While traditional SUPs are heavy and hard to transport, inflatables allow you to go from backpack to paddling in under 10 minutes. We evaluated 12 of the best selling iSUPs and narrowed them down to our top 4 picks.
How do you decide which model is best for you?
There are surprisingly large differences between the various models.
This guide will assist you in buying the best inflatable SUP for your needs based on our comparisons of the top rated brands.
We evaluated them on stability, ease of inflation, portability, value and how easy they were to paddle.
These are our top rated inflatable sups that have won our trust because of their superior performance.
- Tower Paddle Boards Adventurer
- Supflex Inflatable SUP
- Isle Airtech 10′
- Isle PEAK iSUP
- Blue Wave Sports Stingray
- Aqua Marina Breeze
Here is an overview of the inflatable SUPs, with full reviews and our buying guide below.
Best Inflatable Paddle Boards
Inflatable SUP Reviews
If you watch ABC’s Shark Tank you may have seen the presentation (you can watch the episode below). Stephan Aarstol got a deal from Mark Cuban and is one of the most successful deals on Shark Tank to date. The Tower Paddle Board Adventurer is about as close to a standard fiberglass construction paddle board as you can get for an inflatable. It is constructed of military grade PVC construction with drop stitching for rigidity. It is the toughest inflatable paddle board we tested.It really is almost impossible to damage one, run it over with a car or truck, it doesn’t matter. One nice advantage of an inflatable paddle board is the fact that they don’t scratch, dent or crack.
The Tower Adventurer Paddle Board is our recommended 6 inches thick and will hold the most weight of any paddle board we tested, over 350 pounds when fully inflated. It will inflate to a full 15 psi but will be plenty rigid at 10 psi.
Fully inflated the paddle board is just under 10 ft in length and 33 inches wide. The Tower Adventurer will function as a tandem paddle board, the only one tested that would support the weight of two adults. With its quality construction and attention to detail the Adventurer is the best inflatable SUP for the money.
The Tower Adventurer has a good amount of rocker so that it can be used in rougher conditions, in river rapids or surfing. This is the best iSUP board we tested it however it is a little more money than the other boards we tested, but in our opinion is well worth the extra cost.
Tower Paddle Board Adventurer Features:
You can watch Stephan Aarstol’s presentation here:
Supflex is a newcomer into the US market for inflatable paddle boards. They started in the Brazilian market in 2009 and gained a reputation for making a quality iSUP. They are aiming at the top competitors in this space like Tower Paddleboards and in my opinion they have equaled them.
Like any high quality iSUP, it is 6” thick and made from a military grade PVC. The Supflex is double layered for extra strength. It comes with a complete package of equipment with everything you need to get started. The double action high volume pump will inflate the Supflex in under 5 minutes and provides a nice warmup before getting on the water.
It comes with the highest quality backpack of any iSUP package I have seen. It’s not some cheapie one that was just included to give you something. The iSUP fits in it perfectly and makes taking the Supflex anywhere you go easy and convenient.
The Supflex inflatable paddleboard comes with a 2 year manufactures warranty, equaling the longest warranty on the market. It covers any material or workmanship defect. In the unlikely event you have a problem, they have excellent customer service, a real person will answer the phone and help you.
The deck of the board has a crocodile skin texture for slip resistance and comfort. Perfect for all day on water, a furry friend and is great for yoga as well. The included 3 piece paddle is made a light-stiff fiberglass that floats. Unlike most included paddles of most SUP packages.
The first time you drop it in the water you will appreciate the fact it floats! Also included is a leash so when you fall in the water the board can’t go too far. They have a D-ring in the back of the board to connect the leash, good design Supflex!
The D-rings in the front of the board allow you carry some gear and not worry about it falling off the board if you hit some rougher water.
The Supflex weighs only 22 pounds and folds up to 12” by 33” and comfortably carry 300 pounds of rider(s) and cargo. Inflated it is 10’x30″x6. For those riders looking for more of a racing board, Supflex has a slimmer, longer board for roughly $100 more. This is an excellent iSUP at a great price, highly recommended.
