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 2018’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 InflatableBoarder.com 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. So, without further ado, let’s get to the boards…
The Best SUP for Beginners – 2018 Top Picks
Includes: Backpack, paddle, leash, pump, repair kit
|10'6"x33"x6"||17 lbs||300 lbs||2 years + 30-day money back|
|iRocker ALL-AROUND 10'|
Includes: Backpack, paddle, leash, pump, repair kit
|10'x32"x6"||22 lbs||350 lbs||2 years + 30-day money back|
|THURSO Waterwalker 10'6"|
Includes: Backpack, paddle, pump, leash, deck bag, repair kit
|10'6"x31"x6"||24 lbs||280 lbs||2 years|
NIXY Newport 10’6″
The first board up in this year’s best beginner paddle board list is the NIXY Newport 10’6″. Totally revamped for 2018 and the lightest paddle board on our list, the affordable Newport is super stable and a lot of fun to paddle. Featuring NIXY’s brand new Fusion technology, this durable board weighs in at only 17 pounds and it provides excellent rigidity.
All 2018 NIXY paddle boards include a top-shelf wheeled roller backpack, 3-piece aluminum adjustable travel paddle, coiled SUP leash, inflatable SUP repair kit, and dual-action 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.
iRocker ALL-AROUND 10′
Next up, is the iRocker ALL-AROUND 10′. This is a super stable, all-around inflatable paddle board that’s built like a tank. The popular line of iRocker inflatable SUPs is widely known for being both well-built and affordable, and the company stands behind everything they make. We love the retro-inspired racing stripe on iRocker’s boards, and the ALL-AROUND 10′ features additional D-rings along the rails for attaching an optional kayak seat or tying down gear.
The iRocker ALL-AROUND 10′ comes with a backpack, fiberglass paddle, dual-action pump, leash, and an iSUP repair kit. iRocker also includes a 2-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee.
Read our iRocker ALL-AROUND 10′ review for more details.
THURSO SURF Waterwalker 10’6″
The 2018 THURSO SURF Waterwalker 10’6″ 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 31″ wide, the Waterwalker 10’6″ is a bit narrower than the other boards in our list, but it’s still 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 backpack, deck bag, carbon fiber shaft paddle, leash, dual-action pump, and repair kit.
To learn more about this new 2018 model, check out our THURSO 10’6″ Waterwalker review.
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.
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.
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.