6 Best Paddle Boards For Beginners in 2022

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 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 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!

The 6 Best Beginner Boards

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
Most Popular
iRocker All Around 11

iRocker All Around 11

Great Build Quality and Performance

A popular alternative to the Atoll 11, the iRocker has great build quality, tracks well, but just be aware – the fin box isn’t universal (so you can’t use aftermarket fins).

Sizes11′ x 32″ x 6″
Weight24 lbs
Capacity435 lbs
Best For Yoga
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
For Large People
Blackfin Model XL

Blackfin Model XL

Sturdy Board for Tall or Heavy Paddlers

Packed with features, this premium board provides a stable platform for paddling and fishing. It’s a great option for larger paddlers who want a board that’ll last.

Sizes11’6 x 34″ x 6″
Weight29 lbs
Capacity485 lbs
Budget SUP
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 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 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. iRocker All Around 11: Most Popular All-Around SUP for Beginners

irocker all around 11 2021 paddle board

iRocker is a well-known name in the SUP community. Their boards are among the best-selling iSUPs globally. The iRocker All Around is a great beginner paddle board. Let’s look at its features.

Build Quality

irocker all around 11 2021 model beginner paddle board

The iRocker All Around 11 stand-up paddle board is built using triple-layer composite PVC construction. They started using this instead of their quad-layer construction. However, the board is just as durable as before, only 20% lighter. 

The SUP is quite sturdy and can hold up to 435 pounds.


The All Around is 11 feet long and 32 inches wide. Like the Atoll, the iRocker paddle board has a stable platform but is not too bulky and hard to control.

The construction makes the iRocker iSUP stiff, preventing it from bending in the middle and wobbling.


Because it is neither too wide nor too short, the iRocker 11 inflatable paddle board glides with decent speed. It has a large central fin that helps with tracking, especially in flat water.

Paddlers of all sizes will find it maneuverable.


You can now choose from six beautiful iRocker colors: teal, green, grey, orange, white, and seafoam green. Whether you like bright boards or more chill colors, you will find something you like.

The iRocker 11 has 20 D-rings and four action mounts for your gear. There are two bungee storage areas, at the front and back. 

And if you plan on paddling with a child, the inflatable SUP has safety handles for them to hold on to.


The iRocker All Around 11 SUP package includes a backpack, paddle, pump, and leash. The bag is compatible with a wheel tray for easy traveling. The paddle has a carbon blend shaft.

What I Like
  • Great build quality: iRocker uses triple-layer PVC for added strength and durability.
  • Good all-around performance: The large center fin and slim design means the All Around 11 tracks really well, especially on calm water.
  • 20 D-Ring attachment points: 12 have bungee cord rigging attached and you can use the others to secure personal items or add a kayak seat.
  • Lots of color options: Choose from 6 colors, including a bright orange that will make your board stand out on the water!
What I Don’t Like
  • Fin box isn’t universal: This means you have to buy specific iRocker fins. On the plus side, there aren’t any screws to lose!

Check Price of the iRocker All Around 11

3. 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

4. Blackfin Model XL: Best Heavy-Duty SUP for Beginners Over 300 Lbs

blackfin model xl sup review

For newbies on the heavier side, the Blackfin Model XL would be perfect. It is big and sturdy enough for multiple paddlers.

Build Quality

The Blackfin Model XL features a triple-layer composite PVC construction. iRocker refers to it as the “strongest and lightest construction available.” The XL can hold up to 485 pounds. It has a carbon rail that enhances stability and makes it exceptionally rigid.

blackfin model xl board


This is where the Blackfin Model XL excels. It is one of the most stable single-person paddleboards around. It measures 11’6 x 34”. The platform is long and wide, giving you all the stability you need to learn SUP. Its construction ensures rigidity. You will never have to worry about it bending in the middle.


Most small paddlers will find the Blackfin XL challenging to control. It is wide and long. Its speed is above average and it tracks well. The glide is amazing, and for such a wide all-around SUP, the general performance is impressive.


This Blackfin inflatable paddleboard features a three-fin system, all removable. It has three grab handles: at the center, nose, and tail, as well as four safety handles.

There are eight action mounts and a total of 20 D-rings. The board has a sand spear and fishing rod attachment point.

The comfy EVO deck pad now extends all the way to the back—in case you want to try yoga.


The Blackfin Model XL SUP package includes a paddle, pump, bag, and leash. The backpack has lots of pockets and is wheeled to make transport a breeze. The paddle has an all-carbon shaft and a nylon blade. The twin-chamber pump makes inflation 100% faster.

What I Like
  • Large, stable board: The Blackfin gets top marks for stability. There’s plenty of room to move around and bring a passenger on board.
  • Large weight capacity: The Blackfin XL has a weight limit of 483 pounds, so you can bring all the gear you want.
  • Versatile setup: 8 action mounts and 20 D-rings give plenty of options for attaching accessories, crates, or a seat.
  • Great fishing features: With a few additions, this SUP makes a great fishing platform. You can mount a fishing rack (for rods, coolers etc.) and a sand spear for fishing in shallow water.
What I Don’t Like
  • Premium price: It’s expensive for a beginner board, but the price reflects the quality. If you’re serious about SUP, this is a board for life.
  • Too big for smaller paddlers: This board is designed for paddlers taller than 178cm. If you’re much shorter than this, you may struggle to maneuver it.

Check Price of the Blackfin XL

5. iRocker Nautical: Best Budget Paddle Board for Beginners

irocker nautical 106 2021

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. 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 reviews

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. 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.


Choosing your beginner stand-up paddle board can indeed be an intimidating task. You want to get it right. The six 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!