Best Paddle Boards for Beginners | 2020

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Beginner Paddle Boards

Picking out the best paddle board for beginners in today’s crowded SUP marketplace is a challenge, to say the very least. There are a lot of important considerations that you need to take into account when buying your first SUP board, and the coolest looking board may not necessarily be the best board for you…

In this post, we’re going to share our top picks for 2020’s best beginner paddle boards. Every one of the boards that we’re recommending is affordable, durable, stable, and includes everything you need to get started. Additionally, since we own and paddle every one of these boards on a regular basis, you can have full confidence in our recommendations.

Being that our primary focus here at is inflatable paddle board reviews, this buyers guide will be focused on inflatable SUP models for beginners in the sub-$700 range. While there are definitely some awesome beginner paddle boards in the $1,000 and up price range, most newcomers to the sport of stand up paddleboarding are more interested in an entry-level board to initially get their feet wet with.

We’ll first provide a comparison chart for easy reference and then follow up with a brief overview of each model along with an in-depth video review. So, without further ado, let’s get to the boards…

The Best SUP for Beginners – 2020 Top Picks

Includes: Backpack, paddle, leash, pump, repair kit
10'6"x33"x6"26 lbs400 lbs2 years + 30-day money backCheck Price
NIXY Newport
NIXY Newport G3 iSUP
Includes: Backpack, paddle, leash, pump, repair kit, shoulder carry strap
10'6"x33"x6"20 lbs300 lbs2 years + 30-day money backCheck Price
Includes: Backpack, paddle, leash, pump, repair kit
10'x32"x6"24 lbs370 lbs2 years + 30-day money backCheck Price
THURSO Waterwalker 11
THURSO Waterwalker 11' iSUP
Includes: Backpack, paddle, pump, leash, deck bag, repair kit
11'x32"x6"29 lbs330 lbs2 yearsCheck Price


Completely revamped for 2020, the bombproof and extremely stable iROCKER CRUISER features triple-layer PVC construction, a variety of premium features, great accessories, and a generous 2-year warranty — all at an extremely affordable price point.

The popular CRUISER features a versatile design and this SUP is capable of being used for a wide range of paddling activities. It’s available in variety of great color options for 2020 and the new safety grab handles at the board’s nose are great for families with small children.

Check out our iROCKER CRUISER SUP review to get more info on this popular inflatable SUP.

2020 iROCKER Cruiser 10'6" SUP and accessories
2020 iROCKER Cruiser First Look Review

NIXY Newport G4

The second board up in this year’s best beginner paddle board list is the NIXY Newport G4. Totally refreshed for 2021, the fourth generation Newport is the lightest paddle board on our list due to the use of NIXY’s ultralight fusion technology and the introduction of woven dopstitch constuction this season. Yet this durable provides excellent rigidity and stability and is a blast to paddle.

All NIXY paddle boards include a top-shelf wheeled roller backpack, 3-piece adjustable carbon fiber hybrid paddle, SUP ankle leash, inflatable SUP repair kit, shoulder carrying strap, and dual-chamber SUP pump with a built-in pressure gauge. The NIXY Newport also comes with a rock solid 2-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee.

For more details, be sure to read our in-depth NIXY Newport review.

NIXY Sports Newport All-Around iSUP with accessories.

The Newport G4 is so new we haven’t even yet posted our video review, but you can check out our review of its G3 predecessor which earned our Top Pick rating and shared a lot of the same DNA.

NIXY Newport Review (2019 Inflatable SUP)


Next up are the iROCKER ALL-AROUND boards. They come in two lengths: the iROCKER ALL-AROUND 10′ and the iROCKER ALL-AROUND 11′.

These, like the name implies, are great all-around inflatable paddle boards that can be used for just about anything. Stable enough for beginnings to feel confident yet nimble enough for experienced paddlers to still have fun, these are boards the whole family can share.

The popular line of iROCKER inflatable SUPs are also known for being loaded with D-rings and action mount points making them easy to rig up with gear and optional accessories like kayak seats, fishing rod holders, go-pro cameras, coolers, or whatever suits your interests.

