Best Soft Top Paddle Boards Compared (July 2018)

soft top paddle board review

You may have ridden a soft-top paddle board at the beachfront of a hotel resort or rented one at your community’s recreational lake. Maybe you tried it out just for vacation fun but were soon to realize how addicting recreational paddle boarding is and the benefits it offers. Paddle boarding is a great adventurous workout and a fun family past time.

Soft top paddle boards are great boards for all levels of experience and are an ideal first board for the person just coming into the sport of stand up paddle boarding. Soft tops come in many different varieties and are of a similar and sometimes lighter weight compared to the average fiberglass style paddleboard.

Soft Top Paddle Board Comparison Table

Soft Top SUP Board
Sizes
Weight
Capacity
My rating
Isle Cruiser Soft Top Paddle Board
10'5 x 32" x 4.5"
28.5lbs
235lbs
(4.5 / 5)
Peak Escape Soft Top Aqua SUP Board
10’5 x 32” x 4.5”
24lbs
250lbs
(4.3 / 5)
Gold Coast Surfboards Anima Soft Top Paddle Board
10'4 x 32" x 5"
28lbs
275lbs
(4.3 / 5)
Scott Burke Soft Top SUP Board
10'6 x 31" x 5.25"
25lbs
275lbs
(4 / 5)
BIC Sport ACE-TEC Cross Paddleboard
10' x 33"
27lbs
220lbs
(4 / 5)

What is a Soft Top Paddle Board?

Some people may automatically think of a soft top paddle board as one of those styrofoam surfboards you can find for two dollars at the local supermarket. Something of cheap quality that will break apart easily over time. Very few if any soft tops present this type of cheap quality in their material and construction. The best soft top paddle boards are made to withstand years of use with the proper storage and care.

Soft top vs. hard top paddle boards

Soft tops are commonly more durable than a fiberglass paddleboard, because they do not crack, chip, or break. They remain as a slightly flexible, yet solid foam shape and the boards listed in this review are designed to withstand use and abuse.

Keep in mind, any brand in the soft top category is a common board for those who enjoy practicing yoga on the water. The soft top surface of the board has a plenty of cushion and makes for less pressure on the knees, elbows, and head region when practicing those strenuous poses and balancing techniques.

Soft Top Paddle Board Reviews

Let’s take a closer look at the best soft top paddle boards currently available.

Isle Cruiser Soft Top Paddle Board

isle cruiser soft top paddle board

The Isle Cruiser Soft Top paddle board is the ultimate SUP for paddling newbies. It is not very long at 10’5 and anyone, including young adults, can control it effortlessly.

The deck space is enough for any essentials you may want to bring along, thanks to the 32” width. A wider board gives you an easy time staying balanced than a narrower board.

A traditional, rigid paddle board can be hard on your feet sometimes. The soft top feature makes your feet much more comfortable so you can even do yoga or brings a pet on board. Although the board has a rider weight limit of 235 lbs, experienced riders can exceed the limit. It is thick enough (4.5”) so it will not be submerged.

Some paddleboards are usually designed for specific SUP variations like Yoga, racing, etc. the Isle Cruiser Soft Top, on the other hand, has an all-around design. It is versatile and you can use it for anything. If you are looking to buy a board for the family, this is it.

An added plus is the adjustable paddle that is included in the package. You can always reduce or increase the length for different family members. One more thing, the paddle is made of carbon so it is impeccably light and floats on water. In the package, you will also find a center fin that is detachable.

Features and Specifications

  • The soft-top deck features a built-in grip pad
  • All around SUP design
  • Includes an adjustable carbon paddle, 9” center fin, and carry handle
  • Comes in three colors: aqua, blue and yellow
  • High-density bottom
  • Measures: 10’5” x 32” x 4.5”
  • Weighs 28.5 lbs
  • Volume: 175 liters
  • Maximum rider weight: 235 lbs

Pros & Cons

  • Easy to return within 60 days
  • Polyethylene deck is soft on feet
  • Comes with carbon paddle and fin
  • Carbon paddle is super light and floats
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Great for beginners
  • This soft top board might be too soft
  • Lags a little in speed

Customer Feedback

This soft top paddle board is very popular. Judging by the reviews, it is one of the best SUP boards around. The soft top feature might have made a few users skeptical and hesitant at first. However, after trying it they could not be happier. They like to enjoy the rigidity of a hard paddleboard while still getting a taste of the soft deck that is most common among inflatable boards. The carbon paddle has been mentioned severally because of its lightweight and great quality. The Isle Cruiser performs amazingly in water.