The Supflex iSUP features:
Another solid contender in quality and features is the Isle Airtech paddle board. It is made of military grade PVC rubber with drop stitch construction and is made to last. The Isle Airtech 10 is almost indestructible, you can literally run it over in your car and not hurt it! It is almost impossible to puncture the paddleboard with normal use, so you can feel confident taking it most anywhere.The Isle Airtech 10′ has a good amount of nose rocker so it can handle rougher water allowing you to take it out in the ocean, rapids or a lake and in my opinion is the best inflatable SUP for surfing. The diamond groove pattern on the deck of the board gives you exceptional traction and it has 3 fins for good tracking.
Inflated the Isle Airtech is 10 feet (3 meters) long, 31 inches wide (77cm) and 6 inches thick (15cm) and will hold just over 200 pounds (90kg) of weight. At 6 inches thick (our recommended thickness) provides more rigidity than the Aqua Marina paddle board.
Isle is so confident you will love their paddle board they offer an unprecedented 30 day guarantee that says; If you don’t love it for any reason, they will take it back. The Isle Airtech is an excellent mid-priced option.
Isle Airtech 10 Features:
Coming in squarely in the middle range the Peak iSUP by ISLE Surf and SUP packs all the features and quality construction of iSUPs costing much more. The Peak iSUP is 6 inches thick so when properly inflated is a VERY rigid board giving you stability and ease of paddling.
This has been one of the knock of iSUPS and that is they are not as rigid as a traditional hardshell board so they are harder to paddle and lack the stability.The Peak inflatable SUP, while not as rigid as a hardshell SUP, it is in the ballpark. So if you want to use it for Yoga, fishing or surf some light waves the Peak iSUP performs well.
It features drop stitch construction to give it rigidity plus being made of military grade PVC material it is extremely tough. This is one of the great features of iSUPs, they don’t get dinged or scratched like a traditional SUP.
The top of the board is soft and grippy so you or your riding companion’s wont slid off the board. Feel free to take your dog with you, his claws are not going to puncture this board.
Coming in with a volume of 225 liters, means this iSUP will support a rider and gear up to 300 pounds. You can go over this slightly as you get more experience and can handle the board sitting lower in the water.
Naturally the PEAK iSUP comes with all the standard accessories like a high volume hand pump, adjustable paddle and a leash. You can buy this iSUP with confidence, it comes with a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty covering defects PLUS a 30 day no questions asked return policy if you don’t completely love it.
The PEAK iSUP features: The Blue Wave Sports Stingray is a most unusual inflatable paddle board because its a hybrid. It comes with a remove-able seat back design so that you can use it as a kayak as well. The 3 piece collapsible aluminum paddle is designed so the handle comes off on one end and another blade can be attached making it a kayak paddle.
The Blue Wave Sports Stingray is a most unusual inflatable paddle board because its a hybrid. It comes with a remove-able seat back design so that you can use it as a kayak as well. The 3 piece collapsible aluminum paddle is designed so the handle comes off on one end and another blade can be attached making it a kayak paddle.The Stingray inflatable is really the best of both worlds. If you want to take a break from standing the seatback is very comfortable and sturdy plus a footrest allowing it to function as a sit-on-top kayak.
In the mood to try some fishing? The Blue Wave is the best inflatable SUP for fishing because it has plenty of storage available in the stern and bungee cords to hold down some tackle.
Full inflated, the Stingray measures 10 ft in length, 30 inches wide and 4 inches thick and will hold a rider of up to 220 pounds. I probably wouldn’t go much over 200 pounds however. The deck is made from a very soft and slip resistant material that is comfortable to stand on all day.
The Blue Wave Stingray has a very small amount of rocker so this would not be an ideal paddle board to take in any kind of rough water or use for surfing. The 4 inch thickness is less than the recommended 6 inch thickness but it inflates up to 15 psi so it is pretty rigid and has the advantage of a lower center of gravity making it more stable.If you want the best of best worlds, a kayak and a paddle board you will not go wrong with the Blue Wave Stingray.
Blue Wave Sports Stringray Features:
You can see how easy it is to go from your vehicle to paddling here with the Blue Wave Ports Stingray:
The Aqua Marina Inflatable SUP is the most inexpensive paddleboard on the market. Even though it is inexpensive it still has pretty good performance.
It is made from a high quality commercial grade PVC rubber with drop stitching in the seams for extra strength.
Inflated the board is just under 10 feet in length (3 meters) by 30 inches wide (76cm) when inflated and has a recommended max weight load of just over 200 pounds (90 kg). The deck of the paddle board has an anti-slip deck pad for sure footing.
