goals, budget, and skill level. However, some general guidelines to follow are:

  • Choose an inflatable paddle board over a solid one for convenience, portability, durability, and affordability.
  • Choose an all-around paddle board over a purpose-specific one for versatility, ease of use, and value for money.
  • Choose a medium-length (10’6″ to 11’6″) paddle board over a shorter or longer one for balance between speed and maneuverability.
  • Choose a wide (30+ inches) paddle board over a narrow one for stability and comfort.
  • Choose a thick (6 inches) paddle board over a thin one for buoyancy and rigidity.

How to use a paddle board for beginners?

Using a paddle board for beginners is not as hard as it may seem, but it does require some preparation, practice, and patience. Here are some steps to help you get started:

  • First, you need to inflate your paddle board properly using the pump that comes with it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure the board is firm and rigid. Then, attach the leash to your ankle or calf and to the D-ring at the back of the board. The leash will keep you connected to your board in case you fall off.
  • Next, you need to carry your board to the water using the center handle or with another person using the front or rear handles. Choose a calm water spot with no waves or currents and place your board in the water. Make sure it is floating well and not touching the bottom.
  • Then, you need to get on your board and start paddling. Stand next to your board and hold your paddle with one hand on the handle and the other on the shaft. Place your paddle across the board and use it as a support to get on the board. Start by kneeling on the board near the center and get comfortable with your balance. Hold your paddle with both hands and start paddling gently to move forward. To turn, paddle on one side of the board or make a sweeping motion with your paddle.
  • Finally, you need to stand up and paddle. When you feel ready, stand up by placing one foot at a time on each side of the handle. Keep your feet parallel, shoulder-width apart, and slightly bent at the knees. Keep your back straight, your head up, and your eyes on the horizon. Hold your paddle with one hand on the handle and the other about halfway down the shaft. Paddle with smooth and steady strokes, alternating sides every few strokes. To stop, drag your paddle in the water or reverse your stroke direction.

Paddle boarding for beginners can be a lot of fun and a great way to exercise and explore nature. However, it also requires some basic skills and safety precautions that you should learn before you go out. Follow these steps and tips and you will be able to enjoy paddle boarding for beginners in no time.

What are some tips for paddle boarding for beginners?

Paddle boarding for beginners can be a rewarding and enjoyable activity, but it also requires some preparation, awareness, and common sense. Here are some tips to help you have a safe and fun paddle boarding experience:

  • One of the most important things to do before you paddle board is to wear a life jacket or a personal flotation device (PFD). This will keep you afloat and visible in case of an emergency. You should also wear appropriate clothing for the weather and water conditions, such as a wetsuit, rash guard, sun hat, sunglasses, etc. You should also apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and avoid sunburns.
  • Another important thing to do before you paddle board is to check the weather forecast and tide charts. You should avoid windy or stormy days, as they can make the water choppy and unpredictable. You should also avoid paddling during high or low tides, as they can affect the water depth and current. You should also check the local rules and regulations regarding paddle boarding and respect other water users.
  • A third important thing to do before you paddle board is to choose a suitable location for your skill level. You should look for a calm water spot with no waves or currents, such as a lake, river, bay, or calm ocean spot. You should also avoid crowded areas or places with boats, swimmers, surfers, or wildlife. You should also be aware of your surroundings and potential hazards, such as rocks, reefs, buoys, etc.
  • A fourth important thing to do before you paddle board is to learn how to fall safely off your board. Falling off your board is inevitable, especially when you are learning. You should aim away from your board and land flat on the water. You should also hold on to your paddle and use your leash to get back to your board. You should also avoid falling headfirst or landing on your board or paddle.
  • Finally, have fun and enjoy the experience. Paddle boarding is a great way to exercise, explore nature, and relax. You should try different SUP variations, such as touring, racing, surfing, yoga, fishing, etc. You should also challenge yourself and improve your skills. You should also appreciate the beauty of being on the water.

Paddle boarding for beginners can be an amazing activity that can enrich your life in many ways. However, it also requires some responsibility and respect for yourself, others, and nature. Follow these tips and you will be able to paddle board for beginners with confidence and joy.

Conclusion – Best Beginner SUPs

Choosing your beginner stand-up paddle board can indeed be an intimidating task. You want to get it right. The nine paddleboards discussed above are some of the best paddle boards for beginners. They have been tried and tested by other paddlers—and they approve.

When picking out a paddleboard, consider construction quality, stability, and utility. If you are looking for a beginner SUP that you can travel with, an inflatable would be perfect. Lastly, make sure you get the right SUP size.

Do you have any questions about choosing the best beginner paddle board? Feel free to ask us below.

Happy paddling!