Peak 10’5 Escape Soft Top Aqua SUP Board

The Peak Escape is a very stylish paddleboard that is aqua in color. There are many aqua SUP boards out there, of course, but what makes it stylish is the fact that its accessories are color-matched.

Traditional paddleboards are known to be a little hard on the feet, especially for kids, pets and new paddlers. The Peak Escape, however, features a soft top that feels comfortable.

The board is ultra light, but not at the expense of quality. Isle Surf & SUP used world-class material and technology to offer you a durable board that is light and easy to transport. The tough construction makes it very difficult to get dings and dents on this board.

The Escape paddling package includes a two-piece paddle, center fin, leash and a waterproof case for your smartphone. The deck has a bungee system for all your paddling essentials. The board measurements make it an all-around SUP and it poses no restrictions.

Features and Specifications

  • Soft Construction for a comfortable experience
  • Made to last
  • Great family board
  • Aqua in color
  • Accessories are color matched with the board
  • Package includes paddle, coil leash, center fin and waterproof case
  • 6-point bungee system for luggage
  • Suitable for all conditions
  • Center carry handle
  • Measures: 10’5 x 32” x 4.5”
  • Maximum rider weight: 250 lbs
  • Weighs 23.5 lbs
  • Volume: 175 liters

Pros & Cons

  • Matching color accessories
  • All-inclusive package
  • Soft-top is comfortable
  • Durable
  • Has a storage system
  • Not inflatable so storage might be a problem

Customer Feedback

The Peak Escape Soft Top paddle board is gorgeous and SUPers definitely notice it. Although epoxy boards are not easy to carry around, this one is light and makes the work easier. It tracks wonderfully in water, thanks to the center fin.

BIC Sport ACE-TEC Cross Stand-Up Paddleboard

BIC Sport ACE-TEC Cross Soft Top Paddle board

The original ten foot BIC Soft Top is a long time runner in the world of soft top paddle boards. With three size variations including 10’, 10’6, and 11’, the soft tech surface along with Ace-Tech durability provides a long lasting and reliable paddle board. Available in one tricolor design of cool blue, aqua and white, this board is an excellent choice if you’re looking for that chill feel.

The notorious Bic brand has proven durability with their board design and award-winning ace tech epoxy composition construction. The Bic Cross comes in at 27 Ibs, making for a light board to carry with the inserted middle hand grip. There is a great selection of styles and they come in Platinum Blue, with a white soft deck and gray trim, Blue with white and aqua trim with a large grip pad with ace-tech and Bic logo design, Blue on Light Blue, Green with White trim, and Adventure Green with Gloss Platinum, White trim, and also includes a large grip pad. With this many styles, no wonder the Bic Cross is one of the top competitors in the soft top market.

Another plus for this soft top paddle board’s speed and performance is the V-shaped hull, which allows cutting through chop with ease and for rapid speed on the calm water. It also has availability to insert two extra fins for a tri-fin system, that is if you are ready to brave the waves. This is a versatile board and is used for yoga, fishing, surfing, as well as your regular backwater or cross lake paddle experience. With many sizes and color trims to choose from, makes it easy to find a style that fits your particular tastes.

Pros & Cons

  • Soft-top deck is easy on feet
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Great for beginners
  • Comes without paddle

Conclusion

So, when you’re scrolling soft top paddle boards online, or at your local SUP shop, keep in mind that you want to find a durable foam that will last and take on dents and scratches. One that will hold up to the elements for years to come. Pressure pockets are common in SUP boards, but you want to get the most use out of your board without any major damages. So if you’re able to feel the board in person before your purchase, give the rails of the board a few hard pinches with your thumb and pointer finger and press on the hard bottom surface to see if there is any extreme give. If it’s a sturdy and the foam doesn’t give much, your buying quality. But if it squishes with ease or feels heavy and flimsy, the foam may not be the best material for prolonged usage. However, it is all relative to your preference in feel. Some SUP enthusiast don’t mind the give some soft tops provide. Soft top paddle boards make for a great beginner SUPs as well as a long-lasting backup board or spare SUP board if and when you upgrade to fiberglass. They are perfect for the whole family, and if you frequent the water, you should give the soft top a shot.

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