The paddleboard fully inflated is 4 inches thick (10cm), while this is a little thinner than recommended it is still provides a ridged board at 15psi. You can ride at 10 psi but wont be quite as firm.
The Aqua Marina Breeze SUP has a 3 fin design to provide good tracking and includes 7 stainless steel D-rings for storage. Also included is a collapsible aluminum paddle for easy transport and storage.
Overall the Aqua Marina is the best beginner inflatable paddle board that inflates quickly and will have you from your car, to on the water in under 10 minutes, while fitting in the smallest of cars.If your not looking to spend a lot of money, the Aqua Marina Breeze is one of the best inflatable sup boards on the market.
Aqua Marina iSUP Features:
How To Choose A SUP
Characteristics of an Inflatable SUP
Length – As a general rule the longer the SUP it faster it goes. The disadvantage is they can be harder to turn. More experienced paddle boarders will tend to prefer a longer board while beginning boarders tend to prefer a shorter board because they are easier to control. A good length is in the range of 10 to 12 feet.
Width – The wider the paddle board the more stability it will have. The wider the paddle board is the slower it will tend to be. Beginners usually prefer a wider board for this reason.
Thickness – The thicker the board is gives it more volume and ability to hold more weight. A thicker inflatable paddle board will also usually be more rigid. A thinker board will naturally be more rigid but the trade off is a higher center of gravity and easier to tip over. Most boards are going to be either 4 or 6 inches thick. A 4 inch board is suitable for most people.
Hull Shape – Much like kayaks, a paddle board with a flat bottom gives it more stability and easier to turn but they are also much slower. A displacement hull is similar to a sailboat hull and tend to be the fastest of hull designs.
Probably the best compromise for a hull shape is a planning hull. A planning hull is more rounded and faster than a flat bottom but it is somewhat easier to tip over than a flat hull. It is the best overall design for beginners and experienced paddleboarders.
Nose Rocker – The rocker refers to angled the front of the board is. It is really only important in rough water or when surfing. If you don’t have much rocker the nose of the board will tend to submerge or dive under the water.
Rails – The last design consideration is the rails. This is only a consideration if you are looking to use your paddle board to surf. Rails will give you the ability to “carve” into the waves.
Now that we are familiar with the hull shapes, lets examine the pros and cons of inflatable paddle boards.
Inflatable Paddle Board vs Fiberglass Paddle Board
To make a fair comparison, we took two identical sized SUP, an ISLE 10’5 Versa fiberglass and compared it to a Isle Airtech 10′. In comparing the two, overall we were surprised by the VERY small differences. The fiberglass SUP was slightly faster (by about 10%) and a bit easier to paddle.
Obviously the fiberglass was more rigid but we were able to do all the same activities like Yoga and fishing along with being able to carry all the gear we needed like a cooler and backpack etc.
It was just slightly faster to go from car to the water with the fiberglass but not much as you might think. By using an electric SUP pump we could get it down to less than 5 minutes.
Portability – Well the most important pro is portability/ease of transport. They can be deflated and stored in a dufflebag and fit in just about any car. This is a course a huge advantage over standard SUP where you will have to put it on the top of your car with a roof rack or in the bed of a truck.
Most inflatable paddle boards with inflate and deflate quickly allowing you to go from car to on the water in under 10 minutes. Probably less time than it will take you to take the board off of your vehicle and get it to the water.
One other advantage is the ability to take your inflatable paddle board with you on a trip. Since it will fit into a duffel bag it may be free or the standard $25 checked bag fee.
Durability – Modern construction materials like heavy duty urethane are incredibly tough. They will take more abuse than you will likely ever throw at them. Rocks, coral, sticks etc will not pop an inflatable paddleboard. The nice thing about them is that they wont chip, crack or dent like a standard SUP.
Storage – Not only are inflatable SUP’s easy to transport, they are easy to store. The ability to fit one into a duffle bag allows even the smallest apartment dweller or someone with very little room in their house or condo to keep one. This factor alone makes an inflatable SUP almost a no brainer.
Cost – Inflatable SUP’s have come down significantly in price. A good quality one can be had for less than $500, including the paddle, pump and storage bag.