The iROCKER ALL-AROUND 10′ & 11′ come with a backpack, fiberglass paddle, dual-chamber pump, leash, and an iSUP repair kit. iROCKER also includes a 2-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee.

Read our 2020 iROCKER ALL-AROUND 10′ SUP review and iROCKER ALL-AROUND 11′ SUP review for more details.

2020 iROCKER All Around 10 SUP and accessories
iROCKER ALL-AROUND 11' SUP: A Review of What's New (2020)

THURSO SURF Waterwalker 11′

Last but not least, the THURSO SURF Waterwalker 11′ is an all-around iSUP that packs a lot of value. The growing lineup of THURSO inflatable SUPs includes a really nice bundle of SUP accessories and the company is making some of the best-looking inflatables on the market in our opinion.

Measuring 32″ wide, the Waterwalker 11′ is an extremely stable board that performs well in a variety of conditions. THURSO covers this board with a 2-year warranty, and it includes a premium wheeled SUP backpack, carbon fiber shaft paddle, leash, dual-action pump, and repair kit.

To learn more about this popular model, check out our THURSO Waterwalker 11′ review.

If you’re a smaller paddler, you may also want to check out our reviews of this board’s shorter siblings: Thurso Waterwalker 10′ review and Thurso Waterwalker 10.5′ review.

THURSO SURF inflatable SUP board Waterwalker 132 accessories
THURSO SURF Waterwalker 11' Review (2019 Inflatable SUP)

Beginner Paddle Boards – What to Look For

When it comes to beginner paddle boards, there are several important criteria that we look for when determining whether or not a model will be appropriate for SUP newcomers. The key things that we take into consideration are affordability, stability, durability, versatility, and included accessories.


Due to the fact that new paddlers haven’t spent a great deal of time on the water yet, we strongly recommend that beginners think twice before splurging on a high-priced board. As with anything else, it’s a good idea to ease into things and to make sure that paddling is something you actually enjoy before shelling out $1,000+ on a super high end SUP.

These days, you honestly don’t have to spend a fortune to get a well-built, super fun inflatable SUP. All of the boards recommended on our list are solid beginner stand up paddle boards in the $500-$700 range, and each one comes with everything you need to start paddling (aside from a life jacket or PFD, of course).


When you first begin learning how to SUP, board stability is something that is extremely important. Having a stable board to learn on not only inspires confidence, it’ll also be a lot more fun to paddle.

Because board width has a big impact on the overall stability of a paddle board, we recommend that beginners go with something in the 31″-33″ range. Boards that are 31″-33″ wide provide excellent overall stability without interfering with your paddle stroke.


A beginner board should also be extremely durable. Due to the fact that new paddlers aren’t used to carrying, handling, and paddling a board, we recommend going with a bombproof model that’s built to withstand serious abuse.

All of the boards on our list are constructed from military-grade materials and are designed to survive the bumps, knocks, and drops that beginner SUP boards are often subjected to.


When you’re first starting out, it’s typically best to buy an all-around paddle board that can be used for a wide variety of paddling activities and conditions. Since new paddlers haven’t yet had time to discover what they enjoy (flatwater, surf, racing, whitewater, SUP fitness, etc.), it’s a great idea to choose a versatile board that can pretty much do it all.

Included Accessories

Last but not least, it’s important to consider what accessories are included with a board. When a person is just starting out, they don’t already own accessories like paddles, leashes, etc. — because of this, we recommend paddle boards for beginners that are bundled with all of the essential SUP accessories.

Final Thoughts

Beginner's SUP

So, which board on our list is the best SUP for beginners? At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong with any of them…

  • At less than $700, each of these inflatable SUP boards is priced very affordably
  • Each of these boards comes with a 2-year warranty covering manufacturer defects
  • Every board comes with everything you need to get started
  • Each board features top-quality materials and durable construction
  • All of these inflatable paddle boards are an excellent choice for beginners

Before making a decision, we would compare the current prices of each model and then choose the board that best fits your budget and includes the features that are most important to you.

Hopefully this SUP beginner board buyers guide has helped you narrow down the field of entry level boards, and regardless of what you choose, we hope that you enjoy your new paddle board for many years to come.

Happy paddling!

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