More Forgiving – Falling on a standard SUP can be a painful experience. An inflatable SUP with be more soft and less likely to cause an injury. They are especially desirable for kids who may not have the balance as an adult.
Setup – A inflatable SUP will take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes to inflate depending on the size of the board and quality of the pump. Plus you will always need to take a pump with you and put on the fins.
Speed – Just like inflatable kayaks, they are slower, since they need to be thicker and wider to provide adequate rigidity.
Surfing – If this something you want to do as you get more experienced, an inflatable paddleboard has a fatter rail making it more difficult to carve turns.
How We Evaluated The Inflatable Paddle Boards
Stability – This was our number one consideration when evaluating an inflatable paddleboard. Since they tend to be used by beginner and intermediate boarders who want a board to be as stable as possible. Naturally the bigger the board the more stable it is. But the primary thing that gives a board its stability is how thick it is. The thicker the board the more rigid and stable it usually is. 4 inches thick is the minimum recommended thickness.
Paddling Performance – By its nature a inflatable paddle board will not cut through the water as well as a standard fiberglass board. However the better quality paddle boards will glide through the water noticeably easier than the cheaper boards. Typically a higher rocker aids in how well it cuts through the water and makes it easier to paddle in rougher water or winder conditions.
Ease of Transport – Being that the main reason to buy an inflatable paddle board is because it easier to transport and store this is an important consideration. While as stated above they do not cut through the water as well the ability to transport in almost any car without needing a roof rack and being able to store one almost anywhere, makes the inflatable SUP very desirable.
All of the boards tested required a little extra effort to get them back in the storage container after they were inflated except for the Isle Airtech. A nice feature also with the Isle Airtech was that the center fin did not need to be removed.
Speed/Ease of Inflation – Inflatable paddle boards have standardized on pumps and how the pump attaches to the board so there is not really any standouts in this category. Normally it will take you between 5-8 minutes to inflate one, depending on the size of the board and how fast you can pump.
Most paddle boards recommend an inflation PSI of 12-15. One drawback we noticed was the gauges sucked and were very inaccurate. It is impossible to over-inflate them, so when in doubt, keep pumping until it feels hard enough to hold you.
Value For The Money – The paddle boards tested were in the range of $350 to $750. With the more expensive paddle boards being made of higher quality plastic and usually come with a better quality paddle, pump and other accessories. The paddles that come with the boards are made from aluminum shafts with plastic blades.
Paddle Board Accessories
Paddle – All of the reviewed inflatable paddle boards come with an adjustable aluminum paddle, that tend to be on the heavy side but durable. They are collapsible so they can be easily transported. If you are looking for a lighter, higher quality paddle, carbon fiber is worth looking into such as the 100% Carbon Fiber ‘Slider’ SUP Paddle.
Backpack – Since you will most likely be paddling fairly close to where your car is, you may not need a backpack to transport it. However, if you need to hike to where you want to go, a backpack is going to be something you want to purchase such as the ISLE Inflatable SUP Carrying Bag.
PFD/Life Preserver – None of the reviewed paddle boards come with a PFD but you can buy one for $20 – $50. You will need to one to paddle board in some areas and you should at least keep one on your board as a matter of practice. Onyx Co2 Automatic Vest.
Paddle Board Leash – This is really only an absolute necessity if you are surfing or paddling a river. When you are starting out it’s a good idea to use one. A good option is the ‘Storm’ SUP 10′ Coiled Leash .
Roof rack – While the small size of an inflatable paddle board is one of its primary advantages, if you are going to be at same place for a few days or more you may not want to inflate and deflate your paddleboard every time you use. A good option is the Surfboard Soft Rack LOCKDOWN Premium Surfboard Car Racks, it will easily transport 2 SUP’s
Electric Pump – If you get tired of hand pumping your paddleboard, there is the option of a battery powered pump. Not only do you not have to pump it, electric pump will inflate your paddleboard faster. Here is a good option, Sevylor 12 Volt 15 PSI SUP and Water Sport Pump, it plugs into your car accessory port and will inflate your paddle board in 3-5 minutes.
If you need some information on how to get the most out of paddle boarding, here is a complete guide. Once you get comfortable on your paddle board and your looking to try something different, here is a guide on how to do paddle board yoga. Don’t forget that a good paddle is almost as important as your SUP, check our reviews here.